May 6, 2006

Fire-damaged cruise liner towed to British port

LONDON (Reuters) - A cruise ship which caught fire off the
coast of southeast England with 708 people on board was under
tow on Saturday and will dock at the port of Southampton in the
early evening, a British coastguard official said.

He said there were no reports that any crew or passengers,
who were mostly Dutch, had sustained injuries and the 11,162
ton Calypso was making good progress in calm seas.

Rescue services were scrambled in the early hours after a
distress call was received at about 0300 GMT from the ship.

Lifeboats and a coastguard helicopter were sent to the
stricken liner but crew members had put out the fire in the
engine room before they arrived.

"They smothered the engine room with CO2, which is normal
procedure, and they have managed to extinguish the fire," said
an official in the port of Dover, where the coastguard is
coordinating the rescue.

"There are no injuries to passengers or crew. The majority
of the passengers are Dutch," Mark Rodaway, duty area
coastguard officer, added.

The liner is being towed to port by a tug because its
engine cannot be restarted.

The Calypso was heading from the English port of Tilbury to
St Peter Port in Guernsey in the Channel.

According to travel Web sites, the ship was built in 1968,
has 243 cabins and can carry up to 593 passengers.