Italy bans cruise ships from Venice

Italy has decided to ban large cruise ships from entering and docking in Venice waters following demands by environmental activists and UN talks to put the coastal city on the heritage list endangered world.

Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini tweeted that with the approval of the Italian Council of Ministers, large ships would no longer pass through the Giudecca Canal near the historic Piazza San Marco from August 1st.

“The intervention could not be delayed any longer,” Franceschini said in a statement, according to The New York Times.

Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi also welcomed the decision, calling it “a step towards the protection of the Venice lagoon,” the Washington Post reported.

The ban applies to vessels over 25,000 tons, longer than 180 meters (about 590 feet), taller than 35 meters (about 115 feet), or which use a specific amount of fuel to maneuver the vessel in waterways.

According to the Times, Franceschini said Tuesday’s decision was aimed at avoiding “the real risk of the city being inscribed” on the “World Heritage in Danger” list drawn up by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

UNESCO had planned to discuss the inscription of Venice on the list in the coming days at a summit of the World Heritage Committee.

A report released late last month said UNESCO was planning to advocate for “the inclusion of Venice and its lagoon (Italy) on the list of World Heritage in Danger”.

The Italian government had previously banned ships from docking in Venice’s historic center, with all cruise and cargo ships needing to be rerouted while the city worked on developing constructions that could support cruise ships docking in Venice.

However, UNESCO said in its report last month: “The State Party should continue to seek a long-term solution as a matter of urgency, prioritizing the option of completely banning large vessels from the lagoon. and redirect them preferably to more suitable ports in the region. . “

UNESCO currently has 53 historic sites classified as endangered in parts of South and Central America, Africa and the Middle East.

Francesco Galietti, Italian director of the Cruise Lines International Association, said Tuesday’s decision “is a positive move and could be the start of a new era”.

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