14 billion ISK investment in five new vessels
HB Grandi currently has two new pelagic vessels under construction at the Celiktrans Denis Insaat yard at Tuzla in Turkey, and the announcement was made last week that the company had started negotiations with the same yard for construction of three new fresher trawlers. This brings the investment in the company’s fleet to approximately ISK 14 billion, of which roughly a half is accounted for by the two pelagic vessels.
Those who have kept a close eye on the Icelandic fishing industry will be aware that the fleet is an elderly one and the average vessel age is now just under 30 years. Although there was a real will to invest in new capacity, the financial crisis certainly delayed this. Increased burdens placed on fishing companies, as well as uncertainty regarding the future of the fisheries management system, also accounted for a reluctance to invest in much-needed new tonnage.
‘The new fresher trawlers represent a significant step forward,’ said HB Grandi CEO Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson.
‘We can’t rely on them indefinitely. The oldest of the three, Ásbjörn, was built 36 years ago and these three trawlers have an average age of 33 years. They have lasted unbelievably well and have landed a great deal of valuable raw material through the years. The reason they have lasted so well is that they have been looked after and properly maintained. The new vessels will ensure improved working conditions and the design is intended to make sure that they can deliver top quality catches. Fuel consumption will also be substantially reduced and steps are being taken to minimise emissions,’ Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson said.
Thórainn Sigurbjörnsson has been in charge of overseeing the construction of the two HB Grandi pelagic vessels in Turkey. In addition, he has worked on behalf of Isfélagid at the same yard where the new vessel Sigurdur is being finished and will shortly be due for delivery.
‘The first of the two HB Grandi vessels is steadily taking shape. The thrusters have been fitted to the hull along with much of the pipework for the RSW system. The main engine and the shaft generator have been delivered and we are waiting for the reduction gear. HB Grandi’s marine superintendent, Karl Sigurjónsson, is in Trieste at the moment at the Wärtsilä factory to check on the gear system and if everything is as it should be, then we should have it in early July,’ Thórarinn Sigurbjörnsson said.
The two pelagic vessels measure 80 metres overall length with a 17 metre beam. They are being fitted with twin 1.300,000 kCal/hour RSE capacity and each have twelve tanks with a 2900 cubic metre capacity. The main engines are 4600 kilowatt Wärtsilä units. Construction has been slightly delayed, according to Thórarinn Sigurbjörnsson, although the expectation is that this delay can be clawed back by increasing the labour force. If everything goes according to plan, the first of the two pelagic vessels should be delivered in March 2015.