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dpa/GNA – The Italian government on Thursday announced that large cruise ships would be temporarily redirected away from Venice’s city centre to the industrial port of Marghera.

The ministers for environment, culture, tourism and infrastructure decided to temporarily redirect the ships to Marghera “in order to protect a historical and cultural heritage that belongs not just to Italy but to the world,” a joint statement said.

The four ministers, who reached the decision during a video conference, also called for ideas on how to get ships to dock outside of the Venetian Lagoon and “solve in a structural and definitive way the issue of large ship transit in Venice.”

Cruise ships in Venice have been a source of controversy for years.

Critics say that giant tourist vessels are an eyesore and an environmental threat, and contribute to tourist overcrowding; their defenders point out that the industry brings jobs to the city.

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