Drifting cruise ship heading for port after fire

 

A cruise ship with reportedly up to 60 Britons on board was drifting in seas south of the Philippines today after a fire in one of the ship's engine rooms.

Engineers on board the luxury liner Azamara Quest are working to restore propulsion to the ship after the blaze broke out yesterday afternoon.

A statement from Azamara Club Cruises said the fire was contained to the engine room and was quickly put out and no passengers were injured.

But it said five crew members on board the ship suffered the effects of smoke inhalation with one crew member more seriously injured.

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

The ship is currently running on emergency power until full power can be restored in the engine room.

Engineers have 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 statement added.

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

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

Two coastguard vessels and a patrol boat are expected to reach the liner later today.

The incident comes after the Costa Concordia liner ran into a reef and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January leaving 25 people dead and seven more missing and presumed dead.

Six weeks later another Costa cruise ship, the Costa Allegra, was left adrift off the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean after fire broke out on board.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman, speaking about the Azamara Quest, said: "We are aware of the incident and our colleagues in Manila are liaising with the Philippines coastguard who are looking into the matter."

Azamara Club Cruises is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises.

A statement from the Foreign Office issued later said: "We are aware of an incident on board the Azamara Quest and are in contact with the Philippines Coast Guard and Royal Caribbean International cruises.

"A consular team from the region will be sent to meet the ship when it docks to see what consular assistance we can provide.

"People with concerns about friends or family can find further information on the Azamara Quest Facebook page facebook.com/AzamaraClubCruises, their website azamaraclubcruises.com or by contacting the Azamara Quest helpline on 001 408 916 9001."

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