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M/V JOLLY NERO Allision Demolishes Genoese Port Tower - Seven Known Dead

On May 7, at around 11:00 p.m. local time in Genoa, Italy, 784-foot ro-ro container carrier JOLLY NERO struck the 180-foot high Port of Genoa control tower, completely demolishing it. The control tower column had been built nestled into a corner of a four-story building at the end of a cement pier; that building also was reduced to absolute rubble. The collapsed tower was sent into the water with thirteen people known to be inside. At this time, seven people are confirmed dead, two are missing, and four are in hospital with serious or critical injuries. A shift change had been in progress, thus the higher than usual number of people in the tower for this time of night. They were Italian Coast Guard officers, port pilots, a tug boat employee, and other maritime workers. The owner of JOLLY NERO, Stefano Messina, rushed to the port, expressing his sorrow and shock. The search for the missing people continues.

JOLLY NERO was built in 1976, has a gross tonnage of 40,594 and an average speed of 13 knots. She was formerly in service to Maersk, but in recent years has been Italian-flagged and owned by Ignazio Messina & Company. According to reports, JOLLY NERO was headed out of port that night under the control of two tug boats in calm, clear conditions, destination Napoli. A pilot was stationed on board JOLLY NERO. Some reports cite that it was her bow which struck the port tower, but photos show damage to her port stern.

JOLLY NERO is being held in Genoa and her black box is being reviewed. Some possible scenarios officials are exploring include engine failure, steering malfunction, tow line breakdown, and negligence. It will take some time for the details of this terrible tragedy to come to light. There are sure to be lessons learned, but at what great cost. Our hearts go out to all those involved.

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