Safeguarding Italy’s borders
An interview with Colonel Angelo Senese
The Italian law enforcement military corps Guardia di Finanza sits under the authority of the Ministry of the Economy and Finance. As its name suggests, the agency is responsible for dealing with financial crime. Additionally, its scope includes prevention of smuggling, illegal immigration and the trafficking of narcotics. To fulfill its objectives, the Guardia di Finanza maintains a fleet of over 500 water-borne vessels and more than 100 aircraft. Included in this are two new Damen Stan Patrol 5509 vessels, built at the Vittoria Shipyard in northern Italy, following a successful EU tender process.
The naval and air departments of the agency are well integrated. Both air and naval troops are integral components of the Corps’ structure. The two areas maintain a steady flow of communication with Command at all times and with the various task forces operating in the field. They exchange information and carry out joint planning and operations.
Colonel Angelo Senese is the Head of the Naval Office at the Guardia di Finanza General Command. Outlining the mission of his department, Colonel Senese says, “Guardia di Finanza Naval Office is responsible for all tasks pertaining to the technical and human resource management of the agency’s sea contingent. It deals with the technical management of the Naval Fleet and with all related logistical, administrative and financial assignments.”
With regards to the technical aspect of its responsibilities, the Naval Office oversees the maintenance and technical management of the fleet as well as project managing the development of new vessels.
“The Naval Office is responsible for training and organisation of personnel within the sea contingent of the Guardia di Finanza. Additionally, we must manage the budgets for the operation of the fleet and new vessel acquisition,” Colonel Senese explains.
He says that the Naval Office closely follows technological developments with the aim of improving vessel reliability and safety. “We are constantly seeking new equipment in order to improve our operating power and one of the most important tasks of our Naval Office is R&D.”
As may be expected then, before commissioning two recently acquired patrol vessels, Guardia di Finanza carried out an extensive assessment of potential ship builders. The result of this was that the agency selected Vittoria Shipyard’s proposal to build two Damen Stan Patrol 5509 vessels. “It was our intention to acquire a proven vessel type. These two vessels, called P.01 Monte Sperone and P.02 Monte Cimone, are endowed with excellent sea-keeping behaviour and manoeuvrability,” says Colonel Senese.
These qualities are down to the vessels’ Damen SEA AXE bow, which reduces vertical acceleration and bow slamming, leading to significantly improved on board comfort.
The Guardia di Finanza is currently using the two vessels to patrol Italian and international waters. Italy, as a result of its geographical location on the Mediterranean, faces the responsibility of guarding one of the most important borders in the European Union.
“P.01 Monte Sperone and P.02 Monte Cimone patrol units represent an important step forward in the modernisation of our naval fleet,” states Colonel Senese. “They are contributing to the combatting of all aspects of transnational organised crime, including smuggling and illegal immigration.
“Since the vessels entered into service, we have been very satisfied with their performance and the levels of comfort for our personnel, which perfectly meet the needs for the long-term missions the vessels are required to undertake. We are also pleased with the contractual relationship with Cantiere Vittoria and Damen – including the after-market assistance we are receiving.”
It was our intention to
acquire a proven vessel
type. These two vessels…
are endowed with excellent
sea-keeping behaviour and