Zamakona Yards has been played a main role in this investigation project. The objective of this Basque Maritime Forum project was the design and construction of an intelligent fishing vessel prototype to form part of the coastal fleet. The vessel will offer optimal safety standards and automation of elements related to navigation and fishing manoeuvres, and will be capable of fishing responsibly, competitively and efficiently.


All the processes of the prototype will be automated. Fish handling will be reduced to a minimum. Because it will be possible to weigh and classify the product onboard, the fish-sale process can be carried out while the ship is still at sea, without the need to go to auction. Fuel consumption will also be reduced by means of dieselelectric propulsion.


The final result is a pole and line tuna vessel, i.e., a vessel belonging to the coastal seining segment. The objective is to maximising vessel profitability by means of more costeffective fishing and by enabling automated control of all processes, from fish storage to net casting and from fuel consumption to equipment operation.


The most striking aspects of the new vessel are those featuring the greatest innovation: the modular hold, the bridge and the new propulsion system. These represent the greatest enhancements with respect to current fishing vessels.


The objective in all respects was a vessel design featuring innovative elements. Priority was given to energy efficiency but enhanced safety, comfortable onboard working conditions (mechanisation and automation of fish handling, accommodation), and information and communications technologies were also emphasised.





This project has had a total duration of three years and is has structured in three phases.


1st Phase: Viability Study

In this first phase of the project, the different segments making up the coastal fishing fleet were analysed (bottom trawling, smaller gear fishing, seining, bluefin tuna seining, bottom-set longlining, surface longlining, gillneting) for the purposes of designing an appropriate vessel.


Once the vessel type had been selected, the next step was to identify innovations to be included in the design. For this purpose it sought the input of vessel owners and large buyers of fish. It was decided to seek innovation in the following areas:


• Propulsion and manoeuvres

• Electricity and electronics

• Navigation and communications

• Accommodation and safety

• Vessel design

• Fish Handling/Preservation.


The fishing vessel owners emphasised two main areas requiring improvement:

1. The propulsion system and cost-efficiency

2. Preservation of fish quality.


The first area is of fundamental importance due to constant increases in fuel prices. Both fishing vessel owners and large fish buyers placed great importance on the need for as little onboard fish handling as possible.


They pointed out that such handling should be carried out as carefully and as delicately as possible and that the cold chain should be maintained until arrival in the port.


With respect to onboard fish preservation, the suggested solution was a modular hold with the highest levels of automation, which could also be used as a fish processing plant if necessary. The fish would be perfectly stowed, weighed and preserved. On arrival at the port, the produce could be easily unloaded and could even be sold without physically going to auction. This suggestion found favour with vessel owners. It was therefore decided to carry out an independent R&D study on the modular hold concept during the second phase.


The proposed vessel will also boast an integrated bridge, from which every part of the ship could be controlled and viewed: holds, engine room, deck machinery, etc. The objective is to facilitate life aboard these vessels and make this profession a more attractive one for future generations. A separate study was also carried out for the bridge.


2nd Phase: Design

The objective of this phase was to design the new vessel, working with the preliminary general arrangement presented to the vessel owners, giving it shape and attempting to respond to all the needs, suggestions and enhancements outlined in the course of the series of meetings with them. For this purpose, each of the innovations was defined and the different possible alternatives were analysed. This analysis took account of the opinions of the vessel owners and manufacturers.


Three separate R&D sub-projects were carried out:

1. Modular Hold

2. Integrated Bridge System

3. Propulsion.


3rd Phase: Building

All the parties involved in this R&D project hope that the Fishermen will identify and understand the advantages this advanced design represents for the Fishing Industry, and dare to make the next step: Order a vessel. 

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