The back story is that six years ago he ordered a new trawler, Mikkel Louise, to be built at Vestværft. The handover took place in 2020, just as the Covid pandemic hit and although the trawler fished well, the crash in the restaurant sector meant that sales of shrimp and whitefish ground to a standstill.
The upshot was that Mikkel Louise was sold to Dutch owners, and Torben Johansen placed an order for a smaller trawler at the same yard.
Christina RI-344 is laid out for shrimping with beam trawl gear, and switching to twin-rigging for groundfish as the seasons change. Torben Johansen has started fishing on shrimp – a last-minute decision, as the intention had been to make a start by targeting groundfish – with what he hopes is a future-proofed new fishing vessel.
The 17.24 metre, 5.80 metre Christina has a couple of Scanias in its engine room. These are a DI09 powering the electrical systems and the hydraulics on board, and a 210kW DI13 main engine driving the fixed-pitch 1800mm diameter propeller inside a nozzle and a shaft generator.
The bow thruster is a 90hp Hundested FT3 unit and the steering gear is an AS-Scan MT-500 installation. CJC supplied the automatic filtration system.
Accommodation on board is for a crew of three.
Thyborøn Skibs og Motor – 3xJ supplied the hydraulics and the deck equipment, with three 4.20-tonne split winches managed by a trawl computer, plus a pair of 8-tonne net drums and a variety of smaller winches.
The shrimp processing system is from de Boer RVS, with a complete system for cooking, sorting and delivering the shrimp to the fishroom, which is kept cold with an Nordkøl chiller system.
El Vest fitted Christina’s electrical systems and also supplied and fitted the wheelhouse electronics, including Simrad gear sensors, a Furuno satellite compass, four plotters, a pair of Furuno radars, Sailor communications and an Intellian TV reception system.
Egersund Trawl in Hvide Sande supplied the two shrimp trawls and Christina’s rigging.
Torben Johansen certainly remains optimistic, despite the burdens imposed on Danish fisheries by politicians, and what he sees as the long litany of broken promises – of which just the most recent are the Brexit agreement under which bought and paid for quotas were ‘stolen’ from West Jutland fishermen, a half-hearted decommissioning subsidy and lukewarm compensation paid to Danish fishermen for loss of income following Brexit.
His opinion of current fisheries minister Rasmus Prehn is at rock bottom, following a meeting held in the port’s auction hall to discuss sky-rocketing fuel prices, after which nothing has changed.
Despite all this – the political turmoil, proposals to fill the entire North Sea with offshore wind turbines and energy islands as well as buried submarine cables all over the place, Torben Johansen is still an irrepressible optimist.
‘There’ll probably still be a fishery. After all this has settled down,’ he said, adding that right now fish prices are good and even if catches are lower than they have been, so the boat’s earnings are higher and the future-proofed Christina has a future ahead of it in the Danish fishing industry.