ROME (AP) - A cargo ship slammed into the port in Genoa, toppling the control tower and killing at least three people, Italian news reports said early on Wednesday.
Italian news agency LaPresse said a half-dozen people remained unaccounted for, with some believed trapped in the elevator of the control tower. Four people were hospitalised.
Genoa newspaper Il Secolo XIX said on its website that the crash occurred at around 11pm on Tuesday, during a shift change, making the accounting of personnel more difficult. But it said at least three bodies had been recovered.
It said the ship was leaving port when the motors apparently jammed, rendering it uncontrollable.
Lapresse and the newspaper identified the ship as the Jolly Nero of the Ignazio Messina & C. SpA Italian shipping line. According to its website, the Genoa-based Messina Line has a fleet of 14 cargo ships, with the Italian-flagged Jolly Nero listed at being 239 metres long and 30 metres wide.
Images from the port shown on Italian television early Wednesday showed the control tower tilted to its side.
The ANSA news agency quoted a tearful company official Stefano Messina as saying nothing like this had ever happened before to the company, which was founded in 1921.
"We are devastated," he was quoted as saying.
A person who answered the phone at the Genoa port authority early Wednesday said officials were too busy to talk to the media. There was no answer at Messina's Genoa headquarters.
The Genoa port, located on Italy's Ligurian coast, is Italy's busiest in terms of overall handling of cargo, according to the port authority website.