Sicily News

07 May 2020

Italy Detains Migrant Rescue Ships

The vessel Alan Kurdi is detained in Palermo (Photo: Sea-Eye)

Italian coastguards have seized two charity rescue boats at the port of Palermo citing "technical and operational" irregularities, which the owners called an excuse to hinder missions to save the lives of migrants at sea.The seizure of the German-flagged Alan Kurdi and Spanish-flagged Aita Mari this week followed a sharp rise in the number of migrants reaching Italy, which has angered and embarrassed the government as it battles the coronavirus epidemic.For years Italy was the primary route into Europe for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers and other irregular migrants.

13 Apr 2020

Italy Orders Migrants Put in Quarantine on a Ship

(Photo: Sea-Eye)

Italy on Sunday ordered migrants aboard a rescue ship off its coast to be quarantined on another vessel to test them for the coronavirus instead of allowing them to disembark.The Alan Kurdi, run by the German non-governmental group Sea-Eye, is sailing in international waters off the western coast of Sicily.The transport ministry said in a statement those on board will be transferred to another ship, screened by health authorities and quarantined on that ship.This week the government closed ports to charity boats for the entire duration of the national health emergency over the coronavirus…

02 Dec 2019

AIDAmira Christened

Image: AIDA Cruises

American/British-owned German cruise line AIDA Cruises announced that model and TV host Franziska Knuppe christened  AIDAmira in Palma de Mallorca.AIDAmira is the fourth ship in the AIDA Selection program, sailing longer itineraries to exotic locales, similar to her function for Costa.After a debut cruise in the Mediterranean until December 4, 2019,  the cruise line will take the new Selection ship to Sète in the south of France, the Catalan metropolis of Barcelona, and back to…

17 Nov 2019

Epic Gas Buys 11,000 CBM Vessel

Image: Epic Gas

Epic Gas Shipping Company,  which owns and operates a fleet of fully pressurized gas carriers, has announced the acquisition of 2015-built 11,000 cbm LPG carrier Epic Sicily.The Singapore-based LPG carrier operator said that the vessel, Epic Sicily, is built by the Sasaki Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. of Japan in 2015.The vessel has been on bareboat charter-in since Feb 2015 and Epic Gas is now exercising the purchase option under the charter contract. Finance of 60% of the acquisition cost comes from Epic Gas’s recently closed refinancing…

29 Oct 2019

Eni-led Group to Build Wave Power Stations

Photo by Fincantieri

Italian oil group Eni is joining forces with shipbuilder Fincantieri, power grid group Terna and state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) to develop wave power stations.The agreement, which follows the understanding signed last 19 April, will launch the first phase of a joint project to convert the Inertial Sea Wave Energy Converter (ISWEC) pilot project, an innovative system that transforms energy generated by waves into electricity, into an industrial scale power station…

18 Oct 2019

Fincantieri Fits New Midsection in Star Breeze

Image: Fincantieri

The most complex cruise ship lengthening ever undertaken is clipping along at Fincantieri’s Palermo yard.The final welding cut to Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze was completed and  the ship’s 25.6-meter/84-foot prefabricated midsection was glided into place between the two halves in the drydock, an operation that took just half an hour.Overnight, Shipyard crews at Fincantieri Palermo had carefully split the ship, pulling the 4,000-ton bow forward centimeter by centimeter while a…

07 Oct 2019

Nine Dead, 22 Rescued from Migrant Boat off Sicily

At least nine people died when a boat carrying dozens of migrants sank off the coast of the island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, Italy's coastguard said on Monday.The coastguard said rescue vessels had picked up 22 people, and search operations for other survivors were underway after an alert was received late on Sunday night that a boat carrying some 50 people was in difficulty.The U.N. migration agency said the boat had set sail from Tunisia and had been carrying Tunisian and west African migrants.Vessels from the coastguard and customs police had reached the vessel, which overturned in rough seas about six nautical miles from the coast of Lampedusa, the coastguard said in a statement.

19 Jul 2019

Another Damen ASD Tug 2813 in Service

The Damen built ASD Tug 2813, Vincenzino O., underway. IMAGE CREDIT: Damen

On 18 July 2019, Moby held a naming ceremony for their new Damen ASD Tug 2813, Vincenzino O. in Cagliari as part of the company’s plans to upgrade its fleet.Moby’s CEO Achille Onorato says: “We are very proud to welcome this new tug to our fleet. The vessel, which carries the name of my son, Vincenzino O., introduces the sixth generation of our family to the sea and is a clear demonstration of our commitment to the community of Sardinia. We have enjoyed an excellent cooperation…

02 Jul 2019

EU Deal has Germany Taking in Some Sea-Watch Migrants

Germany has agreed to take in about a dozen of the 41 migrants who arrived in Italy last month on board German charity rescue ship Sea-Watch, an Italian government source said on Tuesday.The compromise to diffuse tensions with the Italian government, which had ordered the ship not to enter Italian waters, also includes France, Portugal, Finland, and Luxemburg, which have agreed to share the burden of hosting the migrants.There was no immediate official reaction from Germany or Italy about the accord which was first reported by Spiegel magazine.The German captain of the ship, Carola Rackete, appeared before a court in Sicily on Monday…

13 May 2019

Second Damen ASD Tug for Rimorchiatori

Photo: Damen

Damen Shipyards Group  signed a contract with Rimorchiatori Mediterranei, a subsidiary of Rimorchiatori Riuniti of Genoa, Italy, for a Damen ASD Tug 2810. The vessel will be operated in Sicily by Rimorchiatori Augusta and is due for delivery in December this year sailing on her own keel from Damen Song Cam Shipyard in Vietnam.The new vessel, to be named Capo Peloro after one of Sicily’s major capes near Messina, will be the second Damen ASD Tug 2810 to join the Rimorchiatori Mediterranei fleet. The first was the Capo Boeo, which arrived in Sicily in December 2016.

03 Apr 2019

Fincantieri Cuts First Steel for Windstar

Fincantieri’s Vice President of Ship Repair and Conversions Andrew Toso, Shipyard Director Gianni Salvagno and Windstar Cruises’ Vice President of Expansion Projects John Gunner in Trieste, Italy (left to right). (Photo: Fincantieri)

Today at Fincantieri’s Arsenale Triestino San Marco shipyard, in Trieste, Italy, first steel was cut for the first of three new ships sections as part of Windstar Cruises’s $250 million vessel overhaul program.Windstar’s Star Plus Initiative is a complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement and renovation project that will see the owner renovate half of its fleet in succession. Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride will be cut in half to allow the installation of a new stepped mid-body section that will lengthen each vessel by approximately 25 meters.

18 Mar 2019

FSG Delivers New Ro-Ro for SIEM

Image: Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft mbH & Co.

German shipbuilding company Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft (FSG) has handed over another Ro-Ro ship to SIEM Shipping.The Flensburg-based designer and manufacturer of ships for commercial and naval applications worldwide said in a press release that this is the sixth RoRo ship that FSG has delivered to SIEM and is identical in construction to the sister ship “ALF POLLK”.The “MARIA GRAZIA ONORATO” will be chartered out to Moby Lines Europe and deployed in the Mediterranean area on the routes to and from Sardinia and Sicily.Together with its sister ship “ALF POLLAK”…

18 Feb 2019

Inside the World's Top Ferry Lines

Staten Island Ferries, NYC. Photo Credit: Greg Trauthwein

The ferry business, unlike more industrial parts of the shipping business, touches wide swaths of the world’s population across continents. The membership of Interferry, the leading trade group for the industry, with non-Governmental organization (NGO) status at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) includes 200+ members from all parts of the ferry spectrum. These include passenger ferries (including fast ferries), Ro/Pax and cruise ferries operating globally. In selecting “the best” we looked beyond the league tables of “the most” (passengers) and “the biggest” (fleet size).

07 Feb 2019

Satcom Services by Telespazio, Grimaldi

Image: Telespazio a Leonardo/Thales Company

European spaceflight services company Telespazio and the shipping company Grimaldi Group have recently signed two contracts to strengthen the satellite communications capabilities of the Neapolitan shipping group on its fleet of cargo and passenger ships.Telespazio, a joint venture between Leonardo and Thales, said in a press release that the first agreement provides for managing on-board communications for RO/RO, RO/RO multi-purpose and PCTC (Pure Car & Truck Carrier) vessels in the Grimaldi Fleet that operate between Northern Europe…

07 Feb 2019

"Saint John Paul II" Delivered to Virtu Ferries

Photo: Incat

Incat delivered its latest large fast ferry, a 110-meter catamaran for Virtu Ferries of Malta dubbed Saint John Paul II.Saint John Paul II is the 44th large commercial fast ferry delivered by Incat and the sixth in excess of 5,500gt in the past decade; a decade also shared with 19 other Incat newbuilds of smaller passenger ferries and support vessels.“Using the latest computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and hydrodynamic free-running model test techniques, the well proven Incat Wave Piercing Catamaran hullform has been further developed for Mediterranean winter conditions…

01 Feb 2019

Italian Coastguard Holds Migrant Rescue Ship in Sicily

File Image / Credit © AdobeStock

Italy's coastguard on Friday blocked the Sea-Watch 3 migrant rescue ship in the port of Catania citing safety and environmental concerns, delaying the vessel's plans to return to patrolling the Libyan coastline.After a long standoff with the Italian government, on Thursday the Dutch-flagged vessel, run by a German charity, was allowed to disembark 47 migrants it had rescued at sea on Jan. 19 in the Sicilian port.Coastguard inspectors who boarded the Sea-Watch on Thursday found "irregularities" relating to safety and environmental standards.

30 Jan 2019

Stranded Migrants to Leave Rescue Ship - Italian PM

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said 47 migrants who have been blocked at sea off Sicily for 11 days on a rescue ship will be allowed to come ashore on Wednesday, ending the latest migrant standoff."In a few hours, they will begin to disembark," Conte told reporters in Milan. The migrants have been on the vessel since they were rescued off the Libyan coast.Italy's populist government, which took office last year, has closed its ports to humanitarian vessels in a bid to force European Union partners to take a share of those rescued in the Mediterranean.The Dutch-flagged Sea-Watch 3, which is run by a German humanitarian group, has been moored off the coast of Sicily as it waits for a safe port.

22 Dec 2018

Shipbuilding: New 110m Catamaran Named Saint John Paul II

Virtu Ferries ship launched at Incat. Photo: Incat

Shipbuilder Incat has launched the 110m vehicle / passenger ferry from the shipyard at Derwent Park in Hobart Tasmania. The ship will commence sea trials in mid January prior to delivery to her new owner Virtu Ferries for service between Malta and Sicily.Bearing the livery Saint John Paul II the vessel has been named in honor of the Pope who served from 1978 to 2005, so revered the Pope has often posthumously, but unofficially, been referred to by Catholics as "St. John Paul the Great".

05 Dec 2018

ClassNK Opens New Survey Office in Italy

Image: ClassNK

Leading classification society Nippon Kaiji Kyokai, also known by the brand name 'ClassNK', has opened a new exclusive survey office in Reggio Calabria, Italy with operations beginning 5 December, 2018.Reggio Calabria, located in Southwest Italy, faces the Strait of Messina which crosses through the Italian Peninsula and Sicily. In recent years, the number of surveys and audits required in the southern part of Italy and Malta has been increasing.Through the opening of its latest office…

15 Nov 2018

Windstar Cruises Announces $250 Million Star Plus Initiative

A rendering of Windstar's Three Star-Class vessels, after future renovation and lengthening (CREDIT: Windstar)

Major Investment Engages Fincantieri to Renovate & Lengthen Windstar’s Three Star-Class Ships beginning in Fall 2019. Windstar Cruises today announces the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, a major investment and expansion for the innovative cruise company. The multi-million dollar, multi-year undertaking will impact and enhance all aspects of the guest experience for the highly awarded small ship cruise line’s three Star Class vessels. “We are thrilled to announce the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, a significant investment in the future of Windstar Cruises.

11 Oct 2018

Ancient Shipwrecks Found in Greek Waters Tell Tale of Trade Routes

(Photo by Vasilis Mentogianis / RPM Nautical Foundation)

Archaeologists in Greece have discovered at least 58 shipwrecks, many laden with antiquities, in what they say may be the largest concentration of ancient wrecks ever found in the Aegean and possibly the whole of the Mediterranean.The wrecks lie in the small island archipelago of Fournoi, in the Eastern Aegean, and span a huge period from ancient Greece right through to the 20th century. Most are dated to the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras.Although shipwrecks can be seen together in the Aegean…

09 Aug 2018

Italy Uncovers Massive Load of Hash in Ship's Fuel Tanks

© Ria Maat / MarineTraffic.com

Italian police said on Thursday they found 20 tonnes of hash worth as much as 200 million euros ($232 million) in the fuel tanks of a Panama-flagged ship that was stopped in international waters and escorted to Sicily.The entire 11-person crew, all from Montenegro, was arrested for international drugs trafficking, Italy's finance police said in a statement.The research and survey vessel Remus left the Canary Islands bound for Egypt and Turkey, but police surveillance showed it had turned off its position transmitter near the coast of North Africa…

31 Jul 2018

Five Baleària Ferries to Run on LNG

Photo: BaleĂ ria

The Mediterranean ferry company Baleària said it will invest €60 million ($70.2 million) over the next to years to retrofit five ferries to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is planning to further expand its gas-powered fleet.The use of LNG in these five vessels — Naples, Abel Matutes, Sicily, Bahama Mama and Martin i Soler — is expected to reduce more than 45,000 tons of CO2 annually, 4,400 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and eliminate sulfur and particulate emissions completely.Naples will be the first ferry to adapt the gas propulsion…

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