GNV Rhapsody ferry accidents and incidents

GNV Rhapsody ferry cruise ship

Former names
SNCM Napoleon Bonaparte

Length (LOA)
162 m / 531 ft

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CruiseMapper's GNV Rhapsody ferry cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 2448-passenger vessel owned by GRANDI NAVI VELOCI (Ferries). Our GNV Rhapsody ferry accidents page contains reports made by using official data from renown online news media sources, US Coast Guard and Wikipedia.

Here are also reported latest updates on cruise law news related to ashore and shipboard crimes still investigated by the police. Among those could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • ship collision - 2011 (with Girolata ferry in Marseille France)
  • moorings failure and pier collision/allision - 2012 (Port Marseille)

The vessel was previously operated under the names MS Napoleon Bonaparte (1996-2014 by SNCM) and GNV Rhapsody (since 2014 by GNV).

21 September 2017Other Incidents

On September 21, 2017, was announced that GNV accepted an agreement with the Spanish Ministry of Home Affairs to charter the ferry as a hotel ship in Port Barcelona. The ferry was used for housing thousands of police officers deployed in Barcelona to suppress the Catalans rioting towards independence referendum.

According to online media sources, the ship housed some of the total 16,000 police and security forces. They were deployed in advance of the scheduled for October 1 (2017) referendum - passed by the Parliament of Catalonia but declared illegal by Spain’s highest court. These forces were used to control pro-independence campaigners, as well as for arrests of local officials and raids of Catalonia-government offices prior to the referendum.

In addition to GNV Rhapsody, Spain also chartered two other ferries (Moby Dada and GNV Azzurra) to accommodate the riot police. The vessels were cleared to stay until October 5.

  • Moby Dada was berthed at Prince of Spain Dock, accommodating around 1000 people.
  • GNV Rhapsody was berthed at Lepant Dock, accommodating around 2000 people.
  • GNV Azzurra was berthed at Port de Tarragona, accommodating around 800 people.

On September 22, 2017, Port Barcelona stevedores (dockworkers) voted not to supply the berthed hotel ships accommodating police reinforcements. According to internal sources, the port had no choice and admitted the liners as they were considered State vessels.

26 May 2017Other Incidents

On May 26 and 27, 2017, the boat was chartered as a hotel ship for the Taormina G7 Summit (43rd G7 summit held in Taormina Sicily).

27 October 2012Ship Collision / Allision

(MS Napoleon Bonaparte) On October 27, 2012, the ship was docked off Port Marseille (Pier 116). Due to strong winds, the ferry broke its moorings (steel cables attached to bollards) and hit the quay.

The collision caused a crack in the hull's aft starboard side and started to regress water. Pumping works started a few days later. The engine room was also flooded. After the initial drydock repairs at Chantier Naval de Marseille shipyard, the ship remained laid-up in Port Marseille for 2 years, waiting for a prospective buyer.

Note: Actually, this type of marine accident is called “allision” (striking a fixed object) as opposed to “collision” (striking another vessel).

On the evening of October 27, the northwest wind unusually turned westwards. The ship's bow thrusters were activated to press it against the dock. Despite this, due to severe gusts (speeds up to 150 kph / 90 mph), the forward / bow moorings broke. A tugboat tried to assist, but the ship continued to deviate from the wharf and its rear moorings also broke. The ferry was driven by violent squalls in the turning basin and subsequently hit pier 40 with its aft starboard side. The allision resulted in below waterline damage (at the engine room's level) and water ingress.

On the morning of October 28, due to continuing strong winds, the ship reported 20-degree heel / listing to starboard. Assisted by 2 tugboats, the ferry was secured back to the pier. A sheet of steel was welded to cover the gash in the hull. Then was started the pumping of thousands of tons of seawater from the flooded compartments.

On January 9, 2013, the ship was towed to Pier 8, where the breached hull was repaired. On January 24, it was towed and moored at Pier 10, The diesel engines were dismantled for inspection. To replace the damaged boat, SNCM chartered for 18 months the GNV Excelsior ferry.

Due to the high cost of repairs, on February 18, 2014, the ship was sold to SNCM's insurance company for EUR 60 million.

On April 10, 2014, the vessel was purchased by MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) for EUR 7 million. Renamed to "GNV Rhapsody", it left Marseille-Fos Port on May 8, towed towards Naples Italy. After months of drydock repairs (in Genoa), the ferry joined the GNV fleet in July 2015, serving the Italy-Albania route from August.

26 August 2011Ship Collision / Allision

(MS Napoleon Bonaparte) On August 26, 2011, upon entering Port Marseille, the ship struck the ferry Girolata (owned by Minoan Lines).

Both ships sustained minor hull damages and resumed service on Aug 27, following inspections.

06 December 2010Pirates / Terrorist Attacks

(MS Napoleon Bonaparte) In the period December 6-9, 2010, the ship participated in a maritime counter-terrorism exercise. It started on December 6 midnight, when a group of "terrorists" took control of the ferry, carrying a total of 231 passengers and 85 crew.

The ship was taken hostage for 48 hours until GIGN (elite tactical unit of the French National Gendarmerie) and marine commandos took possession of the vessel. The exercise ended with a total of 22 killed and 14 injured. Among the "killed" was the Captain, 2 passengers, and 14 terrorists.

In total, nearly 550 people participated in the exercise, which purpose was to verify the effectiveness and coordination of the French forces after real pirates captured Le Ponant yacht in 2008.

28 December 1999Other Incidents

(MS Napoleon Bonaparte) On December 28, 1999, a severe westerly storm in the Mediterranean prevented the ship from entering the harbor of Ajaccio (Corsica Island). The ship was carrying around 1500 passengers.

Due to strong gusts, all the attempts for docking were unsuccessful. To all ferry passengers were offered complimentary lunch and dinner meals. On December 29, after ~36 hours at sea, the boat finally managed to berth at Port Ajaccio. On the same day, with around 800 passengers and cruising at low speed, the ship left Corsica towards homeport Marseille.

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