According to several passengers on the Carnival Vista, the cruise ship swamped piers and many smaller boats moored there yesterday afternoon when leaving the port of Messina, Sicily.
We were contacted and told about the mishap today. The port of Messina has a protective industrial zone in the shape of a reverse shaped "C" for large vessels and cruise ships. At the entrance/exit of the port, there are piers (at 10:00 o'clock, in the left upper corner of the photo to the right) which provide mooring and protection for smaller boats. You can see a close up here. While the Vista was leaving port, it came perilously close to the piers and the thrust from its stern created a turmoil which turned over the piers and swamped smaller moored vessels, sinking several of the boats.
The damage to the piers was so severe that some of the passengers thought that the Vista must have hit the piers and boats.
The passengers stated that it was a "beautiful, sunny and calm day" when the accident occurred.
I am assuming that a local pilot may have been on-board at the time, although it is less than clear who was in control of the cruise ship when it damaged the piers and boats. There were reportedly no announcements afterward from the captain regarding what happened. According to these passengers, the Vista "didn't stop and we were slightly delayed out of port."
A number of Italian newspapers published articles today, saying that the local port authority is conducting an investigation regarding the incident. One newspaper reports that the Vista caused damage to two concrete piers and sank several boats "under the astonished gaze of several citizens." This newspaper further states that "for a moment, it was feared that the situation could escalate and that the same cruise ship might not be able to straighten the course and regain the open sea."
You can watch dramatic video of the Vista as it swamped the piers and boats in an article by the Italian newspaper Gazzetta del Sud which we posted to our Facebook page.
The photo below is from the Tempostretto. The Dream Blog Cruise Magazine has posted the video below, with a credit to Gazzetta del Sul:
Update: An Italian newspaper says that that there was reportedly 250,000 euros in damage caused by the Carnival ship due to "two piers destroyed, one beyond repair, a number of ancillary facilities (such as anchor lines of the boats) damaged, a pilot of the mooring sunk and another dozen small boats in poor condition."
August 30 2016 Update: Another Italian newspaper accurately characterized the waves generated by the Vista as "a small tsunami," which trampled two wharves and boats moored at Marina del Nettuno.
September 4 2016 Update: You can see another video of the incident here, from the Facebook page of Ships of Messina, showing another angle of the disaster caused by the Vista's wake.
September 10 201:Update: Here's a video taken from a passenger aboard the cruise ship, showing another angle of the incident. Video credit: Loiue Old YouTube.
If you have information about the incident, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.