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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Container ship rams into control tower - kills people - at Genoa, Italy

Ships are huge; they carry huge volumes of cargo ~ they do not move  very fast….. everyday, many ships call at ports – unload and load cargo… there are variety of ships – bulk carriers, tankers, general cargo carriers, container ships, luxury passenger ships, cartainers and more……..

the bustling port of Genoa  

Heard of Liguria ~ a coastal region in north-western Italy of which Genoa is the capital – a region popular with tourists for its beautiful beaches, picturesque towns, and cuisine.  The Port of Genoa, favoured by its strategic geographic location, is placed at the centre of the important industrial and commercial area of northern Italy and southern Europe. The Port of Genoa stretches uninterruptedly for 22 miles along a coastline that develops between Fiera and Voltri.  The Port is considered to be one amongst the modern ports with good facilities for cargo handling.  There are many container vessels that regularly call at this port.   The proximity to the major centres of industrial production and consumption in Italy and its proximity to major industrial areas of central Europe, makes it an ideal gateway from the south for the maritime traffic to and from Europe

Ships come and go ~ there are manual and electronic controls – there are control towers in ports….. but this was something unusual…. a  cargo ship slammed into the port in Genoa, toppling the control tower and killing at least three people, Italian news reports said early Wednesday. Italian news agency LaPresse said a half-dozen people remained unaccounted for, with some believed trapped in the elevator of the control tower. Four people were hospitalized.

the vessel and the crash 

Genoa newspaper Il Secolo XIX said on its website that the crash occurred at around 11 p.m. Tuesday, during a shift change, making the accounting of personnel more difficult. But it said at least three bodies had been recovered.  The vessel involved is stated to be a container ship – the Jolly `Black ', which has hit the Janus pier of the port of Genoa.  It  was headed to Naples and would then have  sailed to Port Said, Aqaba, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi, Djibouti, Suez, Misurata, Castellon. The ship has a gross tonnage of 40,594 tons; the vessel Jolly Black is the fleet of `Ignazio Messina & C ', which is based in Genoa, consisting of 14 owned vessels. It is stated that the ship was leaving port when the motors apparently jammed, rendering it uncontrollable.

Images from the port shown on Italian television early Wednesday showed the control tower tilted to its side. According to reports, the crash was loud, a little after eleven. A roar and a few moments later a scene of tragedy and desolation. A container of Messina, the Jolly Black, crashed into Molo Giano. A few moments later collapsed, first halfway, then completely, the control tower of the pilots of the port.

the route of the ship

An hour after the first victim was recovered, then the second and yet a third, but rescue operations going on all night. Inside the tower there would be fourteen. Four injured relief immediacy, three in sea and one in the rubble. Three confirmed dead, at least six missing.  On the basis of very little information leaked it  is reported to be a manoeuvre  seemingly incomprehensible.

The Chairman of the Port of Genoa is quoted as stating that "It is a terrible tragedy. We are shocked, speechless”.. the relief work, including search by divers is on.  The tower control operation of the port of Genoa, which collapsed after being hit by Jolly Black, housed various offices. The incident, according to state rescuers took place during the shift change and this makes it more difficult to figure out exactly how many people were present at the moment of impact.

A ship colliding with the land structure and bending the huge tower is eerie and has shaken all.  The vessel is reported to have been impounded and the captain is being questioned.

the tower before and after the collision

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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