Footage circulated on social media shows the ship striking the dock before careering into the rear of Uniworld ship River Countess, causing significant damage, while bystanders flee the scene.
The incident happened at about 8.30am on Sunday (2 June) as the ship arrived in port on the city’s Giudecca canal, sparking fresh calls for a ban on calls by large cruise ships in Venice.
In a statement, Uniworld confirmed four guests suffering minor injuries were escorted to hospital. No members of the crew were hurt.
“The accident occurred after most guests of the 130-passenger River Countess had disembarked and were transferring for flights home,” said the line, adding its technical and nautical crisis team was en route to inspect the ship.
“Guests slated to arrive today (Sunday) have been informed and are under the care of Uniworld, who is providing hotel accommodation.”
Opera was being guided by two towboats when the incident happened, which were unable to prevent the collision.
Davide Calderan, president of Venice’s towboat association, told Italian news agency Ansa the ship’s captain reported the engine was “locked”, adding the collision with River Countess severed one of the tow cables.
#Venezia #VIDEO la nave da crociera #Opera di @MSC_Crociere fuori controllo ha speronato stamattina il battello fluviale #Michelangelo e la banchina.— Beppe Caccia (@beppecaccia) June 2, 2019
Qualcuno ci spiegherà perché le navi che salvano vite sono sotto sequestro, mentre queste #grandinavi sono libere di far danni. pic.twitter.com/mSyhCMvvZc
MSC Cruises said in a statement MSC Opera "experienced a technical issue" while manoeuvring towards Venice’s cruise terminal.
"Albeit the ship was accompanied by two tug boats, as required by the local safety procedures, and even though the captain immediately applied all required procedures, the ship grazed the dock at San Basilio. This also caused a collision with a river boat, the River Countess, that was moored there."
MSC said an investigation was under way, adding it was working closely with the maritime authorities in Venice.
"Right after the incident, the priority was to first help securing the river boat and all her passengers and crew," the statement continued. "At 1.15pm CET, the ship was able to move towards the Marittima terminal.
"MSC Cruises is committed to offer its full support to all the persons involved in the incident, starting with the people of the River Countess and her owner Uniworld, her crew, and all passengers, especially the four passengers who were injured.
"MSC Opera is now moored at the Marittima quay where passenger disembarkation operations and embarkation operations for the next cruise are in progress as planned."
The line added there were no reported injuries relating to those aboard MSC Opera.