Cruise Ships at Venice, alternative routes in chaos.


New government and new uncertainties: And the Cabinet blocks the CVN’s Morphological Plan

By Alberto Vitucci

VENEZIA. The alternatives to San Marco for cruise ships must take account of the changed political picture. To what end will the government’s provisions come after the new Parliament is seated with the majority of the two new winners, the Cinque Stelle and Lega?

“We are moving forward with the recommendations of the Comitatone of 7 November”, said president of the Port Authority, Pino Musolino. Studies and evaluation regarding the “practicability” of excavating the Vittorio Emanuele canal. Plans for a new cruise ship terminal at Marghera. And the “central role of Marittima”. These are the three points which the City and the Port brought together to the Comitatone. Now they must account for a new government. And with the rejection of the Morphological Plan for the Lagoon by the Ministries. “We will proceed together along this line”, stressed Assessor Massimiliano De Martin, “today we are no longer talking about sending the cruise ships out of the Lagoon, but rather how they should enter the Lagoon. We hope that the new government will provide us answers about this”. The Port Authority is pursuing the path of Marghera. “This is what the Comitatone has said”, affirmed Musolino, “even if in Italy infrastructure takes a long time. We must have patience”. A clear scenario? Not really. Because for the final decisions regarding the alternatives to cruise ships at San Marco the political opinions are still far apart. The Cinque Stelle do not want the ships in the Lagoon, the Lega and the Center-Right are defending Marittima, and the PD is pushing for Marghera.

In a few days the Capitaneria of the Port will have to issue the rules to control traffic in the Bacino San Marco while waiting for an alternative project. “There will be restrictions, and above all precise directions to admit only the newest ships that are secure and not polluting”, is all that was said by Admirial Goffredo Bon, commander of the Capitaneria. But six years after the wreck of the Costa Concordia and the Clini-Passera ordinance, alternatives must be found. As called for by UNESCO and world public opinion. What are the possible solutions?

Marghera. In spite of the opposition of the activist groups, this remains the most probable approach. This is the plan which the Gentiloni government has supported, with the agreement of the City, the Port Authority, the Region and the ship Operators. The Unions are opposed, fearing harm to manufacturing interests at Marghera. In favor of the Marghera plan is the PD, and also the Center-Right – including the Lega – which however emphasizes maintaining the “central role of Marittima”. The Cinque Stelle are against it.

Vittorio Emanuele. This solution, to connect Marittima with the port entry of Malamocco, has always been supported by Mayor Brugnaro. This plan is under study, but has not yet been authorized because it presents more than a few technical difficulties.

Duferco. The Venice Cruise 2.0 project, elaborated by Duferco and Cesare De Piccoli, calls for the construction of a new cruise ship terminal at Lido, in front of the island built for MoSE. Connections with Marittima, which would remain the home port, would be via ‘green’ vaporetti. This project has received a favorable review by the commission for the VIA (evaluation of environment impact). However neither the City nor the Port likes it, and a majority voted against this project two years ago.

Lido. Another two projects have been proposed to take the cruise ships “out of the Lagoon”. One proposed by Luciano Claut, an ex-assessor for the Cinque Stelle for the City of Mira, and by the naturalist Lorenzo Bonometto. The other is by Stefano Boato, Maria Rosa Vittadini, a project for a floating and removable terminal.

Contorta. This excavation of a canal proposed by Paolo Costa has been shelved, rejected by the VIA commission.

The Morphological Plan. Another setback for the development of the Port in the Lagoon. With a decree signed last 21 March, the Ministries of Environment and Culture rejected the new Morphological Plan for the Lagoon, accepting the negative evaluations received regarding its technical aspects. The Plan, introduced in 2011 by the Consorzio Venezia Nuova-Magistrato alle Acque was fiercely opposed by the activist groups and environmental associations. There were numerous observations, which in particular addressed deficiencies regarding the phenomenon of sediment and the damage caused to the equilibrium of the Lagoon by the transit of the cruise ships and the excavation of new canals, and unauthorized fishing.

Activist Groups: No Grandi Navi and Ambiente Venezia

Venice is crying victory. “This time as well we were right”, they are saying, “we presented our observations regarding these issues. Now the Plan must be rewritten. We ask how much this will cost, and we have requested that the Corte dei Conti open an investigation”.

Source: La Nuova Venezia, 27 March 2018

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