At the latest Confitarma’s general assembly held in Rome, Emanuele Grimaldi, chairman of the Italian shipowners association, listed some conditions required to make the Italian flag more competitive with other leading EU flags.
“To preserve the Italian merchant fleet it has been hard work in the past years due to the economic crisis” he said, adding: “As of today Italy with 17m gross tonnes still has the second largest European fleet and the fourth worldwide.” He was discounting flags of convenience such as Panama and Liberia.
Italian shipowners are now asking, Grimaldi said, the premier Matteo Renzi and the minister of transport a wide range of administrative simplifications regarding procedures for registering ships, safety certification, rules on passenger transport at sea and some others.
“Compared to other EU flags, registering a ship in Italy today is costing some $100,000 more due to these factors,” added Grimaldi, underlining however that he doesn’t think many shipowners will leave the country following the application of the Italian’s tonnage tax regime also to the vessels registered in other European countries.
According to the statistics released by Confitarma, as of 31st 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.