[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hat’s happening in Italy? Is it possible to enter ports and marinas and find services and assistance? We have interviewed Alessandro Menozzi, Founder and CEO of Porto Mirabello, La Spezia, one of the favourite destinations for megayachts. We were already interested in collecting this interview last week. Our interest increased when we read about some negative (absurd) comments the marina has received on social media this week for the decision to stay open!
1) In the world’s eyes, Italy is still under full coronavirus lockdown. And if a marina announces that it is open and operational, it sounds strange. We saw it yesterday morning when someone contested your decision on social media. Can you explain to us why the port is authorized to remain open and operational?
PM: “The fact that it sounds strange to someone in the nautical world that Porto Mirabello is operational, leaves me dumbstruck. Not only is Porto Mirabello authorized to remain open and operational, in full respect of the government restrictions, but it is considered a public service and has duties to its clients, to those who are already in the port and those who are coming. It is part of our activity to be able to guarantee safety, surveillance, control the moorings and sea sockets, to provide assistance in case of electrical problems or other kind of breakdowns. This means taking care, giving a true service especially in a moment like this, when people are already worried enough. We continue to offer our services to assure that all the boats in our marina are safe and monitored. For us these weeks are only a cost, it would be much more advantageous to close – as many others did to save their economic interests. We have to prevent problems like theft, fires or other damages; during the year we always say Porto Mirabello can offer top-quality services. This would not be true if we are not available for our clients during difficulties”.
2) How are you providing assistance to the large boats moored within your port?
PM: As always! We continue to guarantee all essential services, giving assistance to the crew still present, albeit with work shifts so to protect our staff. We have a surveillance service fully operational and also administrative offices open, with a limited staff present. We can not forget that in our marina there are crews living on boats and their needs are fundamental for us, especially now that the shops in our marina are closed”.
3) What are the main difficulties that captains and crews are having in these weeks and how can you help?
PM: “La prima difficoltà in assoluto è stata quella di affrontare la gogna di essere il 1° paese in Europa alle prese con Covid19 ed all’inizio sembrava anche l’unico ; questo ha creato molta paura e diversi clienti hanno deciso di spostare la barca altrove dandoci un danno notevole. La difficoltà di comandanti ed equipaggi che hanno meno libertà di movimento , i servizi commerciali in Marina sono chiusi come molti in Città quindi ci siamo attrezzati con delivery di food & beverage tramite operatori specializzati e come detto precedentemente l’ufficio amministrativo , ufficio Porto e la Concierge sono operativi anche se in misura minima per garantire il servizio ma soprattutto per continuare a dare ai nostri clienti quel senso di famiglia ed accoglienza che ci contraddistingue e di cui più che mai in questi momenti si ha bisogno”. / The first difficulty ever was to face the condition to be the first country affected by Covid19, and addressed as plague-spreader. This opinion created a lot of fear and several customers decided to move their boats elsewhere. Captains and crews have a reduced freedom of movement and with all the shops closed here inside our marina, we have had to organize for them some special delivery services of food & beverage through specialized operators. Even if our services are limited for reasons of force majeure, we continue to assist our clients with the same hospitality levels that distinguishes us in this sector.
4) What would happen if your port did not provide assistance and closed its services to yacht owners and crews?
PM: “Premesso che, Porto Mirabello ha 950 yacht presenti dagli 8 ai 110mt quindi è una cosa impossibile che non fornisca assistenza agli equipaggi che vivono a bordo, dove li mandiamo ? li lasciamo in balia del mare ? e gli yacht anche ? Verremmo meno a i principi della navigazione ma soprattutto ai nostri. Ripeto , al di la delle limitazioni di movimento degli equipaggi per cui i servizi sono fondamentali ora più che mai, anche per le barche medio piccole la sorveglianza e l’assistenza sono la prima cosa ; del resto domanda assoluta che fa il cliente è “perchè devo mettere la barca in un porto ?” / Porto Mirabello has currently 950 yachts present inside the marina, from 8 to 110 meters in lenght, it would be impossible to stop providing assistance to those crews living on board. We can not leave them there alone. As yachts too. We would fail to the principles of navigation but above all to ours. Crews are limited in movement, so we have to help them fill this gap. But also small-medium boats need surveillance and assistance. We need to reply to the question that every yacht owner usually make “why do I have to put the boat in a port?”. A marina closed in a moment like this is beyond dispute”.
5) Have you received requests from boats abroad that wanted to approach Italy and to reach La Spezia?
PM: “Clienti da pesi Arabi , Europa ed in generale ci hanno dato attestati di stima per l’atteggiamento che teniamo che conferma la nostra professionalità e coerenza. Ora sta cominciando ad invertisti la tendenza e ci stanno giungendo richieste ma è ancora presto per dirlo , il danno è fatto e solo con il tempo recupereremo / We have received some requests from Arab countries and Europe. We have also received a lot of appreciation messages for the decision to remain open, confirming our committment, professionalism and consistency. Now that the trend is starting to give signs of a turnaround, the number of requests are increasing accordingly, but we are still in a state of emergency and we need a lot of time to recover from the economic damage this crisis has caused.
6) With shipyards closed, how can Porto Mirabello come to the assistance of some clients?
PM: “La location nella quale ci troviamo è naturalmente protetta e l’Hub di Spezia è il più importante a livello nazionale per la presenza di cantieri di costruzione. PM ha ricevuto molto dai cantieri nautici negli anni ed è giusto che se qualcuno di loro o loro cliente ha necessità di mettere lo yacht in sicurezza possa contare su un partner disponibile che non tradisce la fiducia come invece qualcuno sta già facendo già dal primo sentore di difficoltà / Our marina is located in a naturally protected bay, closed to the most important yachting district in Italy. Porto Mirabello has benefited much from this strategic position over the years, especially as regards the shipyard’s activities; that’s why in a moment of difficulty for the shipyards it is important for us to return them the support we have received so far, so in case they need to place some of their yachts in our port they can count on our assistance. A reliable partner does not betray the trust of its clients”.