Wednesday, January 19

Ban on ships in Venice: compensation for cruise passengers

MSC Orchestra cruise ship leaves Venice, June 5, 2021MIGUEL MEDINA

The Italian government announced on Friday that it would grant compensation totaling 57.5 million euros to cruise companies and operators in the sector penalized by the ban on large ships from entering the historic center of Venice.

Accused of endangering the center of the city of the Doges, classified as a UNESCO heritage site, large cruise ships displaying more than 25,000 gross tonnage are no longer authorized to enter the basin and the canal of Saint Mark nor in the Giudecca canal.

Thirty million euros will be paid for 2021 to shipping companies “in compensation for the costs incurred for the reprogramming of lines and for reimbursements to passengers who have given up travel,” said the Ministry of Infrastructure in a press release.

The operator of the terminal affected by the docking ban and other affected companies will be allocated € 5 million for the current year and an additional € 22.5 million for 2022.

In the long term, large ships will have to moor in the industrial port of Marghera where improvements are being made, while smaller cruise ships will be able to continue to dock in the heart of the city.

Italy was under strong pressure to ban ships, with in particular the threat of Unesco, if nothing was done, to remove this Italian gem from the world heritage list on which Venice has been inscribed since 1987.

Defenders of the environment and cultural heritage argue that the large waves generated by these ships erode the foundations of the Serenissima and threaten the fragile ecosystem of its lagoon.

Big economic interests are at stake, because the cruises generate considerable income for the traders and the port of Venice, that is to say 400 million euros per year and 5,000 jobs. In total, some 90,000 people depend directly or indirectly on the city’s port infrastructure.

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