Cruise ship collides with tourist boat in Venice lagoon, 4 reportedly injured

A cruise ship and a tourist boat collided on Sunday morning in the lagoon of Venice, authorities and local media reported.

The incident involved a ship of the MSC cruise line and a river boat docking at the port of Venice, the city’s mayor Luigi Brugnano stated on Twitter.

Four people were reportedly injured, but none of them would be in serious conditions.

According to preliminary information, the cruise ship was mooring to the San Basilio wharf in the Giudecca Canal, when it went out of control and crashed into the stern side of the smaller craft, which was also in anchoring phase.

Footage disclosed by the Fire Department shows the huge cruise liner and the smaller boat already locked together after the impact, while other videos on social media show people fleeing from the pier while the massive ship comes closer and closer to the dock, with its siren wailing.

“This morning around 8:30, the MSC Opera manoeuvring to approach the pier had a technical problem,” the MSC Company said in a statement.

“The ship was accompanied by two tugboats and hit the dock at San Basilio. At the same time, a collision with a river boat occurred.”

The company added an investigation was underway in cooperation with local authorities “to understand the exact dynamics” of the incident.

The commander of the cruise liner would have warned timely that its ship was no longer in control, Ansa news agency cited the chairman of the tugboat company as reporting.

“The MSC ship suffered an engine failure, which was immediately reported by the commander. The engine was blocked, but still thrusting, because the speed had increased,” Davide Calderan of Rimorchiatori Riuniti Panfido told Ansa.

Two passengers on board of the tourism boat — which was reportedly carrying some 130 people — were slightly wounded and hospitalized, while another two were taken to hospital for precautionary reasons, according to Ansa.

The four people involved were all foreigners, according to local media, although their nationality was still unclear as of mid-Sunday.

The incident reignited a strong debate over the opportunity to let oversized cruise ships crossing the Venice lagoon, although all attempts to divert their route and avoid the central Giudecca channel have so far proved useless.

“Today’s incident… shows once more that large ships must no longer pass through the Giudecca,” Infrastructure and Transport minister Danilo Toninelli commented on Twitter.

The same position was expressed by mayor Brugnano in a short interview with state TV broadcaster RAI 3.