The story of Liberty Lines begins on the 2 December 1993. Vittorio Morace, a Neapolitan shipowner, decided to invest the decades of experience that had taken him across the seas of half the world in an ambitious and innovative project focused on high-speed maritime passenger transport. He selected Trapani, in the heart of the Mediterranean, as his headquarters and launched his first routes linking Naples-Ustica-Favignana-Trapani and Trapani-Pantelleria-Kelibia. He chose the name Ustica Lines because Ustica was the destination of his very first route, and to convey his aim through the name: to unite the lands around the Mediterranean through a network of fast connections.
The company quickly grew with new connections and the creation of a maritime ﬂeet: in 1995 he launched the Lampedusa-Linosa route, followed by the Trapani-Aegadian Islands one. In 1997 the company bought a 33 percent share in Cantiere Navale Rodriquez, a shipyard in Messina, where between 1997 and 2003 they built five HSC hydrofoils. Quality, innovation, care for safety and passenger comfort have made Vittorio Morace’s company a point of reference for international high-speed maritime passenger transport and enabled it to establish contacts with national and international institutions, thanks also to winning European tenders.
In 2002 the Canary Islands announced the first worldwide tender for high-speed passenger transport, and, focusing on quality, they choose Ustica Lines. In the same year the company won the European tender, called by the Sicilian Region, for connections between the Aegadian Islands and Ustica, and for the Pantelleria-Trapani route. In 2004 routes between the Pelagie Islands were launched and, after the acquisition of the Snav fleet used in the Aeolian Islands, the company also introduced connections between Messina, Milazzo, Palermo and Naples. In 2010, together with RFI Spa (with whom they had established the Consortium Metromare dello Stretto in 2008), the company won the Ministry of Transport tender for the high-speed maritime passenger transport route between Messina, Reggio Calabria and Villa San Giovanni. In 2011, through its subsidiary Trieste Lines, it won the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region tender for connections to the Istrian peninsula.
For over twenty years the company has, with care and precision, honoured the commitments made to the Sicilian administration, the Ministry of Transport and to all institutional connections, contributing to the socio-economic development of the territory through their commitment.
Reliability and attention to safety standards are not just a contractual obligation, but a way of doing things which over the years has made the company a leader in the field and enabled it to achieve two important certificates in 2011: the first is the UNI EN ISO 9001:2008 for the process of information, reservations and ticketing, while the second is for health and safety in the workplace and on board their vessels (the OHSAS 18001/2007). In 2015 the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) gave Liberty Lines the “Rating di Legalità”, which is given to businesses that meet high ethical and legal requirements, and is a certificate of excellence for compliance with criminal, civil and fiscal laws, as well as those of fair competition.
Founded with just one rented hydrofoil and developed over the years through commitment, professionalism and competence, Ustica Lines continued to grow. In 2016 it acquired Siremar-Compagnia delle Isole and 50.9% of the share capital of Traghetti delle Isole, the shipping company operating between the smaller islands of western Sicily.
This growth led the company to change its name to Liberty Lines, which encompasses a sense of expansion, without forgetting tradition, because Liberty was the name of the vessel that started Vittorio Morace’s professional journey.
Today Liberty Lines has a fleet of 32 hydrofoils, making it the largest high-speed maritime passenger transport company in the world. It has a shipyard in Trapani with a highly trained specialist team of engineers, technicians and workers, and where all maintenance work on the vessels is carried out. In 2016 it launched the world’s largest hydrofoil, the only example of a Super Admiral 350 built in history, and opened new connections to Greece through the Otranto-Corfu-Paxi route.
The facts about Liberty Lines speak of its success: more than 3.5 million passengers a year, a million miles travelled, 100,000 departures recorded in 2016, a presence at 33 national and international docks, a team of 600 administrative employees and seamen.
The daily sacrifice of its founder, and the commitment and reliability shown every day by its employees, are the fundamental essence and exclusive hallmark of Liberty Lines, which is always ready for new and exciting challenges.