msc-opera-scrapes-into-river-countess
The MSC Opera scrapes into Uniworld's River Countess

Captain of MSC ship who crashed into Uniworld’s River Countess is fined

The captain of an MSC ship which made headlines after it crashed into a Uniworld river ship in Venice, has been been fined.

Cruise Passenger originally reported the captain of the MSC Opera was jailed, but an Italian court overruled the decision and now Captain Carmine Siviero and several other crew members have been slapped with a undisclosed fine.

“MSC Cruises wishes to clarify that the sentences that have been issued indicate that the alleged offense was deemed a minor one by the Italian legal code. As such, all defendants were able to commute their sentences into monetary fines. No one will serve any time and no one has admitted liability. In fact, this leaves MSC Cruises free to pursue other avenues of action to uncover what it believes to be the true causes of the incident and its employees can continue their professional lives,” said an MSC spokesperson.

In June 2019, the MSC Opera was approaching the cruise terminal of one of Europe’s busiest ports when the ship failed to slow down and video shows the ship sailing into Uniworld’s River Countess before hitting the seawall.

Footage shows passengers aboard the River Countess running to safety and a number of people were reported to have sustained minor injuries.

The criminal case, which was heard in court in Italy, had experts telling the court that there were several mistakes made by the crew that led to the incident.

But MSC told the court there were design flaws in the cruise ship and sought to blame the ship’s builder, Chantiers de l’Atlantique.

Among the issues cited by the experts was the failure by the chief engineer and chief electrician to address a warning signal of a possible failure on the main electrical switchboard onboard the cruise ship that related to the power supply to the ship engine and steering controls on the bridge.

When they failed to address it, the bridge controls went on to emergency backups for their power supply.

MSC have said the alarm failed to show up on the monitoring system blaming it on a design flaw in the surveillance system.

The experts also told the court that the ship was travelling above the designated speed during parts of its transit in the canal as it sailed towards the dock.

There were two tugs assisting the ship as it neared the dock nearly an hour after the system failure.

The emergency power system, which was designed to last for a maximum of 30 minutes, failed as the ship neared the dock, leaving the bridge incapable of manoeuvring and regulating the ship’s speed.

It was reported the two tugs did everything they could to slow the cruise ship and steer it to prevent a more serious impact. The captains of the tug were both exonerated.

Insurance claims pending from the accident are also in the process of being settled. Uniworld, owners of the River Countess, has filed a nearly $14 million claim for the damages the vessel suffered as well as the lost revenues while the river cruise ship was out of service for repairs.

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