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High seas trouble Swiss maritime fleet struggling to stay afloat

ocean tanker

The San Pietro, one of the nearly 30 ships in the Swiss commercial maritime fleet

(ABC Maritime)

Two more ships in Switzerland’s maritime commercial fleet are in financial difficulties, according to government reports. 

Indeed, the fleet as a whole has been facing challenging economic times for a while. Thirteen ships have already been sold at a loss – costing the Swiss government CHF215 million ($219 million). 

+ The Swiss merchant navy recently celebrated its 75th anniversary 

Now two more shipping companies are in trouble, as a spokesman for the foreignexternal link affairs ministry confirmed to the Swiss News Agency on Wednesday, following a report in the newspaper La Liberté. Each company has just one ship. 

In total, the Swiss maritime commercial fleet has 29 ocean-going vessels financed by guaranteed loans until 2031. The authorities have issued guarantees totalling CHF770 million for ships under the Swiss flag. 

In June, parliament approved a supplementary loan. In July, the cabinet ordered that struggling shipowners be financially monitored by a company in Hamburg, Germany. And at the beginning of December, it became known that the economics ministry had filed a lawsuit with the Attorney General’s Office. 

If necessary, the Swiss government can commandeer Swiss commercial ships to ensure the country’s economic needs. This is why the Swiss maritime fleetexternal link was established in 1941, and why federal coffers help keep the boats afloat.

swissinfo.ch and agencies/sm

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