A new ‘equipment number’ to establish which ships can cross the Venice Lagoon
Harbour Master's office issued the order aimed at ruling cruiseships along the San Marco and Giudecca canals. Hull's displacement and size are key elements, however technological innovation will make the difference
Six years after the Clini-Passera decree banning over 40,000 GT ships from crossing the San Marco and Giudecca Canals, Venice Harbour Master's office issued a provisional order while waiting for available alternative routes.
As from next July only ships complying with the new technical-dimensional standard will be crossing Venice Lagoon.
The new standard, called the Equipment Number, was specially designed by Harbour Master's office supported by DUTNAV (Italian Navy), RINA Services, Estuario Veneto Pilots and the President of Collegio Capitani of Venice.
The equipment number is based on four dimensional parameters: displacement, breadth, air draft, hull's lateral area.
Until late February 2019 ships not exceeding 6,600 equipment number will be crossing the canal, while, in March the restriction will drop to 6,300.
In order to consider the positive effect, in terms of environmental impact, provided by any technical solution introduced by shipping companies, the equipment number could be reduced by multiplying 0.97, in case the company subscribed the 'Venice Blue Flag' agreement (voluntary agreement aimed at reducing the access in the lagoon according to a variety of technical standards) or supplied the ship with technological scrubbers to reduce sulphur emissions.
As from March 2019 the value will be further reduced in case LNG-propelled TIER 3 propulsion engines were installed: Azipod propulsion, Stern Thruster, becker rudder and schilling rudder.
The new order also envisages that stern towage unit (one of the two mandatory tugboats towing ships crossing the San Marco and Giudecca canals) must reach 35 tons bollard pull while also confirming the voluntary commitment of towage services concessionaire (Panfido) to be propelled with low sulphur fuels.
Finally, the new order, might be amended or complemented following new considerations submitted by the above working group, aimed at constantly supervising the effects of this complicated measures and the progressive reduction in ships dimensions.
Forthcoming effects of the new order on cruise trade in Venice are hard to be envisaged, according to Ansa news agency “the number of cruise ships in the Lagoon will be reduced by 10-15%”, nevertheless shipping companies might also increase stopovers of eligible ships.