Palumbo Malta Shipyards has ranked first in Europe for retrofitting the most vessels with a fuel cleaning system in 2019 as ship owners rush to meet new environmental shipping rules.
The ranking – featured in the December edition of Drydock Magazine, the world’s leading publication for ship repair, maintenance and conversion – also placed Viktor Lenac, Palumbo Group’s yard in Croatia in eighth position in Europe.
Palumbo president Antonio Palumbo said: “Placing top in Europe is a great honour for our shipyards and for Malta, and shows that hard work to remain competitive in such a tough and volatile market pays off.”
The article, which featured in the magazine’s 40th anniversary issue, delved into the emerging trends of 2019 across the repair market, with particular attention to scrubber retrofitting – systems that clean exhaust gases – as ship owners scramble to meet the UN’s International Maritime Organisation regulations.
IMO Sulphur 2020 stipulates that vessels have to lower the maximum allowable sulphur content in bunker fuel to 0.5% from 3.5% as a step towards controlling emissions and achieving cleaner air.
The installation of scrubbers requires extensive modifications to the funnel, to ‘clean’ emissions before release into the atmosphere, and the scrubber market boomed in 2019 as ship owners and operators turned to retrofitting to comply with the sulphur limit.
“Our team had the foresight and agility to exploit this opportunity, as the IMO regulations opened up a new niche… We are proud to achieve such a standing, which strengthens our vision in building a great network on the global platform,” Mr Palumbo said.
The magazine, which featured a classification for non-Chinese yards, placed Palumbo Shipyards as fifth in the world, and first in Europe for total scrubber retrofits for 2019.
The Cottonera shipyard has been kept busy over the past months, installing ships with new scrubbers that work by showering seawater, which in turns converts emissions from gaseous to a more manageable aqueous state. The systems being installed by Palumbo Malta Shipyards meet and exceed the IMO limits for both gas emissions and wash quality.
Palumbo Shipyard’s top placing is due to its quick turnaround of the job and its unparalleled experience in such projects in Mediterranean region.
“Projects such as these put us and Malta on the map as there aren’t many yards doing this sort of work… These results make us happy to be contributing to the Maltese economy after dark and difficult years,” Mr Palumbo said.