Update, 2:30 p.m. EST: A spokesperson for Costa tells us that guests booked on the current sailing (which has been cut short by about a week) will receive refunds for their cruise fares, beverages and shore excursions. Additionally, they will each be offered a 50 percent discount on an future cruise. There is no new information about how the accident will impact future cruises and the Thomson handover. We'll keep you posted.
(February 26) -- Three crewmembers have died and four other people have been injured after Costa Europa collided with a pier during bad weather in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh this morning.
Those injured include three British tourists and one other crewmember. All guests have had to debark from the ship following the incident which happened at 4:45 a.m. (local time) this morning, damaging the starboard side of the hull.
Most of the guests are being accommodated in hotels. Costa is arranging flights back to their destinations.
Costa Crociere's chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi issued a statement today.
He said: "With reference to the accident which occurred this morning to Costa Europa while berthing in Sharm El Sheik and determined, according to the preliminary and ongoing investigations, by the exceptional bad weather conditions and an unexpected gust of wind which caused the impact of the ship on the pier, I would like to express our great sorrow to the families of the three crew member colleagues who tragically died in this accident."
Cruise Critic member thekidscometoo posted on the forum earlier today: "Large hole in ship taking on water... all passengers required to pack their bags and wait on pier... been waiting now 4 four hrs all 1400 passengers are safe and unharmed.... Costa still has not advised them of what will happen next."
Costa Europa was on an 18-day cruise from Dubai to Savona, with 1,473 guests on board, and had arrived in Sharm El Sheikh from the Egyptian port of Safaga.
The ship is due to leave the Costa fleet in April and join Thomson Cruises as Thomson Dream under a 10-year charter. At this point it is not clear if Costa Europa will be sailing its final cruises with the Italian line. We'll keep you posted.
Our thoughts are with those impacted. We'll keep you informed as news continues to develop today.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor and Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor
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Costa Europa Hits Pier In Egypt; Three Dead, Four Injured
February 27, 2010