AWARDS 2022 | Best Crabber – Ugjit Mijua’ji’jg – Navanex & Chantier Naval Forillon

Best Crabber – Ugjit Mijua’ji’jg (Photo: Alan Haig-Brown)
Best Crabber – Ugjit Mijua’ji’jg (Photo: Alan Haig-Brown)

Here is a comparatively simple but truly multi-purpose fishing vessel that can readily adapt from trawling to potting for crabs.

Obviously, its primary target will be high-value crabs, but given the vessel's ownership, it will be very useful for it to be able to change its target.

"The vessel represents the accomplishment of the evolution of the crabbers that we have designed and built since the 1990s," Navanex told Baird Maritime. "This new design uses high quality standards and is developed to be versatile, safe, and durable, in addition to having a very neat hull. She's inspired to look like a large fishing vessel."

The designer added that the fishing deck can be converted as a small trawler and the hull can be easily lengthened from 65 to 72 feet (19.8 to 21.9 metres) to keep the gross tonnage below 150 tonnes as per Transport Canada regulations. This modification can increase the capacity of the cargo to hold up to 90 cubic metres.

"Being able to catch crab and ground fish on a 65-foot fishing boat with the latest technologies onboard is a real success," added builder Chantier Naval Forillon (CNF). "The vessel is also fitted with large cabins, as the owner, a native nation, wants to be able to train members of the community to someday become part of the fishing industry. The wheelhouse is also configured with screens and technology usually found on much larger vessels."

For Navanex, the first goal was to find the right balance to integrate the bulbous bow so as to get the most ideal trim between the two types of fishing. Secondly, it was imperative to design an adaptive fishing deck configuration for trawling.

CNF meanwhile remarked that the challenge during the construction was due to the fact that the vessel was the first fishing vessel to be fitted with an IMO Tier III-compliant engine in Canada.

"We had to fit the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system in the engine room without compromising the ergonomic and available space. The impact felt by the supply chain also presented a challenge during the build, but we were nonetheless able to deliver the vessel on time, due to our excellent relations with our suppliers."

"This is our first IMO Tier III crabber," added Navanex. "We are familiar with Transport Canada regulations, and we are all working very hard to integrate new solutions to reduce the emissions emitted by our industry and NOx after treatment is one of them. In parallel with this design, we are working on a hybrid version that will feature reduced fuel consumption."

For CNF, the "greening of the industry" is a major trend in shipbuilding.

"With many new technologies, finding the best one can be challenging," the builder told Baird Maritime. "The regulations about green technology also try to stay ahead of what is already available on the market. Still, this fact also provides us with reasons to improve our business and our research solutions."

Both Navanex and CNF state that they enjoyed stability during 2022.

"The fishing industry might have slowed down a bit due to the price of fish and existing quotas," said CNF, "but we are happy that government projects and those from private business kept coming into the pipeline."

"We have a good workflow and a good balance between new construction and new design, stability analysis, and naval architectural engineering," Navanex said. "Our team has been experiencing growth in the last three years and we expect to continue our progression up to eight employees."

The designer wants to keep the company small and familiar but optimised and efficient, with all members of the team fully involved in their tasks and passionate about the projects being undertaken.

Efficiency is an important attribute, especially when dealing with Navanex calls fluctuations within the fishing industry.

"The last few years have been excellent for certain sectors of the industry. We are anticipating a certain slowdown, but in return, other sectors continue to remain very active. This is important to keep our business diversified."

Navanex said that despite this, the company is fortunate to work on a new large fishing design currently in construction. This new design will be ready to be presented soon.

"We believe it is important to find ways to improve quality onboard vessels so the fishing industry can get a better price for better quality products," CNF told Baird Maritime. "Minimising fuel consumption will also help make operators' businesses more profitable. In particular, redfish (also known as ocean perch) is coming back in numbers to the Gulf of St Lawrence, and the industry is gearing itself to profit from this species."

With regards to the future of the Canadian workboat industry, CNF said there will be rising demand for hybrid- and electric-powered propulsion, multi-role platforms, and autonomous systems for operators wishing to employ fewer personnel.

"We expect the industry to flourish over the next few years," added Navenex. "New technologies will need to be integrated and alternative fuel systems will be entering the Canadian market soon. That will lead to a number of interesting challenges to overcome as well as knowledge that needs to be mastered."

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