River cruise operator, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, is suing MSC Cruise Management (UK) Limited for damages, following a collision with a cruise ship in Venice last year.
On 2nd June, 2019 Uniworld’s ‘River Countess’ was struck by ‘MSC Opera’, while the latter was arriving at the San Basilio Cruise Terminal in Venice.
Around 130 people were on board the ‘River Countess’ at the time.
Uniworld CEO and President Ellen Bettridge claimed that extensive conversations with MSC to compensate Uniworld for its losses have been unproductive.
“MSC has decided to ignore the gravity of the situation, which has disrupted our guests, our partners and our team,” Bettridge told the travel media. “Aside from the severe 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, including passenger reimbursement, ship damage, lost revenue and the protection of travel agent commissions, to be in excess of €11.5 mill. This estimate 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. We expect more and better from a fellow member of the cruise industry and regret having to go to court to seek fitting remedy,” she added.
The incident, which is still under investigation by Italian authorities, is alleged to have occurred after a power failure crippled the ‘MSC Opera’ during berthing operations. The local pilot was able to steer the vessel to try to minimise the damage in the moments before the vessel struck the embankment and the river cruise vessel.