New factory trawlers for Canadian north

Norwegian naval architect Skipsteknisk has secured a series of orders from Canadian fishing companies, most recently for 100% Inuit-owned operations.

Last year saw the delivery of Ocean Choice International’s Calvert and an order placed for a new Polar Code standard trawler for Clearwater Seafoods and Ocean Prawns in Denmark, currently under construction at Tersan.

Now an agreement has been struck with Qikiqtaaluk Fisheries Corporation (QFC) for the design of a new trawler to replace the company’s existing Saputi, which dates back to 1987.

The new Saputi II will be a 79 metre LOA by 17 metre breadth factory freezer trawler with a carrying capacity for 800 tonnes of shrimp or 1200 tonnes of turbot (Greenland halibut), a significant upgrade on the current trawler’s fishroom space for 600 tonnes of shrimp or 900 tonnes of turbot.

The Skipsteknisk-designed Saputi II will replace the current Saputi which was built in 1987. Images: Skipsteknisk

‘We report that design work is nearing completion and we are extremely pleased with the results,’ said QC President and CEO Harry Flaherty.

Saputi II will increase overall harvests and production and reduce overall cost per ton of finished product and provide more jobs for Nunavummiut,’ said QC chairman Olayuk Akesuk.

‘QC and its wholly owned subsidiary QFC have been pioneers in the development of the Nunavut offshore shrimp and turbot fishery and this latest endeavour shows our ongoing commitment to the fishery and maximising benefits to Nunavummiut.’

This has been followed by the announcement of a contract for a clean-design, purpose-built, 80-metre stern trawler, to be delivered in February 2024 to Baffin Fisheries, with the build taking place at Tersan.

Baffin Fisheries new 80 metre trawler is expected to be the largest fishing vessel under the Canadian flag

Expected to be the largest fishing vessel in Canadian ownership, this new trawler will have fishroom capacity for 1320 tonnes of frozen-at-sea Greenland halibut (turbot) or 930 tonnes of cold-water shrimp.

‘This is a great accomplishment for a 100% Inuit-owned company that’s just 20 years old,’ said Baffin Fisheries chairman David Alexander in Iqaluit.

‘The new vessel will allow us to immediately increase benefits to Nunavut communities and improve employment opportunities and working conditions for our Inuit fishermen.’

Owned by Inuit Hunters and Trappers Associations in five Qikiqtani region (Baffin Island) communities, Baffin Fisheries was incorporated on 6th November, 2001. Today the Company is a leading commercial fishing enterprise in Northern Canada, harvesting more than 10,000 tonnes of Greenland halibut and cold-water shrimp annually.

Scotiabank led the incremental financing of up to $60M towards the $72M acquisition and included direct lending from Export Development Canada (EDC).  The Canadian Economic Development Agency (CanNor) is providing a $3M repayable contribution towards the vessel.

‘The team from Scotiabank and EDC allowed us to finance this acquisition entirely within Canada, and the loan from CanNor ensured the best design/build possible for our unique Arctic fishing environment. This incredible new vessel reduces our carbon footprint, provides greater returns to shareholders, and has capacity for expansion, including the ability to harvest new species in the future,’ said Baffin Fisheries CEO Chris Flanagan.

‘We are proud to support this investment in Baffin Fisheries, which will bring long term incremental benefits to Nunavut communities, and support this strong Inuit owned fishing company,’ commented Sean Albert, SVP business banking distribution at Scotiabank.

‘This transaction co-led by our Commercial Banking Team and our Indigenous Financial Services Team aligns with our desire to continue to grow our support for the Inuit-led businesses, as well as supporting the fisheries industry across Canada.’