Tridente d'Oro and Academy Award 2013 Ceremony

On Sunday 22 September 2013, the Aquarium of Genoa – with its sharks, corals and manatees- was the backdrop of the Tridente d'Oro award and of the Award from the International Academy of Underwater Sciences and Technique. 

The Academy gathers all the Tridente d'Oro awardees. This prize, the golden trident, established in 1960 it is considered as the Nobel Prize for Underwater Activities and represents the most prestigious global award for merits in underwater initiatives: Science, technique, technology and hyperbaric activities. Besides informative, artistic, sporting and explorative initiative. “The Tridente d’Oro awarding Ceremony” said Prof.  Paolo Colantoni, President of the International Academy, “represents the most significant moment in history, within a process of more than 50 years. It is a prestigious symbol of underwater activities, with scientific as well as with social aims. Furthermore, it testifies our commitment in continuing in this activity with passion and dedication with the awareness of being part of a group that played a pivotal role in scientific and technological progress in sea life and underwater issues. During its 53-years-activity, 190 important persons have been awarded with the Tridente D'oro prize: e.g. Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Walt Disney, Folco Quilici, Jacques Piccard, Enzo Maiorca; plus scientists, researchers, pioneers, journalists and professors, less well-known but globally outstanding for excellence in their sector. The origins and history of the Tridente d’oro award were portrayed by Pippo Cappellano documentary. At the end of the film, the director, joined by Federico De Strobel and Giancarlo Bartoli, let the audience discover the technical progresses in diving in all its features.

Many important people took part to the latest ceremony in 2013, called on stage by the big name Marco Castellazzi, anchorman, author, biologist and expert diver. The ceremony hosted many big names involved in underwater activities from different sectors – medicine, biology, education, archaeology, technology- even thanks to the technical support of the Genoa Aquarium and the Costa Edutainment Experience.  This cultural mixture delivered to an amazing event, with moment of great interest, such as the touching words by Silvio Bartolotti, Micoperi CEO. He stressed the long history of his company, their experience and expertise as well as the feelings they had during their latest operation, the parbuckling of the Concordia cruise ship.  “First and foremost, I would like to underline” Mr Bartolotti said, “that this prize has been notified before the parbuckling, which means that this award goes to the long history of this company, as well as to the men who gave a lot to this country. When I decided to take part to the Concordia operation, I was animated by the awareness of the capability of our seamanship, one of the world greatest in my opinion, and by the fact that what happened has no impact over Italy dignity. Indeed, Micoperi proved it right once again, if needed. We gave birth to that project, because Micoperi handles oil platforms on a daily basis. We proved wrong who believed this project was inconceivable, showing that expertise and persistence can solve all problems. When I was asked what leads a man to accept such hazardous challenge, I answered with just two words:  Love and persistence”. Bartolotti's words involved and touched everyone, Nicola Costa in particular - member of the Board of Administrators of the Genoa Aquarium- who shared Bartolotti's statements.  Micoperi was awarded with the Academy Prize because: “It is a leading company in the off-shore sector. Moreover, it committed in the unprecedented challenge of parbukle salvaging the Concordia, and by that safeguarding a delicate and important sea environment”.

Likewise significant was the report by Prof. Sebastiano Tusa – supervisor of the Sovrintendenza del Mare for Sicily- over the results from the first six years of the Egady Islands Survey. Two more rostrum were founded, plus seven from the previous campaigns, this allowed the team to identify the specific area, which was backdrop of the battle between Romans and Carthaginians on March 10 241 b.C.  This battle put an end to the First Punic War and overthrown the geopolitical situation in the Mediterranean, causing the irreversible decline of the Carthaginian control over the seas. The RPM Nautical Foundation support was pivotal to verify the historical and archaeological hypothesis, thus was given the Academy Award as key supporter in underwater archaeological research in the Mediterranean.  Jeffrey G. Royal - archaeologist of the RPM and archaeology professor at Carolina University (USA) - took part to the ceremony with George Robb, president of the foundation, and stressed the importance of hi-tech devices - such as electroacoustic technologies- to enhance underwater archaeological research activities.   Thanks to the logistic support of the Guardia di Finanza, the audience and the Aquarium visitors had the chance to admire one of the rostra displayed for the occasion. The Guardia di Finanza has been awarded for its commitment, in cooperation with the Sovrintendenza, in surveying and safeguarding the underwater heritage. The award for merits in social initiatives has been given to HAS – Handicapped Scuba Association -; since 1980s this association has been promoting the knowledge of the underwater world by disabled people. The fully trained instructors and the qualified educators lead them under the sea. As the HAS Italy president, Aldo Torti, said, “Our association has the aim of enhancing the physical and social condition of disabled people through underwater sports. Because water can lighten the disabilities that on dry land seem to be overwhelming”.  Among the awardees with the Tridente d'Oro, prize for merits and achievement in the one’s own professional sector, there were: Xavier Nieto Prieto, from Spain, Director of the Museo Nacional de Arqueología Subacuática (ARQUA) in Cartagena, Director of the Centre d'Arqueología Subaquàtica de Catalunya (CASC) and professor at the Barcelona University.  Giorgio Odaglia, a pioneer of diving medicine, father with Duilio Marcante of the Marcante-Odaglia ear clearing technique based on the use of pressure and movement. In this manoeuvre the tongue is placed on the roof of the mouth, causing the opening of the nasal cavities, allowing air into the middle ear, and equalizing it to ambient air pressure; the back of the tongue is gently moved upward. This manoeuvre, as Prof.  Odaglia proved, is performed with nostrils closed.

Domenico Matarese, as well,  was awarded with the Tridente d’Oro, for his long career as admiral of the Italian Navy Operational Divers Group (GOS) of the COMSUBIN, aka the Teseo Tesei Diver and Raider Command Group. Last, but not least, the brilliant Nadia OUNAÏS, director of the Musée Océanographique de Monaco, the oceanographic museum, and of the Oceanographic Institute in Paris. Once awarded she pleased the audience sharing her experiences in reaching her goal with determination: namely, awareness and safeguard of the sea world through the motto “love to protect”. Every awardee shared with the audience touching documentaries and amazing pictures, closing this important event in the International Academy with positive feedbacks and, thus, paving the way for the next event in 2014.

We would like to thank the Aquarium of Genoa and its staff for being so helpful and nice. The Sovrintendenza del mare in Sicily for letting us display the rostrum, as well as the Guardia di Finanza for securely delivering it. Furthermore, our acknowledgment goes to the sponsors, which in different ways made this event possible.

International Academy of Underwater Science and Technique


2013 Academy awardees list  


Diver training and certifying agency for instructors and educators for disabled divers.


Leading offshore contractor providing subsea solutions, currently involved in one of the greatest parbuckling operations.


Non-profit research and educational organization that performs maritime archaeological research in the Mediterranean.

2013 Tridente d’Oro awardees list

Xavier Nieto Prieto

Director of the Museo Nacional de Arqueología Subacuática (ARQUA) in Cartagena and Director of the Centre d'Arqueología Subaquàtica de Catalunya (CASC).  Professor at the Barcelona University

Giorgio Odaglia

A pioneer of diving medicine and physiopathology research.

Admiral of the Italian Navy Operational Divers Group (GOS) of the COMSUBIN, aka the Teseo Tesei Diver and Raider Command Group .  

A pioneer of diving medicine and physiopathology research.

Admiral of the Italian Navy Operational Divers Group (GOS) of the COMSUBIN, aka the Teseo Tesei Diver and Raider Command Group .  

Director of the Musée Océanographique de Monaco, the oceanographic museum, and of the Oceanographic Institute in Paris. 


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