A boat manufacturing and engineering business has been approached to design a new type of vessel for use in the oil and gas industry.
Unst Inshore Services Ltd has been awarded £47,103 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) towards the £150,000 project and the experimental development of the boat.
The prototype model will be produced this year and will be subject to rigorous testing in line with strict criteria, including high-specification durability, safety and low carbon emission standards.
It is hoped the project will lead the company to valuable extra business and create two skilled jobs in Unst in the long term.
Brydon Barclay of Unst Inshore Services said: “We were approached by a company when exhibiting at the Seawork Commercial Marine Exhibition 2013 in Southampton.
“We had done some work for them before, which had obviously been well received. The offer was ‘if we could build them, they would buy them’. So now we need to get it done. It is a new line for us, but one that sits very neatly into the company’s capabilities.”
Unst Inshore Services has worked supporting aquaculture in Shetland for many years but has also developed a successful line in fast support craft – the “Fluggaboat” range. The new design incorporates the Fluggaboat’s features and will be valued in the oil and gas and the renewable energy industries.
Fluggaboats are uniquely designed to meet the demands of the commercial sector, whether for oil support boats, fish farms, diving or personnel transport.
Despite looking like an ordinary rigid-inflatable boat (RIB), the Fluggaboat is constructed from aluminium and the collar is fabricated from a very hard-wearing, high density polyethylene plastic pipe.
The design therefore has all the benefits of a conventional rigid inflatable but is much stronger. The rugged construction means lower overall maintenance costs and greatly increased working life.
David Priest from HIE said: “We are delighted to be in a position to support this project from Unst Inshore Services Ltd. The company have spent many years developing their product range and capabilities and have identified a key opportunity area.
“They should now have the support they need to develop a quality, high specification product which will further enhance their reputation within the oil and gas offshore services industry.”
• Don’t miss this week’s Shetland Times which includes a new supplement, Marinewise, with all the latest marine, fishing and aquaculture news.