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Entries in Seychelles (7)

Thursday
Mar012012

Disabled Costa Allegra Arrives in Seychelles Island

ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images(VICTORIA, Seychelles) -- After spending four days without power, the more than 1,000 passengers and crew members aboard the Costa Allegra are finally back on land.

The cruise ship arrived in the Seychelles island of Mahe Thursday morning.

The luxury liner went adrift in the Indian Ocean on Monday after a fire broke out in its engine room.  No one was injured, but the blaze knocked out power to the ship, leaving 636 passengers and 413 crew members stranded in pirate-infested waters.

Those on board faced sweltering heat as the Costa Allegra was slowly towed to shore by a French fishing vessel and two tugboats.  Left without air conditioning, many opted to sleep outside on the ship's decks.

As passengers disembarked on Thursday, many looked forward to going to their hotel and taking a shower.

Monday's incident aboard the Allegra was the second emergency situation this year for Costa Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines.  In January, 25 people were killed after the Costa Concordia capsized after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio.  Seven others are still missing and presumed dead.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

Crippled Costa Allegra Expected to Reach Seychelles Thursday

LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images(VICTORIA, Seychelles) -- More than 1,000 passengers and crew on the Costa Allegra luxury cruise ship prepared to sleep on the outside decks for the third night in a row, as the sun set over the waters of the Indian Ocean and the crippled vessel made its way slowly toward the Seychelles' main island of Mahe.

The ship is expected to arrive at Mahe at 9 a.m. Thursday local time. It was reported that the ship was moving at six knots, but the Seychelles government said high winds and choppy waters were making the journey slow. The weather is reportedly warm and humid with cloudy skies.

The cruise liner, which has been adrift since it lost power Monday because of a fire in its engine room, is off the coast of Desroches, but cannot dock there because the small island does not meet the necessary security conditions.

In addition to the French fishing vessel pulling the ship and the two tugboats that arrived Tuesday to push, a Seychelles Coast Guard boat is accompanying the Allegra as it hobbles to the Mahe harbor.

Although there were early fears of a pirate attack because the ship was in open waters off the coast of Somalia, the Allegra is now in Seychelles waters and is no longer in danger.

Eight American citizens are on board for what was supposed to be a nearly month-long cruise with numerous stops at island nations off the east coast of Africa along the way to Savona, Italy.

The majority of the passengers are European, although 15 Russians, 13 Canadians and two Brazilians are also aboard. Nine members of the Italian Navy are also on board, tasked with security against pirates.

This is the second emergency situation this year for Costa Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines. In January, 25 people are known to have died and seven are still missing and presumed dead after the Costa Concordia capsized after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Disabled Costa Allegra: Cruise Liner Inches Toward Seychelles

LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images(PORT LOUIS, Mauritius) -- The Costa Allegra luxury cruise liner that lost power in the Indian Ocean after a fire broke out in its engine room is now being pulled by two tugboats and a French fishing vessel toward the main island of Mahe in the Seychelles.

According to Genoa Costa Crociere headquarters, the ship is currently traveling at about 6 knots and is expected to arrive in Mahe early Thursday morning.

In a statement Tuesday, the company said that a helicopter would deliver 400 flashlights and fresh bread to the more than 1,000 passengers and crew Wednesday. Tuesday morning, a helicopter brought food and communication devices, including satellite phones and VHF radios.

A small generator brought by a Navy ship was reportedly being used by the ship's crew to "restore basic services on board." The news release said that despite the heat and humidity, "a slight breeze" was making the situation more comfortable.

The company also said that a "Care Team" of 14 executives, managers and technicians also had reached Mahe to prepare for the disembarkation. A smaller "Care Team" group also planned to travel to the liner Wednesday by way of the Navy vessel to speak with crew and passengers.

The Allegra was initially being towed to the island of Desroches before officials ruled the small island lacked the necessary security conditions.

According to the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, the passengers spent the night on the outdoor decks as ordered by the captain, after temperatures inside soared. The paper also reported that the AIS system had been turned off to avoid detection by pirates and that there is no hot water.

Guests were invited to prepare their luggage in order to be ready for the time of disembarkation, the company said.

Jayne Thomas of England, whose daughter is a performer on the crippled Allegra, said she was happy that the situation appeared to be under control.

"I'm not worried now," she told the BBC Tuesday. "I know that the ship's under tow....They obviously are not taking any passengers any further than the island so that's good news for me. It means I'll get my daughter home."

The company issued a statement overnight saying that the guests onboard the ship, which left Madagascar Saturday, were being kept continuously informed and assisted by the captain and the onboard staff and that a cold breakfast had been served Tuesday morning.

Eight American citizens are onboard the vessel, which is carrying 636 passengers and 413 crew members on a nearly month-long cruise with numerous stops at island nations off the east coast of Africa along the way to Savona, Italy.

The majority of the passengers are European, though 15 Russians, 13 Canadians and two Brazilians are also aboard. Nine members of the Italian Navy are also onboard, tasked with security against pirates.

The Italian cruise line had released a statement Monday saying no one was injured and that the blaze that broke out in the engine room in the ship's aft had been quickly extinguished.

"The passengers and crew are in safe condition," Cmd. Cosimo Nicastro of the Italian coast guard said Monday. "They are not necessarily comfortable because the ship only has emergency power on board, but they are safe."

The Costa Allegra is also known as the "crystal ship" because of the huge glass windows on its deck. It is the oldest and smallest of the Costa fleet.

This is the second emergency situation this year for Costa Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Cruise Lines. In January, 25 people are known to have died and seven are still missing and presumed dead after the Costa Concordia capsized after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio.

Fuel transfer operations are still underway on the Concordia, which lies on its side in the sea outside the island's port.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Stranded Cruise Ship Costa Allegra Being Towed to Seychelles Island

LAURENT FIEVET/AFP/Getty Images(PORT LOUIS, Mauritius) -- The luxury cruise liner that went adrift in the Indian Ocean on Monday after a fire broke out on board is now being towed to an island in the Seychelles.

With the help of a French merchant ship, the Costa Allegra is expected to arrive in Mahe Thursday morning.

Earlier, it was reported that the cruise ship would be towed to Desroches, but Costa Cruises changed the location because it "does not assure the necessary and adequate security conditions for mooring the ship and guests’ disembarkation."

The company added that the accomodations on Desroches are insufficient for the 636 passengers and 413 crew members on board.

The Costa Allegra was left stranded in pirate-infested waters on Monday after a blaze broke out in its engine room, knocking out power on the ship.  Costa Cruises released a statement saying that no one was injured and that the fire had been quickly extinguished.

This is the second emergency situation this year for the Italian cruise line, which is owned by Carnival Cruises.  In January, 32 people were killed when the Costa Concordia capsized after hitting rocks off the Italian island of Giglio.  Seven people are still missing and presumed dead.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec132011

US Predator Drone Crashes in Seychelles

JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images(MAHE, Seychelles) -- An unarmed U.S. Predator drone crashed at the international airport in the Seychelles Tuesday. The United States operates a small fleet of unarmed surveillance drones out of the Seychelles to assist with countering the scourge of Somali pirates who terrorize the waters off of east Africa. 

 A U.S. Air Force statement said the remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper aircraft crashed at a runway at the Seychelles International Airport in Mahe Tuesday morning. “The MQ-9 was not armed and no injuries were reported,” said the statement.

After the debris was removed from the runway the airport re-opened for normal traffic.   The cause of the crash is unknown and is under investigation.

Tuesday’s Reaper crash was the first in the Seychelles since they started flying reconnaissance missions from the remote archipelago in 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Thursday
Aug182011

Shark Attack Bride Believed Seychelles Were Safe

Comstock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Widowed bride Gemma Houghton says that one of the reasons she and her husband Ian Redmond chose to honeymoon in the Seychelles was because they had been assured there were no dangerous animals in its deep, clear waters.

"We didn't really think that sharks would be in the Seychelles at all," Houghton told the BBC. "It wasn't something we were aware of."

Redmond, 30, was snorkeling in tranquil waters of Anse Lazio beach on the island of Praslin Tuesday when the shark attacked.

Houghton could see his bright orange snorkel gear from where she had been sunning on the beach when her husband began screaming for help, she said.

"All of the sudden, I heard 'Help!' and I thought at first he was sneezing," said Houghton. "It was the most awful scream, and I can still hear it when I close my eyes," she said. "He's never screamed like that before because he's such a strong man, such a strong man, so brave."

Houghton said that her husband was conscious when he was brought to the shore by speedboat.

"He looked me in the eyes and said, 'Alright,'" she said. "I could see a mixture in his eyes of fear and a realization, a relief that he had seen me, that I was there. I think I told him I loved him very much. I hope I did."

Redmond died in a hospital shortly afterwards from blood loss.

Houghton told the BBC that despite the horrific accident, "the last thing I would want is for any of these events to affect the Seychelles people, their livelihoods and the tourism in the area. It's a beautiful place. People must come."

The couple, who had wed on Aug. 6, are one of thousands of couples who flock to the Indian Ocean islands from Europe annually. Newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton visited North Island in the Seychelles for their honeymoon earlier this year.

The incident was the latest in a recent outbreak of shark attacks on the beach of Anse Lazio in the Seychelles. A French tourist was killed two weeks ago by a shark under similar circumstances while snorkeling in the waters during the late afternoon.

Ronald Jumeau, the Seychelles ambassador to the U.S., told ABC News that reports that the killer shark was six feet were false.

Jumeau told ABC News that a special committee had been assembled, composed of standing authorities from the National Parks, the Seychelles Fishing Authority, area police, the Coast Guard, marine biologists, hotel security and residents of the area to coordinate their actions in guarding the area and preventing a third attack.

"A domestic advisory has been announced to make sure people don't go too far out," Jumeau said. "They are monitoring the waters to insure that they can get the shark. There's probably just one shark, but we are certainly taking precautions. There is no panic on the island, no wild shark hunt, although some of the popular beaches around that area have been closed and are being patrolled."

Current precautions include using fishing nets to cordon off areas of the bay. Fishing boats are also circulating in the area with bait in hopes of luring the shark.

Seychelles officials tried to downplay the dangers of sharks in the area.

"In Seychelles, we don't even think about sharks," Jumeau said. "It's that rare. Seychelles is not known for that....That beach is one of my favorite beaches, and until now I would have gone into the water without hesitation."

Selby Pillay, Seychelles minister of counselor to the U.N., told ABC News that most of its tourists come from Europe.

"We've had approximately 100,000 tourists since January," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug172011

Shark Attack in Seychelles Kills Honeymooner

File photo. (Comstock/Thinkstock)(LONDON) -- A man snorkeling on his honeymoon in the Seychelle Islands was fatally attacked by a shark as his bride, who was sunning on the beach, heard his screams.

Ian Redmond, 30, died of his injures Tuesday.

Redmond had been swimming in tranquil waters of Anse Lazio beach on the island of Praslin Tuesday when the attack occurred.

He and his wife of two weeks, Gemma Houghton, were one of thousands of couples who flock to the Indian Ocean islands from Europe yearly. Newlyweds Prince William and Duchess Kate visited North Island in Seychelles for their honeymoon earlier this year.

Sunbathers and fellow tourists were alerted to the deadly incident when they heard Redmond's cries for help.

One American tourist who witnessed the attack told The Telegraph, "I saw a swimmer who was missing a huge chunk of flesh from his left leg - so much so that I could see the bone of his thigh. He was sickeningly pale, but still had his flippers on both feet. "

Redmond was pulled to shore by witnesses in a boat and died shortly afterwards of blood loss in a hospital.

This is the latest in a recent outbreak of shark attacks on the beach of Anse Lazio in the Seychelles. A French tourist was killed two weeks ago by a shark under similar circumstances while snorkeling in the waters during late afternoon.

Seychelles ambassador to the U.S., Ronald Jumeau, told ABC News that reports circulating about the killer shark's size of 6 feet were false.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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