New Venice terminal for cruise ships and campaign against them
A new terminal called ‘Isonzo 2’ was opened at the Maritime Station in Venice on 13 July. This terminal will provide more space for larger cruise ships to dock, as illustrated by the Venice Port Authority here: Inauguration of the new Cruise Terminal Isonzo 2
However, the inauguration of the new terminal was met with a press and Facebook campaign to ban cruise ships from passing through the basin of St Mark, which is in front of St Mark’s Square in Venice. The Facebook campaign Fuori le maxinavi dal bacino di San Marco also called for independent checks on emissions from cruise ships.
Paolo Costa, President of Venice Port Authority, suggested making the passage through St Mark’s basin ‘one-way’ so that cruise ships either enter or leave through this basin, which would reduce cruise ship traffic there.
The Facebook campaign Fuori le maxinavi dal bacino di San Marco has produced a photo montage of cruise ships in Venice to support their claims to restrict them. This can be viewed on You Tube using this link: Fuori le grandi navi dal bacino di S.Marco
While some people may find the sight of towering cruise ships beside palaces shocking, others may consider this an interesting contrast of ancient and modern worlds. To what extent is this just a subjective question of preference? Or are calls to restrict cruise ships in Venice responding to significant problems of environmental damage?
A recent press release by the Italian National Research Council claimed cruise ships are contributing to “micro tsunami” in Venice (see a summary of the study using this link: Quei \'micro tsunami\' che affliggono Venezia). Despite the dramatic title of this press release using the evocative term “tsunami”, a recent study (‘The Future Ocean’) jointly produced by the Italian National Research Council and the University of Kiel revealed “these abnormal waves… represent, besides from environmental damage, a problem for the management and the navigability of the lagoon’s canals, and for the continual movement of contaminated sediments in the port’s industrial zone.” The study reveals that the speed of cruise ships causes “stress” for the lagoon’s bed and erosion.
These findings might be true, but should Venice’s booming cruise ship tourist industry be curtailed for such limited environmental impacts?
Moreover, the tens of thousands of boat trips by vessels other than cruise ships around Venice every day have much more impact in terms of pollution, lagoon erosion and wave damage to buildings and monuments. These boat trips could be significantly reduced by constructing a subway in Venice, which is opposed by leading conservationist groups, as we previously explained here: “PLANETARY ALARM” FOR AN “ECOLOGICAL DISASTER” IN VENICE?