Victoria (Reuters) - The Italian cruise ship "Costa Allegra", which ran into trouble in the Indian Ocean, is on its way to the Seychelles' main island Mahe.
A French tuna trawler took the 29,000 tonne vessel on board on Tuesday to bring the more than 1,000 people on board to safety. The original plan to take the 636 passengers and 413 crew members first to the island of Desroches and then to Mahe was rejected for safety and cost reasons, according to the shipping company, but the arrival of the "Costa Allegra" was delayed by one day to Thursday due to the change of course.
The "Costa Allegra" had sent out a distress call on Monday after a fire in the engine room. due to the fire, which broke out for unknown reasons, the steering gear had failed, so that the ship was bobbing around in the ocean 230 kilometres south-west of Mahe, unable to manoeuvre. thanks to an emergency generator, there is light on board, but the air conditioning and the galleys are still without electricity. therefore, only a cold breakfast was served on tuesday, and the travellers can take a shower at the earliest after landing on Mahe.
On the main island, however, it is easier for passengers to go ashore than on Desroches, where they would have had to cross over with the lifeboats of the "Costa Allegra" and then be taken to Mahe by ferries or small planes. According to the authorities and the shipping company, this would have caused considerable logistical and financial problems.
In order to make the travelers' experience as pleasant as possible, the shipping company reported that food was flown to the "Costa Allegra" and two tugboats put to sea to support the tuna fisherman.
The more than 600 passengers, including four children, come from 25 countries. 127 French passengers make up the largest contingent, closely followed by 126 Italians. 38 Germans, 31 British, 13 Canadians and eight US citizens are also on board. To protect against pirates, nine members of an Italian naval unit travel on the "Costa Allegra". The Indian Ocean is notorious for pirate attacks, although pirates have never boarded a cruise ship before.
The "Costa Allegra" belongs to the same shipping company as the "Costa Concordia", which ran aground off the Tuscan coast in January, killing at least 25 people. The shipping company Costa-Kreuzfahrten is a subsidiary of the US concern Carnival.