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Large Cruise ships banned from Venice’s Grand Canal area

November 7, 2013 Cruise, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59After significant pressure and demonstrations by locals, the Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has announced that from November next year the Government is banning ships more than 96,000 tonnes from sailing through Venice’s Guidecca Canal, which passes across the top of the world famous Grand Canal,.

In addition, the Government will also begin limiting the number of cruise ships of all sizes allowed through the Guidecca Canal by 20%.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s office also announced that it plans to open up a new canal route to the city, allowing large vessels to continue to sail into Venice but not along the fragile Guidecca Canal route. download

The measures were announced after a meeting between Mr Letta and other local politicians on Tuesday, with concerns over mega ships sailing too close to shorelines increasing after the Costa Concordia grounding in Italy in January 2012, killing 32 people.

It is anticipated an interim route will be the one currently utilised by cargo ships that currently dock in Venice, a route that cruise companies have refused to utilise for many years.

Environmentalists have continuously protested against the more than 650 large ships that annually pass through Venice for a number of years, saying they damage the city’s fragile lagoon, with a spokesman for the protestors telling Italian media that the new measures constitute a first step and that their campaign will go on.

In addition, the protestors say that the mega ships are grotesquely out of keeping with city, disgorging unsustainable numbers of visitors into the city, but at the same time there are powerful tourism lobbies in Venice that value the significant economic benefit cruisers bring to the city.

Environmentalists also warn that the lagoon surrounding Venice, itself a UNESCO heritage site, is at risk due to its fragile ecosystem, with other experts warning that the thousand year old wooden piles that prop the city up underwater would crumble like toothpicks under the weight of a 114,500-ton cruise ship like the Costa Concordia.

On the other hand, a powerful lobby in Venice favours cruise ships the economic benefits they bring.

What do you think?

Let us have your comments. 

Written by: John Alwyn-Jones, Cruise Editor and Correspondent

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. angelique says:

    best news ever for Venice. ! The city will be given a longer lease of life with less pollution and less crumbling of its foundations .

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