Cruise ship Costa Allegra adrift off Seychelles

Cruise ship Costa Allegra adrift off Seychelles

Costa Allegra (June 10, 2011 in Rhodes) The Costa Allegra has over 1,000 people on board (file photo)

An Italian cruise ship with more than 1,000 people on board is without power in the Indian Ocean following a fire. No one has been injured.

The Costa Allegra is adrift in the dark more than 200 miles southwest of the Seychelles, near Alphonse Island.

Tug boats are on their way to the liner but will not reach it until around 1500 GMT on Tuesday.

The ship is from the same fleet as the Costa Concordia, which capsized off the Italian coast in January, killing 32.

Costa Cruises said in a statement that the fire broke out in the electric generators’ room. It did not spread and there were no injuries or casualties.

Inspections of the state of the engine room are on-going, the company says.

Ship immobilised

The liner has sent out a distress signal, Costa Cruises says, and all passengers and crew not involved in fighting the fire assembled at the muster stations.

There are no electric lights on board the ship as the batteries are being used to keep essential machinery going.

The Italian authorities have directed three merchant ships and two fishing vessels towards the stricken liner.

The authorities in the Seychelles say they have sent two tug boats and a coastguard ship to the scene.

The closest vessel to the ship – a French fishing boat – is likely to reach the Allegra at around 2300 GMT, ahead of the tug boats.

A plane from the Seychelles flew over the cruise ship and confirmed that there was “no danger for the people on board,” according to Commander Cosimo Nicastro of the Italian coast guard.

Cmdr Nicastro told the BBC that it took the crew a few hours to extinguish the fire.

Although the ship is in the middle of the Indian Ocean, there are “no problems for the passengers”.

However the ship probably needs to be towed to a Seychelles port, he said.

Seychelles map

There are 636 passengers and 413 crew on board the Costa Allegra, which left Madagascar on Saturday.

It was due to arrive in the Seychelles on Tuesday.

Further destinations on its itinerary include Alexandria and Naples in the Mediterranean.

Somali pirates are known to operate in the area where the ship is adrift, though they have never seized a cruise liner.

A facility on Costa Cruises’ website allowing people to track the Allegra’s position says that “data transmission is temporarily suspended”.

The Costa Concordia ran aground off the Italian island of Giglio on 13 January.

The Concordia’s captain, Francesco Schettino, has been accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck and abandoning ship before all those aboard were evacuated. He denies any wrongdoing


Brit dies in shark attack in Seychelles

Brit dies in shark attack in Seychelles

Aug 17, 2011 07:00AM GMT

A British man has been killed in a shark attack while snorkelling 20yards off shore while on honeymoon in the Seychelles.

Ian Redmond, 30, from Lancashire, who was staying with his wife Gemma at La Reserve hotel, was swimming off Anse Lazio beach on the island of Praslin, a favourite honeymoon destination for thousands of Britons every year.

It was the second fatal attack reported in the area in two weeks when a French tourist was killed by a shark off the same beach – the first attack since a fisherman died after being bitten in 1963.

Around 19,000 British tourists travel to the Indian Ocean islands each year, many travelling on honeymoon.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office confirmed that Mr Redmond had died in the Indian Ocean archipelago and it was offering assistance to his family.

Tourism director Alain St Ange said the Seychelles authorities were taking the attacks very seriously.

“If there is a rogue shark out there, we will try to catch it,” he said. “We have requested shark experts from South Africa to come over to Seychelles to help us identify the type of shark it could be, but this kind of thing has never ever happened in Seychelles before.”

Minister for home affairs and environment Joel Morgan held an emergency meeting in the capital Victoria to discuss what can be done to protect visitors and locals from a shark that some believe may not be native to Seychelles waters, the Daily Mail reported.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent their honeymoon on a private island in the Seychelles earlier this year.