FIUMARA GRANDE, THE GHOST HARBOUR

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The biggest harbour of the Tyrrhenian Sea doesn’t exist. Fiumara Grande, the natural Tiber’s mouth hosting four thousand boats, shipyards, nautica clubs, private marines and restaurants has never been recognized as a gat.

Lights at the entrance have been installed by a private group authorized by the Navy Hydrographic Institute but no one is in charge of dredging the mouth up in order to make the entrance safe (since it is a natural mouth).

The Harbour Master of Roma, Captain Fabrizio Ratto Vaquer, has met us to reply to our report of last week. Our answers were: Is Fiumara an official harbour? Who is in charge of safety? Who must intervene to make the entrance and the exit safe?

Fiumara Grande is not a gat – he has explained this morning – It is a navigable river mouth, where navigation is considered maritime until the Urb airport and whose security is disciplined by the Coast Guard of Rome. The only official gat in this area is that one in Fiumicino, within the jurisdiction of the Port Authority. The reference rules are represented by PS5 plan, issued by the Tiber Authority and the Region of Lazio. As we know, there is another plan proposed by the Port Authority about the contruction of a big marina in the Municipality of Fiumicino, but it is still only an idea”.

As we have already seen, the moth’s bottoms are very low because of an acculumation of sand and rubble carried by storm surges and currents. A situation which literally blocks thousands of boats in several occasions, even when weather is good, with the risk for the boats to run aground because the variable situation is completely different from what pilot books show.

The official information about the depth at the entrance of Fiumara Grande is the last warning issued by the Port Authority last January: 1,60 m.

Theoretically, no boats with a higher draught should enter or exit. In practice, when weather is good, there is a small navigable channel if you follow a north-eastern route under the green light. For the moment, at least. And only for all those who really know the river.

In addition to the paradox of the big harbour which has never existed, there are all the activities ans settlements on the river banks. The competent authority is the Tiber Pond Authority through a plan which includes the map we show below. On the red banks nothing should exist because they are risk areas.

Tevere-foce-insabbiata

But in the first red areas, both on the right and on the left, there are two big built up areas, inhabited by hundreds of families. Although they are totally abusive, the municipalities of Fiumicino and Rome provide them with electricity, water and sewerage. So, they accept what exists.

In the same way, they should acknowledge the existence of a big harbour and all its needs in terms of maintenance and security.

But if this is up to policy, what is the immediate solution to give some decent bottoms to the mouth? Can shipyards, consortium and private marinas finance periodic dredgings?

” Of course, they can ask an intervention to the Region – Captain Vaquer explains – but it will take a long time. Dredging ia a very difficult procedure which requires an analysis of all the materials to remove and the indentification of the place where to bring them. Today, there is not a specific programme for Fiumara Grande”.

Any possible solution seems difficult. We think that the best thing to do is to call a conference for the official recognition of the mouth as a gat; as an alternative, individuals could finance some serious projects and face the heavy bureaucracy.

For the moment, we can only hope in a heavy rain and the opening of the dyke of Castel Giubileo.

Meanwhile, it is another terrible week for the Fiumicino Sailing Club, which has already cancelled five days of its championship. Weather forecast warn about strong winds coming from the South next Saturday and Sunday. So, another forced stop is probable.

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