Another cruise ship suffers mishap

Saturday , March 31, 2012 - 8:05 AM

Oliver Teves

MANILA, Philippines— A cruise ship with 1,000 people on board that was disabled by a fire and was drifting in southern Philippine waters has been repaired and is headed toward Malaysia, the Philippine coast guard said Saturday.

The Azamara Quest informed the coast guard late Saturday that its power and propulsion had been restored and it was moving slowly toward Sandakan, its next destination after it left Manila Thursday, spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Algier Ricafrente said.

A coast guard vessel sent to assist the cruise liner reported that it had sighted the ship from about 9 kilometers (5 nautical miles) away and was approaching it.

The ship’s captain earlier said by email to the coast guard that it needed no assistance and that everything was "under control."

Ricafrente said that the coast guard will provide assistance to the vessel "while it is inside our area of responsibility."

A fire broke out in the ship Friday night. The flames engulfed one of the ship’s engine rooms but were quickly extinguished, Azamara Club Cruises said in a statement. Five crew suffered smoke inhalation, including one who was seriously injured and needed hospital care.

The stricken ship was drifting Saturday in the Sulu Sea about 130 kilometers (70 nautical miles) south of the Philippines’ Tubbataha Reef, Ricafrente said. The area lies between the Philippines and the island of Borneo, which is divided between Malaysia and Indonesia.

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