Port of Genoa Control Tower Collapses Following Ship Collision [UPDATE]

genoa pilots control tower collapse
Rescue workers stand among the debris of a collapsed control tower at Genoa’s port in this picture provided by Italian firefighters May 8, 2013. Image: Vigili del Fuoco

Thursday Update: The Italian Ministry of Transport has identified the victims as follows:

  • Killed: Morella David, Daniel Fratantonio , Candussio De Marco, Robazza Michele, Maurizio Potenza, Joseph Tusa, Sergio Basso
  • Injured: Pecchi Aeneas, Chiarlone Raffaele Meo George, Russian Gabriele
  • Missing: Cetrola Francis and John Iacoviello

A statement from the Italian Coast Guard said that the entire Center for Coordination of Search and Rescue Coast Guard Genoa facility was destroyed in the incident, including the 55-meter Operations Room of the Tower.

The coast guard said that despite the accident, VTS operations were moved within a few minutes to a nearby coast guard station in Savona, where crews continued to monitor ship traffic to ensure safety to the entire Ligurian region. VTS operations are expected to continue from Savona.

GALLERY: Jolly Nero Incident Photos and Video

The statement also offered condolences to the victims:

A tragedy that has deeply affected the entire staff of harbor in a tight embrace with the families of missing colleagues.

But even in a time of great sorrow you can not call into question their commitment and work, which is essential for the safety of navigation.

Ignazio Messina & Co., the Jolly Nero’s Genoa-based operator, also released the following statement:

There are no words to express the consternation and the deep grief for the workers victim of this tragedy and for their families.

Messina Group is at total and unconditional disposal of all competent Authorities in the common effort to identify as quickly as possible the causes of a tragic accident, occurred during the usual operations of exit from the Port of Genoa that also Messina Line ships execute with regular frequency in the foreseen turning basin, assisted, as in the case of Jolly Nero, by the tug boats and with the pilot onboard.

Photo: Italy Coast Guard
Photo: Italy Coast Guard

Update: 7 now confirmed killed, 2 missing, 4 hospitalized.

Italian Coast Guard Statement (translated via Google):

At 23.00 last night, the ship Jolly [Nero], Italian flag, while he was engaged in a maneuver to leave the port of Genoa, he bumped into the control tower is also located where the operations room of the Coast Guard, causing the collapse of the structure . At the time of the collapse, the tower were 13 people, including 10 soldiers and 3 civilians Coast Guard, port operators. At the moment, the confirmed victims are 7, 4 of which belong to the Coast Guard. 4 people are hospitalized, while 2 are still missing.

After spending also means aircraft of the Body, the research continues into the sea with vessels and Coast Guard divers. Participate in the research both at sea and on land Firemen, Police, Carabinieri and Police.

Wednesday morning update from Reuters:

By Paola Balsomini

GENOA, May 8 (Reuters) – Six people were killed and three are missing after a container ship crashed into a control tower in the northern Italian port of Genoa, rescuers said on Wednesday.

The tower, which was more than 50 metres (160 feet) high and looked much like the ones common at airports, collapsed into the water late on Tuesday after being struck by the prow of the vessel, the Jolly Nero.

Two of the dead were coastguard officers and a third was a pilot for the port, the coastguard said.

The three other victims have yet to be identified. Two were recovered from the wreckage of the tower’s lift, a firefighters’ spokesman said.

The accident happened as staff were changing shifts and there were 13 people in the tower when it was struck, the coastguard said.

As well as the dead and missing, officials said four people were injured and had been taken to hospital. Two were seriously hurt and one had lost a foot, investigators said.

A crane barge is pictured in front of the debris of the collapsed control tower of the port in Genoa May 8, 2013.  Image (c) REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
A crane barge is pictured in front of the debris of the collapsed control tower of the port in Genoa May 8, 2013. Image (c) REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

“The main injuries are fractures, crushed body parts, significant traumas,” emergency services doctor Andrea Furgani said.

The crash occurred shortly after 11 p.m. (2100 GMT) in calm conditions as the Jolly Nero was manoeuvring out of the port.

Genoa prosecutor Michele Di Lecce has opened an investigation and is focusing on a possible malfunction of the ship’s engine or steering mechanism, judicial sources said.

The crash is the most serious maritime accident in Italy since the Costa Concordia luxury cruise liner struck a rock and capsized off the island of Giglio in January 2012, killing 32 people.

“There’s no logical explanation because two tug boats were moving the ship and there was a port pilot on board and sea conditions were optimal,” the head of the Genoa Port Authority, Luigi Merlo, said.

The only thing left where the tower had stood was a leaning metal-framed stairway. Divers from the fire department joined the search for bodies.

MV Jolly Nero. Photo via
The 40,594 gt MV Jolly Nero. Photo via Messina & Co.

The Jolly Nero, which is 238 metres-long (781 foot) with a gross tonnage of 40,594 tonnes, is owned by local operator Ignazio Messina and Co.

“A thing like this has never happened, we are devastated,” said Stefano Messina, one of the directors of the family-owned firm, who was in tears when he spoke to a local TV channel.

(Reporting By James Mackenzie, Antonella Cinelli, and Steve Scherer; Editing by Barry Moody and Pravin Char)

Original Report (Tuesday, May 7):

Genoa port control tower. Photo: Panoramio
Genoa port control tower. Photo: Panoramio via Google Maps

An Italian-flagged cargo ship crashed into a control tower at the Italian port of Genoa late Tuesday night, causing it to collapse.

The 30,217 DWT Jolly Nero, a containership/ro-ro owned by Genoa-based Ignazio Messina & Co., slammed into the control tower at about 11 p.m. local time. Photos from the scene show a stairway of the tower leaning over to its side, and the 55-meter tower is believed to be completely collapsed.

A number of fatalities have been reported, as well as some still missing.

The Jolly Nero was under the control of two pilots and was leaving the port when the accident occurred.

Genoa Pilots tweeted the following last night:

AIS track of the Jolly Nero
AIS track of the Jolly Nero. Photo: La Repubblica
Location of the tower. Photo: La Repubblica
Location of the tower. Photo: La Repubblica

First video from the scene (Unconfirmed):