Tourist shuttles and moto ondoso in the lagoon: Norwegian Cruise’s experiment becomes a national case

Tourist boats from Punta Sabbioni, now with the addition of shuttles full of cruise ship passengers. Pellicani (PD) to the Minister of Infratructure: “It’s unsustainable”

By Eugenio Pendolini

27 July 2022

VENEZIA. The future of the port and the flow of tourists is at stake, but not only. After the arrival of the Norwegian Gem last Saturday and anchored three miles from the Lido inlet, then ferried the 1300 passengers aboard to riva Sette Martiri on shuttle boats there is another aspect to take into consideration: moto ondoso (motorboat waves) and safeguarding the lagoon. The shuttle service from the cruise ship to the city was in fact provided by tourist launches that are authorized to navigate within the three nautical mile radius, with a carrying capacity of about 150 passengers at a time. To reach riva Sett Martiri they crossed a stretch of the lagoon between fort Sant’Andrea and between Sant’Elena and Lido, where on some days the moto ondoso puts all the small vessels at risk. Just ask the owners. And so now the new concern, also highlighted by Ambiente Venezia in recent days, is that the launches that already come from Punta Sabbioni will be joined by those with day-tripper cruise ship passengers coming from ships moored off of Lido.

It is also for this reason that the Norwegian Gem case has now ended up in Parliament. In the Camera dei Deputati, Nicola Pellicani (PD) has filed a written interrogatory addressed to the Minister of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility. “This is a solution for cruise ships that essentially bypasses the limits imposed with Decree-Law 103 of 2021”, writes Pellicani. The reference is to the measure that revolutionized the cruise ship business in Venice, moving ships larger than 25 tons from Marittima, and therefore from San Marco and the canal della Giudecca. “Disembarking thousands of tourists for only a few hours and thus increasing “day-tripper” tourism is not a sustainable model for Venice to pursue”, adds Pellicani. This is without accounting for the fact that the novelty represented by the Norwegian Gem also rewrites the role of the Port of Venice, which could thus in the future go from a port of arrival and departure for cruise ships to becoming a port of transit. Without, that is, any need for the services until today used by arriving cruise ships (from check-in to transportation and baggage handling), with all the consequences connected to jobs. “Would this mode of unloading passengers”, Pellicani then asks, “if used regularly by all the cruise ships in transit, be compatible with protection of the Venetian lagoon system, also considering the potential growth of moto ondoso caused by the shuttles?”

Minister of Tourism Simone Venturini, referring to last Saturday’s arrival, also spoke of an isolated case. But it is a fact that the authorization granted by the Capitaneria di Porto to the Norwegian colossus, even after a long and complicated process that lasted for months and months, could attract other companies, which already – insiders guarantee – have shown interest after the experiment carried out by the Norwegian Gem. An experiment that, as Assoagenti Veneto assured, had a “positive outcome”.

Source: La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre

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