Just six weeks after the Costa Concordia disaster, a second Costa cruise liner has encountered problems. The Costa Allegra, which comes from the same fleet as the Concordia, has run adrift in the Indian Ocean.
Approximately one thousand passengers and crew were on the cruise liner, when it began to drift without engine power. The incident took place around two hundred kilometres off the coast of the Seychelles, in an area which has been popular with Somali pirates. To date, these pirates have never attacked a cruise liner and the Italian consul in the Seychelles, Claudio Izzi, has reassured the passengers that nine Italian marines were on board and trained to deal with any eventuality. Two French fishing trawlers were also dispatched to assist the crew and passengers.
The Costa Allegra departed from Madagascar’s Diego Suarez port on Saturday 25th February and was due to dock in the Seychelles on Tuesday 28th. However, a fire broke out in the engine room, leaving the ship, and all those on board stranded. Costa officials have confirmed that no one was injured by the fire.
“The shipboard fire-extinguishing system and procedures were promptly activated and special fire-fighting squads intervened to extinguish the fire,” read a statement, “As a precaution, the general emergency alarm was given and all passengers and crew members not engaged in the management of the emergency were assembled at muster stations with the relevant safety equipment.”
Meanwhile, Joel Morgan, the Seychelles’ home affairs and transport minister confirmed that a rescue operation was well underway. “What we understand is that there’s been an engine fire and the entire ship is disabled, she’s paralysed and adrift, there are no lights, no water, no communications,” he said. “In the meantime, there are other vessels in the area who are expected to rendezvous with her very soon. They will provide back-up, in terms of helping to provide stand-by power for lights and communications, until our tugs get there.”
The cruise liner will be towed to Port Victoria as soon as possible.
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