MSC Magnifica accidents and incidents

MSC Magnifica cruise ship


Length (LOA)
294 m / 965 ft

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CruiseMapper's MSC Magnifica cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 3007-passenger vessel owned by MSC Cruises. Our MSC Magnifica 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • pier collision/allision - 2013 (Piraeus-Athens Greece), 2017 (Civitavecchia-Rome Italy)
  • pollution in Brazil - 2014
  • MSC Cruises bad publicity - 2014 (“slave-like working conditions”), 2014 (fined in Brazil for illegal dumping of garbage into the sea)
  • deaths - overboard (2015), 2017 (murder)
  • injuries/crimes - drug busts (2013-crew, 2015)

19 December 2021Other Incidents

On December 19, 2021, MSC canceled Magnifica's schedule between December 19, 2021, and January 14, 2022 (including). The affected itineraries were all in Northern Europe (7-day itineraries) leaving roundtrip from Hamburg (Germany), Southampton (England UK), Le Havre-Paris (France), Zeebrugge (Belgium), and IJmuiden-Amsterdam (Netherlands).

The cancellations were due to new travel restrictions (effective since Dec 19th) approved by several countries (including Germany) that resulted in banning British tourists due to the increasing number of infected with the Omicron COVID variant in the UK. All booked customers and travel agents were emailed that MSC is currently not allowed to mix British and German cruisers.

MSC Magnifica's Northern European program started on November 14 (2021), officially with homeporting in Hamburg and optional embarkation/debarkation in England, France, Belgium, and Holland.

Note: On November 29, 2021, the UK officially prohibited cruise passengers to leave the ship in British ports of call, excepting only the homeport (if the itinerary is roundtrip from Southampton).

March 2020Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

(Coronavirus issues) On March 14, 2020, due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, MSC Cruises suspended operations fleetwide and Magnifica's "MSC World Cruise 2020" was altered (as itinerary) and rescheduled to end early. The vessel was among the very last cruise liners still navigating the oceans and carrying passengers. On April 15, the ship was transitting the Suez Canal, returning back to Europe with a total of 1771 passengers on board. The other two "world cruise ships" still carrying all their passengers were Costa Deliziosa and Pacific Princess.

On March 22 was reported that the ship has 250 suspected cases - people experiencing flu-like symptoms, which are similar to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The ship was planned to arrive at Port Fremantle (Perth, Western Australia) to disembark these "patients" for hospitalization and quarantine. However, on March 23, Australia denied port entry and debarkation. On March 24 was also denied entry into Dubai (UAE). On April 20, MSC Magnifica disembarked its passengers in Marseille Fos Port (France).

Actually, MSC Magnifica didn't have any Coronavirus cases onboard - neither among the passengers or the staff-crew. The "250 suspected cases" were initially announced by Western Australia's Premier (Mark McGowan). Later, this information was corrected as those were passengers who visited the ship's Infirmary (in a 2-week period) for issues not related to virus infections.  Before reaching Port Fremantle, the ship was allowed to disembark several hundred cruisers in the Australian ports Sydney (NSW) and Melbourne (Victoria). The entry in Fremantle, however, was denied, although the vessel was already off Fremantle on March 25. After leaving Australia, Magnifica made a technical stop (for provisioning and fuelling) in Colombo (Sri Lanka) on April 6. In Port Colombo was disembarked a 75-year-old female passenger experiencing heart problems. The elderly German woman subsequently died in the hospital.

For the World Voyage's originally planned ports of call and port times, you can see at Magnifica's review page (wiki section). The cruise liner was mastered by Captain Roberto Leotta.

19 April 2017Ship Collision / Allision

(pier collision) On April 19, 2017, while leaving homeport Civitavecchia-Rome (Italy), the vessel collided with the quay.

Following the contact with the pier, the ship suffered hull damages, but fortunately without flooding (water ingress), water pollution and injuries.

Following the accident, two tugboats assisted the ship to dock again for Italian Coast Guard inspection and damage assessments. The pier collision was caused by a sudden and rapid wind shift – from 9 to 41 kN (17-76 kph / 10-47 mph) in less than 1 min. As a result, the cruise ship was pushed to the quay and hit its stone wall.

The vessel had to stay in port overnight for repairs. As a result of the incident, the scheduled itinerary was changed – Ajaccio (Corsica Island, France) was dropped. As a precaution, all cruise ships in Civitavecchia (on April 19 and 20) were ordered to maneuver with tug assistance only.

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

23 February 2017Crew / Passenger Deaths

(murder) On February 23, 2017, a 45-year-old male passenger was arrested by Italian authorities. The man (Daniel Belling, a German citizen living in Dublin Ireland, IT consultant), father of 2 boys (aged 4 and 6) and his wife (Li Yinglei, 36-year-old, of Chinese descent) boarded the cruise ship together.

The 12-day Eastern Mediterranean cruise (itinerary Feb 9-20) was roundtrip from homeport Civitavecchia-Rome to Greece Islands and Malta. Foul play was suspected after the woman disappeared on Feb 10 and the husband didn’t report the incident.

The Italian police were alerted by the ship’s crew after noticing a discrepancy in the number of disembarking passengers. The man was arrested at Ciampino Airport after attempting (together with his children) to board the flight to Dublin.

On Feb 24, in a Rome court, he was charged with murder. However, according to Belling’s statement, he last saw his wife when the ship docked in Katakolon Greece. Later, she had gone (while he was on an outing with the kids), along with her suitcase and mobile phone, thus claiming she is not dead, but a missing person.

(law news) On March 25, at port Rimini (northeast Italy, Adriatic Sea) was discovered a suitcase with the remains of a female body wrapped up in a bin-bag. The Italian police examined the theory that the missing woman was murdered by her husband, placed in a suitcase and thrown overboard.

18 June 2016Other Incidents

On June 18, 2016, while the ship was docked in homeport Venice Italy, a security guard’s gun went through the onboard metal detectors. One of the ship’s security staff picked it up and accidentally fired a shot. The bullet ricocheted off the floor and got stuck in a wall. The incident happened during passenger boarding.

Note: Excepting Costa and MSC, cruise lines don’t allow their onboard security personnel to carry guns.

18 August 2015Crew / Passenger Deaths

(overboard) On August 18, 2015, a 23-year-old female passenger was reported missing and presumed fell overboard. The woman (of Chinese origin) went overboard while the ship was en-route from Katakolon Greece to Izmir Turkey.

The conducted by Greece Coast Guard search operation in the Aegean Sea (between the Greek islands Kea, Kythnos, and Chios) was unsuccessful in finding the body. The incident occurred during 7-day Eastern Mediterranean cruise roundtrip from homeport Venice Italy.

05 May 2015Crew / Passenger Deaths

On May 5, 2015, in call port Katakolon (Greece), an 86-year-old male passenger (suffering from dementia) was reported missing. CCTV cameras showed the man (of French origin) disembarking the ship at 8:30 am. He was reported “lost” by his wife when she returned from ashore and didn’t find him on board.

14 March 2015Drug Smuggling

On March 24, 2015, in Sao Paulo, 5 tourists (not passengers) of Slovenian origin were arrested and charged with drug trafficking. They tried to board the ship in call port Ilhabela Brazil, with a total of 26 kilos of cocaine in packages wrapped around their bodies.

The ship was berthed in homeport Buenos Aires Argentina, when during embarkation the onboard security found the 5 men (aged between 20 and 35) acting suspiciously, then notified the police. One of the arrested was already under investigation for drug trafficking.

04 April 2014Crew / Passenger Crimes

On April 4, 2014, the vessel was criticized in international media for “slave-like” working conditions regarding 11 of the crew members on board.

BBC first reported when the ship was docked in call port Salvador da Bahia (Brazil), the local authorities “rescued” 11 (out of 13) of the staff working on the ship in “slave-like conditions”. According to the news report, they were forced to work up to 16 hours a day. There were also allegations about sexual harassment of some of them. After the police boarded the vessel in Salvador, 2 of the crew refused to leave and continued their employment, while the other 11 were disembarked and taken to a local hotel. The shipowner MSC rejected all allegations.

The media coverage followed a nearly 1 month-long police investigation after a tip-off from other crew members. When this “bad publicity” incident occurred, the Magnifica ship was on the first leg of a Transatlantic repositioning cruise from South America to Europe, with next call port Recife before crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

(law news) On October 21, 2015, MSC Cruises was sentenced by a labor court in Bahia Brazil and ordered to pay fines, unpaid wages (for night shifts), overtime, vacation, plus 13 salaries to all the 11 crew members. The court awarded them with a total of BRL 330,000 (Brazilian reals) or ~USD 85,000.

MSC Crociere denied again the allegations of excessive hours, moral damages and sexual harassment.

10 March 2014Propulsion / Power Loss

On March 10, 2014, while operating in South America, the departure from homeport Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil) was delayed by ~8 hours due to an incident affecting the ship's propulsion. While maneuvering to undock, at ~6 pm, one of the mooring ropes (used to attach the vessel to the pier) tangled in the propeller. The undocking was canceled until the problem was solved by divers.

20 November 2013Ship Collision / Allision

(pier collision) On November 20, 2013, the vessel sustained hull damage after hitting a pier at homeport Piraeus-Athens (Greece). No injuries were reported, and the Mediterranean cruise itinerary was not affected.

The portside hull damage (rupture above waterline) was measured 8 x 11 ft / 2,5 x 3,5 m. Interior damages (in the crew area) were also reported. The breakwater also sustained damage.

When the incident occurred (at ~6:30 am), weather conditions in the harbor were reported violent, with strong winds. After patching the hole, the vessel left at ~4:30 pm (as scheduled) for the next call port Katakolon Greece.

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

November 2013Sea Pollution

In January 2014, a YouTube video made by an MSC Magnifica cruise ship passenger showed illegal dumping of unprocessed garbage (in plastic bags) into the sea. This incident allegedly occurred in Brazilian waters, on the 2013 voyage Nov 26 to Dec 10.

Discharging unprocessed garbage in the open sea is illegal by the MARPOL (marine pollution) environmental convention, which was developed by the IMO to minimize maritime pollution.

(law news) On September 20, 2014, MSC Cruises was fined ~USD 635,000 for the illegal dumping of garbage bags into the waters in northern Brazil (between Madeira and Recife). The complaint was made by a passenger who was on the Magnifica ship during the Nov-Dec 2013 cruise.

11 April 2013Drug Smuggling

On April 11, 2013, in call port La Coruna (Spain), the local police arrested 2 male crew and charged them with drug smuggling. Both men (of Filipino origin) were caught on the ship with ~10 kilos of cocaine taped around their bodies.

The investigation showed they were tracked for several weeks while the vessel was operating in Brazil. The arrest delayed the departure by ~30 min. Police officers boarded the ship and conducted a cabin search using sniffer dogs.

(law news) On December 15, 2013, was announced both men are facing sentences up to 7 years in jail each.

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