Costa Allegra, a cruise ship with 1,000 people on board, had a fire in the engine room. The cruise ship, stranded in Somali pirate waters, is now being towed to the Seychelles.
Indian Navy via Seychelles Office of the President/AP
An engine room fire on the Costa Allegra knocked out the ship's main power supply, leaving it adrift with more than a thousand people on board in waters vulnerable to pirate attacks.
Costa Cruises said an earlier plan to tow the vessel to the nearest island of Desroches had been aborted because security conditions for mooring the ship and offloading the passengers and crew "would not have been assured".
Two tugs were approaching the cruise ship to assist the Seychelles-based tuna purse-seiner Trevignon pulling the Costa Allegra, which is now due to arrive at the main island Mahe on Thursday morning.
"Helicopters will ensure continuous supply of food, comfort items, flashlights in order to mitigate guests' discomfort given the difficult conditions on board," Costa Cruises spokesman Davide Barbano said in a statement.
An evacuation off Desroches Island would have presented the ship owner and local authorities with a tricky and expensive logistical operation.
The 636 passengers and 413 crew would have had to use the ship's lifeboats to land on the exclusive coral-fringed island, where Prince William and his then girlfriend, Kate Middleton, stayed a few years ago.
Ferries or a fleet of small private planes would most likely then have shuttled the passengers to Mahe.
"Logistics and hotels on the island are not enough. It would require ... an immediate transfer from Desroches to Mahe," Barbano said.
Seychelles authorities still face a logistical headache finding accommodation in Mahe for all those onboard.
"Right now we are in consultation with the hotels on Mahe to find out how many beds are available. It's a busy time of year," Srdjana Janosevic, spokeswoman for the Seychelles presidency, told Reuters.