The Costa Allegra crippled cruise ship is due to reach the main island in the Seychelles on Thursday, island tourism board chief has confirmed.
The luxury liner lost power after a fire in the generator room on Monday. It has 1,049 people on board, who were forced to sleep in the outside decks because of the heat in the cabins without air conditioning.
Helicopters had to drop food, torches and emergency supplies to the stricken ship as it is running out of supplies. "Helicopters will ensure a continuous supply of food, comfort items and torches in order to mitigate guests' discomfort given the difficult conditions on board," the ship's owner said.
Nine armed Italian marines are on board to protect the ship against possible pirates' attacks.
"We are happy to report that they will be in port tomorrow morning, we already made arrangements, immigration is on the ship so they can be cleared for immediate landing when they get to port," Alain St. Ange, Seychelles' Tourism Board CEO told Reuters.
A French tuna boat is dragging the Costa Allegra to the Seychelles after an engine room fire left the liner adrift in the Indian Ocean.
St. Ange confirmed that every effort was being made to protect the ship from the piracy's threat.
"You could have had an attack from piracy because they come from the other side of the islands which is the African coast, with this nagging you in the back of your mind, it is very insecure for somebody with no way of running away and I think once we said we are covering them with planes with helicopters and ships they felt secure and then it was the ship's owners who decided they needed to ship bread to them, they needed to give them flash lights because they were in total darkness after 1830, so this were, there were 400 torches sent to the island, to the ship itself," he said.
The Costa Allegra is a sister ship of the tragic Costa Concordia, which capsized off Tuscany in January. The ship's Italian owner Costa Crociere, which is part of US cruise line giant Carnival Corp., said engineers, technicians and officials were flying to the Seychelles to repair the generators.
The passengers, including four children, are from 25 different nations, with the largest contingents being 127 from France and 126 from Italy. There are 38 Germans, 31 Britons, 13 Canadians and eight Americans on board.