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Passengers of adrift ship safely land in Port Victoria

(Xinhua)

09:05, March 02, 2012

ROME, March 1 (Xinhua) -- All passengers of crippled cruise liner Costa Allegra have safely landed in the Seychelles capital Port Victoria on Thursday after spending three days adrift without power, local media said.

No casualties were reported among the 636 passengers and 413 crew members onboard, whose average age was 55 years.


Passengers were assisted at the port of Seychelles capital Port Victoria by the Red Cross, while Italian embassy and consular officials were also present to receive their citizens.

More than half passengers have decided to continue their vacation and are being taken to Seychelles resorts, while the rest are on their way back home, the ANSA news agency said.

The Costa Allegra, whose Italian name means "merry coast," left Madagascar off Africa's southeast coast on Saturday and was supposed to reach Port Victoria Tuesday.

It went adrift some 418 kilometers southwest of the Seychelles after a fire that reportedly broke out in the engine room on Monday, and was towed by a French shipping.

"It was a hard journey. We had to sleep on the deck, without air conditioning and because of the smell in the cabins, since we could not flush the toilet ... There was food, but nothing could be cooked. We ate lots of bread," a 62-year-old Belgium passenger Alena Daem was quoted by ANSA as saying.

"The first day the situation was not so terrible, but then it worsened and became awful," an 88-year-old French passenger Henry said.

He said hygienic conditions on the adrift vessel had been deplorable, as it was very difficult to live three days without water and power in tropical heat.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. Meanwhile, prosecutors in northern Italy's Genoa, where the ship owner company Costa Cruises has its headquarters, have opened a file to establish whether the fire was an accident or arson, according to ANSA.

The accident occurred only six weeks after the Costa Concordia, another cruise liner owned by the same company hit a reef and capsized in shallow waters off Italy, killing at least 25 people.

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