Costa cruise ship catches fire off the Seychelles


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The Independent Online

A fire broke out today on a cruise ship operated by the company involved in last month's Costa Concordia tragedy which claimed more than 30 lives.

Today's incident was on the Costa Cruises' vessel Costa Allegra, which was carrying 636 passengers and 413 crew.

The 28,597 gross tonne ship lost power after a fire broke out in an electric generator room as the vessel was sailing around 200 miles off the south west of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

The fire, which did not spread to any other area of the ship, was put out and there were no injuries or casualties.

Costa Cruises said the vessel had sent out a distress signal and that the ship was "going to be reached by tugs and other naval and aerial units".

It is not known if there are any Britons on board the ship which had left Diego Suarez in Madagascar on Saturday and had been expected to arrive in the Seychelles tomorrow.

Costa Cruises said those on board were of "various nationalities".

On January 13 this year, the Costa Concordia struck rocks off the west coast of Italy, turning over on its side. The death toll from the disaster is expected to reach 32.

On the Costa Allegra incident, Costa Cruises said: "The shipboard fire-extinguishing system and procedures were promptly activated and the special fire-fighting squads intervened to extinguish (the) fire."

The company said the general emergency alarm had been sounded "as a precaution" and that passengers had gone to the muster stations.

The company added: "Inspections on the state of the engine room are on-going, in order to restart the necessary equipment to reactivate the functionality of the ship.

"According to the procedures, the relevant authorities were alerted, including the Maritime Rescue Control Centre in Rome, which are following the situation ready to provide the necessary support."

Built in Genoa in Italy in 1992, the vessel has eight passenger decks and can carry a maximum of 1,400 people, including crew.