Legendary Italian shipowner, Aldo Grimaldi dies at 96

Aldo Grimaldi
Aldo Grimaldi

Legendary Italian shipowner Aldo Grimaldi, aged 96, has passed away at his home in Corso Italia, Genoa. 

Aldo Grimaldi, who died on Friday last week (December 7), started family shipping business Fratelli Grildai Armatori with his four brothers – Luigi, Mario, Guido and Ugo – in 1947. Beginning with adapted Liberty ships, the company soon developed principal activities that included ro-ro operations to South America, as well as ferry and cruise services, from twin bases in Naples and Genoa.

Aldo’s achievements really came into their own from 1991 onwards with the founding of Grand Navi Veloci (GNV), which he ran from Genoa. The company built a series of pioneering ‘cruiseferries’ – that employed cruise-like standards of comfort while retaining ro-ro decks for HGV and passenger vehicles – to serve Sardinia, Sicily and Barcelona from the Italian mainland.

In 1995 he assumed the presidency of the Italian Confederation of Shipowners (Confitarma) for a two-year period, during which he laid the foundations for creation of the Italian International Registry.

Moving with the times, Aldo Grimaldi sold 80% of GNV to Private Equity Funds in 2004, while remaining president and ceo. Three years later, he left GNV but through Grimaldi Holding continued as an innovator in Motorways of the Sea activities, ordering a further eight cruise-ferry vessels. These ‘Navi Blu’ vessels remain on charter to operators throughout the Mediterranean.

Aldo Grimaldi received numerous awards and titles during his long and illustrious career, and in 2002 was bestowed the Italian state’s highest honour when he was named Cavaliere del Lavoro.

Confitarma paid special tribute to its former president, describing him as an ‘incomparable, inimitable, unsurpassable man who will remain forever in our hearts.”

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