AWARDS 2021 | Best Shrimper – Federico C – Astillero Federico Contessi y Cia

AWARDS 2021 | Best Shrimper – Federico C – Astillero Federico Contessi y Cia


Best Shrimper – Federico C – Astillero Federico Contessi y Cia

Traditional looking, perhaps, but with a very modern hull shape and the best of equipment and finishes, this very impressive shrimper has been designed for very hard work in the rugged South Atlantic. Unusually, for a trawler, particularly a South American one, aluminium was used in the construction of her deck and her superstructure, though the hull is made from steel. That should help keep the operating costs down.

“At first glance,” the builder told Baird Maritime, “it is not a traditional shrimper trawler of the Argentine fleet. Its X-bow, the curved aluminium wheelhouse, and its external appearance already point to its difference from contemporary vessels.

“In terms of equipment, we installed top-of-the-line components in the engine room, as well as on the deck and in the accommodation spaces. Therefore, it is not only a beautiful ship in its external appearance, but also very competitive in its operation.”

As the nearly 40-metre LOA shrimp boat is the shipyard’s longest vessel newbuilding project to date, significant changes to existing facilities became necessary.

“We had to move out of our comfort zone as our existing shipyard facilities were originally optimised for building smaller vessels. To accommodate this project, we needed to build blocks indoors and then relocate them outside for assembly.”

This key change taught the builder some valuable lessons in optimising times and improving procedures for future vessel projects. It also serves as a springboard for further expansion of facilities to accommodate vessel newbuildings of up to 75 metres in length with fewer impediments.

The work on Federico C is part of a broader fleet renewal process, as Argentina seeks to replace its older fishing vessels, some of which each have an average age of 40 years.

“There is a new regulation that is currently having the greatest impact on the fishing boat construction
segment in Argentina,” the builder told Baird Maritime. “The replacement regulation – DNU 145/19 – establishes that, if the vessels are built in the country, they can be up to 10 per cent larger than those being replaced, whereas if the vessels are built abroad, they have to comply with an exactly equal quota of fishing effort to that of the vessels they will replace.”

The builder added that the Argentine fishing industry must continue implementing this fleet renewal program as it paves the way for more modern features that promote greater efficiency.

“We see conventional fishing vessels with open decks being replaced by double-deck vessels with key features such as covered processing plants, conveyor belts, and accommodation spaces set above the waterline. All these improvements will result in products of better quality of the product as well as enhanced safety and comfort for crews.

The year 2021 was a turning point for the company, and it began with the signing of a six-vessel newbuilding contract with a locally-based, Chinese-owned operator. The following months saw another six orders from various clients and involving vessels of differing sizes. Combined, these newbuilding projects will mean continuous work at the shipyard over the next four years.

“We are optimistic about the future in terms of production, although in economic terms, we know that changes in the country’s macroeconomics will have serious impacts on companies. We are therefore making our maximum effort to be able to fulfil our clients’ requests in a timely manner. We feel that, despite all the inconveniences caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are achieving this goal.”

The builder added that the global fishing industry faces a new challenge in sourcing new engines with reduced impact on the environment coupled with lower operating costs.

“It seems difficult to achieve both objectives today, but we are confident that with advances in technology, it will still be possible. We hope to be able to offer our clients with more efficient vessels fitted with battery hybrid propulsion, which will result in significant savings in fuel consumption.”

The builder explained that a resurgence is underway in Argentina’s shipbuilding industry after several years.

“The industry was the strongest in Latin America from the 1960s to the early 1980s, but it then suffered a very significant setback. Today, hand in hand with the fishing industry, we are seeing a resurgence that is still in its infancy.”

The builder adds that the shipbuilding industry’s continued prosperity will not depend on a single vessel segment. Opportunities are therefore being explored in other segments such as river transportation, dredging, and offshore exploration.

“We believe that if local authorities are aware of the need to take advantage of these opportunities and understand that the shipbuilding industry must participate in these businesses, the future of the Argentine workboat industry will be promising. But it will still depend on many factors that need to be addressed. For example, river transportation is greatly affected by periods of drought.”

For a list of the 2021 “Best Of” award winners, please click here.

Baird Maritime

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