Whitelink takes delivery of first newbuild

Whitelink takes delivery of first newbuild Eternal Light is first newbuild for Whitelink Seafoods. Photo: Dave Moore

Whitelink Seafoods has expanded its scallop fleet with a new vessel delivered by Macduff Shipyards Eternal Light FR-35 is the company’s first newbuild, now working alongside older scallopers Georgia Dawn, Eternal Promise and Eternal Friend which were acquired between 2015 and 2017.

The background to Eternal Light goes back to the summer of 2017 when the first plans were laid for a new scalloper, working with the requirements for an overall length under 16.45 metres and capacity to tow ten dredges each side.

The focus was also on developing a hull design that would continue to be economic to run in future years, along with enough working deck space for efficient gear handling with outer hull tipping doors, as well as an automated catch handling system. The hull design was completed with Macduff Ship Design, using CFD technology to optimise it for fuel efficiency, with the final design approved by Seafish and the first steel was cut by Macduff Profilers in the summer of 2018.

The hull modules were assembled at Macduff Shipyards in Buckie and Eternal Light was launched in March for fitting out.

Eternal Light is now fishing for Whitelink Seafoods, with catches landed to the company’s factory in Fraserburgh, steaming southwards to fish in the Channel following a short shakedown trip after delivery. Skipper Ian Taylor and his crew expect to work on a semi-nomadic basis, fishing with scallop gear supplied by Oban Scallop Gear.

New experience

“Building Eternal Light has been a completely new experience for us. From the outset, Macduff Shipyards ensured that it would be a smooth process by liaising closely with Ian Taylor, George Jack and ourselves every step of the way, as did the other major suppliers and service providers,” said Whitelink Seafoods director Andrew Sutherland.

“It’s very satisfying for everyone associated with the company that Eternal Light could be built in close proximity to Fraserburgh, which is the headquarters of Whitelink Seafoods. We are delighted with the end result and wish skipper Ian Taylor and the crew safe and successful fishing in years to come.”

Eternal Light measures 19.20 metres overall, with a 7.20 metre beam and a moulded depth of 4.20 metres. At the centre of Eternal Light’s layout is the enclosed catch handling area arranged between the working deck area and a weathertight whaleback. The deck crew scallops off the fore end of the side conveyors.

A Geneglace one-tonne flake ice machine, together with most of the plant for the fishroom refrigeration system installed by Airo-Tech Solutions Ltd, is housed in this internal area, which is also racked out to provide secure storage for spare scallop gear and hardware.

There is a noticeable amount of space on board, providing working space at main deck level. The split winches are located on the main deck while the gilsons are mounted on the central steel shelterdeck and the pulling-down winches are mounted on the amidships gantry legs.

The split trawl winches, outriggers, outer hull tipping doors and catch conveyors are all custom designed, manufactured and commissioned in-house by Macduff Shipyards. The port and starboard wing fishing consoles, which enable the skipper to have full control of the complete shooting and hauling sequence, are central to the full package.

The fishing gear is deployed from the split winches forward and mounted on raised bed, angled slightly outwards to give direct leads over the top of the outer hull doors to the hanging blocks mounted on the outriggers.

The 20-tonne core pull winches are fitted with Haggunds compact two-speed drive motors for faster hauling and shooting of the ​wire. 260 fathoms of 26mm diameter trawl wire supplied by Karl Thomson of Buckie are accurately spooled on the drums at all times. A digital display console in the wheelhouse provides the skipper with a continuous readout of the wire length shot and shooting/hauling speeds.

A pair of 10-tonne Brevini gilson winches supplied are mounted on the shelterdeck by the legs of the goalpost-style lifting gantry amidships. Twin 3-tonne pull down winches are located on platforms welded to the tubular steel legs of the gilson gantry well above main deck level.

The winch package also includes one-tonne tipping winches, which are mainly used when changing over dredges at sea during a trip, and these are mounted on short derricks towards the top of the main lifting gantry.

Macduff also fabricated the 10 metre outer hull tipping doors. Pivoted at the gunwale rail and extending for more than half the vessel’s length, the self-tipping doors are raised by two hydraulic rams mounted just inboard of the main deck scuppers.

The dredges are emptied at the end of each tow by raising the tipping doors, which drops the scallops into the hopper that extends the length of the scallop bars. A slow-moving conveyor at the bottom of each side hopper leads scallops and stones through openings in the otherwise fully enclosed forecastle bulkhead to the catch sorting areas forward. Crewmen select scallops from the conveyor as stones and other debris are returned to the sea through side chutes. Generous storage provision is made for filled baskets of scallops, before the contents are delivered via a central chute to a stainless steel reception hopper in the fishroom for bagging in 38kg bags.

Eternal Light’s GRP-lined fishroom is equipped with a fan-based evaporator refrigeration system and has capacity for 750 bags of scallops. Chilling comes from three large-capacity evaporator fans with automatic defrost, mounted in a single unit on the forward bulkhead of the fishroom.

Bagged catches of king scallops are unloaded by a Thistlelift MFB 8 stiff boom landing crane positioned on the full-width forward section of the shelterdeck.

Fishing electronics

The electronics in Eternal Light’s fishroom include Furuno’s new  CH-500 searchlight sonar. Featuring the latest signal processing, sensing and other technologies, this provides longer detection range, faster training speed, sharp echo image and built in stabiliser, and is a successor model of the highly popular and successful CH-250 sonar.

Seafield Navigation supplied a FishingWin (formerly Sodena) plotting system with pre-mapped 3D high resolution seabed charts from Shetland south to the French coast. Incorporating more than a billion soundings and representing a five-year initiative by Seafield Navigation, pre-mapped charts enable skippers to fully visualise new grounds from the first tow, without the need for a vessel to build up historical evidence.

The 3D display gives ground contours, which can be overlaid with hard/soft ground discrimination data provided by Rozanne through a Koden CVS-1410HS echosounder. The FishingWin system also gives the facility to track the ends of the scallop beams.

Skipper Ian Taylor chose the FishingWin 3D system, having been highly impressed by the benefits it yielded when installed on Georgia Dawn, when it enabled him to work new grounds and customise tows around ground edges, gullies and peaks.

Eternal Light’s main vertical sounder is a Simrad ES80 c/w 38KhZ split beam transducer.

The forward vision perspective by the Furuno CSH 500 searchlight sonar is complemented by a WASSP F3 160Khz multibeam sonar system. This unit is interfaced to a Furuno TimeZero Professional V3.1 plotting system. As an integral part of the package Furuno UK supplied, the TimeZero unit is interfaced with the vessels two FAR-1513 BB radars to display AIS and ARPA information.

The internal layout of Eternal Light’s wheelhouse was designed to ensure easy access from the fishing consoles located at the forward corners of the wheelhouse, from which the full shooting/hauling sequence of the gear can be controlled, adjacent to duplicate sets of engine/steering controls mounted on slim consoles.

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