Venice cruise ship loses control, slams wharf and tourist boat

Saul Bowman
June 3, 2019

The Kiwi - believed to be a woman - was one of five people injured when the MSC Opera cruise ship rammed into the River Countess on the Giudecca Canal - a major thoroughfare that leads to St Mark's Square in the northeastern Italian city.

The foreigners, aged between 67 and 72 years old, were from Australia, New Zealand and the United States, according to media reports. Their conditions are not known. The MSC cruise ship is 65,590 gross tons with a passenger capacity of over 2,100 at double occupancy.

The cruise ship operator, MSC Cruises, said in a statement that the vessel "experienced a technical issue" while heading towards the terminal for mooring.

Two towboats guiding the ship tried to stop it but they were unable to prevent it from ramming into the riverboat.

Italian media reported two people were taken to hospital for check-ups.

The government has previously tried to resolve the cruise ship debate.

Tourists are seen initially running away from the cruise ship.

The latest incident reportedly occurred after the MSC Opera lost engine power and a line from a tug broke.

The country's Environment Minister, Sergio Costa, tweeted that Sunday's crash is a "confirmation of what we have been saying for a long time: Cruise ships must not sail down the Giudecca (canal)".

"There were 111 people on the river cruise boat that the big ship crashed into".

"I thought the ship was going to crash into my house", a resident living nearby told Italy's state television. A deep thud and then the sound of shattering glass could be heard as the vessel scrapped along the quay and passersby shouted instructions to flee the rogue cruise ship.

From there, it will continue to carry out "passenger boarding and disembarking operations". "This is why for months we have been working with the ministers Danilo Toninelli and Bonisoli Alberto to move them and we are close to the solution". According to the company website, the ship traveled to Kotor in Montenegro and the Greek islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu before heading to Venice.

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