DISCOVER Magazine #7

Italian tugs

Published in category: Harbour & Terminal


Owned by the Delle Piane and Gavarone families, Rimorchiatori Riuniti has been operating its well-known orange tugboats in Genoa since 1922.

The Group serves the Italian ports of Genoa, Salerno, Augusta, Siracusa and Catania and in Malta, Valletta and Marsaxlokk; and on the Adriatic Sea; Ravenna, Ancona, Ortona in partnership with the Vitiello family, and Trieste with the Cattaruzza family.

With a fleet of around 100 vessels, Rimorchiatori Riuniti originally ordered its first two Damen vessels back in 1998, when it acquired two tractor tugs.

Then, in 2014 Rimorchiatori Riuniti ordered an ASD Tug 2411 and in December 2015, the company ordered a pair of very powerful 80-tonne bollard pull ASD 2913 Tugs. Rimorchiatori Riuniti took delivery of the Germania in January and she is deployed in Genoa. Germania was customised with extras including FiFi 1, oil recovery and escort notations and an aft winch. The second ASD 2913 will be delivered in May.

Meanwhile, in June 2016, the company ordered an ASD 2810 Tug for its new company Rimorchiatori Augusta, which has operations in several Sicilian ports. With a 60-tonne bollard pull, the Capo Boeo was fitted with FiFi 1 and upgraded towing hooks. And, hot on the heels of this order, the Italian group ordered another Damen ASD 2913 and an ASD Tug 2411.


Alberto Dellepiane, Director of Rimorchiatori Riuniti says that the company ‘always keeps its eyes open for opportunities’. At the moment, he smiles, “We want to get to celebrate our 100th anniversary in 5 years’ time – that’s our target!”


Scafi Società di Navigazione S.p.A. was founded in the 1950s by Salvatore Cafiero and manages tug services in the port of La Spezia, Savona and Gioia Tauro.

In Italy, the group has three subsidiaries, Rimorchiatori Riuniti Spezzini (La Spezia), Con.Tug (Gioia Tauro, in partnership with the terminal operator Contship group) and Carmelo Noli (Savona-Vado).Since November 2016, Scafi has also operated in Croatia together with its partner Cafimar Spa. Currently, the company operates with 20 vessels in Italy, nine in Croatia, one in Venezuela, while two are on charter and one is on standby for repairs.

Scafi has worked closely with Damen since 1992 and ordered 15 vessels over the years. Franco Visco, Scafi Managing Director, says: “We chose Damen originally after a long investigation through European shipyards in the early nineties. Before that date Scafi was only building in Italian shipyards, but we wanted to explore further possibilities to obtain good products at reasonable prices.”

With the two companies having worked together for more than 20 years, the relationship has seen a number of firsts. In 2002, Scafi took delivery of the first new ASD 2810 Tug from Damen, named Portovenere.

Then, 12 years later, Scafi was the first customer to operate a Damen ASD 3212 in Italian waters, which represented its 15th vessel.

Scafi ordered the new 32 metre ASD Tug, which has a bollard pull of 80 tonnes, as part of its continuous fleet renewal programme. The vessel, named Calabria, has notations for FiFi1, escorting, oil product salvage and oil recovery.



Italy is a shipping nation, with over 8,000 kilometres of coastline. Served by numerous commercial ports, towage plays a vital role for the country. Italian tug owners are successful, long standing and well respected family companies. A focus on quality, innovation and reliability are key factors during the selection process for a new tug. Italy is world renowned for design and for the appreciation of beauty. Therefore, as shipbuilder and designer, we share our Italian customers’ passion for well-performing, good looking vessels. For each new Damen tug in Italy, we feel somehow to have contributed to a piece of art, harmoniously fitting within the magnificent contest of the “Bel Paese”.


Piombino, Livorno-based Neri Group is a proud family-owned company with a long history. The company’s roots date back to the end of the 19th century when Costante Neri was one of the leading companies tasked with the duty of loading and unloading ships that arrived in the harbour of Livorno by means of small boats in the so-called ‘caravan of stevedores’.


Nowadays, Neri Group is active in Europe and West Africa with a fleet of more than 30 vessels including tugs, barges, lifting floating cranes, supply vessels and crew boats.

The relationship with Damen began when Fratelli Neri took delivery of a Damen Stan Tender 1905 in 2011 and two second-hand Stan Tugs 2608.

In 2015, the company ordered its first newbuild Damen vessel, the Luisa Neri. Joining the fleet in 2016, the Damen ASD Tug 3212 is also the first ASD Tug in the Mediterranean with a Damen render-recovery winch.


The vessel was customised with the installation of a deck crane and all equipment necessary to comply with FiFi 1 notation, oil recovery notation and Italian flag requirements.

Luisa Neri was put to work in the company’s homeport, which is notorious for being quite a challenging harbour to operate in. However, Luisa Neri has the power – just over 80 tonnes of bollard pull – the manoeuvrability and the right equipment to handle these difficult escorting duties.

“The extremely flexible characteristics means that this new tug is well able to fulfil her duties in a ready, efficient and safe way,” says Fratelli Neri Managing Director, Piero Neri (great grandson of Costante Neri).


Ocean is the latest Italian towage company to add a Damen tug to its fleet. Specialising in towage and offshore services in the northern Adriatic Sea, Ocean ordered a Stan Tug 2608 in January. The vessel will be mobilised for harbour towage duties in the port of Monfalcone when she arrives in June.

Ocean Managing Director Michela Cattaruzza Bellinello explains why the company considered a Damen vessel for its fleet expansion. “We are very aware of Damen’s high standards. And we bought a Stan Pontoon from Damen a couple of years ago and have been satisfied with the performance since then.

“Additionally, compared to the rest of the market, the price was very competitive and the fact that the delivery is extremely fast is very attractive.”

The Stan Tug 2608 is an ideal vessel for harbour towage and vessel assistance roles. Its broad wheelhouse offers an all-round view of operations and an unobstructed deck creates a safe working area for the crew. At 26 metres, the Stan Tug delivers an impressive 45-tonne bollard pull.

To meet Ocean’s required specifications, Damen is making a number of modifications to the standard vessel design. These include the addition of a 600 m3 FiFi installation and an aft winch.

Ocean, which is part of the larger Ocean Team headquartered in Trieste, has 43 vessels in its fleet. Ocean performs a complete range of independent, competitive harbour towage services in four ports in the North Adriatic Sea: Monfalcone and Porto Nogaro, Trieste, Koper in Slovenia and Bar, Montenegro.

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