MSC ocean ship plows into Uniworld river ship docked in Venice

An out-of-control MSC Cruises ship plowed into a docked
Uniworld river cruise ship in Venice Sunday morning, injuring at least five
people as dozens more ran away in panic, the Associated Press reported.

It was the second accident involving a river cruise ship in
Europe in less than a week, and the fourth since October.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises confirmed its ship had been
struck, and the company said further information would be forthcoming as it is

The AP, citing Italian media, said the collision happened Sunday
at about 8:30 a.m. on the Giudecca Canal, a major thoroughfare that leads to
Saint Mark’s Square in the popular tourism destination.

MSC Cruises said the MSC Opera was about to dock when it had
a mechanical problem and called for help, but two tug boats guiding it in were
unable to stop the collision, the AP reported.

Videos of the crash show the ship blaring its horn as it
plowed into the much smaller river boat.

According to the AP, the accident has reignited calls to ban
cruise ships in the Venice, a city that has become a poster child for

Other recent accidents on European waterways have raised
questions and concerns about the number of river cruise ships sharing the
rivers with thousands of barges and other vessels. There currently are more
than 350 passenger ships and more than 13,000 cargo and other vessels plying
Europe’s waterways.

On Wednesday, a Viking river ship struck a sightseeing boat
during a night sailing on the Danube in Budapest, killing at least seven
people. Seven were rescued and 21 more were missing in the fast-flowing waters.

That collision is expected to lead to some changes on that
busy stretch of the Danube, where river cruise ships and small tour boats take
to the waters at night to sail past Hungary’s famous and brightly lit
Parliament building. Some are calling for banning river cruise ships from
making the so-called illumination sailings.

The Budapest accident was the second collision in two months
involving a Viking ship. In April, the Viking Idun collided with a cargo vessel
while sailing through Belgium. And last October, Crystal River Cruises’ Crystal
Bach was hit by a cargo vessel while it sailed overnight on the Rhine, damaging
windows in the Waterside Lounge and in some suites. 

No guests were injured in either of the Viking collisions or
the Crystal accident.

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