Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

MFV Valhalla

In early December the latest new build 27 metre MFV Valhalla FR 268, for skipper Mark Andrew Masson left Parkol Marine Engineering yard in Whitby. After completing engine trials off Whitby the vessel headed North to its home port of Fraserburgh where the crew took onboard their fishing gear and completed fishing trials, before heading out for their first fishing trip.

The vessel was lifted into the water at Whitby with the usual launch celebrations on the quayside.  Mark Andrew’s daughter Lauryn, assisted by her mother Carolyn broke the bottle of champagne over Valhalla’s bow as the vessel was lowered in the water watched by other members of the skipper’s family, P&J Johnstone staff and shipyard staff.

Valhalla, from the Old Norse word ‘Valholl’ meaning a place of honour or bliss, is a replacement for Mark Andrew Massons previous Spanish built boat of the same name that has renamed Valkyrie FR 262 and is skippered by Andrew Hay.

Mark Andrew had the previous Valhalla lengthened at Parkol Marine in Whitby in 2012. Having seen the workmanship that the yard can produce gave him confidence to look to Parkols again for his new vessel.

Valhalla is quite a milestone for Parkols as well, with them making the comment “ Valhalla was a special vessel for Parkol being our Yard No. 050 on the year of Parkol’s 50th anniversary and at 27.80 metres overall length, she is the largest vessel built on our Whitby yard to date”.

Valhalla, designed by S C McAllister, is 27.8 metres in in length, with an 8 metre beam and a gross tonnage of 290 tonnes. She is laid out in what has almost become the standard layout for twin riggers in NE Scotland where they target mainly of whitefish but occasionally nephrops as well. Built of steel she is of round bilge construction with a transom stern, and a soft nosed stem with a bulbous bow. On the stem is an impressive figurehead of the Vegvisir, or the Nordic Viking compass, a symbol of guidance and protection.

Valhalla has a full length watertight shelter deck with the aluminium wheel house atop the shelter deck almost midship between stem and stern giving plenty of space aft of the wheel house for gear handling.  Fitted well forward on the shelter deck is a MFB8 landing crane supplied by Thistle Marine with a load rating of 1,000kg and a continuous rotational base. On the starboard side is a Gilson gantry for taking the catches onboard. This has a Bopp gilson winch at its base, having a direct lead to the fairleads forward it doubles, in normal situations, up as an anchor winch. If the vessel has lost all power the starboard trawl winch has the ability to freewheel, with manual braking it can act as an emergency anchor winch.

Aft of the wheelhouse are the port and starboard Bopp TS50 split winches with direct leads to the Fleming fairleads hanging blocks at either side of the gallows gantry. The centre split winch, again a Bopp TS50, is housed right forward on the main deck with the centre warp leading over the shelter deck, under the wheelhouse to a central hanging block aft below the gallows gantry. The three winches are each spooled with 500 fathoms of 22 mm diameter warp supplied by Strachan Trawls of Fraserburgh. Below the aft gantry, on top of the shelter deck are two Bopp CH35 net drums with a 1.9m diameter and a core pull of 7.2 tonne to take the two 110 foot hopper nets also supplied by Strachan Trawls. Just ahead of these are two large gear storage pounds.

To help with gear handling around the stern of the vessel there is a Thistlelift MKB 13 crane with Thistle Marine 24inch ribbed barrel power block located on top the aft gallows gantry.

Just ahead of the port split winch is the doorway into the wheelhouse from the shelter deck. On entering the wheelhouse, the extensive array of electronics mostly from Woodsons of Aberdeen and the high quality of fitting out by Parkols is impressive. The two Norsap wheelhouse chairs are set either side of a centre console giving uninterrupted views forward and of the three 55inch 4K monitors that stretch almost the full width of the wheelhouse. The monitors are operated through a dedicated control system that enables each one to be divided into 4 screens to show radar, plotters, sounders etc in what ever configuration that the skipper prefers. They also have the ability to store ‘pre-set’ configurations allowing the skipper to quickly toggle between his preferred display set up for steaming, towing etc. They can also display any of the items on full screen, such as the radar when an expanded presentation would be beneficial, such as when working close to several other vessels or coming into port. Also linked through a PC to this display system is a Furuno radar and a WASSP sounder system.

A fourth 55 inch repeater screen is fitted aft in the wheelhouse, overlooking the aft deck. Adjacent to this are the winch controls and the readouts from the Silecmar computer that monitors the tensions and lengths of the three trawl warps. The boat is fitted with an 11 camera CCTV system from Woodsons giving the skipper the ability to monitor every operation on board the boat from the wheelhouse. This coverage includes an underwater camera giving a view of the propellor.

A full suite of radio telephones from Woodsons is fitted in the overhead consoles above the wheelhouse chairs. The Scanmar gear monitoring system is fitted in the starboard console while the engine room controls are to the port side. Full engine and steering control stations are fitted both port and starboard with a third control station aft also has the three split winch controls, supplied by Bopp. The four net drums, gilson winch etc are all controlled locally.

The main deck is laid out from forward with, a watertight compartment housing the Bopp winch for the centre warp offset slightly to port. This winch can be controlled locally if required, a local monitor showing the centre warp at the stern of the vessel and the ramp for the centre clump weight, make it safer and easier if there is any need to control the centre winch locally. To the starboard side is sturdy racking for gear storage while a watertight hatch in the deck gives access below to the Bopp 2000HA bow thruster and power units for the Wassp and Simrad ES 80 sounders.

Moving aft on the port side is another watertight compartment housing the Glenegace 2 X 2.5 tonne per day ice machine feeding directly into an ice storage locker below in the fishroom. These along with the fishroom refrigeration were supplied and fitted by Premier Refrigeration of Fraserburgh. At the aft end of this compartment there is a stacked washing machine and tumble drier, very necessary items on a modern fishing vessel taking into consideration that many of the crew on UK fishing vessel nowadays are living onboard for several months at a time.

To starboard is a large fish catch reception hopper with several baffle plates to minimise movement of the catch and help to maintain catch quality. This feeds aft onto a conveyor supplied by Seagate Fabrication in Peterhead, fitted across the front of the deckhouse. Aft of this conveyor there is room for 7 or 8 crew to stand to select and process the catch. Forward of the conveyor are multiple reception hoppers to take the different species. Some sections continually wash the catch while others, when full, are released into a fish washer then sent directly to the fish room for weighing and packing in ice. This minimises handling of the fish, again helping to ensure a top quality product enters the fish room. Below this deck is the large fish room that can hold 1150 full boxes. The catch arrives in the hold via a large 400mm diameter pipe that delivers the catch to a reception hopper at the forward end of the fish room. From here the crew weigh and record the catch using VCU scales and catch management system from Woodsons of Aberdeen.

Further aft at main deck level, is the full width accommodation and galley unit that includes on the starboard side a roomy access walkway between the fish processing area and the aft deck. Much of the hydraulic pipework and valves for the net drums and winches is fitted on the starboard side of this area giving easy access for ongoing maintenance while being protected from the weather. Forward of this is a heated rack for the crew’s oilskins, boots and safety gear. Included beside this is a ‘dirty’ tumble drier to dry the everyday ‘dirty’ items of clothing. Aft of this is a spacious deck with two Bopp split net drums, with local controls, to handle the two twin rig 200 foot, wide mouthed, multi-purpose ground nets from Faithlie trawls. Faithlie Trawls also supplied a third 200 foot spare net of the same design as well as a full complement sweeps and bridles for the gear.  This gear is spread by a set of 1100kg high aspect ratio HL53 trawl doors from Faroese company Larsen Fishing Gear and a 1450kg roller centre clump made by BNW Engineering of Fraserburgh. Mark has used Larsen doors for several years now and found that the design suited his type of fishing so wanted to use the same design with the new vessel. The ones on Valhalla are slightly larger than used on his previous vessel. At certain times he will also use a set of Thyboron type 11 trawl doors supplied by Faithlie Trawls. The clump weight is hauled up over the transom into a purpose built ramp that is fairly standard on modern twin rig vessels.

Forward of the net drums, with access from fore and aft walkway is the galley and mess deck. The refined finish of the internal bulkheads and woodwork is immediately obviously. Parkols have radiused all the bulkhead corners that helps to give a more open feel to the accommodation compartments.

Moving forward at the ‘below deck’ level is the large engine room. The main engine is a Caterpillar C32, developing 709kw at 1600rpm. This drives a Heimdal HG5114 gear box to turn a variable pitch 2780mm diameter, K600 4 blade bronze propellor in a nozzle.  Behind the nozzle is a triple rudder to better direct the thrust from the propellor. The rudder is controlled by the Bopp steering gear. The triple rudder and nozzle were both constructed by Parkols to a design from S C McAllister.

Two of the auxiliary engines are mounted either side of the main engine on top of the engine room fuel tanks. To port is a Mitsubishi 6D16-T providing the power for most of the boats electrics. To starboard there is a Scania DI 13 providing auxiliary power for both electrics and hydraulics. To provide hydraulic power, there are three identical hydraulic pumps onboard, one off the Scania auxiliary engine and two driven by power take offs on the Heimdal gearbox on the main engine. The three pumps can be used individually or in any configuration of two pumps to give maximum power to the hydraulics when required.

There is also a Mitsubishi 40kVa harbour set in the engine room.

A total fuel capacity of 35,000 litres stored in engine room tanks and tanks beneath the fishroom.

The fresh water is stored in two 6000 litre tanks beneath forward end of the fish room and 14000 litres in a tank in the bow.

Forward of the engine room is the extensive refrigerated fish room, fully stanchioned to hold more 1150 boxes. The refrigeration was supplied and fitted by Premier Refrigeration of Fraserburgh.

After the delivery trip to Fraserburgh and taking on gear in mid December Valhalla made a short shakedown trip before Christmas then a full fishing trip leaving Fraserburgh on Boxing Day.  After a seven day maiden trip working around Shetland, Valhalla landed 512 boxes into Peterhead market.

Mark Andrew Masson said  that the vessel performed well throughout the trip despite a spell of poor weather. He said, “we have a long association with Parkol and they were very good during the build, they were very patient  with my own ideas and suggestions”.