MSC Cruises confirms that its ship MSC Splendida has left the port of La Goulette, Tunis, this morning at 6AM.(19 March)
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.
MSC Cruises is 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.
3.15 PM - On 18 March, MSC Splendida called the port of La Goulette, Tunis 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.
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.
In constant 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. Keeping guests aboard informed of the unfolding of the situation took constant synchronization between all actors aboard and ashore and filtering of the stream of sometimes contradicting information from various sources.
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. MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, will arrive in Tunis in the early hours of 19 March in order to make a close assessment of the situation, also to provide assistance to the victims and their relatives as well as consult with local authorities.
Based on the communication made by officials authorities, MSC Cruises, its ownership and entire management team report with profound sadness that at the time of this announcement nine of its guests are reported to have lost their lives, 12 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 at the Bardo Museum. However, these numbers are still subject to modification whilst official identification is on-going.
According to sources it would appear that of the victims, three were of Japanese nationality, two French, two Spanish and two were Colombian one of which having dual nationality Colombian and Australian. 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.
MSC Cruises will continue to publish updates on any confirmed official information it may receive.
At this tragic time, the MSC Cruises family wishes to extend its most sincere and heartfelt condolences to all those who were affected by this tragic event and are suffering as a result, in particular to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as well as the injured ones.
With respect to the tragic events that are currently unfolding in Tunis, MSC Cruises confirms the following:
One of our ships, MSC Splendida was calling the port of La Goulette, Tunis with 3,714 guests and 1,267crew 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 on-going.
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 outmost 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 onboard 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.
With respect to the events that are currently taking place in Tunis, in particular at the Bardo National Museum, MSC Cruises confirms the following
• One of our ships, MSC Splendida is currently calling the port of La Goulette, Tunis
• At the time of the events, some of MSC Splendida guests were on shore excursions, including to the Bardo National Museum.
• 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.
MSC Cruises is 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. Further updates will follow.