March 19, 2015
(March 19th, 1:30 p.m. EDT) -- MSC Cruises has confirmed 12 passengers traveling on MSC Splendida were killed in the terrorist attack in Tunisia, and Costa Cruises has confirmed five passengers on Costa Fascinosa were also killed.
The MSC victims include two Colombians, three French, three Japanese, two Spanish, two British and two Belgians. The Costa victims are four Italians and one Russian.
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald indicated that one of the victims is a 28-year-old Australian-Colombian dual national studying in Sydney.
A further 13 MSC Cruises passengers are confirmed as injured: one Belgian, seven French, four Japanese and one South African, two of which are in serious condition. "All of them are being assisted in person by members of the MSC Cruises Crisis Team that was immediately sent to Tunis to provide on the ground support," the company said.
The last two missing MSC passengers -- a young Spanish couple -- were found safe after a night in hiding at the Bardo National Museum, where the attack took place. Cristina Rubio Benlloch, who is pregnant, was immediately taken to hospital and she and the child are reported well.
MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago arrived in Tunis this morning (19th March) to meet the injured and their families and to ensure that they are receiving all the necessary assistance. He also met met the Tunisian Minister of Tourism, Ms. Salma Elloumi Rekik.
Costa Cruises confirmed eight passengers have been injured and are being treated in hospitals.
Fifteen Costa Care Team members are continuing to work closely with passengers and with local authorities.
Costa Senior Vice President Beniamino Maltese is also in Tunis taking care of the companions of the victims and of the eight passengers who are hospitalized.
Costa Fascinosa departed Tunis at 1:55 am on Thursday March 19th on its way to Palma, Mallorca. All passengers have been given the opportunity to disembark in Palma tomorrow (Friday March 20th) and Costa will fly them home.
Costa Cruises has observed a minute of silence at Costa Crociere headquarters in Genoa, in all its worldwide offices and onboard its ships. All the entertainment activities have been suspended onboard its fleet.
The Cruise Lines International Association released the following statement: "All of us grieve with the families and friends of the victims of yesterday's tragic attack in Tunisia.
For many years, CLIA Member cruise lines have coordinated closely with national and international security and law enforcement authorities around the globe to help ensure passenger safety, and they will continue to do so. They also maintain a rigorous set of policies and procedures designed to safeguard passengers and to provide an immediate and effective response to any incident.
As always, CLIA will work with Member cruise lines and the authorities to assess measures that would help to provide additional passenger safety and security. We thank the Tunisian authorities for their assistance in providing aid and medical care to the injured and their families, and we commend Costa and MSC for their efforts to render comfort and aid to their passengers."
According to reports, Tunisian authorities have arrested nine people in connection with the attack, which is being claimed by Islamic State extremists.
--By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor and Adam Coulter, UK Editor