Pictures of giant ships crossing the Venetian Lagoon and crossing a few meters from the Doge’s Palace are about to go down in history. The Italian government approved a decree to gradually remove large ships, both passengers and cargo, from the fragile waters that submerged the city of canals.
CEO of Mario Draghi attends to Historical claims of the people of Venice, From many environmental organizations and from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), which even threatened to remove Venice from the list of World Heritage Cities. For years these groups had denounced that large-tonnage ships, when crossing the Giudecca Canal leading to the historic San Marco Square, eroded the foundations of the flooded city, which Suffers from periodic floods known as High water. They also lament the scenery and environmental damage caused by cruise ships in a city that is being overexploited by tourism, although there are fewer visitors now due to the pandemic.
Currently, these ships cannot enter Venice due to restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus, and their absence has contributed to improving the water quality in the lakes. Before the pandemic, 594 people passed through the city in 2018 Approximately 2 trips a day, Which docked, got off the passengers, stopped for a few days, and then left.
The government stipulated that from now on, in the first phase, the large ships would anchor in the industrial port of neighboring Marghera, a town of Venice municipality west of the city and on the mainland, which is also under water. Lake Venice. The proposal, which does not have the support of anti-cruise associations, is a temporary solution, as the goal is to completely remove large-tonnage ships from the lake. To this end, the Executive Authority announced that in the coming months it would launch a competition to choose an alternative port terminal far from the region for ships with a tonnage of more than 40,000 tons, with the aim of solving the problem “in a structural and final way.”
The solution will require time and resources. For this year, the government approved a clause of 2.2 million euros. The ideal project should take into account both the requirements of protecting the Venetian heritage and that it is technically and economically viable. Culture Minister Dario Franceschini described the initiative as “a correct decision that has been expected for years.” The priority is to protect the rifle, backed by a forest of millions of submerged stacks of wood, from the currents generated by the large ships, among other damages.
In 2019, a collision with the dock of a large MSC cruise ship that collided with a small river-type boat with a hundred tourists on board showed evidence of the problem. Although authorities have been summoned before from various fronts to restrict the crossing and mooring of large ships, the pressure from this incident has multiplied. So far, all initiatives have failed.
In 2013, the government blocked access to the Giudecca Canal for ships over 96,000 tons, but the base was withdrawn shortly thereafter. In 2017, new plans were also announced to address the situation, including, among other measures, converting large ships to Marghera, but they were never fully implemented. There was also talk of a special project to build a mooring point on the edge between the lake and the open sea, but it did not get approval from the city council or the Ministry of Transportation. In the same year, several associations launched a popular referendum, without any legal value, for residents of the city’s historic center, where 53,000 people live, to vote if they want the large ships to be expelled from the lake. About 25,000 citizens participated in it, and “Yes” won with 98.7% of the vote.