THE Icelandic fishing and processing company HB Grandi has just signed agreements for construction of three wetfish trawlers at a cost of almost 44-million euros or 6.8 billion Icelandic kroners. The plan is for the first ship to be delivered in May 2016, the second late in 2016 and the third in spring 2017.
The new ships will replace three current wetfish trawlers, Ásbjörn RE, Ottó N. Þorláksson RE and Sturlaugur H. Böðvarsson AK. The company said new ships will be more economical, catch handling and utilization of the fish will be better, more operational security and lower fuel and maintenance cost.It is the Turkish ship building company Celictrans Deniz Ltd. Sti., Tuzla that will carry out the construction.
HB Grandi is currently building two pelagic fishing vessels .The design of the ships is being undertaken by Nautic ehf of Reykjavík. The deal confirms an announcement in June that HB Grandi had entered into preliminary negotiations over the project.
The deal also means Iceland has embarked on its largest trawler building programme for many years. The total investment is expected to run close to 35-billion Icelandic kroners – or almost £182-million sterling (226 million euros) . The building programme is for 11 new ships for various companies, nine of them wetfish trawlers and two pelagic vessels.
Although to some countries it still looks modern, much of the Icelandic fleet is becoming elderly with an average age of around 30 years. Fishing technology has made great strides in that time and can only really be suitably used on new vessels.
Interestingly, the trend seems to be moving away from building the more expensive freezer vessels towards fresh fish trawlers whose catches can command higher prices.