|MSC is ceasing port calls in Tunis, Tunisia for four vessels. // Photo by MSC Cruises USA|
MSC Cruises said that in the wake of Wednesday’s terror attack at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis, Tunisia, the line will suspend all remaining Tunisian port calls in its 2015 summer schedule.
Citing the importance of guest and crew member safety, the decision will impact four of MSC Cruises' 12 ships. Under the new schedule, Tunis will be replaced with the following ports:
- MSC Splendida will call at Valletta, Malta;
- MSC Fantasia will call at Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca;
- MSC Preziosa will call at Cagliari in Sardinia; and
- MSC Divina will call at Valletta a day earlier and head directly to Corfu, Greece.
The line has featured Tunis on its itineraries for a long time. MSC said Tunis' extensive range of cultural offerings have proven very popular with visitors.
Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises' executive chairman said: “Sadly, the murderous actions of the people behind this devastating attack will have far-reaching and profoundly damaging effects on democratic Tunisia and its faltering economy. Tunisia can little afford to be considered a no-go zone at this time, but regrettably that is how tourists will now see it.”
He stressed that the safety and security of guests and crew members is MSC Cruises’ number one priority at all times, and "the events that took place this week preclude the possibility of MSC Cruises calling in Tunisia for the foreseeable future."
MSC Cruises also said it remains in continuous contact with relevant government ministries and international bodies, and does not consider additional itinerary changes to be necessary at this time.
“Tunis is a key destination for MSC Cruises, and we hope to be able to restore it to itineraries in due course," said Vago. "But until we receive the necessary reassurances that the security situation has returned to normal, we have to take our guests to alternative Mediterranean destinations.”
He concluded: “I want to personally thank the Tunisian authorities for the way they have addressed this exceptionally challenging situation, and for enabling us to implement our own response plan effectively.”