The vessel, carrying some 600 passengers and a crew of 400+ is now underway to the port of Sandakan, in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah after the fire was extinguished. The ship is operating under minimal emergency power and is being escorted by a Philippine Navy ship. When the ship reaches Malaysian waters, the Malaysian Coast Guard will escort the cruise-ship to Sandakan.
COMMENT: The remainder of the cruise has been canceled. Consequently, the cruise-line is helping the passengers, mostly Americans and Western Europeans, with onward reservations.
The fire at sea was the latest in a string of cruise ship accidents. Thirty-two people died when the "Costa Concordia" ran aground and capsized off the western coast of Italy in January and a fire on the "Costra Allegra" left the ship stranded in waters patrolled by pirates in the Indian Ocean for three days in February. Both ships were run by Costa Crociere, SpA, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise operator.
Additionally, see my posting of February 24, 2012, which describes the robbery of 22 Carnival passengers in Mexico, while on a line-sponsored jungle hike.
The "Azamara Quest" was on a 17-night cruise and had departed Hong Kong on Monday (March 23) with port calls to Manila, Balikpapan (Borneo), Palapo (Sulawesi), Benoa Bali, Semarang and Komodo in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Also see my numerous postings on how to select a safe and healthy cruise-ship.