Update Tuesday 5:45 am EST: The French fishing vessels Trevignon are towing the Allegra to Desroches Island where it is scheduled to dock on Tuesday. A helicopter dropped off both food and communication devices (satellite phones and VHF radios) for the passengers and crew. The captain and crew are keeping the passengers informed of current situations with timely updates. The guests have been informed to prepare their luggage for disembarkation on Tuesday morning.
Costa Cruise Lines has just released the following statement: “Costa Cruises informs that in view of extensive and accurate checks carried out with local maritime experts’ support, in order to ensure the safety of our guests on board, the disembarkation on Desroches island cannot be performed and therefore it has been decided that the ship will be towed to Mahé/Seychelles. The disembarkation in Desroches does not assure the necessary and adequate security conditions for mooring the ship and guests’ disembarkation. In addition, logistics and hotels on the island are not enough: it would require an immediate transfer from Desroches to Mahé through Ferries after disembarking the ship through tenders. Thus the ship will be towed to Mahé, also with the assistance of two tugs that are approaching the ship and that would allow to increase the speed. The arrival in Mahé is currently scheduled for 6 am local time on Thursday, March 1, just few hours after the possible arrival from Mahé to Desroches through Ferries. Helicopters will ensure continuous supply of food, comfort items, flashlights in order to mitigate guests discomfort given the difficult conditions on board. Costa Cruises is working with all the Authorities responsible for the coordination of the emergency, to ensure the best possible assistance to all our guests and make their discomfort as short as possible and to reach their next destination. The Company is sincerely sorry for the inconvenience: absolute priority is to make it as short as possible.”
The problems for Costa Cruise Lines took a turn for the worse on Monday after their cruise ship, the Costa Allegra, caught fire while sailing in the Indian Ocean.
The fire broke out in the electric generator room, leaving the ship adrift off the Seychelles in pirate infested waters. Costa reported that there were no reported injuries or casualties. The fire was quickly extinguished but the cruise liner is now without propulsion. There are 636 passengers and 413 crew members on board the Allegra.
Costa released the following statement, “The shipboard fire-extinguishing system and procedures were promptly activated and the special firefighting units intervened to extinguish [the] fire. The fire did not spread to any other area of the ship. There were no injuries or casualties.”
The reason for the fire was not yet known at this time. The ship is currently 20 miles from Alphonse Island, a popular tourist destination. The engines are currently out on the ship but communications are working fine. The coast guard is currently aiding the ship and inspections are being done to see when the engines can be restarted. Tub boats are on their way to help pull the ship into port if necessary, but they were not expected to reach the ship until Tuesday.
Although the ship is in pirate infested waters, there have not been any signs of pirates in the area. There are armed anti-piracy military personal on board in case of an attack. However, Somali pirates have never hijacked a cruise ship. Attention is being focused on rescue efforts at this time.
The Allegra left Madagascar on Saturday and was scheduled to arrive in Seychelles on Tuesday.
Costa and their parent company Carnival Corp, are still dealing with the disaster of the Costa Concordia. That accident resulted in 32 deaths, leaving the ship half submerged in water.
Cruise Fever will continue to bring you the latest news on the Costa Allegra fire as more information becomes available.