An Italian Coast Guard officer stands on the tourist boat that was struck by a cruise line ship in Venice, Italy, Sunday, June 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
An Australian man watched people go flying while aboard an out-of-control cruise ship that rammed a wharf and a ferry in the Italian city of Venice.
Robert Lauretti was enjoying breakfast with friends on the balcony of the MSC Opera when the towering ship hit the dock and ferry as it tried to berth on the Giudecca Canal on Sunday.
Four tourists, including an Australian woman, suffered minor injuries. It's unclear where they were or what injuries they suffered.
Video footage captured the moment when people on the dock realised the hulking vessel was not going to stop and began to run.
Mr Lauretti has told of watching a woman and a man go flying, but did not specify if they were on his ship, the ferry or the dock.
"There were people running everywhere, in every direction," he told the Nine network from the ship, which is still in Venice undergoing repairs.
"The one we noticed the most, it looked like a lady .. she was the last one to run down the stairs on the top deck and as the ship actually hit, she flipped.
"I'm sure we saw a man flip into the water as the boat went past."
But on the cruise ship itself, the collision was barely felt.
"My friends were on the balcony with us. They were saying brace, brace," he has told the Nine network from the ship.
"We were bracing quite hard but oddly enough we could hardly feel the actual impact."
Mr Lauretti said he'd decided to venture out onto his balcony to watch the ship berth.
"The closer it got the more we started to freak out, regarding the fact that it wasn't turning.
"There was not much we could do. We had the best seat in the house for it, I can tell you that."
He said it was very lucky that the cruise ship went between the dock and the smaller vessel, with the only visual damage to the cruise ship being some scrapes along its side.
But Mr Lauretti said he'd been told one of the ship's anchors has also been torn off during frantic efforts to stop the 2679-passenger vessel.
The cruise ship's owner, MSC Cruises, has said the ship suffered a mechanical problem, and there are reports a steel cable connected to a tugboat snapped.
Mr Lauretti had only been on the ship for about 24 hours when the accident happened but says he'll stay onboard.
"I hope the next port will be just slightly less of a bang getting in."
AAP has sought comment from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade about the injured Australian.
© AAP 2019