Venice, Italy is one of the most popular ports that cruise lines visit, but travelers should exercise caution if in the area this week. City locals are protesting large cruise ships that pass through their home town and things might get ugly for visitors.
Several cruise ships were stopped from leaving the port Sunday as scheduled after nearly 70 small boats took to the waters in an effort to have larger ships banned from visiting Venice. Authorities say the 3,000-passenger Costa Fascinosa, 1,712-passenger MSC Opera and 2,536-passenger MSC Musica were delayed from leaving Venice for several hours. Organized by the No Grandi Navi (No Big Ships) group, the protestors claim the larger vessels have a negative impact on the environment. In addition to the boats, the protest also involved several hundred residents on land voicing their concerns.
The size of some of the larger vessels are disproportionate to the size of the city, argue the protestors. They worry that the close proximity of the cruise ships to central Venice while sailing into port might cause damage to the lagoon city’s foundations and its historical structures. While this isn’t the first time the group has protested, the recent Costa Concordia disaster has exacerbated the situation. The Concordia ran aground and capsized Jan. 13 off the Tuscan island of Giglio after the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, took it off course. The tragic cruise accident led to numerous injuries as well as the deaths of 32 people.
While the protestors remain adamant about the effects of the large cruise ships, local port authorities argue the opposite. Officials claim that several studies have been conducted regarding the environmental concerns and show the impact on the city to be minimal.
As the protests continue, things might get violent in the city. Cruise passengers and crewmembers are advised to exercise caution to stay as safe as possible while in Venice. When tensions rise over protests, whether they be over environmental reasons such as this rally, or due to political factors, such as in Egypt or Greece, it is important for cruise lines to make sure the safety of those onboard their vessels is the top priority.
Some cruise lines make the difficult decision of changing itineraries when word gets out that locals are protesting, but others do not, placing the lives of all who venture ashore at risk. Cruise officials that ignore the situation may be held liable should passengers or crewmembers suffer an injury at the port. Cruise lines have a duty to protect all who are onboard from harm, and if someone is injured or is killed, they and/or their loved ones are entitled to seek the help of cruise ship injury lawyers to ensure their rights are protected.
Our cruise accident attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience representing both passengers and seamen who have been injured while onboard or ashore because of a cruise line’s negligence. Our firm can help you and your loved ones obtain the maximum compensation for your pain and suffering.