Last week the Costa Allegra lost power after a fire and went adrift in the Indian Ocean off the Seychelles in an area where Somali Pirates have taken control of vessels and held them for ransom or worse. The situation on the Allegra eerily resembled a similar situation on the Carnival Ship, The Splendor, in November of 2010 when it lost power and drifted off the coast of Mexico and California. However,the pirate danger enhanced the urgency for rescue tugs to come to the aid of the Allegra. This disaster couldn’t have come at a worse time for Costa which was already dealing with the public relations disaster from the Concordia partial sinking and the deaths of over 20 passengers and crew members. Here’s a chronological look at the disaster in the Indian Ocean from the perspective of the Costa Press Releases:
(Note the press releases are numbered but some of the releases were consolidated or deleted as more timely information became available, hence some of the numbers are missing)
Costa Allegra Update #1: Ships on the Way, Families Contacted
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Feb. 27, 2012) (5:30 p.m. ET) — The first
boat expected to reach Costa Allegra during the next few hours is a
French-flagged, 295-foot-long (90 meters) ocean-going fishing ship.
Another ship of similar size currently is sailing toward Costa Allegra
and will join two merchant ships and two tugboats expected to arrive
Tuesday afternoon local time.
Upon arrival of the first ship, its captain will decide how to operate,
depending on weather and ship conditions, to best support Costa
Currently, Costa Allegra is steady and conditions are safe.
Costa Cruises is keeping in touch with guests’ families via their
emergency-contact numbers. As of 10 p.m. CET the line has reached
families or relatives of 402 passengers of a total of 627 (excluding the
nine Italian navy marines on board for security).
The line has contacted the families all of crew, most of whom are
Italian and eastern European, either directly or through its crew
Costa Allegra is in compliance with all certificates required by both
national and international regulations. Moreover, in October 2011 the
ship received its regularly scheduled maintenance in dry dock.
# # #
Costa Crociere Statement Regarding Fire Aboard Costa Allegra
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Feb. 27, 2012) — Costa Cruises confirms that today
at 10:39 CET a fire broke out on board Costa Allegra in the electric
generator room. The shipboard fire-extinguishing system and emergency
procedures were activated promptly and special fire-fighting squads
extinguished the fire.
The fire did not spread to any other area of the ship. There were no injuries
or casualties. Inspections of the engine room are ongoing to determine when
the equipment can be restarted.
As a precaution, the general emergency alarm was sounded and all
passengers and crewmembers not engaged in the management of the
emergency reported to their muster stations.
Currently the ship is more than 200 miles southwest of the Seychelles and
approximately 20 miles from Alphonse Island. Tugboats and other naval and
aerial units have been dispatched to Costa Allegra.
According to standard procedures, Costa Allegra transmitted a distress signal
and the relevant authorities were alerted, including the Maritime Rescue
Control Center in Rome, Italy. Costa Crociere and the relevant authorities
are actively monitoring the situation.
On board Costa Allegra are 636 passengers of various nationalities and 413
The ship departed Saturday, Feb. 25, from Diego Suarez, Madagascar, and
was cruising toward the port of Victoria (Mahè, Seychelles) where it was
scheduled to arrive tomorrow Feb. 28.
Costa Allegra was built at T. Mariotti shipyards in Genoa in 1992. The
28,597-ton vessel is 188 meters (617 feet) long with eight passenger decks
and 399 cabins. The vessel can carry a maximum of 1,400, including crew.
# # #
Costa Allegra Update #3: Ship Reaches Costa Allegra
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Feb. 27, 2012) (7:30 p.m. ET) — The oceangoing
fishing ship reached Costa Allegra and the two Captains are in
radio contact. At dawn Costa will evaluate the assistance operations
the ocean-going fishing ship can provide.
Costa Crociere Costa Allegra Update #6*
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Feb. 28, 2012) —1 p.m. CET — Costa Cruises reports
that in view of extensive collaboration with local maritime experts, in order
to ensure the safety of our guests, disembarkation at Desroches Island
cannot be performed, and therefore it has been decided that the ship will be
towed directly to Mahé, Seychelles.
The disembarkation at Desroches cannot be assured with adequate security
conditions for mooring the ship and guest disembarkation. In addition,
logistics and hotels on the island are not sufficient. Disembarkation at
Desroches would require an immediate transfer from Desroches to Mahé via
ferries after disembarking the ship via tenders.
The ship will be towed directly to Mahé instead. Also, the assistance of two
tugs that are approaching the ship will allow an increase in towing speed.
The arrival at Mahé currently is scheduled for 6 a.m. local time Thursday,
March 1. That is just a few hours later than if guests were disembarked at
Desroches and transferred to Mahe via ferries. Helicopters will ensure a
continuous supply of food, comfort items and flashlights in order to mitigate
guests’ discomfort given the difficult conditions on board.
Costa Cruises is working with all the authorities responsible for the
coordination of the emergency to ensure the best possible assistance to all
our guests and to make their discomfort as short as possible and to reach
their next destination as soon as possible.
* Updates four and five contained outdated information that could confuse
the message that the ship is going to Mahé, rather than Desroches.
Therefore, they are not available on the press area.
Costa Allegra Update #7: Tugs Reach Ship
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Feb. 28, 2012) (3 p.m. ET) — This afternoon around
12:30 p.m. CET (3:30 p.m. Seychelles time; 6:30 a.m. ET) the two tugs and
a second ocean-going fishing vessel reached Costa Allegra to assist the ship.
Costa Allegra continues to be towed by French-flagged fishing ship Trévignon
and is maintaining a speed of about 6 knots. At the current speed and with
stable weather conditions Costa Allegra is expected to arrive at Mahé,
Seychelles, in the early morning of Thursday, March 1.
Wednesday Costa expects the arrival of a helicopter to deliver about 400
flashlights and fresh bread. There is sufficient food and other comfort items
on board. Also, thanks to the arrival of a small generator delivered by a local
Navy ship that is present on site, the ship’s crew is doing everything possible
to make the situation on board more comfortable by trying to restore basic
Early this afternoon Costa Cruises’ Care Team arrived at Mahé. The group of
14 people includes executives and managers as well as specialized
technicians. The team is tasked with providing assistance to the ship, guests
and crewmembers on their arrival at Mahé.
Upon arriving Care Team members immediately met with local authorities
and those responsible for rescue coordination to arrange operational details
of guests’ arrival at the island. Top priority was given to securing necessary
accommodations at local hotels and organizing an efficient process for
making guests’ travel arrangements.
Eight members of the Care Team will board Costa Allegra tomorrow morning
via a local Navy ship to meet guests and discuss arrangements with them
and to assist the ship’s staff in thorough technical inspections. With the
Costa Care Team will be two officers from Seychelles Immigration to
facilitate customs procedures.
# # #
Costa Allegra Update #8: Care Team to Board Allegra Today
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Feb. 29, 2012) (7.30 a.m. ET) — Following the
latest contact with Costa Allegra — currently under tow to Mahé,
Seychelles — Costa Cruises reports that the situation on board is
stable and weather conditions are good.
Arrival time of the ship at Mahé on Thursday, March 1, is subject to
change according to speed and sea weather conditions. Currently,
arrival is expected at 9 a.m. Seychelles time (1 a.m. ET). Costa is
constantly updating authorities involved in the operation following
each contact with the ship.
Within the next few hours Costa’s Care Team will reach the ship, and
team members will immediately begin working to achieve repatriation
of all guests. At the same time, members of Care Team based on the
island are organizing hospitality services for guests and arranging air
Costa has optioned more than 600 airline seats to facilitate guest
travel and more than 400 hotel rooms have been reserved for guests’
On board soft drinks and cold foods such as fruits, cold cuts and
cheeses are being served. Mineral water is provided for personal
hygiene needs. Fresh bread is delivered daily via helicopter.
Costa Allegra Update #9: Some Guests Opt to Stay at Seychelles
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Feb. 29, 2012) (12:00 p.m. ET) — Members of
Costa Cruises’ Care Team have reached and boarded Costa Allegra. Team
members met with guests to assess their needs upon disembarkation.
So far, 376 guests out of 627 have accepted Costa Cruises’ proposal to
continue their vacation in Seychelles. They will be accommodated at Costa
Cruises’ expense, in high-quality hotels on the following islands: Praslin, La
Digue, Silhouette and Cerfs.
Costa Cruises also will arrange homeward flights at the end of their vacation.
The remaining 251 guests decided to return to their homes on flights
arranged by Costa Cruises, departing Mahé Thursday evening, March 1.
# # #
Costa Allegra Update #11: Disembarkation, Compensation
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (March 1, 2012) (1 p.m. ET) — Costa Allegra, after mooring at
the dock at Port Victoria, Mahè, Seychelles, at 12 p.m. local time today successfully
completed disembarkation of guests and crew in approximately two hours. On
disembarking guests were attended to by the ship’s crew, members of the Costa
Crociere Care Team and assistance personnel provided by local authorities. Guests
and crew are in good health.
The number of guests who decided to accept Costa Crociere’s offer to continue their
holiday in the Seychelles has risen to about 70 percent out of a total of 627. Those
guests already have been taken to the hotels where there will spend one or two
weeks on holiday at the company’s expense on the islands of Praslin, La Digue,
Silhouette and Cerfs. Costa Crociere also will organize their return flights home after
The remaining guests who have elected to return home have been accommodated in
hotels on the island. They will leave in the evening on flights organized by Costa
Crociere from Seychelles International airport to Paris, Milan via Rome, and to Zurich
via Vienna. The flights are scheduled to arrive the morning of March 2.
The company has offered all guests a compensation package including:
* Full refund of the fare paid for the cruise and associated travel expenses
* Full refund of on-board expenses incurred during the cruise
*Indemnity equivalent to the amount of the fare paid for the cruise and
associated travel costs
Guests who decided not to continue their holiday in the Seychelles at the company’s
expense are to receive a voucher for the same value they paid for their unfinished
Costa Allegra cruise, to apply toward any Costa cruise departing within 24 months.
Costa Crociere expresses its gratitude to Master Nicolò Alba and all members of the
Costa Allegra crew, to the guests of Costa Allegra, to the master and crew of the
French fishing boat Trevignon, to the other naval and air units involved in the support
operations for Costa Allegra, to the Italian Harbour Office General Command, to the
local authorities of the Seychelles and Reunion Island, to the Italian Consulate and
Embassy, and to international diplomatic representatives.
# # #
Costa Allegra Update #12: 481 Guests Continue Holiday
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (March 2, 2012) (1:00 p.m. ET) — Costa
Cruises informs that out of the 627 guests on board Costa Allegra, 481
are continuing their holiday in the Seychelles in high-quality hotels on
the islands of Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette and Cerfs at the company’s
Costa Cruises also will organize their homeward flights at the end of
their holiday. The remaining 146 guests chose instead to return home
on three flights arranged by Costa Cruises to Paris, Rome/Milan and
Vienna/Zurich. The flights arrived at their destinations this morning.
The company, sincerely sorry for the discomfort caused to guests of
Costa Allegra, offered them a compensation package including:
• A full refund of the fare paid for the cruise and associated travel
• A full refund of on-board expenses incurred during the cruise
• Indemnity equivalent to the amount of the fare paid for the
• Guests who have decided not to continue their holiday in the
Seychelles at the company’s expense received a voucher for the
same value as the unfinished Costa Allegra cruise to travel free
of charge on any Costa ship departing in the coming 24 months.