As a leader in the Namibian fish industry, committed to local value addition, Hangana Seafood – a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group – just completed the refurbishment of one of its vessels, set to depart on her first voyage next week.
The revamp of the M.F.V Erica, compassionately known as “Erica” cost the company roughly N$ 34 million and took about one year to complete. The revamp, according to Fleet Manager at Hangana Seafood, Christie Sitzer will extend the lifespan of the Erica by another 20 years. Sitzer: “Prior to this overhaul, the systems onboard the ship had become outdated and its efficiency as a fishing vessel also decreased as a result. The refurbishment started in June 2019 and included the provision of a new main engine, upgraded electronic and propulsion systems, and renovations to the deck, wheelhouse and cabin facilities. The revamp also increased Hangana Seafood’s catch capacity, and will save the company maintenance costs in the long run.”
Built in Durban in 1981, the Erica, according to Sitzer who fondly refers to the Hangana vessels as his “meisiekinders” is well built and in a class of her own, making the refurbishment a worthwhile endeavor. Five years ago, two other Hangana fishing vessels were refurbished – the Otter Bank and her sister ship, the Fisher Bank. “However, the Erica was different to these ships and presented a fresh challenge.” The upgrades on the Erica included the installation of a new main 8-cylinder engine from Belgium as well as new winchers from Spain. The vessel received a split net drum system which allows for more efficient switching between trawls. The electronic systems and propulsion system onboard were also upgraded to the latest fishing technology. The deck, wheelhouse and engine room received a face-lift of their own, creating a safe and welcoming environment for all on board. Sitzer: “The cabin facilities were also renovated to ensure the crew could look forward not only to a clean and safe living space, but a comfortable one too. It is of utmost importance that the wellbeing of the crew is top of mind, and that they are looked after when they are on the seas away from home.”
According to Hangana Seafood Managing Director, Herman Theron, the revamp project was carried out in partnership with other Namibian suppliers and service providers including BPW Investment, Namib Diesel, Radio Electronic, JP Hydraulics, Joshmar Namibia, Mark Electric, IH Painting, Hydroweld, Dresselhaus Engineering, Raylin Engineering as well as fellow member of the O&L team, Kraatz Marine. Theron: “These partnerships were focused on unlocking Namibian potential and taking full advantage of the expertise we have in our country. The exceptional quality of the work carried out by the Namibian teams is testament to their capabilities and commitment to the highest safety standards. Supporting local aligns with the O&L Group purpose of ‘Creating a future, enhancing life’, and speaks directly to the group vision of being a catalyst for positive change, creating new realities and fulfilling dreams”.
The Erica took to the waters on 9 June 2020 for a test run with service engineers, with her first official voyage set for Tuesday, 16 June 2020. The ship has a carrying capacity of 28 people. Captain of the Erica, Francois Stevens says he is appreciative of the upgrades and is excited to be taking her out to sea.
According to Sitzer, the sister ship of the Erica, the Begonia, is set to have refurbishments of her own next year.