Cruise ship fixed, sets sail for Malaysia

Posted at 04/01/2012 11:22 AM | Updated as of 04/01/2012 11:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The luxury cruise ship MV Azamara Quest is now on its way to Sandakan, Malaysia after engineers on board successfully restored propulsion to the ship, the Azamara company announced. 

In its latest travel alert, the company said Azamara Quest is "currently located 100 nautical miles from Sandakan (Sabah), Malaysia, and is traveling at a speed of approximately six knots."

The ship is expected to arrive in Sandakan at 10 p.m. on Sunday.

The engine room of the MV Azamara Quest caught fire at 8:19 p.m. last Friday around 75 nautical miles from the Tubbataha Reef.

Engineers on board were unable to restore power to the air conditioning compressors, however. Despite this, the Azamara company noted that "guest sentiment on board continues to be calm and upbeat."

Radio dzmm reported that the Philippine Coast Guard escorted the Azamara Quest until the Philippine-Malaysia boundary.

The PCG also contacted the Malaysia Maritime Authority, who will then escort the ship to Sandakan.

Azamara Club Cruises president and chief executive officer Larry Pimentel is already on his way to Sandakan, where he will meet with the Azamara Quest guests and crews personally.

The company also announced that because of the damage caused by the fire, they will cancel the rest of the Azamara Quest's voyage once the ship arrives in Sandakan.

"The fire was contained to that engine room and was quickly extinguished. There was no injuries of guests reported and the atmosphere aboard is calm," the company said.

"Unfortunately, five crew members onboard the ship suffered smoke inhalation during the fire. The crew members are being treated in our medical facility. However, one crew member is more seriously injured and requires additional and urgent medical attention that can only be provided in a hospital. Once the ship arrives in Sandakan, the crew member will be immediately transported to a local area hospital," it added.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deployed three ships to provide assistance to the ship and its passengers, said Major Neil Estrella, spokesman of the AFP Western Mindanao Command.

Azamara Quest is currently on a 17-night sailing that departed Hong Kong, China, on March 26, and includes port calls to Manila, Philippines; Balikpapan (Borneo), Palapo (Sulawesi), Benoa Bali, Semarang and Komodo, Indonesia and concludes in Singapore on Thursday, April 12.

There are 119 Filipino crew members on board the MV Azamara Quest. -- With a report from Dexter Ganibe, dzmm and ANC.