Exclusive: Italy to legislate to keep ocean liners out of the Venice lagoon: Sources | World news


By Angelo Amante, Giuseppe Fonte and Gavin Jones

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s cabinet will meet on Tuesday to discuss emergency measures to prevent large cruise ships from entering the Venice lagoon, three government sources said.

The government decided to act after the United Nations cultural organization, UNESCO, threatened to put Italy on a blacklist for failing to ban liners from the World Heritage site, said the ‘one of the sources.

The legislation will take effect immediately, the sources said, without giving further details.

It is likely to affect the activities of cruise lines such as Carnival Cruises. The company was not immediately available for comment.

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Francesco Galietti, Italian director of the international cruise industry trade association CLIA, said the group supported an alternative route for cruise ships, so the government’s latest decision was “a big step forward. before”.

Rome has passed legislation in the past to limit cruise ship access to one of the world’s most famous tourist spots, but an alternative mooring point is not yet ready.

Residents protested in June when the 92,000-ton MSC Orchestra crossed the lagoon en route to Croatia and Greece, drawing international media attention.

In April, the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi approved a decree to build a terminal outside the lagoon where passenger ships over 40,000 tonnes and container ships can dock without passing in front of St. Marc, the city’s most famous monument.

The tender for the construction of the terminal was published on June 29.

In the meantime, large ships have been ordered to dock at the industrial port of Marghera, but even this intermediate solution is not yet ready as Marghera lacks a suitable mooring point for liners.

Galietti said he understood the government would also appoint a special commissioner to speed up the docking station in Marghera, which was “a welcome development.”

Residents of Venice and the international community have for years urged governments to ban the passage of large ships through the lagoon, creating pollution and threatening the stability of its buildings and ecosystem.

Such concerns conflict with the interests of port authorities and tourism operators who say the city needs the business offered by the cruise industry.

Alessandro Santi, who heads Federagenti, a national maritime lobby, said the government was ignoring the industry and its approach was “regrettable and resentful”.

He accused him of listening to lobbyists for UNESCO and international culture while ignoring local “citizens and businessmen”.

“Limiting the passage of ships will not solve the difficulties of Venice as a city,” he said.

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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