The Azimut-Benetti shipyard in Viareggio experienced a major fire outbreak on July 25th. The fierce fire took several hours to bring under control. Per local media, the Versilia Supply Service building partially collapsed after a string of explosions. While several vehicles have been wrecked, the yachts were spared. Investigations suggest the fire commenced in the shipping department affecting four delivery vans and a forklift parked there. Investigators speculate an overloaded battery of the forklift could have caused the fire.
In a statement, Versilia Supply Service said it was working closely with employees at the Viareggio branch and thanked firefighters for securing the scene. A similar fire broke out at the Lürssen shipyard in Lemwerder, Germany, only last month due to sparks from welding work on a new hull. Azimut-Benetti is one of the world’s leading megayacht builders, and in April 2023, Saudi crown prince MBS bought a 33% share of the group from the Vitelli family.
The Italian shipbuilding company is 150 years old, founded in 1873. It is the only yard to have won the Showboats International magazine “shipyard number 1” award six times in a row, with operations in 80 countries. Paolo Vitelli is still the main shareholder after the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund bought a hefty stake.