Skip to main content

Disabled Italian cruise ship gets a tow to Seychelles

By Hada Messia, CNN
February 28, 2012 -- Updated 1419 GMT (2219 HKT)
The Costa Allegra berthed in Hong Kong prior to its maiden voyage to Mumbai, India, on May 29, 2006.
The Costa Allegra berthed in Hong Kong prior to its maiden voyage to Mumbai, India, on May 29, 2006.
  • NEW: A Coast Guard ship and tugboats have reached the Costa Allegra, official says
  • NEW: The Seychelles government is preparing to assist passengers
  • A large French fishing boat is towing the cruise ship after a fire left it without propulsion
  • Its sister ship, the Costa Concordia, shipwrecked last month, killing at least 21

Are you there? Send us your videos and stories

Rome (CNN) -- A large French fishing ship began towing a disabled Italian cruise ship to port early Tuesday -- a day after a fire in its engine room left it adrift, the Seychelles Coast Guard said.

A Seychelles Coast Guard ship reached the Costa Allegra later in the day, along with an air force plane and two tugboats from the Seychelles Ports Authority, said Seychelles presidential spokeswoman Srdjana Janosevic. The ship was being escorted to Port Victoria, the Seychelles capital, she said.

The Allegra lost power in the Indian Ocean Monday with 636 passengers on board and a crew of 413, according to Costa Cruises.

Costa initially said Tuesday the ship was expected to arrive Wednesday at the Seychelles island of Desroches, but said later that after "extensive and accurate checks," passengers could not get off on Desroches.

The ship instead will be towed to the Seychelles island of Mahe, where Port Victoria is located, the cruise line said.

"The disembarkation in Desroches does not assure the necessary and adequate security conditions for mooring the ship and guests' disembarkation," the cruise line said in a statement. "In addition, logistics and hotels on the island are not enough; it would require an immediate transfer from Desroches to Mahe through ferries."

The Seychelles government is "assisting the process," Janosevic said in a written statement. "Arrangements are being made for accommodation, international flights and other necessary services upon (passengers') arrival."

The ship is expected to arrive Wednesday night or Thursday morning, depending on sea conditions, she said.

Most of the passengers are from Europe, but eight are from the United States and 13 are from Canada.

The cruise line said it had reached the emergency contacts of 402 passengers to inform them of the situation.

All the passengers are in good health, the Italian coast guard said Monday.

Costa said the passengers were served a cold breakfast Tuesday morning and have been invited to prepare their luggage for disembarkation.

"Helicopters will ensure (a) continuous supply of food, comfort items and flashlights in order to mitigate guests' discomfort given the difficult conditions on board," Costa said.

The ship departed from Diego Suarez, Madagascar, on Saturday and was originally scheduled to arrive in the Seychelles Tuesday.

The Allegra is a sister of the Costa Concordia, which wrecked off the coast of Italy on January 13, killing at least 21 people.

CNN's Zain Verjee, Vladimir Duthiers and Aliza Kassim contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Italy cruise ship disaster
January 19, 2012 -- Updated 1714 GMT (0114 HKT)
Thrust from obscurity to notoriety overnight, Capt. Francesco Schettino is the man at the center of the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster.
January 18, 2012 -- Updated 2252 GMT (0652 HKT)
Chaos and a lack of communication plagued the evacuation, and getting to shore was only the beginning of a long ordeal.
January 18, 2012 -- Updated 1639 GMT (0039 HKT)
The shipwrecked Costa Concordia cruise liner can now be seen from space, lying on its side off the coast of the Italian island of Giglio.
January 19, 2012 -- Updated 0047 GMT (0847 HKT)
No matter how technologically advanced a cruise ship may be, passenger safety still depends on the captain's ability to make good decisions
January 16, 2012 -- Updated 2325 GMT (0725 HKT)
Meteorologist Alexandra Steele looks at the critical moments along the Costa Concordia's ill-fated route.
January 16, 2012 -- Updated 0030 GMT (0830 HKT)
At first, Vivian Shafer said, she thought it was part of the magic show aboard her Mediterranean cruise.
January 18, 2012 -- Updated 1111 GMT (1911 HKT)
CNN's Christine Romans looks at the logistics of hauling away the grounded cruise liner Costa Concordia, and what will happen to the ship next.
January 16, 2012 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
CNN's John Vause explains how the Costa Concordia ended up running aground off the coast of Giglio Island, Italy.
January 16, 2012 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
The disaster that wrecked a luxury cruise liner and has left maritime officials and experts on searching for answers -- fast.
Send CNN iReport your videos and photos. Please take care and do not put yourself or others in danger.
January 15, 2012 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
CNN's Ralitsa Vassileva speaks with a passenger whose honeymoon was interrupted by the cruise ship disaster in Italy.
January 17, 2012 -- Updated 0832 GMT (1632 HKT)
Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has warned that if oil leaks from the stricken cruiser it could cause an environmental disaster.
January 16, 2012 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
Dan Rivers reports on the capsizing of a cruise liner after it apparently hitting a reef close to Italy's coast.