As reported by Digital Journal, the cruise ship, part of the same fleet as the doomed Costa Concordia, was left floating powerless in the Indian Ocean after a fire in an engine room. Fortunately a French fishing boat was able to reach the stricken vessel, which has around 1,000 passengers and crew on board. The fishing boat has towed the Costa Allegra to one of the smaller of the islands, Desroches, at the south western end of the Seychelles, according to a BBC
The passengers will be disembarked onto this tiny island, which is a privately owned resort, and from there will be transferred by small plane to the main island of Mahe where the international airport is situated. The procedure is likely to take some time as the little planes that fly from Desroches only have the capacity for twenty passengers at a time.
No-one has been injured in the incident but the passengers, who will no doubt have paid a substantial sum for the cruise have been left with no air-conditioning or cooking facilities and the emergency generator currently being used for radio communications could stop working at any time. The passenger list shows the majority of passengers are Italian and French but there are a variety of people from other countries on board including 31 British and 8 Americans.
reports that the passengers were served a cold breakfast and are currently getting their bags packed ready for disembarkation. Costa Cruises, the company that owns the vessel, has sent a helicopter with food and other essential equipment to the ship and representatives are on hand in Mahe to help the passengers make their return flights to their homes.
newspaper reports that photographs released by the Seychelles authority showed hundreds of passengers
"outside on the decks of the Costa Allegra. Taken by an Indian navy plane, the photos showed calm seas and an upright ship."
The quick response of the Seychelles authorities seems to have been crucial in getting the Costa Allegra to safety in an area known to be frequented by Somali pirates.