|The Maine enters Havana harbor in 1898 - looking at the aft end of the ship|
Much later it was discovered that the sinking may have been caused by overheated boilers igniting and ammunition storage room. Three or four studies have been done, the Rickover Commission in 1974 seems to have come up with the proper cause. The Navy had switched to bituminous coal which burns hotter than the previous coal, the boiler would overheat.
You can read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Maine_(ACR-1)
The original bow decoration can be seen in Bangor, Maine where a ceremony is held each year to commemorate the loss of life.
|The USS Maine bow décor in Bangor, Maine - click to enlarge|