Palumbo clears the air

An Italian shipbuilder is pouring cold water on reports that a bulker undergoing repairs at its yard in Malta caught fire earlier this week.

In a statement Palumbo Group said a cherry picker being used to inspect an empty hold on board the 172,515-dwt Cape Tavor (built 1999) caught fire but insisted the cape was not damaged.

The company noted there were no injuries and claims the repair project will not be delayed since the situation was under control after only “a couple of hours”.

Palumbo acknowledged that there was a great deal of smoke at the site of the incident, which it attributed the burning of the cherry picker’s heavy rubber tires.

The company claims the crew of the Cape Tavor was using the machine and insisted that no repair work was being conducted in the vessel’s hold at the time.

Palumbo declined to speculate about what may have caused the fire but confirmed that the incident is still under investigation.

According to data from Equasis the Cape Tavor is owned and operated by an affiliate of Israel’s XT Group, which used to be known as Ofer Holdings Group.