In the aftermath of a cruise ship crashing into the docks of the Giudecca canal in Venice, the city’s mayor has urged Unesco to place the city on its World Heritage site blacklist.
Locals protested on the streets in the wake of the incident, which injured four people. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has criticised the Italian transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, for failing to endorse a plan agreed by the country’s previous administration to divert cruise ships from the busy canal. Speaking to Radio 24, Brugnaro revealed that his office will write to Unesco to ask for the city to be put on the blacklist, as they feel it is “in danger.”
The city has been given a deadline of 2021 by Unesco to undertake measures to protect Venice’s monuments and preserve its fragile environment. It threatened the city with being put on its endangered World Heritage list, but extended the deadline from its original date of 2017 as it felt improvements were being made in managing the tourism flow. Minister Toninelli has stressed the need to balance tourism with environmentalism, while the city works on a solution to the issue of diverting cruise ships.
Brugnaro is critical of Toninelli’s delay in delivering a new plan to prevent the giant ships entering the central canals. The minister still has the matter under consideration and has suggested putting various options to a referendum on his party’s website. These include building a new cruise terminal at Lido San Nicolò or at Chioggia, which is located south of Venice.
If the Unesco blacklist measure was to be invoked, it would significantly restrict entry into the city. The measure is reserved for sights under significant danger.