Omega Shipyard at Moss Point, Miss., delivered the 180' x 40' x 7' menhaden steamer Little River to the Omega Protein plant in Reedville, Va., to fish the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean.

The vessel was motored in April from Moss Point, up the Atlantic Coast to the plant and now Omega’s corporate headquarters in Reedville. The firm started fishing the vessel in May.

The steel hull vessel was converted from an offshore oil supply vessel on the Gulf of Mexico named Black Diver II. Little River is powered by two 399 Caterpillar Diesel engines rated together at 2,250 hp, working through 4:1 ratio Caterpillar marine reduction gears.

There are two generators on the boat powered by two new John Deere 6068 Tier III engines, 150 kw. The vessel will travel at 12 knots consuming 100 gallons of fuel per hour. Little River has a fuel capacity of 9,000 gallons.

The conversion on the Little River was almost identical to what was done at the yard on the F/V Carters Creek in 2017 (See ATY, NF June 2017), says Tim Milligan general manager of Omega Shipyard.

“We upgraded the joiner package on Little River with new interior work, new beds, walls, heads, pilothouse and galley,” said Milligan.

The vessel has state rooms and berths to accommodate 20 crew members, and the boat is U.S. Coast Guard certified to carry 20. The vessel has 10-ton central air conditioning units; heating strips; 5,000 gallons of portable water capacity, and 574 gallons of lube oil capacity. Electronic equipment will include an AIS autopilot control; color chart plotter; three VHF radios; two radars; and lounges will have TV, VCR and DVD.

Little River has a modern stern slide system for carrying and off-loading purse boats used to fish the purse net. This involved major design and construction work on the stern, requiring two feet of stern deck to be added to the boat.

The boatyard is currently working on a conversion of the F/V Grand Caillou. The vessel will be used as a carry boat, home port out of Moss Point and work in Omega’s gulf menhaden fishery.

“She will have the capability to pump fish from another vessel’s fish hold or directly from the nets of other fishing boats,” says Milligan.

“If needed, with a few modifications, we could convert her back to a fishing boat,” he says.

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Larry Chowning is a writer for the Southside Sentinel in Urbanna, Va., a regular contributor to National Fisherman, and the author of numerous books.

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