Update: (0100 hrs GMT) A spokesperson for Paquet said that the situation on board was calm and the ship was stable. COSTA ALLEGRA’s Captain Giorgio Moretti announced that a helicopter would bring fresh food to the drifting ship on Tuesday morning since they are without cooking facilities. No decision has been made yet as to whether to transfer the passengers to other vessels, or leave them on board until COSTA ALLEGRA is towed to port. The first vessel to arrive on the scene today was an ocean-going fishing trawler, while two tugs are many hours away. Concern over Somali pirates known to operate in the same area were somewhat calmed by the presence on board of nine members of the Italian navy’s anti-pirate unit.
COSTA ALLEGRA, with 636 passengers and 413 crew members on board, suffered a small generator fire on February 27 and lost power. The ship is currently drifting off the coast of Africa approximately 200 miles South West of the Seychelles. There were no injuries reported and all passengers are described as safe. The fire was extinguished and did not spread to any passenger areas. A tug has been dispatched to the ship for assistance.
COSTA ALLEGRA is chartered to the French cruise company Paquet and owned by Italy-based Costa Crociere under the umbrella of the Carnival Corporation. She was built in 1969 by the Wärtsilä Shipyard in Turku, Finland as a container ship, the MV ANNIE JOHNSON, for Sweden’s Johnson Line.
Regency Cruises bought the ANNIE JOHNSON in 1986 to rebuild her into a cruise ship and renamed her REGENT MOON but the vessel was laid up in Perama, Greece and next sold to Compania Naviera Panalexandra and renamed ALEXANDRA. She remained in layup until 1990, when Costa Crociere bought and completely rebuilt the ship into a cruise vessel at the T. Mariotti shipyard in Genoa, Italy.
COSTA ALLEGRA entered service in 1992 for Costa. In 2010, she was operated under Costa’s French cruise brand Croisieres Paquet and marketed her as ALLEGRA.
A Statement from Costa has been issued:
“Costa Cruises confirms that today at 10:39 CET a fire broke out on board COSTA ALLEGRA in the electric generator room. The shipboard fire-extinguishing system and emergency procedures were activated promptly and special fire-fighting squads extinguished the fire.
The fire did not spread to any other area of the ship. There were no injuries or casualties. Inspections of the engine room are ongoing to determine if the equipment can be restarted.
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.
Currently the ship is more than 200 miles southwest of the Seychelles and approximately 20 miles from Alphonse Island. 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 the situation.”
The ship departed Saturday, Feb. 25, from Diego Suarez, Madagascar, and was cruising toward the port of Victoria (Mahè, Seychelles) where she was scheduled to arrive tomorrow, Feb. 28.
MARTIN COX - Founder and publisher of MaritimeMatters, inspired by maritime culture and technology growing up in the port of Southampton. He works as a photographer in Los Angeles, and his works has been exhibited in LA, San Francisco, New York, London and Iceland. Martin is the co-writer of the book “Hollywood to Honolulu; the story of the Los Angeles Steamship Company” published by the Steam Ship Historical Society of America. The Los Angeles Maritime Museum has commissioned artworks and collected his photographs.