New concept offshore fish farming vessel

November 23, 2021

The Ocean Ark is a design concept for a 558ft trimaran – a mobile fish farming vessel. Made RINA.

The Ocean Ark, a Chilean design for a multihull self-propelled vessel that would breed fish in copper cages, has been approved in principle by ship classification society RINA.

The 558-foot-long, 210-foot-beam vessel is being developed by Ocean Arks Tech of Chile (OATECH) in accordance with RINA rules and Marpol, Solas and IMO regulations, according to a RINA statement.

“The Ocean Ark vessel offers a new approach to fish farming and is poised to revolutionize the industry by dramatically improving fish health, crew comfort and the image of the industry,” according to RINA. As a mobile fish production platform, the Ocean Ark can avoid some of the dangers of ocean aquaculture – and also deliver up to 4,000 metric tons of product to markets, designers say.

“Deploying the Ocean Ark away from marine heat waves, algal blooms and storms – the three Achilles heels of aquaculture – would produce higher quality protein and increase global fish production without increasing pressures on fish stocks and coastal habitats.”

“Sustainability is a key strategic pillar at RINA, but it’s not just about reducing carbon emissions,” said Patrizio Di Francesco, RINA’s Principal Marine Engineer for North West Europe. “A sustainable food production chain is also needed to meet growing global demand for nutrition. We believe deep sea aquaculture is a solution that will help for the future.

Artificial intelligence will aid in the operation of the low-emission trimaran, which features “self-cleaning copper fish cages that help ensure fish health and welfare,” according to RINA. In total, the mobile enclosure vessel will have a capacity of 4,000 tons of biomass.

Funding is in place for several vessels and memorandums of understanding have been signed for the construction of Ocean Arks at shipyards including the stakes of China Merchants Industry, Tersan and CIMC Raffles.

The technology package enables “low-density production of healthier, higher-quality fish at lower costs than currently available offshore, land-based and coastal aquaculture systems,” according to RINA. “The Ocean Ark can operate close to Asian, US and European consumer markets for a significant drop in transportation emissions.”

Chile’s Ocean Ark Tech is working with and its strategic ally, UK-based Ocean Sovereign, to help feed the earth’s growing population in line with the United Nations 2050 Food Security Challenge.

OATECH founder Rodrigo Sanchez Raccaro won Chile’s National Innovation Award, the Ibero-American honor for innovation. Mr. Raccaro’s designs gave birth to the Ocean Ark, and he invited the notable industry pioneers and thinkers who now form the Ark team.

Among them are Cristino Stange, Héctor Ruiz and Andrés Fuentes, former Chilean fish farming CEOs and entrepreneurs, technology innovators for the global industry and former officers of the Chilean Navy.

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