Cruise ship repaired after fire


A cruise ship with reportedly 60 Britons on board which was drifting after a fire in the seas south of the Philippines has been repaired and is now sailing towards Malaysia.

The luxury Azamara Quest, carrying around 1,000 passengers, has had power and propulsion restored following the fire in one of the ship's engine rooms yesterday.

A statement from Azamara Club Cruises, the ship owners, said: "Engineers onboard Azamara Quest have been able to restore propulsion to the ship.

"Azamara Quest is currently sailing directly to Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia at between three to six knots.

"Based on this speed, the ship is expected to arrive in Sandakan within 24 to 48 hours."

No passengers were injured in the incident but five crew members on board the ship suffered smoke inhalation.

The condition of one crew member who was more severely injured has improved but is still "serious" the statement added.

The news of the repair came after Jeremy Scott, of Pinner, Middlesex, praised the crew on board the ship and said the passengers were displaying the "Dunkirk spirit".

Mr Scott said his parents, Valerie and Billy Scott had phoned him this morning from the ship to tell him they are "fine".

"There is no panic, everybody is fine and they are just getting on with it. It is the Dunkirk spirit and they are making the best of the situation," he said.

"The crew have been brilliant, they have done everything right."

Mr Scott, who owns the luxury travel company B away, said it was the 60th cruise that his 71-year-old retired financial adviser father and 70-year-old mother, from Chigwell, Essex, had embarked on.

The fire was contained in the engine room and was quickly put out, Azamara Club Cruises, which is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, said in an earlier statement.

The captain of the ship mustered all passengers to the assembly stations as a precaution, it added.

Engineers had earlier managed to restore power to one of the liner's engines allowing it to re-establish air conditioning, running water, refrigeration and food preparation on board the ship.

The damage caused by the fire has meant that the rest of the cruise will be cancelled once the ship has arrived in Sandakan, the company said.

The 17-night cruise left Hong Kong on Monday and was due to finish in Singapore on April 12.

"As a gesture of goodwill and to thank our guests for their understanding, we will be providing all guests with a full refund for their cruise," the company said in its statement.

"Azamara Club Cruises will also be providing each guest with a future cruise certificate for 100% of the cruise fare paid for their March 26, 2012, Azamara Quest sailing."

An earlier statement from the Foreign Office said a consular team from the region would be sent to meet the ship when it docks.

Mr Scott, 45, said he had received an email from his parents to say they are now sailing towards Malaysia.

"I have just received an email - saying that they hope to get there by Monday morning and will probably disembark then," he said.

"They have said the staff and the captain have been fantastic."