Offshore giant arrives on schedule

The Havfarm1 enters Norwegian waters

HAVFARM 1, the giant offshore salmon farming platform, has finally arrived at its new home in Norway after a voyage of almost 15,000 nautical miles.

Strapped to the equally large cargo carrier BOKA Vanguard the 33,000 tonne vessel sailed into her new base near the port of Hadsel in northern Norway at 7 am on Saturday, two months after leaving the Yantai Raffles yard in eastern China.

Officially named ‘Jostein Albert’ after the company’s former chairman Josten Albert Refnes, it is one of two such 385 metre long vessels ordered by the Norwegian salmon farming company Nordlaks and is capable of holding up to 10,000 tonnes of salmon.

Work will now begin preparing it for that daunting role. Trond Haakstad from Sea Systems AS, one of the companies tasked with getting it ready, said:

‘Our job is to anchor the Havfarm 1 at a final location five kilometres off Ytre Hadseløya.’

In an operation expected to last at least 48 hours and using several small vessels, the task of floating it off the cargo vessel and into the water begins today (Mon). Nordlaks hopes that it can recoup some of its huge investment by September when Havfarm1 should start to produce fish.

The company said the development will herald a new era in offshore aquaculture and should lead to fewer escapes and a reduction in lice, two issues which have dogged the industry in recent years. Designed by NSK Ship Design, its Sales and Marketing Manager Thomas Myhre described the vessel as unique and one of the largest sea transport voyages of its kind.

The Jostein Albert was greeted by a cheering crowd which included Norway’s Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigsten, who congratulated Nordlaks on the project. But not everyone is so enthusiastic. Local fishermen and environmental groups have publicly expressed concerns about the long term impact such a large structure will have on this scenic but wildlife rich area of Norway.