Azamara Club Cruises website
12:39pm UK, Saturday March 31, 2012
A cruise ship said to have up to 60 Britons on board left temporarily stranded in seas south of the Philippines after an engine room fire is heading for port under emergency power.
The luxury liner Azamara Quest, carrying 600 passengers and 411 crew, is on its way to Sandakan port, in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah, said coastguard captain Perfecto Eden.
A Philippine Navy ship is escorting the liner until it crosses the Malaysian maritime border, he added.
Engineers on board the stricken ship had been battling to restore propulsion after the blaze broke out on Friday afternoon.
A statement from the owners said the fire was contained to the engine room and was quickly put out, and no passengers were injured.
But it said five crew members on board the ship suffered the effects of smoke inhalation with one crew member more seriously injured.
The captain of the ship mustered all passengers to the assembly stations as a precaution, the company added.
The liner is running on emergency power until full power can be restored in the engine room.
Earlier, engineers managed to restore power to one of the liner’s engines allowing it to re-establish air conditioning, running water, refrigeration and kitchens on board the ship, the statement said.
The damage caused by the fire means the rest of the cruise will be cancelled once the ship has arrived in Sandakan in Sabah, Malaysia.
The president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises, Larry Pimental, will fly to Sandakan to meet the ship’s passengers on their arrival, the company said.
The 17-night tour began in Hong Kong on Monday and was due to finish in Singapore on April 12.
The incident comes after the Costa Concordia liner ran into a reef and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January leaving 25 people dead and seven more missing and presumed dead.
Six weeks later another Costa cruise ship, the Costa Allegra, was left adrift off the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean after a fire broke out on board.
A Foreign Office spokesperson, speaking about the Azamara Quest, said: “We are aware of the incident and our colleagues in Manila are liaising with the Philippines coastguard and RCI cruises.
“A consular team from the region will be sent to meet the ship when it docks to see what consular assistance we can provide.”