Feed transport ship “Hoydal” running double shifts to meet unprecedented demand

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“I think this must be a record year. There are huge amounts of feed being sent out. I can’t remember it ever being so busy before.”

The cargo ship “Høydal” is heading to Myre in northern Norway to pick up another cargo of feed from BioMar. Along the way, SalmonBusiness meets the ship at the quay where she is to be refilled with Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). When she first went into operation in June 2012, “Høydal” was the world’s first cargo ship powered by LNG. For almost ten years, the cargo ship has sailed with feed along the coast for Biomar. The ship has capacity for about 22 tonnes of LNG, which, according to skipper Kent Erik Stavang, lasts about a week.

“I think this must be a record year. There are huge amounts of feed being sent out. I can’t remember it ever being so busy before. On this trip we have had 1,700 tonnes with us. 3,000 tonnes are now being transported a week aboard “Høydal”. Of course we think it’s fun with lots of cargo, several trips, and that we have a lot to do,” Kent Erik Stavang tells SalmonBusiness.

Two fixed routes
Normally, “Høydal” runs one trip a week from BioMar’s factory in Myre. Since this summer, however, they have had to increase to two trips a week, says the satisfied skipper.

Stavang is from the Trøndelag region in central Norway and has been working on board for NSK Shipping since “Høydal” was launched ten years ago. Here he first started as a sailor, before making his way up to chief mate, and now skipper.

He proudly displays the Christmas greeting from the ship’s godmother, who is none other than Erna Solberg. The card from the Norwegian Prime Minister’s office has a place of honour on the bridge.

Skipper Kent Erik Stavang, proudly shows Christmas greetings from godmother and Prime Minister Erna Solberg. (Photo: Steve Hernes).

New operations manager on board
Also on board is the newly appointed operations manager, Kenneth Gjelsvik. He started working in April, and is now on a round to get to know the vessels, crews and not least customers.

“When it comes to feed shipping, there has been a tremendous drive after the holiday. We have not received any sign that we will return back to normal with one trip a week yet. It will probably be the demand that decides,” says Gjelsvik who thinks there will be double trips for at least a month ahead. Gjelsvik is completely new to the aquaculture industry. The goal of the trip is the goal to learn more about the industry.

Kenneth Gjelsvik, operations manager in the company NSK Shipping. (Photo: Steve Hernes).

Overhaul
“I want to get to know the customers of BioMar we deliver to. In the daily operation, it is the captain and crew who have followed up on this, but I find it absolutely interesting to know and learn more. Not least from the skipper – he can recognise anyone at a mile distant, and can tell you exactly what they deliver and to who,” Gjelsvik says with an admiring smile.

The skipper is also satisfied with the visit from the operations management. This gave the crew the opportunity to demonstrate a coffee machine in need of replacement with a newer and better model, explained the skipper, and a lover of good coffee, Kent Erik Stavang during our visit.

Kent Erik Stavang. Here you take a good hold of the open hatch to the empty silo. (Photo: Steve Hernes).

“Høydal” may be ten years old next year, but following a complete overhaul of the bottom, hull and more the boat looks like brand new.

On deck, there are 28 reasonably heavy hatches, each leading down to a silo. The skipper demonstrating his muscle strength, easily lifts off the heavy lid, and shows SalmonBusiness one of the largest silos that is now empty.

When loading around 100 tonnes per hour, it takes between 17 and 20 hours before we are fully loaded, Stavang explains. 

“The largest of the silos holds 130 tonnes, while the smallest takes 30 tonnes. Total capacity is 2,000 tonnes in silo, and in addition we can take between 150 and 200 tonnes in sacks”.

Kent Erik Stavang and Kenneth Gjelsvik have a coffee break on the bridge on board «Høydal». The machinist has gone under deck and the helmsman has a well-deserved nap (Photo: Steve Hernes).