Grimaldi claimed for damages against Onorato due to ‘poor maintenance’ of its ships
Law Firm Lauro filed a claim for damages against CIN Tirrenia as concerns two ferries object of a long-term bare-boat charter agreement. Moby's Chairman voiced his surprise and rejected the “unlawful commercial pressure strategy”
In the never ending dispute between the two major Italian ferry shipowners, Grimaldi claimed for damages against Onorato Group, contending that two of its ships chartered to the shipowner born in Ponza on a multi-annual basis in 2012 were returned in worse conditions compared to when they were initially delivered.
The 8 million euro claim filed by Law Firm Lauro refers to direct damages or damages due to poor maintenance observed upon the restitution, in January 2018, of the two ro-pax ferries Amsicora and Bonaria.
The two units were built in 2001 and 2002 by Fincantieri in Genoa for Greek company Minoan Lines (Grimaldi Group's 100% subsidiary) and named Europa Palace and Olympia Palace respectively, with a 2,000 passengers capacity and 2,000 linear meters of rolling cargo.
The series of faults observed by Grimaldi is related to “damages” and “negligence” in the management of the vessels and concerning both the common and external areas, as well as cabins and engine room.
The most significant items of the claim include: damaged floors to be replaced; severely damaged toilets; missing furnishings; corroded or warped doors; damages to the disco area; oxidized/corroded areas and doors; damaged toilets, beds, furnishings; water inside the oil seals pack of the propeller shaft box; leaks from exhaust gases manifolds of the main engine turbines and of the diesel generators; engine bilges very dirty of oil and water.
“Pursuant to the bare-boat agreement, the two ships had to be returned in the same conditions in which they were at the beginning of the charter, in July 2012”, the lawyers argued.
Obviously, the charges related to the units Amsicora, deployed in the Naples-Cagliari connection, and Bonaria, operating on the Civitavecchia-Olbia route, were rejected by the charterer.
“Onorato Group is deeply surprised and it entirely rejects the claim for damages lodged by Grimaldi Group concerning the two vessels belonging to said group and chartered to the company Tirrenia as it regards the claim as a mere unlawful commercial pressure strategy. Moby and Tirrenia are known for the superior quality of their services to passengers, being their only actual competition instrument. The agreement with the Italian State provides for Onorato Group's commitment as regards ships' quality, thus disproving the charges related to poor maintenance, which the Group entirely rejects”, Onorato Group pointed out in its note sent to Ship2Shore.
It is unlikely that the dispute can be settled amicably.
If disagreement between the counterparties persists, the most probable scenario is an arbitration.
Grimaldi rejected all charges related to a rise in prices
As concerns the supposed “rise in ferries tariffs”, the company pointed out that 2018 tariffs to Sardinia remained almost unvaried
Grimaldi Group provided clarifications as concerns the recent news related to a supposed “rise in ferries tariffs” connecting to Sardinia.
“Passengers tariffs offered by Grimaldi Group in 2018 on the routes to and from Sardinia (Civitavecchia-Porto Torres, Civitavecchia-Olbia and Livorno-Olbia) remained unchanged compared to last year. Therefore, the information related to supposed rises in the prices applied by the Company are groundless”.
Since the beginning of 2018, on the daily line Livorno-Olbia we transported 157,000 passengers and 54,000 vehicles. “The expediency of the tariffs applied is proved by the fact that we transported 60,000 passengers more than last year (+60%).
Moreover, as we are deploying latest-generation ships, which are worth 100 million euro each, the quality of the services provided onboard is very high”, Grimaldi explained.
“Thanks to the several connections provided between the Continent and Sardinia, and due to our highly competitive tariffs and to ad hoc promotions, we are supporting the development of Sardinia's tourism economy without receiving the state grants that some competitors are enjoying. We firmly believe that the current state grants system to support territorial continuity should be abolished or drastically reduced because it causes a waste of public money, as well as an unfair distortion of competition”, the Neapolitan group concluded.