Earlier this afternoon, a passenger aboard the Celebrity Constellation informed me that the Celebrity cruise ship broke its moorings in La Spezia, Italy due to torrential winds during a heavy rain storm.

⚠️Celebrity Constellation rompe amarras esta mañana, en el Puerto de La Spezia.⚠️https://crucerofun.comMira lo que sucede en este video ↙️🤦‍♀️Celebrity Constellation, perteneciente a la naviera Celebrity Cruises se encontraba amarrado en el puerto de La Spezia cuando de manera imprevista como consecuencia de los fuertes vientos y tormentas que azotan desde ayer a la región, rompió sus amarres quedando a la deriva. Tres remolcadores rápidamente llegaron a su rescate y trabajaron arduamente para asegurar que la nave no colisione con el Costa Magica que tambien se encontraba amarrado en el puerto.Se vivieron minutos de mucha tensión hasta lograr auxiliar con éxito a la nave. Las tornentas aun siguen sin cesar en la zona portuaria y sus alrededores . Muchas embarcaciones estan cambiando sus rumbos hacia puertos donde puedan detenerse sin complicaciones. Cinco embarcaciones que debian partir ayer desde el puerto de Venecia, aun se encuentran amarradas, aguardando que pasen los fuertes vientos y el clima sea el adecuado para comenzar sus itinerarios.Esperemos que todo mejore pronto! #CelebrityConstellation #CruceroFun #LaSpezia #Fun #MomentosFun #ModoFun #Cruises #Cruceros📽 Chiara Angelinelli

Posted by Crucero Fun on Monday, October 29, 2018

 

We were subsequently informed via Twitter that once the mooring lines broke, the Constellation struck the Costa Magica which was also in port in La Spezia.

A friend on Twitter informed me that there is very bad weather affecting the western & central Mediterranean Sea, with gale-force winds affecting the region causing commercial vessels to cancel their sailings. The heavy wind caused chaos to some of the container ships in port as well, according to some of the people on Twitter.

Many of the passengers are now on buses heading to Rome, after being told that the port in Rome is closed and after the Constellation remained in La Spezia.

Cruise passenger Debbie Laughton tweeted that Celebrity has “given us back our luggage & expect a mass exodus off the ship over the next two hours! Five hours to Rome . . . ”

Another Celebrity passenger on the Constellation complained of poor communications from the cruise ship staff, tweeting that “communication is soooo incredibly bad, in particular for those who have to leave the ship early tomorrow. So bad!!!”

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Video credit: Crucero Fun

NCL Cruise VeniceYesterday, as I flipped through my feed on tweetdeck, I noticed an idyllic image (left) of Venice. The stock photo show a few small boats and gondolas on the Grand Canal, with the text:

Cruise to Venice. It’s a place where people float down man-made waterways or stroll down picturesque alleyways. There’s no more extraordinary place to find yourself, or lose yourself. Stay in Venice before your next Mediterranean cruise!

The photo is linked to NCL’s efforts to market cruises to or from Venice. You can see the same image on NCL’s website.

The last time I wrote about Venice and NCL it involved George Clooney’s romantic wedding procession in Venice, Italy which was disrupted when the 93,000-ton, 2,400-passenger Norwegian NCL Norwegian Jade VeniceJade cruised by on the Giudecca Canal. NCL cluelessly congratulated Mr. Clooney on twitter after crashing his party.

Putting movie stars and celebrities aside, the reality of Venice is now the sight of huge cruise ships operated by NCL and other Miami-based cruise lines towering over the city and downloading hordes of day visitors buying trinkets.  Many of the hundreds of cruise ships coming to Venice each year are over 1,000 feet long, displace 140,000 tons and have drafts well over 25 feet. They pose a substantial risk to this fragile Italian city which is struggling against mass tourism and the deterioration of the city’s underwater foundations.

This is an issue which I have written about for the past decade.

Will the Juggernauts of the Seas Ruin Venice?

Photo credit: @NCL_eu; Norwegian Cruise Line via Travel Pulse; Getty Images via Mail Online / Monster Cruise Ships Menace Venice.

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NCL Cruises Venice

MSC MusicaA crew member disappeared from the MSC Musica last night according to crew members on the MSC cruise ship and Italian newspapers.

Several crew members reported that a Brazilian woman failed to appear for work earlier today. 

The Musica docked outside of the Italian port of Brindisi later this afternoon and the crew member was reported as missing from the ship after failing to appear at her work station earlier this morning. 

A newspaper in Venice, where the cruise ship ported yesterday, reported that the crew member was a 36 year old Brazilian who was noticed missing from her work around 3:00 A.M. when she did not appear at the start of her work on the ship. It appears from the Italian news articles that the ship did not initiate a search of the vessel for many hours.

A number of crew members have posted to Facebook that they are concerned that the crew member may have been threatened on the ship and met with foul play. I am not posting these comments at this time because I cannot verify the comments.

There has been no official announcement (for what it is worth) from MSC regarding the details of the incident.

Earlier this year, a person went overboard from the MSC Divinathere were obvious flaws in the cruise line’s safety and security procedures.  The MSC public relations representative made misleading statements and refused to state basic facts such as when the passenger went overboard, or when MSC realized it, or whether it delayed notifying the Coast Guard until after it first searched the ship, or whether it conducted any type of timely search itself.

In this case, a review of the AIS information reveals that the Musica did not take any maneuvers to search for the crew member in the water. It appears that the Musica, like the other MSC cruise ships, Simone Scheueris not equipped with the latest automatic man overboard technology to immediately notify the bridge when a person goes overboard. 

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June 20, 2017 Update: Crew members identify the cruise employee as Simone Souza Scheuer. (photo right). She reportedly worked in the housekeeping department as a night cleaner.

Photo credit:

MSC Musica – MSC Cruises

Crew Member – Facebook

SeaDream IA reader of our blog brought to my attention that the Sea Dream I operated by SeaDream Yacht Club caught fire this afternoon.

A number of Italian newspapers report that a fire broke out in the ship’s engine room while the ship was off the coast of Calabria, in southern Italy.

The Ansi Chronicle said that the fire occurred while the ship was between Amalfi and Palinuro with 105 passengers and 61 crew members aboard.

The Sea Dream I is reportedly under tow. All passengers and crew members were reportedly safely rescued by the fast ferry Isola di Vulcano this afternoon and disembarked in Naples. 

Photo credit: Napoli Repubblica newspaper.

September 2 2016 Update: A passenger states that the fire occured around 2:00 AM local time on September 1st and completely disabled the ship.  The ship was reportedly not evacuated until later in the afternoon around 12 hours after the fire. 

You can see a video of the evacuation after the fire via Corriere del Mezzogiorno TV

Additional information is available at the Maritime Herald

September 2 2016 video credit: Livio Pave YouTube

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=xMxx22si5Xs%3Frel%3D0

 

Italian newspapers are reporting that a 34 year-old waiter was sentenced to 10 months in jail for assaulting and attempting to rape a 17 year-old girl on the Costa Fascinosa.  The Il Gazzettino first reported the incident which occurred three years ago on October 19th during a cruise in the Adriatic Sea, between Istanbul and Dubrovnik.

La Nuova di Venezia says that the waiter, identified as Floriano Fernandes, assaulted the girl in a bathroom of the cruise ship but she successfully resisted the attempted rape. The following day, the ship called on Venice but the captain failed to report and/or delayed in accurately reporting the assault and attempted rape. In a report to the Coast Guard, the captain, identified as Ignatius Giardina, from Sicily, reportedly wrote that there Costa Fascinosawas no "extraordinary event" during the cruise. The Italian prosecutor alleged that the captain fraudulently misrepresented the fact that a crime had occurred on the ship and prosecuted him for not properly reporting it.     

Captain Giardina has worked for Costa for 36 years, first as a cadet back in1980, later as a staff captain and safety officer, and as a master for the last 16 years.   

The captain’s defense lawyer argued that "extraordinary event" referred to a navigation point of view, such as a collision, and was not referring to the attempted rape. The captain was acquitted of trying to cover the crime up. 

I first read about the assault on the Crew Center web site. 

Sexual assaults on girls and women are not uncommon on cruise ships and Costa ships in particular. In October of last year, the Italian press reported on an incident where a Costa crew member allegedly sexually molested a 15 year-old girl aboard the Costa Diadema.  Two months earlier, on the same Costa cruise ship, a bartender allegedly followed an 18 year-old French woman into her cabin and raped her.

In 2013, a female Costa security guard alleged that she was sexually assaulted by her supervisor who was permitted to fly back to his home country after the crime. She subsequently won a civil case against her employer.

This is the first case, however, where I have heard that an officer (master) of a cruise ship was prosecuted for allegedly not properly reporting an allegation of sexual assault. I have seen many scenarios where the cruise line tried to cover a rape up but I have never seen any prosecutor willing to levy such allegations in a criminal court against the master of a ship.   

Photo Credit:  By René Grob CC BY-SA 4.0.   

Costa ConcordiaAn appellate court in Miami has ruled that Costa Concordia passengers, both U.S. residents and non-U.S. residents, cannot seek compensation in the U.S. for any injuries which they suffered arising out of the Concordia disaster in 2012.

Yesterday, the Third District Court of Appeal published its decision in Denise Abeid-Saba, et al. vs. Carnival Corp., Carnival PLC, Costa Crociere, S.p.A., Costa Cruise Lines, Inc., and Joseph Farcus Architect, P. A.

The appellate court was faced with two orders of trial courts in litigation filed shortly after the Costa Concordia disaster. The cases involved two groups of passengers: one case involved fifty-seven plaintiffs, of whom five are United States residents. The other case involved fifty-two plaintiffs, of whom seventeen are U.S. residents. Carnival moved to dismiss the cases based on the legal doctrine of "forum non conveniens," arguing that the U.S. is not an appropriate location to litigate the cases. In one case, the trial court ruled that both U.S. residents and non-U.S. residents were prohibited from pursuing their cases here in Miami. In the other case, the trial court permitted U.S. residents to continue to pursue their cases here in Miami. 

Long ago, we advised passengers on the ill fated cruise ship to either consider accepting Carnival’s minimal settlement offer or proceed to Genoa, Italy to make a legal claim against Costa and its parent company. Costa of course is based in Italy; the shipwreck, Italian Coast Guard and most of the witnesses and evidence are located there; and the passenger ticket requires that legal claims be pursued in Genoa which is the principal place of Costa’s business and the location where criminal proceedings were pursued against the infamous captain Schettino. It was our opinion that all of the factors favored the filing of cases in Italy and that there was little chance that a Florida court would entertain litigation here.

In a twenty-two page order, the appellate court ruled that none of the passengers, whether U.S. residents or not, could pursue their cases here in Miami or anywhere in the U.S. They must all pursue their cases in Italy where the accident occurred and most of the witness and evidence are located. You can read the twenty-two page opinion here

We previously warned that filing suit here was a long shot: Are Lawyers Taking Costa Cruise Survivors Into Dangerous Legal Waters?

The billion dollar Carnival corporation has escaped virtually all legal accountability for the disaster.

Photo Credit: By Soerfm – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Port Authority of Genoa is engaged in the research of a 75 year old woman who disappeared last night from the MSC Opera arriving from Civitavecchia to the port of Genoa.

An Italian newspaper says that the passenger was not aboard the MSC cruise ship when it arrived in Genoa.  

Searches are under currently way with three patrol boats and two helicopters deployed. 

This latest overboard occurred on the same night when a 43 year old passenger went overboard from the Star Breeze in Italian waters but she was rescued when the cruise ship turned around.  

Photo Credit: MSC Opera Kefalonitis94 CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons / Wikipedia

MSC Opera

Norman Atlantic Ferry Fire A ferry carrying 423 passengers and 55 crew members caught fire off the Greek island of Corfu today as the vessel was sailing from the Greek port of Patras to Ancona, Italy.

Passengers and crew members were reportedly trapped on the top decks as gale-force winds and rough seas hindered the evacuation.

The fire broke out on the Italian-flagged Norman Atlantic.

Unfortunately, one death and several injuries have been reported.  

The Daily Mail has photographs and information about the fire.

Update: Hundreds remain on the ferry. The ship lost power long ago and cannot lower lifeboats. Helicopters are slowly medevacing passengers. The fire has been burning for 15 hours. The remaining passengers hare on the exterior decks, in cold weather with heavy smoke.  

Newspaper is reporting that the ferry had multiple problems with its fire safety equipment and procedures (see below) and should not have been permitted to sail. See story here. However, the owner says that the deficiencies were promptly corrected and the ferry’s fire safety equipment and protocols were fully in compliance with maritime codes. See story here.

An excellent source of information about the fire is Crazy Cruises.

December 29, 2014 Update: A Fox News account reports that seven people are dead. The article states that one person died after becoming trapped in a liferaft boat chute. 

December 30, 2014 Update: The Telegraph reports that there are ten deaths and Up to 43 still missing amid confusion over Norman Atlantic passenger list.

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Video Credit: CNN top; il Fato Quotidiano bottom. Photo Credit: italian Navy

http://www.cnn.com/video/api/embed.html#/video/world/2014/12/28/nr-ferry-burning-adriatic.cnn

 

//www.youtube.com/embed/CiNMEuLZPNU?rel=0

Norman Atlantic Fire Safety

Earlier this week, a federal district judge in California dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of two cruise passengers against Carnival arising out of the January 2012 Costa Concordia disaster, ruling that the case must be pursued in Italy where Costa Crociere is located.

The name of the lawsuit is Patricia Sandoval et al. v. Carnival Corporation et al., Case No. 2:12 CV 05517, filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Judge Fernando M. Olguin applied the doctrine of forum non conveniens, where the courts determine Costa Concordia the appropriate location of lawsuits.

The Court concluded that the majority of the physical evidence and witnesses are located in Italy and the passengers can obtain an appropriate remedy in Italy. The decision is not surprising at all.  

The Costa cruise line is based in Italy where the company is incorporated.  Its principal place of business is in Genoa, Italy. It registers its ships like the Concordia in Italy. Much of the crew is Italian, including the captain, and cruise the ship departed from an Italian port and sank in Italian waters.  The Italian Coast Guard responded to the disaster and of course there is an Italian criminal trial which has been ongoing for year. The passenger ticket specifies Italy as the location where litigation must be pursued. 

Our firm advised Concordia passengers long ago not to waste time and money filing suit in the U.S. because their cases would likely be dismissed.  

We advised our clients to proceed directly to Italy and retain Italian lawyers to pursue compensation. Here is one of such articles, published back in January 2010: Are Lawyers Taking Costa Cruise Survivors Into Dangerous Legal Waters?

 

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Jean-Philippe Boulet Creative Commons 3.0

Newspapers are reporting that today the residents of Venice will protest the procession of over a dozen cruise ships which will sail through St Mark’s Basin. The Guardian states that a canal-bank protest is scheduled "over an invasion of up to 13 cruise ships in the space of 24 hours which  . . . will turn St Mark’s Basin into a motorway."

The protest will raise awareness of the negative effect of the cruise industry on Venice and its citizens. 

The newspaper quotes 75 year-old Italian singer, Adriano Celentano, who took out a page in the Venice Italy Cruise Ship Conjestioncountry’s biggest-selling daily newspaper to proclaim: 

"Tomorrow will not be a nice day for our city, even if the sun is out . . . With the ignoble procession of 13 ships in the Venice lagoon comes the Eternal Funeral of the world’s beauties." 

The newspaper also quoted Silvio Testa, spokesperson for the No Grandi Navi committee: 

"We want to say ‘enough’ to this situation . . . St Mark’s Basin is like a motorway. Soon we’ll have to put traffic lights up."

A month ago, a Carnival cruise ship, the Carnival Sunshine, was alleged to have come within 20 meters of the shore in Venice. Carnival denied the incident, claiming photographs distorted the distance between the ship and shore.  You can watch a video of the incident below. Seems congested to me . . .

You can read my article about my personal feelings about cruise ships and Venice here.  

An Italian blog listed the following cruise ships will sail into Venice today: Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest, MSC Divina, Queen Victoria, Royal Clipper, Norwegian Spirit, Norwegian Jade, Queen Elizabeth, Seabourn Odissey, Ruby Princess, Splendour of the Seas, and the Harmony G.

Follow the discussion about cruise ships and Venice on our Facebook page.  

See images of the MSC Divina leaving Venice today.

 

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Photo Credit: Pazzoperilmare Blog