Published on : Saturday, April 19, 2014
Venice’s Giudecca Canal from the end of November 2014 will no longer allow large cruise ships weighing 96,000 tonnes to sail through the lagoon city to block the view that tourist enjoy of the beautiful Canal and its surrounding areas. The ships release huge currents that tend to shake the delicate foundation of Venice feel the campaigners who have been rallying to stop large ships from passing through the St Mark’s Square.
The Cruise Lines International Association made the pledge during talks on Thursday with Italy’s Transport and Environment Ministers. The government had earlier banned the vessel from entering the region, but the decision was challenged by the regional court in March.
However, the government has agreed to reach at an alternative solution that respects the environment and the tourism economy said the Environment Minister, Gianluca Galletti.
Paolo Costa, the president of the Port of Venice, also said that all the cruise companies have accepted voluntary traffic restriction. He added that he was looking forward to a compromise that would not cause too much damage to the cruise lines or the local economy, where the ships could serve the city without passing Saint Mark’s Square.
The agreement will also see a reduction in the number of cruise liners weighing over 40,000 tonnes that enter Giudecca Canal.
Over 650 cruise ships pass through the city annually, with protests by local people and environmentalists building in recent years. These protests gained momentum in 2012 when the 140,000-tonne MSC Divina gained the dubious title of being largest liner ever to enter the lagoon city.
No Big Ships Venice Committee, a local protest group, noted that the giant vessel produced as much pollution in an hour as 15,000 cars. In addition, the fumes contained 15 times as much sulphur as road vehicle emissions. The acid nature of the pollution is thought to be potentially speeding up the erosion of the city’s medieval buildings, which are already sinking into the lagoon. Environmentalists have long warned that the lagoon surrounding Venice, itself a Unesco heritage site, is also at great risk.
As part of the latest agreement, cruise ship operators are committed to not using fuel with more than 0.1 per cent sulphur.
Mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni disapproves of the Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi’s comment about the decision to of an alternative route to be taken by cabinet ministers. He felt that local representatives and citizens of Venice need to be involved before taking the decision. The Mayor also told the government that an environmental assessment needs to be done, if the government failed to abide by the report it would have to await “nasty surprises”, he added.