Fire on Costa Allegra Is Out, Passengers Safe but Ship Adrift

Fire broke out in Costa Allegra's electrical engine room earlier today while the 28,000-ton ship was sailing about 200 miles southwest of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

Flames were extinguished by onboard sprinklers as well as the ship's special firefighting team, which prevented the fire from spreading.

Costa said in a statement that there were no injuries or casualties.

The biggest issue right now is that the ship has lost power and is now adrift at sea approximately 20 miles from Alphonse Island.

Tugboats and other naval and aerial units have been dispatched to Costa Allegra.

In a statement, Costa confirmed that 636 passengers of various nationalities and 413 crewmembers are onboard. More than a third of the guests are from Italy and France.

Eight Americans and 13 Canadians are onboard.

Clearly cognizant about the sensitivity of the public regarding its emergency procedures, Costa's statement said "emergency procedures were activated promptly.

"As a precaution, the general emergency alarm was sounded and all passengers and crewmembers not engaged in the management of the emergency reported to their muster stations," the line said.

The line said the 28,597-ton Costa Allegra transmitted a distress signal and the relevant authorities were alerted, including the Maritime Rescue Control Center in Rome, Italy.

The company and authorities are actively monitoring the situation, the line said. It also said engine room inspections are under way to determine whether the equipment can be restarted.

Costa Allegra is one of the line's so-called "classic" ships. It's a smaller, 20-year-old vessel which typically does not attract many Americans or Canadians, although its month-long exotic itinerary may have been an enticement. 

The ship departed Feb. 25, from Diego Suarez, Madagascar, and was cruising toward the port of Victoria (Mahè, Seychelles) where it was scheduled to arrive on Feb. 28.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) issued a brief statement on the accident. “CLIA extends its regrets to all those who were affected by this incident on the Costa Allegra, and we are pleased that the crew acted quickly and professionally and that no passengers or crew were injured. Repairs are being made aboard the ship and vessels are enroute to assist as appropriate.

“The cruise line industry adheres to rigid regulations contained in the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) as developed by the International Maritime Organization. These regulations include: fire prevention, fire protection and extinguishing systems, crew training and fire emergency response.

“SOLAS regulations are enforced by the ship’s Flag State, Shipping Classification Society and local government officials, who exercise authority when the ship is in port.”

Here is the link to a story in London’s Daily Mail that shows a video of the ship.

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