Award for ‘unusual looking but exceptionally practical’ fish farming vessel
Shipping website praises Scottish designed, built, and owned workboat
A Scottish designed and built workboat in service for salmon producer Scottish Sea Farms has triumphed in annual awards made by global shipping website Baird Maritime/Work Boat World.
The Geraldine Mary, owned by Mull-based Inverlussa Marine Services, was named Best Medium Fish Farm Support Vessel in the publisher’s Best of 2022 Awards.
The 21-metre vessel, which has a bow loading ramp, a custom deck layout, and a harbour battery pack, was designed by Macduff Ship Design and constructed by Macduff Shipyard on the north coast of Aberdeenshire.
'A tough little workboat'
Baird Maritime described the Geraldine Mary as an unusual looking but exceptionally practical aquaculture support vessel.
“The climatic conditions in the vessel’s area of operations can be very difficult. It will be good for the owner to know that whatever the sea throws at it, this tough little workboat will be able to handle,” wrote the website.
Macduff Ship Design managing director Ian Ellis told Baird Maritime that the vessel was a development of the company’s earlier designs that aimed to create a versatile vessel with good hull efficiency.
“We developed this hull form and concept into a landing craft-type vessel to achieve multi-functionality as an aquaculture and cargo vessel for the local island communities in its area of operations, and so the hull and vessel characteristics have proven to be a great success with the owners Inverlussa Marine Services,” added Ellis.
Small but strong
The designer said there had been significant challenges in incorporating the equipment required into the compact hull form.
“The aquaculture industry is seeing a significant growth in the size of the infrastructure, and to be able to handle this, a larger crane capacity was required. This means that the vessel needed to be compact for site access but also have the capability to operate cranes with high capacity.”
Scottish Sea Farms (SSF), which was Scotland’s second largest fish farmer by volume in 2022, took delivery of the Geraldine Mary from Inverlussa in June last year. Inverlussa provides the crew and administrative support.
Finlay McLaren, vessel coordinator for Inverlussa, said: “It’s always a pleasure to work with Macduff Ship Design on projects like this. Geraldine Mary is an adaptation of the design of Helen Rice, another of the vessels in our fleet, and was built to be an adaptable and practical vessel able to undertake a variety of roles within the aquaculture industry.
“She has proven to be very versatile and with an upgraded forward crane and deck winch. She is built to handle the equipment associated with aquaculture sites as its infrastructure continues to grow in size. Geraldine Mary has been an excellent addition to the fleet at Inverlussa.”
The Helen Rice, built in 2020, is also contracted to SSF. The salmon farmer said in June last year that the semi-hybrid Geraldine Mary’s arrival marked another step towards greater sustainability, complementing the salmon farmer’s first fully hybrid workboat, the Laurence Knight, also commissioned by Inverlussa.
The Geraldine Mary is primarily used to ensure that salmon farm moorings and containment infrastructure are secure, as well as setting up and stripping down farms.
“We have a lot of farms, and we need to inspect them all every year, sometimes twice a year, and it’s something we take very seriously, working closely and communicating often with Inverlussa on the logistics and operational aspects of these vessels,” said Innes Weir, SSF’s regional production manager for mainland, last June.