PHOTO CREDIT Lance Blackwell
Badinotti Net Services Canada Ltd. in Campbell River, B.C., took possession of the first 40' catamaran, in January 2017, designed specifically to clean nets on the open sea. The Bravo II was the result of two years of research and planning based at Badinotti Net Services years of on-site net washing operations. "We were looking to custom build a boat for on-site net washing that would maximize the efficiencies for the machinery, equipment and crews," says Onclin.
The fleet of BRAVOs came out of a two-year project with concentrated planning and preparation. "We are very satisfied with the performance of the vessel. We selected a catamaran design to create a stable safe working platform for the crews and machinery including a crane, since most of the hours of operation occur at the farm sites as opposed to travelling to and from sites."
The BRAVO II is a 'cat' built by Armstrong Marine, Inc., which designs and builds a variety of welded aluminum boats in Port Angeles, Washington. "Armstrong Marine were selected primarily due to their expertise in catamaran construction."
Beginning in 2011 in B.C., the fish farming operations have been moving away from the use of antifouling paints (copper based) to keep the nets clean on fish farms. By 2017 most farm companies have completely eliminated the use of antifouling coatings from their operations. The traditional business model for the net service business, which relied upon dipping or coating of nets, had to adapt and reinvent operations to keep pace.
Badinotti Net Services wanted to provide eco-friendly methods to clean aquaculture nets on the west coast, allowing fish farmers to deploy clean and repaired nets for longer periods with no anti-foulant. The BRAVO II crews do not use anti-foulant or chemical cleaning of nets when at sea.
To provide optimum service in this changing market, Badinotti'snon-site net washing vessels are driven by two 480 horsepower diesel engines, moving from site-to-site at about 10 knots.
Badinotti Net Services added the department of On-Site Net Washing (OSW) over three years ago, "in order to respond to our customers new service requirements. On-site net washing we believe is a long term sustainable business model and although some farm companies are washing their own nets internally, for us, the OSW is our core business and focus. Consequently we believe we can deliver a cost effective service for the farm companies."
The vessel is equipped with many features on board that allow for ease of maintenance and reduced maintenance costs for the machinery and equipment. For example, the vessel produces 750 gallons of fresh water per day which allows all of the net cleaning equipment, which is run with saltwater, to be soaked and rinsed on a routine basis. This will extend the life of all working parts and reduce repair or replacement frequencies, notes Onclin.
The OSW vessels are essentially self-sufficient, equipped with all the crew comforts of home, crews of highly trained personnel. The company was initially able to move people from the existing Badinotti Net Services fleet, and able to draw internally from some of the former commercial fishermen working on nets for years. Others want the opportunity to once again work on the water. Onclin says the move to operation of OSW boats is an excellent fit for experienced captains and mariners from the area.
"These state-of-the-art on-site net washing vessels are the culmination of input from within our company as well as from our local contractors and Armstrong Marine. Our crews also benefit from external as well as in-house training to further enhance capabilities to contribute to the success of the operations. This move has been a success in part due to the community involvement and support. Consequently, Badinotti Net Services Canada Ltd. is proud to have been able to add to our investments in the North Vancouver Island economy and fish farm business."
Three On-site Net Washing Vessels join the Badinotti fleet on the waters off North Vancouver Island, "We have taken delivery of two more vessels from Armstrong Marine Inc. to work out of the Port Hardy and Port McNeill area in the waters north of Campbell River," says Kevin Onclin, CEO at Badinotti Net Services Canada Ltd.. There is the likelihood these now three vessels will work in the Sounds and Inlets on the West Coast of Vancouver Island as well if requested or required.
The acquisition of two new vessels was made based on the performance of BRAVO II earlier this year. "BRAVO III and BRAVO IV are the same design as the first vessel with the exception of some mainly cosmetic tweeking in the overall design," says Onclin.
These vessels were delivered fully equipped at a cost of over $2 million each. The first arrived April 1, and the second arrived May 1, 2018. "These boats are operated by 3-man crews, and will be put into service 7 days a week. Each of these vessels has two crews working 7 days on and 7 days off or 8 days on and 6 days off. "We had recruitment underway from late last year and it means new jobs for people qualified to operate with tickets for Under 15 Tonnes SVOP." The company has hired the odd 60 tonne skipper.
The vessels are designed to meet new demands for net cleaning in the oceans surrounding Vancouver Island. "They go out and clean nets. There is a huge demand for these vessels since the farms sites require regular cleaning of their nets to meet or exceed federal and provincial regulations on fish farm sites."