Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

Aalskere crosses North Sea from Denmark

Orkney’s brand new state-of-the-art whitefish trawler, Aalskere, arrived in Kirkwall for the first time in early April, writes Craig Taylor.

The partners in the new Aalskere are Iain Harcus, his wife Elizabeth, John Harcus (Iain’s father) and the Don Fishing Company, Peterhead.

The vessel was designed by Ove Kristensen from Vestvaerftet in Denmark, who oversaw the hull-building at the Stal-Rem S.A. yard in Poland. The hull was then taken to Denmark and fitted out at Kynde & Toft in Thyborøn.

The present Aalskere was built in 1997 in Poland. She is 34m long and 8.7m wide. The new boat, a stern trawler, is 35.2m long with a beam of 10.5m. The Aalskere is skippered by Iain Harcus and William Brown.

Powered by an ABC 6DZC main engine—supplied by the yard themselves—connected to a Hundested gearbox driving a 3,400mm CP propeller, the new Aalskere is also fitted with two Cummins auxiliaries.

Wheelhouse electronics were supplied by Woodsons and Furuno UK. Included among the impressive array of electronics installed by Woodsons is a Seapix 3D multibeam sonar for mapping and detection of fish in real time in 3D on seafloor, a Kaijo KSE310 38Khz split beam echosounder, and a Quad View Video Wall with integrated trackball control.

The previous Aalskere was earlier renamed Gemma Jane, and re-registered, in preparation for the arrival of the new boat, and is currently on the market for sale.

The new boat, which is insured by Sunderland Marine, will be ready to start fishing once all the relevant paperwork is completed, said skipper Harcus in early April, who added that the new boat will allow him to fish with a single trawl or twin-rig.

The new Aalskere is kitted out with two split net drums and two 34t split trawl winches. The boat’s landing crane was supplied by Killybegs’ EK Marine. The EKM 2 ton @ 12m deck crane was ordered by Iain at the 2018 Skipper Expo in Aberdeen.

The catch handling system on board was supplied by Boatech. The full gear package was supplied by Jackson Trawls of Peterhead.

Both new Aalskere and Gemma Jane made the trip back to Orkney from Thyborøn in Denmark, as the Gemma Jane had previously been used to take fishing gear over to the new boat.

The arrival of the vessel came at a time when the UK fishing industry is facing highly challenging times due to the coronavirus crisis, which has seen a huge collapse in demand in the UK and abroad for fish and shellfish.

However, fish markets are still operating, and there is still a depleted domestic retail demand for fish, although much less than normal due to the coronavirus restrictions closing hotels, restaurants and other food outlets.

Peter Bruce (Patsy) contracted to carry out Resin Decking on new Aalskere

Peter  Bruce (Patsy) was contracted directly by Aalskere owner Iain Harcus to travel to Denmark and install Resin Decking application to the trawl decks and fish handling decks onboard his new build during final refit, while in Thyborøn Harbour.

Many months planning of manpower, materials, delivery, mobilisation, and travel etc. were put in place to ensure PBP was ready to execute the job when called on, so as to ensure the customer’s full requirements would be met at short notice during such a project

Due to the impression the completed works left on the yard, Peter Bruce (Patsy) was requested to return the following month to repeat the same works on another new build for a Danish fly shooter, with owners based also in Thyborøn. Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and associated travel and working restrictions those works could not proceed.

The week before Aalskere’s sea trials, the PBP team arrived late on a Friday evening ready for a 6am start on Saturday morning, working straight through until midnight to complete the 4 layer Rapid Cure Degafloor Resin application to the trawl deck before the weather broke on Sunday. This allowed for works to then proceed on the more weather-protected fish handling deck.

Works commenced again early on Sunday morning, with the team working through the day and night to almost complete the fish handling deck that evening, leaving a final topseal coat application to be applied on Monday morning. Curing within 2 hours meant no disruption to the yard or the crew who were very busy at the time preparing to head out for sea trials

A very experienced and dedicated team of long-serving employees who take great pride in the installation works they carry out arrived, set up and prepared for the task ahead using their vast experience to deliver the product application. The job requires that they all understand their various tasks working as a team very quickly, as there is no room for error or working delays as each layer needs to be applied efficiently before the fast curing off of the product.

Both the owners and shipyard were very impressed and satisfied with the efficiency and quality of the works carried out by the PBP team during the visit to Thyborøn.

Peter Bruce (Patsy) would like to thank all his dedicated employees for delivering yet another quality new build project, as well as the owners, crew and the yard for choosing PBP Services to carry out these works, and for all their help and assistance during the project. 

Skipper-owner, Iain Harcus said, “We’re delighted with the decking. It looks great, is easily cleaned, and will be very durable. The boys did a great job, working around sea trials, very mixed weather and long hours to get the job done quickly and professionally.”

PBP is the only approved contractor in the UK for the specialist Lloyd’s approved German resin products, and has, along with their distribution partner Degafloor, developed and introduced this specialist application into the fishing industry – working hard together over the past 7 years.

The unique properties of the application allow for the 4 layer system to be applied and cure on the same day if required, with each coating curing in under one and a half hours, allowing for almost immediate foot traffic after application.

The application has elasticity properties to ensure against movement of steel, which also makes it comfortable underfoot for long periods of standing time. With its blended colours of anti-slip quartz suspended throughout the film thickness of the product, it is also very aesthetically pleasing. On top of this, the Resin is extremely hard-wearing, tough and impact-resistant and can be easily cleaned and maintained.

As well as Lloyd’s German Shipping Class Certification, the product also comes with Health and Safety Anti-Slip Testing and Certification, and also Food and Drinks Industry Certification for Safe Production of Factory Foods.

PBP and employees would like to wish Iain and crew every future success with the new vessel. Good health and safe fishing to all on the new Aalskere.