November 3, 2020 (Google Translation) – The Italian Ministry of Defense enters the list of recipients of a loan from the EU bank. With an innovative operation at European level, a loan of 220 million was finalized between the European Investment Bank ( EIB ), the Ministry of Economy and Finance ( MEF ) and Defense , in fact, aimed at the construction of three ships that they will be used by the Hydrographic Institute of the Italian Navy of Genoa (IIM).
The project involves the construction of a large ship and two smaller ones: they will replace those currently in operation (Magnaghi, Aretusa and Galatea), which have reached or will soon reach the end of their operational life. The three ships will carry out activities mainly in favor of the community: research on the climate in the marine environment and safety of navigation thanks to the mapping of the seabed necessary for the production of official nautical charts of Italian waters.
Of the three ships, the largest will be used mainly for hydrographic and oceanographic research in the Mediterranean and the oceans but also in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. The two smaller ones will be destined to operate essentially in the Mediterranean Sea. The construction of the three units will take place in the period 2021-2027.
The project significantly supports the EIB’s primary innovation objectives and climate action and contributes to the achievement of several European objectives. The oceanographic data that will be collected from the ships are a key component of climate models that contribute to the understanding of climate change and are the basis for decisions regarding the actions to be taken to mitigate its effects.
From the financial point of view, the operation provides for a loan agreement between the EIB and the MEF and a “project contract” between the EIB and the Defense. The duration of the loan is 25 years, in line with the economic life of the ships. For the Italian State, using EIB loans has a double advantage: longer durations and very low rates, given that the EIB collects resources on international markets with the issue of triple A bonds.
“Environmental protection is the pillar of the EIB’s activity: as a climate bank we are therefore very pleased to be able to support the Ministry of Defense in this project in the civil sector. Waters cover 70% of the planet, and from the study of oceans and seas we obtain the fundamental information to be able to take appropriate decisions worldwide to stem the negative phenomena of climate change ”, said Dario Scannapieco, Vice President of the EIB.
“A virtuous initiative that combines research in an important sector for the country and for the entire international community, such as the environment and the sea, with industrial development thanks to the financial instruments made available by Europe. The agreement represents the first step for future collaborations aimed at supporting defense innovation programs ”, commented Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini.
These units, once completed, will be entrusted to the Command of the Hydrographic Ships and Experiences Squadron (Comsquaidro) and will contribute to carrying out the surveys that allow the updating of the official cartography of the State to guarantee the safety of navigation and to increase knowledge of the marine environment. .
A complex of research, carried out in collaboration with the Hydrographic Institute of the Navy and with important national and international research bodies, which each year engages about 200 military personnel specialized in hydroceanography, embarked on hydrographic units equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation.