Costa Cruise Ship Adrift After Fire Readies for Recovery

Carnival Cruise Ship Allegra Towed to Island After Fire
The Costa Allegra, left, currently is being towed by a French fishing vessel, the Seychelles Coast Guard said on the government’s website today. Source: Reunion Island Prefecture/AP Images

A Carnival Corp. cruise liner is being towed to the Seychelles after a fire erupted onboard, the second accident involving one of the company’s vessels in six weeks.

The Costa Allegra is being towed by a French fishing vessel, the Seychelles Coast Guard said on the government’s website today. Two tugboats are being sent to the Allegra by the Seychelles Port Authority and they will reach the cruise ship “this afternoon,” the government said. The Allegra is carrying 636 passengers and 413 crew, Genoa, Italy-based Costa Crociere SpA said yesterday. Carnival owns Costa Crociere.

Food and communications equipment are being transported to the stricken ship by helicopters from Mahe, a group of islands northeast of Madagascar, Costa Crociere said in an e-mailed statement today.

The ship is headed to Mahe rather than the island of Desroches as planned this morning because “disembarkation in Desroches doesn’t assure the necessary security conditions for mooring the ship,” the company said. The Allegra is expected to arrive at Mahe during the morning of March 1.

No one was injured in yesterday’s fire in the Allegra’s electric generators room, Costa Crociere said. An emergency was declared as a precautionary measure and passengers were asked to assemble in muster areas, it said. The fire was extinguished and didn’t spread to other parts of the vessel.

Costa Managers

Carnival’s shares fell 0.5 percent in London, their sixth consecutive decline, to 1,829 pence, and they are down 3 percent since the Jan. 13 Concordia accident. The stock is down 13 percent in New York since the shipwreck.

Fourteen Costa Crociere managers and technical personnel are flying to the Seychelles to assist passengers, Captain Giorgio Moretti, Costa Crociere’s nautical operations director, said on a conference call yesterday.

The Allegra is part of the same fleet as the Concordia, which capsized about six weeks ago off Italy, killing at least 25 people. The Concordia hit rocks near Giglio Island on Jan. 13 hours after leaving a port near Rome with 4,200 passengers and crew for a Mediterranean cruise. Seven people are still missing, according to Italy’s civil-protection agency.

Francesco Schettino, the Concordia’s captain, was placed under house arrest on Jan. 17 for allegedly causing the shipwreck. Italian prosecutors Feb. 22 widened their probe of the Concordia accident to include seven employees of Costa Crociere, which said in a statement that day it’s “absolutely certain” its staff acted correctly.

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