Another Costa cruise ship is in trouble. While the Costa Concordia remains downed off the coast of Tuscany, the Costa Allegra is being towed in the Indian Ocean in an area known for Somalian pirate attacks.
The Costa Allegra is being towed with more than 1,000 people and no air conditioning, said The Associated Press (AP), and is not expected to reach land until tomorrow in the Seychelles. Food, satellite telephones, and VHF radios are being transported to the luxury liner by helicopter, said the cruise company.
A fire in its generator room knocked out power to the Costa Allegra’s engines, lights, and air conditioning, said the AP. Cruise officials initially said the stranded travelers would be brought to the small, coral-lined, exclusive island of Desroches. Since, officials announced that passengers are now being brought to the main island of Mahe, the AP noted. The cruise ship claims the move was made for safety and logistics and expected the Allegra—which is being towed by two tugboats and a French fishing vessel—to arrive on Mahe early Thursday, said the AP.
The Costa Allegra is traveling with 636 passengers and 413 crew members—212 Italians, 31 British, and 8 Americans; four are children age three and younger, noted the AP. Emergency generators are lighting the ship’s control room and maintaining communications equipment, said Italian Coast Guard officials, according to the AP.
The Costa Allegra is adrift “and being pushed by the current. It is stable and upright,” said Giorgio Moretti, director of nautical operations for Costa Crociere SpA. Costa Crociere SpA owns the Allegra and the now-infamous Costa Concordia; Carnival Corp. is the parent company. “It’s a big ship and to tow it, to move it across the waters, is a heavy task,” said presidential spokeswoman Srdjana Janosevic, wrote the AP.
Six weeks ago, the Costa Concordia suffered a collision that tore a 160-foot hole in the ship’s hull, causing the vessel to capsize, when it crashed into a rock off Italy’s Giglio Island. Some 4,200 passengers and crew were on board when the luxury liner crashed, killing at least 25; 7 remain missing and are presumed dead. Most recently, divers found eight more bodies, including a five-year-old girl, on a sunken liner deck.
Italian prosecutors are targeting Costa Concordia cruise ship captain, Francesco Schettino, and cruise line executives. The luxury liner is accused of negligence and fraud; Schettino is accused of causing the ship to crash, abandoning ship, and multiple cases of manslaughter.
There are no reported injuries from the Costa Allegra fire, which stranded the liner in an area where Somali pirates are known to prey on ships. The ship left Madagascar, off Africa’s southeast coast, and was headed toward Port Victoria at the time of the fire, said the AP. According to Costa, the Allegra was due in Port Victoria today.
The ship was adrift off the coast of Tanzania, an area known for Somali pirate attacks, said the AP, noting that in 2009, an Italian cruise ship traveling with 1,500 people had to fight off a pirate attack in the Indian Ocean in an area off Somalia’s coast.
A nine-member armed Italian military team is on board the Allegra. “If pirates attack, the armed guards on board will respond. But as far as I am aware, no pirates have been sighted in the area,” said Janosevic, wrote the AP. Meanwhile, 15 Costa engineers, technicians, and officials are flying to Mahe in an attempt to reach the Allegra by air to conduct generator repairs, said Moretti, wrote the AP.