The new vessel Vilhelm has arrived in Iceland

Vilhelm Þorsteinsson EA 11 - Dalvik town in the background.
Photo by Haukur Arnar Gunnarsson.
Vilhelm Þorsteinsson EA 11 - Dalvik town in the background.
Photo by Haukur Arnar Gunnarsson.

Vilhelm Thorsteinsson EA 11, a new pelagic fishing vessel built especially for Samherji, sailed into Eyjafjördur in Iceland for the first time yesterday. Vilhelm Thorsteinsson is a large, elegant and exceptionally well-equipped vessel, 89 meters long and 16.6 meters wide. The carrying capacity is well over three thousand tons in thirteen tanks, where the catch will be cooled down to bring the best possible raw material to land.

In Skagen, Denmark, Karstensen's shipyard designed and built the ship according to Samherji's needs and enjoyed Samherji's staff's advice during the process. The vessel has been awaited with some anticipation since contracts for its construction were signed on September 4, 2018. On that day, the twins Baldvin and Vilhelm Thorsteinsson would have turned 90 years old. The new vessel replaces the older Vilhelm Thorsteinsson EA 11, which arrived in Iceland at the turn of the last century.

The latest available technology on board

Kristján Vilhelmsson, Samherji's managing director of ships operations, says that all the facilities in the new vessel are as good as they can possibly be. "The ship is large, and it is very well equipped. Onboard are all the latest technology available for handling catches and the best type of fishing equipment we know of. A vessel like this, which has both a trawl and a seine, has a variable use of engine power, so we have two engines in the ship. On the home voyage, we only used one of them, and in those conditions, the ship uses much less fuel," says Vilhelmsson. The ship has cabins for fifteen people as well as a sick bay. It is extremely spacious and includes a dining room and two lounges. Onboard are also fitness facilities and a sauna for the crew.

Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson, CEO of Samherji, sailed with the ship home to Iceland from Skagen. "This is the third generation of pelagic vessels that I participate in operating. We decided to entrust this task to the Karstensen shipyard. The ship's main designers work at the shipyard, but Samherji's staff has been involved in this process with their ideas, for example, regarding energy efficiency. Therefore, we can say that the vessel is the result of a collaboration between Karstensens and our staff. I think the result is excellent, and it was great to sail home with the vessel. The time was well spent with the crew," says Baldvinsson.

Renewal is necessary to maintain competitiveness

Vilhelm_Thorsteinsson_EA11Samherji has emphasised investing as much as possible in new vessels, equipment, and technology. In recent years, Samherji's fleet has been extensively renewed. Last year, processing began in a new high-tech processing plant in Dalvík, and the premises and equipment of the whitefish processing plant in Akureyri have been renovated. Samherji undertakes such an investment to ensure that the company is always able to meet the highest demands of its customers and so that Samherji's employees work in the best possible conditions at all times. Renewals of this kind in the Icelandic fisheries sector must take place regularly so that companies in the industry maintain their competitiveness.

Gudmundur Jónsson, captain of Vilhelm Thorsteinsson EA 11, says that the ship is excellently well designed. "On the way home, we loaded the ship with sea and tried to turn it at full speed, and the slope was minimal. The ship came out extremely well from this voyage home. I have been a captain for about thirty years, and I think it is safe to say that this is one of the best ships I have steered in my career," says Jónsson. The vessel is scheduled for its first fishing trip on Thursday next week.

All the ship's crew and guests on board were screened for Covid-19 before departing from Skagen and then again when arriving in Iceland yesterday. Due to disease prevention measures, it was not possible to invite residents of Akureyri and other guests to come on board and take a look around, as is usually done when new vessels arrive home. Still, Ásthildur Sturludóttir, the mayor of Akureyri, brought captain Gudmundur Jónsson a bouquet at a simple ceremony after arriving at home port this morning.

A crew from the Icelandic television station N4 sailed with Vilhelm Thorsteinsson EA 11 from Skagen and recorded material for a TV program on board during the trip. Link to the program Hataekni i sjavarutvegi - Vilhelm Thorsteinsson EA 11 which covers in detail the ship, the technology onboard and the crew's facilities.