After a ten-year dispute, Venice has finally succeeded in banning big cruise ships from entering its grand canal.
The Italian government announced yesterday (7 August 2019) that it will begin rerouting cruise ships away from the historic city.
Residents have been complaining for years that cruise ships are damaging Venice’s historic foundations and in June MSC Cruises’ ship MSC Opera collided with a small tourist boat and damaged the quayside of the Giudecca Canal, an incident which reignited calls for the ban.
The new plan will see ships weighing more than 1,000 tonnes or more moved away from Venice’s canal.
According to the Financial Times, Mr Toninelli, the minister for Venice, has said that from next month until the end of the year, these large cruise ships will dock at Fusina and Lombardia terminals away from the centre of Venice, but still inside the city’s lagoon. By next year, a third of cruise ships will be rerouted.
In the future, the minister has said that the cruise ships would be found new berths at a terminal agreed by public consultation, according to the FT.
Commenting on the cruise ship ban in Venice, Andy Harmer, Clia’s UK and Ireland director, has said:
“CLIA cruise lines have been actively engaged in discussions for a considerable time about using the Vittoria Emanuele Canal as the preferred alternative solution. We have been cooperative in simulations and studies that supported the Comitatone recommendation. CLIA urges all parties in Venice to reach a conclusion to start the preparation work to prepare the Vittoria Emanuele Canal so we can begin to reroute the larger ships.
“The cruise industry has worked diligently with the Mayor of Venice, the Veneto Region, the Port Authority and many others to find viable solutions to allow larger cruise ships to access the Marittima berths without transiting the Giudecca Canal and we are in agreement with the solution developed by Comitatone in 2017 to utilize the Vittorio Emanuele Canal as the best and most prudent means to move larger cruise ships away from the Giudecca. “CLIA cruise line members welcome and will support the urgent implementation of this solution.”
On Twitter, members of the public are praising the decision, including @DanaDelany, who tweeted “These cruise ships do not belong in Venice. Ban them” and @captsingh, who wrote “Venice must be put on U.N. danger list, ban cruise ships: conservationist”.
This article will be updated.