At the moment there is only one big piece of news concerning the Seychelles: the technical problems of the "Costa Allegra", and in the meantime the ship has docked in the port of Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles, as the following report shows
Victoria (dpa) - Tropical heat, no air conditioning, blocked toilets: For the more than 600 passengers of the wrecked cruise ship "Costa Allegra" a nightmare has come to an end.
Three days after a fire in the engine room, the breakdown vessel docked in the port of the Seychelles' main island Mahé on Thursday. The travellers went ashore and buses brought the relieved tourists to hotels.
36-year-old Sebastian Veit from Schwäbisch Gmünd told a reporter from the news agency dpa after he came ashore: "Nothing was working at all anymore. I quickly realized that this was no small damage" On Monday, a fire broke out in the engine room and the ship tilted to port.
The passenger Franz Mayer from near Koblenz told us that the crew of the "Costa Allegra" had lowered lifeboats: "We were all ready to go into the lifeboats.
Passengers from 25 countries spent their holidays on the ship, a total of about 1000 people were on board. "We asked the passengers, and 15 of the 38 German guests wanted to return home immediately," said Werner Claasen, spokesman for Costa Cruises in Germany, on Thursday. They are expected to fly back home via Paris.
The 23 other travellers from Germany had decided to relax further in the Seychelles for the time being. The Costa shipping company is under pressure after the second shipping accident in a row and is trying to provide the passengers with the best possible care. The company had left it up to the travellers to fly home or spend a holiday at the company's expense.
Many travellers praised the crew and captain for acting prudently, and according to a Seychelles Ministry of Health official, six passengers are reported to have broken their arms.
Margit Hellwig-Bötte, the German ambassador to Kenya responsible for the Seychelles, said of the German travellers: "They all seem to be in good health, though," she said, "They must first recover from the shock.
After the fire, the cruise ship was unable to manoeuvre and had to be towed. "For most of the time, the French fishing trawler "Trevignon" towed the ship alone," explained Costa spokesman Claasen in Germany. At the beginning, two tugboats had been brought in to provide reinforcements, but these, together with a boat from the navy, had then accompanied the "Costa Allegra" mainly.
The "Trevignon" of the shipping company Chevannes-Merceron-Ballery (CMB) had come to the rescue immediately after the emergency call and had been towing the "Costa Allegra" to the port of Victoria since Tuesday. More than 100 passengers from France were also on board. Some reported in the French media about bad hygienic conditions, but at the same time also praised the prudence of the crew.
Helicopters had provided the people with the most basic necessities, as well as food such as fresh bread and batteries for mobile phones, plastic dishes and medicines.
The 26-day sea voyage should actually lead from Mauritius via Madagascar through the Suez Canal to Savona in Italy.
The accident of the "Costa Allegra" hits again a cruise ship of the Italian shipping company, which also owns the half-sunken accident ship "Costa Concordia", which lies off the coast of the Italian island Giglio.