Giant cruise ships face Venice ban over erosion fears
Giant cruise ships could be shut out of Venice amid fears that the waves they create are eroding the foundations of the lagoon city.
As the sight of gleaming white passenger ships dwarfing the palaces and churches of the World Heritage-listed city becomes ever more common, there are growing calls for restrictions on where they are allowed to dock.
Giorgio Orsoni, the mayor of Venice, is to meet the head of the city's port authority, Paolo Costa, on Wednesday to discuss the problem.
"The problem of these juggernauts of the sea needs to be confronted," he told 'Corriere della Sera' newspaper.
He said cruise ships could be transferred to Porto Marghera, on the mainland, in order to minimise their environmental impact.
The proposal has the backing of Corrado Clini, Italy's new environment minister, who is a member of the recently installed technocrat government led by Prime Minister Mario Monti.
Environmentalists and heritage groups have long pointed out that as cruise ships plough through the shallow Venetian lagoon, their powerful wake and undertow damages the fragile canal banks, wooden piles and mud banks on which the city rests. (© Daily Telegraph, London)