178 Passengers, Mostly Americans, Evacuated Safely After Fire
SAVONA, Italy (AP) _ Fire aboard a Norwegian luxury liner sailing off the Italian coast forced the evacuation today of all 178 passengers, most of them Americans, port authorities said.
No one was injured aboard the Seabourn Spirit, said Italian navy Capt. Antonio Frisone, who coordinated rescue operations from this Ligurian port.
However, one woman was carried ashore in Genoa on a stretcher, although officials said they didn’t know why.
Port authorities and the shipping line said 162 Americans, eight Mexicans, two Australians, two Britons, two Canadians and two Colombians were on board the liner.
The ship’s Norwegian captain and 148 crewmen remained aboard and put out the fire, which broke out in the auxiliary engine room. There was no word on what caused the blaze.
A Seabourn spokesman in London confirmed that the passengers, crew and ship were all safe.
″The fire was extinguished by prompt action of the ship’s crew,″ the spokesman said. ″The ship itself was in no danger. There was no damage to the guest suites or public spaces.″
The passengers boarded lifeboats and were picked up by the Italian liner Dafne, which arrived within an hour after the Seabourn Spirit’s distress call, Italian officials said.
The passengers were taken to the nearby port of Genoa and Seabourn officials said they would be given full refunds, with complimentary air return to their homes and help with travel arrangements.
Frisone said the 9,975-ton ship, one of the world’s most luxurious cruise liners, radioed a distress signal before dawn, 18 miles off the port of Savona, while en route from the French island of Camargue to the Italian resort of Portofino.
Frisone said they could not immediately determine the damage caused by the fire.
Frisone said rescue operations were supported by three Italian navy ships, a plane, a firefighting boat and a tugboat.
A Norwegian ship official, identified by Frisone as Herne Solveberg, radioed that the liner headed toward Genoa.