An extensive two-year, N$28 million project by Hangana Seafood has given new life to the ‘Otter Bank’, one of eight vessels owned by the local fishing company. According to Hangana Managing Director Herman Theron, the ‘Otter Bank’ was recalled from duty in June 2014 to undergo an extensive overhaul.
“The health and safety of our staff is our number one priority, and is what motivated us to withdraw one of our best performing vessels from duty, to equip her with the best and newest technology available in the industry.
“Taking her out of operation for two years was tough in terms of the effect it had on our catch effort, however it was the right thing to do and has delivered excellent results. I am extremely proud of what has been achieved by our own people,” said Theron.
He added that the trawl doors, main winch, net drums and winches needed attention. New custom designed Carrel winches from Spain were installed, while the vessel was fitted with an ABC engine to enable it to run on intermediate fuel oil (IFO), supporting the business’s striving to reduce its carbon footprint.
The ‘Otter Bank’ also received a new Icer Wyss pitch system with 1500 kilowatt (kW) (equal to 2100 horsepower) for propulsion. The vessel underwent abrasive surface blasting from bow to stern on the syncrolift, while her romp and plates were analysed and inspected. Critical points were blasted out while the whole main deck was replaced as well as 70% of her port side shell plates.
The rebuilding of the ‘Otter Bank’ also saw significant investment in local capacity development. “Repairs and maintenance, including the boiler making and all technical work were done by Namibians, right here in Walvis Bay. Hangana Seafood is very committed to the O&L Group purpose of ‘Creating a future, Enhancing life’ for all Namibians. Making use of local services and expertise is therefore a natural contribution to growing our fellow Namibians and local businesses,” Theron explained.
According to Hangana Seafood Fleet Technical Manager, Christie Sitzer, the ‘Otter Bank’ was also made more maintenance friendly to enhance efficiency and performance, by amongst others a new pulley system, the conversion of all direct current (DC) generators to alternating current (AC) generators, and the implementation of a stand-by system for the winch through a new auxiliary engine 6 cylinder driven by an AC generator.
“The vessel’s fish hold was also redone and all refrigeration and electrical systems were upgraded. The vessel’s stock pond and navigation system also received a new lease on life. The bridge equipment was replaced with the newest technology,” said Sitzer.
According to Sitzer, the first sea trial on May 18 2016 produced positive results. He says a comparison was made between the test bands report received from Belgium and the load put on the engine.
Each load agreed with the test band. The skipper also commented that the ‘Otter Bank’ performs, and moves much better than before and that the strength of her engine proved to be less noisy, and the pitch more sensitive.
An inclination test will be done in the first week of June after which the ‘Otter Bank’ will set sail for the fishing grounds.
Sitzer said: “I am proud of my team – each individual showed commitment beyond what was expected from them. They were adamant to make a success of this project. I could not have asked for a better team, they are truly awesome. We look forward to work on the ‘Otter Bank’s’ sister vessel, the ‘Fisher Bank’ which will follow suite in the near future.
“I would further like to convey my sincere appreciation to all suppliers including Kraatz, Hydroweld, JP Hydraulics, Technicool, BPW Investment and Rock Joiners, Namib Diesel, Hydraulic Services, Radio Electronics, Marcel Electronics, NK Fiberglass and Painting, Walvis Bay Diving, Jaydees, Polka Plumbing, Joshmar, Technisa as well as Opto Namibia for having a hand in making this ‘Otter Bank’ project a resounding success.”