Genoa - “We will become one of the most important hubs in the Mediterranean,” Alberto Amico proudly explains. Amico is the chief of the shipyard that repairs and restores giants of the sea, large yachts – some extremely large – that sail in European waters. For three days a barge has been moored off the Fiera di Genova, where the former Nira building stood until recently. “It sailed from Brindisi, where welding was carried out, and then, after a week at sea, it arrived here,” says Fabrizio Scardigno, the shipyard’s manager, as he stis in the “royal suite” of his latest, almost €30-million project.
The off-ramp for the largest “yacht elevator” in the Mediterranean was completed on Thursday: “With our ship lift we will be able to bring vessels up to 95m in length and 4,000 tonnes displacement onto dry land,” Scardigno continued. The vessel is manoeuvred into position above the elevator which sits below water level: a large steel plate is then raised to the required height and with a system of tracks and small but very powerful zero-emissions electric motors, it is transferred onto the ground to be worked on under the cover of temporary climate-controlled enclosures.
“We will be able to receive up to five more mega-yachts at our shipyard”, the manager said. “Before we only had two basins at our disposal for this kind of work: one at our facility, and the other in the Ente Bacini area, which we didn’t exclusively control”. In order not to be left behind by the competition, Amico decided to upgrade his company’s own site: “We expect to be able to receive the first boat in mid-October”, the shipyard chief confirmed.
“The large-yacht sector is in full expansion, and we want to make the most of it, but we need adequate space and facilities.” Amico has made available €27 million for infrastructural upgrades across the 15,000sqm held in concession.
Timeframes are an important factor for the yachting sector: Amico is in a hurry “to beat Barcelona, our main competitor, and La Ciotat (in France, ed.) which is a year behind schedule”. These are the two European pillars that are in competition to refit the big yachts. “But in Genoa now we have everything we need to be successful: we are attracting boats, owners and crews”.
If Amico beats the Spanish for time, Italy will be the first to have the largest boat lift in the Mediterranean. And it’s not only a matter of pride. There are jobs at stake: “In order to support our new investments, we have hired fifteen people and are planning another ten hires in the coming months”.
Amico brings investment and new jobs; on the other hand there have been complaints because the barge has blocked access to the Fiera marina for three days. “In this city there are those who prefer controversy to investment and wealth creation,” says the shipyard’s chief. “The benefits will not only be for us, but also for associated industries and the city’s economy.”