Ship crash in Venice revives debate on banning vessels

Four people were injured when a cruise ship suffering engine failure hit a tourist boat on Giudecca canal before ramming into a wharf at San Basilio-Zattere terminal in Venice on Sunday, Italian media said quoting port authorities.

The accident revived debate on allowing entry to large ships on Venice’s busy waterways.  

Dramatic videos of the crash showed people on land running away and tourists on the boat River Countess jumping into the canal as MSC Opera, the cruise ship, came menacingly towards them.

The four foreign tourists injured in the crash have been admitted to a hospital.

Those who want a ban on cruise ships on Venice’s waterways argue that large ships could cause environmental damage and cause accidents as citizens and tourists go around narrow canals on gondolas.

Since cruise ships move very close to the shores, it is feared the waves they create are slowly eroding the foundations of Venice which gets flooded quite often.

Italy’s environment minister, Sergio Costa tweeted that cruise ships must not enter Giudecca canal. He hinted at an early solution to the issue.

Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli said protection of the city, which carries Unesco’s heritage tag, is his top priority.

Italian Left party said it is strange Rome welcomes cruise ships sailing into Venice while it stops vessels bringing African migrants rescued at sea from entering its ports.

In 2011, Opera suffered engine failure during a Baltic trip, forcing some 2,000 people to be disembarked in Stockholm.