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Grieg’s new wellboat arrives after long wait

| Written by Hans J Marter

The new Martin Saele arriving at Lerwick harbour - Photo: Sydney Sinclair The new Martin Saele arriving at Lerwick harbour - Photo: Sydney Sinclair LOCAL salmon producer Grieg Seafood Shetland has taken delivery of a brand new "state-of-the-art" wellboat on a long-term lease.

Built at the Spanish Gondan shipyard for Norwegian company Salmon Star AS, the 50-metre long Martin Saele arrived at Lerwick Harbour on 2 January.

Grieg Seafood's Shetland manager Grant Cumming said that at 1,000 cubic metres tank capacity, the new vessel is significantly larger than the one it replaced.

The new wellboat is also more versatile as it is fitted with UV and the latest filters for sealice treatment.

Cumming said the company had hoped to take delivery of the new wellboat two years ago, but unfortunately the almost-complete vessel capsized at its Turkish shipyard and was subsequently written off by the insurers.

"It didn't belong to Svein Martin of Salmon Star at the time, it still belonged to the yard in Turkey, but it was literally due to be handed over and was doing final tests when somebody made a mistake," Cumming said.

"So this is the second vessel that is being built for us with a couple of years delay.

"We had the advantage of having a second bite at the cherry thereby correcting all the things that we thought were maybe not perfectly right on the first one.

"The Martin Saele is built very much with Shetland in mind. Most of the wellboats these days have a forward wheelhouse, but this one has an aft wheelhouse for coping with the bad weather – you get less seasick with an aft wheelhouse and you can travel in worse weather.

"She is also shorter than most boats of her capacity, again to reduce the amount of wind she catches when she moored next to the pens. So she is quite beamy and relatively short."

Owner Svein Martin added: "She will be operated by two crews of five, working in shifts, and comes with all the key equipment – it has UV and filters which comply with the latest lice treatment regulation as well, and can also be used for smolt transfers and for harvesting operations.

"It also comes with a side thruster, which can turn 360 degrees, offering an extra safety aspect both for the boat's crew and the fish."

The new vessel will mainly be used for harvesting salmon from the company's farms around the isles and transporting it to its processing plant in Lerwick.

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