Nine MSC Cruises’ Guests Killed in Terrorist Attack in Tunisia
Nine of MSC Cruises’ guests are reported to have lost their lives in a terrorist attack during a shore excursion at the port of La Goulette, Tunisia on Wednesday, MSC Cruises informed.
The victims are reported to be three of Japanese nationality, two French, two Spanish and two were Colombian.
The cruise line added that 12 people were injured, and six (two Spanish nationals, one Belgian, one British, one French and one Japanese) are still unaccounted for in conjunction with the tragic event. However, according to the company, these numbers are still subject to modification whilst official identification is on-going.
The wounded, of which three Japanese nationals, one South African, one Belgian and seven French, are currently being treated in various hospitals. All of them are being assisted in person by members of the MSC Cruises Crisis Team that was immediately sent to Tunis to provide on the ground support, the company said.
On 18 March, MSC Splendida called the port of La Goulette, for its weekly call performed during the season from 17 December 2014 to 15 April 2015.
The ship arrived with 3,714 guests and 1,267 crewmembers aboard.
As it is the case every time the ship calls Tunis, a shore excursion offered MSC Cruises’ guests the opportunity to visit the famous Bardo National Museum. During the visit at the museum, some of MSC Cruises’ guests were caught in the middle of a terrorist attack along with guests from another cruise line.
Initial reports say that 19 people have been killed in the attack, 17 of them tourists and two workers of the museum. Two gunmen have been killed by the security forces on the ground whereas three are believed to have fled the scene and still on the loose.
“As soon as the company heard of the attack and the fact that some of its guests were involved this tragedy, regular stringent safety procedures were set in motion and the ship management called for the immediate cancellation of all on-going shore excursions and recall all buses and their passengers on the ground back to the ship. The security on board was also immediately raised to Level 3, its highest, by emergency protocol to ensure complete safety of all guests and crew members – the company’s number one priority at all times,” the cruise line said in a statement.
In coordination with local, national and international authorities as well as embassies in Tunis and ground staff, MSC Splendida’s command worked towards organising the safe return of the ship’s guests aboard, and assessing the situation in the city’s hospitals, the statement further read.
“Finally, to allow all guests to promptly contact their families and loved ones at home and to provide reassurance about their wellbeing, all onboard telephony and internet was made available. In the meantime, only a few hours after the tragic events, MSC Cruises’ Crisis Team reached the ship in Tunis and immediately set out to work and started providing assistance and support to guests in this painful moment,” the company added.
MSC Cruises confirmed that its ship MSC Splendida has left the port of La Goulette this morning at 6AM.
MSC Splendida received the authorisation from the relevant authorities to leave the port of La Goulette and is heading, as originally scheduled, to Barcelona where it is currently expected to arrive at 9AM on Friday 20 March.
The company said that its representatives are present on site with its crises team in order to continue to provide key assistance on the ground to MSC Splendida’s guests who were involved in the tragic events and needing assistance.
MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, will be arriving in Tunis in the coming hours in order to make a close assessment of the situation, meet in person as well as arrange to provide assistance to those affected by these tragic events and their relatives and consult with local authorities.