WATCH: Evacuation Of High End Luxury Cruise Ship In Italy

The Sea Dream I, a luxury cruise ship operated by SeaDream Yacht Club, suddenly caught fire Thursday with 166 people aboard while the ship was off the coast of Calabria, in southern Italy.

Italian Cruise Ship Disaster: The Untold Stories
Related Media: National Geographic’s Italian Cruise Ship Disaster: The Untold Stories

The passengers and crew were quickly rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and transferred to the Siremar ferry “Vulcano Island” – reports the Italian media. The cause of the engine fire is unknown but reports indicate that the vessels CO2 fixed firefighting system extinguished the flames.

Cruise law reports that the fire occurred around 2:00 AM local time on September 1st and completely disabled the ship.  The ship was reportedly not evacuated until later in the afternoon around 12 hours after the fire. 

The ship was built in 1984 and has a tonnage of 4,253 GT, a length: 355 ft (108 m) and a beam: 47 ft (14 m). 

Sea Dream was voted “World’s Best Small Cruise Ship” by the Dream Luxury Cruises Vencedor Awards: in 2015, as well as ranking high in the 2015 Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.