Islay Crab Exports launch Crystal Dawn

The new 14.95m scalloper Crystal Dawn is one of the finest vessels of its kind to make its way to the west coast of Scotland for some time and has been built to the order of Islay Crab Exports Limited, headed by James Monaghan of Port Ellen. The vessel was built by Macduff Shipyards Limited. She is 14.95m long with a beam of 6.50m. The hull form is double chine with a box keel for ballast, and she also features a bulbous bow. Her main engines are Caterpillar and achieved a top speed of 9.3 knots during sea-trials. A Mitsubishi auxiliary engine is fitted to drive the main hydraulics. Twin wing tanks in the engineroom enable Crystal Dawn to carry almost 10,000 litres of fuel.

Crystal Dawn - Photo: David Linkie, Fishing News

Layout below deck from forward follows the customary arrangement – forepeak with fresh water tank below, fishroom, engineroom and cabin either side of the steering gear compartment. A watertight door gives access off the main deck into the steel deckhouse which houses a toilet and shower room as well as leading down to the engineroom and to the wheelhouse and cabin. The steel galley messroom is housed across the transom of the vessel and all accommodation areas are finished to the highest standards, giving the crew some home comforts on their downtime. Four waist height bunks are arranged in the roomy single cabin; two on either side of the steering gear compartment and two along the inner side of the hull. Continue reading....

The aluminum alloy wheelhouse is arranged over the deckhouse and is fitted with a comprehensive array of electronic equipment supplied and installed by Electrotech Marine Ltd. in Oban. The Crystal Dawn has a full automated gear and catch handling system and its design allows the vessel to fish with maximum efficiency, reducing the crew’s workload while providing a safer working environment. The deck machinery package includes two Macduff 15t split trawl winches spooled with 200 fathoms of 24mm compact steel core wire. The Gilson arrangement amidships can handle eight dredges per side, and control is arranged from within the wheelhouse. The scallop dredges were manufactured by Oban Scallop Gear Ltd.

A key feature of Crystal Dawn is the considerable amount of working space available on the main deck. That this has been achieved while incorporating catch handling conveyers and shows the extent to which the owners/designers/builders have used the room available to optimum effect. After hauling, the scallop dredges are emptied into the catch hoppers, the catch is then deposited onto the slow moving conveyor where the selected scallops are picked off. After washing, the shellfish are lowered to the fishroom in baskets where they are bagged and stored. The fishroom has capacity for some 300 bags and is fully lined and insulated.

Crystal Dawn is purpose built to fish traditional king scallop grounds around Islay and our neighbouring islands of Jura, Gigha and Colonsay, off the Mull of Kintyre, as well as at other inshore locations along the west coast of Scotland, together with the Moray Firth, Irish Sea and around the Isle of Man. She is skippered by Sean McIlwraith of Ballantrae, who for the past three years was in the wheelhouse of the scalloper ‘Kayleigh M’, having earlier been in command of ‘Christy M’, the first boat owned by Islay Crab Exports Ltd. ‘Kayleigh M’ is now skippered by John Hutchinson.

Together with crewmen John McGuire, Andrew Halls and James Williams, Sean expects to work mainly 2/3 day trips before landing into the nearest convenient harbour, from where scallop catches will be collected for processing by her parent company.

Islay Crab Exports Ltd
Islay Crab Exports is a family run business specialising in the supply of high quality live velvet, green, spider and brown crabs, lobsters, winkles, surf and razor clams and scallop meat throughout Europe. The company operates five vivier lorries which collect their produce from the Outer Hebrides and the west coast of Scotland to as far afield as Co. Donegal and deliver to well established markets in France, Spain and Italy.

The company diversified into catching and processing scallops in 2005 when they bought the scalloper Christy M which fished successfully until it was sold in 2009. She was replaced by the scalloper ‘Germount’, a 13m vessel that was then renamed ‘Kayleigh M’ after James and Fiona’s daughter. Another addition to the fleet is the 14.95m vivier crabber ‘Annie’, which replaced their previous vivier crabber, the 20.8m ‘Niamh Eoghan’. The ‘Niamh Eoghan’ is still owned by Islay Crab Exports and is currently in Macduff Shipyards Ltd. where she is undergoing a major renovation, converting her into a scallop vessel.

The Crystal Dawn is the first new vessel of this class to be built for Islay and represents a major vote of confidence in the future of the Islay fishing industry by Islay Crab Exports Ltd. In order to maintain their development, Islay Crab Exports Ltd. took over the former Islay Shellfish & Game processing factory in Port Ellen last year, from where premium quality scallop meats are exported to Europe weekly.

With thanks to ‘Fishing News’, The Ileach and ‘The Skipper’

Tag: fishing islay-crab exports port ellen economy