Nauplius Workboats owner Gerrit Knol, left, and Gael Force chief Stewart Graham sign an agreement that will see Nauplius make the hulls of Gael Force's range of steel feed barges.

Gael Force welds new partnership with shipbuilder

Nauplius Workboats will make hulls for Scottish company’s steel feed barges


Inverness-based aquaculture industry supplier Gael Force Group is to partner with Dutch shipyard Nauplius Workboats for the building of its range of SeaFeed steel feed barges.

The structural build of the steel barge hulls, surface treatments, and painting will take place at the Nauplius workshop in Groningen, Netherlands, before they are towed to Inverness for mechanical and electrical full fit-out and installation of the SeaFeed system by Gael Force.

Nauplius Workboats is well known in the Scottish aquaculture industry, having supplied several vessels to both Mowi Scotland and Mull-based Inverlussa Marine Services.

Increased capacity

Gael Force said that partnering with Nauplius will enable it to strengthen and increase its barge building capacity while offering its customers favourable delivery times and a competitive package on its steel barges. It added that has experienced increased demand for barges this year and will continue developing and delivering a strong programme of new build and refurbished concrete barges from its main engineering yard in Inverness.

The steel barge range offers capacities up to 800 tonnes and can accommodate options for hybridised power and secondary machinery and processes.

Gael Force is accredited for NS 9415, a Norwegian standard that places technical requirements on the dimensioning, design, installation, and operation of floating fish farming installations, and the barges will be built in compliance with NS 9415.

An illustration of some of Gael Force Group's fish farming equipment, including a steel feed barge.

Technical knowledge

The company’s owner and managing director, Stewart Graham, said: “Along with our own team’s experience in design and build, Nauplius’ levels of technical knowledge and overall experience in the sector offers us complete confidence that this partnership will bolster our robust and reliable range of feeding barges for fish farming.

“As both companies are running a lean cost base and are very efficient producers we believe we have a high quality and highly competitive offering. While this increases our production capacity to meet strong demand and we envisage this to be of great benefit to our Scottish customers, there is also potential for us to service our international customers, particularly those producers in Norway, Iceland, and the Faroes.”

One already sold

He added: “We are immediately building two 400-tonne SeaFeed barges with one already pre-sold to a major Scottish salmon producer, which we will be able to announce later this month. There are a number of other customers already interested in the second build.”

Gerrit Knol, technical director and naval architect at Nauplius, said the company was delighted with the partnership.

“Our ship design and build quality is already widely appreciated and we are pleased to bring our expertise into this partnership,” added Knol.

Gael Force offered steel feed barges from 2018 onwards but built only one – at Corpach, near Fort William - for Scottish Sea Farms’ Lober Rock site in Orkney. Gael Force no longer operates the Corpach site.