Italy cargo ship crash: Nine people feared dead after collision with Genoa port control tower

Seven bodies recovered, two people still missing, and four injured

Rescue workers in diving gear have found seven bodies in the wreckage after a cargo ship slammed into the dock at Genoa, toppling the busy Italian port's control tower into the harbour.

Four people were hospitalized and two others remained unaccounted for, Luca Cari, spokesman for the fire rescue teams at the scene, told The Associated Press.

The crash occurred around 11p.m. Tuesday during a shift change in the control tower, as the Jolly Nero cargo ship was leaving port accompanied by tugboats.

By Wednesday morning, all that was left of the tower was its mangled exterior staircase, tilted on its side. The tower itself — which was located on the edge of a dock jutting out into the harbor — was either in the water or in a heap of rubble and steel on the dock.

Cari confirmed the seven dead, saying rescue crews recovered several of the bodies from an area near the tower's submerged elevator. There were fears that those still missing might be trapped inside the elevator, Cari said.

There were no reports of missing ship crew.

"This event is unbelievable because we had the best weather navigation conditions," said Luigi Merlo, president of the Genoa port authority. He declined to speculate on a cause, saying the ship had plenty of room to maneuver in the harbor and shouldn't have ended up so close to the dock.

One theory prosecutors were considering was that a possible mechanical failure aboard the ship left the captain unable to steer it properly, Italian news reports said, citing prosecutor Michele de Lecce.

Mauro described the ship, the Jolly Nero of the Ignazio Messina & C. SpA Italian shipping line, as somewhat unique in its height, so that the full weight of the ship slammed "violently" into the tower itself, not just the dock.

"The ship directly impacted the control tower," he told Sky TG24.

The Genoa-based Messina Line has a fleet of 14 cargo ships, with the Italian-flagged Jolly Nero listed at 239 meters (784 feet) long and 30 meters (98 feet) wide, according to its website.

The five bodies recovered included three coast guard officials in the tower at the time of the crash, a port captain and a tugboat operator, said Cmdr. Filippo Marini, a coast guard spokesman. The bodies of the other two dead were being recovered, he said.

In a statement, Messina said it was fully cooperating with authorities to determine the cause of the "tragic" accident, which it said occurred during a normal maneuver to leave the port. It said Messina Line ships do the maneuver with regularity and are always accompanied by tugboats.

"There aren't words to express the dismay and profound condolences for the victims of this tragedy and their families," Messina said in a statement.

Andrea Furgani, an ambulance doctor and one of the first rescuers, said crews brought four injured to hospitals in Genoa.

"The conditions were critical. They mainly suffered wounds caused by compression, broken bones and wounds on the chest," he told the AP.

The disaster shook a nation that just a year ago witnessed another shipping tragedy when the Costa Concordia cruise ship slammed into a reef off Tuscany on Jan. 13, 2012, killing 32 people.

Parliament held a minute of silence Wednesday for the victims in Genoa, the mayor of Genoa proclaimed a period of mourning and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano sent his condolences to the victims' families on behalf of the nation.

Genoa's port, located on Italy's western Ligurian coast, is Italy's busiest in terms of cargo handling, according to the port authority website. It is also a major port of call for cruise ships sailing the Mediterranean.

AP

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: HR Generalist - 2 week contract - £200pd - Immediate start

£200 per day: Ashdown Group: Working within a business that has a high number ...

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Recruitment Genius: Business / Operations Manager

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well-established and growi...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive - Major Sporting Venue

£29500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible