A sister ship of the doomed Costa Concordia is adrift powerless off the coast of the Seychelles following a fire, believed to have started in a machine room.
The Italian cruise ship is called the Costa Allegra and is part of the Costa Cruises fleet. The BBC reports on Feb. 27 that around 1,000 people are on board but so far no injuries or fatalities have been reported.
The Costa Allegra is floating in the dark to the southwest of the Seychelle Islands. The vessel has sent out a distress signal and emergency services are heading to help the ship. A spokesman for the Italian Coast Guard, Cosimo Nicastro, told the BBC that it had taken the crew some hours to put the fire out and that an inspection of the engine rooms is ongoing. There is only emergency power on board, so the approximately 630 passengers on the luxury liner are in darkness.
The Costa Cruise website describes the Costa Allegra as having a "shimmering and modern architecture", The site says that the large windows have earned the ship the nickname "The Crystal Ship". A tracking facility and web-cam for the ship on the site have been temporarily disabled.
The ship was on route from Madagascar and was due to arrive in the Seychelles on Tuesday Feb. 28. It is expected that the earliest that help will arrive for the stricken ship will be at around midnight GMT as the closest boat, believed to be either a fishing boat or a merchant ship goes to their aid. Tugs and rescue aircraft are on their way but are not likely to reach the ship until sometime on Tuesday Feb.28.
The BBC report points out that the Costa Allegra is in an area known to be frequented by Somali pirates but there is no suggestions that pirates have anything to do with the incident. Certainly, pirates have never seized a cruise ship before.