A special commission approved a plan to divert cruise ships away the historic center of Venice by 2016, according to FOX News. However, activists seeking to rid the city of the large cruise ships have reservations about the proposed new route.
The sinking of the Costa Concordia in January 2012 led to an increase in pressure to divert ships from Venice's Giudecca canal and St. Mark's Basin. Currently, ships are allowed to pass within 1,000 feet of St. Mark's Square, which provides ship passengers with an amazing view, but provides an unsettling sight against the Byzantine architecture of Venice.
The decision "finally inverts the tendency toward gigantism in the lagoon," Giorgio Orsoni, the mayor of Venice, said of the decision.
The decision was made by a commission that was comprised of government ministers and local officials that approved digging a new canal so that ships are able to enter the lagoon from the west, which would avoid the historic center, according to Enrico Letta's office, who released a statement on the matter.
The Venice Port has estimated that the project will take two years to complete.
There is a group of citizens that oppose the cruise ship traffic through Venice that call the diversion of cruise ships "a first victory for our movement," though they plan to shift their focus to campaign about the environmental impact of the new canal, a project they call "devastating."
Until the new project has been implemented, smaller ferries will be banned beginning in January, which will reduce traffic in front of St. Mark's by one-quarter, while cruise ship traffic will be reduced by 20 percent.
Beginning on November 1, 2014, no ships larger than 96,000 tons with a capacity of 3,000 to 3,500 passengers will be banned from Venice.
Venice has become one of the world's top cruise destinations recently. The city sees up to nine cruise ships a day during high season. With the new measures, that number would be limited to five.
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