Palumbo Malta completes challenging Silver Cloud conversion

Silver Cloud in the dock at Palumbo Malta Shipyard. The ship was converted for its new expedition cruise operations Silver Cloud in the dock at Palumbo Malta Shipyard. The ship was converted for its new expedition cruise operations

Palumbo Malta Shipyard has completed the two-month conversion of Silversea Cruises' original ship, Silver Cloud, into an ice-class expedition vessel.

The project was very demanding, according to Palumbo's Andrea Sabbion, sales manager – commercial ships department.

Main works involved structural, mechanical and electrical modification and the renewal of many systems in accordance with all relevant requirements including the Polar Code. In addition, staterooms and public areas were fully refurbished, a new observation lounge was constructed, and external glazing was added.

The steel reinforcement work entailed strengthening the ice belt area with steel doublers on both side shell and internal structures and fabrication of additional stringers and intermediate frames. This required the removal of internal interferences and cabins, which then had to be restored.

A new bulbous bow was prefabricated to improve hydrodynamics, and additional navigational equipment was installed. A new skeg was prefabricated and fitted onto the stern to break ice while moving astern and protect the propellers. The sea chests were modified and upgraded for the ship's new operational profile.

A complete aluminum structure was prefabricated and fitted for the new forward-facing observation lounge.

New tender and Zodiac boarding appliances were installed. These included new pilot doors for the Zodiac coxswains. Shell doors were modified and the existing pontoon doors were shifted upward, together with all the mechanical and hydraulic systems.

Polar zone works entailed new heating systems on external fire hydrants and mooring systems.

The hull, superstructure and internal tanks were blasted and recoated.

Concerning machinery, two new boilers with foundation were fitted. A new sewage system involved the fabrication of three new tanks. Existing incinerator space was modified. Works included the fabrication of two new refrigerated provision stores and the installation of a modern, smaller incinerator. New evaporators/reverse osmosis systems were installed on both sides of the vessel.

All glass underwent maintenance, glazing and reinforcement. A major part of the work related to replacing suite windows with new sliding doors.

The propulsion system's main components were overhauled, including engines, generators, propellers and thruster hubs, and fin stabilizers.

Approximately 1,600 square meters of teak on open decks and suite balconies was removed and replaced by new Syntheteak resin. Surfaces beneath the teak were treated and repaired.

During peak times, more than 300 workers were involved in the conversion. The job was awarded last December and subsequently entailed eight months of planning plus the two months of yard activities.

Silver Cloud was inspected by Palumba technicians in ports like Piraeus, Dubai, Monaco and Copenhagen to carefully analyze the scope of works in detail and identify the best way to proceed.

The ship arrived at the yard Aug. 26 and the project was completed in time for the ship to reposition from the Mediterranean for the start of its inaugural expedition cruise from Buenos Aires to Antarctica later this month.

Palumbo's management expressed pride in the yard's selection for this prestigious project, which is expected to take the facility to the next level in cruise ship repairs and conversions.

Other cruise operators, including Costa Crociere, Celestyal, TUI Cruises and ship manager Columbia Cruise Services, have chosen the yard for work in recent months.

Posted 02 November 2017

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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