Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cruise News: Post-Fire Timeline of Events Aboard Costa Allegra

Costa Allegra Updates From Costa Crociere
Tuesday, February 28th 2012

Time 07.00 pm (CET)
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.

On 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 crew is doing everything possible to make the situation on board more comfortable by trying to restore basic services.

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.

Time 1.00 pm (CET)
Costa Cruises informs that in view of extensive and accurate checks carried out with local maritime experts’ support, in order to ensure the safety of our guests on board, the disembarkation on Desroches island cannot be performed and therefore it has been decided that the ship will be towed to Mahé/Seychelles. The disembarkation in Desroches does not assure the necessary and adequate security conditions for mooring the ship and guests’ disembarkation. In addition, logistics and hotels on the island are not enough: it would require an immediate transfer from Desroches to Mahé through Ferries after disembarking the ship through tenders. Thus the ship will be towed to Mahé, also with the assistance of two tugs that are approaching the ship and that would allow to increase the speed. The arrival in Mahé expected during the morning (local time) on Thursday, March 1, just few hours after the possible arrival to Mahé from Desroches through Ferries.

Helicopters will ensure continuous supply of food, comfort items, 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 make their discomfort as short as possible and to reach their next destination. The Company is sincerely sorry for the inconvenience: absolute priority is to make it as short as possible.

Time 09.30 am (CET)
The risk of fire is the one traditionally considered most seriously risk on board a ship or a boat and is therefore the subject of special preventive measures, training of personnel and plans for active protection. All ships, from the design and building stages in the yard, are built using criteria and materials making them safe and reliable from the point of view of fire prevention.

As provided for by the various international regulations and the Company’s procedures, all fire protection systems and equipment are subjected to regular tests, trials and inspections. In the event of a fire, the ship’s structure itself is designed in order to isolate the fire, thus making it more manageable and less dangerous. To this end the ship is divided into main vertical areas, separated by special metal bulkheads of large thickness equipped with special fire doors with the same characteristics as the bulkheads, which, once closed, manually or from the navigating bridge, are fire-retarding divisions. The ventilation, air extraction and conditioning ducts are equipped with special fire dampers which automatically close in the event of high temperature in order to stop the air flow, in order to avoid to feed the fire.

All ship spaces, including crew and passenger accommodation spaces, are equipped with fire detectors automatically signalling the presence of smoke or high temperature to the navigating bridge. Moreover, any person aboard can signal the outbreak of a fire by means of the numerous manually operated alarms located throughout the vessel. If the temperature reaches high levels, thousands of sprinkler heads (atomisation plants/sprinklers), located on ceilings, are automatically activated. Some particularly hazardous spaces are protected by fixed fire-extinguishing systems (i.e. carbon dioxide for machinery spaces, steam for the galley kitchenette hoods, nebulized water for the deep-fryer, etc.).

Throughout the vessel and in all spaces there are also hundreds of portable fire extinguishers of different kinds (for use in different types of fires) and permanent stations equipped with fire hoses connected to a pressurised water plant. The effectiveness of all fire-fighting equipment is ensured by regular maintenance and testing according to a precise schedule with set intervals. Fire-fighting teams, consisting of highly qualified trained experts are always aboard and take part in regular drills. In addition, all crewmembers participate in practical training sessions and theory courses during which they are taught how to react in case of fire or smoke, the use of fire-fighting equipment and procedures to be followed.

These measures allowed to bring promptly under control and extinguish the fire broke out in the local generators on Costa Allegra.

Time 08.30 am (CET)
A helicopter took off from Mahè this morning and it is arriving to the area where Costa Allegra is located, bringing to the ship both food and communication devices (satellite phones and VHF radios). The weather is good. Guests were invited to prepare their luggage in order to be ready for the time of disembarkation. The ship is expected to arrive to Desroches island tomorrow morning.

Time 07.30 am (CET)
Costa Allegra, since last night, has been towed by the French ocean-going fishing vessel Trevignon. The ship is being towed in the direction of Desroches Island. Guests on board are continuously informed and assisted by the captain and the staff; a cold breakfast was served this morning.

Time 00.00 am (CET)
The French ocean-going fishing ship reached Costa Allegra and the two captains are in radio contact. At dawn Costa will evaluate the assistance operations the fishing vessel can provide.


Anonymous said...

I would think the European maritime rescue organizations would be viewing Costa Cruises as a pain in the butt.

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