Iceland fishing company orders two new vessels – and prepares for fresh fish growth –

Iceland fishing company orders two new vessels – and prepares for fresh fish growth Published:  18 September, 2013

THE big Icelandic fishing company HB Grandi has signed a contract for two new pelagic fishing vessels. The first is to be delivered in early 2015 and to be followed by its sister ship in the autumn of the same year. The first new building is expected to replace a pair of 53-year old vessels, Víkingur and Lundey. 

Decisions on the future of Ingunn and Faxi will not be taken until the second new vessel’s delivery date approaches.The newbuildings are designed for better catch handling, for example with the capacity to pump from a trawl’s codend at the stern.

The Celiktrans Denis Insaat yard at Tuzla in Turkey has contracted to build the two new pelagic vessels which will measure 80 metres overall with a 17 metre beam. Each is expected to be fitted with a high-capacity double 1,300,000kCal/hour refrigeration system and each will have twelve RSW tanks with a 2900 cubic metre carrying capacity. The main engines will be 4600kW units. The contract price is €44.50 million, – the equivalent to ISK 7.20 billion Icelandic kroners.

Meanwhile, HB Grandi says it expects to see its production of fresh fish increase significantly at both its Reykjavík and Akranes locations as the new quota year gathers pace. This is due to increased quotas for cod, saithe and redfish, as well as a decision to reduce the number of freezer trawlers and to instead place the emphasis on operating fresher vessels.

To cope with the anticipated increase in fresh production, the Reykjavík and Akranes production plants have taken delivery of sophisticated new processing systems as well as which new staff have been taken on. Sixty new jobs have been created, of which 35 are in Reykjavík and 25 at Akranes. Fresh production from HB Grandi’s Akranes factory is shipped six times a week to Europe by air.

In recent years HB Grandi has operated five factory freezer trawlers and three fresher trawlers, but earlier this year the company decided to take two freezers out of service and add one fresher. Venus HF has been laid up, while freezer trawler Helga María AK was steamed to Poland for a refit, and is due to return in November fully fitted out to fish as a fresher trawler.

The factory at Nordurgardur in Reykjavík has for the last year been using a new X-ray portioning and bone removal machine for redfish, developed by Valka, and the company says this has been a very positive process. X-ray and 3D imaging technology are used to identity and position bones in redfish fillets, and a water jet cutter is used to slice the backbone out. In addition, the system allows filets to be portioned into pre-set sizes. Experience has shown that this provides a more precise cut and better yields, as well as increasing production rates. Boneless fillets command significantly better product prices than fillets with bones.

A sophisticated new Marel packing and grading station for fresh portion production has been installed at the Nordurgardur factory, and this is initially being used for precision grading and packing of fresh saithe portions

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