This is who the British-made salmon feed support vessel was made for

LCL/BioMar is a key delivery player in the Shetlands.

Last month, SalmonBusiness reported on the “Havara”, a salmon feed support vessel headed for the Shetland Islands, due for arrival in October.

At the time it was not known who the vessel, built at Parkol Marine Engineering, the only remaining boat builder in Whitby, was for.

It can now be reported that it was made for LCL/BioMar, a partnership which was started in 2001 to invest in “Scottish delivery vessel capability as a core and strategic part of Scottish Aquaculture”.

The 320-tonne “Havara” will be delivering to BioMar but also large feed operators such as EWOS and Cooke who took over former Skretting fish feed plant in Scotland (now called Northeast Nutrition Scotland Limited) in 2019.

“Havillah” and “Havgull”. PHOTO: LCL/BioMar

Colin Kay, who runs the company on the island of Whalssay, the sixth-largest of the Shetland Islands, told SalmonBusiness that the company has three shareholders including BioMar. It’s a small tight team consisting of five crew and another member of staff in the office.

Kay, who started his working life as a welder in home construction, said that over two decades ago he wanted a career change.

“We started looking into harvest vessels and one of the salmon farmers said ‘have you thought about delivering feed?’ and that was how it started,” said Scotsman Kay.

Their first vessel was the 280-tonne “Hagtull”, which it bought over twenty years ago from Norway when the company delivered exclusively for BioMar back in the day. “The Havgull was built in 1969 as a coaster then converted to a wellboat in 1990 and we changed her back in 2000,” he said.

“Havillah” and “Havgull”. PHOTO: LCL/BioMar

“If the wind picked up the large coasters would drag the barge anchors and bend the feed pipes. We don’t have DP (dynamic positioning ed.) on the “Havara”. She is small enough not to cause any these problems,” explained Kay.

“Havgull” is joined by 280-tonne “Havilah” which was delivered in 2015. Both vessels are chartered out to workboat operator Inverlussa.

No huge change
In terms of observing big changes over the years, Kaye said surprisingly not so much.

“We deliver pretty much the same barges as we did, there’s no huge change. There been a lot of companies changing hands but as far as the feed side of things, it’s really pretty much as it was. We’ve picked up more tonnage as the years have gone on,” he said.

In terms of having BioMar as a partner, who weathered the COVID-19 storm pretty well, he said it was “good to be tied in with the feed company, as you know that there is guaranteed work.”

New vessel “Havara” will carry up to 320 tonnes.

“We don’t really need that capacity up here. In peak months it’s pretty busy, feed is seasonal and we are in the peak now, August, September, October. Then it tapers off.”

As with so many things in the pandemic, Kay said that not being able to fully give the vessel a good send-off was strange.

“Havillah” and “Havgull”. PHOTO: LCL/BioMar

“It’s a shame, usually when you build a new boat, you take all the families away and have a launch and a party. It hasn’t happened, and that’s a shame. The naming and the breaking the bottle did not happen, but we will do something one day, maybe in a few months,” he said.

BioMar told SalmonBusiness: “BioMar and LCL continue to invest in new vessels to strengthen the fleet to meet customer demand and provide robust and reliable supply chain capability both in Shetland and the west coast & Argyle.”

“BioMar believes that investing in Logistics is a strategic component of our feed business and we continue to invest directly to support resilience and growth. Not only are we investing in our fleet to support delivery resilience and growth, but to signal our confidence in the Scottish aquaculture market.”