5 Dec 2002

Fire crippled luxury liner back in port in Tahiti

7:31 pm on 5 December 2002

The luxury cruise liner, Windsong, which caught fire earlier this week near Raiatea in French Polynesia, has been towed into Papeete port.

The ship's 127 passengers were lifted off the craft soon after the fire began, while some staff stayed to try and contain the fire.

Yesterday they were joined by firefighters from the French Navy who extinguished the fire in a matter of hours.

The fire meant the ship's engines could not be used, but three Navy vessels towed it back to Papeete.

A spokesman for the French High Commission in Papeete, Christian Jouve, says the ship may to taken to New Zealand for a complete assessment of the damage caused by the fire.

French officials say that oil leaking onto a hot engine is the most likely cause of the fire.