Published On: Sat, Jan 13th, 2024

The pretty European city where influx of cruise liners are banned for ‘public safety’ | World | News

Marseille is France’s second-biggest city and has become a popular city break for many around Europe in recent years.

The warm seaside Mediterranean city is the oldest in France, with many tourists flocking to walk along the iconic Vieux-Port or climb up to the Notre-Dame de la Garde which overlooks the entire bustling city.

Tourists also enjoy relaxing on the many sandy beaches along the coastline while adventurers and nature lovers often take a trip to the nearby Calanques National Park.

The city welcomes ten million tourists every year, and around one in ten of these arrive by cruise liner. Marseille is one of Europe’s biggest cruise ports, which has led to a growing tension and anger among locals.

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There have been several protests and campaigns among locals against over-tourism and the influx of cruise liners.

In 2020, the Marseille Provence Cruise Club introduced a flow management system for cruise line passengers in an attempt to ease congestion in the city and the port.

This attempt to manage the over-tourism was carried out due to concerns over “public safety”.

A Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) spokesperson said: “Coaches are limited to four per ship during the morning or afternoon at the Basilica to ensure a good visitor experience and safety for residents and local businesses.

“This is a voluntary arrangement respected by cruise lines.”

Grafitti around the city often highlights the campaign to limit the number of cruise ships, with many linking it to the fight against climate change. 

In 2022, more than 50,000 people in the city signed a petition against cruise ships. 

The direct-action group Stop Croisières highlights the danger of pollution from cruise ships.

According to a 2016 study from the national French public health agency, pollution in the city, which is overwhelmingly linked to cruise ships, is responsible for just over 1,000 deaths in the Marseille metropolitan area every year.

The city’s nitrogen oxide levels remain well above the safe limits recommended by the World Health Organization.

Stop Croisières wants an end to all cruises in the city, while more moderate campaigners want to speed up the city’s planned electrification of the docks to allow ships to run on electricity instead of marine fuel.

The campaign against cruise ships is not just taking place in Marseille.

Since 2021, Venice has banned large cruise ships from entering the city center.

In October last year, Barcelona imposed a partial ban, forcing ships to dock further away from the city center.

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