March 18th will go down as one of the most tragic days for the cruise industry and one of deadliest since the Costa Concordia disaster in 2012.
There have been multiple fatalities including passengers from the Costa Fascinosa and the MSC Splendida both from European based cruise lines. During shore excursions put on for both cruise ships that were docked at the Tunisian capital of Tunis a visit to the cities Bardo National Museum was included. As soon as the cruise lines were aware of the terrorist attack on the popular tourist attraction all shore excursions were cancelled and told to return back to their respected cruise ships. Also as a result security at the port of La Goulette was stepped up to keep passengers safe.
SEE ALSO: Costa Fascinosa – As Events Unfolded
SEE ALSO: MSC Splendida – As Events Unfolded
Throughout the day as the incident took place details were constantly changing and many cruise passengers were missing. There were 13 guests missing from the Costa Fascinosa and the cruise line went into full alert by sending a care team to the city and keeping in communication with Tunisian authorities. The ships original departure time was delayed until 1:55 the following morning on March 19th. It now seems that a total of 5 passengers from the Costa Fascinosa lost their lives during the attack. 4 Italians and 1 Russian was among the victims and Costa Cruises is providing support to families and loved ones. The cruise line has also stated that there are still 8 passengers injured and are receiving care in Tunisian hospitals.
— Nightline (@Nightline) March 18, 2015
Costa Cruises has given passengers onboard the Fascinosa the chance to disembark the vessel when calling at Palma de Mallorca on Friday March 20. Costa has offered to cover the expense to get home in memory of the victims. The Italian based cruise line has also observed a minute silence at its headquarters in Genoa, Italy and across the company. Entertainment activities have also been suspended in respect of the tragic event. Another cruise ship that was docked on March 18th was the MSC Splendida which is operated by private cruise line MSC Cruises. Just like the Costa Fascinosa the same tours gave guests the chance to visit the country’s oldest Museum. Cruise Hive is again also said to report that a total of 12 MSC passengers were killed during the attacks, the victims are 2 Colombians, 3 French, 3 Japanese, 2 Spanish, 1 British and 1 Belgian which the cruise line has now confirmed. The captain of the MSC cruise ship also cancelled all tours to bring back passengers and keep them safe. There are also still 13 passengers that are injured and getting medical care in local Hospitals. A couple who were also visiting the museum on one of the tours were forced to hide overnight and were later found. One of them was pregnant and was taken to Hospital to be checked. The MSC Splendida departed Tunis at around 7 AM the following morning and continued on its course to Barcelona, Spain.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 20, 2015
— imagenature (@imagenature) March 19, 2015
MSC Cruises has stated that the following remaining calls to Tunisia over the summer will affect 4 cruise ships in the fleet. MSC Splendida will call at Valletta, in Malta, MSC Fantasia will call at Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca, MSC Preziosa will call at Cagliari, in Sardinia and MSC Divina will call at Valletta a day earlier and head directly to Corfu, Greece.
It has been a tragic time for the cruise industry and while executives and cruise professionals were mingling at one of the years most important events, Cruise Shipping Miami 2015 this will remind us all safety is no.1.