Fleet Builder, Fleet Owner
Kakchai Rujiprapa understands fishing boats and the practicalities of their operation from the perspective of a well know builder for others and a significant fleet operator himself. Khun Kakchai’s Mahachai Dockyard Co. Ltd., located west of Bangkok Thailand on the Tachine River in Samutsakorn province attracts customers from several Asian nations. This past June he delivered a 40.6 by 8-meter trawler to the Peninsula Fishing Company of Dhaka in Bangladesh. It is the fourth in what will likely be a six boat series and the first to be powered by a 1000 hp at 1800 rpm Cummins KTA38 M1 main engine turning the 86-inch four blade prop through a Twin Disc 540 gear with 7:1 ratio. The auxiliaries for the vessel’s 400-ton capacity freezer holds are also Cummins powered. Named the Peninsula 4 she had completed four trips with out any problems.
This is the same power package that Khun Kakchai has on his own five-boat fleet and that he will have on the sixth boat that he is currently building. He explains that one of his own boats, the 38-meter trawler Tanachok, has just returned from four years eight months fishing in the Arafura Sea south of Iran Jaya in Indonesia and there have been no problems with the engine.
The profitable fishery in south Indonesian waters put big demands on vessel and crew alike. As with the boats the crew’s stay out for a four year voyage. Their only relief from days at sea comes when they visit the port of Ambon in the Molluccas (Maluka) to transfer their catch to the mother ship. Also owned by Khun Kakchai’s company, the Japanese-built Pakman Reefer can carry 3000 tons of fish and supports, along with a smaller 1300 tonne reefer, a total fleet of ten vessels. Her main is a Deutz but she operates her freezers with four Cummins 855-powered 300 kW generator sets. Three of which are synchronized with the fourth on stand-by. At 12 knots it takes the reefer nine days to make the trip from Thailand to Ambon one way. A tanker out of Singapore supplies Diesel fuel for the fishing fleet.
Khun Kakchai explained that the Tanachok cost about 30 million Thai baht (TB) to build but has grossed over 160 million TB in the four and a half years since she was built. Catches, while varying in value by species, average about 35,000 TB per tonne delivered in Thailand.
With an eye to value, he is building his new KTA38-powered vessel to the same basic design and the same length but he will expand her beam from seven to eight meters and her depth from 4.5 to 4.9 meters. This will increase the hold capacities to a total of 350 tonnes on the new vessel compared to only 300 on the Tanachok. The new boat will also explore a new fishery targeting Indian mackerel.
In mid October orders were continuing at the Mahachai Dockyard Company with middle-eastern clients on their way to discuss a ten-boat order.
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