|Carnival Sunshine appears to squeeze a vaparetto. Image Credit: Daily Mail|
Venetians have reacted with fury after the Carnival Sunshine cruise ship allegedly passed within yards of the city's historic banks while performing ‘a salute’ to a major company shareholder.
Film footage of the Carnival Sunshine, which is owned by the same parent company as the notorious Costa Concordia, appears to show the 110,000-ton liner passing within 20 metres of the city's fragile shoreline, according to a Daily Mail UK report
The ship is reported to have botched its manoeuvre, squeezing a vaporetto water taxi and other boats between the ship and the bank, witnesses claimed, with people in Venice reacting with
At the time of the incident an 150ft super yacht belonging to former Carnival CEO and major shareholder Mickey Arison was moored on the same part of the shoreline, the local newspaper Nuova Venezia reported, fuelling rumours that the manoeuvre was an in fact a sail-by salute.
The incident raises the spectre of the Costa Concordia cruise ship, which sank after hitting rocks off the coast of Tuscany during just such a salute to the island of Giglio last year.
Venice’s proud residents are already up in arms about the presence of large cruise ships passing through the lagoon, with protesters last month calling for a ban on all those that pass by St Mark's Cathedral, with the committee of the No to Big Ships group denounced the latest incident as ‘reckless’.
A statement said: ‘The reckless manoeuvre or error destroys the argument that an accident in St Mark's basin is impossible.’
Local councillor Beppe Caccia tweeted 'Shame on you Mr Mickey Arson, Sunshine putting Venice at risk.'
Environmental group Codacons called for port authorities to seize the ship pending an investigation by prosecutors, with Andrea Orlando, minister for the environment, saying that the number of ships must be reduced, adding, “This episode 'confirms the high risk we are taking.”
A statement from the cruise company said, “Carnival intends to prove that the few metres claimed by the witness are in fact 72 metres and that the brush is no more than a safe transit carried out in accordance with the rules of transit.”
A spokesman said reports of a 'salute' were 'unfounded'.