The Marsali is due in Scotland this week. Photos: Aas Mek Verksted.
The Marsali is due in Scotland this week. Photos: Aas Mek Verksted.

New wellboat on its way to Cooke

A new wellboat which will service Cooke Aquaculture Scotland’s salmon farming operations is due to be delivered from Norway by the end of this week.


The Marsali has been constructed by Norwegian yard Aas Mek Verksted for Migdale Transport, which bought the vessel with a £13.5 million loan and asset financing deal from HSBC UK.

The company, based at Bonar Bridge in Sutherland, already owns an Aas Mek-built wellboat, Migdale, which it bought from Rostein in 2016, and which has a capacity of 650m³. It also leases wellboats from Norway during busy periods.

The crew area is well appointed. Click on image to enlarge.
The crew area is well appointed. Click on image to enlarge.

Closed system

The Marsali, the first wellboat purpose-built for Migdale, has a capacity of 1500m³ and will be able to load up to 210 tonnes of live fish. It can also be used for delousing.

It is just under 63 metres long and is a slightly smaller version of a design Aas Mek has delivered to Norwegian customers.

The boat is equipped and arranged specifically for the transport of smolts, as well as keeping live fish in a closed system. It is also equipped for freshwater treatment of the fish.

Cooke Aquaculture Scotland has a smolt facility in Low Hesket, Cumbria, and the vessel will operate from Hartlepool or Workington in England, to Unst in northern Shetland,with  each trip taking between four to five days. It will also regularly visit ports such as Campbeltown, Oban, Lochinver, Scrabster, Stromness, Kirkwall, Scalloway and Lerwick.

Technical details

  • Length overall: 62.86 m
  • Width: 12.00 m
  • Draft: 5.90 m
  • Load capability: 1,500m³
  • Service speed: 12 knots
  • Main engine: Wärtsilä 8L20 producing 1600 kW at 1000 rpm
  • Gears: Brunvoll.
  • Power generation: 2 Nogva Cummins QSK38-DM1 Tier 2, each producing 1044 kW at 1800 rpm, plus a Nogva Scania type DI 13 75 M port unit producing 323 kW.
  • Manoeuvrability: Brunvoll 450 kW and 300 kW propellers.
  • Cranes: 3 Palfinger cranes on deck, one a 38 t/m and 2 at 31 t/m.
  • Biomass counting: Aqua Scan dish counters, Wingtech smolt counters.

Pressure loading

The load capacity is divided into two compartments with sliding bulkheads, CO₂ strippers and pressure loading and unloading system for closed transport and pressure release to land up to 15m pressure height.

In addition, a double vacuum pump system with 2 x 6,000 litre tanks is installed.

The Marsali is equipped with its own fresh water production facility with a capacity of 3,000m³ per day, which means that it can fill the cargo holds with its own fresh water produced twice a day, for use in freshwater treatments.

Inside there are cabins for ten people, each with its own shower and toilet.

The lounge area on the Marsali. Click on image to enlarge.
The lounge area on the Marsali. Click on image to enlarge.

Spacious lounge

The boat has a spacious lounge, galley, fridge and freezer room, laundry room, wardrobe, coffee shop, exercise room and more.

The bridge is arranged with three operator positions for manoeuvring the boat, remote control system for operation and monitoring of all systems, fishing handling etc. The boat is equipped with a vacuum toilet system, sewage treatment and ballast treatment facilities.

Announcing the purchase of the boat recently, Migdale managing director Hugh Murray said: “This is a significant and exciting addition to our fleet, and we thank HSBC UK for recognising the benefits it will bring to our business and the local economy. In what are challenging economic circumstances, the new vessel will create jobs for the local area, while future-proofing the business for years to come.”

The addition of the Marsali to Migdale’s fleet is expected to create 14 jobs, including 12 crew for the vessel and two for logistics and planning personnel.

The naming ceremony was scheduled to be held in Orkney in mid-May but has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.