Venice Moves A Step Closer to Banning Cruise Ships

September 2, 2013
Venice Lagoon

(1:00 p.m. EDT) -- Venice has moved a step closer to banning cruise ships from the Giudecca Canal, according to an Italian newspaper.

Italian Environment Minister Andrea Orlando is proposing enacting emergency legislation -- drafted after the Costa Concordia accident -- which would ban ships of more than 500 tons coming within two nautical miles of landscapes of natural or cultural importance.

Orlando tells the newspaper Il Gazzettino he will put the proposals in front of a cross-party parliamentary committee next month (October).

The move is backed by Venice's mayor Giorgio Orsini, who wants to see cruise passengers dock at a nearby town, Porto Marghera.

Orlando's comments are just the latest in a long-running row between environmentalists and the cruise industry to get cruise ship's banned from Venice.

In July, it was revealed that the environment committee of Italy's parliament is at the review stage of a bill which could give the city council powers over the surrounding waters.
A ministerial decree was issued in March banning ships over 40,000 tons -- mid-sized ships -- from sailing too close to the Doge's Palace, but it will only come into force once an alternative solution has been found.

Venetians -- particularly those belonging to campaign groups including Italia Nostra and the No Navi Grandi (No Big Ships) committee -- have long been up in arms about the close approach made by cruise ships sailing along the city's Giudecca Canal to the cruise terminal.

Tensions were heightened in July when Carnival Sunshine allegedly sailed very close to shore as a salute to Carnival boss Micky Arison, who was in the city on his private yacht.

--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor