Merchant navy swimming in new money
The Swiss parliament has approved a five-year, SFr500 million ($479 million) support package for the country's merchant navy operators.
Authorities said that the funding – in the form of loan guarantees – aims to cover rising acquisition costs and to help purchase multi-use bulk cargo carriers.
Parliament had already accepted a 10-year funding mechanism totalling SFr600 million in 2002. Monday's addition boosts the total to SFr1.1 billion.
Switzerland's merchant navy fleet currently consists of 33 privately operated tankers, container ships and bulk cargo carriers that sail around the world.
Officially based in Basel's Rhine port, the navy was set up to ensure that a consistent flow of goods would enter Switzerland in the event of a crisis.
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