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MOSCOW, February 28 (Itar-Tass) —— 15 Russian citizens are aboard the Italian cruise liner Costa Allegra, which is in distress in the Indian Ocean, executive director of the Russian Association of Tour Operators Maya Lomidze told Itar-Tass.
According to the Costa Cruises company, the owner of the Costa Allegra, 15 Russians are aboard the liner. Supposedly, they bought the cruise tickets independently, but not through tour operators, she said.
According to travel operators dealing with such cruises, there are none of their tourists aboard the liner. "We called the tour operators yesterday, and they confirmed that there were no their clients aboard Costa Allegra,” she said.
The Costa Cruises company, the same to which the capsized Costa Concordia belongs, said at its website that 1,049 people, including 413 crewmembers, were aboard. Nobody was hurt. A helicopter flew out for the site on Tuesday morning to deliver food and communication equipment to the liner. The passengers were asked to gather their luggage and be ready to leave the ship. The liner was being towed to Desroches Island. It is expected to arrive there on Wednesday morning, February 29. All the evacuated passengers will be conveyed to the capital of the Seychelles Islands – Port Victoria.
Desroches Island is located 240 km southwest of the state's main island Mahe.
On February 25 Costa Allegra left the port of Diego Suarez, the north of Madagascar, and headed for Port Victoria, where the liner was expected to arrive on Tuesday.
As was reported on Monday, February 27, Costa Allegra with failing engines was drifting in the Indian Ocean, 200 miles off the Seychelles Islands. The failure of the engines was caused by a fire in the engine room on Monday morning. The blaze was immediately localized and extinguished. The captain, for precautionary reasons, gave a distress signal, and merchant vessels and rescue boats that were near the area headed for the site. Electricity was cut off aboard the liner. Emergency generators work to supply electric power for the instruments and other equipment.
The Costa Allegra, an eleven-deck liner 188 m long, was bought by the company in 1992 and completely remade from the freight ship to become one of the most luxurious liners in the company's fleet.
It is the second accident of the Costa Cruises company this year. On January 13, its liner Costa Concordia capsized off the Italian island of Giglio. Twenty five people died in the shipwreck. Seven are missing. There were 108 Russians aboard the liner.