Toremar ferries

To.Re.Mar is the public shipping company that operates under concession agreements and provides the postal service for the islands in the Tuscan Archipelago. It was established in 1975, but its roots are much older and date back to 1913, or rather, to 1909, as we shall see.

It was in fact in 1909 that the Navigazione Generale Italiana shipping company did not ask for the public transport and postal convention for the Tuscan Archipelago to be renewed, resulting in a call for tenders in which Carlo Allodi from Livorno was the successful contractor. After two years and after having commissioned the construction of five new steamers at the Orlando boatyards in Livorno, Allodi went bankrupt. Commendatore Orlando managed to sell two steamers to other companies, but, in order to be able to use the other three, decided to found joint stock company “Navigazione Toscana” in 1914, which was awarded the state convention for connection services for the Archipelago.

The service continued regularly during the First World War and the convention was duly renewed; however, at the end of the Second World War, the company had no ferries left because they had been used for wartime efforts and because the “Andrea Sgarallino” steamer had been sunk by a British submarine in September 1943, while it was providing the civil transport service between Portoferraio and Piombino; more than 300 passengers, almost all from Elba, died in this event.

Therefore, in the post-war period, the company continued hiring vessels and reusing reconverted old military craft. It should be clarified that, at the time, the ships were used for transporting passengers and goods; cars were only very rarely loaded on board using cranes and nets, in the same way as merchandise.

After the twenty-year renewal of the convention in 1953, the company commissioned the construction of a new ferry, the “Aethalia”, which was launched in 1956 and marked the beginning of tourism on the Island of Elba in that it was fast and able to transport 60 cars and 1276 passengers. However, other ferries of older design such as the “Portoferraio”, the “Porto Azzurro”, and the “Rio Marina”, which were converted from old allied military vessels, continued to be used; these were replaced over the following years by the motor vessel “Ischia” and in 1974 by the “Flaminia Nuova”, which was later renamed the “Capo Bianco”.

In 1975, the regional maritime companies were restructured through State legislation and the concessions were granted to the newly founded companies. Tirrenia di Navigazione contributed 51% and Navigazione Toscana contributed 49% to the creation of To.Re.Mar (Toscana Regionale Marittima). Toremar was officially launched on the 1st of January 1976, inheriting all Navigazione Toscana’s ships. Between 1979 and 1980, three new modern ferries equipped with innovative anti-roll stabilisers were built: the “Planasia”, for the lines to Porto Azzurro, Rio Marina, and Pianosa, and the twins “Marmorica” and “Oglasa”, which still serve the Piombino-Portoferraio line. In 1992, after the “Capo Bianco” was retired, the new “Aethalia” arrived on the Piombino-Portoferraio line and the “Liburna” on the Livorno-Gorgona-Capraia line. In 1999, the fast vessel “Isola di Capraia” was launched; however, given how short the route was, it was not very suitable to the type of transport, and was therefore passed on to Tirrenia after a few years. In 2005, the “Giovanni Bellini”, the twin of the “Planasia”, was added to the Siremar fleet.

In 2010, Toremar was separated from the Tirrenia group during the course of privatisation and ceded to the Region of Tuscany, which quickly initiated proceedings to privatise the company and the concomitant convention to award the transport serviced between the Tuscan islands and the coast. The tender was won by Moby, which will run the lines until 2024.

Below are the detailed profiles of the ships in the Toremar fleet currently serving as ferries to the Island of Elba:

  • Aethalia
  • Oglasa
  • Marmorica
  • Giovanni Bellini
  • Planasia (twin of the G. Bellini)
  • Lora d’Abundo

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