An MSC cruise liner apparently suffered a mechanical issue and could not stop its momentum while docking on Sunday morning, smashing into a Uniworld riverboat and the dock in Venice, Italy.
Italian media reported that at least five people were injured in the incident.
Uniworld released a statement that said the Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection vessel, The River Countess, was already docked and most of its 130 passengers had already departed.
“Four guests with minor injuries were escorted to the hospital by Italian-speaking Uniworld staff,” according to the statement. “No crew members were injured.”
People could be seen running on the dock as the MSC Opera blared its horn, unable to stop. The Opera, which weighs 65,591 tons, was returning to Venice from a week-long cruise to Montenegro and Greece.
Parent company MSC Cruises said the ship was about to dock on the Giudecca Canal, a popular waterway that leads into Venice’s famous St. Mark’s Square, when it had a mechanical issue. Two tugboats helping guide the Opera into the busy San Basilio Cruise Terminal tried to stem the momentum, but could not stop the ship from slamming into the River Countess and the dock.
“The two towboats tried to stop the giant and then a tow cable broke, cut by the collision with the river boat,” Davide Calderan, president of a towboat association in Venice, told the Italian news agency ANSA. Calderan added the cruise ship’s engine was locked when the captain called for help.
— Kyle Spencer (@KyleSpenc) June 2, 2019
The accident has renewed calls for a ban on cruise ships in the canal.
“Today’s accident in the port of Venice proves that cruise ships shouldn’t be allowed to pass down the Giudecca anymore,” Danilo Toninelli, Italy’s transport minister, said.
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