Cruise ship repaired, heading to MalaysiaA cruise ship with 1,000 people on board, including 10 from Bemidji, had drifted for 24 hours after being disabled by a fire was headed toward Malaysia following repairs, the Philippine coast guard said Saturday.
By: Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer, Associated Press
MANILA, Philippines — A cruise ship with 1,000 people on board that had drifted for 24 hours after being disabled by a fire was headed toward Malaysia following repairs, the Philippine coast guard said Saturday.
The Azamara Quest that had embarked on a 17-day Southeast Asian cruise was left drifting in southern Philippine waters after a fire broke out Friday night. The flames engulfed one of the ship’s engine rooms but were quickly extinguished, the ship’s operator said. Five crew members suffered smoke inhalation, including one who was seriously injured and needed hospital care.
The ship informed the coast guard late Saturday that its power and propulsion had been restored and it was moving slowly toward Sandakan, its next destination after it left Manila Thursday, spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Algier Ricafrente said.
Of the 1,000 people on board, 10 are from Bemidji: June Buenger, Miriam Smart, Susan Sandell, Sue Cuperus, Keven and Susan Lind, Jeff and Evi Thompson, and Patt and Ernie Rall. Patt Rall is an arts and entertainment reporter for the Pioneer newspaper.
A former Bemidjian, Diane Patnode, also is on the ship. All of them were uninjured.
Azamara Club Cruises, the ship’s operator, said in a statement Saturday night that the ship was sailing at a top speed of only 6 knots and was expected to reach Sandakan “within 24 to 48 hours.”
The company said the rest of the cruise would be canceled. It said it will fully refund the passengers as a “gesture of goodwill” and provide each guest with a future cruise certificate for the amount paid for the aborted voyage.
It was the latest in a series of accidents hitting luxury cruise liners since January, when the Costa Concordia capsized off the coast of Italy, killing 32 people.
The Bemidji Pioneer of Bemidji, Minn., and the News Tribune are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.