The debate over the sailing of cruise ships into and out of Venice has been raging on for years however, it has been wholly reignited due to the recent death of a tourist on the congested waterways of the city.
German tourist, Joachim Vogel, was enjoying a gondola ride with his family when he was crushed against a dock by a reversing water bus near the world-famous Rialto Bridge. This tragic accident has understandably led to a strong crackdown on water traffic within the city and Italy’s Environment Minister, Andrea Orlando, has yet again put forward proposals that cruise ships be banned from the narrow waterways.
The rise in cruise ship traffic in 2013 alone has been around seven per cent which has seen the anti-cruise ship protesters up in arms yet again. Although they enjoy the economic benefits of cruise ships passengers visiting the city and buying souvenirs, taking tours with local operators, eating meals and generally contributing to the economy, they believe it is not worth it for the level of corrosion that ships passing through the lagoon cause.
If you’ve ever visited the undeniably beautiful city of Venice before then you’re sure to have noticed the high levels of congestion that exist within the city’s main waterways. Authorities have now introduced many new safety regulations on the canals, including a ‘floating congestion zone’ on the Grand Canal which they feel will ease the chaotic rush hour waterway traffic.
In June of this year Venetian residents organised a flotilla of protesters who want rid of the giant cruise ships from the city and they managed to hold up the departure of a cruise liner. They believe that the large ships cause irreparable damage to the delicate foundations of the city and its canals.
The Mayor of Venice has proposed that cruise ships dock at the nearby port of Porto Marghera instead of travelling through the lagoon, in front of St. Marks Square, easily dwarfing the entire city.
There have also been calls to create a floating off-shore port which would then see cruise passengers brought into Venice via smaller tender boats. This however, would surely not be a viable option given the latest cutbacks on traffic in the waterways of the city.
Another viable option is to dredge a different route for cruise ships to pass into the city and allow them to use the same port as they do today. This newly dredged route would not see ships pass so close to the centre of the city and St. Marks Square.
I have previously stated that I’d prefer cruise ships to be banned from Venice’s canals and moved to another nearby port instead. I believe that if it means the preservation of the city for a longer period of time then it will be absolutely more than worth it. Venice is a beautiful and unique city with a rich and vibrant history that we should be aiming to protect for further generations to explore and enjoy.
Do you think cruise ships should be banned from entering Venice in order to protect the city?