Travelling the world to install vacuum pumps in the fishing industry
A senior supervisor at Havyard/MMC, Asbjørn travels as much as 200 days a year. It is a requirement from nearly all ship owners and shipyards that only pumps from Samson Pumps in Denmark be installed in their ships
Meet Asbjørn Tråseth
Aged 41, married and father of two children – a daughter of 16 and a son of 20 – Asbjørn lives in Fosnavåg, Norway (about 1 1/2 hours south of Ålesund). Asbjørn has been working for Havyard/MMC for the past 17 years. A senior superviser at Havyard/MMC, Asbjørn travels the world and is sometimes away for up to 200 days a year. Asbjørn manages the pool of travelling installers who work on other continents, but he is extremely active on the assembly front himself. Over the years, Havyard/MMC has produced and installed vacuum systems in ships all over the world – especially in Chile, Norway, Japan, Australia, Turkey and Denmark.
Havyard makes and installs vacuum systems in ships and trawlers to suck up and transport live herring, mackerel, and salmon. Liquid ring vacuum pumps are indispensable in this process as other pump systems are not suitable to transport live fish. As all cargo is sold for human consumption it is important not to damage the fish. From the cargo area, the catch is sucked into a vacuum tank and from there, the pressure of the vacuum pump transports the fish directly to the production area for further processing. The unique technology of liquid ring pumps offers a pressure capacity of up to 3 bars and a vacuum level as low as 100mb. In certain parts of the world, the trawlers are too big for the ports which mean that the catch must be hoisted 7-8 meters and transported across a distance of between 3-400 meters.
Large trawlers can accommodate up to 800 tons of fish, and with fish factories processing up to 60 tons/hour, the minimum capacity of the pumps must match this capacity. With a capacity of up to 80 tons/hour, the pumps are extremely efficient and largely maintenance-free. Only seals and gaskets need replacing every four years.
Right now, Asbjørn works on a trawler project in Spain that could take up to 5 months to complete. In comparison, a typical vacuum system in itself takes only 4-5 weeks to install. Asbjørn travels to the shipyard and has the Fosnavåg factory deliver all the components, either by ship or lorry. Once all mechanical parts are in place, Asbjørn is joined by an electrician and a programmer from home, and together they have the project completed and ready for start-up in about a week’s time. Once the project in Spain has been completed, Asbjørn is going to Larvik in Norway to prepare a trawler for salmon fishing in the Norwegian fjords. Larvik may be a Norwegian destination, but it is still a long way from home for Asbjørn who cannot just go home after a working day of often 12-15 hours.
Puerto Mont, 2010.
Asbjørn was in Chile to install a vacuum system. During the day, there had been discussions around the risks of both an earthquake and a volcano erupting. That night however, Asbjørn felt the entire hotel tremble. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake had hit Chile and the damages were immense. With no electricity or transport, Asbjørn was stranded for over a week. Finally, he took a bus to the airport where he found the check-in counter set up in the parking lot. In 2011, Asbjørn had been in the city of Hachionohe in Japan to install a vacuum system at Thyms, a large fish processing plant. Asbjørn was supposed to go back to Japan on 13 March but heard on the evening news two days earlier how a devastating tsunami had hit the coast of Japan. The devastation was enormous, and the entire factory that Asbjørn had worked on had been destroyed.