PortandTerminal.com, June 3, 2019
Both cruise destinations and cargo ports are feeling the squeeze as vessels continue to grow larger in size while their waterways remain essentially unchanged.
Venice, Italy – On Sunday, MSC Cruises said the 2,679-passenger Opera was approaching a terminal on the Giudecca canal when it struck the dock and a nearby ferry due to a technical problem. Fortunately, there were only a few minor injuries and no one was seriously hurt.
The ship, the MSC Opera, is 275 metres long (900 feet) and 29 metres (95 feet) wide. Video footage of the incident shows just how difficult it is to slow down a ship of that size, quickly. Weighing 66 thousand gross tons, the MSC Opera is 40% heavier than the HMS Titanic, which by all accounts was a huge vessel in its time.
Venice is the second busiest cruise destination in Italy, after Rome, and has been forecast to handle 1.49m passengers in 2019, a 1.4% increase, and 530 calls. Tourist revenue is a critical part of the economy in Italy.
The collision on the busy canal in Venice though is sparking new calls for banning cruise ships in the area.
Weighing 66 thousand gross tons, the MSC Opera is 40% heavier than the HMS Titanic, which by all accounts was a huge vessel in its time.
While tourism is vital here, this incident has re-ignited the controversy over these ships, which activists say are simply too big for this fragile city. Many Venetians are saying “enough is enough,” and that the accident was a “wake-up call.”
Protests were sparked immediately among those who are fed up with the cruise liners, which dwarf this city and argue they endanger the fragile lagoon and change the city’s character.
Following Sunday morning’s crash, Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro said, “Once again it is shown that big ships cannot cross the Giudecca Canal.”
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