New €20 million fishing vessel arrives in Killybegs

A new €20 million fishing vessel arrived back in her home port of Killybegs on Tuesday.
The ‘Antarctic’ is one of the most modern and high tech pelagic fishing vessels in Europe. It is owned by Teresa and Eamon McHugh who operate the Antarctic Fishing Company.
Sons Eamon J and Gerard are also deeply involved in the family business, with Eamon J managing the shore side and Gerard fishing alongside his father as skipper.
Speaking to the Donegal News yesterday, Eamon J explained that while the hull for ‘Antarctic’ was built by Karstensen Shipyard in Skagen. Denmark, everything onboard the new vessel was supplied by Killybegs-based companies.
“Barry Electronics has installed the electronics while Sea Quest supplied the hydraulics, winch and crane package. KER Group supplied the full RSW-machinery and vacuum unloading packages and KT Nets and Swan Nets supplied the nets and life-saving equipment.
“Gerard and dad will be part of a crew of ten who are all local. The boat will be based out of Killybegs and it will be landing its catch into Killybegs all the time,” he said.
Antarctic Fishing Company was established in 1987 with the purchase of first ‘Antarctic’. In 1997 a newly built Antarctic was commissioned, later being replaced with the owner’s present Antarctic. The new ship will be the fifth vessel in the ownership of the McHugh family.
The new vessel will operate along the same pattern as the existing vessel, with a traditional pelagic trawl fishery, where target species are mackerel and herring.
“We sold the old boat (Antarctic number 4) at the end of the season. We took everything up to Denmark, gave the boat to the new owners, took the gear off and left it in storage for the new boat,” he said.
Eamon J looks after the office and sales operations. He admits that Brexit has hit the fishing industry hard.
“We’ve probably lost a quarter of our turnover due to Brexit. We’ve taken a big hit but we just have to try and manage things as we go forward. In fairness, we’re not alone. The entire fishing industry in Killybegs has been decimated. The white fish and pelagic boats all took a bad hit,” he said.
The christening ceremony will take place on Monday afternoon next. Fr John Joe Duffy, CC Dunfanaghy, will perform the blessing before Eamon’s wife Teresa will formally toast the name of the new boat.
“The kids will help mum raise the flag and, hopefully, it will start to fish in October,” Eamon J said.
Killybegs harbour is home to some of the world’s most modern and high tech pelagic fishing vessels and the design, specification and arrangements of the new vessel have been tailor made to suit Eamon McHugh’s exact specifications.
The main focus has been set on optimising working, safety and comfort for the crew, optimising catch handling and storage facilities and optimising fuel consumption.
The Antarctic is based on Karstensen Shipyard’s highly successful 63 metre hull model, which are in operation in all parts of northern Europe, with one already based in Killybegs, namely ‘Paula’.

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