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An illustration of the new Ocean Farm Services vessel, which will be primarily used for net washing. Image: Marin Design AS.
An illustration of the new Ocean Farm Services vessel, which will be primarily used for net washing. Image: Marin Design AS.

A joint venture launched by two Shetland aquaculture service companies has ordered its first vessel.

Ocean Farm Services Ltd will take delivery of the service, inspection and net-cleaning boat next summer.

The company has been formed by wellboat firm North Isles Marine Ltd and workboat services supplier Aurora Marine Ltd, with the aim of offering a greater range of services to fish farmers and offering a one-stop shop.

Its new vessel will be supplied by Norwegian company STAMAS Yard Services AS (SYS), which is itself a new company. It will be the first build for SYS.

Increased service level

“This marks a milestone and a start of an expansive period for us as a company. The new set-up will result in an increased service level and greater reach. More interesting projects are in the pipeline and we are very pleased to sign this first vessel with STAMAS Yard Services AS,” said Ocean Farm Services director Colin Leask, who runs Aurora Marine.

The hull of the new vessel will be made in Poland while the outfitting will take place at SYS premises at Karmsund Servicebase, just outside Haugesund, Norway. Delivery is scheduled to take place early summer of 2019.

North Isles Marine boss and Ocean Farm Services director Gibby Clark said the new boat would be “pretty much identical” to the Aurora Quest currently operated by Aurora, although would have a few tweaks.

Like the Aurora Quest, the new build has been designed by Marin Design AS in conjunction with Leask to make it more efficient for net cleaning.

From left: Gibby Clark, Ole Andreas Holm (Marin Design), Håkon Rugland (SYS), Ole Arnt Angelsen (Marin Design), Colin Leask. Click to enlarge picture.
From left: Gibby Clark, Ole Andreas Holm (Marin Design), Håkon Rugland (SYS), Ole Arnt Angelsen (Marin Design), Colin Leask. Click to enlarge picture.
The new vessel is designed primarily for net cleaning and has a workshop and separate net-cleaner engine room. Click to enlarge picture.
The new vessel is designed primarily for net cleaning and has a workshop and separate net-cleaner engine room. Click to enlarge picture.

Ship statistics

  • Design: Marin Design MD50
  • Length: 14.96m
  • Width: 7m
  • Draught: 3.5m
  • Crew: 3 persons

“Colin designed the first net-washing boat to be self-sufficient so that it could stay on-site,” explained Clark. “It has its own workshop on it and you can do a lot of the maintenance there rather than decide to go ashore. It reduces down-time. There’s also accommodation for the guys so they’re able to stay on the boat.

“The normal thing was just to get the washers and put them on the deck of the workboats but this one is integrated, it has its own engine room for the washing system, so it’s all under cover and it’s not exposed to the elements.”

Clark said although North Isles Marine and Aurora Marine would remain as individual companies, future investment and expansion would come through Ocean Farm Services Ltd.

Projects in the pipeline

“The whole service is to be taken into one company to offer the whole range, and we’ll be adding on to that. We’ve a few things in the pipeline, different projects that we’re looking at, and this is just the first stage,” he added.

“This is the first vessel bought by Ocean Farm Services. As we go along we’ll be putting our other boats into the same company, so eventually, although North Isles Marine and Aurora Marine will still exist, it’ll be contracting through Ocean Farm Services. That’ll be the one-stop shop.”

Ocean Farm Services intends to broaden its offer to include: live fish RSW harvest transport; live fish treatments; live smolt transport/ live fish grading; ROV inspection, net washing and automatic cage washing; site grid installation, maintenance and net changing; treatment vessel platform; sea bed surveys; cage towing, barge towing and fuel deliveries to barges.

Four new jobs

North Isles Marine is 10 years old, and Aurora Marine just over six.

Both Clark and Leask were involved in aquaculture before starting their companies.

Clark said the new boat would result in four new net-washing jobs.

“The net washer will have a crew of two and it’ll be time-for-time so that’ll be four jobs created. We’re hoping to bolt it on to our existing customer base and progress from there, because the net washing is going really well.

“The guys we’re working with are seeing improved productivity. There’s maybe a few things that’s helping achieve that but the net washing is definitely part of that,” said Clark.