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Cruise Ship COSTA ALLEGRA Without Power Off East African Coast; In Tow to Seychelles

Just before dawn on Monday, February 27, a fire broke out in the COSTA ALLEGRA electric generator room. The fire was extinguished before it could spread or cause any injury, but the ship has been left without electrical power for such necessities as ship propulsion, lights, or air conditioning. Back-up generators will keep communication gear and control room lights running as long as possible.

The general emergency alarm was promptly sounded, at which time the passengers and non-emergency crew gathered at muster stations. There are said to be 636 passengers, including eight Americans and thirteen Canadians, who are remaining in large public rooms and open areas on board instead of in their own cabins. Most of the rest of the passengers are European. There are also said to be 413 crewmembers.

COSTA ALLEGRA was near Alphonse Island, en route from Madagascar to the Seychelles, when she lost power. She is operated by Costa Crociere in Italy, which in turn is owned by Carnival Corporation in Miami. According to reports, COSTA ALLEGRA is stable and in otherwise good condition, and there are no known injuries. A large French fishing vessel, TREVIGNON, has taken the cruise ship in tow toward the Seychelles, while two other tug boats are reported to be on their way toward COSTA ALLEGRA. Passengers are expected to be taken ashore when they arrive at Victoria, on Mahe Island in the Seychelles, some time this Thursday. In the meantime, Costa reports that helicopters will supply food and other necessities to those aboard.

Pirates are a known threat in that area, but with nine armed Italian military guards aboard COSTA ALLEGRA, Costa Crociere feels the threat is minimal. In January of 2011, a smaller cruise ship, SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE, operated by U.K.-based Saga, en route from Madagascar to Zanzibar, was pursued by pirates until that cruise ship emitted a sonic blast from an on-board long-range acoustic device. These days, as piracy concerns continue to grow, many ships avoid the East African seaboard or take anti-piracy precautions.

UPDATE  3/5/12

Thursday morning local time, March 1, Costa Allegra was pulled safely by TREVIGNON to the main Seychelles island of Mahe. Passengers disembarked into Port Victoria. Some chose to remain on the island for a one- or two-week resort vacation as guests of Costa, in order to enjoy a local carnival, while other passengers chose to fly home as soon as possible on flights chartered by Costa.

During the three days in tow to Mahe, those aboard COSTA ALLEGRA are reported to have lived on deck in 95F heat, eating such food as bread and produce delivered by helicopter, and drinking bottled water. As there was no plumbing nor adequate sanitation, bottled water was also used for washing. No medical problems have been reported. Costa plans to reimburse passengers for their cruise costs, on-board spending, and other associated travel expenses. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

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