Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Fire alert cruise ship reaches land

Buses wait to ferry passengers on the wharf next to the docked Azamara Quest cruise ship at the port in Sandakan, Malaysia (AP)
Passengers from the stricken cruise ship Azamara Quest disembark from a bus at a hotel in Sandakan, Malaysia (AP)

A cruise ship with 100 UK passengers on board has reached land after drifting in seas south of the Philippines following a fire in one of its engine rooms.

Luxury liner the Azamara Quest has reached the port of Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia after repairs on Saturday.

No passengers were injured in the blaze on Friday but five crew members on board the ship suffered the effects of smoke inhalation.

The ship informed coastguards in the Philippines on Saturday that its power and propulsion had been restored and that it was moving towards Sandakan.

The Foreign Office said a consular team from the region would be sent to meet the ship when it docks.

The fire was contained in the engine room and was quickly put out, Azamara, which is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, said in an earlier statement. The captain of the ship mustered all passengers to the assembly stations as a precaution.

The damage caused by the fire has meant that the remainder of the cruise will be cancelled. The scheduled 17-night cruise had begun in Hong Kong on Monday and was due to finish in Singapore on April 12.

"As a gesture of goodwill and to thank our guests for their understanding, we will be providing all guests with a full refund for their cruise," Azamara Club Cruises, the owners of the ship, said in its statement.

The fire is the latest in a series of problems to hit cruise liners in recent months. In January, 25 people died, with seven more people missing and presumed dead, after the Costa Concordia liner ran into a reef and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

Six weeks later another Costa cruise ship, the Costa Allegra, was left adrift off the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean after fire broke out on board. Both Costa ships are part of Costa Crociere, SpA, a subsidiary of Carnival, the world's largest cruise operator.

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