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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
06/08/18 09:54

Onorato to launch his ‘statement of intent’

Ro-ro Maria Grazia Onorato, to be serving the Genoa – Leghorn - Catania - Malta line, together with sister unit Alf Pollak, took the water at Flensburg shipyard

Flensburg (Germany) – Ro-ro Maria Grazia Onorato, second newbuilding under construction at Flensburger shipyard, to be subsequently joining Tirrenia's fleet, took the water at Flensburg.

Besides being the largest ro-ro unit in the Mediterranean, with 209 metres in length and 4,200 linear metres capacity (as sister unit Alf Pollok, launched last May), “it also represents my statement of intent”, reported Vicenzo Onorato during his traditional speech before the launching.

The Maria Grazia Onorato, named after Naples-native shipowner's mother, shows the following expression “Onorato for Italian seafarers”.

A statement of intent which corroborates Moby and Tirrenia's management official stance in the long lasting dispute against Confitarma and particularly against Manuel Grimaldi.

“This is – confirmed Onorato – a real strategy, confirmed by 35,000 tons steel: the new ship will be recruiting overall 30 Italian seafarers”.

“We must think about – prompted the shipowner just before godmother Barbara Ugolini successfully christened the ship – those 60,000 Italian seafarers without a job. This is my personal dispute”.

According to Onorato “Italian shipowners, supported by law 30/98, are the only Italian entrepreneurial category relieved from taxes. Such benefit was granted shipowners provided they exclusively recruited Italian seafarers on short-sea services. However, after some shipowners sealed new agreements with unions, almost exclusively extra-EU workers can be recruited.

“If a company doesn't want to pay taxes, it must exclusively recruit Italian seafarers. If shipowners intend boarding extra-EU workers there's no problem provided they pay taxes in Italy”, thundered Onorato.

Subsequently the entrepreneur also illustrated some technical specifications: “These two wonderful ships, for which I wish to thank Kristian Siem, President of Flensburger, and all workers, will be serving the Genoa-Leghorn-Catania-Malta line, launched a year and a half ago while everybody  had doubts.

Many people said “Onorato owns too many small ships, he will last short time. This is partially true, originally we deployed two ro-ro units with 3,500 linear metres, however, they are insufficient to handle our high volumes.

For the aforementioned reason, the Alf Pollak and Maria Grazia Onorato, largest and most eco-friendly ro-ro units (provided with scrubbers) ever seen in the Mediterranean, will shortly (early 2019, Ed.) join this line”.

The event was also attended by Stefano Messina (who reached Flensburg from Genova, with  Paolo Emilio Signorini, President of the Authority), representing AssArmatori, the Association established as alternative to Confitarma, joined by all companies controlled by Onorato group.  Genoa-native shipowner urged Italy to support shipping companies and small suppliers, focusing on the whole supply chain.

“In Germany as in China, the Government supports shipyards, in turn supported by 70% domestic suppliers. In Italy, besides Fincantieri, already supported by export credit system provided by Sace and Simest, also smaller Italian yards might start working again.

I particularly refer to refitting operations required on several ships after the new regulations on sulphur emissions will be enforced as from 2020”.

In essence, the President of Assarmatori urges the issuance of a financial package fostering the renewal of Italian fleets inducing shipowners to turn to domestic yards: “Why not establishing in Italy a supply chain for smaller shipyards (not only Fincantieri), which would significantly support local suppliers?”, concludes Messina, while adding that new resources would be required.

Francesco Bottino