According to recent reports in the Italian newspaper Il Gazzettino, Venice has made another step towards banning cruise ships from its iconic Grand Canal.
Italy’s Environment Minister Andrea Orlando told the long-standing northern Italian daily that he intends to put proposals to enact emergency legislation banning ships of more than 500 tons from coming with two nautical miles of landscapes of cultural or natural performance before a cross-party parliamentary committee in October.
The legislation was drafted in the wake of the Costa Concordia accident and tensions in Venice were heightened in July when Carnival Breeze was alleged to have sailed very close to the shore to salute the line’s head Micky Arison, who was currently docked at the city on his own private yacht.
Orlando’s proposal was backed by mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsini, who wants cruise ships visiting the city to dock at the nearby town of Porto Marghera and is the latest development in an on-going dispute between environmentalists and the cruise industry to ban cruise ships from Venice.
It emerged in July that the Italian parliament’s Environment Committee was at the review stage of a bill which could give the city council powers over the waters surrounding Venice. A ministerial decree was issued back in March banning ships weighing more than 40,000 tons from sailing close to the Doge’s Palace but it will only come into force once an alternative solution has been decided upon.
The close approach of large cruise ships as they pass along the Giudecca Canal has long been a concern of many Venetians and Mr Orlando’s proposals follow a new set of safety regulations for the city’s waterways drafted following the recent death of a tourist who was killed after the gondola he was in with his family collided with a reversing vaporetti water bus.
By Simon Brotherton