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Boat reaches Costa cruise liner adrift off Seychelles

The Costa Allegra, an Italian liner owned by the same company as the Costa Concordia, is floating in the Indian Ocean following a fire as the over 1,000 people aboard await rescue.

Costa allegra cruise shipEnlarge
The Costa Allegra docked in Hong Kong prior to its maiden voyage, on May 29, 2006. (AFP/Getty Images)

A fishing boat has reached an Italian cruise ship adrift in the Indian Ocean off the Seychelles with more than 1,000 people on board, officials told the BBC.

Authorities in the Seychelles say they sent two tug boats and a coast guard ship to the scene but the tugs are still some hours away.

A fire broke out in the generator room of the Italian cruise liner Costa Allegra, causing it to lose power. The ship is in an area where pirates remain active, around 200 miles south-west of the Seychelles and 20 miles from Alphonse Island, the Guardian reported.

It has no lights or air conditioning and an emergency generator providing communications "could fail at any minute", the Italian coast guard told the BBC.

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According to a company statement, none of the Allegra's passengers or crew was hurt.

The ship is operated by Costa Cruises, which also owns the Costa Concordia, which recently capsized off the coast of Italy, killing 32.

Italian coast guard commander Cosimo Nicastro told the BBC that the trawler - a French-registered ocean-going boat - could now maintain communications with rescue vessels if the ship's emergency battery failed.

"At any moment we could lose communication," Nicastro said. "The first step is to keep communications with the ship."

More from GlobalPost: Italy, bravado and the Costa Concordia

The crew managed to extinguish the flames after "a few hours," a commander from the Italian coast guard, which is monitoring the incident, told the BBC.

The fire left the Allegra unable to start her motors, prompting the crew to send a distress signal.

There are 636 passengers and 413 crew on board.

According to the Costa website, the Allegra set sail from Mauritius on Feb. 20, and was due to tour Madagascar and the Seychelles before making its way along the coast of east Africa back to Italy.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/120227/boat-reaches-costa-cruise-liner-adrift-seychelles