Final preparations are being carried out on a £27 million replacement for the Whalsay fishing boat Zephyr – the first of three new arrivals expected for the pelagic fleet this year.
The development of the new vessel, which carries a whole host of modern equipment and is over 75 metres long, marks a significant milestone.
Her development comes 60 years after the first Zephyr was unveiled by skipper Allister Irvine’s late father Lowrie.
The new Zephyr has been towed to Norway to be fitted out after undergoing an extensive building programme in Poland. However, she is not expected in Shetland before August, when Mr Irvine and his 10-strong crew will welcome her arrival.
Also arriving in the isles this year will be the new Adenia and the Charisma, marking ongoing confidence in the pelagic industry.
Mr Irvine said: “[The Zephyr] was built in Poland and they towed her to Norway yesterday for the final fit-out.
“The old one is 22 years old and we just have to move on. It’s needing replacing.
“She’s 75 and a half metres long with 15 metres of beam – more or less a sister ship to the Antares.”
Mr Irvine said she had “all the modern equipment aboard” like sonars, adding that the fishing gear would be “the best we can get”.
He said he hoped the crew would be happy with the new vessel, insisting it would be a “better platform to work on as the older one”.
“Everything is a bit higher out of the water and a bit safer – they’ll keep their feet dry.”
He added: “It’s 60 years to the month since our father came with the first vessel – a small wooden boat. That’s when it started.
“I went with him in the mid-sixties. So I’ve been fishing since 1964. It’s a long time.”