Speaking in Italian Parliament yesterday, Italy’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Danilo Toninelli said he had set up a working group to look at alternative solutions for cruise ships currently using Guidecca Canal.
“Starting now, we will decrease the number of liners passing by Giudecca and San Marco, particularly the bigger ones,” Toninelli said at a transport committee hearing.
“The aim is to reroute about one-third of the cruise ships already booked on Venice towards new berths by 2020,” he said. “We’ve been talking about big ships for 15 years and nothing has been done.
“These floating palaces will start to go elsewhere,” Toninelli said.
According to a statement from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Toninelli said some ships could be rerouted to the mainland Fusina or Lombardia terminals until the end of the year, but a decision is yet to be made.
Toninelli’s comments come after thousands of protesters marched in Venice demanding cruise ships be kept out of the city’s lagoon.
Multiple media reports, including ABC News, have said ships will begin to be redirected from Guidecca Canal as soon September, while CLIA said in a statement to Travel Weekly that a ban is currently not in place preventing cruise ships from visiting Venice.
“Discussions concerning the future of cruise ships using the Guidecca Canal have been ongoing for several years and those discussions continue today without any conclusion,” the statement said.
“The cruise industry has worked diligently with the Minister, the Mayor of Venice, the Veneto Region, the Port Authority and many other stakeholders to find viable solutions to allow larger cruise ships to access the Marittima berths without transiting the Giudecca Canal,” CLIA Europe secretary-general Tom Boardley said.
“We are still in agreement with the solution developed by Comitatone in 2017 to utilize the Vittorio Emanuele Canal as the best and most prudent means to move larger cruise ships away from the Giudecca.
“CLIA cruise line members welcome and will support the urgent implementation of this solution,” Boardley said.
Pressure on the Italian government to reroute large vessels to other ports intensified after a ship collided with a dock in Guidecca Canal, injuring five people (including two Australians) in June.
Following the incident, CLIA issued its support for renewed calls to reroute large vessels dropping anchor in Venice, with recommendations cruise ships use the Vittoria Emmanuele Canal.