July 12, 2020

Italy deaths as Genoa ship hits control tower


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Seven people have died and two are missing after a container ship crashed into a control tower in the Italian port of Genoa, officials say.

The Jolly Nero smashed into the 50m (164ft) concrete and glass tower late on Tuesday, causing it to collapse.

Rescue workers have been searching in the rubble for survivors while divers are scouring the surrounding water.

The ship’s captain is being investigated by prosecutors with a view to possible manslaughter charges.

_67471946_3c8e3465-7aaf-4477-bfef-4bf306631913Officials, though, have said that some sort of mechanical failure was most likely to blame for what happened.

The vessel has been impounded and its “black box” seized by investigators, according to Italy’s Ansa news agency.

‘Utterly shocked’

The accident occurred at about 23:00 on Tuesday (21:00 GMT), when a shift change was taking place in the control tower and about 13 people were thought to be inside.

Several of the bodies were recovered from an area near the tower’s submerged elevator.

The Jolly Nero was manoeuvring out of the port with the help of tugboats in calm conditions, on its way to Naples, reports said.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, but Italian Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi said there could have been a problem with the ship’s engines or with the tugboat cables.

Genoa’s Il Secolo XIX newspaper quoted one of the Jolly Nero’s pilots as saying: “Two engines seem to have failed and we lost control of the ship.”

The head of the Genoa Port Authority, Luigi Merlo, told the newspaper: “It’s very difficult to explain how this could have happened because the ship should not have been where it was.”

Two tug boats were moving the vessel, there was a port pilot on board, and sea conditions were “perfect”, he added.

“It’s a terrible tragedy. We’re in turmoil, speechless,” Mr Merlo told local TV.

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