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Cardinal Tonini condemns corporate greed in Ravenna

Graphik News

Ravenna, 16th January


"The ITF is the last fortress against globalisation" said Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, speaking on board the GLOBAL MARINER in Ravenna. The Ravenna-born Cardinal, a tireless campaigner for human and civil rights, has now retired to his hometown. He was guest of honour at a round table discussion on the human aspects of seafaring.

A tireless campaigner

The Cardinal told his audience that he had been moved by what he saw in the exhibition, and he spoke with passion about the importance of the ITF's work. Cardinal Tonini was also highly critical of the global market and its driving forces saying "The market alone governs… leading to a world without law, with space only for suffering." He added "Competition is the new morality. I condemn it, because it brings more profit for companies, but more suffering for workers the world over."

The Cardinal tours the exhibition

ITF General Secretary David Cockroft, who had welcomed the Cardinal on board ship, also took part in the round table. Cockroft pointed to one of the worst cases of a company putting profit before the safety and well-being of its workers. Of Greek ship owner Panagis Zissimatos he said "We want that man in jail". He added, "Too many have already suffered, he must not be allowed to carry on his dishonest business."

David Cockroft speaking on board the GLOBAL MARINER

Zissimatos has caused hardship and difficulty for many seafarers, and continues his commercial operations from Switzerland. Only the day before the round table, the ITF had published an advert in the international maritime press asking for information that would help bring Zissimatos to justice.

Fog in Ravenna port

The Greek businessman is

known in the port of Ravenna, since two ships owned by his collapsed company Adriatic Tankers were arrested here at the end of 1995. Local union activists know only too well how long these cases have taken to solve.

 The crew from one ship, RAINBOW II has now received about 70 percent of the money owed. In the case of the other, STAINLESS PRIDE, the crew are still waiting four years on.

Pier Paolo Baretta

Joining Cockroft and the Cardinal was a list of important speakers including Dr Pier Paolo Baretta - Assistant General Secretary CISL, Captain Remo di Fiore - National Secretary of FIT CISL's maritime sector, Monsignior Costantino Stefanetti - Director of Stella Maris in Italy and Dr Guido Ceroni, General Secretary of the Port Authority.

Monsignor Stefanetti

Dr Elena Calingasan, Labour Attache from the Filipino Consulate in Milan had also been invited to take part. She took the opportunity to speak of how much the Filipino Government was doing to promote their seafarers and she said that the government recognised that they make "a valuable contribution" to the national economy. (for more on the Philippines see also MANILA report)

Mass was attended by crew and locals

Other senior representatives of the Catholic church in Italy were on board the following day, at the invitation of Giorgio Ministrini of the Stella Maris in Ravenna. Bishop Luigi Amaducci concelebrated mass with Monsignor Costantino Stefanetti. The mass was said in memory of Bruno De Bonis, who was a local ITF inspector and former Head of the Special Seafarers' Department of the ITF.

Present at the mass was his widow Antonietta and her daughter Barbara. The day before, David Cockroft had also paid tribute to Bruno, both as a friend and highly valued colleague,

still sorely missed.

Antonietta di Bonis with Father Pietro of Stella Maris


had arrived in thick fog early on the morning of the 12th January. The fog was so dense that all ship movements had been suspended, and the ship was forced to wait at anchor. It lifted gradually during the morning, allowing the ship to enter port a few hours late, but the bitterly cold wind persisted.

Remo de Fiore answers questions from the media

Just after arrival a large group of journalists gathered on board for a short press conference with the Captain of the GLOBAL MARINER , Captain Remo de Fiore and Giovanni Olivieri, ITF coordinator in Italy and inspector in Ravenna.

That afternoon the representatives from the port, immigration, port state control and harbour authorities had a tour of the exhibition. They were then invited to have a piece of a special GLOBAL MARINER cake and a celebratory drink.

A full house for 'Employment at sea in a global economy'

The following morning dawned equally cold, but fortunately clear. Hundreds of students and maritime cadets visited the ship and also took part in a public discussion on "Employment at sea in a global economy". The key speakers were Captain Remo di Fiore and Filippo Allegra, Director General of Fedarlinea, the public owners' association.

Giovanni Olivieri supervises the students

Many school groups visited on Friday, and despite the unusually cold temperatures, by the time the ship closed to the public on Sunday at noon, over 3000 people had been on board. This brings the running total to 715,736."

On the day of departure, more thick fog in the morning threatened further delay. However, in the early afternoon the sun broke through and the GLOBAL MARINER left Ravenna for Livorno on Italy's west coast at 1600 on the 16th January, exactly on schedule.