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After UNESCO’s ultimatum Italy bans cruise ships from Venice Lagoon

ROME, JULY 13 – After UNESCO’s threats to put Venice on the black list of endangered World Heritage sites, Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government ordered a ban on cruise ships in the Lagoon. Venice has been designated National Monument and cruise ships will no longer be allowed to enter its fragile and historic ecosystem starting August 1. “This intervention could no longer be postponed,” said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini after the announcement that has been requested for decades by Venetians and environmentalists.

Included in the designation of national monument are the Basin of San Marco, and two of the most important waterways of the city, the San Marco and the Giudecca Canal which over the years have become the obligatory passage of cruise giants. “A historic day,” Franceschini commented again as he left Palazzo Chigi after the Council of Ministers gave the government’s green light to the “Save Venice” decree, “a commitment I had made publicly and that we have respected.”

The decision, which comes three days before the start of the annual UNESCO assembly scheduled this year in China, represents Italy’s response to the ultimatum launched a few weeks ago by the UN organization’s technical bodies. With the decree Venice was spared the embarrassment of being included on the black list of endangered sites. The declaration of National monument is accompanied by a substantial amount of compensation to avoid repercussions on the approximately 3,000 workers in the sector, as well as 157 million euros in investments to create temporary mooring points within the Marghera area.

The measure declares the Bacino di San Marco, the Canale di San Marco and the Canale della Giudecca a national monument and prohibits the transit of any ship exceeding 25,000 tons (the desired limit was 40,000) or with a hull length of more than 180 meters, or with a height (air draught) of more than 35 meters (with an air draught of more than 35 meters). The fuel used for manoeuvres will have to respect the environment, with a sulphur percentage not exceeding 0.1%.

In the meantime, the competition to identify permanent mooring points outside the protected waters of the lagoon is going ahead, a project for which the government has allocated 2.2 million Euros with the first decree converted into law on May 12. The international call, articulated in two phases, is expected to conclude in December 2022 with the announcement of the winner by June 2023. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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