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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
03/09/18 11:08

Toninelli has changed his mind on cruises in Venice in less than a day

Although originally supporting Marghera's option, launched by the former Government, the Minister retreats and advocates for diverting cruise ships to Chioggia

Navi da crociera al Venezia Terminal Passeggeri

The final solution aimed at sorting out large cruise ships problem in Venice, actually launched by the former Government, was originally supported by Minister Danilo Toninelli, although being subsequently retreated and totally overturned.

According to an interview published by La Nuova Venezia on August 29th, the 'Five Star' Minister stated that: “Ships exceeding 130,000 tons will need to be diverted to Marghera via Canale Nord through the Malamocco harbour entrance and  Malamocco waterway”, apparently confirming what previously approved by the so called Comitatone chaired by former Minister Graziano Delrio.

Toninelli also added that: “Stazione Marittima will accommodate medium-small ships, which might reach the terminal through Vittorio Emanuele III canal”.

Finally, “while waiting to implement the Marghera solution, I wish to recall that Venice Harbour Master's office issued an order to regulate ships transit across San Marco and Giudecca canals applying stricter and stricter criteria”. Essentially confirming the decision taken by former Gentiloni Government.

Few hours after having published the aforementioned interview, someone has allegedly informed Toninelli that the 'Five Star' movement policy isn't the one he actually illustrated and the Minister of Transport retreated his statement and announced large cruise ship ban in Venice to go ahead.

“Unesco has long been stating that: Venice might become a site at risk. Large cruise ships heavily affect the delicate balance between arts and nature in the lagoon. Therefore, all giant units will have to be diverted outside the lagoon pursuant to Ministerial decree dated 1985”, report the statement.

Minister Toninelli insisted in supporting a real eco-friendly tourism, to safeguard Venice treasures. In essence no new canal would be dredged while below 40,000 tons ships will be allowed calling at Stazione Marittima and Chioggia”.

MIT's statement also adds that: “Nevertheless it must be assessed whether this is an acceptable limit. Not to forget that tonnage restriction must be replaced by a new standard which should also consider shape and hulls' height. The Ministry will be supporting this battle”

Regarding ships' weight, Toininelly refers to deadweight (DWT) which is in fact the measure of a ship's carrying capacity. Not the actual weight.

Sea Port Authority of the Upper Adriatic, chaired by Pino Mussolino, prompted that: “We ask once again to meet Ministry Toninelli to clearly understand the Government's directives”.

Musolino also adds that: “during the last months Sea Port Authority implemented new projects pursuant to latest Comitatone's directives, which did not envisage dredging new canals but focused on an upgrade pursuant to latest Port Business plan. Moreover Venice Harbour Master's office has recently implemented large cruise ships' standard, finding out a complex algorithm which calculates different variants”.

Venice Sea Port Authority is ready to call for round-table with the Ministry to sort out Venice problem, finding a shared solution to protect the delicate ecosystem as well as the cruise business which reach 3%  of Venice GDP and recruit 4,000 workers”.

Nicola Capuzzo

TAG : Cruises