Krill fishing and processing company Aker BioMarine has seen its new Antarctic Provider launched at the CIMC Raffles’ Yantai yard, ready for final outfitting ahead of the 2021 krill harvesting season.
The 168-metre Antarctic Provider replaces the company’s current support vessel, La Manche, and is designed to transport krill products and crew between fishing grounds and Aker BioMarine’s logistics hub in Montevideo, with limited interruption to harvesting operations.
Antarctic Provider is built to comply fully with the International Maritime Organization’s Polar Code, meeting requirements on hull strength and cold-proofing to cope with the Antarctic climate.
It is powered by a Wärtsilä 31 main engine, is outfitted with frequency-controlled thrusters, to avoid zero pitch loss and reduce underwater noise and has dynamic positioning capabilities to maintain position through the propellers and thrusters.
It has four, high-capacity cargo holds with a total 40,000 cubic metre capacity and moveable cranes on top of each cargo hold.
Lockdown hasn’t meant slowdown for Aker BioMarine, according to the company’s VP Fleet Renewal and Procurement, Eldar Vindvik.
‘We set the highest of ambitions for Antarctic Provider, as well as for CIMC and the suppliers. What we didn’t anticipate was COVID-19,’ he said.
‘Despite the challenging global environment and lockdown periods in 2020, our partners truly stepped up to keep up the progress on this vessel. The result is an incredible leap forward in maritime technology and sustainability that will enhance our krill harvesting operations in Antarctica.’
He commented that delivery is only a few weeks behind schedule.
‘It’s to the enormous credit of the sub-contractors in Norway, Wärtsilä, CIMC, as well as our own team, that this vessel is launched just a few weeks behind schedule, setting new standards for technology and sustainability in krill harvesting. With a propulsion system convertible for future fuels, we have built a future proof vessel that will support our operations in Antarctica for decades ahead,’ Eldar Vindvik said.