UPDATE: MSC Cruises says at least nine of its passengers were killed, 12 wounded, and another 6 are missing in the Tunis terror attacks.
Costa Crociere is reporting that 13 passengers on the Costa Fascinosa are unaccounted for after a deadly attack left 21 dead, including 17 tourists, at a popular art museum in Tunisia. The ship pulled out of port early on Thursday.
Costa Cruises gave the following statement at 6:00 p.m.:
Costa Crociere confirms that the Company is in close contact with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Local Security Authorities, the Captain of Costa Fascinosa and our local Port Agent for a continuous assessment of the situation on site and its evolution. At the moment, the Captain reports that there are still 14 passengers who have not returned back onboard yet. Costa Crociere is providing complete assistance to all passengers and their relatives. Costa headquarter management and Costa Care Team are now in Tunis to reach the ship in order to liaise with the local Authorities to ensure all passengers are accounted for and assistance is granted to all of them included those not onboard. Extra security measures are taken by local security Authorities around the port to ensure the security of ship, its passengers and the crew. The ship is expected to depart from Tunis upon clearance around 00.30am March 19. Costa Crociere expresses its sympathy to all the people and their families involved in today’s tragic event.
Both the Costa Fascinosa and MSC Splendida were docked in Tunisia today when the deadly attacks occurred. The attacks left 21 dead (17 tourists including Polish, Spanish, Italian, and German tourists) and another 20 injured.
The attackers, dressed in military style clothing, waited for four tour buses to arrive at the National Bardo Museum before opening fire. Two of the gunmen were killed by Tunisian security forces, the third and possibly fourth remains at large.
All shore excursions for Costa and MSC were canceled when the ships were notified of the attack. All cruise passengers were asked to return to the ships and extra security measures have been put in place around the port for the safety of the passengers and crew members.
MSC Cruises gave a statement:
One of our ships, MSC Splendida was calling the port of La Goulette, Tunis with 3,714 guests and 1,267 crew members aboard.
At the time of the events, some of MSC Splendida guests were on shore excursions, including to the Bardo National Museum. Consequently, all MSC Cruises coaches on tour at the time of the events were immediately ordered back to the port and all other excursions and on the ground activities were immediately suspended.
At this time, the return of passengers to the ship is still undergoing (please note that all the passengers of United States and Canadian nationality are all accounted for and safely back on board).
The ship’s departure, originally scheduled for tonight, was postponed. For this, local security authorities set up exceptional security measures in the port and around the ships to ensure the utmost safety of MSC Cruises’ guests and crew members.
An MSC Cruises team comprised of representatives from the Company’s ownership, its management and dedicated Care task force is currently on its way to Tunisia to provide all possible support to guests on board and to work closely with local authorities.
MSC Cruises remains in close contact with the relevant national and international authorities, local authorities, the ship captain as well as with the port agent to constantly monitor the situation as it unfolds
Cruise Fever will continue to monitor this breaking tragedy out of Tunisia and will update this page as more information becomes available.
Photo Credit: Anadolu