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Costa Allegra gets a tow under armed guard

A cruise ship carrying more than 1,000 passengers and crew is being towed to safety in the Seychelles - picturesque islands in the Indian Ocean - after a fire in the generator room knocked out power to the hulking vessel and left it drifting in the pirate-infested waters on Monday.

The view from an Indian reconnaissance plane showed passengers and crew gathered on the deck of the crippled Costa Allegra cruise liner as it drifted without power.

Officials say the ship is expected to dock on Thursday.

International forces have been battling pirates in the area since a spike in attacks two years ago, and an armed anti-pirate unit aboard the stricken ship is providing protection until a military escort can get it back to safety.

Eight Americans are among the 636 passengers and 413 crew members on board.

There's emergency lighting, but no air conditioning or cooking facilities. The stifling heat has forced passengers to sleep on deck.

The president's office in the Seychelles confirms to CBS News that the nation's government is coordinating the with cruise officials on the rescue effort.

It's the latest episode in what has already been a disastrous year for Costa Cruises and its parent company, Carnival.

Dive teams are still pulling bodies out of the Costa Concordia, which capsized off the coast of Italy last month, killing at least 25 people. Two Americans are still unaccounted for.

And just last weekend armed bandits robbed passengers from the Carnival Splendor who had docked in Mexico for a tour.

To see Charlie D'Agata's report, click on the video in the player above.