The number of cruise ships docking in Venice will be limited from next year, in an effort to preserve the ancient city’s marine environment.
According to a report by BBC News, the Italian government is planning measures to reduce the number of large liners visiting Venice, with the number of ships being cut by 20% from January 2014. Then from November next year, ships weighing more than 96,000 tonnes will be banned from the centre of the city.
Large liners currently operating in the Italian city include P&O’s 116,000 tonne MV Ventura, the 122,000 tonne Celebrity Equinox and the 139,000 tonne MSC Preziosa.
The measures were announced after a meeting of local politicians on Tuesday. But the BBC reported a spokesperson for those who campaigning against large cruise ships as telling Italian media that they consider the limits to be only the first step, and that their campaign will continue.
The cruise industry is valuable to the Venetian economy, but environmental concerns have been heightened since the capsizing of the Costa Concordia liner in 2012, which ran aground off the Italian island of Giglio.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said it is looking to review the impact of the decision, but welcomed moves for a sustainable solution in Venice.
A statement from the association said: “CLIA views the outcome of the meeting that took place on Tuesday in Rome as a positive on-going commitment of the representatives of the Italian Institutions to find a sustainable and long term solution for the city of Venice. This goal is shared by the cruise industry. We are in the process of determining the impact of the decision, and any estimation or evaluation at this time is premature. Venice is consistently rated as the number one European cruise destination for our industry and we look forward to further strengthening our role as a key contributor to the economic vitality of Venice.”
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the city of Venice is set across more than 100 small islands in a lagoon between the mouths of two rivers – the Po and Piave.