Uplifts in cruise ship and offshore work are helping ensure that this year is a very positive one for the Italian yard group
The first quarter of 2023 has been a busy period for Fincantieri’s repair and conversion shipyards, with some projects continuing from last year and additional projects entering its facilities at Palermo and Trieste, reflecting positive trends within the shiprepair and conversion sector in the Mediterranean generally.
Fincantieri Trieste has an established track record of cruise ship upgrades, with several complex projects completed over the last few years, and the yard is continuing to see success in this specialist sector. Major work scopes are for example currently underway on two cruise ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, now under the ownership of A&K Travel Group which acquired the ships and brand in 2022. The pair are currently undergoing an extensive interior modernisation programme that includes the creation of new and larger suites, as well as the addition of a revamped wellness centre, amongst a host of other upgrades.
These two projects sustain the momentum established over the last quarter of 2022 when Aidablu, from the German cruise line Aida Cruises was at the Trieste shipyard for a two-week drydock stop, during which hull treatment, steel and engineering works were completed.
Other recent notable projects at Trieste have included the ro-pax ship A Galeotta, operated by Corsica Linea, which left the yard in mid-November after a stay of several weeks for drydocking, hull coating and engineering maintenance. This vessel is powered by liquefied natural gas and was bunkered with LNG prior to leaving the Trieste facility to enter service between Marseille and Corsica.
Along with cruise ship and commercial works, superyacht repairs and upgrades remain a key target market for Fincantieri, especially at the Trieste yard, which is commanding an increasingly prominent position in this sector. The facility has enough capacity to handle larger superyachts and draws on an established network of specialist contractors and suppliers that can be quickly mobilised for work on such projects. Over the last few months three superyachts, the 111m Alaiya, the 66.8m Brother Brancusi and 86.11m Quattroelle, have received repair and upgrade works at Trieste. Both Alaiya and Quattroelle required a period in drydock, while work on the Brother Brancusi was completed afloat.
Fincantieri’s shipyard in Palermo has also had its fair share of varied and interesting projects already this year. The Princess Cruises vessel Enchanted Princess arrived at the yard in the last week of March for various items of work, including drydocking in the yard’s large 400,000 dwt graving dock, before departing mid-April. During this period an Air Lubrication System (ALS) was installed, and this environmental retrofit is expected to generate significant savings in terms of fuel consumption and carbon emissions by reducing hull drag.
At the end of February, the ferry La Superba operated by Grandi Navi Veloci, arrived at the yard following a fire that broke out while the vessel was in the port of Palermo in mid-January of this year. During its stay the yard was tasked with assessing the damage.
In March, the Palermo shipyard accommodated its first LNG tanker of the year, with others expected to follow. Grace Emilia has been repaired and left the yard at the end of the month.
The Palermo yard has a strong position in the offshore sector, and its services have been in increasing demand as activity in this sector builds up again. The cable-laying vessel Living Stone left Palermo after drydocking and hull treatment works in late 2022, while the Arendal Spirit arrived at the yard in December for extensive afloat repairs. Work on this floating accommodation unit includes complex thruster repairs and general maintenance. The Palermo shipyard has very deep draft, down to 25m, and this makes it particularly well suited for offshore projects. Fincantieri points out for example that working on azimuth thrusters for such vessels needs a lot of water, which the yard can provide.