Five crew members were injured when fire hit a foreign cruise ship carrying more than 700 people in waters between the Philippines and Malaysia on Saturday morning, the Philippine Navy said.

Commodore Rustom Pena, commander of the Naval Forces West based in Palawan, said they recieved a report that five crew members of the Azamara Quest were hurt, but did not need to be evacuated.

The five inhaled smoke during the fire, Azamara Club Cruises, the troubled ship’s company, said on its website.

“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,” it said, adding that the crew member will be transported to a hospital once the ship arrives in Sandakan, Malaysia.

Lieutenant Col. Omar Tonsay, Navy spokesman, said they recieved a report on the fire while the Azamara Quest was 45 miles northeast of Sandakan.

Azamara Quest, which came from Manila and was bound to Indonesia that time, was reportedly carrying 600 American and European passengers and 121 Filipino crew members, he said.

The Navy deployed three vessels – the BRP Emilio Liwanag, BRP Leogivildo Gantioque, and BRP Juan Magluyan – and a multi-purpose assault craft from Zamboanga and Palawan to assist the troubled cruise ship.

Azamara Club Cruises said one of the ship’s engine rooms caught fire past 8 p.m., ship time.

As of 6 p.m. EST (7 a.m. in Manila), “Azamara Quest is still located 200 miles off the coast of Balikpapan (Borneo), Indonesia, in calm seas,” the company said.

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

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

“The damage caused by the fire will require us to cancel the rest of Azamara Quest’s voyage once the ship arrives in Sandakan,” the company said. (John Roson)

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