Boat-builders defy Covid for ‘tractor of the sea’ to serve salmon farms

Boat-builders defy Covid for ‘tractor of the sea’ to serve salmon farms

Two Yorkshire engineering companies have defied the challenges posed by Covid-19 to put another vessel on the water.

Whitby-headquartered boatbuilding firm Parkol Marine Engineering and Hull-based electrical engineers Pearson Electrical recently saw their latest project – the Havara – leave the shipyard.

Trawl specialist Parkol’s latest venture Havara is a different ‘kettle of fish though’ – as she is designed not for catching, but for carrying feed to salmon farms.

The 260-tonne, 27m-long twin-screw feed carrier has undergone successful sea trials and is now out at work in the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, carrying 1.25 tonne bags of feed to numerous salmon farms around Shetland and the west coast of Scotland.

Havara’s owner and skipper Colin Kay, of Shetland LCL Shipping, said: “The build took just over a year, and I’m really, really pleased with it. It’s the second boat I’ve commissioned from Parkol, the first was built in 2014, and I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

Naturally, the coronavirus pandemic had an impact on operations, although it didn’t cause any delays, and both the Pearson and Parkol teams were able to work flexibly to ensure they adhered to Covid-secure rules at the Middlesbrough yard.

Havara will carry feed for salmon farms.

“I couldn’t visit because of the lockdown,” Colin said, “so all our communications were via WhatsApp and video calls. Despite this, we were still able to build a good relationship and the outcome is just fantastic.

“Overall I’ve been very impressed with the service and quality provided by both Parkol and Pearson Electrical.”

Colin hails from a fishing background – his parents and brothers have all worked in the industry – but his business focuses on feeding fish rather than catching them, and he has more than 20 years of experience under his belt running three feed carriers.

Parkol project manager and director, Sally Atkinson, said: “We wish Colin and Havara the best of luck for the future. It was an interesting challenge for us to design and build a bespoke feed carrier, and we’re all delighted to hear Colin is so pleased with its performance.”

Pearson was commissioned to undertake full electrical installation of the 27m vessel.

Mark Pearson, managing director of Pearson Electrical, added: “During the lockdown we’ve made it a priority to keep our clients’ projects moving, while maintaining the safety of everyone involved and adhering to government guidelines.

“Working in tandem with Parkol, we were able to ensure our crews could continue to operate while keeping a safe distance. The pandemic may have caused us to change some of our ways of working but it hasn’t slowed us down.”

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