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
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders