AWARDS 2023 | Best Medium Fish Farm Support Vessel – San Little Glory – Southern Ocean Solutions
One of a pair of Australian-designed fish farm work boats built for two separate New Zealand salmon farmer owners.
Highly purposeful, the 18- by 10-metre steel catamarans were designed and built to handle a multitude of fish farm support tasks. They are undoubtedly already doing that very well.
“The catamaran design was developed from scratch to be a flexible and economical platform for the aquaculture industry,” Scott Keane, Construction Manager at Southern Ocean Solutions (SOS), told Baird Maritime. “She has a massive deck for her length and it allows her to perform a broad range of roles. She is equipped with a large A-frame for heavy mooring works, lifting, and moving 10-tonne concrete blocks. She has been a step change in efficiency at farm moves since coming into service.”
Keane remarked that the vessel was commissioned in the latter part of the Covid-19 pandemic, which proved challenging for SOS. Also, since the vessel will operate in a remote area, it needed to be as simple and as robust as possible.
“The big driver for us at the moment is hybrid systems and alternative fuels,” Keane replied when asked about trends currently impacting naval architecture. “Almost all of our projects for 2024 and 2025 are either hybrid electric or methanol-powered, and all of our clients are actively seeking to reduce their carbon footprints.”
Keane added that 2023 was “a very good year” for SOS and that 2024 is showing even greater promise.
“We are pretty much fully booked for 2024 now with just a couple of spots for smaller projects, which I think is an excellent problem for us to have,” he told Baird Maritime. “We are very optimistic for the future because there are so many drivers for growth, such as updating ageing equipment, upsizing for more offshore conditions, and using new technology to reduce carbon emissions.”
Keane believes the aquaculture industry will be marked by progression of operations to offshore locations with deeper, cooler water. Companies are also becoming very keen to be as sustainable as possible and to reduce their noise emissions and environmental impact. To this end, hybrid electric vessels that are almost silent in operation are becoming available in sufficient numbers.
“We believe the same drivers that exist in the aquaculture industry will feed into Australia’s broader workboat industry in time with everyone looking to reduce operating costs, improve efficiency, and reduce emissions,” added Keane. “Also, newer tonnage has significant advantages over paying large docking costs for elderly vessels.”