MSC Cruises is a division of the larger MSC Group, most known for its container shipping division, Mediterranean Shipping Company. While MSC Cruises has been successful and is responsible for a large share of the market, it has also experienced accidents that have put workers and passengers at risk.
About MSC Cruises
As the fourth largest cruising company in the world, MSC Cruises offers itineraries in the Mediterranean, Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean, South America, South Africa, Northern Europe, and the Middle East. It leads the Mediterranean, South American, and South African markets.
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Since 2004 the cruise line has grown by 800 percent, and in 2014 it serviced 1.67 million cruising passengers. It operates in 45 countries and employs more than 15,000 people.
MSC Cruises History
The parent company of MSC Cruises, MSC Group, originated in Naples in 1970.
- Founder Gianluigi Aponte came from a family with a long history of maritime activities and started MSC with just one ship offering cargo delivery between the Mediterranean and Somalia.
- As the company grew by buying second-hand vessels and eventually ordering new ships, it added cruising to its list of services and cruise ships to its fleet.
- MSC Cruises was begun in 1984 when MSC purchased a small cruise line and operator.
- A Naples-based company called Lauro Lines started operations in the 1960s with just two ships: the Angelina Lauro and MS Achille Lauro.
- The first name for MSC’s new cruising division was StarLaura Cruises, but after losing the two original ships, it renamed it MSC Cruises.
The MSC Cruises Fleet
MSC invested in its cruise ship fleet in 2003 to develop a world-class set of ships with state-of-the-art services, equipment, and safety features. Today the fleet includes 12 ships, with four in each of three classes.
The flagships are the four Fantasia ships, each weighing around 140,000 tons. These are the largest ships in the MSC Cruises fleet and can house over 4,000 passengers each.
The four Musica ships weigh around 90,000 tons and can accommodate nearly 3,000 travelers each.
The third class of ships is the Lirica Class. These four ships weigh about 60,000 tons and can simultaneously take just under 2,000 passengers. The Lirica ships recently underwent updates to add better entertainment for passengers and more cabins and technology.
Safety on MSC Cruises
According to MSC Cruises, the company protects the environment and keeps passengers safe on board their ships. The company is the first cruise line to be awarded ‘7 Golden Pearls,’ an award given by the international certification group Bureau Veritas.
The award acknowledged the efforts aboard the Fantasia ships to prevent environmental contamination. These include energy efficiency and water, waste, and air treatment systems.
As for passenger safety, MSC Cruises claims to abide by the requirements of the International Maritime Organization, an agency of the United Nations.
The company also says that it goes beyond those requirements for the safety of passengers and that it extensively trains crews on how to react to emergencies and evacuate ships safely.
Accidents and Dangers in Cruising
Despite these measures, cruise ship accidents and injuries are common. Cruise companies like MSC Cruises are responsible to their passengers and workers to take all reasonable precautions to keep them safe. Crew and passengers can be harmed by:
- Onboard fires
- Power outages
- Food-borne illnesses
- Contagious diseases
- Rough weather
- Falls overboard
- Fights and assaults
Cruises and Terrorism
Cruise ships are even at risk of being attacked by terrorists. Several passengers aboard the Splendida were killed in such an attack in 2015 in Tunisia.
The passengers had disembarked and were touring the National Bardo Museum in Tunis when terrorists attacked the building. Several people were killed, including at least 12 passengers from the Splendida.
Cruise companies like MSC Cruises are considering the risk of terrorist attacks now more than ever before. They must add it to the list of possible dangers, even when it occurs off the ship. The cruise line is responsible for where it takes its passengers and crew, and after this incident, many stopped all visits to Tunisia.
Losing passengers and crew members overboard is another big concern for cruise lines. In 2013 a passenger fell overboard from the MSC Fantasia in the waters off of Brazil. The passenger fell from the eleventh deck into the water and was not recovered.
In 2012 a passenger on the same ship also fell from an upper deck and died. In 2014 a drunk passenger jumped overboard from the MSC Davina and could not be recovered.
Overboard falls on cruise ships are often unsolved incidents, accidents, or crimes. In many cases, alcohol is involved. In the case of the Davina incident, the man had been drinking for two days straight, as described by his passengers.
It was the responsibility of the crew, and ultimately MSC Cruises, to prevent such accidents by better-controlling drinking and out-of-control passengers.
Safety on board cruise ships is a significant concern. MSC Cruises and other companies are responsible for the welfare of thousands of people, passengers, and crew alike.
They must take all necessary precautions to prevent accidents because people are likely to be hurt or killed when they happen.
Passengers or their loved ones may sue the company for benefits, and workers are protected by maritime laws that also extend that right. If you have been hurt on a cruise or lost a loved one, talk to a cruise ship lawyer to find out what you can do to seek justice and compensation.