Dales Marine’s multi-cat style vessel looks set to be a gamechanger for aquaculture sector

LAST summer Dales Marine announced a milestone event: a new contract to fabricate a multi-cat style vessel platform for the aquaculture sector. With more than 30 years of experience in vessel repair and maintenance, and in-depth knowledge in engineering, repurposing conversions and dry dock services, it is certainly in prime position to deliver an exciting new vessel.

A leading UK ship repair company, Dales already supports the aquaculture sector with a full range of dry dock services offered out of its west coast facilities in Greenock and Troon.

It  also provides experienced offshore technicians and engineers to carry out urgent vessel maintenance and repair services in-situ. 

It is a service that is in increasingly high demand in what has become a burgeoning sector. Marine Scotland reported 2,088 active Scottish fishing vessels in 2020, a decrease of 10 from 2019. In 2020, vessels over 10m numbered 532, down seven vessels (one per cent) from 2019, 10m and under vessels were at 1,556, a decrease of three vessels compared to 2019. However, IBISWorld reported annual revenue of £943.0 million in 2020 for the aquaculture industry and forecasts growth of 3% for the next five years.

In fact, international demand for farmed salmon has grown significantly during the past five years and major increases are expected to follow.

It is no surprise, therefore, that the aquaculture sector forms a key market for Dales Marine as it continues to offer much-needed support to meet the requirements of the industry. Dales is fully equipped and skilled in providing support, repair, and maintenance to the vessels over 10m and under 10m that are used regularly in aquaculture, whether in the construction of new fish farm sites, the maintenance of farms, for de-lousing or for towing pens.

Right now, working in collaboration with Marine Design International Ltd, Dales is building the multi-cat style vessel incorporating hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical supplies required for operations on the farms. The innovative design includes propulsion efficiency improvements for transits between sites. With all the systems fitted, and in the final stages of installation, she has been painted in the corporate colours of the client.

Known simply as Hull 1001, she has been christened Réalt na Farraige and, as she nears completion, she has moved out of the Aberdeen build hall. This is a major step for the project as it moves closer to launch early this year.

Michael Milne, CEO of Dales Marine Services, said: “We know from our records the Dales dry dock in Aberdeen last saw a vessel built in it during the late 1980s when the dry dock was owned by Halls & Russell.

“So it is an exciting chapter for the dry dock to be bringing shipbuilding back to Aberdeen, albeit a smaller vessel. Hopefully this is just the start of bigger things to come.”



AMONG its many triumphs Dales Marine successfully decommissioned and recycled MV Oceanic Pintail. Launched in 1987, the vessel was owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and was operated by its transport business Nuclear Transport Solutions. It arrived at Dales Marine’s Leith dry dock facilities in mid-November 2020 and the company commenced with decommissioning operations at the end of that month.

On November 24, 2020, MV Oceanic Pintail was issued a ready to recycle certificate and de-pollution, soft stripping and removal of the accommodation were all completed by the end of March.

The vessel was then prepared for and manoeuvred into the dry dock for the hull’s final disposal, which commenced early August. Dales Marine removed the last piece of MV Oceanic Pintail from the dry dock on September 15, when the completion certification was issued.


The contract for the project was for the removal and disposal of the vessel, with the client, Nuclear Transport Solutions, stipulating 98 per cent of the vessel’s materials had to be recycled in line with their commitment to environmental responsibility. Dales Marine exceeded that target and recycled 100 per cent of the materials.

Throughout the process, Dales worked closely with its contractors, discussing how best to remove the waste material from the site for recycling. By working with contractors, they found several solutions to streamline the process.

In addition, Dales supplied detailed reports of materials removed, recycled, or repurposed regularly to the client.

Finally, by working closely with contractors, Dales ensured any waste that wasn’t recyclable was either repurposed, resold or went as waste for energy schemes. Michael Milne, CEO of Dales Marine Services, said: “Our team’s decommissioning expertise and experience have been invaluable in our achieving the 98 per cent recycling targets.

“Dales prides itself on being a high achiever in its recycling and greener approach.

“For this project, having the support and strong working relationships with our contractors and suppliers has allowed us to work together in finding the best solution for improving how we went about recycling or repurposing waste materials from the vessel.”

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