In the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga there are still around 134 trawlers in operation that date from the period 1972-1994. As newbuilding is too expensive for most fishing companies, refit is an economic attractive option.YANMAR already delivered diesel engines for eight trawlers to satisfied customers via its local distributor VARMAA in Latvia.
Most of the Baltic trawlers dating from Soviet times are of a typical design. The major part still has the original SKL engine, 6NVD 26A2, 220 kW/750 rpm. The ideal engine for replacement is a YANMAR 6HYM-WET, rated HD 368 kW/1950 rpm.
„People working in the fishing industry are very conservative, and so are we. It wasn’t easy to make a decision to choose a new engine for our fishing trawler UNA", says Agris Lapins, owner of the Latvian fishing company VARITA. „There are a lot of brands around offering shiny engines, but we invested into reliability, we made a choice for YANMAR”, he continues. „Nevertheless, we have experience with other brands as well. According to our experience the most reliable engines are those that are easy to maintain, with as less as possible electronics. An additional advantage of YANMAR is the lower fuel consumption. The engine consumes around 7% less fuel compared with equal trawlers."
Lapins did a market research in the area: „We recognised that only YANMAR could offer us a suitable engine with the following features":
- Six cylinders in line instead of possible V6 or V8;
- Mechanical governor;
- Bosch type six in line conventional HP fuel pump with conventional injectors;
- Inspection hatches at cylinder block to check condition of crankshaft and bearings;
- Perfect PTO possibilities for our needs at the front end of the engine SAE4 SAE10;
- Excellent power gap compared with old engine, but fuel consumption still remains the same as before repowering;
- Perfect fuel consumption specifications;
- Local Premium Service;
- Delivery of spare parts from stock at the Netherlands within 24 hours in case of emergency.”
Together with his partner Ilmars Leimanis, Lapins owns two fishing companies (because of fishing quotas) and three fishing trawlers all together. VARITA is a leading fishing holding in Latvia. The current situation at the fishing industry depends on the type of fish. Fishing cod is not attractive because of low catches and rather low market prices. But VARITA owns sufficient quotas of herring at the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga and current prices are high enough to continue a refit program, which includes repowering. „Of course, we are dreaming about a new trawler, but the current situation is not so stable", tells Lapins, "but we have the intention to have it build within the next five years.” The trawler UNA was purchased in Russia a year ago. It is named after the grand daughter of Lapins. He is proud that all VARITA's trawlers are catching sprat, a fish that is used exclusively for a Latvian product: smoked canned sprat in oil with the brand name 'RIGA GOLD'. Ninety percent is exported to Russian market.
Knowing the cost of a new trawler, most owners renew their fleet by investing in existing vessels. VARITA invested almost 600.000 euro in the refit of the trawler UNA. „A few days ago we purchased a fishing company together with a single Baltic trawler under the name 'SENCIS'. We are very satisfied about the efficiency of our first YANMAR on the UNA. Therefore it is now easy to decide what we will choose to repower it”, says Lapins.