The collision between the roll-on roll-off Fantastic ferry belonging to the Italian shipping company Grandi Navi Veloci and the Viking Star cruise ship sparked initial fears a major rescue operation would have to be launched.
Fortunately no-one was injured in the incident just before 2pm on Friday, although an investigation is now underway to try to find out what went wrong.
Footage of the collision taken by a dock worker showed the Fantastic ferry’s stern rammed against the side of the Viking Star as both vessels blasted their sirens.
The Italian ferry had reportedly lost engine power while docking in the port’s B Terminal, from Tangier in Morocco.
The Fantastic ferry is said to have dropped an anchor to try to stop its drift without success before it hit the left side of the 750-foot-long Viking Star, which is operated by Norwegian-owned Viking Ocean Cruises and had docked in Barcelona from Valencia with 820 passengers on board ahead of a stop in Marseilles.
A dock worker could be overhead shouting as the collision occurred: “Right now the Italian ship is smashing into another vessel. My God.”
Local dockworkers union Portuaris CNT tweeted in the aftermath of the collision: “A GNV ship has just collided with a cruise liner docked in the port of Barcelona. We hope there are no victims.”
A spokesman added in a second tweet later in the day: “This could have ended in tragedy. Mechanical failure? Lack of maintenance? Black Out?”
The Port of Barcelona described yesterday afternoon’s/Friday afternoon’s collision as “slight”, confirming: “Around 2pm in the Port of Barcelona, in front of terminal B, there was a slight collision between the GNV Fantastic Ferry and the cruise ship Viking Star.
“No-one was injured and the damage, which is apparently minimal, is being evaluated.”
Local reports said the incident had apparently occurred after engine failure, although there was no official confirmation of the claims.
Weather conditions at the time were described as “good.”
Last Saturday 70 people had to be rescued after a passenger ferry ran aground on rocks in the Azores.
The 61 passengers and nine crew were evacuated from the stricken ship using a raft that was towed to shore by a semi-inflatable dinghy.
The alarm was sounded around 9.30am local time when the passenger ferry Mestre Simao, which carries up to 300 people in peak season, was pushed towards rocks at the entrance to the port of Madalena on the popular holiday island of Pico.
The ship, operated by Atlantico Line, was covering the route between Horta on the island of Faial, one of the nine islands hat make up the Azores archipelago, and Madalena.
Coastguards and marine police were immediately mobilised and ambulances put on standby. The rescue operation lasted around 30 minutes.