105m Russian trawler making ‘significant improvement’ in
trawling efficiency with Scanbas system from Scanmar
While much of the news in recent times has focused on the latest in trawl technology from Scanmar – high-spec upgrades of various sensors and systems – the reliability of Scanmar’s existing products, operated in combination with newer versions, in fleets across the world shows what a difference that a company’s dedication to R&D in producing quality technology can make.
One vessel reaping the benefits of this technology from Scanmar is the impressive Russian-flagged distant trawler Humpback Whale.
Built in 1996 at Nikolaev Shipyard, the BATM-classed (Big Automated Freezer Trawler) has an overall length of 105m, gross tonnage of some 4,407 tonnes, and is powered by a main engine of 8,162hp.
Working on trips of three to four months at sea, carrying out trawls of two to four hours between hauls, Captain Vladimir Petrovich Savkin* and his crew of 60 participate mainly in pelagic fisheries (mackerel, horse mackerel and sardine) in the waters of Morocco, Mauretania, Guinea-Bissau and Angola where they are unlimited by quota restrictions (except for Moroccan waters).
Using 9 and 10sq m. trawl doors from market leader Thyborøn Trawldoors in Denmark, Humpback Whale operates a single pelagic trawl, Sirius-1,2,3 supplied by AquaService in Lithuania.
“Scanmar equipment is absolutely much easier and more reliable than anything I have used before” – Captain Vladimir Petrovich Savkin, Skipper of the 105m freezer trawler Humpback Whale.
Humpback Whale uses an original type of ScanBas system with a pair of door height sensors measuring height over the bottom, and door sensors for distance, depth, angles of the doors as well as four catch sensors.
Flow sensors are also employed to see the symmetry of the trawl and speed of the underwater current and ‘TrawlEye’ to see the influx of the fish in the net and height, opening and clearance of the trawl.
“Although the Scanmar equipment was only installed on this vessel six months ago, already we have seen significant improvement in trawl efficiency and now we have more control over the trawl doors and net, and pitch and roll angles and depth of the doors graphics is proving to be especially useful,” said Captain Savkin, adding that this technology also gave them the possibility to control and adjust the geometry of trawl, with the system being “reliable and stable”.
As many skippers across the international catching sector have commented, specific essential advantages of Scanmar systems include visual control of the trawl doors and possibility to see the volume and size of fish influx in the trawl with Trawl Eye sensor, and also the possibility to see the filling of trawl with the catch sensors when fishing very small depths and the headrope is going near to the surface of the ocean.
“As well as this, the historical graphical information is very useful as it shows us the behavior of trawl doors and net during different periods of trawling and lets us adjust trawling gear for specific fishery and areas,” commented Captain Savkin, further adding that the light and sound alarm on the bridge system (which can be turned on and off) is useful for various situations, and light indicators on sensors show their charging status which makes it simple to see if they need to be charged.
If any further examples of how fishermen would benefit from this Scanmar system were needed, Captain Savkin went on to explain how gives him the possibility to increase the area and volume of fishing.
“We can now control the geometry and position of trawl and, when we can track the behavior of trawl doors with help of historical graphical information from Scanmar, then we can further adjust them to more effective trawling and react more operatively to any unexpected changes in trawl door positions.
“Trawl Eye shows us if the fish is coming inside the net and see how effective is the fishery in general – how much of the fish is going inside and how much escapes the net.
“Meanwhile, the Catch sensors shows us the filling of trawl with the fish even on small depths, so that we don’t need to sink the trawl deeper,” he said, adding that because he finds it easier to control of trawl and trawl doors’ position and geometry, this results in time saved in general.
With regard to the quality and longevity of the actual sensors the Russian skipper said he was pleased to report that, thus far, there have been no signs of wear and tear of the sensors.
“We’ve had absolutely no problem with the service and maintenance of these sensors, as they are quite easy to use and keep them in good condition – without the need for any technical support in doing so,” he said.
“Scanmar equipment has proven to be a useful investment which has given us significant improvement in trawling efficiency and control of the gear”
Praising the labour-free and ease of use of Scanmar equipment, Vladimir Savkin is very pleased to comment that they have experienced no difficulties with exploitation of Scanmar system and sensors.
“All in all, I can say that Scanmar equipment has proven to be a useful investment which has given us significant improvement in trawling efficiency and control of the gear.
“If asked would I recommend these systems to other skippers, I would have to admit that I haven’t yet had enough experience with the Scanmar equipment yet to give the recommendations to other skippers – but if the equipment continues to perform this well, then I will certainly give it my approval for other fishermen,” he said, adding “what is absolutely positive is that Scanmar equipment is much easier and more reliable in exploitation than similar systems from other manufacturers”.
“Value for money? Although we haven’t used the system for so long period and we will need more exploitation time to give the certain answer, I think we are almost positive that they answer to this question is a definitive “Yes”!
*Background on Captain Vladimir Petrovich Savkin
Born in 1956 Vladimir Savkin graduated from Maritime & Engineering University in Kaliningrad in 1980
Since completing his studies, he has been working all his life in the fishing industry around Africa and in South-East Pacific since then, mainly on large and middle-sized trawlers including: Moonsund, Prometey, Sprut, Pulkovskiy Meridian and currently on the Humpback Whale.