A towering cruise ship crashed into a tourist boat and dock on a busy Venice canal in Italy, injuring five tourists on Sunday, June 2. The incident called for banning cruise ships in Venice.
The crash, which happened at around 8:30 am (local time) on the Giudecca canal, involved the 275-metre long and 54-metre high MSC Opera cruise blaring its horn as it slammed into the much smaller riverboat.
Videos from the incident shared on social media showed dozens of people ran away in panic as the cruise, with the capacity of carrying 2,769 passengers, collided with the smaller boat which had 110 people on board. Five tourists from the United States, New Zealand and Australia, aboard on the riverboat at San Basilio-Zattere in Venice's Giudecca Canal were slightly injured.
The cruise ship apparently lost control after a steel cable tying it to the tugboat snapped, emergency workers from the spot reportedly said.
The concern for the safety of big ships in European cities was earlier highlighted after a cruise liner collided with a pleasure boat on the Danube in Budapest, last week. Around 28 people, nearly all of whom were South Korean tourists, were presumed killed.
Renewed calls for banning cruise ships in Venice were raised after Sunday's accident. Risks to the lagoon's ecosystem and monuments caused by huge ships routinely sailing very close to the shore are the cited reasons.
Ships weighing more than 96,000 tonnes were banned from the Giudecca canal in 2013, and not more than five smaller ships could cross through the canal. However, this legislation was overturned by the end of 2015.
It was decided in 2017 that the largest ships, weighing more than 100,000 tonnes were to take the route of the industrial port of Marghera, which is far from the Giudecca and Grand canals. But this plan was expected to take four years to come into force.
Danilo Toninelli, Italy's transport minister, took to Twitter after Sunday's accident. "Today's accident in the port of Venice proves that cruise ships shouldn't be allowed to pass down the Giudecca anymore," he said. "After many years of inertia, we are finally close to a solution to protect both the lagoon and tourism," tweeted Toninelli.