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Orders For Tuna Seiners Overwhelm Constructor Spain, January 22, 13

Spanish shipbuilder Armon has put its plans to enter the highly profitable, ship repair sector on hold because it is so busy these days with the construction of nine tuna purse seiners at its Gijon wharf. The company was not prepared for the sudden and unexpected demand from the tuna industry and has also had to increase its workforce for the projects.
Three hundred workers will start working at the shipyard in February to help manage the workload. This is in addition to the 240 staff already employed at the site.

Tuna vessel under construction at Armon wharf in Gijon

Two orders are from a Basque company, while the other seven are from two companies in Mexico. Once complete, the vessels will measure 78 m and hold 1,500 GRT. Even though they are notably smaller than those traditionally built by the company, the purse seiners require nine more hours of work than two chemical tankers.
The fleet capacity of tuna fishing nations has been an issue for some time now, and even with a measure put forth by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) to limit the number of purse seine vessels, the global capacity seems to be growing.
As of Jan. 1, ISSF members – including leading tuna processors – are not supposed to buy tuna from new vessels, or vessels that were not actively fishing last year. They are allowed to buy from vessels that were ordered for construction on or before Dec. 31, 2012, with a maximum completion date of June 30, 2015.
Armon acquired the Gijon shipyard in 2010 with the intent to use the facility’s dry docks as a center for ship repairs and modifications, an activity that requires less labor than shipbuilding, but is very profitable.
Gijon’s two dry docks are now being used to build the nine tuna purse seiners, and the company must wait for a third suitable dry dock to repair vessels.
Armon, which has six shipbuilding subsidiaries, has delivered more than 750 vessels since 1963.