A court in Brazil has ordered Swiss-Italian operator MSC Cruises to pay damages to nearly a dozen Brazilian crewmembers of the MSC Magnifica. The court found that the crew's working conditions were unlawful.
In April 2014, the Public Defense Office of the port of Salvador alleged that 11 crewmembers of the Magnifica had been “rescued” by authorities from working conditions similar “to that of slaves.” The Office filed suit on behalf of the 11 sailors shortly thereafter.
MSC denied the allegations, but the court found that the crewmembers had been subject to unacceptable conditions, with continuous workdays as long as 18 hours. Crew testimony also indicated an environment of harrassment. The court awarded damages equal to $85,000.
MSC intends to appeal the decision. Roberto Fusaro, Director General of MSC Cruises in South America, provided a statement to the Rio de Janiero News, saying that "problems and bottlenecks found in [the market] - operational, tax and bureaucratic - have hampered the sustainable growth of our business in [Brazil].”