A Costa Cruises ship crashed into a pier early Friday as it was docking at the Red Sea port of Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, killing three crew members and injuring several passengers. The accident occurred amid stormy windy weather across Egypt.
Costa Cruises said in a statement the accident happened around 4:45 a.m. local time as the 1,494-passenger Costa Europa was pulling into the Egyptian resort town -- a common stop for ships traveling through the Red Sea.
Costa Europa, while docking in Sharm el-Sheik port, hit the pier and reported damage on the right side the statement says. ”We sadly confirm that three crew members are deceased (and) that three passengers and one crew member required a visit to the city hospital.”
Costa says the Europa now is safely docked. Photos of the ship show it listing notably to port.
Costa says it has cancelled the current voyage of the vessel -- an 18-night sailing from Dubai to Savona, Italy. The line is moving passengers to local hotels in Sharm el-Sheik and plans to fly them from the town to their destinations.
The 55,000-ton ship, which has been sailing for Costa since 2002, had 1,437 passengers on board at the time of the accident.
The Egyptian government-run Al-Ahram newspaper said government meteorologists were forecasting heavy rains and hail in many parts of northern Egypt, causing some flooding in the Sinai Peninsula. They also forecast dangerous naval navigation conditions and warned road travelers to avoid highways.
The MENA state news agency reported the closing of several ports because of bad weather and dozens of road accidents have occurred because of the difficult conditions.
Egyptian officials said the ship had hit the pier amid strong winds, causing a breach in the hull that allowed water into one of the cabins drowning the three crew men.
The 24-year-old ship was due to be chartered to the British travel operator Thomson Holidays for a decade in April.