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Uniworld sues MSC Cruises after Venice collision

River Countess, Uniworld: Venice collision

Uniworld is suing MSC Cruises for damages following a collision between cruise ships in Venice during the 2019 summer season.

MSC Opera crashed into Uniworld’s River Countess near the San Basilio Cruise Terminal in Venice on 2 June after the ocean liner appeared to lose control. No serious injuries were reported.

Uniworld CEO and president Ellen Betteridge said that extensive conversations with MSC Cruises to compensate Uniworld for its losses have been unproductive.

She said: “We are extremely disappointed with the unprofessional manner in which MSC Cruises has decided to ignore the gravity of the situation, which has disrupted the guests, our partners and our team.

“Aside from the damage to our ship, we were forced to cancel 14 voyages, frustrating our guests and travel partners during the peak summer season.”

To date, Uniworld estimates its losses to be in excess of €11.5 million (£9.7 million), including passenger reimbursement, ship damage, lost revenue and the protection of travel agent commissions.

It excludes additional potential claims from customers and related damages.

“We do not like to litigate but have been compelled to do so based on the stonewalling and delays by MSC and its representatives – even after receiving a letter of guarantee by their own insurance agency, West of England,” added Betteridge.

“We expect more and better from a fellow member of the cruise industry and regret having to go to court to seek fitting remedy.

“This situation has been incredibly distressing, particularly for those guests and crew who experienced the traumatic moment on board first-hand and those who watched the terrifying videos in the days to follow; we wish for nothing more than to put this behind us. It’s time for them to come to the table and make us whole.”

The incident, which remains under investigation by Italian authorities, impacted nearly 1,600 guests over the course of several months.

It also led to the decision to ban cruise ships from entering the Venice grand canal towards the end of last year.

An MSC spokesperson said: “MSC Cruises has been working constructively with all parties and their legal advisors since shortly after the incident and has been facilitating a close cooperation between those involved, including their insurers.

“As liability in this matter is still under investigation by the responsible authorities it is inappropriate to comment further at this stage. MSC Cruises is committed to continuing to cooperate fully in order to resolve this matter.”

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