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Call to ban cruise ships from Venice canal after tourist boat crash

Four female tourists were injured.

The tourist river boat that was struck by an MSC Magnifica cruise liner in Venice (Luca Bruno/AP)
The tourist river boat that was struck by an MSC Magnifica cruise liner in Venice (Luca Bruno/AP)

Italy’s transport minister has called for cruise ships to be banned from using the Giudecca Canal in Venice, after an out-of-control liner rammed 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 ploughs into a much smaller river boat and the dock, as people on the dock run away.

Transport minister Danilo Toninelli said: “Today’s accident in the port of Venice proves that cruise ships shouldn’t be allowed to pass down the Giudecca any more.

“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 when the cruise ship rammed the tourist boat.

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Damage to the dock following the crash (Vigili del Fuoco via AP)

The collision happened at about 8.30am on Sunday on the Giudecca Canal, a major thoroughfare that leads to St Mark’s Square.

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

The cruise ship’s owner, MSC Cruises, said the ship was about to dock at a passenger terminal in Venice when it had a mechanical problem.

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Scene of the crash in Venice (Luca Bruno/AP)

Two towboats guiding the cruise ship into Venice tried to stop the liner, but they were unable to prevent it from ramming into the river boat.

“The two towboats tried to stop the giant and then a tow cable broke, cut by the collision with the river boat,” Davide Calderan, president of a towboat association in Venice, told the Italian news agency Ansa.

Mr Calderan said the cruise ship’s engine was locked when the captain called for help.

PA

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