Italian Government Moves to Block Large Cruise Ships From Docking in Downtown Venice

November 8, 2017
Cruise Ship in St. Mark's Square, Venice

(6:45 a.m. EST) -- The Italian government has again moved to ban large cruise ships from docking near St. Mark's Square in Venice, adding to a years-long battle over the issue.

According to Reuters, vessels larger than 100,000 tons will be required to dock in Marghera at an industrial port about 15 minutes from downtown Venice.

The decision comes in response to complaints from locals and environmentalists who claim large ships ruin the view and damage the shallow lagoon used to reach the dock. UNESCO, which lists the city and the Grand Lagoon as a World Heritage Site, has also pressured the government to make a decision.

Work will be needed in order for mega-ships to tie up at Marghera, and officials say it will be completed within the next four years.

Similar regulations were enacted in 2013, postponed in 2014, reinstated later in 2014 and then overturned again in 2015.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said in a statement that it supports the decision: "CLIA welcomes the decision ... which meets our twin goals of the long-term protection of Venice's heritage and an assured future for the valuable cruise economy of Venice and the Adriatic. We are very happy that the authorities have confirmed our long-held belief in the viability of the Vittorio Emanuele channel which will allow larger ships to avoid the San Marco entry, and also the longer-term Marghera solution. We are aware that crucial next steps need to be taken before the plan can be finalised, and we call on the authorities to make sure that these are dealt with thoroughly and as quickly as possible."

Venezia Terminal Passeggeri, the company overseeing cruise operations and facilities in Venice, also issued a statement to acknowledge the government's decison and confirm its cooperation with that decision moving forward.

--By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor