- The Guardian
Costa Allegra passengers surviving on basic supplies flown in by helicopter
Passengers on the Costa Allegra cruise ship are washing with mineral water and eating fruit, cold cuts and bread flown in by helicopter, as they are slowly towed into port in the Seychelles, the ship’s operator has said.
The ship, which lost power after an engine room fire on Monday, is being towed by a French fishing trawler and will arrive on the island of Mahé around 9am on Thursday, where charter flights are being laid on to fly more than 1,000 passengers and crew to Rome.
With no air conditioning in their cabins and temperatures around 30C, passengers and crew, including 31 Britons, have been sleeping on deck where the six knot speed of the vessel is creating what cruise ship company Costa Cruises called a “slight breeze”.
A small generator transferred on to the ship is only strong enough to power communication systems, not the air conditioning or cooking systems. Hundreds of torches have been dropped onto the ship for use at night.
Costa Cruises said staff would reach the ship “within the next few hours” to assist passengers, while 400 hotel rooms have been booked onshore in readiness for their arrival.
An Italian magistrate has opened an investigation into the fire, which a company source has said could have been caused by an electrical fault.
The Costa Concordia cruise ship, also operated by Costa Cruises, capsized on 13 January after crashing into rocks off the Italian island of Giglio. Twenty-five people on board drowned and seven are missing.
The captain of the vessel, Francesco Schettino, who is being investigated for manslaughter and abandoning ship, issued a comment on the Costa Allegra fire through his lawyer on Tuesday. “These are incidents that happen,” he said.
Codacons, the Italian consumer group helping passengers from the Costa Concordia take legal action against Costa Cruises, said on Wednesday it could also assist Costa Allegra passengers.
“The passengers appear to have been experiencing dramatic heat on board,” said the head of Codacons, Carlo Rienzi. “We will consider the compensation that Costa Cruises offers, and weigh up possible legal action.”
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