In 1994 Ajka Pty Ltd decided to take up tuna farming in Louth Bay off Port Lincoln, and this successful operation has gradually expanded until, in 1999, Laurie Gobin could see that a somewhat special vessel would be needed to tow the cages , bring out the pilchards from Port Lincoln, feed the tuna and , finally, to harvest them. What he needed was a versatile vessel that could, should the need arise, also be used for other purposes within the Ajka fleet.
‘Leila Jo’ is a new 24 metre vessel, was named after Laurie and Ajka’s first grand daughter and subsequent to her blessing by the Croatian chaplain, she slid gracefully down the ASCI slip into the waters of North Arm on Sunday February 6, 2000.
The vessels versatility is obvious, and she can easily be converted into a trawler should the need ever arise.
She has bow and stern thrusters giving her extreme manoeuvrability, especially when working alongside the pens, and her spacious deck (9.0 by 7.5 metres of working area), allows for the stowage of up to 35 tonnes of bait.
‘Leila Jo’ currently services eight company tuna rings, in conjunction with tow other company vessels.
Her lines are clean and pleasing, giving the impression of fine seagoing vessel rather than just a functional work boat.
Her accommodation is spacious, with the traditional timber and joinery, typical of ASCI, lending a nice finishing touch. The crew are housed in three comfortable two-berth cabins forward of the nicely furnished and functional mess on the main deck.
At the heart of the ‘Leila Jo’ is a Caterpillar 3412 TA power plant, delivering 670 horsepower at 1,800rpm and giving her an economical cruising speed of 9.5 knots.
With a dry weight of approximately 2.4 tonnes, this popular marine series engine is a proven performer, and ideal for the current application. During the past decade, in particular, Caterpillar has continually worked on increasing fuel efficiency, power and life to overhaul with the constant application of innovative technology and improved component design.
The engine is close coupled to a Twin Disc MG 520-1 marine gearbox with a reduction ratio of 5.00:1, and drives a four-bladed Veem propeller with a diameter of 2,000mm and a pitch of 500mm.
The two side thrusters are both 100 horsepower Thrustmasters, and the hydraulics were all supplied and installed by Graham Hydraulics of Port Adelaide.
Electronics were provided by Taylor Marine in Port Adelaide.
Laurie Gobin says his selection of Adelaide Ship Construction International as the builder was almost a foregone conclusion as, after a close association of 10 years duration, the Gobins have always found the yard entirely to their satisfaction, both in its realistic pricing and the quality of its workmanship.
|Multipurpose Tuna farm tender
|Port Lincoln, SA