Three pelagic vessels left Shetland within a few hours of each other at the start of last week, to enter new eras, report Ivan Reid and David Linkie.

Above: Antarctic II will return to Shetland later this year, looking very different to when she left.

Two of the eight midwater trawlers in the Shetland fleet, Serene and Research, have been sold to new international owners, while Antarctic II will return to Lerwick later in the year on completion of major modernisation work now being carried out in Norway.

The 71.6m Serene LK 297, built at West Con Shipyard, Ølensvag, in 2009 for skipper Bobby Polson and partners (Serene Fishing Company Ltd) left Symbister harbour for Denmark, where a few small jobs are now being carried out before the vessel is handed over to her new Norwegian owners.

Shetland midwater fleet

Serene will be renamed Havstål by her new Norwegian owners.

Expected to start fishing blue whiting west of Ireland next month, Serene will be renamed Havstål. Serene will be replaced by an 82m midwater trawler scheduled for delivery by Karstensens Shipyard in mid-2018.

The 78.3m Research LK 62 also left Lerwick late on last Monday afternoon before passing Whalsay at full-speed for the last time in rapidly fading light on her way to be delivered to her new owners at Klaksvik in the Faroe Islands where the vessel is expected to be renamed Borgarin.

Antarctic II, owned by the Fiskebas Fishing Company Ltd, was the first boat to sail last week, heading across the North Sea to the Langsten Shipyard at Tomrefjord, Norway where the 13-year old midwater trawler is scheduled to be lengthened by 7.8m as part of an extensive upgrade project.

Shetland midwater fleet

Research has been sold to Faroe.

Other associated work will include fitting a full-length watertight boat deck, a new whaleback, and fish pumping and catch handling/storage arrangements. Skipper John William Stewart’s new-look Antarctic II is expected to return to Shetland in time for this summer’s North Sea herring fishery.

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