Doubts have been cast over cruise ship calls in Venice after an MSC Cruises vessel collided with the San Basilio Cruise Terminal and a Uniworld river boat.
MSC Opera was about to dock at a passenger terminal when it encountered a mechanical problem.
The ship, which was being guided by two tugboats, was unable to halt its momentum and hit Uniworld’s River Countess and the dock.
ITV News shared a video of the crash on Twitter on Sunday.
The Italian media reported that at least five people were injured in the crash which happened at about 8.30am on Sunday on the Giudecca Canal.
Danilo Toninelli, Italy’s minister for infrastructure and transport, tweeted: “Today’s incident at the Port #Venezia shows that they #grandinavi [big ships] no longer have to pass by the Giudecca. After many years of inertia, we are finally close to a definitive solution to protect both the lagoon and tourism.”
Luigi Bagnaro, mayor of Venice, shared news on Twitter that a scheduled regatta and procession were cancelled. He said: “Right now we have to give priority to the rescue.”
— ITV News (@itvnews) June 2, 2019
A statement from Uniworld said: “Four guests with minor injuries were escorted to the hospital by Italian-speaking Uniworld staff. No crew members were injured. The accident occurred after most guests of the 130-passenger River Countess had disembarked and were transferring for flights home.”
It added: “Uniworld’s technical and nautical crisis response team is on the way to Venice to thoroughly evaluate The River Countess and take necessary action.
“Guests slated to arrive today have been informed and are under the care of Uniworld who is providing hotel accommodation.”
MSC Cruises said: “MSC Opera – while maneuvering towards Venice’s VTP cruise terminals for mooring – experienced a technical issue.
“Albeit the ship was accompanied by two tugs, she grazed the dock at San Basilio. This also caused a collision with a river boat that was moored there.
“The investigations to understand the exact causes of the events are currently in progress. Regarding these, the company is working closely with the local maritime and other authorities.
“The ship has in the meantime received authorisation to move to be moored at the Marittima terminal, as planned. She is now moored there and has begun passenger operations.”
The accident follows recent reports criticising overtourism in destinations such as Venice which sees some 20 million visitors to the city each year.
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