Hampshire firm scoops export win with workboat for Malta tuna farm

Export | Food & Drink | South East
Workboat similar to model being built for Maltese tuna farm by SMS

Southampton Marine Services has won a contract to build an aquaculture workboat for a tuna farm operator in Malta.  The company beat off tough European competition for the major export win.

Southampton Marine Services (SMS) has built its reputation as a specialist in ship repair, marine engineering and major fabrication projects in the commercial marine, defence and superyachts sectors.

It builds workboats, under the Bulldog brand, for the marine civils, aquaculture, fisheries and ports and harbours sectors. The vessel is expected to be delivered to the owner Fish and Fish Ltd in mid-summer 2019.

Her main purpose will be tuna harvesting and aquaculture/fish farm logistical and maintenance support.

John Buck, SMS business development manager, said: “This is a big win for us, given both the scale of the opportunity and the obvious competition from Europe. We’ve listened to the client, customised our offering, and via a competitive process we’ve won the build.

“This project is particularly exciting given the size of the market in Malta and the environmental innovation that we’ve built into the design with regards to the containment and management of fish oil. It is good news for SMS, good news for workboat building in Southampton, and good news for UK plc.”

The vessel, ordered last week, has is 24m in length overall, has an 8.5m beam, and a 3m draft. She will be built to the MCA-MGN-280-Category 1 (150nm from safe haven) workboat code.

The order was secured following an initial meeting at the Seawork exhibition in Southampton earlier this year.

David Azzopardi, Fish and Fish Ltd director, said: “It’s been a great pleasure working through the specification with John and the team at SMS and we look forward to the build process. This represents a major investment for Fish and Fish Ltd, and it illustrates not only the strength of our business but also our belief in the environmental sustainability of the aquaculture industry here in Malta.”

“Having met John and SMS at Seawork in 2017, and then latterly concluding the purchase post Seawork 2018, we’re looking forward to supporting workboat building the UK. We think the quality of the product is superb – and the level of flexibility and customer commitment illustrated by SMS is genuinely exceptional.”

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