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Naples port to modernize with EU funding

The city of Naples has approved a plan to make its port more competitive The city of Naples has approved a plan to make its port more competitive, attractive, modern, and eco compatible.The approval of the Port Authority's development plan will unfreeze 240 million euros in EU funding for the project to refurbish the port, which has yearly turnover of 680 million euros and employs 5,000 people.The budget allocates 22 million euros to switching the port to alternative energy, including solar panels. Another 90 million euros will go to connecting the port to the railway system, freeing the city of trucks.The project will also separate the commercial from the tourist sections of the port, which is a major Mediterranean cruise stop with 1.5 million people transiting through every year. ''We must step up the pace of these public works, or we will lose the EU funding,'' Naples Mayor Luigi De Magistris said of the overhaul, which is scheduled to begin in 2013, ending in 2015. ''The port is now the city's major economic resource, and represents many opportunities for businesses and tourism.'' ''We presented this great project to the EU, and we defended it until we got the OK,'' Campania ...

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Commission requests Italy to comply with new standards for equipment placed on board ships

The European Commission has asked Italy to adopt national legislation implementing the latest marine equipment standards, as introduced by EU law. The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion under EU infringement procedures. If Italy fails to inform the Commission within two months of the measures it has taken to ensure full compliance with EU law, the Commission could refer the case to the European Court of Justice.The EU rulesThe marine equipment directive aims at reaching a uniform application of international standards on marine equipment in the EU and facilitating free movement of marine equipment within the internal market. It applies to items such as lifesaving appliances, fire protection or radio communication equipment on board European ships, guaranteeing a high level of quality and safety. In 2010, the Commission updated the existing rules on marine equipmentThe reason for the actionItaly has failed to notify the Commission of the measures taken to enforce the revised marine equipment rules. These amendments should have been fully transposed by 10 December 2011.The practical effect of non-transpositionThe marine equipment directive is updated on a regular basis to ensure that equipment on board European ships complies with the most up to date requirements. The ...

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Indian court grants bail to two Italian sailors at center of diplomatic row

Italian sailors charged with the murder of two Indian fishermen An Indian court granted bail on Wednesday to two Italian sailors charged with the murder of two Indian fishermen in a case that has caused a major diplomatic rift between Rome and New Delhi.The two marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, were ordered not to leave the port city of Kochi, in the western state of Kerala, while awaiting trial. They will be freed once they each pay bail of 10 million rupees, about $200,000. No date has been set for trial but it is expected to start soon.The sailors were part of a military security team protecting the cargo ship Enrica Lexie from pirate attacks when they opened fire on the fishermen's boat off the coast of Kerala on Feb. 15. Italian officials say the men mistook the fishermen for pirates.The picture of what happened that day is still murky, but investigators say what is clear is that the two fishermen were unarmed and posed no threat to the ship. Italian officials said the fishermen ignored warning shots.The incident has soured relations between Italy and India, with Rome insisting that Latorre and Girone are military personnel and should be ...

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Jailing of marines hitting anti-piracy efforts

Italy worries that this incident could slow the anti-piracy operation Italy said Wednesday that India's detention of two Italian marines charged with killing two fishermen is damaging the international campaign against Somali pirates.Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said UN leader Ban Ki-moon shared his "concerns" during talks late Tuesday about fallout from the diplomatic row between Italy and India over the case.An Indian court on Saturday denied bail to the marines.The February 15 incident took place in international waters and the Italians say they mistook the fishermen for pirates.Italy has withdrawn its ambassador to New Delhi for consultations on the case as the two sides battle over the charges and who should have jurisdiction over the marines.Terzi told reporters that with daily attacks on international shipping, "this episode is already having a very, very negative effect on the anti-piracy effort of the international community.""Speaking to other international colleagues, I sense a major concern that this incident could slow the anti-piracy operations."Italy is part of a multinational force that has ships in the Indian Ocean and troops and guards on tankers and other vessels to head off attacks by Somali pirates. The campaign has the backing of the UN Security Council ...

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Italy court rules Concordia captain unfit for command

Francesco Schettino has shown little resilience in performing command functions , court says Italy's top appeals court ruled on Wednesday that Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia, was unfit to command the cruise liner which ran aground and capsized off the Tuscan island of Giglio in January, causing at least 30 deaths.In a written explanation of its decision to maintain a house arrest order against Schettino, the Court of Cassation said he had shown "little resilience in performing command functions or in handling responsibility for the safety of persons under his care."Schettino has been accused of wrecking the 114,500 metric tons (126,215 tons) liner by bringing it too close to shore, where a rocky ledge tore a gash in its side and made it keel over and sink.Investigators also accuse Schettino of delaying evacuation and losing control of the operation, during which he abandoned ship before all 4,200 passengers and crew had been taken off the vessel.He has been charged with multiple manslaughter, causing the accident and abandoning ship prematurely. A pre-trial hearing was held in Grosseto, near Florence, in March.The Court of Cassation said Schettino had shown himself unable to manage a crisis and to ensure the ...

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Fishermen deaths: Italian Govt offers compensation to victims’ families

While guarding Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie, they mistook the fishermen for pirates The Italian government has offered a compensation of Rs. 1 crore to the families of the two Indian fishermen allegedly shot dead by two Italian marines on February 15. Sources say the Italian government representatives and victims' families are drafting an agreement to be presented before the Kerala High Court today.Italy's Defence Secretary also met with the families and the shipping company to plan an out-of-court settlement.The two Italian marines, Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Gironi, were arrested for allegedly gunning down two Indian fishermen off Kollam coast on February 15. They were guarding Italian merchant vessel Enrica Lexie when they allegedly mistook the fishermen - Ajesh Binki, 25, from Tamil Nadu and Jelestine, 45, from Kerala - for Somalian pirates and fired at them.Mr Massimillano and Mr Girone, the two accused Italian marines, were booked for murder and arrested on February 20, their remand since extended till April 30 by a court in Kollam.Source: NDTV

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Italy Fines 15 Shipping Agents for Price Fixing

More than $5.3 million for fixing prices in the Port of Genoa Italy's antitrust authority fined 15 liner shipping agents and two trade associations a total of more than $5.3 million for fixing prices in the Port of Genoa.The shipping agents participated in a secret cartel that set prices for services, including issuing bills of lading for exports and delivery orders for imports, from February 2004 through December 2009, the authority, AGCM, said.Maersk Italia, Maersk Line's Italian unit, participated in the price fixing, but was not fined because it provided the initial information that enabled the authority to expose the cartel. Hapag-Lloyd Italy's fine was halved to $322,000 because it provided additional information about the cartel's activities.The cartel exerted "a significant impact on the market for maritime transport," according to AGCM. While most of its members were based in Genoa, their fixed prices acted as a reference for transactions in other Italian ports, including Gioia Tauro, the container transshipment hub, and La Spezia.French carrier CMA CGM attracted the biggest fine of $1.18 million followed by China's Coscon at $965,000 and "K" Line of Japan, $575,000. Other cartel members included APL, Yang Ming and Zim Integrated Shipping Services, and the two ...

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EU calls for rules on ship guards

After Italy-India diplomatic spat The European Union called on Tuesday for international rules on the use of armed guards aboard ships amid a diplomatic spat between Italy and India over two Italian marines jailed in the south Asian country.EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton discussed the issue with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Brussels after the two oil tanker guards allegedly killed two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates last month."She underlined the need to put this incident into the broader context of international co-operation on counter-piracy and more specifically on the issue of regulating the protection aboard ships," her office said in a statement.Several nations have allowed shipping companies to hire armed guards to protect their ships sailing through pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa, stirring a debate about their use.The two Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, have been imprisoned in India's southern state of Kerala pending a murder investigation despite pressure from Italy for them to be handed over to Rome for prosecution.Italy argues India does not have jurisdiction in the case as it involved an Italian-flagged vessel and occurred in international waters near India.India disputes this, saying the incident happened in waters under ...

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Italy warns India about ship firing detentions

India detains two Italian marines who killed two Indian fishermen at sea Italy warned India on Wednesday that it was creating a "dangerous" precedent by detaining two Italian marines who were on an anti-piracy mission when they allegedly killed two Indian fishermen at sea.Premier Mario Monti relayed the warning during a telephone call with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh as the diplomatic standoff reached the highest levels of government as well as the halls of the European Union.According to a statement from Monti's office, Singh agreed to transfer the marines from prison to somewhere "adequate to their status."The marines, who were providing anti-piracy security aboard a cargo ship, are accused of shooting the fishermen Feb. 15 after mistaking them for pirates off India's southwest coast.A court in the southern state of Kerala on Monday ordered them jailed for another two weeks while officials investigate.New Delhi says the case should be tried in India because the killings occurred on an Indian boat. Rome says the shooting took place in international waters and the case should be handled in Italy.Italy says the presence of military personnel aboard the cargo ship is governed by an Italian law conforming to UN anti-piracy resolutions, and ...

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