FORMER Wellard boss Mauro Balzarini says the coronavirus-forced lockdown of Italy and other parts of Europe has slowed the progress of his recently announced plans to launch a new class of livestock carriers.
Back in January Mr Balzarini announced he has plans to construct technically advanced LNG-powered ships to provide “smarter, cleaner and more humane live animal ocean transport”, under a new company to be called NextSeaWell.
In a statement issued to media today Mr Balzarini said the work has dramatically slowed down as it includes operations located close to Milan.
“The situation in Italy, coupled with the increasing global travel bans, means we’ve had to delay design and testing work,” Mr Balzarini said. “At this stage, we obviously don’t know how long the delays will last and our primary concern is for everyone involved with the project and their families to remain safe and healthy.”
Mr Balzarini said his own family members lived in some of the most impacted regions of Italy and he was monitoring the situation by the minute.
Now resident in New Zealand, his ability to maintain hands-on involvement with the shipbuilding project has been severely restricted due to that country’s rules on international travel.
“We understand and fully support the strict controls on people’s movements that are being put into place around the world and hope the spread of the virus can be contained as soon as possible,” Mr Balzarini said.
“Prior to the outbreak in Italy, we had made some exciting progress, proving that many of the advanced technologies to be implemented in our designs are even more robust than we’d initially thought.
“Testing on our new ventilation system designs, for example, indicate they will be a major step forward compared to any current systems.
“We are looking forward to getting back to work as soon as we are advised it is safe to do so.”