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Summer 2007

Article selected from our quarterly magazine dedicated to the largest and most luxurious boats with information, interviews, technical articles, images and yachting news



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Angelo Colombo interviews Mario La Via, Manager to Privilege



In order to better appreciate the sheer size of the project which will put Civitavecchia, near Rome, under the spotlights of the top international world of yachts, we went to visit Mario La Via an Engineer and Manager of Privilege Shipyards.










The Yard is owned and managed by two groups stemming from a cooperative representing other local firms, and by another representing approximately 120 companies operating in the nautical sector of the Lazio Region, and lastly Filas, who finances the Lazio Region and which will hold shares in the capital. Filas will in fact provide the fledgling industrial group with the institutional credibility and backing requested by those who will commission the ships. The project which enjoys the approval of the Prime Minister Romano Prodi, as well as that of the regional and harbour Authorities, has recently been under severe media attacks by a national weekly magazine upon which we shall not pass any judgement as it provoked a number of legal actions naturally still being dealt with. We may only point out that the project has all the makings of becoming reality. Privilege's management plans apart, there are eight signed and sealed orders and a further two in the process of being closed. Now that the shares have been duly allocated and the pledged investment by each side is on stream, we find it hard to believe that Civitavecchia will not become a new major centre for building major leisure ships. Naturally, the initiative meets the approval of all those with an interest that ships of this size be built in Italy as opposed to elsewhere using Italian technology to boot. This is because the induction from such industrial operations is certainly very attractive both in terms of volume and duration. A purpose built structure will thus be ready in the next six months which will extend over some 70,000 square metres Such an area will allow two ships to be produced in the first three years on the basis of an eight month gap between respective start dates with the objective of reaching full capacity turning out three vessels in parallel with delivery at eight month intervals. The first two ships to be built will sport eight decks over a length of some 120 metres, they will be capable of reaching a cruising speed of 23 knots with a 10,000 mile range.

Mr. La Via, just how many models are you planning to build and how will these be divided?

Privilege foresees building three different models, one will have an LOA of 120 metres and will be built in four examples, another will measure 85 metres and will be limited to two initially, and lastly a 160 metre will be completed which will also come as a pair. These are the ships we have already been commissioned and of course the possibility of new projects being designed in the future should not be excluded.

Who has designed your ships?

Aival and Larari, the latter has great talent and works under my direct supervision (AIVAL: poetic licence over my name).

Could you summarize the very essence of these ships, which will be Privilege's distinguishing mark?

From an aesthetics point of view they are very modern ships, slim- lined and slip-streamed but at the same time somewhat majestic looking, miles away from the cumbersome and stocky look of a 10 storey condominium. The aft and stern projections are "sanely" balanced. From a more general point of view, they are fast ships, offering untold comfort thanks to a multitude of ideas many of which are secret. Our ships will satisfy all possible safety requirements as laid down for passenger ships of large dimensions, they will be certified RINA and Lloyds Register under SOLAS rules, and will also enjoy "eco-friendly" certifications such as: "Rina Green Star Certificate" as well as "LLRR Environmental Protection Certificate". To put it in a nut shell, modern ships, fast, aesthetically magnificent, offering wonderful, uncompromised comfort, and completely ecological to the extent that Privilege vessels will be able to access super protected areas that practically no others can.

Which aspect of the fixtures and fittings would you care to mention as we are speaking about super luxury cruising ships?

A highly innovative and exclusive technology for the communications, wirings and electronics, entertainment and automation equipment. Privilege ships will also be fitted with so much sophisticated electro-hydraulic and electromechanical equipment to surprise even the most blazé of customers.

So, as you were initially pointing out, these are all "pre-sold" ships?

One should say allocated more than sold, because our client's sales strategy foresees preferential or ordinary allocations in accordance with the time of use required by the various users of the ships.

How are you structured sales wise?

Given the fact that production for the next 6/7 years is already covered, we are not structured as a Yard at all. Our client has offices in London which are deliberately low-key but capable of catering for each assignee's needs. Running this office is a delicate matter because "users" of such ships have no great love for publicity, and that is why it is taken care of by capable and discreet members of staff.

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