Baird Maritime rarely reviews Moroccan-built vessels, but this “pocket battleship” of a trawler, designed in Brittany for an experienced Breton fisherman, creates a very good impression. While only 22 metres in LOA, this powerful and potent diesel-electric trawler has been designed for both maximum seaworthiness and maximum trawling capability, yet it remains both attractive and very versatile. She will need both capabilities in her chosen operational area that encompasses both the notorious Bay of Biscay and the wider North Atlantic Ocean to the west of Ireland.
“We believe the vessel is noteworthy for its shaped and optimised hull for minimum drag and very good water supply to the propeller,” Cabinet SDA told Baird Maritime. “All hull appendages are streamlined for reduced drag. There is also constant trim in all cases of loading of the fish hold and the diesel tank in the centre A fishing vessel with a strong positive trim consumes 10 percent more diesel and the propeller thrust is 10 per cent lower, as validated by an OPTIPRIM study conducted on five fishing vessels.”
The designer added that benefits such as reduced noise and low maintenance costs contribute to the vessel’s uniqueness and its suitability for its intended role.
The design team explained there was difficulty in the integration of the electric propulsion even with the advantages that it offered.
“As this is a propulsion prototype, the information (plans, weight and dimensions) arrived during construction. As an example, the propulsion cabinet is 4.5 metres wide, 0.8 metres deep, and two metres high with a total weight of 2,680 kilograms. The refrigeration skid, the braking resistor, and the plate heat exchanger must also be integrated.”
Cabinet SDA also discovered that the initial planned total power output of the diesel generators was somewhat excessive.
“We have on board a main generator of 590 kVa and a secondary generator of 350 kVa and in principle we should use the main generator continuously and the secondary generator as a backup for starting the hydraulic pumps. In practice, we realised that it was more ideal to run the two generators at the same time for reasons of diesel savings and generator load. Currently, in operation, the groups are between 35 and 40 per cent of load, respectively.”
Cabinet SDA gained valuable insights on diesel generator arrangement and decided that its next newbuilding project would instead apply the more practical approach of having two 350kVa sets on board.
When asked about trends that are influencing the momentum in the naval architecture sector, Cabinet highlighted diesel consumption as a main concern among shipowners.
“This is especially true in the fishing sector,” the company told Baird Maritime. “At present, the price of diesel is high and this is likely to continue for some time. The new generation of fishermen are also conscious about possible environmental impact and so they are leaning more towards sustainable and responsible fishing with fewer CO2 emissions and better management of resources.”
The designer added that increased onboard comfort was another way of attracting younger people to the industry.
“We are also mindful of the need to reduce noise pollution in compliance to a mandate to regulate ambient noise levels when new fishing vessels are put into service.”
Cabinet SDA fortunately experienced positive developments in the past year with deliveries of eight newbuild fishing vessels to customers in France and another dozen to operators in Morocco.
“Nevertheless, it was a complicated year, especially for the vessels built in Morocco. The Covid pandemic made it impossible for us to visit Morocco for months at a time due to the closure of borders.
The company still remains optimistic about the future, driven in large part by its order book being full for the year 2022. Interestingly, newbuilding orders include five electric-powered fishing boats.
“The French fishing fleet is very old with an average age of more than 30 years for each vessel, so a renewal is necessary. Included in this renewal are more efficient boats that consume less diesel and ensure increased comfort for the crew while satisfying the requirements for sustainable and responsible fishing.
“The notion of diesel-electric propulsion is a promising one, but we are also interested in ongoing studies regarding hydrogen propulsion.”
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