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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
13/11/17 09:19

Italy's Government diverts large cruiseships to Marghera

The committee has found a solution in Venice: the Giudecca canal will only host under 55,000 GT ships, while medium size units will reach the terminal through Vittorio Emanuele canal

After over 5 years, Venice finally received clear instructions from the Government: large ships will be diverted to Marghera, smaller units will continue reaching Venice Cruise Terminal through the traditional Giudecca canal and St Mark's basin, while medium-sized ships will enter Malamocco , cross Vittorio Emanuele canal and reach VTP passengers terminal.

That's the plan outlined by the Committee for Policy, Coordination and Control of Venice Lagoon gathered in Rome on November 7th under the Presidency of Graziano Delrio, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructures.

The new rule ensued from a thorough analyses of global cruise market as outlined in the report drew up by Pino Musolino, President of Port System Authority of the Upper Adriatic: for the time being no medium-sized ships (ranging from 55,000 to 100,000 GT) are seemingly under construction. Shipowners are betting on large cruise ships (over 130,000 GT), or on luxury and expedition units below 50,000 GT.

For this reason we need to focus on these two categories in order to enforce Clini-Passera 2012 decree and finally sort out the enduring problem of cruises in Venice.

The Committee also determined that the best solution for over 130,000 ships is Marghera: ships will enter the Malamocco, cross Malamocco-Marghera canal and reach the North canal.

There won't be any problem between cruises and freight trade provided not to schedule simultaneous berthing of cruise ships and tankers discharging at Eni Refinery.

It will take almost 3 years before the new port and route are ready, and, according to the Committee, this will be an interim period while Marghera new cruise terminal will be built.

Small 55,000 tons ships, will continue crossing the Giudecca and St. Mark's basin to reach Venice Stazione Marittima through their traditional route, due to their lower impact and particularly considering the growing sustainability of last generation ships.

Based on the Authority's analysis, all medium-size ships (encompassed in a category that will slowly decrease), the Committee's theory is a sort of arrangement: these units will enter the Malamocco, as larger sisters, but be diverted to Vittorio Emanuele canal.

Current seabed ranges between 5.5 and 7.5 metres and it will have to be dredged to 11 metres, as already envisaged in Port Business Plan, however all attendees gathered in Rome (only one dissenting vote by Chioggia Municipality) determined to evaluate compliance with Environmental impact assessment (VIA) as far as Vittorio Emanuele dredging operations are concerned.

Meanwhile, former restriction, deliberately enforced by cruise companies on 96,000 ships crossing the Giudecca canal, may be amended and strengthened by Harbour's Masters, not only in relation to ships' size but also environmental impact.

Pino Musolino satisfactorily reported that: “Only 8 months after my appointment we accomplished an in-depth analyses which brought current decision about. A joint commitment which aims at gradually ruling out ships from St Mark also considering future market development. We'll be accomplishing further studies for the construction of a new terminal in Marghera and for Vittorio Emanuele Canal, we'll be fast but won't overlook technical or administrative details”.

Meanwhile VTP's President, Gianni Mion, crisply commented that: “We acknowledge all information received about the Committee's job”.

While waiting for formal publication, VTP is willing to cooperate with all members of the Committee and institutions, particularly Port System Authority and Venice Port Authority.

CLIA, Cruise companies association stated that “the committee's decision meets two major targets: long-term protection of Venice heritage and a wealthy future for local and the whole Adriatic economy, which is strictly linked to cruise industry”.

CLIA re-confirms their commitment “to ensure safe cruises in the lagoon and the whole Adriatic sea.

Francesco Bottino

TAG : Ports