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An aerial image taken by the Indian Navy yesterday and released today. AP Photo/Indian Navy via Seychelles Office of the President
Costa Allegra

French fishing vessel towing Costa Allegra to Seychelles island

The cruise ship was left stranded in the Indian Ocean after a fire broke out in the generator room, cutting power to the Allegra.

A FRENCH FISHING vessel has reached the stranded Costa Allegra cruise ship, which has been drifting in the Indian Ocean without power since a fire broke out on board yesterday.

The ship was close to the Seychelles islands (an area Somali pirates are known to attack boats) when a fire broke out in the generator room, crippling the ship. The fire was put out and no injuries have been reported.

However, the ship has no electricity or air conditioning. Aerial photos taken by the Indian navy and released by Seychelles authorities show hundreds of passengers on the upper decks of the ship, and the vessel is upright.

Officials in the Seychelles said that they are preparing for the evacuation of the more than 1,000 people on board the Allegra to the island of Desroches.

Seychelles tourism chief Alain St Ange told Reuters that passengers would then fly to the main Seychelles island of Mahe, about 230km from Desroches. However, there is not enough hotel accommodation available for all of the passengers and crew, and there may also be some difficulties in accommodating them on the earliest flights out of the Seychelles given the level of tourists already in the area.

The French vessel has begun towing the ship towards the island and two tug boats are currently travelling towards the ship to speed up the operation, but the Allegra is not expected to reach land until tomorrow. Food and supplies will be brought to the ship by helicopter, according to a spokesperson for the Costa company.

The Costa Allegra is a sister ship of the Costa Concordia, which struck rocks off the coast of Giglio island, Italy in late January. Over 1,400 people were on board and at least 25 people were killed. Seven are missing and presumed dead. An investigation into the cause of the crash continues and the ship’s captain remains under house arrest.

- Additional reporting by the AP

Costa cruise ship adrift off the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean >

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