Italian Government To Ban Cruise Ships From Venice

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Italy announced Tuesday that it has banned large cruise ships from entering Venetian waters, while also declaring the city’s lagoon a national monument in an effort to protect a fragile ecosystem from the negative aspects of mass tourism.

The ban, which has been demanded for decades by both Venetians and environmentalists, will take effect on 1 August.

“The intervention can no longer be postponed,” Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said in a statement.

As in the last weeks cruise ships returned to Venice After the break of the epidemic, the protesters in the city got on small boats and walked on the beach with the “No big boat” flags. Last Sunday, they demonstrated during the 20-person summit of economy ministers in the city and attracted international media attention.

“My heart rate is so fast I may be having a heart attack,” said Tommaso Cacciari, activist and spokesperson for the No Big Ship Committee, in response to Tuesday’s announcement. “We’ve been fighting for 10 years and now this victory feels almost unbelievable.”

in aprilPrime Minister Mario Draghi’s government has announced plans to ban large cruise ships from the San Marco basin, San Marco canal and Giudecca canal, but no date has been set for the ban. Also, the ban was conditional on the construction of a new port where tourists could land to visit the city, a project that could take years.

Tuesday’s decision removed that condition, so that the ban could be implemented in weeks, not years.

Mr Franceschini explained that the government had prepared an emergency decree to avoid “the real risk of blacklisting the city”.World Heritage in DangerSites established by the United Nations cultural institution UNESCO.

In 2019, UNESCO warned Venice of “damage caused by a steady stream of cruise ships”. Before a UNESCO World Heritage Committee kicks off this week and may see Venice added to the blacklist, the Italian government has approved the decree making Venice’s waterways a national monument. .

Over the last 10 years, Venice has been caught in a conflict between those who represent the economic interests of cruise traffic, which employs thousands of people in the region, and those who want to protect a sensitive environment from giant boats. mass evacuation of tourists.

The ban applies to ships weighing more than 25,000 tons, longer than 180 meters (approximately 590 feet), longer than 35 meters (approximately 115 feet), or using a certain amount of fuel during maneuvering. The ban is such that even large yachts can be affected.

The government also decided to authorize the regional port authority to determine how five temporary berths could be built in a nearby industrial port, Marghera, in compliance with maritime safety and environmental laws.

The intent to divert cruise ships to the port of Marghera raised eyebrows. The port was built for cargo ships and is not as picturesque as the city’s lagoon. Also, the port’s channel is not wide and deep enough for most cruise ships and will require major construction work.

One of the many projects evaluated by governments over the years is a permanent passenger terminal at the Lido entrance to the lagoon. Activists thought this was the best solution for the city and the cruise industry.

Mr. Draghi’s cabinet also moved on Tuesday to determine compensation for sailing companies affected by the ban and other businesses linked to cruise traffic in the lagoon.

“This is a positive decision and could be the start of a new era,” said Francesco Galietti, national director of the Cruise Lines International Association. He added that the association has been requesting temporary placement areas in Marghera since 2012.

Galietti hopes the cruise industry’s new berthing areas will be ready by 2022, when tourists are expected to return to cruises en masse. Only 20 cruise ships were expected to arrive in Venice this year.

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