The Costa Fascinosa departed Tunis, Tunisia, following the deadly attack on the National Bardo Museum, and 13 of its passengers did not return to the ship prior to departure, Costa Cruises said in a statement.
And MSC Cruises said Wednesday evening that it was still undergoing the process of returning passengers from the MSC Splendida's excursions in Tunisia.
Both the Fascinosa and the Splendida had called in Tunis on Wednesday when gunmen opened fire at the museum, killing tourists. A report from the Associated Press said at least 20 people were killed, and at least 50 people were wounded.
Following the attack, both lines said they ordered excursion buses to return guests to their ships.
In its statement posted to its North America website, dated 1:55 a.m. Central European Time, Costa said the Fascinosa had left the Tunis port. The captain reported that there were 13 passengers who did not return, Costa said. The line said 12 Costa Care Team members and two headquarters directors were in Tunisia, with three additional Care Team members en route. "The company is in close contact with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, local security authorities, the captain of the Costa Fascinosa and our local port agent for a continuous assessment of the situation on site and its evolution," Costa said.
MSC said that some of those on excursion were visiting the Bardo National Museum in Tunis where the attack took place. It said that all passenger of U.S. and Canadian nationality were accounted for and safely back on board.
MSC said that the departure of the Splendida, originally scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed.
"For this, local security authorities set up exceptional security measures in the port and around the ships to ensure the utmost safety of MSC Cruises’ guests and crew members,” an MSC statement said.
The company had sent a team with representatives of ownership, management and its dedicated Care task force to the site.
MSC said the Splendida was carrying 3,714 guests. There were 3,161 passengers on the Fascinosa.
This report was updated Wednesday evening with information from MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises.
Source: Rebecca Tobin & Tom Stieghorst, Travel Weekly, March 18, 2015
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