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New Opportune steams into Scalloway

The refitted Opportune arriving at Scalloway harbour on Friday morning - Photos: Chris Cope/ Shetland News

THERE was another boost for Shetland’s fishing industry on Friday morning when the new Opportune LK 209 arrived in Scalloway following a £1.3 million refit.

The whitefish trawler has spent the last 12 months being renovated by Macduff Shipyards, with the vessel retaining its old shell but enjoying an extensive redevelopment.

On Friday morning the 24.8m long boat berthed at Scalloway harbour and skipper Ross Christie, from Burra, said he was pleased with the final result.

Skipper Ross Christie

Family members cracked open a bottle of bubbly to pour over the trawler’s netting to welcome her when she arrived in port.

Among the improvements are two new winches and net equipment, while the bridge is decked out with the latest monitoring equipment.

Christie said the fishing partnership had considered buying a new boat entirely, but they were offered a refit at half the price.

The trawler’s wheelhouse and accommodation area was previously refurbished in 2011 following a fire in the mess room.

Shetland Fisherman’s Association’s Simon Collins also watched on as the new Opportune arrived and he said the refitting of vessels shows that the industry is in good health.

“It’s part of a trend – it’s not one off. We’ve seen in the last couple of years that you’ll get more and more of this renewal of the industry altogether, and not just whitefish, but pelagic as well,” he said.

“These are pretty good times for our industry. You see it in landings as well. Four years in a row there were record landings and hopefully there will be another one this year.”