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

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links