Minister demands cruise ship ban in Venice canal

International

VENICE, Italy (AP) —

2:55 p.m.

Top Italian officials have immediately called for cruise ships to be banned from using the Giudecca Canal in Venice after an out-of-control cruise ship rammed both a dock and a river tourist boat in the Italian city.

Videos of the crash show the MSC Opera cruise ship, apparently unable to halt its momentum, blaring its horn as it plows into a much smaller river boat and the dock Sunday as people on the dock run away in panic.

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

Toninelli says “After many years of inertia, we are finally close to a solution to protect both the lagoon and tourism.”

Four older female tourists were injured as they tried to run away as the cruise ship rammed the tourist boat.

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1 p.m.

MSC Cruises, an international cruise ship line with its headquarters in Geneva, says its ship, the MSC Opera, experienced a mechanical problem Sunday as it was docking at a passenger terminal in Venice. The company says it is cooperating with authorities to figure out what happened.

Videos of the crash show the cruise ship, apparently unable to halt its momentum, blaring its horn as it plows into a much smaller river boat and the dock as people on the dock run away in panic.

The company says the MSC Opera is waiting to be allowed to dock at a terminal where large ships moor at Venice’s waterfront.

The MSC Opera was built in 2004. It can carry over 2,675 passengers in 1,071 cabins. According to its sailing schedule, it left Venice on May 26 and traveled to Kotor, Montenegro, and Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu in Greece before returning Sunday to Venice.

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10:15 a.m.

A towering cruise ship has struck a dock and a tourist river boat on a busy canal in Venice. Italian media report that at least five people have been injured in the crash.

The collision happened about 8:30 a.m. Sunday on the Giudecca Canal, a major thoroughfare that leads to Saint Mark’s Square in the northeastern Italian city. Video of the crash shows the cruise ship, apparently unable to halt its momentum, plowing into the much smaller river boat and the dock as dozens of people run away in panic.

Venice is a tremendously popular site for both tourists and cruise ships, especially during the summer tourist season.

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