The Palumbo group, which operates a network of yards in Italy, Malta, France and Spain, is building up a track record of delivering cruise ship projects, particularly for those owners with a presence in the Mediterranean, taking full advantage of the strategic geographic location of its various facilities.
Palumbo Malta has been particularly successful in this niche market during 2017, docking three cruise ships – Celestyal Cruises’ Celestyal Olympia, Tui Cruises’ Mein Schiff 1 and Silversea Cruises’ Silver Cloud. In addition, work was undertaken to Thomson Cruises’ Tui Discovery 2 at the Palumbo Tenerife shipyard.
The Silver Cloud project was the most notable, as it required a complex and demanding ice class conversion. This involved not just structural work, but also the conversion of items of machinery, so that they are able to operate under low temperatures, and extensive upgrades to the accommodation areas onboard.
The scope of work commissioned by Silversea Cruises at the Malta yard included the strengthening of the ice belt area. This required installing steel doublers on both the side shell and internal structures of the ship and the fabrication of additional stringers and intermediate frames. The work required the complete removal of all internal structures that might interfere with the operation, including many cabins, and their restoration upon completion.
Palumbo Malta also prefabricated and fitted a new bulbous bow, which featured improved hydrodynamic characteristics, and was fitted with additional navigational systems. In addition, it installed a new stern skeg designed to break up ice formations when moving astern and to protect the ship’s propellers. The yard further modified and upgraded the cruise ship’s existing sea chests in accordance with its revised operational profile.
During Silver Cloud’s three month long stay in Malta, the yard fitted a new aluminium observation lounge to the front of the ship, and installed new tender and expedition vessel boarding systems. This required the construction of new pilot doors and modifications to the existing shell doors, which were shifted upwards in their entirety by around 600mm, together with the associated mechanical and hydraulic systems.
To ensure safety when operating in polar regions a heating system was installed on external fire hydrants and mooring systems, while other machinery related phases of the project included fitting two new boilers and their foundations, the installation of a new sewage water treatment system, including the fabrication of three new tanks, modifications to the existing incinerator space, the fabrication of two new refrigerated provisions stores, and the installation of two new reverse osmosis type evaporator systems, positioned on each side of the vessel.
Palumbo Malta also undertook a renewal of all the glazed areas onboard, ensuring that reinforcement was in line with Class rules. A major part of this work involved the replacement of all passenger cabin windows with new sliding doors.
Before the vessel left for its inaugural Antarctic cruise last November, Palumbo blasted and coated the hull, superstructure and internal tanks. The latter part was undertaken to ensure that these tanks had a double use capability. Some can now be used for either ballast or grey water, while others can be switched from Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) to Marine Gas Oil (MGO).
Palumbo is confident that the experience gained over the past year with these four cruise projects, and particularly with the Silver Cloud, will lead to it securing further work in this sector over the coming year.
According to Raffaelle Palumbo, sales director: “We expect a steady or possibly increasing trend, as the number of cruise vessels present in the Mediterranean is growing every year. Our facilities all over Mediterranean, and beyond, are ready to assist any kind of cruise ship.”
Over the past few months the company has finalised a number of strategic equipment maintenance agreements with key equipment suppliers, including Wärtsilä and Schindler. “This will allow us to offer certified services to customers at favourable rates and will further strengthen our competitive position in this market,” adds Palumbo.