A new fishing boat from Bridlington will become the first British vessel to work off the coast of Mauritania for more than a quarter-of-a-century.
Ingenuity has been purpose-built to land pink lobster in the waters off West Africa, and its catch will be sold to China.
The boat is owned by Galwad Y Mor Shellfish Bridlington, whose crew have spent the last 14 years working in the very different conditions of the North Sea.
Its existing vessel supplies crabs and lobster to UK seafood wholesalers, but the business also exports abroad. However, the new boat opens up a whole new international market.
Owner Iain Gray said: “We have completed a long and challenging journey during the construction of the vessel and it has become a real labour of love. I can’t believe we are now ready to set sail from Bridlington and become the first British purpose built lobster fishing vessel to cover the waters of Mauritania.
“Our aim is to fish for 100 tonnes of pink lobster in a season and we already have a contract with wholesalers in China to supply the lobsters.”
The company was established in 2003 by Iain’s father Bernard and it is hoped that the addition of Ingenuity is just the start of increasing its fleet.
The expansion has been made possible by a six-figure funding deal by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Iain added: “The backing from the Royal Bank of Scotland has been important to assist the completion of this project.”
Funding from the bank has supported the construction and design of the new vessel which is 24 metres long, 7.2 metres wide and more than four metres deep. It can hold a capacity of 25 tonnes of lobster and will operate during the lobster fishing season from November to June.
It is the first British purpose-built boat equipped with lobster pots to fish Mauritanian waters for more than 25 years
Paul Craske, senior relationship manager at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “We have worked with Iain for a significant period and we are very pleased to see the completion of the new fishing vessel which will have a significant impact on the growth of Galwad Y Mor Shellfish Bridlington.
“They operate on the premium market supplying lobster and crabs and the addition of the Ingenuity signals the first stage of their expansion of their fleet with plans for a third and fourth vessel in the pipeline for the future.”
Mauritania has a population of around four million people and is located between Western Sahara and Senegal.