February 28, 2012 by staff
Costa Allegra, A French vessel has reached an Italian cruise ship adrift in the Indian Ocean and is towing it to an island, the Seychelles coastguard said today.
The coastguard said authorities were making arrangements for the evacuation of those on board to the island of Desroches – and then their transfer to Seychelles’ main island.
The Costa Allegra, carrying more than 1,000 passengers and crew members, began drifting without power yesterday after a fire in its generator room. Officials say the blaze, which was extinguished, caused no injuries.
Two tug boats from Seychelles are expected to reach the cruise ship later and will it tow it back under military escort.
Somali pirates are active in the region but have not been sighted near the ship.
Captain Giorgio Moretti told reporters during a conference call at the Costa Crociere cruise line headquarters in Genoa yesterday that the fire in the ship’s generator room had left it without power, knocking out air conditioning and lights.
Capt Moretti said the Allegra was adrift, “and being pushed by currents. It is stable and upright”.
The fire occurred only six weeks after one of its sister ships, the Costa Concordia, hit a reef and capsized off Italy, killing 25 people and leaving seven missing, presumed dead.
Both ships are operated by Costa Crociere, which is owned by Florida-based Carnival Corporation.
Tug boats from Seychelles had been steaming to the powerless liner, which is carrying 636 passengers and 413 crew members, but the Italian coastguard officials said last night that the French ocean fishing boat could be the first vessel to reach the stricken liner.
The officials said emergency generators were keeping the ship’s command room illuminated and instruments such as its radio functioning. But the rest of the ship was apparently dark as night fell.
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