Monday, February 27, 2012

Costa Allegra Adrift After Engine Fire

Costa Allegra Without Power 
Adrift Near Seychelles
Following Engine Fire

Costa Cruises continues to be plagued by disaster this year as the 28,500 ton 820 passenger ship experienced a fire in the engine generator room today at 10:39 CET knocking out power to the engines, lights, and air conditioning.  

636 Passengers - 413 Crew Safe           Emergency Phone #
                                                                       (954) 266-5693

Click for Ongoing Updates (below)

The shipboard fire-extinguishing system and emergency procedures were activated promptly and special fire-fighting squads extinguished the fire. As a precaution, the general emergency alarm was sounded and all passengers and crew members not engaged in the management of the emergency reported to their muster stations. The fire did not spread to any other area of the ship and no injuries or casualties were reported. Inspections of the engine room are ongoing to determine if the equipment can be restarted.

Currently the ship is more than 200 miles southwest of the Seychelles and approximately 20 miles from Alphonse Island.  The general area where the ship is located, off the coast of Tanzania, has seen a rash of attacks by Somali pirates recently.   There is an armed nine-member Italian military team on anti-pirate duty onboard the Allegra, as a precaution.   Although there are no immediate threats, they are prepared to respond if necessary.

Tugboats and other naval and aerial units have been dispatched to Costa Allegra. According to standard procedures, Costa Allegra transmitted a distress signal and the relevant authorities were alerted, including the Maritime Rescue Control Center in Rome, Italy. Costa Crociere and the relevant authorities are actively monitoring the situation.

First Responding Ship Arrived

A French-flagged, 295-foot-long (90 meters) ocean-going fishing ship was the first to arrive on the scene of the stricken Allegra.  The two captains are in contact with each other.  At dawn, Costa will evaluate the assistance which can be provided by the fishing vessel.  Additional vessels and aerial support should arrive during the day Tuesday.

 The Costa Allegra is adrift "and being pushed by the current. It is stable and upright," Giorgio Moretti, the director of nautical operations for Costa Crociere SpA, told reporters in a conference call late Monday from company headquarters in Genoa, Italy. 
Costa has reached out to all the families and relatives of the passengers and crew via the emergency contact numbers.  As of late in the evening over 400 of the passenger's families had been notified.  There is an emergency contact number active (above) for those that have not been in direct contact with the company already.

Here is the first video taken of the stricken Costa Allegra by the Indian Navy:

Ongoing Updates
We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as appropriate.  


Carnival CEO Micky Arison announced to Wall Street that Costa Allegra would not return to service.  It will either be sold or scrapped in the wake of the fire.   It had been on the chopping block before the fire, since it is the oldest and smallest ship in the Costa fleet. 

Similar to totaling an old car, following an accident, the company has written off the value of the ship on its books since the cost to repair exceeds its value.


The company has not determined how long it will take to repair and bring Costa Allegra back into service and restore planned cruises. Costa Cruises continues to conduct inspections and technical evaluations to ascertain what caused the generator-room fire. 

Costa Voyager will replace Costa Allegra's Mediterranean and Northern Europe cruises starting March 18th thru the summer.  See the following article for complete details.

Costa Voyager Replacing Allegra in Europe


6.00 pm (CET) - Costa reported the completion of 2 hour disembarkation process by midday local time.  Costa indicated that "Guests and crew are in good health and no critical situations have been found."   The Seychelles Red Cross and consular and embassy officials were in port to assist their citizens.

Costa also reported the compensation package which included extending their vacation, refunds, and future cruise credits. (Details of compensation plan)

According to press reports, passengers described the conditions as hot and dirty due to the lack of power for air conditioning and sanitary needs.  They also indicated an initial organization when the alarm was sounded along with panic, especially among guests that were separated from loved ones at the time.  Fortunately, the crew did their jobs and it wasn't necessary to abandon ship into the lifeboats that had been deployed.


9:00 AM CET - Costa Allegra docked at Port Victoria - Mahé, Guests disembarkation has started.

After three days at sea without power, Costa Allegra arrived in port and began disembarking passengers. Costa Cruises has a 14-member "Care Team" onsite to assist with the process.  

376 guests out of 627 have accepted Costa Cruises’ proposal to continue their vacation in Seychelles. They will be accommodated at Costa Cruises’ expense, in high-quality hotels on the following islands: Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette and Cerfs. 

Costa Cruises also arranged homeward flights at the end of their vacation. The remaining 251 guests decided to return to their homes on flights arranged by Costa Cruises, departing Mahé Thursday evening, March 1.

In a press conference in Mahe', Seychelles, where the Costa Allegra cruise liner arrived this morning, Costa Allegra Captain Niccolo' Alba reported: the fire was extinguished "in an hour" and the behaviour of all staff members on board was "outstanding". During the press conference broadcast live on SkyTg24, Captain Alba stated "The Costa Allegra staff was great. The behaviour of all staff members on board was "outstanding". Captain Alba also underscored "They all followed my instructions to the letter, and they all behaved as great professionals."

  • expected arrival time in Mahé is 9 AM local time (1 AM EST) Thursday
  • situation onboard is stable and weather conditions good
  • meals consist of fruit, cold cuts, fresh bread, soft drinks; mineral water available for hygiene 
  • hotels and flights have been optioned in preparation for passenger arrival
  • "Care Team" onboard Wednesday to plan repatriation with passengers


  •  two additional tug boats and a second fishing vessel have reached Allegra
  • a generator was delivered to the ship by the Indian Navy
  • ship is maintaining a speed of 6 knots under tow
  • a helicopter will deliver flashlights and more bread on Wednesday
  • there is no lack of food or comfort items at present
  • Costa Cruises‘s "Care Team" has arrived in Mahé (14 member team)
  • 8 members of the "Care Team" and 2 Seychelles Immigration Officers to board ship Wed.


Much has happened since our last update:
  • towed by the french ocean fishing vessels "Travignon";  route direction is Desroches island
  • guests onboard were served a cold breakfast and kept informed by the captain
  • helicopter took off from Mahè bringing to the ship both food and communication devices (satellite phones and VHF radios)
  • original plan was to disembark passengers at Desroches island but that was changed to Mahé / Seychelles 
  • two additional tugs will assist with the towing to Mahé / Seychelles - ship is scheduled to arrive there on Thursday at 6 am local time
  • supplies will be provided by helicopters until the ship arrives in port

The original plans were to tow the ship to Desroches island and disembark the passengers there. In fact, passengers were told to prepare their baggage for arrival in the morning. After review by Costa and other Maritime officials, it was determined that the island didn't have the necessary infrastructure to support the safe disembarkation of the passengers. Also, there was a lack of hotels which would have meant the passengers would have to be ferried to Mahé / Seychelles by tenders. That process would have taken as long as towing the ship directly instead and thus the plans were changed. Additional tugs will be employed to hasten the journey to the new disembarkation point. Helicopters will provide essentials such as food and comfort supplies as needed. 

Costa Cruises is working with all the Authorities responsible for the coordination of the emergency, to ensure the best possible assistance to all our guests and make their discomfort as short as possible and to reach their next destination. The Company is sincerely sorry for the inconvenience: absolute priority is to make it as short as possible. 

Despite the bad news that another Costa cruise ship was involved in an emergency situation, it appears that emergency procedures were followed, authorities notified, and the passengers and crew are safe.  Congratulations to the captain and crew for handling the emergency situation without incident.

The ship departed Saturday, Feb. 25, from Diego Suarez, Madagascar, and was cruising toward the port of Victoria (Mahè, Seychelles) where it was scheduled to arrive Feb. 28.

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