Cruise ship strikes dock in Venice this morning


A cruise ship has struck a dock and a tourist river boat on a busy canal in Venice. Italian media report that at least five people have been injured in the crash.

The collision happened at about 8.30am on Sunday on the Giudecca Canal, a major thoroughfare that leads to St Mark’s Square in the north-eastern Italian city.


Gepostet von Edward Griffiths's Cruise Page am Sonntag, 2. Juni 2019

Tourists on land could be seen running away as the 13-deck MSC Opera scraped along the dockside before knocking into a tourist boat, in amateur video footage posted on Twitter.

The Opera, which suffered mechanical trouble in 2011 during a Baltic cruise, can carry more than 2,500 passengers and boasts a theatre, ballroom and waterpark for children.

“The MSC ship had an engine failure, which was immediately reported by the captain,” Davide Calderan, the head of a tugboat company involved in accompanying the ship into its berth, told Italian media.

“The engine was blocked, but with its thrust on, because the speed was increasing,” he said.

The two tugboats that had been guiding the ship into the Giudecca tried to slow it, but one of the chains linking them to the cruise ship snapped under the pressure, he added.

The accident reignited a heated row in the Serenissima over the damage caused to the city and its fragile ecosystem by cruise ships that sail close to the shore.

While gondoliers in striped T-shirts and woven straw hats row tourists around the narrow canals, the smoking chimneys of mammoth ships loom behind the city’s picturesque bell towers and bridges.

Critics say the waves the ships create are eroding the foundations of the lagoon city, which regularly floods, leaving sites such as St Mark’s Square under water.

“What happened in the port of Venice is confirmation of what we have been saying for some time,” Italy’s environment minister, Sergio Costa, wrote on Twitter. “Cruise ships must not sail down the Giudecca. We have been working on moving them for months now … and are nearing a solution,” he said.

Venice’s port authority said it was was working to resolve the accident and free up the blocked canal.

“But from tomorrow we need to move, all together and as quickly as possible, to resolve the cruise ship traffic problem,” said Pino Musolino of the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority.

MSC Cruises, founded in Italy in 1960, is a global line registered in Switzerland and based in Geneva.

The Opera, built 15 years ago, suffered a power failure in 2011 in the Baltic, forcing 2,000 people to disembark in Stockholm rather than continuing their voyage from Southampton to St Petersburg.

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