Recent Italian media agencies have published articles alleging the Carnival Sunshine performed a dangerous maneuver known as a “salute” while sailing out of Venice. The media reports claim that the ship passed within 20 metres of the Venetian shoreline.
Now, here is what the reports fail to mention. At the time of the alleged incident, the Carnival Sunshine was being piloted by a local harbor pilot, whose sole responsibility is to safely navigate ships in and out of the Venice Lagoon. The ship was not under the command of the Captain, as some reports have stated.
Carnival has also publicly denied any wrongdoing. Their public statement, which was sent to Cruise Currents, reads as follows:
“With reference to media reports of an alleged “salute” made Saturday by the cruise ship Carnival Sunshine in Venice, Carnival reiterates that those accusations are unfounded. The passage through the Venice Lagoon occurred in full compliance with navigational regulations and well within the accepted parameters for distance from shore. The Carnival Sunshine passed more than 70 meters from Riva dei Sette Martiri on the planned route. The distance from shore has been confirmed by the Coast Guard, the local pilot association and Carnival Cruise Lines.”
Even passengers aboard the Carnival Sunshine at the time of the alleged incident have claimed that the ship passed through Venice Lagoon with no problem:
I was on Carnival Sunshine with an excellent view as we cruised the Venice Lagoon. Carnival’s statement is accurate: http://t.co/ImHXg5tSMZ
— Nancy Schretter (@kidtravel) July 29, 2013
As far as I am aware (and I was on the ship) there was NO near-miss involving #CarnivalSunshine and a waterbus or anything else in Venice
— John Honeywell (@CaptGreybeard) July 28, 2013
While local Venetians continue to make claims that the ship passed dangerously close to shore, they have no evidence to back their claims except for a few photos taken from a deceitful angle. The alleged incident has also fueled the local anti-cruise ships groups and their usual rhetoric.
Based on the findings and official reports from the cruise line, the local pilot association, the Coast Guard, and the passengers themselves – the Carnival Sunshine kept a safe distance from the shoreline and was never endangering any other vessel, person, or structure.