On November 7, 2017 the Italian government moved to ban large cruise ships from docking near St. Mark’s square in Venice. Venetians have long voiced their concerns about cruise ships sailing so close to the fragile city of downtown Venice. The government has been trying to do this for years, and this latest movement just adds to the battle.
The new rules imposed by the government state that any vessel weighing 100,000 tons or more will be forced to dock in the industrial port of Marghera, far from the Grand Canal.
Luigi Brugnaro, mayor of Venice, endorses the plan. He made a statement saying, “We want it to be clear to UNESCO (the United Nations cultural agency) and the whole world that we have a solution. This takes into account all the jobs created by the cruise industry, which we absolutely couldn’t afford to lose, and we can start to work seriously on planning cruises.”
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said in a statement that it supports the decision: “CLIA welcomes the decision … which meets our twin goals of the long-term protection of Venice’s heritage and an assured future for the valuable cruise economy of Venice and the Adriatic. We are very happy that the authorities have confirmed our long-held belief in the viability of the Vittorio Emanuele channel which will allow larger ships to avoid the San Marco entry, and also the longer-term Marghera solution. We are aware that crucial next steps need to be taken before the plan can be finalized, and we call on the authorities to make sure that these are dealt with thoroughly and as quickly as possible.”
Venezia Terminal Passeggeri, the company overseeing cruise operations and facilities in Venice, also issued a statement to acknowledge the government’s decision and confirm its cooperation with that decision moving forward.
-By PJ Morrissey: Senior Editor and Social Media Manager-