Kiwi woman reported injured after a cruise ship rams a tourist boat in Venice

A Kiwi woman is reported to be one of the five people injured after an out-of-control cruise ship hit a dock and a tourist boat in Venice.

The incident, which happened on Saturday morning local time, prompted calls for cruise ships to be banned from the popular tourist spot.

Videos of the crash posted to Twitter show the MSC Opera cruise ship blaring its horn as it is unable to stop, before ramming into the River Countess tourist boat.

It then hit the dock as terrified onlookers ran away. The crash happened on the busy Giudecca Canal, a major water thoroughfare in the city of canals.

It prompted a flurry of reactions from Italian politicians, many calling for cruise ships to be banned from the canal.

Environment Minister Sergio Costa tweeted:  

"What happened in the port of Venice is confirmation of what we have been saying for some time."

"Cruise ships must not sail down the Giudecca. We have been working on moving them for months now... and are nearing a solution."

While Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelli said: "After many years of inertia, we are finally close to a definitive solution to protect both the lagoon and tourism."

Medical authorities said four of the women — an American, a New Zealander and two Australians between the ages of 67 and 72 — were injured falling or trying to run away when the cruise ship rammed into the River Countess, AP Reported.

The ship's owner, MSC Cruises said the vessel had a mechanical problem as it was about to dock, and the captain lost control.

Elisabetta Pasqualin told AP she was watering plants on her terrace when she heard warning sirens and stepped out to see the crash.

“There was this huge ship in a diagonal position in the Giudecca Canal, with a tugboat near which seemed like it couldn’t do anything,” she said.

Cruise ships have led to a boom in tourism in the famous Italian city, but many locals think the price they have paid is too high.

Opponents say the city can't cope with the number of tourists and the huge ships cause pollution and are harmful for the city's already fragile system of canals.