Passengers on disabled cruise ship to fly to Rome

Feb 29 2012 - 10:33am

Images

In this photo taken Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 by Zil Air and released by the Seychelles Office of the President, the Costa Allegra cruise ship is seen at sea near the Seychelles. Disabled by an engine fire, the cruise ship is being towed and should reach land Thursday, according to a spokesman for Costa Cruises. (AP Photo/Zil Air via Seychelles Office of the President)
In this photo taken by the Indian Navy Monday, Feb. 27, 2012 and released by the Seychelles Office of the President on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, the Costa Allegra cruise ship is seen from an airplane at sea near the Seychelles. A French fishing vessel reached the Italian cruise ship drifting powerless in the Indian Ocean overnight and was towing it to a nearby Seychelles island, the Seychelles Coast Guard said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Indian Navy via Seychelles Office of the President)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 by Zil Air and released by the Seychelles Office of the President, the Costa Allegra cruise ship is seen at sea near the Seychelles. Disabled by an engine fire, the cruise ship is being towed and should reach land Thursday, according to a spokesman for Costa Cruises. (AP Photo/Zil Air via Seychelles Office of the President)
In this photo taken by a member of French fishing vessel, The Talenduic, and provided by the Prefecture of the Reunion Island, shows the Italian cruise ship, The Costa Allegra, left, being towed by French fishing vessel, The Trevignon, in the Indian Ocean, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. The French fishing vessel The Trevignon on Tuesday began towing an Italian cruise ship drifting powerless in the Indian Ocean to a nearby Seychelles island, but was not expected to reach the tiny resort island until Wednesday, officials said. Seychelles authorities said they are making arrangements to evacuate people to the island of Desroches and then to transfer the more than 1,000 passengers and crew members to the main Seychelles island of Mahe by plane and fast boats. (AP Photo/Le Talenduic, Reunion Island Prefecture, HO)
A woman and child stop view the panorama around the Victoria's harbor skyline in the Seychelles Island, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. The Costa Allegra cruise ship is scheduled to arrive in the early hours of Thursday in Victoria's harbor after a fire broke out on the ship off the Seychelles islands, Monday, Feb. 27, 2012. The ship's owner Costa Crociere said in a statement that there were no injuries or casualties among the 636 passengers and 413 crew members aboard. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 by Zil Air and released by the Seychelles Office of the President, the Costa Allegra cruise ship is seen at sea near the Seychelles. Disabled by an engine fire, the cruise ship is being towed and should reach land Thursday, according to a spokesman for Costa Cruises. (AP Photo/Zil Air via Seychelles Office of the President)
In this photo taken by the Indian Navy Monday, Feb. 27, 2012 and released by the Seychelles Office of the President on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, the Costa Allegra cruise ship is seen from an airplane at sea near the Seychelles. A French fishing vessel reached the Italian cruise ship drifting powerless in the Indian Ocean overnight and was towing it to a nearby Seychelles island, the Seychelles Coast Guard said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Indian Navy via Seychelles Office of the President)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 by Zil Air and released by the Seychelles Office of the President, the Costa Allegra cruise ship is seen at sea near the Seychelles. Disabled by an engine fire, the cruise ship is being towed and should reach land Thursday, according to a spokesman for Costa Cruises. (AP Photo/Zil Air via Seychelles Office of the President)
In this photo taken by a member of French fishing vessel, The Talenduic, and provided by the Prefecture of the Reunion Island, shows the Italian cruise ship, The Costa Allegra, left, being towed by French fishing vessel, The Trevignon, in the Indian Ocean, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. The French fishing vessel The Trevignon on Tuesday began towing an Italian cruise ship drifting powerless in the Indian Ocean to a nearby Seychelles island, but was not expected to reach the tiny resort island until Wednesday, officials said. Seychelles authorities said they are making arrangements to evacuate people to the island of Desroches and then to transfer the more than 1,000 passengers and crew members to the main Seychelles island of Mahe by plane and fast boats. (AP Photo/Le Talenduic, Reunion Island Prefecture, HO)
A woman and child stop view the panorama around the Victoria's harbor skyline in the Seychelles Island, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012. The Costa Allegra cruise ship is scheduled to arrive in the early hours of Thursday in Victoria's harbor after a fire broke out on the ship off the Seychelles islands, Monday, Feb. 27, 2012. The ship's owner Costa Crociere said in a statement that there were no injuries or casualties among the 636 passengers and 413 crew members aboard. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VICTORIA, Seychelles -- A disabled cruise ship being towed to the Seychelles' main port is expected to arrive Thursday morning -- three days after the ship lost power and began drifting in the Indian Ocean. An aviation official said passengers would begin flying to Rome within hours after arrival at port.

The Genoa, Italy-based Costa said the Allegra is being towed to the Seychelles' main port and is expected to arrive at about 9 a.m. local time Thursday (0500 GMT, midnight EST), a little later than reported earlier.

Three planes with a seating capacity of at least 580 passengers were lined up to fly the passengers of the cruise ship Costa Allegra back to Rome, Gilbert Faure, the chief executive of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority said Wednesday. He said the first plane is tentatively scheduled to leave Thursday afternoon.

"It could all depend because they have been at sea for three days. They may want to take a shower, we are not sure," Faure said, adding later: "I can assure you that we are doing our best to ensure that they have a nice few hours in the Seychelles."

Costa said soft drinks and cold food such as fruit, cold cuts, cheeses and fresh bread are regularly available to passengers, along with mineral water for personal hygiene needs. They said the situation is "regular" and the weather is good.

The Costa Allegra lost power Monday after a fire broke out in its generator room, setting the Italian cruise ship adrift in a region where Somali pirates have long been active. A French fishing vessel began towing the Costa Allegra, at first to a small, nearby island, but later to the Seychelles main port -- Victoria. Two Seychelles tug boats are escorting the cruise ship.

Officials indicated that the more than 1,000 passengers and crew are on board the Costa Allegra would have overwhelmed the resources on the tiny resort island Desroches.

Monday's fire came only six weeks after the Costa Concordia hit a reef and capsized off Italy, killing 25 people and leaving seven missing and presumed dead. No one was injured in the fire Monday, but passengers have been without power, communications and air conditioning since the accident.

The ship's operator, Costa Crociere SpA, said it expected a helicopter to deliver 400 flashlights and fresh bread to the passengers on Wednesday. The operator said the ship has sufficient food and that a small generator delivered by a navy ship -- it did not specify from which country -- could help restore basic services and "to make the situation on board more comfortable."

Two tug boats arrived alongside the cruise ship on Tuesday but the slower French fishing vessel continued to tow it. A Costa Concordia official in the Seychelles said he did not know enough about the situation to comment. Alan St. Ange, the chief executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board, said the tugs were helping push the Costa Allegra and that "everybody is working together."

The Allegra, whose Italian name means "merry," or "happy," left northern Madagascar, off Africa's southeast coast, on Saturday and was cruising toward Port Victoria when the fire erupted. Costa said the Allegra had been due in Port Victoria on Tuesday.

The liner is carrying 413 crew members and 636 passengers, including 212 Italians, 31 Britons and eight Americans. Four passengers are children ages 3 or younger.

 

From Around the Web

  +