The Costa cruise company is arranging for the quick return of the 636 passengers on board the disabled Allegra.

The Allegra, which lost engine power after a electrical fire on Monday, is currently being towed toward a port in the Seychelles by a French fishing trawler. Traveling at a speed of about six knots (roughly seven miles per hour), the Allegra is expected to reach the island of Mahé by 9 a.m. local time on Thursday.

Carnival, the parent company of the Italian cruise line, has arranged for three airplanes with room for 580 people to immediately fly from the Seychelles to Rome once the Allegra comes to port. An additional 400 hotel rooms have been reserved for guests, according to a Costa spokesperson.

While they wait, passengers are eating the ship's stores of cold food and making sandwiches from cold cuts, cheese and fresh bread which is being delivered daily by helicopter.

All of the the passengers are unharmed, safe and sheltered, but comfort on board the boat has become an issue.

According to Costa, bottled mineral water is being distributed for hygienic purposes. Engineers are still working to try to bring power back to the ship, and a small generator has been hooked up to run communication equipment, but the ship is still without electricity.

Passengers are relying on flashflights, and without air conditioning they are staying outdoors so that the slight breeze will cool the sweltering heat of the Indian Ocean, the National Post reported.

Costa sent an eight-person Care Team to the Allegra on Wednesday morning. The team will liaise between passengers and Seychelles customs officials. Carnival has already sent a team to Victoria, the capital of the Seychelles, to make sure that the repatriation process runs as smoothly as it can.

The company is sincerely sorry for the inconvenience: absolute priority is to make it as short as possible, the company stated.

Once all the passengers are safely home, the matter of compensating passengers for a lost vacation will undoubtedly arise.

Typically, they’ll do something, but they [Costa] aren’t required to. I’ve never seen the company not do the right thing, said Mark Murphy, chief executive of travel-industry group Travalliance.

After the Costa Concordia disaster off the coast of Italy last month, the company offered passengers a $14,500 compensation package. Still, a number of passengers have eschewed the deal and decided instead to sue the company for damages and lost property.


Costa's web tracker follows the ship route to the Seychelles