After a ten-year dispute, Venice has finally succeeded in banning big cruise ships from entering its grand canal.
The Italian government announced that it will begin rerouting cruise ships away from the historic city from September 2019.
Residents have been complaining for years that cruise ships are damaging Venice’s historic foundations. However things came to a head when in June MSC Cruises’ ship MSC Opera collided with a small tourist boat, injuring 5 people as well as damaging the already fragile quayside of the Giudecca Canal, setting tempers flaring once again.
The new plan will see ships weighing more than 1,000 tonnes or more moved away from Venice’s canal. I can’t think of many ships that are 1000 tonnes or less! Can you?
The Minister for Transport has said that from September 2019 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 2020 he anticipates that a third of cruise ships will be rerouted.
However, the news isn’t as grave as first thought for the industry, as both Fusina & Lombardia terminals are located inside the lagoon. This will allow passengers easy access into the city centre by other means of transport.
On the other hand though, this compromise may not go down too well with the residents of Venice who argue that these mega-ships will continue to erode and damage the city’s foundations, just in a different part of the lagoon! As well as the ongoing concerns with overcrowding in the city. With the knock on effect of increased traffic congestion and pollution as passengers are ferried to and from the ships in coaches & taxis. Mass over-tourism is a real concern to the Venetians, in fact I firmly believe that this is a global problem.
They would prefer an out and out ban on these oversized ships from entering Venice full stop! However I suspect that their voices will go unheard and nothing else will be done until Venice literally starts crumbling around them!
This tweet sums the situation up for me, and although amusing, has a serious point to it.
“The government decision about MOVING cruise ships is like changing the position of the cream teas buffet when we’re running out of food! The problem has not been resolved YET.”
Time will tell whether this ban of the mega-ships will achieve its aim and benefit Venice and its residents in the long-term.
Makes you think though – has the cruise industry shot itself in the foot long term with the environmental impact these mega ships will have globally?
Watch out for my next blog on this very subject!