Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Concordia Disaster Sends Waves Through Venice

Anyone who has visited Piazza San Marco on a summer day has probably seen them:
the "floating alps", as Erla of "I Am Not Making This Up" calls them.

Venice is at the top of the list of cruise ports in the Mediterranean.
Since the Costa Concordia met her demise last month while passing too close to the island of Giglio, attention toward the safety of the cruise industry has grown exponentially, even on the other side of the country in Venice.

The drama that played out over the radio that fateful night between Captain Francesco Schettino and Coast Guard Captain Gregorio Maria De Falco was the kind of thing we'd only expect to witness in fiction.
No doubt, all Italians have chosen sides in that argument
(I'd guess that just about everybody has taken De Falco's side).

Erla touched on a few Venetian opinons and some historic captains
(other than Schettino) in her post "Ripples from the Costa Concordia",
and then went in depth with her post "Venice and the Floating Alps".
Venetians are nothing if not opinionated, and many are sharing their opinions these days about having the ships pass through their cherished city; some are actually protesting.

Just today Kathleen Gonzalez sent me a link to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle entitled "Venice Rebels Against Cruise Ship Intrusions".
There are several different perspectives on the issue.
In the above article, Saverio Pastor is quoted.

What happened off the coast of Tuscany was horrible.
I'm not sure if a cruise ship is likely to plow into the Piazza at high tide, but I do understand some of the concerns of people who are lucky enough to call Venezia their home.

I also see the undeniable appeal of seeing the city from the top deck of one of these behemoths.  A few years ago, my family and I departed on an MSC ship after participating in the Vogalonga.
My daughter Cassandra and I shot lots of photos and will never forget the amazing view from up there.

Here are some of the posts that have photos from that session:
"Just the Photo - the Zattere Platform"
"Quay at the Giardinetti"
"Just the Photo - Salute and Campanile"
and "Yachts and Venezia".
It really is quite a view.

Everything I read on this subject these days mentions:
how much cruise-tourism has increased in Venice,
how the economy benefits from the income,
how the residents don't like it,
and there's usually someone quoted as saying that not cruising past the Piazza would be a "deal killer" with cruise-tourists.

As time cruises on, like an unstoppable giant ship,
we will see what finally comes of all this.
I think it's safe to say that whatever happens,
there will always be someone out there who doesn't like the way a decision went...and someone else who thinks that it didn't go far enough.

Let's just hope we don't see any more guys like Captain Schettino behind the wheel - no matter where the ships are cruising.

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