Fire breaks out on new oceanic reefer trawler

A fire broke out aboard near-completion factory trawler Mekhanik Maslak (IMO 9878333) on Tuesday August 2nd at Admiralty Shipyard in St Petersburg, Russia.

The blaze started at about 11:00 local time in the forward cargo hold. The vessel is under construction for the Russian Fishery Company. A short mobile phone video from the scene showed smoke pouring from the vessel’s bow.

Nearly 60 firefighters and at least one firefighting tug responded to the blaze, according to Russian news outlet Fontanka. The fire was extinguished by the afternoon. No injuries were reported.

The press service for Admiralty Shipyard told Fontanka that no personnel or critical equipment were harmed and that the delivery timeline for the vessel would not be affected.

Mekhanik Maslak is the second in a series of ten supertrawlers under construction for Russian Fishery Company as part of a $900m newbuild programme.

Russian shipbuilding – and specifically fishing vessel shipbuilding – has been hit hard by sanctions on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine, with European maritime technology manufacturers pulling out of the Russian market. That included United Shipbuilding Corp – the parent company of Admiralty Shipyard.

Some fishery-specific equipment such as like catch handling and processing machinery – is difficult for Russian yards to source from anywhere apart from Europe. This is affecting the completion of a new generation of ships currently under construction as part of Russia’s investment quota policy, which allocates catch quotas to large fishing companies in exchange for vessel investment commitments.

Russian Pollock Association President Alexey Buglak told Fish News that “given the sanctions, the ban on the supply of equipment, the impossibility of attracting foreign specialists for commissioning, the question arises not about the timing and cost of construction, but about the feasibility of completing most of the planned vessels”.

Russian Fishery Company’s president, Gleb Frank, has been sanctioned by the US because of his family ties to Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko. Frank has opted to sell all his 70% stake in the firm to his top managers, thus enabling sales to western companies to continue.