More than 30 British tourists and an Irish passenger were stranded on a cruise ship operated by the company involved in the Costa Concordia tragedy last night after a fire on board.
The Costa Allegra was carrying 636 passengers and 413 crew members when it lost power after the blaze in a generator room.
The vessel, owned by Costa Cruises, was cast adrift in an area of the Indian Ocean renowned for pirates and left at the mercy of the current as it waited for tugs to arrive to tow it to a port.
The majority of holidaymakers on board were Italian, French, Austrian and Swiss.
Last night, Captain Giorgio Moretti told reporters in a conference call at the Costa Crociere cruise line HQ in Genoa that the fire in the ship's generator room had left it without power, knocking out air conditioning and lights.
Capt Moretti said the Allegra, carrying more than 1,000 people, is adrift, “and being pushed by currents. It is stable and upright”.
The Costa Concordia liner struck rocks off the coast of Italy on January 13, leaving a death toll expected to reach 32.