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Three powerful anchoring tugs tow Salmar's Ocean Farm 1 into position. Photo: Solstad Farstad
Three powerful anchoring tugs tow Salmar's Ocean Farm 1 into position. Photo: Solstad Farstad

Three anchor handling vessels have been working with the world's first offshore fish farm, Ocean Farm 1, off the coast of Norway over the past week - and here are pictures of the work.

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Salmar's Chinese-built salmon farm arrived in Frohavet locality on Tuesday last week, and since then the crew of the giant tugs owned by shipping company Solstad Farstad have been busy manoeuvering the giant structure.

Ocean Farm 1 is taken off its transporter. Photo: Solstad Farstad
Ocean Farm 1 is taken off its transporter. Photo: Solstad Farstad

Solstad Farstad operations manager Roy Ove Standal said the anchoring of Ocean Farm 1 is ongoing, but will probably be finished this week.

Unique facility

"It's a unique facility that takes the aquaculture industry to a new level. Salmar hopes to get rid of the lice problem by getting out of the fjords", said Standal about the giant cage that is 68 metres high, has a diameter of 110 metres and has a capacity of 250,000 cubic metres.

Plain sailing: Ocean Farm 1 on calm waters. Photo: Solstad Farstad
Plain sailing: Ocean Farm 1 on calm waters. Photo: Solstad Farstad

The pen is the world's first ocean net pen and is the first concept that is being realized within Norway's development permits system.

Anchoring plan

"Ocean Farm 1 is built in China, Ocean Farming AS is a company in the Salmar Group. Global Maritime has been responsible for engineering, and planning of the tether is our job. Global Maritime has been responsible for engineering - and analysis of the tether, that is our job. We've got engineering foundation, calculation and analysis of what lines must withstand and how the construction of the lines should be, and out of this we have developed a plan and procedure for how the anchoring should to be performed," said Standal.

He pointed out that aquaculture is in this case heading into the offshore sector, using equipment the crews on Solstad Farstad vessels use daily in the oil and gas sector.

"We've seen a lot of similarities with the grounding of an oil rig, so the job that we are doing is pretty standard for us," he said.

Bird's eye view: the anchoring operation from on high. Photo: Solstad Farstad
Bird's eye view: the anchoring operation from on high. Photo: Solstad Farstad

Standal said the anchoring mission was exciting for everyone involved, not least for the crews of the three ships involved. "We use offshore anchors, large anchors combined with the bottom chain and anchor line. There are eight around rig. We use three of our boats to position the rig. We would would like to thank Ocean Farming for letting us participate in this exciting, innovative project," he concluded.

One million fish

The cage will initially hold one million fish of 250 grams. “We will enter an operational pilot phase that will last for about one year until the fish reaches the target weight,” said Salmar chief executive Trond Williksen last week.

“We are very pleased to have the construction of the structure behind us and to have the cage transported. But the next challenging phase is to operationalise technology. It is not just pressing a button and we are there. There is new technology and much needs to be learned. We want to contribute to a solution to the future aquaculture industry and there is a lot of technology that needs to be optimised.”

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