Cruise ships resume in Venice; Protesters downplay their exposure

The first cruise ship to leave Venice since the pandemic is set to depart amid protests from activists demanding that it be pulled out of the fragile lagoon.

VENICE, Italy – The first cruise ship to leave Venice since the pandemic is set to depart on Saturday amid protests by activists, with the ship escaping through the city’s historic center out of the fragile lagoon, particularly the Giudecca Canal. has been demanded.

They say the huge ships – weighing more than 90,000 tons and carrying thousands of passengers at once – pose environmental and safety risks to the canal and the city. Another protest is also planned on Saturday by pro-cruise activists, whose jobs depend on thousands of visitors coming through one of Italy’s top tourist destinations.

The government of Italian Premier Mario Draghi promised to pull cruise ships out of the Venice Lagoon this winter, but reaching that goal could take years. The government says it is holding bids for a viable alternative outside the lagoon, which should be posted any day now.

Still, even an interim alternative route to the Giudecca Canal will not be ready until next year, Italy’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility told the Associated Press in an email.

“Meanwhile, in 2022, as a temporary solution, a certain number of ships can dock at Margera, thereby easing traffic through Venice,” the ministry said.

Cruise industry officials say Margera, an industrial port west of Venice that is still within the lagoon, will need to lengthen existing piers to accommodate larger ships as well as dig the canal. Because Marghera is an industrial site, it also means testing the sediment for harmful pollutants.

Venice has become one of the world’s most important cruise destinations over the past two decades, according to Cruise Lines International, the cruise industry trade association, as an attractive turnaround point for 667 cruise ships carrying nearly 700,000 passengers in 2019. working in

While some cruise companies have used Trieste or Ravenna in the south as drop-off points for those visiting Venice during the pandemic, industry officials say Venice is calling for cruises in the Adriatic Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. It remains a major port of

The passage of the MSC Orchestra Thursday – a 300-metre (about 985 ft) long cruise ship with 16 decks that soars over Venice – the first time a cruise ship traveled the Giudecca Canal since January 2020, before the pandemic be shut down industry.

When the ship departs later on Saturday, passengers will enjoy deck-side views of St. Mark’s Square, the Dog’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs upon exit from the lagoon.

They will also pass demonstrators who have been campaigning since the 2012 Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster off Tuscany, in which 32 people were killed to pull the ships out of Venice’s lagoon.

Concerns about cruise ships mounted two years ago this week when the MSC Opera struck a dock and a tourist boat, injuring five people while maneuvering through the Giudecca canal.


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