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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
23/03/20 09:51

Coronavirus: European cruise shipyards heading towards a stop of activities

Saint Nazaire to decide about the total suspension of works, while in Marseille activities stopped already. Meyer Werft did not make any announcement yet

Following Fincantieri’s decision to impose enforced leave on its employees – despite trade unions’ objections – in order to contain the spread of coronavirus, also its European competitors are being forced to implement equally strict measures as COVID-19 is no longer only an Italian problem.

In fact, Chantiers de l’Atlantique did not work at full capacity. According to the French press, in the Saint Nazaire plant there were only 2,300 persons (600 employees and 1,700 satellite activities workers) against the average 5,000 ordinary workers. As concerns the two ships being fitted out, i.e. Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas and MSC Crociere’s MSC Virtuosa, the company allowed direct workers and sub-contractor companies to decide whether to work or not, and many did not show up.

The main French trade union CGT urged for a complete stop of activities and, according to local media, the situation in the shipyard is becoming increasingly tense: also outsourcing companies wanting to work cannot do so due to the 'pressure' of internal workers. However, the decision related to the complete stop of industrial activities in the plant will be taken on Friday the 20th of March.

Also Chantier Naval de Marseille – a subsidiary of the Italian holding GIN (Genova Industrie Navali, which is also the parent company of San Giorgio del Porto and T. Mariotti) and an affiliate of Costa Crociere operating in the naval repair sector in Marseille – is heading towards a complete stop. After the completion of works related to the technical stop of the ferry GNV Allegra, the company announced – in a note published by the French online newspaper Mer et Marine – its temporary closure: “In compliance with the instructions provided by the government to contain the spread of COVID19, Chantier Naval de Marseille adopted the necessary measures to protect the health of its employees, partners and customers implementing the temporary closure of the site for a predefined period which may extend up to April the 26th 2020”.

Similarly, the German shipyard headquartered in Flensburg – which built the last two ro-ro ships delivered to Tirrenia in the past months – made the same decision, while no stop was announced by the German shipbuilding group Meyer Werft headquartered in Pappenburg (and controlling also the Turku shipyard in Finland), which is Fincantieri’s main competitor in the cruise shipbuilding sector, together with Chantiers de l’Atlantique.

The company belonging to the Meyer family did not make any official announcement in this respect and, according to local press, on March the 18th they held the delivery ceremony of the cruise ship Iona built for the P&O brand of the Carnival group. However, upon request of the shipyard, at the event there was no public, and nobody was watching the ship along the canal connecting the shipyard to the sea.