A near-miss in Venice from large cruise ship

Passenger cruise ship Costa Deliziosa (IMO 9398917), with capacity for approaching 3,000 people, swerved close to two Venice docks and to other vessels in the middle of a thunderstorm in Venice. One or more smaller vessels might have been contacted.

The cruise ship was being guided out of port by tug boats along the Giudecca Canal when severe weather appeared to cause the vessel to lose control.

The ship was reported to have had visible difficulty manoeuvring and was heading for the San Biagio dock, veering slightly towards the Sette Martiri dock. One of the tugs then pulled heavily to the right, away from shore, and managed to drag the liner clear.

Genoa-based operator Costa Cruises described the incident as a “detour” caused by “violent, extraordinary and sudden” bad weather. “The captain always maintained control of the ship even in conditions of extreme and sudden difficulty,” the company said, noting that the ship had resumed its course to its planned destination, but not addressing the controversy at such large vessels using the canal near Venice.

According to the harbourmaster’s office the Costa Deliziosa might have come into contact with public transport boats and with a yacht, whose crew members reported flinging themselves to land for safety as the ship approached, apparently on a collision course.

An online commentator observed that the yacht in the video appeared to be 2,998 gt ex-Equanimity (now called Tranquility, IMO 1012086), which was seized by Malaysian authorities as part of the 1MDB scandal and later sold to Genting for $126m (IMN April 11th 2019). It is now owned by Orient Peace Ltd care of manager Genting Cruise Lines of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The port authority of Venice said it reserved the right to check whether the cruise liner had followed safety procedures. The Venice public prosecutor’s office told Ansa they were looking into the incident. “I have arranged an immediate ministerial inspection to verify what happened in Venice,” said Italy’s minister of transport and infrastructure, Danilo Toninelli. He added that “after 15 years of nothing, we are close to a solution for keeping big ships out of the San Marco basin. And we’ll do it protecting safety, the environment, tourism and jobs.”

Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro blamed the transport minister for failing to take action over the cruise ships that regularly tower over Venice. “The time for waiting is over. We’re very angry. Enough of boats on St Mark’s and in the Giudecca Canal. Minister Toninelli should come here as soon as possible to tell citizens’ institutions about the results from the umpteenth check he ordered. How much longer do we have to wait?”

Last month there were protests in Venice after 13-deck MSC Opera suffered an engine failure, scraped along the dockside and knocked into a luxury tourist boat, slightly injuring four tourists.

2010-built, Italy-flagged, 92,720 gt Costa Deliziosa is owned by Costa Crociere SpA of Genoa, Italy. ISM manager is Grosser Grasbrook of Hamburg, Germany. It is entered with Steamship Mutual (Americas Syndicate on behalf of Costa Crociere), Assuranceforeningen Gard – gjensidig – on behalf of Costa Crociere, Royal & SunAlliance for H&M on behalf of Carnival Corp, with Gard having a subscription position, and UK Club (Americas G7 area group) on behalf of Costa Crociere SpA.