Vestmannaey heads new trawler series

Vestmannaey heads new trawler series Vestmanney on sea trials in Norway prior to delivery. Photo: VARD/Kjell Stian Brunes

The first of a series of seven new trawlers for Icelandic owners, Vestmannaey VE-54, has docked in its home port for the first time, ahead of the remaining six trawlers for four different companies

Built for Bergur-Huginn by Vard Aukra in Norway, Vestmannaey is expected to be followed shortly by sister vessel Bergey, and then a further five for fishing companies Skinney-Thinganes, Útgerðarfélag Akureyringa and Gjögur.

The Vard-designed 28.90 metre trawlers are unusually broad with a 12 metre beam, providing space for a 240m3 fishroom. Accommodation is for up to 13 persons.

Each trawler is powered by a pair of 294kW Yanmar 6EY17W main engines driving Finnøy reduction gears and twin 2000mm diameter propellers designed for silent operation. This innovative approach to fishing vessel design is expected to provide all the towing power these trawlers require. Each reduction gear has a power take-off and the auxiliary engine is a Nogva Scania DI13.

The new thinking doesn’t stop there as this new series is fitted out with the latest in permanent magnet electric winches from Seaonics, with Scantrol autotrawl control systems.

Wheelhouse electronics are mainly from Furuno, and the package also features a 3D WASSP multibeam sounder, as well as Vard’s SeaQ management system.

According to skipper Birgir Thór Sverrisson who brought the new trawler home from Norway, Vestmannaey is a very quiet ship and the engines can hardly be heard.

“It’s a fantastic ship in every way and very well equipped,” he said, commenting that it is a big step from the old Vestmannaey the new trawler replaces.

“There are much better facilities compared to the old Vestmannaey. That includes the working areas in the wheelhouse and the catch handling deck, and there are big changes there.”

The new Vestmannaey won’t be fishing right away, as the catch handling systems have yet to be fitted, and Birgir Thór Sverrisson expects the new trawler to be ready for sea at the end of August or in early September.

Finance for the series

Financing for six of the seven trawlers in the series has been arranged with Export Credit Norway, which is wholly owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Fisheries. Export Credit Norway will provide export financing for six of the seven stern trawlers; a total loan of approximately NoK500 million, with Icelandic bank Landsbankinn acting as guarantor for the loans.

The companies taking advantage of the Export Credit Norway facility are Bergur-Huginn, Skinney-Thinganes, and Gjögur, each of which is taking delivery of two trawlers, while the seventh trawler’s owner, Útgerðarfélag Akureyringa, has made its own arrangements.

The remaining six vessels in the series are expected to be delivered before the end of 2019.

“Well done to Vard Aukra who has secured this valuable newbuild contract for seven vessels. The shipyard has clearly impressed the Icelandic consortium from both a technical and a commercial viewpoint, and we are delighted to be able to offer competitively priced vessel financing as part of the deal,” said Olav E. Rygg, director of lending at Export Credit Norway.

He commented that the initiator behind the venture was fishing company Bergur-Huginn, which was already familiar with the quality of fishing vessels built by Vard Aukra as well as financing options from Export Credit Norway.

“Subsequently, Bergur-Huginn contacted other Icelandic fishing companies to enter into a consortium that could co-operate with regards to building the vessels and secure financing of them,” he said.

“To build a series of seven identical vessels has obvious advantages with regards to reducing both cost and project execution risk. Although each owner is responsible for the financing of their own vessels, the consortium approach has allowed us to ‘copy & paste’ parts of the financing process, which has saved both time and energy for all parties involved.”

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