MSC Opera, detained creates own Drama in Southampton

MSC Opera caught up

in a trouble snare in UK!  

Rumor, or Fowl?

On the 25th of May, MCA (which is the UK’s Maritime Compliance Authority, akin to our own US Coast Guard) Inspectors from the Southampton Marine Office  visited the cruise ship MSC “OPERA” upon its arrival at the Port of Southampton to undertake a routine Port State Control Inspection.

It is from this point forward; that the great debate as to what really happened begins to take place, largely depending on just who is doing the telling. An MCA’s spokesperson did release a statement during that first day stating as a “consequence” of the routine inspection conducted on the 25th May of the MSC Opera that the MCA decided that it was necessary to detain the vessel in Southampton until such time as the owners were able to demonstrate compliance. MCA Inspectors made a number of follow-up visits to the ship to assess progress although the ship continued to be detained at the end of the first day. At some later point in time, an MCA spokeswoman said various defects had been found during the routine port state control inspection but the vessel’s owners had been given a solution that allowed them to meet the agency’s requirements.

What does appear to be evident is that the MSC Opera was in Southampton port for the better part of three days, before she actually sailed out (late for its scheduled departure) on the 27thof May and the reports of what actually occurred begin their volley. James Walker‘s website (who is a maritime attorney) reported that the ship was in fact detained by UK Maritime Authorities. He further offers a link (see comments section of article) to the actual inspection report supposed deficiencies, findings, and actions taken by the MCA, in his article. You can view his article by (clicking here).

Gene Sloan (Travel Writer) with USA Today also reported (see article searches here) that the Opera was detained after it arrived in Southampton on May 25th coming from a shipyard where it had undergone repairs after losing power in the Baltic Sea, which left it adrift for several days until it was towed back to port.  During that ordeal “Passengers described uncomfortable conditions during the incident that included blackouts, a lack of hot food and running water, and backed-up toilets.” What is remarkable about the USA Today article is that it reported that when news of the detention in Southampton first broke, (on Wednesday the 25th), MSC Cruises reportedly informed media outlets (including USA Today) that it was just “a rumor.”  (Later in the day, on Friday the 27th) after the ship had been cleared to sail, MSC Cruise Line “issued a short statement that appeared carefully crafted to leave the impression that there had been no issues with the vessel”. The statement also made no mention of the detention by maritime authorities.” The Statement from MSC Read ….. MSC Cruises is delighted to announce that MSC Opera left Southampton today to begin her eight-night cruise to the Norwegian Fjords. Docked at the port of Southampton since May 25, MSC Opera was visited, as per standard procedure, by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) staff and released as fully compliant with International maritime safety regulations”.

Even more disconcerting than the original (apparent) failure of  MSC to measure up to International Maritime Standards, (as there are multitudes of viable rationales for ships to be found outside of compliance all day, everyday, especially when coming directly from repairs). What’s even worse in this case is the appearance of a possible cover-up, by MSC Cruises. This will certainly end up hurting MSC’s credibility far more seriously, than merely admitting to a failed inspection, and now being compliant. From my standpoint as a provider of cruise products and services to the public, I am left with many concerns, and question the actions and motives of MSC officials with respect to this recent occurrence. Additionally, the after effects of this will most definitely impact upon my ability to recommend MSC as a viable product with such a cloud which seems to prevail from this entire incident. While I am often labeled as pro-cruise by the media, I am most definitely pro-safety as far as the cruising public is concerned! MSC would be far better off, to own-up to any shortcomings, and deal more transparently with their media relations, and honestly inform the public as to what really happened in Southampton! What do you say MSC?

For more information on The “MSC OPERA” incident,  feel free to contact Mike via email  . You can tweet Mike at . You can follow Mike on face book at . To “Join” our Travel Club go to  Mikes web site can be found at .  Follow Mike’s blog (or subscribe to it) at  (or merely click on the subscribe button above to have daily delivery to your email). View all of Mikes uploaded Flickr Photo Galleries at . Mike also edits his own twice daily e-newspaper called “The Compass Headings” you can see (or subscribe to) it free! at

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About cruisewithmike

Mike is a Professional Cruise Wedding Planner, Wedding Officiant,and owner of CruisewithMike Wedding Planners. With over 20 years of experience in the Travel Industry, as an Independant Travel Consultant, Customer Service Agent, and a retired Va. Magistrate, and Clergy. Mike has a very unique perspective on Customer and Wedding Service Needs and strives to provide custom service that's "TOPS" Totally Outrageous Professional Service, with every customer he works with.
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8 Responses to MSC Opera, detained creates own Drama in Southampton

  1. Will says:

    Yo, so what’s up truthfully. Not sure that this cruise company is being on the up with us!

    • Will,
      It’s really not too clear for sure what happened in this situation, but you are correct that the company’s response appeared less than forthright-CruisewithMike

  2. Dillanger says:

    We were thinking about taking a cruise on this line. But now I don’t think so. This has been a big, big help. A superlative job of reporting newsworthy topics of course. Thanks

  3. Peter says:

    I work for a cruise company and as a crew member have 4 years service at sea on three major Cruise ships over 90000 Tons. I have encountered over 15 MCA inspections in Southampton and They are very strict when it comes to the Safety , and Environmental Health of a ships operation. They do not just inspect the likely places like engine rooms, Bridge and fire fighting they also inspect all ships crew and carry out Emergency Drills. The ships crew are very heavily interrogated during a drill and a ship can be grounded if a percentage of crew do not know what they are doing in muster stations. This could be Crew from the Theatre, Galley, or shops its not just about how the fire fighters do or how the bridge and senior officers react. MSC was grounded because it had deficiency’s in Drill operations and abandon ship Drills this could have been down to the captain overall but could have been due to one particular muster station or bunch of stairway guides not having a clue when it comes to What to do in a Emergency Drill. By Grounding the ship for several days it means that the Senior Ships officers have to retrain all Crew in their emergency duty’s and carry out several drills before re inspection. This was obviously successful as the ship was allowed to re-sail after grounding.

    • Dear Peter,
      Many thanks for taking time to reply. The entire point of the article wasn’t the fact that she was “grounded”, as there could have been hundreds of plausible reasons why a ship that had just come out of repairs after a crippling event at sea had occured (not to mention that she probably didn’t have her entire regular ships compliment back on-board when she arrived in Southampton), but the fact that her ships owners chose to attempt to cover up the fact that she had in fact been “grounded”. Yes, stuff like this happens all the time, but honesty from a ships operator’s is a must. Taking to the open seas with so many souls on-board requires a bond of trust, and that trust was severely impinged, if not out right broken by the fact that this ship company management took an incident, and compounded it greatly, by issuing false statements about the situation ever happening. The public accessable records are indisputable, while MSC’s decision to attempt to cover up what in REALITY was such a insignifficant matter, is totally inexcusable. And to date, they still have yet to rectify with the cruising public, and those who are asked to promote their product to the public, their misdeed.

  4. garyGrimsley says:

    I liked your article. Sounds as if someone was maybe less than forthright with the media and public. The article was most informative. Glad I found you.

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