Fincantieri wins $123m Arctic ship order.
Fincantieri top brass used the confirmation of a $123m Arctic research ship order at US subsidiary Marinette Marine in Wisconsin as the showpiece of a visit to Washington, crediting such ?diversification? for helping the Italian shipbuilder survive the recession.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks in December announced a letter of intent with Marinette to build a research vessel. Fincantieri chairman Corrado Antonini and chief executive Giuseppe Bono said in Washington Thursday that the order had been confirmed.
The two men were in the US capital to meet Italian ambassador Giulio Terzi di Sant"Agata, at meeting at which US lawmakers and officials from the US Navy were also present.
Mr Bono said: ?This order confirms that it was a strategic choice to be present in the US market by purchasing shipyards for construction in loco, as required under America law. In a period of a serious world crisis as today, in which even though we are seeing some encouraging sign of recovery, the shipbuilding industry is suffering from a drastic reduction in orders. Business diversification is one of our strengths and the best response to the current downturn in demand from shipowners.?
The vessel is owned by the National Science Foundation. It will study climate change in the Arctic region. Said to be one of the most advanced university research vessels in the world, it can break ice up to 2.5 ft thick. Scientists were first said to have demanded such a ship in 1973, but it took more than three decades of development before a final design took shape under Seattle-based engineering firm Glosten Associates.
Denis Wiesenburg, co-principal investigator on the project and dean of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, said: ?Ocean scientists need this ice-capable vessel now, more than ever, to study changes occurring in Arctic waters.?
Fincantieri, under domestic pressure in Italy to preserve shipbuilding jobs, operates four US subsidiary yards, all in the Great Lakes: Marinette Marine, Bay Shipbuilding, Cleveland Shiprepair, and Ace Marine. All four have had their own troubles, with Bay Shipbuilding in the news last year for job cuts.