MSC Cruises Faces $13 Million Lawsuit From River Cruise Line

Jan 23, 2020

The River Cruise Line Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has filed a lawsuit against MSC Cruise Management Ltd. for nearly $13 million in damages and lost revenue after one of MSC cruise ships slammed into the River Countess while docked in Venice in June 2019.

The incident happened when MSC Opera lost control and hit the dock in Venice, colliding with the Uniworld river cruise ship and sending many of the passengers fleeing. The large ocean liner knocked into the San Basilio terminal and hit the 130-passenger river ship “River Countess” which was docked in the port at the time of the incident.

A video of the incident showing passengers of the river ship fleeing for their lives when MSC Opera crashed into the considerably smaller vessel made headlines across the world.

In a press release, Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge said they have filed the lawsuit after extensive and unproductive dialogue with MSC Cruises.

"We are extremely disappointed with the unprofessional manner in which MSC has decided to ignore the gravity of the situation, which has disrupted our guests, our partners and our team," said Bettridge. "Aside from the severe damage to our ship [River Countess], we were forced to cancel 14 voyages, frustrating our guests and travel partners during the peak summer season.

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."

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection filed the lawsuit in Admiralty Court in the Queen’s Bench Division estimating its losses to be in excess of 11.5 million Euros, or $12.74 million. The damages include passenger reimbursement, ship damage, lost revenue and the protection of travel agent commissions.