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Fire-damaged luxury cruise ship sails to Malaysia

Fire-damaged luxury cruise ship sails to Malaysia

PanARMENIAN.Net - A fire-damaged luxury cruise ship carrying hundreds of American, European and Australian passengers was Sunday, April 1 sailing slowly into Malaysian waters after engine repairs, the Philippine coast guard said, according to AFP.

The U.S.-based Azamara Quest, which had been adrift after an engine room blaze on Friday, was under escort from Philippine naval vessels and was expected to arrive in the port of Sandakan in Sabah, Borneo, late in the day.

The fire injured five crew members and paralysed the 1809-metre (592 foor) vessel in the Sulu Sea about 200 miles (320 kms) off the coast of Balikpapan, on the Indonesian section of Borneo.

There were 590 mostly American and European passengers on board as well as a crew of 411, the Philippine coast guard said. The Australian foreign ministry said 89 of the holidaymakers were Australian citizens.

The engine room blaze late Friday was the latest in a string of accidents to have hit the luxury cruise industry in the past two months.

In January, the Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia ran aground off Tuscany, killing 32 people after it keeled over.

A month later a fire struck the Costa Concordia's sister ship Costa Allegra in the Indian Ocean. The vessel, which was carrying more than 1,000 people, had to be towed to shore by a French fishing boat.

The Malta-flagged Azamara, described on its website as a 30,277-tonne vessel, left Hong Kong on Monday for a 17-night voyage. It left Manila, its first stop, on Wednesday, and had been on its way to Borneo.

The Malta transport authority said in a statement it had launched an investigation into the incident, to be conducted by Transport Malta's Marine Safety Investigation Unit.

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