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The Ronja Storm will be the world's biggest wellboat. Photo: Havyard.
The Ronja Storm will be the world's biggest wellboat. Photo: Havyard.

The world’s largest wellboat is to be constructed by Norwegian shipbuilder Havyard for use in Tasmania.

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The vessel, ordered by wellboat operator Sølvtrans, will be 116 metres long with a breadth of 23 metres.

Named the Ronja Storm, the wellboat will have a fish tank capacity of 7,450 cubic metres of water, more than twice the amount of normal-sized live fish carriers. In addition, the vessel has capacity for carrying 5,000 cubic metres of freshwater.

After delivery, the ship will enter a 10-year contract for fish farming company Huon. Tasmania is short on freshwater both in terms of quality and availability, a problem solved by equipment within the new Havyard design that can produce nearly 17 million litres of freshwater a day.

The freshwater will be used in the wellboat’s “salmon hospital”. Fish are taken out of their pens and will swim in freshwater in order combat amoebic gill disease (AGD). In Tasmania, AGD treatment happens roughly once a month. With the gigantic freshwater facilities and the enormous tanks, fish can be transferred to a 240-metre netpen while being treated simultaneously. “This is a great advantage and will reduce stress among the fish. As such, this ensures fish of higher quality while also improving fish growth,” says Sølvtrans CEO Roger Halsebakk.

Roger Halsebakk says the simultaneous treatment and transfer of fish will reduce stress.
Roger Halsebakk says the simultaneous treatment and transfer of fish will reduce stress.

The large amount of freshwater produced, in addition to cleansing facilities that provides for reuse of water several times over, ensures that the vessel can continuously carry out work at sea, without having to head ashore to refill water as frequently as other vessels have to. Salmon are loaded into freshwater tanks for three hours while also being transported to a new pen.

Ronja Storm will be fitted out for fish sorting, and the transport of slaughter fish and smolt, as well as having medication facilities. There is emphasis on stability and reduced noise levels on-board.

The world’s largest live fish carrier will cost just over £45 million. “We take no shortcuts in terms of equipment for and transport of live fish. After 31 years in this industry and as pioneers within the development of live fish carriers, we know what it takes," says Halsebakk.

Breaks new barriers

Sølvtrans and Havyard have worked together on projects before, and this time Havyard Group is the sole supplier. Havyard Design & Solutions delivers design and engineering, Havyard Ship Technology will do the outfitting, Havyard Power & Systems delivers diesel-electric machinery and propulsion system, automation and bridge solutions, and MMC First Process will provide everything connected to fish handling equipment.

“We are very pleased that our experiences from construction of previous live fish carriers can be carried into this specific project that breaks new barriers, both in regards to size and technology,” say sales manager Frank Edvard Vike and senior designer Kjetil Myren.

Sølvtrans is the world's largest wellboat operator for the live transport of salmon and trout, and has a fleet of 22 modern wellboats, mainly employed on long-term contracts with leading fish-farming companies in Norway, Scotland, Canada, Chile and Australia.

“We are looking forward to cooperating with Sølvtrans and we view this as an important contract for Havyard Group,” says CEO Geir Johan Bakke of Havyard. “The contract also shows that with two live fish carriers already in our portfolio and with a third being constructed, we are a leading participant both within the construction of live fish carriers, as well as being a supplier of equipment for this industry.”

With this contract, Sølvtrans takes the step from being a major customer for MMC First Process within fish handling, to buying a completely new vessel. Halsebakk says that they are very much looking forward to both the cooperation with Havyard and completion of the vessel.

“We chose Havyard Group based on a full evaluation where both cost and quality were decisive. Moreover, Havyard can prove their experience of already having constructed several live fish carriers. This helps Sølvtrans in order to provide assurance that we will deliver a good service to our business partner Huon, with fish welfare having top priority.”

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