Geneva – In the wake of Wednesday's (18 March) terror attack at the Bardo National Museum, in Tunis, MSC Cruises has decided to suspend all remaining Tunisian calls in the 2015 summer programme in the interests of guest and crewmember safety.
Itineraries affected by the change will impact four of MSC Cruises’ 12 ships as follows:
• MSC Splendida will call at Valletta, in Malta
• MSC Fantasia will call at Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca
• MSC Preziosa will call at Cagliari, in Sardinia
• MSC Divina will call at Valletta a day earlier and head directly to Corfu, Greece
Tunis has long featured on MSC Cruises itineraries, and the city’s extensive range of cultural offerings have proved very popular with visitors.
MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Sadly, the murderous actions of the people behind this devastating attack will have far-reaching and profoundly damaging effects on democratic Tunisia and its faltering economy. Tunisia can little afford to be considered a no-go zone at this time, but regrettably that is how tourists will now see it.”
The safety and security of guests and crewmembers is MSC Cruises’ number one priority at all times, and the events that took place this week preclude the possibility of MSC Cruises calling in Tunisia for the foreseeable future.
MSC Cruises remains in continuous contact with relevant government ministries and international bodies, and does not consider additional itinerary changes to be necessary at this time.
Mr Vago added: “Tunis is a key destination for MSC Cruises, and we hope to be able to restore it to itineraries in due course. But until we receive the necessary reassurances that the security situation has returned to normal, we have to take our guests to alternative Mediterranean destinations.”
He concluded: “I want to personally thank the Tunisian authorities for the way they have addressed this exceptionally challenging situation, and for enabling us to implement our own response plan effectively.”
Tunis, Tunisia, 19 March 2015 15:55:
MSC Cruises statement: Last two missing MSC Splendida guests accounted for safe and sound
MSC Cruises reports that the remaining two guests who had been missing following the tragic events of yesterday in Tunis were found safe and sound. The two Spanish citizens, Cristina Rubio Benlloch and Juan Carlos Sanchez Oltra, a young couple travelling on board MSC Splendida, had spent the night in hiding at the Bardo National Museum. The woman, who is pregnant, was immediately taken in observation to the hospital. Both her and the child are reported well.
Following the news that the young Spanish couple are safely accounted for, MSC Cruises sadly confirms that, based on the information available as of today, 12 MSC Cruises guests are dead (nationalities: 2 Colombians, 3 French, 3 Japanese, 2 Spanish, 1 British and 1 Belgian) and 13 are injured (nationalities: 1 Belgian, 7 French, 4 Japanese and 1 South African), of which two are in serious conditions.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, while in Tunis today to meet the injured and their families to ensure that they are receiving all the necessary assistance, met the Tunisian Minister of Tourism, Ms. Salma Elloumi Rekik. At the meeting, the Minister confirmed that, in conjunction with yesterday’s tragic events, a total of 20 people died, seven of whom have yet to be identified.
MSC Cruises is the market leading cruise provider for destinations in the Mediterranean, South Africa and Brazil, operating across the globe. MSC Cruises sails year-round in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, offering a wide range of seasonal itineraries in northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the French Antilles, South America, southern Africa, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, with its modern fleet comprising of twelve ships. MSC Cruises is the only company in the world to receive the "7 Golden Pearls" award from the Bureau Veritas in recognition of its high level of quality management and environmental responsibility. MSC Cruises has also achieved ISO 9001 and ISO 22000 certification for the quality and food safety of all aspects of its catering, both on shore and on board.In 2009, MSC Cruises entered in a long-term partnership with UNICEF to support educational programmes for children in Brazil. The partnership was renewed early 2014, this time to support UNICEF’s efforts to tackle famine and malnutrition in developing countries and in emergency situations. Since the beginning of this partnership, MSC Cruises has raised €3 million in guest donations.