After months of see-saw discussion about the city of Venice banning ships over 96,000 tons for cruising to the harbor via the Giudecca Canal (this is the main artery between the city and the island of Giudecca). The 2012 crash of the 114,500-ton Costa Concordia liner off the Tuscan coast was a consideration of what a collision between a ship and the buildings could do. Wakes do damage to the stone foundations. The tonnage of every ship is a matter of record. Check the weight of yours. For perspective, the Oasis of the Seas is 225,000 tons; the Crystal Serenity is: 68,870 tons.
For years, I said that cruise ships I’ve been on looked like Godzilla as we looked down from the 13th floor into the old town. Gross. It’s great for passengers, but arrivals are a pain for residents. Ships continue around the corner in a right turn to their berths.
Finally, the Italian government announced that the limit will be 96,000 tons. Those cannot sail in front of Saint Mark’s basin and the Giudecca Canal (the waterway which separates the main core of Venice from the separate island of Giudecca, immediately to the south).
READ => Earlier backgrounder on this ban
What got the politicos moving? A open letter signed by thousands including actors Michael Douglas, Cate Blanchett, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane, Michael Caine, Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie and Isabella Rossellini.
Here’s is the actual letter:
“Dear Prime Minister,
Having prevailed against flood, pestilence, and war for more than thirteen centuries, Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic, and unparalleled UNESCO Word Heritage site, now, in a moment of relative tranquility, finds herself mortally threatened by the daily transit of gargantuan ocean liners, indifferent to the probable risk of catastrophe.
Since the flood of 1966, Italy and countless Italian and international supporters have contributed to the defense of the world’s most fragile city, eternally subject to destruction.
The absolute lack of respect presented by the outlandish spectacle of the ongoing obstruction and potentially destruction, of one of humanity’s pre-eminent monuments is not only dumbfounding but both morally and culturally unacceptable.
We urgently request an immediate and irrevocable halt to the traffic of the Big Ships in front of San Marco and along the Giudecca Canal putting an end to this senseless devastation.”
Alternative routes for larger vessels are being researched. What’s YOUR opinion on all this?