Calls to restrict cruise ships in Venice follow canal crash

The Associated Press
A cruise ship passes by St. Mark's Square filled with tourists, in Venice, Italy, Sunday, June 2, 2019. Groups that want to ban cruise ships on Venice's busy canals say a collision that injured four tourists has served as a wake-up call.

Milan – Cruise industry officials have long insisted ship accidents wouldn’t happen in Venice’s busy Giudecca Canal. They said guiding tugboats and technology would ensure safety.

The 65,500-ton cruise ship that crashed into a much smaller riverboat docked in the canal on Sunday proved them wrong.

Italy’s transport minister ordered the head of the Venice port to Rome on Monday to discuss the accident. Venice’s mayor called for a ban on cruise ships traversing the heart of the fragile lagoon city.

The MSC Opera cruise ship, foreground, along with other cruise ships, is moored at the Venice harbor, Italy, Sunday, June 2, 2019. The towering, out-of-control cruise ship rammed into a dock and a tourist river boat on a busy Venice canal. Italian media reported that at least five people were injured.

Venice is one of the world’s top ports of call for cruise ships and one of Italy’s most heavily visited cities. Debate over the behemoth boats has raged for years.

Videos of the crash show the MSC Opera cruise ship blaring its horn as it bore down on the riverboat.

An Italian Coast Guard officer stands on the tourist boat that was struck by a cruise line ship in Venice, Italy, Sunday, June 2, 2019.