Cabinet OKs decree banning cruise ships from Venice

'Historic day' says culture minister Franceschini

13 July, 18:26

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, JULY 13 - The Italian cabinet on Tuesday approved a decree banning cruise ships from Venice, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said, calling it a "historic day". The decree also safeguards the workers involved, paying them CIG lay-off benefits.

    Franceschini said the ships would be moved to berths at the industrial port of Marghera starting in August.

    "It is not going too far to define this day as historic because after years of waiting from the first of August the big ships will no longer pass in front of St Mark's or the Guidecca Canal," said the minister.

    UNESCO said on June 21 that Venice's survival will be even more in peril if the lagoon city doesn't issue a permanent ban on cruise ships docking there.

    The UN heritage body said it would examine a proposal to put Venice on its endangered list at its plenary session on July 16 to 31.

    If approved, it would demand urgent action by the Italian government by next February.

    A ban on cruise ships appeared to have been passed earlier this year but the seaborne behemoths subsequently returned to Venice.

    There have long been calls for cruise ships to be banned from Venice because of their impact on the city's delicate historic buildings and on the lagoon's unique ecosytem.

    The drive to ban them intensified after a cruise ship crashed into a quay in June 2019.

    Last May 12 the Lower House gave definitive approval to a decree banning cruise ships from mooring in Venice.

    The decree says a plan for the berth of the cruise ships outside the Venice lagoon must be drawn up and implemented.

    In the meantime, big ships will keep docking at the city's industrial port, which has been the landing site for them since last December.

    Culture minister Dario Franceschini said after the UNESCO news that "we took an important step in the decree by putting the big-ship docking outside the lagoon, and now I think more must be done such as stopping the ships going down the Giudecca Canal".

    He said the "UNESCO decision, sadly, was in the air for a while" and said Venice being put on the endangered list "would be a serious thing for our country, and there is no time to hesitate".

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