Costa Cruises liner adrift after fire on board

ROME (Reuters) – A liner owned by the same company as the Costa Concordia, on which at least 25 people died when it ran aground off Italy last month, was adrift in the Indian Ocean yesterday after a fire in the engine room left it without power, the company said.

Costa Cruises said the fire on the 29,000-tonne Costa Allegra had been put out and none of the passengers or crew were hurt. The cause of the fire was still unclear.

The giant Costa Concordia capsized on January 13 after hitting rocks off the island of Giglio. Divers and rescue workers are still searching for the bodies of seven people who remain missing.

The much smaller Costa Allegra, with 636 passengers and 413 crew on board, was sailing some 200 miles southwest of the Seychelles when the fire broke out and it sent a distress signal, the company said.

“The ship is drifting with no power, but the situation is calm and the captain has assembled the passengers on the decks of the ship,” Giorgio Moretti, the head of Costa Cruises nautical operations told reporters in a conference call.

There is light aboard ship thanks to an emergency battery but no air conditioning or cooking facilities, so passengers will be given bread, water and some fruit until a helicopter arrives this morning with more provisions, Moretti said.

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