Advance to have major refit to revert to fishing industry

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Lockers Trawlers are to modernise the guard vessel Advance and adapt her for fishing once more due to the severe reduction in oil and wind farm work.

The company, which started in the 1980s and was taken over by Lockers Fish in 1985, announced this week that the vessel is being fitted with three new engines as well as the latest fuel technology by Ian Paton from SC Macalister in a £400,000 move.

And it will also have a new fish room installed and a new fish handling system.

“The first stage is now complete and the vessel is ready for the new main engine and gearbox to be lifted inboard,” said spokesman Andrew Locker.

“We have budgeted for £300,000 for the initial conversion with stage two, which is the fabrication and installation of a bespoke fish handling system, conveyors and an ice machine, we have budgeted a further £100,000.

“We hope to launch phase two around January 2017.”

The Advance was built in Cambeltown in 1987 and worked in the fishing industry from Peterhead, and has been committed to guard work for the oil/gas and renewables industry since 2011 when Lockers acquired her.

Andrew explained that little modification was needed to adapt the Advance to guard work (the term given to vessels which guard oil and renewables).

“To get the vessel into this kind of work we did not need to modify the vessel’s existing structure but had to apply and pass more certification, for example vessels who act as guard ships need to have IMCA (International Marine Contractors Association) certification.

“We also had to apply to be a ‘registered ‘workboat’ to gain access to foreign waters. A UK registered fishing vessel cannot act as a guard ship in foreign waters unless it is a work boat and the crew merchant seamen.”

He added that the four-man crew had to be retrained to convert from fishermen to merchant seamen through specific courses and now they face a new future in fishing.

Lockers have three fishing vessels - Our Lass 3, Sophie Louise and Resolution - and two guard vessels - Advance, soon to join the fishing fleet and Adventure. The company supplies Whitby’s famous Magpie Cafe.