The Whalsay midwater trawler Antarctic II LK 145 is currently undergoing an extensive vessel upgrade and lengthening project at the Vard Langsten Shipyard in Tomrefjord, to the south of Molde, Norway, reports David Linkie.

Above: The new look Antarctic II back in the water. (Photos: Ivor Leslie)

Before skipper John William Stewart and partners of Fiskebas Fishing Company Ltd delivered Antarctic II to Tomrefjord in February, they liaised closely with the vessel’s original designers, Skipsteknisk AS of Ålesund, Norway, to formulate plans for the modernisation of the 13-year-old vessel.

On arrival at Vard Langsten Shipyard, which is a part of the Fincantieri group, the 61.9m Antarctic II entered the undercover drydock as preparation work for cutting the hull in half amidships began.

This work involved welding 20mm² key steels to the hull to form a 15mm gap that served as a guide during the cutting process. The hull was cut from the gunwale rail to the keel using a diamond-encrusted wire. With a cable speed of 18m per second, the wire was kept cool with water nozzles.

When Antarctic II had been cut in half, the fore and aft sections were pulled apart in preparation for the insertion of a new 7.8m hull section, prefabrication of which was completed before the vessel left Shetland.

The bulkheads of the existing RSW tanks have been repositioned to maintain the existing nine-tank arrangement, the capacity of which has been increased from 1,480m³ to approximately to 2,000m³.
Additional double bottom tanks in the new hull section, the displacement of which will significantly raise the vessel’s freeboard level, will increase fuel capacity from 385m³ to approximately 490m³.

The forward bulkhead has also been moved a few frames aft to allow for a complete re-arrangement of the vessel’s RSW pump room and manifold piping in plastic. This work also includes installation of a water-flow monitoring system to all RSW tanks and upgrading of the vessel’s refrigeration plants.

A new whaleback was fabricated in the maintenance hall before being lifted into position while Antarctic II was still on the drydock, as work continued to fit a watertight full-length boat deck from the accommodation casing forward to the original whaleback. A new pump-through fish hose reel has also been mounted on the new deck as part of a complete new fish distribution/water separator system, that will be set into the upper deck to ensure that water-tightness is maintained.

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