Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Costa Allegra under Tow

Last updated Tuesday, February 28, 8pm EST

2:54am update
Costa Crociere said Tuesday morning (February 28, 2012) that Costa Allegra, disabled by Monday's generator room fire, is under tow by the by French ocean fishing vessel Trevignon.

The destination is Desroches Island where it is expected to arrive Wednesday morning and passengers will disembark.

Costa Allegra remains without power for propulsion or hotel services Tuesday. Crew members were able to prepare a cold breakfast for passengers this morning, and passengers have been asked to pack their luggage for disembarkation on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Tuesday, a helicopter left from Mahe (Seychelles) for the ship, taking them both food and communications devices (satellite telephones and VHF radios). Costa says it is currently arriving at the ship's location in the Indian Ocean.

Costa Allegra lost power on Monday when a fire broke out in the ship's generator room. It was quickly extinguished by onboard fire crews. Original CND bulletin. Complete coverage was in Monday's edition of Cruise News Daily.

6:43am update
Breaking: Costa has now decided Costa Allega will be towed to Mahe Island (Seychelles - located on interactive map below) instead of Desroches. Arrival is now planned for Thursday morning.

6:50am update
Several elements have factored into the decision to change Costa Allega's destination. A primary one is that Desroches does not have adequate facilities for safely docking Costa Allegra and disembarkation, so passengers and their luggage would need to be tendered ashore. There would also be major logistical problems for passengers, since the island does not have enough hotel facilities, and a ferry transfer to Mahe would be required. In addition, repair facilities (and workers with the technical knowledge to carry out the repairs) aren't available on Desroches.

Two oceangoing tugs are now nearing the ship, and will assist with towing it to Mahe, which will increase the speed. Arrival at Mahe is now expected on Thursday morning (March 1, 2012) a approximately 6am local time, which is about the time passengers would have arrived there had the ship been towed to Desroches and they had then been ferried to Mahe.

Costa says helicopters will ensure a continuous supply of food, comfort items and flashlights are available aboard Costa Allegra to make the passengers as comfortable as possible.

8pm update
This afternoon, three more ships - another fishing vessel and the two tugs - joined Trevignon, which is still towing Costa Allegra at a speed of approximately six knots. They will assist if necessary. A Navy ship which is escorting Costa Allegra has given them a small generator to provide some electricity aboard.

Meanwhile, Costa's "care team" has arrived on Male to make sure everything is ready for the passengers' arrival on Thursday morning. Eight of the group along with two Seychelles immigration officers will be transported to Costa Allegra on Wednesday to discuss the arrangements for the passengers once they arrive on Male.

Updates will continue.

View Larger Map