A giant new fishing trawler, Altaire, is attracting attention in Lerwick.
The vessel will be targeting pelagic species such as North Sea herring, mackerel and blue whiting.
She made her maiden appearance in Shetland’s largest port last weekend.
Skipper Chris Duncan described her as “top class”.
And it is hard to argue, considering all the modern equipment and comfortable surroundings for the crew, as well as the distinctive red sweeping across the exterior.
12 crew and room for more
Measuring more than 260ft from bow to stern, the new Altaire is nearly the longest ship in the Shetland fishing fleet.
But it is her width that makes the vessel such a standout. Despite being only around 13ft longer than her predecessor, the new trawler (registered as LK 429) is about 30% bigger overall.
She currently has a crew of 12 but there is space for more on board.
“It’s a big upgrade,” Mr Duncan said as he reflected on the previous Altaire, which was 19 years old.
The new vessel is also more stable at sea, compared to the old Altaire, he added.
She was fitted out by Danish shipyard Karstensens Skibsaerft, which said her design focused on crew wellbeing, low emissions and catch quality.
In terms of amenities for the crew, there is a gym on board, as well as a sauna and two TV rooms. Each cabin has Sky TV and en suite facilities.
So what about the cost? Mr Duncan was tight-lipped but acknowledged inflation had pushed up the cost of shipbuilding.
The trawler is owned by a partnership that includes two local shareholders and Plymouth-based fishing agent Interfish.
She has already undergone tests and trials at sea.
It is expected that she will head off for her first fishing trip later this summer to catch herring in the North Sea.
Mr Duncan and his crew tend to land their catches in Peterhead, but they sometimes go to Denmark, or Killybegs in Ireland.
Home sweet home
Collafirth, on the east coast of mainland Shetland, was traditionally home for the first incarnation of Altaire.
But the new, much larger vessel is likely to berth at Lerwick or Northmavine, in the north-west of mainland Shetland, depending on the time of the year.
Her arrival in Lerwick, from Denmark, came just a couple of days after it was announced the Scottish Government had shelved its controversial Highly Protected Marine Area (HPMA) proposal, which would have effectively banned fishing in 10% of the country’s waters.
Mr Duncan said the policy would have had an “effect on an awful lot of people”.