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Cruise ships dwarf the historic architecture. Reuters photo via International Business Times

Giant liners now cruise mere feet from Piazza San Marco delighting ship passengers with close-up views of the historic city. But, all that is about to end.

The Italian government has announced that in 2015, they will ban large cruise ships from the fragile waterways of Venice’s city center. [The Telegraph]

The ban will restrict large cruise liners from the historic city center. Reuters photo via The Wall Street Journal

The alternate route proposed by government officials has already spurred dissent from local groups who say the proposed route will not alleviate the problem.

To protect the watery city’s fragile environment being further damaged, they want to see ships banned from the lagoon altogether.

Photo via The Telegraph

The Telegraph: Last year the Port of Venice proposed banning liners of more than 96,000 tonnes but the decree was overturned by a regional tribunal.  Now the national government has restored the ban which will block all cruise ships exceeding 96,000 tonnes from Saint Mark’s basin and the Giudecca Canal from 2015 and also severely restrict visits by smaller ships of no more than 40,000 tonnes.

Proposed new route for large cruise liners: Yellow line – commercial shipping route. Blue line – current passenger shipping route. Dotted line – proposed new route Contorta-Sant’Angelo Canal. Port of Venice Image via The Telegraph

Several ministers including transport minister Maurizio Lupi approved the new guidelines at a meeting with port officials and regional political leaders in Rome on Friday.

“It seems to me to be a balanced solution which takes account of our duty to remove the skyscrapers of the sea from the canals of Venice, while safeguarding a world heritage city that is the envy of the world and protecting the city’s economy which is so linked to cruise tourism,” said Lupi.

Cruise ships pack the Venice lagoon. Photo by Anna Zemella via The Art Newspaper

But the opposition group “No Big Ships” has already condemned it as the worst choice and insisted that big cruise ships must be kept out of the lagoon altogether.

As well as the risk of collision, the big ships have long been blamed for threatening precious the city’s Medieval buildings with corrosive smog and questions have also been raised about the ships’ vibrations on the foundations of centuries-old buildings. Read more from The Telegraph here…

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

A Maersk ship navigates the 145-year old canal. Photo via Rough Guides

Egypt’s president has given the go-ahead to dig a 2nd. channel, parallel to the existing Suez Canal in a massive project designed to boost annual trade revenues. [Reuters]

Container ships on the Suez Canal. Photo via

The $4 billion dollar canal expansion is part of Egypt’s larger plan to stimulate the economy, elevate their international rankings and to establish themselves as a major trade hub.

The Suez Canal currently brings $5 billion in revenues to Egypt per year. Photo via Encyclopedie Larousse

Reuters: Egypt said on Tuesday it plans to build a new Suez Canal alongside the existing 145-year-old historic waterway in a multi-billion dollar project to expand trade along the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia.

The Suez Canal is the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia. Photo via Panama Logistics

An official in the Suez Canal Authority told Reuters the new canal was set to boost annual revenues to $13.5 billion by 2023. The new channel, part of a larger project to expand port and shipping facilities around the canal, aims to raise Egypt’s international profile and establish it as a major trade hub.

Container ship Hanjin Kaohsiung transiting the Suez Canal. Photo by Daniel Csörföly via wikipedia

“This giant project will be the creation of a new Suez Canal parallel to the current channel of a total length of 72 kilometres (44.74 miles),” Mohab Mamish, authority chairman, told a conference in Ismailia, a port city on the canal.

Read more from Reuters here…

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee



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