Spes Nova joins EkoFish fleet

Spes Nova joins EkoFish fleet Spes Nova UK-205 has been built at Damen Maaskant Shipyards for Urk-based EkoFish. Photo: Damen

Built for Urk-based fishing company EkoFish, now with the majority of its shares held by pelagic freezer operator van der Zwan, Spes Nova UK-205 was christened at a ceremony in Scheveningen.

The new combined fly-shooter/twin-rigger has been built to incorporate a great deal of new technology, including diesel-electric propulsion and a heavyweight battery pack. Designed by Vripack Naval Architects, it also has some highly distinctive lines and a highly streamlined look. It is already predicted to set new benchmarks for the fishing sector as the first of a pair of new vessels for EkoFish.

The 30 metre Spes Nova was named by Nanou Beekman, Director of Fisheries and Rural Affairs at the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality for the Netherlands.

The original concept for this innovative new fishing vessel was borne of a collaboration between Vripack Naval Architects, Ekofish Group and Maaskant Shipyards. This combination of marine design and maritime expertise has resulted in an unconventional future-proof solution.

Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam was selected to construct two such vessels for delivery in 2019 and early 2020.

“Damen was chosen thanks to its reputation for high-quality shipbuilding,” said Gerard Zwijnenburg, of Van der Zwan.

“Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam also has an impeccable track record of vessel maintenance going back many years, so the project was certainly in good hands.”

The vessels are expected to help to set new performance standards in the Van der Zwan fleet, due to their innovative design. The UK-205 range features a new type of hull design to reduce pitching in head waves.

“This is achieved by reducing reserve buoyancy in the bow above the waterline,” explained John van der Maas, project manager at Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam.

“An oncoming wave will lift the midbody, but will have less effect on the bow, which results in a softer motion. Rather than slamming into waves, the vessel splits them, reducing resistance and stress on the hull.”

In terms of propulsion, UK-205 vessels can be powered by diesel-electric or by conventional diesel engines, depending on the needs of each client. Gerard Zwijnenburg explained the logic behind Van der Zwan’s opting for a diesel-electric hybrid system in addition to a battery bank.

“We’re thinking of the future,” he said. “The battery bank allows silent, emission-free running near populated areas, and also introduces the possibility of peak-shaving to help the vessels run at optimal energy efficiency.”

This potential for balancing and optimising energy use is complemented by an energy recovery source in the form of a 700-volt DC-bus connected to the battery bank. As warps or seine ropes are shot away, the E-motors can work as generators to convert braking energy into battery power, a method very similar to that used in hybrid cars. Along with the vessel’s capability to operate on two or three motors thanks to its inbuilt redundancy, these energy-optimising measures will help Van der Zwan cut operational costs without compromising quality of performance.

Spes Nova, the first Damen Maaskant vessel delivered to Van der Zwan, was put through classification tests in the third week of October, followed by North Sea fishing trials that same month, before returning to Stellendam for final touches in preparation for its naming in Scheveningen.


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