The ships are up to 100,000 tons, mostly of recent construction. But the number of passengers continues to grow.
By Gianni Favarato
VENEZIA. In spite of the new ordinance from the Capitaneria di Porto, which permits access to the lagoon to cruise ships based on a mathematical algorithm, on average there are six or seven cruise ships each weekend calling at the Marittima Station of Santa Marta and paying from 16 to 25 Euro per passenger to VTP (Venezia Terminal Passeggeri), the business that manages the terminal, which is controlled by three cruise companies, SAVE,spa and the Veneto Region.
Next weekend seven of them will arrive, in fact; all under 100 thousand gross tonnage and no older than ten years of age: three are 91,000 to 92,700 tons (Celebrity Constellation, launched in 2001, MSC Poesia and Costa Luminosa from 2008); two from 71 thousand to 78 thousand tons (Rhapsody Seas launched in 1997 and Aida Bludel in 2010); MSC Sinfonia at 65 tons, launched in 2002 and Seabourne Oddysey at 35 thousand, launched in 2007. On balance, since the Cini-Passera Decree went in force in 2012, prohibiting the entrance of the largest cruise ships from Lido beginning in 2014 – the Decree was then annulled by a court ruling but an agreement was reached with the ship companies to limit size to just under 100,000 tons – Venice has lost a little more than 300,000 passengers in the course of a year, reporting 1,446,635 in 2017.
Because of this VTP has decided to appeal to the Court against the Capitaneria’s ordinance, which came in to force just a few days ago (on 1 July). This ordinance, issued by mandate of the Comitatone, which met at the end of last year under the presidency of then minister Delrio, calls for the application of special mathematical “algorithm” that will progressively reduce port calls from 10 to 15%, compared with the just over 1,000 that until 2012 entered at the mouth of Lido and passed in front of Piazza San Marco, just a few tens of meters away from the shoreline. The difference is that ships must be of more modest dimensions; furthermore entrance will be based on what form of fuel is used, the shape of the hull and the engines, as well as the displacement of water, waves generated, and security systems in use for navigation.
Before the tragedy of the ship Costa Concordia wrecking in front of the island of Giglio, at Venice cruise ships of 120,000 and even 130,000 gross tonnage crossed the canal of Giudecca and the Bacino di San Marco, with six to seven thousand people on board between passengers and crew; ships that are longer than three soccer fields, as tall as seven or eight story buildings, up to 60 meters in height. Now, using the mathematical algorithm and in anticipation of a definitive solution for an alternative route to the Bacino di San Marco, these giants are not seen anymore, but the number of trips through the Bacino di San Marco by ships entering and exiting via the mouth of Lido has only diminished by a small number, while the number of passengers seems set to increase. The numbers from the first quarter of 2018 bear this out – the number of passengers arriving at the VTP terminal totaled 147,993, compared to 123,936 during the same quarter last year.
Source: La Nuova Venezia, 3 July 2018