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Masqueraders at the 2011 Seychelles Carnival
Bacchanal time for Allegra
By Stephen Spark
Seychelles
Tuesday 28 February 2012 : 2:35 GMT

Seychelles Carnival may have a bigger audience than even the ambitious tourist board had bargained for. Within the next 24 hours, the crippled cruise ship Costa Allegra is expected to arrive in the picturesque harbour of Victoria, the island state's bijou capital. A fire in the engine room on Monday knocked out the power supply, leaving the ship helpless in the pirate-infested waters south of Somalia. Converted many years ago from a container ship, Costa Allegra is suffering the humiliation of being towed into port by a French fishing boat.

So it will be a fragrant cargo of over 1,000 passengers and crew who step off the ship on Wednesday, all in need of a shower after 48 hours on board in hot, humid weather without air conditioning or hot food.

The arrival of so many uninvited guests could prove something of a headache on the small island of Mahé. A spokesperson for the tourist board said they will try to find the refugees some temporary hotel accommodation. She told Soca News, "The passengers will stay overnight only and then leave the next day, that would be Thursday."

But SN reckons the Seychellois may have difficulty getting the passengers on to their flights. After all, who would willingly leave a 'paradise island' amid the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean when they have only just arrived - and with carnival due to start the following day? What better time to recruit more masqueraders to play sailor mas in Victoria on Saturday? And, we have to point out, the ship is owned by a division of a company called… Carnival!

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