The impressive Italian destroyer Luigi Durand de la Penne visited London in August 2014 and Patrick Boniface asked commanding officer Commandate Ostilo de Majo about his career and his then ship.

Did you always want to be at sea?My father was in the air force and my grandfather in the army. I loved the navy because it is very prestigious and was the right mixture of modern armed forces with tradition. Being the son of somebody who served in the air force, I grew up in many different places from the north to the south of Italy. Then I joined the navy and had the chance move round Italy again. I went to the Italian naval academy in 1986, and spent four years there; afterwards I was embarked on a ship for on the job training.

What ships have you served on? Mainly on different types of frigates, although I spent a couple of years on the aircraft carrier Garibaldi, as well as a few months on an amphibious warship and on the destroyer Audace. I have been in command of a patrol ship, a frigate and this ship, a destroyer.

view from the bridge

How did it feel to be in command for the first time?I had butterflies in my stomach. At the time I was still a young officer although fully prepared because thanks to the courses and practice, but it was still nerve-wracking. Mine was quite a large ship in comparison to a minehunter. So I felt a mixture of scared and powerful.

When did you take command of Luigi Durand de la Penne?On 16 September 2013. In Italy we are in command for only a year so I will be posted down in Taranto and am going to be Chief of Staff of the Admiral, commander of the Southern region.


SmlogoRead A View From The Bridge every month in Ships Monthly – subscribe here