The Costa Allegra, the Carnival Corp. (CCL) cruise liner that became stranded in the Indian Ocean after a fire, arrived in the Seychelles port of Victoria under tow from a French fishing boat.
The ship arrived at 11:25 a.m. local time today and was met by paramedics and tourism officials from the Seychelles government. The liner had about 1,000 passengers and crew aboard.
“It was very uncomfortable,” Suzy Thoudot, a French passenger, said in an interview after disembarking. “Never Costa” again.
The accident came six weeks after the Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio leaving at least 25 people dead. Shares of Carnival, which owns Genoa, Italy-based Costa Crociere SpA (COCR), rose 2.8 percent to 1,900 pence at 3:57 p.m. in London.
The fire broke out at 10:39 a.m. Italian time on Feb. 27, Costa Crociere said in a statement that day. The blaze erupted in one of the ship’s diesel generators, Captain Nicolo Alba said at a press conference in the Seychelles today. Passengers and crew prepared for an evacuation, which wasn’t ultimately necessary, he said. Crew members were able to put the fire out within an hour, the captain said.
A back-up diesel engine powered the vessel for 24 hours before it lost propulsion, Alba said at the press conference.
Passengers, who gathered on outside decks as air conditioning inside cabins went down, were given cold food and drinks supplied by helicopter as the ship was towed. They were kept constantly informed of the status of the ship, he said.
Costa Crociere said yesterday the situation on the ship was “regular.” The company had been supplying passengers on the powerless Allegra with flashlights and fresh bread and “doing everything possible to make the situation onboard more comfortable,” Buck Banks, an outside spokesman for Carnival, said.
Alba disputed an assertion by Joel Morgan, Seychelles’s home affairs minister, that the French fishing vessel, M/V Le Trevignon, has refused to hand over towing duties to two tug boats sent to the Allegra by the Seychelles Ports Authority.
The decision to have the liner towed by the French ship has been his decision and it had been made for “practical” reasons.
Almost half of the passengers on the ship have accepted a two-week stay in Seychelles hotels as compensation, Norbert Stiekema, an official at Costa Crociere, told reporters in the Seychelles today. The rest will start leaving the island nation on chartered flights from later today, he said.
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