Latest Stories

Fire-hit cruise ship adrift off Philippine waters

By ,
, ,

Luxury ship Azamara Quest, carrying about 600 European and American tourists, docks in Pier 15, South Harbor in Manila, Wednesday. The ship is adrift off Tawi-Tawi Saturday after a minor fire that injured at least five persons. FRANCES MANGOSING/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines–Five people were  injured when fire hit a luxury cruise ship with about 600 mostly American and European tourists off Philippine waters and has since been adrift, authorities said Saturday.

Vice Admiral Edmund Tan of the Philippine Coast Guard identified one of the injured as Juan Carlos Rivera Escobar, a crew member of the Azamara Quest, although his nationality has not been confirmed.

The fire, whose origin has yet to be determined, disabled two engines of the Azamara Quest late Thursday while it was en route to the Sabah port of Sandakan, Department of Transportation spokesman Nicasio Conti said on radio.

“The fire has been put out but they cannot start the two engines so it is now adrift between Palawan [island] and Zamboanga [port],” Conti added.

In a separate interview, Colonel Jose Cenabre, deputy naval commander for Western Mindanao, said the ship was sailing 45 miles northeast of Mapun Island when the fire broke out.

Cenabre said the Philippine Air Force in Western Mindanao has dispatched a plane to the area and a fishing vessel, which was near the ship’s location was also asked to assist in the evacuation of the passengers and the ship’s 121 crew, mostly Filipinos.

“Rescue is underway,” he said.

Coast Guard to escort cruise ship

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard dispatched a rescue vessel while the Azamara Quest’s operators, Miami, Florida-based Royal Caribbean International, sent a tugboat to the area in the middle of the Sulu Sea, the spokesman added.

Lieutenant Colonel Omar Tonsay said the Philippine Navy sent its assets, including Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Emilio Liwanag, Leogivildo Gantioque, Juan Magluyan, and one multi-purpose assault craft for assistance operations.

In a travel alert by the Azamara Club Cruises posted in its website (March 30 12noon ET), the fire started on the engine room March 30 8:19 p.m. ship’s time.

The mood onboard was “calm.”

Also, “in an abundance of caution, the Captain deemed it necessary to muster all guests at their assembly stations. The ship is currently running on emergency power until full power can be restored to the engine room,” the statement said.

The Malta-flagged cruise liner is described on its website as a 30,277-ton vessel with 355 crew members and a maximum passenger capacity of 694.

It is currently on a 17-night sailing that departed Hong Kong, China, on Monday, March 26, with port calls to Manila, Philippines; Balikpapan (Borneo), Palapo (Sulawesi), Benoa Bali, Semarang and Komodo, Indonesia and will end in Singapore on Thursday.

Agence France-Presse; Associated Press

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: accidents , Azamara Quest , Fire , Shipping , Waterway and Maritime Accidents

  • imongredneck

    The Abbu Sayaff must be praising their god now, for the boat load of bounty going their way.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • 14 killed in car bombing in Homs
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Marketplace