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Luxury boutique river cruise line Uniworld is suing MSC Cruises for nearly $19 million in damages after one of the ocean line’s ships crashed into the River Countess while it was docked in Venice in June.

In a press release, Uniworld’s CEO Ellen Betridge said: “We are extremely disappointed with the unprofessional manner in which MSC has decided to ignore the gravity of the situation, which has disrupted our guests, our partners and our team.

“Aside from the severe damage to our ship [River Countess], we were forced to cancel 14 voyages, frustrating our guests and travel partners during the peak summer season.”

Uniworld has estimated that it has lost an excess of around $19 million and that includes passenger reimbursement, ship damage, lost revenue and the protection of travel agent commissions.

“We do not like to litigate but have been compelled to do so based on the stonewalling and delays by MSC and its representatives — even after receiving a letter of guarantee by their own insurance agency, West of England,” said Ms Bettridge.

“We expect more and better from a fellow member of the cruise industry and regret having to go to court to seek fitting remedy.”

In a statement to Travel Weekly, MSC’s statement said: “MSC Cruises has been working constructively with all parties and their legal advisors since shortly after the incident and has been facilitating a close cooperation between those involved including their insurers.

“As liability in this matter is still under investigation by the responsible authorities, it is inappropriate to comment further at this stage. MSC Cruises is committed to continuing to cooperate fully in order to resolve this matter.”

The suit was filed in Admiralty Court in the Queen’s Bench Division of The English High Court Of Justice.

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