Saturday 17 March 2018

Costa Concordia's sister ship 'adrift off island after fire'

The Costa Allegra cruise ship pictured docked in Genoa, Italy
The Costa Concordia disaster prompted calls for improved safety on board cruise ships. Photo: Reuters
A huge bolder lodged in the Costa Concordia's hull
The costa Concordia surrounded by rescue vessels off the Tuscan coast

Nick Squires

A cruise ship with more than 1,000 passengers and crew on board is adrift in the Indian Ocean after a fire broke out in its electrical room.

The Costa Allegra is owned by the same company that operated the Costa Concordia, which ran aground off the Italian island of Giglio last month with the loss of at least 25 lives.

Planes, ships and tug boats are heading towards the Costa Allegra, which is about 200 miles south-west of the Seychelles.

The luxury liner left the port of Diego Suarez in Madagascar on Saturday and was due to arrive in Mahe in the Seychelles on Tuesday.

There were no injuries from the fire, which has not spread to other parts of the vessel.

But the ship is without power and adrift about 20 miles off Alphonse Island in the Indian Ocean.

“The shipboard fire-extinguishing system and procedures were promptly activated and the special fire-fighting squads intervened to extinguish fire,” parent company Costa Cruises said in 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 reached the muster stations with the relevant safety equipment.

“Inspections on the state of the engine room are on-going, in order to restart the necessary equipment to reactivate the functionality of the ship.”

The ship sent out a distress single and alerted naval authorities, including the Maritime Rescue Control Centre in Rome.

“Costa Crociere and the relevant authorities are acting to provide the ship with the necessary support. Costa Allegra is going to be reached by tugs and other naval and aerial units,” the company said.

On board the ship are 636 passengers of various nationalities and 413 crew members.

The 600ft-long ship was built in Genoa in 1992. It has eight passenger decks and 400 cabins and can carry up to 1,400 people.

The accident comes weeks after the 950ft-long Costa Concordia rammed into rocks off Giglio, forcing the night-time evacuation of 4,200 passengers and crew.

The death toll from the disaster stands at 25, with seven people still missing.

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