2020 saw Italy among the European countries hit the hardest by COVID-19. The country went into one of the strictest lockdowns in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus last spring, and its yachting sector felt the impact. While many businesses and companies shifted to working from home, several leading Italian shipyards rushed to adjust to the new health and safety measures introduced. Determined not to let the global pandemic affect their ongoing construction timeframe, builders such as Benetti-Azimut Group, Ferretti Group and Perini Navi continued to push forward while searching for more innovative and smart ways of working during the pandemic.
Although most events were postponed or hosted online, the construction of new builds continued in 2020 and continues today. By adjusting production procedures and developing a safer working environment, many Italian shipyards have been able to safeguard all superyachts’ ongoing delivery. While some yards chose to slow down their production schedule and postpone deliveries, others continued on. Fincantieri Yachts decided to slow its production schedule, as their employees’ health and safety remained a top priority.
By June 2020, production workers at the Group’s manufacturing facilities were back at 90%, as the yard introduced the prompted deployment of all necessary hygiene measures to ensure the safety and health of their employees. Many Italian shipyards have introduced a dual working shift schedule to cut down on the possible physical contact moments between employees and implemented robust cleaning cycles within their facilities and the superyachts currently under construction. By creating a secure environment for employees to work smoothly and efficiently, shipyards have been able to continue constructing superyachts up to the highest standard, on time and within budget.
New technology has also helped many shipyards keep owners and managers up to date on the construction status of their superyacht. Walkthrough videos and Zoom calls have become the norm for many, as it allows all potential parties to stay up to date with the status of the superyacht from a safe distance. Throughout the pandemic, Italian shipyards have been able to deliver superyachts to owners as well – with a few adjustments. For example, Benetti delivered the 107m superyacht Lana last June to her new owners on time. The largest superyacht built by the Italian yard to date, she was officially delivered to her owners on June 18, 2020, after her owner requested to add more features, such as two Kongsberg wing stations. The Italian yard noted that the superyacht underwent an “extraordinary and rigorous amount of testing and commissioning of complex equipment” in Livorno, Italy by its technicians under the remote supervision and direction of the equipment manufacturers’, respectively based in England, Norway and Sweden due to new safety regulations. However, this new way of working proved to be a true success. Other leading Italian builders who successfully delivered superyachts last year include Pershing, Custom Line and Perini Navi, proving there is always a way when there is a will. Now, as Italy slowly comes out of its latest lockdown in the new year, future owners can be assured the delivery of their vessel will not be negatively affected.