Italy bans cruise ships from Venice

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Italy has banned cruise liners from the Venice Lagoon to defend its ecosystem and heritage, ending years of hesitation and placing the demands of residents and cultural organizations above those of the tourism industry .

The government decided to act after the United Nations Cultural Organization, UNESCO, threatened to blacklist Italy for failing to ban ocean liners from the World Heritage site, people said. cabinet sources.

The ban will go into effect on August 1 of this year, banning ships weighing more than 25,000 tonnes from the shallow Giudecca Canal which passes in front of Piazza San Marco, the city’s most famous landmark.

“I am proud of a commitment that has been honored,” Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said on Tuesday in a tweet announcing cabinet approval of the decree, confirming a previous Reuters report.

The legislation, which is likely to affect the activities of cruise lines such as Carnival Cruises, provides for compensation for the companies and workers involved, according to a statement from the Culture Ministry.

Carnival Cruises was not immediately available for comment.

Residents of Venice and the international community have for years urged governments to ban the passage of large ships through the lagoon, polluting and threatening the stability of its buildings and fragile ecosystem.

Such concerns conflict with the interests of port authorities and tourism operators who say the city needs the business offered by the cruise industry.

The 25,000 tonne threshold will mean that only small passenger ferries and freight ships will be able to use the Giudecca, excluding all cruise liners which typically weigh at least four times as much and can reach over 200,000 tonnes. .

Francesco Galietti, Italian director of the international cruise industry trade association CLIA, said the group welcomed an alternative route for cruise ships and called the government’s latest initiative a “major step forward.”

NO RECEPTION POINT

Rome has repeatedly passed legislation to limit cruise ship access to one of the world’s most famous tourist spots, but an alternative mooring point is not yet ready.

Residents protested in June when the 92,000-ton MSC Orchestra sailed through the lagoon en route to Croatia and Greece, attracting international media attention.

In April, the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi approved a decree for the construction of a terminal outside the lagoon where passenger ships over 40,000 tonnes and container ships can dock. The tender for the construction of the terminal was published on June 29.

In the meantime, the large ships have been ordered to dock at the industrial port of Marghera, but this intermediate solution is not yet ready because Marghera lacks a suitable mooring point for liners.

The government decree appoints a special commissioner to speed up the Marghera docking station.

Alessandro Santi, who heads Federagenti, a national shipping lobby, said the government was ignoring the industry with an “regrettable and resentful” approach.

He accused Rome of listening to lobbyists for UNESCO and international culture while ignoring local “citizens and businessmen”.

“Limiting the passage of ships will not solve the difficulties of Venice as a city. “


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