AWARDS 2022 | Best Large Wellboat – Orca Yka – Skipskompetanse

Best Large Wellboat – Orca Yka (Photo: Larsnes Mek Verksted)
Best Large Wellboat – Orca Yka (Photo: Larsnes Mek Verksted)

An impressively efficient, well thought out, and very stylish fish farm support vessel. Orca Yka epitomises the positive changes that are affecting the global aquaculture industry and is bound to be a valuable asset for its operator.

"Orca Yka is the most advanced live fish carrier in Chile," Mathias Tungevåg, Project Manager at Skipskompetanse, told Baird Maritime. "Like her Norwegian sister vessels owned by Rostein, she was designed inside out with emphasis on ensuring fish welfare and adequate treatment."

Tungevåg added that the vessel is equipped to serve the aquaculture industry in Chile in the best possible way and so it is well-equipped for transport and treatment of fish in fish farms. Treatment is also done through a broad range of different modes, all depending on the needs of the fish.

"The challenge in designing her was the same as in our other projects involving vessels boasting a lot of onboard technology. She's based on sister vessel Ro Sailor but is optimised for the Chilean operations. Optimising the design for Chile posed challenges in terms of fitting all necessary equipment on board, and so the vessel is densely packed and many of the compartments are a tight fit due to their features."

The design process also taught key lessons such as the need to understand the differences in customer requirements in Norway and in Chile.

Speaking about relevant vessel design trends, Tungevåg explained the limitations set by existing fish farms on the design of wellboats.

"Live fish carries are mostly regulated and limited by the farms themselves," Tungevåg told Baird Maritime. "Volumes of wells are adapted to the amount of fish needed to be transported or treated. Also, some fish farms' locations also set limits on vessels in terms of draughts and overall size."

Tungevåg said Skipskompetanse had a good year in 2022 despite the continuing Covid pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine War affecting its business prospects in Norway.

"Vessel owners are also more sceptical and cautious compared to before, so we are looking at a somewhat reduced level of activity going forward. We nonetheless still see growing interest in our designs and we hope to convert these into actual projects that we can deliver."

Tungevåg is optimistic the aquaculture industry is heading towards some very interesting years. In Norway, there are discussions on offshore fish farming to avoid fish lice and sickness and to limit environmental impact in the fjords.

"Similar trends are taking root in other countries, and so we're also monitoring developments elsewhere, especially in Chile. As research is conducted, methods of treatment of lice and sickness also generate interest. We believe in the importance of finding the most practical means of creating sustainable food and then applying those means in the various locations where fish farming is done."

The next few years will see an increasing focus on sustainability and environment-friendly solutions for the Scandinavian workboat industry, added Tungevåg.

"Batteries are becoming a very common installation in newbuilds, and alternative fuels are increasingly becoming viable alternatives to traditional propulsion solutions. We are also starting to see multi-purpose vessels being introduced into service to take on duties that originally required two or more different vessel types."

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