Pelagic skipper delighted with quality of local work
September 23rd 2013
A powerful 71m boat catching large quantities of mackerel and herring in the tough north Atlantic environment, the Charisma (LK 362), in common with the other seven vessels in Shetland's pelagic fleet, requires a lot of maintenance work and regular replacement of gear.
Increasingly, this is being done by local firms, and according to the Charisma’s skipper, Davie Hutchison, it is to a standard as good as, if not better than that found in Norway where traditionally she has sailed to for repairs and upgrades.
In the spring of this year, before the herring season, the Charisma’s fish-handling system was stripped out and replaced by Lerwick-based marine engineering firm Ocean Kinetics.
“We were absolutely delighted with it,” said Davie. “They were really good, splendid to work with. They did as good as job as you’d get in Norway, maybe even better. It was a couple of hundred thousand pounds into the Shetland economy.”
Andrew Fullerton of Ocean Kinetics explained that the six men who worked on the two-month job while the Charisma was tied up at Holmsgarth removed the old fish-handling system, consisting of water separator and chutes, on the deck in front of the wheelhouse.
“They were given several options for a new system and chose the one that we recommended,” he said.
“The water separator came from Norway but the rest of system was manufactured by us in aluminium and some steel. It makes it slightly easier for them to fish, it’s a different way of doing it. They seem to be really happy with how it is working.”
At the same time as the fish-handling system was being replaced, the rigging at the top of the Charisma’s mast was reconfigured by Nortech.
Davie said: “We were having a problem with black spots from the mast where we would be out of communication at different times. We had to cut the top off the mast and build platforms to have the [satellite] domes at the same level. They did a really good job, they were very conscientious.
“With all the regulations we have to comply with now, we can’t afford to be out of touch and with the black spots we were having to turn away on a different course for a while, which was a pain in the neck.”
Not all the work on the boat is done in Shetland. The Charisma later sailed to Denmark for a paint-up. But there is more work for local firms in the pipeline.
After the 10-strong crew have been off at the mackerel next month, DH Marine will be renewing the computers that control the Charisma’s 8,000 horsepower MAK engine and side thrusters.