Cruise ship crashes into dock in Venice

Posted on 3 June 2019

A towering cruise ship crashed into a smaller tourist boat before it struck the quay along the Giudecca Canal in Venice where it was preparing to dock, at around 8.30am on Sunday 1 June. At least five people were injured in the incident, which has reignited calls for large vessels to be banned from the city’s canals.

According to MSC Cruises, one of its ships, the MSC Opera, experienced a mechanical problem as it was docking in Venice.

Davide Calderan, president of a towboat association in Venice, told the Italian news agency ANSA, ‘The two towboats tried to stop the giant and then a tow cable broke, cut by the collision with the river boat.’

According to Australian news outlet, ‘medical authorities said five women, including two Australians and a New Zealander, aged between 67 and 72, were injured as they tried to run away from the ship’.

The Giudecca Canal is a busy thoroughfare that leads to popular Saint Mark’s Square. Critics of the large cruise ships that make use of the canal say that waves created by the ships erode the foundations of the city, which has been suffering from increased flooding. Those against the ships also say that they pollute the water, are an eyesore in the beautiful historical destination and add to the crowds in the city.

The accident on Sunday led to another protest by those opposed to cruise ships in the Venetian canals and Italian authorities confirmed that this incident supports the work that they have been doing to ban these ships.

‘Today’s accident in the port of Venice proves that cruise ships shouldn’t be allowed to pass down the Giudecca anymore,’ said Italy’s transport minister, Danilo Toninelli.

‘After many years of inertia, we are finally close to a solution to protect both the lagoon and tourism.’

In 2013, ships weighing more than 96,000 tons were banned from the Giudecca canal, but the legislation was later revoked.

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