Instead of passing the iconic Piazza San Marco and up the narrow Giudecca Canal, docking in the downtown port, from next month large cruise ships will be diverted across the lagoon. from Venice and dock on the mainland, at the industrial port Marghera.
The Italian government announced the ban late on July 13, calling it “an important step in saving the Venetian lagoon” in a statement.
A promise kept
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, who has regularly voiced opposition to cruise ships, tweeted that he was “proud to have kept a promise”.
He proposed the new law, with President Mario Draghi and Italian Minister of Infrastructure and Sustainable Transport Enrico Giovannini.
The law will protect the “environmental, artistic and cultural heritage of Venice,” the government said in a statement.
It will affect ships weighing over 25,000 tonnes, with lengths of over 180 meters.
The government has said that a maximum of five berths will be created in Marghera, at a cost of 157 million euros ($ 185 million).
He promised compensation for those who pay the law financially, although he did not say if that includes any of the 4,200 local workers employed by the cruise industry.
Francesco Galietti, director of the Cruise Lines International Association Italy (CLIA) trade body, told CNN that the response from the cruise industry was “overwhelmingly positive” as they have been clamoring for an alternative for years.
“We’ve been asking for another place to go for 10 years, and finally we’re on track to get it, so we’re very optimistic – this is the first time in 10 years that we’ve seen progress. tangible, ”he said.
However, although Venice’s deputy mayor Andrea Tomaello previously told CNN the ships would be rerouted to Marghera this summer, Galietti said the berths would not be ready: “There will be no nothing this year, this whole rush is to get Marghera ready for next year. “
Tomaello did not respond to a request for comment. But Galietti said cruise lines “are now targeting the 2022 season.”
“I think that’s it for this season, period,” he told CNN.
“Each company will have to revisit its plans – some will cancel completely, others may divert what was assigned to Venice towards Trieste, Monfalcone or Ravenna. “
Opponents of cruise ships in Venice have hailed the news, but with a few caveats.
“We are happy,” wrote representatives of Comitato No Grandi Navi, who are campaigning against cruise ships in the city.
Although they added: “Very good if the compensation will go to the workers, who are unprotected and insecure to guarantee the maximum profit to the multinational tourism companies, bad if those who benefit from a public allocation of funds are those who have speculated on Venice in recent years. “
Galietti said: “We will have to see how the compensation is structured – this is important not only for the cruise lines but for the local business community, which has literally been starving for 18 months… another is eligible for some sort. reimbursement. “
The final decree has not yet been published.
Looking for a long-term solution
The Marghera docks will be a “short to medium term solution” according to Galietti – this is because although Marghera is on the mainland, she is still in the Venetian Lagoon.
Numerous scientific papers have shown that erosion from traffic (including commercial vessels) damages the ecosystem of the lagoon.
The government decided on April 1 that a permanent port should be built outside the lagoon, but that will take time.
“The project must be genuinely innovative and sustainable in order to target port activity in the 21st century,” said Fulvio Lino Di Blasio, president of the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority.
A spokesperson told CNN that the schedule will be split into two phases. Ideas are invited for a call for tenders until December 31, 2021. The top three proposals will then be considered over the following year and a winner will be selected by June 30, 2023.