VESSEL REVIEW | Var – Large-capacity wellboat for Detroit Group’s Chilean salmon operations

Photo: Garnham Poblete

A new large capacity wellboat has been delivered to Chilean conglomerate the Detroit Group. Named Var after a figure in Norse mythology, the vessel will be used primarily for the live transport of salmon off the coast of Chile.

The concept was created through a collaboration between the shipowner and group company Detroit Brasil, which built the vessel. A total of four wellboats in the same series will be built in Brazil. Var and earlier sister Eir have been delivered while the remaining two vessels are in various stages of construction.

The newbuild has a length of 72.1 metres, a beam of 15.5 metres, a draught of 5.3 metres, a speed of 10 knots, and space for 18 crewmembers. Two live tanks have a total capacity of 2,000 cubic metres or approximately 270 tonnes of salmon. The tanks also have systems that will enable them to be unloaded simultaneously for faster turnarounds in port.

Designed to operate under strict sanitary and environmental requirements, the vessel will ensure operational safety and fish welfare during transportation. For this, it uses a technology developed by the Detroit Group in a project that resulted in a highly automated system, providing the operator with full control and monitoring of loading, transport, and unloading conditions of live fish.

The vessel’s catch handling equipment consists of an RSW tank, an automatic cleaning system, O3 disinfection systems, UV sterilisers, O2 injection systems, solids removal systems, and movable bulkheads. The catch handling equipment is optimised to ensure any live fish that has been caught can survive for up to seven days. Thus, in addition to being fitted with automated equipment for collecting, counting, weighing, and sorting, the wellboat also has specialised systems for controlling and maintaining temperature, water purity, oxygen levels and acidity. This also prevents the salmon from dispersing and becoming stressed during transit, which would otherwise impact their quality.

The wellboat’s main role is to transport six-month-old fingerlings between the Detroit Group’s shore factories to offshore fish farms. After the fingerlings have grown into adult salmon, the vessel will then transport these back to shore for slaughtering, processing, and packaging.

Click here for more news and gear stories, feature articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s focus on fishing and aquaculture.

Type of vessel:Wellboat
Owner:Detroit Group, Chile
Builder:Detroit Brasil
Length overall:72.1 metres
Beam:15.5 metres
Draught:5.3 metres
Capacity:270 tonnes
Maximum speed:10 knots
Refrigeration/fish processing equipment:RSW tank; automatic cleaning system; O3 disinfection systems; UV sterilisers; O2 injection systems; solids removal systems; movable bulkheads

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