The European Investment Bank will be funding the construction of three hydrographic vessels for the Italian Navy, the service announced on October 22.
The project concerns the construction of one big and two smaller vessels, which will replace those currently in service (Magnaghi, Aretusa and Galatea) that have reached or will soon reach the end of their operating life. These three vessels will carry out mostly public service activities: climate research in the marine environment and navigation security through seabed mapping needed to produce official nautical charts for Italy’s sea regions.
The two smaller vessels will be deployed mostly in the Mediterranean Sea whilst the biggest one will also be used in the world’s oceans and in the Arctic regions.
These three vessels will be built between 2021 and 2027.
Once they have been built, they will be assigned to the Navy’s Hydrographic and Test Squadron (Comsquaidro) and deployed to help carry out surveys updating the state’s official maps – which will enhance navigation security and increase knowledge of the country’s marine environment.
These research activities, conducted in coordination with the Italian Navy’s Hydrographic Institute, involve around 200 military personnel specializing in oceanography working on hydrographic vessels equipped with state-of-the-art instruments.
With the €220 million loan, the Italian Ministry of Defence is joining the list of beneficiaries of the EU bank’s financing.
In financial terms, the operation involves a loan agreement between the EIB and MEF and a “project agreement” between the EIB and the Ministry of Defence. The term of the loan is 25 years, in line with the economic life of the vessels. For the Italian government, the EIB loans are doubly beneficial: longer maturities and lower interest rates thanks to the fact that the bank raises funds on the international capital markets via AAA-rated bonds.