MSC Sinfonia accidents and incidents

MSC Sinfonia cruise ship

Former names
MS European Stars (Festival Cruises)

Length (LOA)
275 m / 902 ft

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CruiseMapper's MSC Sinfonia cruise ship accidents, incidents and law news reports relate to a 2340-passenger vessel owned by MSC Cruises. Our MSC Sinfonia 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could be arrests, filed lawsuits against the shipowner / cruise line company, charges and fines, grievances, settled / withdrawn legal actions, lost cases, virus outbreaks, etc.

  • (as MS European Stars) ship seizure - 2004 (in Barcelona Spain)
  • renamed from “MS European Stars” in 2004
  • redesigned/stretched by Fincantieri (Palermo Sicily) in 2015
  • pier collision/allision - 2015 (Genoa Italy)
  • collision/allision with several boats and a dock - 2024 (Siracusa Sicily)
  • Norovirus - 2 outbreaks in 2009/South America (426)
  • injuries/crimes - sexual (2008), 2009 (excessive passenger behavior on party-themed cruise from Durban), 2015 (crew thieves)

Between 2002 and 2004, this cruise vessel served the Festival Cruises line under the name “MS European Stars”. In the MSC cruise fleet, it was introduced in 2005 (bought in July 2004). The same year it was joined by the MSC Armonia ship (former MS European Vision).

06 January 2024Ship Collision / Allision

On January 6, 2024, while anchored at Port Syracuse (Sicily Italy), the vessel broke its mooring lines. After breaking the ropes, it drifted and collided with several boats (within Marina Yachting's harbor) and also with a dock at Foro Italico (Ortigia Island).

As a result of the collisions, two boats sank, and damages were inflicted on several other pleasure boats and yachts, and the Marina itself.

With the assistance of 4 tugboats, MSC Sinfonia was towed back to its designated anchorage area. Later, the ship was secured/relocated to a different, more sheltered location.

The accident was due to adverse weather (intense strong winds in the harbor reaching speeds of 50 knots/~90 kph/60 mph).

Luckily, the ship was without passengers (being on a routine technical maintenance call) and no injuries were reported.

10 April 2015Crew / Passenger Crimes

On April 10, 2015, the Palma de Mallorca police arrested 2 female crew for series of robberies committed ashore (on the city’s promenade street) shortly before the ship’s departure.

The women (aged 19 and 21, both of Italian origin) were caught stealing a bag in a nightclub, where the security staff held them and called the police. The CCTV camera footage confirmed the theft. The women showed the police their hiding place, where more stolen goods were found. Among those were an expensive tablet, several cell phones, credit cards, boutique clothes.

27 March 2015Ship Collision / Allision

(pier collision) On March 27, 2015, after leaving Fincantieri’s Palermo shipyard (drydock refurbishment and refit/stretching), the vessel arrived in homeport Genoa Italy.

While maneuvering for docking, it collided with the concrete pier (wharf), destroying a ~50 ft / 15 m long portion of it. No injuries were reported, and the vessel sustained only minor hull damages.

During the incident, on board were only the crew and some of the MSC company’s management, including the CEO Onorato. The Mar 27 Inaugural cruise itinerary (leaving from Genoa roundtrip to Ajaccio Corsica, Barcelona and Marseille) was not affected.

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

March 2015Structural and Technical Issues

(lengthening) In January-March 2015, during its Palermo Sicily drydock refit, the cruise ship was stretched. An ~80 ft / 25 m long prefabricated middle-section was added. The refit resulted in an increased passenger capacity (new cabins), new shops, a Water Park with slides and waterfalls. Following the overhaul, the Sinfonia ship re-entered service on March 16, 2015.

The list of other stretched (elongated) cruise ships includes the fleet mates MSC Armonia, MSC Lirica, MSC Opera, the Phoenix Reisen's Albatros, the RCI's Enchantment of The Seas and Fred Olsen's boats Black Watch, Balmoral, Boudicca, Braemar.

05 December 2009Crew / Passenger Crimes

On December  5-8, 2009, the ship was fully chartered for a “Miller Rock the Boat Party” music-themed voyage. The 3-day long mini-cruise was roundtrip from Durban (South Africa) to Mozambique.

A South African news media reported numerous passenger complaints about the voyage being marked by the excessive behavior of some of the theme-booked passengers. The described events included debauchery on open decks areas, drunken revelry, and vandalism (breaking and throwing chairs into the sea).

According to the local MSC cruise booking agency, the over 2000 theme cruise passengers broke the ship’s bar sales records.

January 2009Cruise Illness / Virus Outbreaks

In January 2009, the ship reported a Norovirus outbreak (gastrointestinal illness) affecting 380 passengers and crew. All sick suffered from Norovirus symptoms (severe vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps) and were quarantined to their cabins for 48 hours. The ship was on 7-day South American cruise itinerary from Buenos Aires Argentina to Rio de Janeiro Brazil, also visiting ports in Uruguay.

After docking in Rio Brazil, the conducted by the Brazilian health authorities inspection found several issues related to the outbreak, including lower chlorine volume in the onboard drinking water and inappropriate storage of food items. The conducted food analysis found traces of E.coli in some raw meat samples.

On the following reverse itinerary (Rio to Buenos Aires) another Norovirus outbreak infected 46 passengers (or ~3% of all).

Note: When the itinerary doesn’t include US cruise ports, the ship is not required to report to CDC, thus no official illness report would be issued.

28 November 2008Crew / Passenger Crimes

(sexual) On November 28, 2008, a male passenger (resident of Durban, South Africa) was arrested and accused of raping a female passenger (Anika Marks, from Gauteng, South Africa).

The incident occurred on the ship, during 4-day mini cruise roundtrip from homeport Durban (South Africa) to Portuguese Island (Mozambique), and while the vessel was in international waters.

The woman testified she was dancing at the Pasha disco nightclub (deck 12), then went to the outdoor smoking-allowed area. The man was there, they smoked and spoke. Then she went to the restroom, leaving her cigarettes and drink with him. When she returned, she smoked a cigarette offered by him and finished her drink (allegedly spiked). Soon the woman felt woozy, losing control of head and body. Next thing she remembered was walking downstairs with him following behind, then her cabin and him on top raping her.

She slept ~2 hours after the assault. She confided the incident to a close friend, then reported it to the ship’s hotel manager.

(law news) On December 18, 2011, the Durban’s Court ruled the man (Sindhu Bhogal, married, with a child) can’t be tried in South Africa since the alleged crime (sexual assault) was committed in international waters. Technically, only the ship’s flag-state (Panama) can prosecute him.

Sadly, there are virtually no such cases of prosecutions of sexual crimes committed on Panama-flagged vessels while in international waters.

22 January 2004Other Incidents

(MS European Stars/ship seizure) On January 22, 2004, following the Festival Cruises company's bankruptcy, the ship with 750+ passengers on board was seized in Barcelona Spain. Two of the company's other vessels were also impounded - MS European Vision/now MSC Armonia) in Bridgetown Barbados (carrying 1300+ passengers) and MS Mistral/now Ambassador Ambition) in Marseille France (carrying 700+ passengers).

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