‘Lots going on’: Klokan Fishing’s new longliner taking shape after 14 months of building

Bow being turned over (20 January 2020).

The construction of Klokan Fishing’s new tuna longliner continues to progress, with the propeller shaft and rudder now in place and painting underway.

Since August 2019, when Tuna Australia last gave an update on the boat’s construction, Klokan Fishing owner John Skoljarev says there’s been “lots going on.”

“Late last year, the hull was plated and turned over and the brine tanks were lined,” said Skoljarev, whose business operates out of Port Stephens, New South Wales.

“At the start of this year, the bow was turned over, the navigation mast was assembled, and the aluminium wheelhouse assembled.

“A fair bit of internal work has also been done. The seacocks for engine cooling, bait tank circulation and refrigeration have been installed.”

Hull being turned over (9 October 2019).

Bow being turned over (20 January 2020).

Rudder delivered on a pallet (21 February 2020).

Right now, the hull is being sandblasted and will then be painted.

“The boat isn’t being built and painted in one piece because the on-site painting room isn’t big enough to fit the whole boat. So, the boat is being built and painted in three modules—the hull, bow and wheelhouse.”

Skoljarev says the boat will “really come together” in the next month or so.

“Once the inside and outside of the hull are painted, the engines and refrigeration components go in, and the wheelhouse is on, it will look much better,” he said.

Painted lower part of the wheelhouse (6 March 2020).

Wheelhouse being assembled (18 March 2020).

Wheelhouse being readied for painting (1 May 2020).

This is the first time Skoljarev has built a boat—a process he describes as “a big learning experience.”

Since construction began over 12 months ago, in April 2019, Skoljarev says his personal highlight was the turning of the hull in October 2019.

When the hull got turned over and we put the rudder and propeller shaft parts in, that was the big thing.

The boat is being built on Kooragang Island, Newcastle, by CTB Industries. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, work has continued as normal in 2020.

“All the fabrication and machine workshops that I’ve been dealing with have been working through and are quite busy. COVID-19 hasn’t had an impact.”

Propeller and rudder shaft installed (6 May 2020).

Taking hull out of fabrication shed (12 May 2020).

Taking hull out of fabrication shed (12 May 2020).

Hull painted with primer (27 May 2020).

While there’s still lots to be done, Skoljarev is hoping the boat will be completed in early 2021.

“It would be awesome to be fishing by the end of February,” he said, noting that the boat will operate in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery.

With a construction end date in mind, Skoljarev is already thinking about the launch celebrations.

“We’re planning to do something at the Nelson Bay wharf next January. We’ll invite all our friends and family, Tuna Australia and those who were involved in the construction. Father Anthony from our local parish will bless the boat. It’ll be the grand finale.”

Stay tuned for the next update.

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