Cruise ship crash in Venice shines light on ongoing debate

by | Jun 5, 2019

The mayor of Venice has called for cruise ships to be banned from using the busy Giudecca canal after one crashed into a tourist riverboat and scraped along a dockside on Sunday.

The dramatic crash saw the huge boat collide with a smaller vessel. The cruise ship then scrapes alongside the dock as people flee on foot.

A video of the crash shows the ship’s siren blaring to warn of the incoming collision before the impact took place. People on the moored riverboat attempt to quickly disembark over a short gangplank, and two people were left on the walkway as their boat was hit and dislodged from the pier.

Watch the crash below…

Today’s accident at the port of Venice shows that big ships should no longer pass through the Giudecca. 

– Danilo Toninelli, Italian transport minister

Luckily only five people were injured in the incident.

Luidig Brugnaro, the mayor of Venice, has since said that large cruise ships should no longer pass through the canal.

After the incident five women who were aboard the moored riverboat were left injured.

However, local officials said that one woman was released from hospital right away, while the other four were being advised to remain under medical care for a few days.

The crash has highlighted an ongoing issue that’s been a point of contention in Venice for years. Many feel that it is dangerous for cruise ships to pass through the canal, which is a busy thoroughfare that leads towards the popular tourist destination of St Mark’s Square.

Environmentalists claim that the large cruise ships also pollute the canal, and that the waves they cause have eroded the underwater supports of buildings in the UNESCO World Heritage City.

The No Gandi Navi (no large ships) activist group held an unofficial referendum in June 2017 that saw Venetians vote in favour of removing the ships from the lagoon. However, no action has been taken since.

Sunday’s crash has brought attention to the issue once again, causing the Italian transport minister to speak out, tweeting: “Today’s accident at the port of Venice shows that big ships should no longer pass through the Giudecca. After so many years of inertia, we are finally close to a definitive solution to protect both the lagoon and tourism.”

Another politician, the environment minister Sergio Costa, stated that the government was close to finding a solution to the issue. He said: “What happened in the port of Venice is confirmation of what we have been saying for some time.”

What the solution will be, remains to be seen.

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