Stricken Italian cruise ship Costa Allegra towed to Seychelles

28 February 2012 (Last Updated February 28th, 2012 18:30)

Six weeks after the Costa Concordia disaster, a sister cruise liner from the same company, the Costa Allegra is being towed to the Seychelles after going adrift in the Indian Ocean leaving 1,049 people stranded.

Six weeks after the Costa Concordia disaster, a sister cruise liner from the same company, the Costa Allegra is being towed to the Seychelles after going adrift in the Indian Ocean leaving 1,049 people stranded.

The stricken cruise is being pulled by a French-flagged trawler, Trevignon and it is expected to reach the main Seychelles island of Mahé, the Italian cruise operator said.

Costa said in a statement that the vessel maintains a speed of about six knots and at current speed and with stable weather conditions the Costa Allegra should arrive in Mahé on March 1 early morning.

The vessel was damaged by a fire which occurred in the Costa Allegra’s cruise liner’s generator room on Monday knocking out the main power supply to the engine, lights and air conditioning.

The 295ft fishing trawler is pulling the 28,000-tonne Costa Allegra on a 400m cable at a stable speed .

Two tugs and a navy ship from Seychelles have also joined in the effort to tow it ashore while a military aircraft has been deployed as part of the support operation.

"Thanks to the arrival of a small generator, carried by a Navy ship present on site as support, the ship crew is doing everything possible to make the situation on board more comfortable trying to restore basics services on board," a statement said.

Costa Allegra is carrying passengers from 25 different nations, – 127 from France, 126 from Italy, 38 from Germany, 31 from the UK, 13 from Canada and eight Americans on board – including four children.

Earlier, the company had planned to tow the vessel to Desroches Island, but later dropped the proposal as the facilities were not adequate at the island.

In January, Costa Concordia had hit a reef and capsized off Italy, killing 32 people. Both ill-fated cruise liners are being operated by Costa Crociere, which is owned by US-based Carnival Corporation.