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'Mutiny' on stranded MSC cruise ship

More than 1,700 passengers spent two days stranded in the Baltic Sea on an MSC cruise ship. The ordeal continued for some after they disembarked and tried to return home.
/ Source: news services

Passengers on the MSC Opera, a luxury cruise liner that stalled in the Baltic on Saturday and remained adrift for two days, are now sharing their frightening experience with the media.

Mary Birch, a 65-year-old passenger, spoke to Isle of Wight Radio, a UK radio station. "The toilets were unusable and then they got them working and then they didn’t work again," she said in an interview reported by the Daily Mail. "There was no water. Food-wise, we’ve just been on rolls."

Some of the 1,716 passengers, who were on the tail-end of a 10-day cruise, began asking to see the captain.

" ...There was a bit of a mutiny [on Sunday night]," said Birch, "everybody shouting for the captain but he never appeared and then they decided to give us all free drink."

Birch's son, who was not on the ship but recounted what his mother shared, told the radio station that the passengers shouted, "we want the captain, we want the captain."

Passengers Dennis and Linda Huntley called their daughter, Jo Orchard, from the stalled ship, according to the Daily Mail. "For 24 hours, they were told nothing," said Orchard. "It was scary for them. They were just floating aimlessly in the dark."

The ship was finally towed to Nynamshamn, a port near Stockholm, Sweden, but the ordeal didn't end there. At least one exhausted passenger took to Twitter with complaints about MSC's handling of the disembarking and travel arrangements.

@MFozWhistler, a woman traveling with her husband and six-month-old, posted that the disembarking was "disorganized," noting that she waited seven hours to get off the boat. When the group reached the airport she wrote: "Waiting ... to check in for flt. 1000 people to check in with 1 agent. #MSCOpera #epicfail #unbelievable."

The flight was then delayed by 20 hours, at which point @MFozWhistler posted: "People fainting and needing med attn."

@RichardSdeLeeuw had a more upbeat report: "#mscopera Dutch passengers on their way to Airport by bus. Positive mood. Professional treatment by crew."

Julianne Carelli, public relations manager for MSC Cruises, said the disembarking process was "longer than normal" since the Opera could not dock at the port. As a result, another ship had to transport passengers to shore. That ship arrived at 1 p.m. and did not finish shuttling passengers and luggage until 6 p.m.

Carelli also said that the company tried to get passengers on the first departing flights, but that one charter flight was delayed. Hotel rooms were secured for those passengers and they departed the next day.

The company issued a press release on Tuesday saying that all passengers were en route to their homes and that all expenses were covered by MSC. In addition, passengers were given a credit voucher for the full amount of the 10-day cruise.