Stranded Italian Cruise Ship Being Towed to Seychelles

Posted February 28th, 2012 at 4:15 am (UTC-5)
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A crippled Italian cruise ship that had been floating adrift off the coast of Seychelles is now being towed by a French fishing boat to a nearby island.

Officials said it will take until Wednesday for the Costa Allegra to reach land. The ship lost power and became stranded in the Indian Ocean Monday after a fire broke out in its engine room.

The fire was quickly extinguished and there were no reports of injuries among the over 1,000 people on board. But officials said the ship was without air conditioning or cooking facilities Tuesday. The passengers are being given bread, water and fruit until a helicopter arrives with additional provisions.

Nine members of the Italian navy are on board the ship to protect it from pirate attacks. The region where it is stranded has seen a series of attacks in recent years by Somali pirates.

The vessel is operated by the same company that operated that Costa Concordia, which capsized last month after hitting rocks off the coast of Italy. More than 4,200 passengers were on board, and at least 25 people died in that accident.

Italian prosecutors have filed charges against three executives of Costa Crociere, the Concordia's operator, along with four of the vessel's officers.