Azamara Quest reached port in Malaysia under its own power on Sunday after an engine room fire Friday night left the ship adrift. Five crew members were injured fighting the blaze, and the 17-night cruise the ship was on has been canceled.
A statement from Azamara marked 9:23 p.m. local time (9:23 a.m. EDT) as the ship's official arrival into the port of Sandakan, where US and British embassies had consular teams in place to assist the 1,001 people onboard, according to reports.
A Coast Guard spokesman, Lt. Cdr. Algier Ricafrente, told the BBC that the Azamara Quest was carrying 590 passengers and 411 crew. The 590 passengers reportedly hail from 25 countries and include 201 Americans, 98 from Britain, 89 from Australia, 45 from Canada, 39 from Germany, 32 from Austria, 16 from Belgium, 14 from New Zealand and 14 from Switzerland.
According to Azamara, the conflagration started at approximately 8:19 p.m. ship's time (8:19 a.m. EDT) while Quest was en route from Manila, Philippines, to Sandakan, Malaysia.
The line says the fire was contained to the engine room and quickly extinguished, but five crew members were treated in the ship's medical facilities for smoke inhalation. The line said one crewmember, who was more seriously injured would be transferred to a local hospital. There are no reported injuries among the passengers onboard.
Engineers onboard Quest managed to get the ship back underway approximately 24 hours after the fire. Engineers managed to restore power to one of the engines overnight Friday, which brought most facilities back online, though, for a time, the ship was running only on generator power.
The ship was adrift southwest of the Philippines, and after crossing from Philippines into Malaysian waters early on Sunday traveling at a speed of six knots, the ship was escorted to Sandakan by a Malaysian patrol boat. Ambulances and police personnel were on hand and buses were waiting at the port to take passengers to various hotels, according to Associated Press reports.
Passenger Compensation and Travel Arrangements:
Upon arrival in Malaysia, the line offered guests the option of staying onboard the ship -- which reportedly has no air conditioning -- or "being transported to a local hotel until they continue on their vacation," according to a statement.
Azamara president and CEO Larry Pimentel is traveling to Malaysia, expected to arrive in Sandakan on Monday morning. Azamara is offering guests on the stricken ship a full refund for the cruise and a certificate for a future cruise worth 100 percent of the cruise fare paid for their March 26, 2012, Azamara Quest sailing.
With the remainder of the cruise being canceled, in addition to the refund and cruise certificate, Azamara has told x that guests have been provided with several options for extending their trips and returning home. All options include flights and bookings at a luxury hotel paid for by the line or, if guests have chosen to arrange their own travel, reimbursements for hotel stays of up to $300 per day. Additionally, each guest is entitled to compensation of $150 per day for meals and incidental costs. The line is covering the costs of flight itinerary changes up to $500, and is also providing guests with a refund for all airfare paid with relation to the original cruise. For those guests who stay in accommodation arranged by the line, an Azamara representative will be on hand to provide assistance.
The line has released regular statements concerning the incident both on its Facebook page and here on the x forums, where passengers are also posting accounts from the ship.
First-Hand Accounts from Our Forums:
Accounts from our members below provide further details concerning events onboard Quest:
Westaussie posted, "I am on board and wish to add that everything was handled very professionally. It really was a serious situation. Our muster station in the restaurant was full of smoke so we assembled in the casino where there was a little confusion and lack of space but things improved when we were allowed on deck. We returned to our cabins (in the dark) at about midnight and lights and toilets functioned at 3.45 a.m. [A] crew member is seriously injured and as of a couple of hours ago we are proceeding to Sandakan for his further medical attention. Passengers will also disembark there and be flown to Singapore. We have the choice of staying on there till the 12 April."
misterexec, who signed his post as Marc said, "I am writing this update fom Deck 5 of the Quest. For those of who do not have a balcony, the cabins are very hot and uncomfortable and many of us are sleeping on. Lounge chairs out here where we get a little breeze ... Food has been quite basic as the galley has limited power. Food has been cold sandwiches, fresh fruit and we had a BBQ deck party tonight. The chef has kept his sense of humor and while we were in the muster station I asked him what we would be eating from now on. He said smoked fish, smoked chicken and smoked beef! We needed a bit of comic relief at this point. Once we disembark, we will be flown to Singapore on chartered aircraft and then we will be assigned to hotels they are in the process of setting up.
The line has set up two dedicated numbers for questions regarding Azamara Quest: from the United States and Canada, the toll free number is 1.888.829.4050. From outside the United States the direct or collect line is 1.408.916.9001.
Quest began its 17-night sailing from Hong Kong, China, on Monday, March 26. The original itinerary was set to include port calls in Manila, Philippines; Sandakan (Sabah), Malaysia; Palapo (Sulawesi), Benoa (Bali), Semarang and Komodo, Indonesia and to conclude in Singapore on Thursday, April 12.