SPECTACULAR footage of cruise ship MSC Opera crashing into a pier in Venice, Italy has been shown around the world.

The incident occurred on Sunday morning, local time.

MSC Opera (IMO 9250464) is a 275 metre long vessel, flagged in Panama and launched in 2004.

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The ABC has reported medical authorities saying five women, including two Australians and a New Zealander, aged between 67 and 72, were injured as they tried to run away from the ship.

An Australian maritime source said he had sailed on the ship last year and enjoyed the experience.

MSC Cruises has been quoted as saying the ship experienced a mechanical problem as it was docking.

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