The Italian newspaper Il Secolo XIX published an interesting article L’inchino della Liberty of the Seas which raised the question whether the Liberty of the Seas cruise ship sailed too close to Cape Ampelio near the little Italian town of Bordighera.
Bordighera is a small, beautiful coastal town near Italy’s border with France. It has a small marina but certainly nothing that could accommodate a mega cruise ship like Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.
The Italian newspaper writes that citizens of Bordighera became alarmed when the Liberty of the Seas sailed close (apparently less than a mile) to the shore. Dozens telephoned the Italian Coast Guard in anger to demand that the cruise ship stay away from its waters. Others began a facebook page complaining about the situation and posting photographs of the Liberty of the Seas sailing nearby Cape Ampelio.
The local residents felt that the cruise ship was performing a "bow" or a "salute" to the city, not unlike the reckless maneuver performed by the infamous Captain Schettino aboard the Costa Concordia near the island of Giglio which caused 32 people to die.
There are Italian regulations which prohibit ships over 500 tons to sail within 2 nautical miles from the outer perimeters of national parks and protected areas, marine and coastal ecosystems. In other areas, there apparently is not a specified distance where large vessels are prohibited, and it is the authority of the Italian Coast Guard or harbor masters to determine how close large cargo ships and cruise ships may sail.
The newspaper writes that the Italian Coast Guard was monitoring the passage of the Liberty of the Seas and had concluded that although the cruise ship was near the coast, it was "not excessively" close. The incident occurred two months ago.
The question remains whether this was an authorized departure from the cruise ship’s planned route, or a "thought" of the ship’s captain to salute the town or provide interesting viewing for the passengers.