MSC compensates Uniworld River Cruises EUR 2,4 million for 2019 Venice accident

   October 23, 2021 ,   Accidents

On June 2, 2019, a huge runaway MSC Cruises ship ran into a smaller boat in Venice Italy, injuring people on the dockside. The 66,000 GT, 2,700-passenger MSC Opera crunched into Uniworld's River Countess (now SS La Venezia) at 8:30 am, on Giudecca Canal, after the liner's engines got stuck in "on" position. Giudecca leads to St Mark's Square in downtown Venice.

Even though MSC was blaming the cruise ship’s builder Chantiers de l'Atlantique for design flaws, the experts were determined the omission was at the moment when the liner's chief engineer and chief electrician had failed to address a warning signal of a possible failure on the electrical switchboard. It was suggested by the navy report, saying it could have been prevented by stopping the engines after the ship suffered steering failure. Capt. Carmine Siviero, the chief engineer and the chief electrician, together with 2 other crew, were sentenced to prison. 

The ruling handed down by England's High Court will make MSC pay Uniworld EUR 2.4 million.

The allision made worldwide headlines with the video of the incident shared on the news reports.  

Port of Venice (Italy)

The verdict puts MSC on the line for the initial costs related to the accident as well as a potential US$8.7 million in additional lost revenue and related fees. The cruise line accepted responsibility for the accident and agreed to pay for the repairs of the ship and any money connected to the liner being out of service.

Following the crash, Uniworld was forced to take River Countess out of service for a drydock in Port Trieste Italy for repairs, causing the company to lose revenue from 14 canceled voyages. The boat returned to service in September 2019.

Though the accident was a technical malfunction, it fueled the fire of banning massive cruise ships from Venice.

Earlier this year, the Italian Council of Ministers issued a decree banning cruise ships bigger than 25,000 GT from sailing through San Marco Basin, San Marco Canal, and Giudecca Canal.

For more MSC Opera incidents and accidents see the ship's CruiseMinus page.