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Published on Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Uniworld starts legal action against MSC over 'traumatic' Venice collision

Uniworld has filed a lawsuit against MSC Cruise Management following a collision in Venice last June when an MSC cruise ship hit a Uniworld river cruise ship.

A suit has been brought in the English High Court of Justice to fight for compensation following the incident in which Uniworld's River Countess was hit by MSC Opera while docked at San Basilio Cruise Terminal.

Uniworld CEO and president Ellen Bettridge said 'extensive conversations' with MSC to compensate the cruise line for its losses have been 'unproductive'.

"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, we were forced to cancel 14 voyages, frustrating our guests and travel partners during the peak summer season."

Uniworld estimates its losses to date are more than €11.5 million, which includes reimbursing passengers ship damage, lost revenue and the protection of travel agent commissions.

It said this estimated figure excludes additional potential claims from customers and related damages.

"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," said Bettridge.

"This situation has been incredibly distressing, particularly for those guests and crew who experienced the traumatic moment onboard first-hand and those who watched the terrifying videos in the days to follow; we wish for nothing more than to put this behind us. It's time for them to come to the table and make us whole.|

Italian authorities are still investigating the incident, which Uniworld claims impacted nearly 1,600 guests over the course of several months.

A spokesman for MSC Cruises said it has been 'working constructively with all parties and their legal advisors' and has been 'facilitating a close cooperation between those involved including their insurers'.

"As liability in this matter is still under investigation by the responsibly authorities it is inappropriate to comment further at this stage. MSC Cruises is committed to continuing to cooperate fully in order to resolve this matter."


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