On July 13, Italy prohibited cruise ships from the Venice lagoon to protect the lagoon's environment and legacy, in what looks to be a decisive decision applauded by anti-cruise ship campaigners.
The decision was made at a cabinet meeting of Prime Minister Mario Draghi only days before a meeting of the United Nations cultural organization UNESCO, which had recommended adding Venice to its list of endangered historic sites, the government said on Tuesday that ships weighing more than 25,000 tonnes will be prohibited from entering the lagoon beginning August 1.
Because of the 25,000-tonne restriction, only small passenger ferries and freight vessels will be permitted to access Venice's historic center via the Giudecca canal, barring all cruise liners, which normally weigh at least four times as much and may exceed 200,000 tonnes.
“We now appear to have arrived,” said Tommaso Cacciari.
Until the industrial port of Marghera is converted for passenger usage, cruise lines will be forced to drop Venice from their itineraries. The government has appointed a commissioner to speed up the typically six-month-long procedure. Prime Minister Mario Draghi has authorized a decree to construct a port outside the lagoon for passenger ships and container ships above 40,000 tonnes. On June 29, a request for proposals for the construction of the terminal was issued.
Workers and companies that have been impacted by the changes will be compensated. Also, Large ships were advised to dock at Marghera's industrial port, but this interim solution isn't ready yet because the port lacks a proper docking site for liners.
According to the statement, "The order enacted today represents a significant step toward the conservation of the Venetian lagoon". Activists protested in early June after being taken off guard when a cruise ship unexpectedly docked in the city, despite the government's April declaration prohibiting the ships.
At the same time, a counter-protest was organized by Si Grandi Navi, the main motive of this organization is to help thousands of people whose livelihoods are reliant on the cruise industry and who have been out of work due to covid.
"The cruise industry has been supportive of a new strategy for many years, therefore this is a major step forward," The Cruise Lines International Association remarked.
The Italian head of the international cruise industry trade association CLIA, Francesco Galietti, said the organization welcomed an alternate route for cruise ships and described the new government decision as "a big step forward"."We now anticipate making headway on securing alternate docking arrangements in time for the 2022 season.”