By Layan Damanhouri
JEDDAH – Jeddah is the first stop in a world tour of the Italian frigate “Carabinieri” that arrived at the Red Sea port this week.
“The aim of the Southeast Asia and Australia tour is to strengthen our relations with our allies, build naval diplomacy and exchange the know-how of Italian manufacturing and technology,” said Italian Navy Commander Francesco Pagnotta during a visit of the Italian delegation to the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday.
The delegation was led by Italian Consul General in Jeddah Elisabetta Martini and joined by the frigate’s navy officers, representatives from the Italian ship manufacturing company Fincantieri and technology company Elettronica Group as well as the Italian military attaché in Riyadh Col. Antonio Picariello.
On the Saudi side, the meeting was headed by Deputy Chairman Mazen Batterjee and was participated by prominent members of the Jeddah community.
“We are good friends with Saudi Arabia and Jeddah is a very important port for us,” Commander Pagnotta said.
“We are very happy to be here. With our navy, we would like to develop our relationship and learn from each other. We are trying to meet all the commanders in the area and try to train together. We invited representatives of the Royal Saudi Navy on board the ship.”
The 144-meter frigate was built by the Fincantieri Group in 2015, a designer and building company with over 230 years of history in building ships.
As Saudi Arabia is developing new strategies to diversify its economy, the Italian navy seeks to offer knowledge and expertise in shipbuilding as well as to build partnerships in other areas of cooperation.
Departing from La Spezia, the Carabinieri carrying 181 crewmembers will navigate through the waters of eight countries on two continents in the coming months. The next destinations are Muscat, Karachi, Colombo, Langkawi, Singapore and stops in Southeast Asia and Australia.
The delegation said the ship is not only built for military purposes but for humanitarian aid as well. “The ship is ready for humanitarian intervention to save lives if and when necessary,” added Massimo Foti, sales manager of Fincantieri Group.