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MALTATODAY 9 June 2019

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S4 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 9 JUNE 2019 SHIPPING & LOGISTICS IN a highly cyclical and volatile industry, being agile and pro- active is key and Palumbo Malta Shipyards is leading the way to position itself as one of the best in the world. On June 2, 2010 Antonio Palumbo took over the opera- tions of the Malta Shipyards, which had haemorrhaged €2.5 billion from the public coffers over two decades and hung like a financial albatross around the island's neck. The sprawling yard was look- ing weary, weighed down by years of neglect as the two po- litical parties squabbled over its privatisation and the future of its 900 employees. Few in their right minds would have even given the ailing shipyard a second look, ex- cept for Antonio. Having witnessed his father Salvatore's transition from a fairly small carpentry and metal work yard to a bustling shipyard, Antonio saw a rough diamond in the Cottonera shipyard and he was determined to bring back its sparkle with hard work and pas- sion. He took great risk and put in long hours, but the sacrifice paid off. Fast forward nine years and Antonio is convinced that he will transform the shipyard into the best in the world within two to three years. In the meantime, the shipyard is bustling with activity. Retrofitting ships with scrubbers Having secured a €6 million international contract to re- fit three, ro-ro passenger fer- ries with a fuel cleaning system that meets new environmental shipping rules, Palumbo Malta Shipyards has landed a second prestigious contract for another three vessels with a French ship- ping company. The UN's International Mari- time Organisation has taken the decision to lower the maximum allowable sulphur content in bunker fuel to 0.5 per cent from 3.5 per cent, starting from next year, as a step towards control- ling emissions and achieving cleaner air. For shipping companies run- ning on heavy fuel oils, the op- tions to meet the new, tighter limits laid down by IMO Sulphur 2020 are to either switch to low- sulphur fuel or refit the vessels with scrubbers — systems that clean exhaust gases. The scrubber market is already booming as ship owners and operators turn to retrofitting to comply with the sulphur limit and Palumbo Malta Shipyards is investing in expertise and ex- ploiting this opportunity. The IMO regulations have opened up a new niche for the company, which was constantly seeking to remain competitive in a highly volatile industry. The systems being installed by Palumbo Malta Shipyards meet and exceed the IMO limits for both gas emissions and wash quality. The shipyard is focusing on a quick turnaround of the job and each of these massive vessels can be refitted within 30 days. Ship repair The shipyard is undergoing a substantially important me- chanical intervention on a gen- eral cargo vessel, where one of its main engines requires a crank- shaft replacement and full en- gine overhaul. Palumbo Malta Shipyards was also awarded a contract to repair a cruise liner during navigation. A riding squad has been engaged to carry out substantial repairs on the liner's freshwater stain- less steel tanks in line with the drawings and in accordance with class-approved welding repair plans and specifications. Meanwhile, a 292m bulk carri- er with a gross tonnage of 94,000 tonnes was accommodated at the yard's largest dock for two weeks where various works were carried out on fuel pumps, winch and windlass repairs, hull treat- ment, repairs on oil engine heat- er, coolers and auxiliary engine fans repairs apart from other works. And, for the fifth consecutive year a renowned Greek owner has entrusted the shipyard with the docking and repairs of three of its vessel fleet of 300m con- tainer carriers. The contractual drydock period was respected and the client left the yard happy to have the vessels back on the trade route in time. LNG propulsion will also be a big topic in the coming years and the Group's eight yards are or- ganising themselves to be in line to accommodate these types of vessels and deliver the required services to the highest possible safety and quality standards. Investment in superyachts division Palumbo Malta Superyachts saw its business grow exponen- tially in 2018 and the €2.5 mil- lion investment in a 420-tonne boat lift will this year reaffirm its standing among the industry's top crop. In 2018, the superyachts facil- ity hosted 52 vessels compared to 37 the previous year, han- dling refitting works on massive superyachts, including an ultra luxurious beauty that hit 143m; the largest to enter its yard to date. Palumbo SY also succeeded in attracting more business from the Saudi market and handled the biggest paint job — a 90m superyacht where the scaffold- ing superseded the bastions and went up to 40m in height — which was very rewarding. However, what will give the yard an edge this year is the multimillion investment in a 420-tonne boat lift — the largest on the island — that will attract more business to the island from superyachts seeking repair and refitting in the winter months. Apart from this, a further €250,000 has been invested in a state-of-the-art yacht trailer that possesses a variable system and is capable of transporting yachts up to 210 tonnes. With an over- all length of 19 metres and a width of 6.5 metres, it works on seven axles and has a total of 12 driving wheels. The advantage is that it is equipped with all the neces- sary components to be able to expand in the future and see its maximum capacity go up to 330 tonnes. A boat stacker that can be used to shift yachts up to 400 tons and host a significantly higher number of pleasure craft at the same time has been purchased, the yacht village has been fur- ther upgraded, and seven tent structures have been installed to cover the yachts reaching a total investment in Palumbo SY of €4 million. Located in Malta's Harbour, with an unrestricted entrance to the yard, Palumbo Malta Su- peryachts represents the only support site for refit, repair, maintenance and conversion able to welcome major supery- achts in the harbour of Malta. Served by one of the biggest docks in Europe and a covered dock, the yard is part of an im- portant maritime cluster that includes its sister superyacht shipyards in Ancona, Malta, Marseilles, Naples and Savona. As Palumbo Malta Shipyards cruises ahead, it remains vigilant and agile to retain an active role in a very competitive industry… never forgetting its values of pas- sion, sacrifice, respect and team recognition. Palumbo sails the high seas

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