MSC crash sparks Venice cruise ban talk
MSC Cruises’ 2,679-pax vessel MSC Opera has collided with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s River Countess while attempting to dock at the San Basilio pier in Venice, Italy.
The accident was caused by a suspected mechanical issue on board Opera which resulted in the ship losing control and ploughing into the moored Uniworld ship & grazing the dock.
Four Countess passengers were injured during the incident, including one Australian and one New Zealander.
In a statement released a short time ago, MSC Cruises said following the technical failure “the captain immediately applied all required procedures” and are collaborating closely with the Venetian maritime authorities.
“MSC Cruises is committed to offer its full support to all the persons involved in the incident... especially the four pax who were injured,” the cruise line said.
In response, Uniworld has dispatched a crisis team to Venice to evaluate the River Countess and assist affected guests including organising alternative hotel accommodation.
The accident has already earned the ire of the Italian Government, with the country’s Minister of the Environment Sergio Costa taking to Twitter to call for a ban on cruise ships sailing the city’s Giudecca canal.
“Cruise ships must not sail down the Giudecca. We have been working on moving them for months now,” Costa posted.
Venice has been the subject of overtourism fears in recent times, with the city’s Govt revealing its intentions this year to introduce a new visitor tax ( TD 02 Jan 2019).
The MSC Cruises mishap follows a similar incident in 2018 when its MSC Armonia ship struck a dock
in Honduras ( CW 12 Apr 2018).