Samherji trawler to trial live transport capability following refit in Denmark

A pelagic trawler acquired late last year by Icelandic fishing company Samherji will soon begin conducting trials of its newly installed suite of live transport equipment optimised for groundfish.

Oddeyrin is currently at the faciltiies of Karstensens Skibsværft in Denmark, where the conversion is in its final stages. Modifications to the vessel include increasing the hull length by 10 metres, installation of a processing deck and fish hold, and reconfiguring the existing cooling tanks to enable these to store live catch.

A new deckhouse, which will house sorting facilities, has been set up while work is underway to install catch sorting equipment after fish has been pumped on board. Also, fishfinding sensors and other equipment on the bridge will be upgraded to better suit groundfish fishing.

The processing equipment will include a new type of washing system, bleeding bins for the catch that will be slaughtered on board, a liquid ice machine that will be used to cool catch during processing and in the fish hold. Samherji said that, with this equipment and technology, emphasis is placed on the bleeding and cooling of the catch slaughtered on board, though the aim is that the vast majority of the catch will go live in tanks and delivered live ashore.

The vessel, previously named Western Chieftain, is a 45-metre-long pelagic vessel that Samherji acquired and had converted for groundfish fishing with the option of pumping fish on board and storing it alive in specially equipped tanks.

The vessel has retained its bottom trawling equipment but now also features a vacuum pump system that will pump the catch from the trawl net on the side of the vessel and onto the deck. The fish will then be bled/gutted and placed in tanks with refrigerated seawater for short-term storage.

Afterwards, the fish will be transferred into traditional tubs and placed in cold storage on board.

Western Chieftain was originally built by Karstensens Skibsværft for Frank Doherty, a fisherman from County Donegal, Ireland. It was delivered to its original owner in late 2018.

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