A crippled Costa cruise liner with more than 1,000 people on board arrived at the capital of Seychelles on Thursday after three days at sea without power.
A French tuna fishing boat towed the stricken Costa Allegra towards the port in Victoria, where a line of ambulances, a Red Cross medical team and a fleet of small buses awaited the arrival of the liner.
The Costa Allegra, which is owned by the company whose giant liner smashed into rocks off Italy last month, suffered an engine-room fire which knocked out the ship's main power supply on Monday, disabling the engines in waters prowled by pirates.
A team from Costa Cruises, a unit of the U.S. cruise line giant Carnival Corp., boarded the Costa Allegra on Wednesday to make arrangements for hotel accommodation and onward flights for the 636 passengers and 413 crew once they land.
More than 600 airline seats and 400 rooms had been reserved, the cruise company said.
Costa Cruises said 376 passengers out of 627 had accepted its offer to continue their holiday in the Seychelles, where a carnival kicks off on Friday, at the firm's expense. The other passengers will fly home.
With the liner still a few km (miles) from the port, the passengers' luggage had already been put onto other vessels, brought ashore and loaded aboard buses lined up to take the tourists to their hotels.
The passengers, including four children, are from 25 different nations, with the largest contingents being 127 from France and 126 from Italy. There are also 38 Germans, 31 Britons, 13 Canadians and eight Americans on board.
(Reporting by George Thande; Editing by David Clarke)