Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam has successfully delivered a 38-metre Beam Trawler to Belgium-based Rederij Long Ships. A special ceremony took place on the quayside of the appropriately named ‘Beam Trawler street’, in front of the Flemish Fish Auction in Zeebrugge. During the naming ceremony the new vessel was christened Z91 Franson by godparents Shirley Cattoor and Chris Cocquyt.
The Z91 Franson introduces a brand-new design, the BT3808, which features the maximum tonnage and length permitted by the Belgian Maritime Inspectorate. Designed with optimised propulsion, the new Beam Trawler provides a high level of comfort and is outfitted with proven technology.
The hull was launched into the water in Poland during the pandemic and was then transported to Stellendam in the Netherlands for further outfitting. Rederij Long Ships owner Eddie Cattoor was impressed that Damen Maaskant had managed to deliver the fishing vessel on time, given the challenges brought about by COVID-19.
Cattoor commented: “I am proud of our Franson. With this modern ship we can fight against all the difficult periods that the fishing industry experiences. And what is certainly important, this beautiful ship will enable us to attract young talent again. This is vital because they are the future of the Flemish fisheries.
“They will definitely experience job satisfaction, given this safe, efficient and ergonomic new fishing vessel. Franson meets all the modern and contemporary requirements and this is coupled with the best accommodation for the crew, who have to work hard for many days at sea.”
Rederij Long Ships was founded in 1934 by Eddie’s grandfather. This latest addition to the company’s fleet will replace the vessel Z90 Francine. It will be used to fish year-round in the waters of the North Sea and the Skagerrak and, in the summer, the Bay of Biscay.
John van der Maas, Damen Project Manager, said: “The new BT3808 is a well thought out evolution of our earlier, proven designs and therefore ready for the future.” Damen Maaskant’s Commercial Manager, Jeroen van den Berg, agrees, adding: “We are sincerely grateful for the pleasant cooperation with the Cattoor family and everyone else who has contributed to this success.”
Founded in 1948, Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam has built more than 250 Beam Trawlers over the years. The previous one was the UK-46 Willeke built for Hakvoort Brothers, based in Urk, the Netherlands. At the time of delivery in 2018, this was the first new Beam Trawler to take to the North Sea in 12 years.