Currently, the powerless Costa Allegra is being carefully towed to a port in the Seychelles, two days after a fire broke out in the engine room disabling the luxury liner.
Seychelles authorities have made preparations for hundreds of hotel rooms on the island and have also secured airline seats for the 1,000 passengers and crew onboard the cruise ship to get back home. The ship will arrive in the capital city of Victoria’s Mahe port on Thursday morning depending on weather conditions, where Italian investigators are also waiting the vessel’s arrival.
The Allegra is being towed by a French tuna fishing boat and is escorted by coast guard vessels through the Indian Ocean, a well-known pirate haven. Passengers have spent three nights with no electricity or air conditioning on crowded decks in sweltering temperatures. Operating company Costa Crociere, who also owned the Costa Concordia, stated that mineral water was being supplied for personal hygiene necessities. Emergency supplies, food and electric torches have been airlifted on to the ship by helicopters.
Immigration has also been airlifted on to the boat, so passengers will be able to leave as soon as the boat docks. Two airplanes are waiting in Victoria already prepared to fly passengers home if they desire so. A third aircraft will arrive some time on Thursday. Reportedly however, 376 out of the 627 guests have agreed to continue their vacation in the Seychelles at Costa’s expense. The remaining 250 passengers are flying home the day they dock.
The Trevignon responded to the Costa Allegra’s mayday call and was towing the ship alone at about 7 miles per hour. Their crew reports extreme conditions onboard the liner, and says the heat is suffocating.
Costa Crociere said there were 636 passengers and 413 crew from 25 countries on board the Allegra, including nine Italian Marines hired to guard against possible pirate attacks. It said everyone was in good health. Most of the passengers are Italian, French, Austrian and Swiss. After the Seychelles, an archipelago of more than 115 islands, the Costa Allegra had been due to travel along the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.