Published on Wednesday, June 6, 2012
A huge cruise liner stopping in the Venice lagoon has sparked anger among campaigners who claim the ship blocks views and pollutes the air.
As the 140,000 tonne MSC Divina swept past this weekend, protestors waved banners from the shoreline which read, "No Big Ships", reports the Daily Mail.
The liner which can carry more than 4,500 people is named in honour of screen legend Sophia Loren.
The protesters, who belong to the No Big Ships Venice Committee have written an open letter to Ms Loren calling on her to ditch her endorsement of the monster ship.
Since the wreck of the Costa Concordia in January, environmentalists have stepped up their efforts to have large cruise ships banned from the lagoon which surrounds the historic centre of the canal city.
Big cruise ships enter the city to drop off passengers conveniently close to the historic centre and the Grand Canal.
Following the Concordia disaster the Italian government banned the close approach of vessels weighing more than 40,000 tonnes.
But liner companies taking passengers to Venice are able to get around the ban because alternative routes in and out of the main port do not exist.
MSC Divina was christened in Marseille in May 2012 and is described by owners MSC Cruises’ as one of the pioneering new generation of cruise ships.
By Diane Evans
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