The port of Messina features a protective industrial zone in the shape of reverse shaped "C" for large cruise ships and other vessels. At the entrance/exit of the cruise port, there are piers providing mooring and protection for the smaller boats.
While the Vista ship was leaving port, it came hazardously close to the piers. The thrust from ship's stern created a turmoil that turned over piers and swamped smaller vessels, sinking several boats.
There were reportedly no announcements after the accident from Vista's captain regarding what happened.
The Port Authority has opened an investigation in order to clarify the reasons for the anomalous proximity.