This article was translated by John R. Bopp
La Naval in Sestao is building boats again and has a decent order waiting list again, after many dark years caused, in good measure, by the irresponsible actions of the European Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia, who was born in Bilbao but was able to bend to the pressure of shipbuilders in other EU countries and declare the tax lease system illegal for investors in shipbuilding enterprises, forcing the Revenue Services of the Spain to recoup those grants.
The Commission’s decision, proposed by Commissioner Almunia, was annulled by the European Union General Court in 2015. But this sentence has not kept that decision from taking the Basque shipbuilding industry to the brink of disappearing, causing many companies to close in the sector, as well as the loss of hundreds of jobs.
As Javier López de la Calle explains so well in this editorial in Deia, the European Union owes a serious debt to the Basque shipbuilding sector, the Basque economy, and the Basques themselves. It would also be nice to get an explanation from the General Directorate of Competition and from Joaquín Almunia, the Commission’s Vice President and the Commissioner of Competition at the time the decision was made. They could start by sending out a communiqué that was as well-spread, brilliant, and blunt as the one they gave when they announced the Commission’s decision.
It’s insulting, given how the Basque shipbuilders offer innovation, technology, experience, and quality, to remember how Joaquín Almunia, a high-ranking member of the Spanish Socialist Party, indicated in the press conference about the European Commission’s incorrect decision that: the return of the grants given by Spain to the shipbuilding sector does not threaten the shipbuilders’ survival, since that depends on their innovative potential and their ability to attract customers and investors.
The Basque shipbuilding sector has been able to fight against its competitors from the Far East and against economic crises. What’s terrible is that it was about to disappear due to an unfair decision from a European institution headed by a man from Bilbao.
Fortunately, despite all obstacles, many of them of the kind tricksters would use, the sector has continued to advance and it seems that horizon is not as dark as it seemed just a few years ago.
We were reminded of all this when we ran across this information published by the Offshore Wind Industry website, where it talks about the new boat being built at La Naval in Sestao.
Off Shore Wind Industry – 11/1/2016 – Alemania
New multipurpose vessel on the way
DEME has started the construction of the multipurpose vessel Living Stone. The vessel is being built by the Spanish shipyard LaNaval near Bilbao where recently the keel laying ceremony took place. The Living Stone will be delivered in 2017. The Living Stone features DP3 (Dynamic Positioning 3) capability together with a total loading capacity of 12,500 tons. It will be equipped with two large 5,000 tons cable/umbilical carrousels arranged below deck allowing for a free deck space of approx. 3,500 m² which accommodates the modular cable/umbilical handling systems, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), the subsea trenching tool CBT 1100 and the fall-pipe system.