Work has begun today at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard on the construction in the dry-dock of the Costa Diadema, the future flagship of Costa Cruises and of the Italian-flagged passenger fleet.  Today’s ceremony marking the occasion was attended by Costa Crociere S.p.A. CEO Michael Thamm and President Gianni Onorato, while Fincantieri was represented by its CEO Giuseppe Bono.

Costa Crociere S.p.A. CEO Michael Thamm commented: “The construction of the Costa Diadema is a tangible commitment to the future growth of our Company.  It is significant not only for us but also for Italy in general and Venice in particular.  The Costa Diadema consolidates our alliance with Fincantieri, which has already resulted in the building of 10 new ships for us since 2000, worth a total of almost 5 billion euros with the creation of wealth and employment for the country as a whole.”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, said: "The end of year is approaching and it's time for us to take stock. 2012 has been an extremely difficult year, especially for shipbuilding. Total global investments have been little more than a quarter of those in 2007, resulting in a halving of the number of cruise ship orders. We’ve done our part, by securing almost all of these orders and confirming the dual challenge we set ourselves: on the one hand, to focus on sectors that offer good opportunities for development, and on the other, to maintain our leadership in our traditional sectors. Today, as we start work on what will be another splendid ship for our friends at Costa, we’re looking to the future with a bit more certainty."

During the ceremony, the first building block of the ship – weighing approximately 504 tons, measuring 15.7 meters in breadth by 29 meters in length and forming the central part of the ship – was lifted by a crane and laid on the bottom of the dock where the ship will take shape.  The construction and fitting-out will continue until October 30, 2014, the ship’s scheduled date of delivery.  The Costa Diadema project will employ a total of approximately 1,000 shipyard workers plus another 2,500 employees of allied industries.  Indeed, the benefits in terms of employment extend beyond the yard, especially regarding the fitting-out of the interiors of the ship, with the involvement of about 400 contracted suppliers, most of which are Italian firms.

Costa has invested a total of around 550 million euros in the new flagship.  She will be the biggest cruise ship flying the Italian flag: 132,500 gross tons, 306 meters in length, 37.2 meters in breadth, 4,947 total guests, 1,253 crew members and 1,854 passenger cabins.

The construction of ships is only one of the wealth creating activities for the Italian economy linked to Costa. According to a study by MIP, the Milan Polytechnic Business School, in 2010 Costa Crociere S.p.A. generated an economic impact of over 2.2 billion euros for the nation’s economy, and this output was distributed throughout the country.

The MIP investigation also measures the Costa Group’s very substantial contribution to employment:  12,300 jobs, of which 3,600 within the Group and 8,700  generated all the way along the supply chain and including job creation among tourism service providers (based on the FTE – full-time equivalent – calculation method), with total gross income from this employment exceeding 373 million euros.