Update: (08:30hrs GMT 3/1/12) COSTA ALLEGRA arrives in Port Victoria, over half the passengers have elected to remain on the island for the rest of their stay at the company’s expense.
Update: (20:00hrs GMT 2/29/12) A Seychelles Government official said that when the Seychelles tugs met up with the Costa Allegra on Tuesday, a “conversation” took place to see the fishing vessel step aside and the faster tugs put in place. “The discussion went on for quite a while to no avail.” The fishing vessel F/V TREVIGNON continues to tow the COSTA ALLEGRA and now strong currents have slowed progress, arrival not expected before 9AM local time Mahe. Planes have been readied to take passengers to Rome etc.
Update: (21:00hrs GMT 2/28/12) Two tugs have now reached COSTA ALLEGRA and will tow her the rest of the way to the Seychelles (arriving late Wednesday, early Thursday local time)
The COSTA ALLEGRA will now not be towed to nearer but tiny island of Desroches, it was announced today. Instead the Italian cruise ship, assisted by a French ocean-going trawler F/V TREVIGNON, will proceed to Mahé, the main island of the Seychelles and is expected to arrive on Thursday. Desroches, with limited facilities, only about 50 inhabitants and no easy port access, was deemed unsuitable for off-loading the passengers. Mahé is a distance of some 155 miles.
The fire in the ship’s generator room on Monday left it without power, air-conditioning or cooking facilities and limited radio contact. Costa said that helicopters would ensure the continuous supply of food and other items to the stranded passengers and crew.
Two tugs are approaching the COSTA ALLEGRA and will assume the tow when they arrive later today.
Of the 636 passengers and 413 crew on board, 135 are Italians and 127 French, along with nearly 100 Austrians, 90 Swiss and 31 Britons.
While the ship could be vulnerable to attacks by Somali pirates, the presence on board of nine armed members of the Italian navy’s anti-pirate unit and a circling government plane are providing security and communications with some of the navy’s anti-pirate unit on board the fishing vessel for further protection.
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.