Saturday, February 27, 2010
A luxury cruise liner carrying nearly 1,500 passengers slammed into the pier as it docked Friday at an Egyptian Red Sea resort in fierce winds, leaving three crew members dead, officials said. The ship's owner, Costa Crociera, said the vessel sprung a leak on the right side after banging into the dock at about 4:45 a.m. "We sadly have to confirm the deaths of 3 crew members," the company said in a statement. "The ship is now safely docked in port." Other passengers were being put up in hotels and arrangements were being made to return them to their home countries, according to the company. Witnesses said fierce winds had rocked the area overnight and the ship was slammed part way onto the pier. Bad weather was believed to be the cause of the collision, which left a 2 meter hole in the body of the ship, according to an Egyptian security official.The Costa Europa ship had been on an 18-day cruise from Dubai to Savona and had 1,437 guests on board, Italy. Police and rescue officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information, said the three killed include an Indian, a Brazilian and a Honduran, but the company did not confirm nationalities. Mohammed Fayez, head of South Sinai ambulance services, said the bodies were still being removed from the ship. The vessel had arrived in Sharm el-Sheik from another Red Sea port in Safaga, local officials said. The 55-ton ship, which was built in 1986, was restored and entered into service with Costa in 2002, the company said. It's one of 16 cruise ships belonging to the Genoa, Italy-based Costa Crociera line, the Italian subsidiary of Carnival Corp.