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Video shows the first cruise liner sailing into Venice since the start of the pandemic met by hundreds of protesters demanding 'No Big Ships'

Business Insider logo Business Insider 6/6/2021 mfriel@businessinsider.com (Mikhaila Friel)
a group of people on a boat in the water: Protestors at Venice's Giudecca Canal. Piero Cruciatti/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images © Piero Cruciatti/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Protestors at Venice's Giudecca Canal. Piero Cruciatti/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Protesters gathered in Venice to oppose the MSC Orchestra cruise liner.
  • It's the first cruise ship to leave Venice since the pandemic began.
  • Residents are concerned about the environmental impact of cruise ships.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Protestors gathered at Venice's Giudecca Canal on Saturday as the first cruise ship departed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A video shared by the Daily Mail on YouTube shows hundreds of people waving banners - some on land, with others in small boats in the canal - and chanting in protest at the MSC Orchestra cruise liner.

Replay Video

The 92,000-tonne ship collected 650 passengers before leaving for Bari in southern Italy, The Guardian reports.

There was confusion over why it had been allowed to port in the first place after the Italian government previously said cruise ships would no longer be allowed to sail past St Mark's Square. Instead, ships were to be temporarily diverted to the industrial port of Marghera.


Video: First cruise ship since pandemic is set to depart Venice (Associated Press)

Protesters were concerned about the environmental impact that could be caused by the return of cruise ships and a potential rise in COVID-19 cases.

The huge liners are blamed for affecting the fragile ecosystem of the lagoon that surrounds Venice and undermining the foundations of the unique, historic buildings of the "floating city."

"The reason we are here because we are citizens of Venice and we are against this passage, but we are also against this tourism model that is destroying the city and is pushing out residents and people that want to live here. It's destroying the planet, it's destroying the city, and it's polluting so much," one resident said in the video shared by the Daily Mail.

Forbes reported in 2019 that a passenger's carbon footprint triples in size when taking a cruise. The emissions produced by the ship's exhaust fumes can contribute to serious health issues, the publication added.

Cruise ships are also known for discarding trash, fuel, and sewage directly into the ocean.

"I think the struggle is very long, I think we are against a very big financial interest, but if you ask the people living in Venice, the people living in Venice don't want these boats here," another resident said in the video. "And also after one year and a half, everything basically stopped due to the pandemic, what we are worried about is that the situation goes back to before the pandemic."

A counter-protest was held by Si Grandi Navi, a movement that supports those working in the cruise industry who have been out of work since the pandemic began, The Guardian reports.

Representatives for MSC and the Italian government did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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