Owners point to tugboats in Genoa ship crash

May 11, 2013 at 12:41 PM

GENOA, Italy, May 11 (UPI) -- The owners of the cargo ship that struck an Italian port control tower said they were puzzled that tugboats failed to prevent the deadly crash.

Two tugs were maneuvering the container vessel Jolly Nero in the Genoa harbor Tuesday when the 655-foot ship plowed into the control tower manned by Italian coastguard personnel.

Eight of the 14 people in the tower were killed and one was still missing Saturday after divers discovered a body of one of the tower staff on Friday. The cause of the crash was under investigation, Italy's ANSA news service said.

In its first statement since the tragedy, ship owners La Compagnia Messina said the tugboats should have been able to control the ship. "We cannot accept that two tugboats, even if the engines of the vessel were halted, were unable to hold a medium-sized boat like the Jolly Nero," the statement said. "It's really not acceptable in those optimal maritime and weather conditions."

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