Transport min asks Venice report

Toninelli requests 'immediate inquiry'

(ANSA) - Rome, July 9 - The transport ministry on Tuesday asked the Adriatic Port System Authority and the Venice harbour master's office to report on Sunday night's near miss by a cruise liner in the lagoon city, when a Costa Crociere ship almost crashed into a yacht and the dock near St Mark's in a gale and hailstorm.
    Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli requested an "immediate inquiry" into the narrowly averted disaster in Riva Sette Martiri.
    Toninelli said he was fed up with "insults" from Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro and did that the cruise ships would never be moved to the port of Marghera.
    Brugnaro, a centre-right independent, on Monday blamed Toninelli for the incident.
    "The biggest responsibility for what happened yesterday is and for what may happen in the future is on the part of he who did not take a decision in the last few months," Brugnaro said referring to Toninelli's alleged failure to ban the huge liners that ply the waters very close to Venice.
    Toninelli retorted: "Brugnaro as usual is talking nonsense.
    "After years of inertia also on the part of those on his political side, we are close to a serious solution to put the big ships outside Venice.
    "Marghera is a terrible option due to safety and environmental concerns, and we'll convince UNESCO of that too.
    There was a summit of Venice prosecutors and the harbour master's office later Monday.
    As a formality, prosecutor Andrea Pedroni will open a probe against person or persons unknown, judicial sources said.
    The centre-left opposition Democratic Party (PD) called Toninelli "the minister of disasters who has paralysed one of the most strategic ministries for the country's growth".
    PD Senator Andrea Ferrazzi, PD leader on the House environment committee, said "a disaster was averted by a hairs' breadth yesterday".