|MS Costa Allegra|
UPDATE: Tuesday February 28, 2012
The MS Costa Allegra is being taken in tow and will move towards Mahe in the Seychelle Islands some 155 nautical miles away. There are facilities to land and take care of the passengers in Mahé. Air patrols are being conducted by the Indian Navy and French Government.
Mama mia not again! - one can just imagine the call coming into the Costa Cruise offices routed to the Designated Person Ashore (DPA). Now in addition to the debacle of the MS Costa Concordia they have the MS Costa Allegra with a fire on board. This fire was controlled before it spread to other areas of the vessel and passengers are being kept together in the Public Rooms NOT their cabins - so at least that lesson has been learned.
The initial word is that she had a fire in the engine room, it turns out to be a generator fire which knocked out all power to the vessel. Once the emergency generators kicked in the power was restored to essential areas of the vessel such as the Bridge for Communications, Navigation and Emergency Equipment. However the air-conditioning, lighting and catering services would not normally be included.
The MS Costa Allegra 28,596 tonnes has on board 636 passengers, of a possible 1400 capacity, with 413 crew. She is currently drifting some 200 miles south-west of the Seychelle Islands and about 20 miles from Alphonse Island a known pirate base. However the vessel has an armed Italian Marines Security Team on board capable of responding to any attempts at piracy. Tugs in the Region have responded and a French ocean-going fishing vessel should be the first to arrive. The vessel will have to be towed to the Seychelles, its damage assessed and passengers landed ashore for transportation to their home countries.
This emergency seems to have been handled professionally, it is reported that when the fire broke out the "General Alarm" was sounded with passengers and crew proceeding to the "Muster Stations". They are being kept in the Public Areas and can "Abandon Ship" following proper protocol should that become necessary. The vessel is upright and stable drifting in force four (4) seas.
Of course this is another serious blow to the Costa Cruise Line and indeed the Carnival Group based here in Miami, FL. The Group cannot continue to sustain these incidents and it would seem unlikely that the Management of Costa Cruise Line can remain in place after this second affair within a few weeks. The entire maintenance schedule of all its vessels will have to be reviewed, and investigated as will the qualifications and ability of the Officers both aboard its vessels and in supervisory positions ashore. A disturbing pattern within Costa Cruise Line seems to have emerged which must be identified and corrected.
It is on this same East Coast of Africa off the coast of Puntland, Somalia that 300 of our fellow seafarers are being held hostage. They face mutilation and or death every day in captivity unfortunately there are no plans to rescue them.