Zamakona shipyard. (Photo: Astilleros Zamakona)
Basque group invests USD 30 million in new tuna vessel
Friday, March 30, 2012, 23:00 (GMT + 9)
The Basque group Echebastar Fleet signed a contract with Astilleros Zamakona SA for the construction of a freezing tuna ship, worth EUR 30 million.
The Basque Maritime Forum reported that this is the first of a new generation of tuna vessels, designed and developed by the naval technical office Cintranaval-Defcar SL in cooperation with Echebastar.
The forum said the technical office from the Bay of Biscay is a "world reference" in this type of vessels, and it has participated in projects for about 80 freezer tuna vessels of several companies.
The new boat will have a capacity of 1,900 cubic meters, and it will be 88 metres long and 14 metres wide, and will be able to carry 1,330 tonnes of frozen tuna.
The ship will be ready in January 2014 and will feature cutting edge equipment for the detection of fish.
Kepa Etxebarria, head of the Basque fishing group, said the construction of this new vessel comes as an answer to the growing customers’ demand. Furthermore, it meets the aim of consolidating Echebastar’s position in the demanding Japanese market.
The company Echebastar Fleet was founded in Bermeo in 1969. It is devoted to fishing for tuna in the Indian Ocean and has a fleet of three tuna freezing ships: Campolibre Alai, Elai Alai and Alakrana, which was hijacked by Somali pirates and was held captive for 47 days in autumn in 2009.
To Etxebarria, the assignment of this new ship to Astilleros Zamakona represents "an important strategic decision for the company," Europa Press reported.
The shipyard, located in Santurtzi (Biscay), also has plants in Pasaia (Gipuzkoa) and Las Palmas and has extensive experience in the construction of fishing vessels.
Zamakona Group President Peter Garaygordobil, said he hopes "that this contract is the first step of a long and fruitful business relationship between the two companies."
Zamakona is the only Spanish shipyard receiving orders for ships this year. The Basque fishing contract is added to other orders, which include one for the construction of a transport vessel and for processing live fish for the company Solvtrans AS and an offshore ship for the Danish shipowner Esvagt A/S.
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By Silvina Corniola