This Rolls-Royce Tanker is a School Bus for Salmon

By Andrew Tarantola on at

Fresh fish tends to spoil fast, even when kept on ice. So to keep schools of farm-raised fish at the peak of freshness (read: still swimming) during their trip to shore for processing, Rolls-Royce is building the world's largest mobile aquarium.

Aquaculture, especially the open-water variety, is quickly gaining traction as a sustainable alternative to traditional fisheries. But the further off-shore these fish farms move, the longer it takes to get them back to shore for processing and the greater chance there is for spoilage. Sure, you could put the fish on ice for the trip but with individual harvests topping 450 tonnes of ichthyoid, keeping them cool for that long gets expensive fast. Instead, the new Rolls-Royce type NVC 386 tanker will keep its charges alive during transport, storing them in massive below-deck pens.

TheĀ£5.75 million 76-metre long, 16-metre wide vessel is currently being constructed at the Tersan shipyard in Turkey and is on schedule for delivery to the Bakkafrost fish farming company in May 2015. It has a roughly 3,000 cubic metre carrying capacity, enough to pack in 450 tonnes of salmon into a trio of closed circuit, water-recirculating, lice-filtering holding tanks. Loading and unloading the fish is accomplished by vacuuming them en mass out of their off-shore pens through 60-cm wide plastic tubes, then spewing them back out once the ship reaches shore.

The crew's time aboard will be a bit more dignified. They'll enjoy seven single cabins, a saloon with a separate dining area, a fitness centre and even a sauna. It's just that everything, everything, will smell like fish. [Rolls-Royce via Businessweek]