Cruise Ship

Costa Smeralda

Incident Type

Passenger Arrest (Fugitive)

Date of Accident

September 14, 2023

Location of Accident

Palermo, Sicily Island, Italy

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On September 14, 2023, a 56-year-old male passenger (fugitive since 2018) was arrested by the Italian police and disembarked off Palermo (Sicily Island, Italy).

Details of the Incident

The man (Matteo Romano) was charged with drug trafficking in 2018 and evaded the authorities for 5 years while living in the Balearic Islands. He boarded the ship in Palma de Mallorca, together with his family, and was apprehended after the police were tipped about his presence on Costa Smeralda.

With Costa Cruises’ full support, the officers arrived on a pilot boat and boarded ship approx 5 km/3 mi off Palermo. The man was taken to Palermo’s Pagliarelli Prison to serve his 18-month sentence (10 for drug trafficking plus 8 for evasion).

Operational Context

The incident occurred during the 7-day Mediterranean Cruise (itinerary Sept 12-19, roundtrip from Palma de Mallorca/Majorca Island, Balearic Spain) with call ports in Italy (Palermo/Sep 14, Civitavecchia-Rome/Sep 15, Savona/Sep 16), France (Marseille/Sep 17) and Spain Barcelona/Sep 18).

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