Italy Is Finally Banning Cruise Ships From Venice After UNESCO Warnings

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The UN art heritage agency has warned Italy, again and again, to stop large cruise ships from docking at Venice. Even going as far as to say that they would be forced to consider a proposal of putting Venice on their endangered list if the city on the sea does not implement a permanent ban on large cruise ships that try to dock there. So Italy has finally complied and cruise ships are officially banned from docking at Venice lagoon.

The Venice lagoon is deemed a historic center and thus cruise ships shouldn’t be able to dock there. Anti-cruise ship campaigners had been pushing the government for some time to ban the practice. According to Tommaso Cacciari, “We finally seem to have got there”. Tommaso is the leader of No Grandi Navi or the No Big Ships activist group that is known for its anti-big ships protests.

The ban came quickly even though Italy has yet to start redirecting ships to Marghera port and even that port isn’t ready for passenger use. This quick decision likely came from Unesco threatened Italy lightly to put Venice on its endangered list. An announcement came yesterday from the government that vessels weighing more than 25,000 tonnes would be barred from entering the Venice Lagoon from the first of August.

UNESCO previously said that “A long-term solution is urgently needed. A solution that will prevent total access to the lagoon, redirecting them to more suitable ports in the area”. Although suitable ports haven’t been repurposed yet, the ban came anyway. Italy had to make a quick decision because according to Dario Franceschini, the Italian culture minister “Putting Venice on the UN endangered list would be a serious problem for our country”. Two opposite activists groups were trying to push for the government to make a decision. Aside from No Grandi Navi, Si Grandi Navi was trying to stop the ban from being passed.

He further said that “…there is no more time to waste. An important step has already been taken with the latest decree but we must do more and immediately prevent the passage of large ships in the Giudecca canal”. The news of the ban was highly appreciated by the activist groups supporting the No Big Ships movement. According to the prime minister, Mario Draghi, workers and companies affected by the ban will be compensated. A statement from his office said that “The decree adopted today constitutes an important step for the protection of the Venetian lagoon”.

The Cruise Lines Internation Association or CLIA also commented on the decision. They said that “The cruise industry has been supportive of a new approach for many years, so this is a major step forward. Also, the government’s decision to appoint a special commissioner to fast-track the process is a welcome development. We now look forward to progress being made towards the provision of alternative docking arrangements in time for the 2022 season”.

Guess I have to change my vacation plans for this year. haha.

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