Italy is seriously risking seeing all its merchant fleet going abroad. The alarm comes from Italian shipowners association Confitarma on news that Trieste-based senator Roberto Cociancich is trying to insert some substantial modifications to the international register and tonnage tax regime through a pair of amendments in the European Law 2015 currently under discussion in the Italian Parliament.
These modifications, in case they are approved, will limit the application of fiscal benefits granted from the international register only to the vessels embarking with 100% Italian or EU personnel.
“In this case at least 80% of the Italian merchant fleet, i.e. all the vessels deployed on the international routes, will leave the national flag for some other European flags and probably many companies will also opt for relocating their offices abroad,” Confitarma’s chairman Emanuele Grimaldi told Splash. “Frankly speaking, if these two amendments are approved, Italy will lose some 20,000 jobs at sea and 500 ships.”.
According to the statistics released by Confitarma, as of 31 December 2014 there were 1,503 ships under the Italian flag (a decrease from 1,564 in 2013): 273 are tankers, 202 bulk carriers, 440 roro and ropax vessels, 587 service ships (tugs, OSV, etc) and one obo. In the last decade Italians shipowners invested more than $15bn in renovating their fleets and 436 newbuildings were delivered.