DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas to help Azamara Quest, international cruise ship that caught fire

Azamara Quest anchored off Santorini.Azamara Quest anchored off Santorini. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas has ordered the Philippine Coast Guard to deploy rescue vessels to the Sulu Sea to aid the crew and passengers of an international cruise ship that caught fire Friday night.
Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Deputy Administrator Atty. Nicasio A. Conti, citing reports that reached MARINA, said theAzamara Quest, owned by Florida-based Royal Caribbean Lines, caught fire at about 8:19 Friday night as the ship was sailing about 140 miles to its next port of call in Sandakan, Malaysia.
“The fire was contained to the engine room and was quickly extinguished. The atmosphere aboard is calm. However, as a cautionary measure, [the] captain brought all guests to their assembly stations. The ship is currently running on generator power until full power can be restored to the engine room,” Conti said.
There are no casualties, although one—a member of the crew—was injured and is now receiving medical care on board.
Most of the passengers on board the cruise are American and European tourists. At least 119 Filipinos form part of the ship’s crew, the report to MARINA said.
Roxas directed the Philippine Coast Guard to provide additional assistance to the Azamara Quest.
Vice Admiral Edmund C. Tan, Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard, said four vessels were immediately deployed to aid the cruise ship.
“Since the ship was within [the] Philippines’ waters, our Coast Guard sent four of its vessels to assist the crew of Azamara Quest. They will also provide us with regular updates on the ship’s condition,” Tan said.
The ship, which left Manila last Thursday, had 600 passenger-tourists. The cruise was in its Manila to Indonesia leg when the fire broke out.
“The crew reported fire out. The priority now is to restore power because the ship, as per our latest report, is drifting. We were told that as soon as power is fully restored, they can operate their propulsion and sail to Sandakan in Sabah,” Tan said.
The Azamara Quest is on a 17-night sail that departed Hong Kong last Monday. It includes ports of call to Manila, Philippines; Sandakan (Sabah), Malaysia; and Palapo (Sulawesi), Benoa (Bali), Semarang, and Komodo, Indonesia, and concludes in Singapore on Thursday, April 12.
The Azamara Quest website said the ship can carry about 710 passengers (double occupancy) plus 410 crew members (1:2 staff to guest ratio).