The new Altaire LK 429 arrived in Lerwick on the morning of Saturday, 1 July, after completion by Karstensens Skibsværft in Skagen.

Speaking onboard later in the day, skipper Chris Duncan described his new command as ‘top class’. At 80m, the new Altaire in nearly the largest vessel in the Shetland fleet, and will operate with a crew of 12.

“It’s a big upgrade,” Chris Duncan said. Despite only being around 4m longer, with a beam of 17.5m the new vessel is around 30% bigger than her 19-year-old predecessor.

The crew were shortly due to start taking gear onboard in preparation for the summer herring fishery.


The new Altaire heads in to Lerwick at the end of her delivery trip from Skagen. (Photo: Ivan Reid)

The new Altaire is powered by a Wärtsilä engine, with deck machinery suppliers including SeaQuest Systems and Karmøy Winch.

Collafirth, at the north of the Shetland mainland, has been the Altaire’s home for many years, but Chris Duncan suggested that with the new vessel’s larger size she may be berthed in Lerwick at some times of the year.

The Altaire Fishing Company, which includes partners from Shetland as well as a majority stake held by Plymouth-based company Interfish, posted its annual accounts at Companies House earlier in June.

The company reported a turnover of £29.82m, a 49% increase on the 12 months to 30 September, 2021, and operating profits of £13.27m, an increase of 131%, reflecting the healthy state of the pelagic sector.

Previous documents lodged as part of a judicial review by organisations representing pelagic vessel owners fighting the latest economic link conditions imposed by Marine Scotland suggested that average profitability in the sector is 40%.

Northbay Pelagic, the Peterhead-based processor where the new Altaire is expected to land much of her catch, reported much more modest profits of £213,120.

A full report on the new vessel will appear in Fishing News soon.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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