Fire on board Costa cruise liner off Seychelles coast

A fire broke out on Monday in the generator room of an Italian cruise ship, the Costa Allegra, leaving it adrift off the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, but causing no casualties among the passengers or crew, the Italian coast guard and the ship’s owner said.

Coast Guard Commander Cosimo Nicastro told SkyTG24 TV that the ship’s captain told Italian authorities the blaze was quickly extinguished.

“The passengers are fine,” Nicastro said. But the blaze left the cruise liner “without propulsion”, meaning the ship, with 636 passengers and 413 crew members, was adrift in the sea because the engines weren’t working, he said. But “the fire danger is over”, Nicastro said.

Costa Crociere SpA, which is based in Genoa, Italy, said in a statement that the ship was about 20 miles from Alphonse Island, one of the atolls in the Seychelles, a nation of islands and atolls that is a popular tourist destination.

The Allegra fire came six weeks after another Costa liner, the Concordia, struck a reef off a tiny Tuscan island in Italy and capsized, killing 25 people and leaving seven missing and presumed dead. The Concordia’s captain is under arrest and several other officials are under investigation. When the Concordia listed to one side, many people hadn’t been evacuated on life boats and some jumped into the sea.

Costa said the fire aboard the Allegra broke out in the ship’s electric generator room.

“The shipboard fire-extinguishing system and procedures were promptly activated and the special firefighting units intervened to extinguish [the] fire,” Costa’s statement said.

“The fire did not spread to any other area of the ship. There were no injuries or casualties,” Costa said. It did not say what caused the fire.

The cruise company said that a general emergency alarm was “promptly sounded” as a precaution, and that all passengers and crew not involved in the emergency reach muster stations. — Sapa-AP

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