ONE of the unsung success stories of Scottish shipbuilding is celebrating the completion of its latest project.

Macduff Ship Design announced yesterday that it had successfully delivered the 16-metre harbour tug, known as Acamar, to Shoreham Port Authority.

A project that has been in gestation for up to seven years, the build process started in August 2017 with the first steel being cut for the vessel.

The entire construction and outfitting of the vessel was supervised by Macduff Ship Design with the owners being kept updated regularly as to the vessel’s progress. The tug is equipped with everything that a busy commercial port requires. The design, inspired by the company’s popular Eileen Mcloughlin hull, was customised to suit Shoreham Port’s busy operations schedule and narrowed in order to fit through lock gates. The unusual but aptly named Acamar, which derives from an Arabic phrase meaning “end of the river”, complements Shoreham’s existing vessel Adurni by adding extra capability to the Shoreham fleet.

Macduff Ship Design said they were “pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Shoreham Port on this project and at present is being kept busy with a full order book of new and repeat designs for owners both in the UK and abroad”.

The company is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It is allied to Macduff Shipyards which earlier this year built a pilot vessel for an operator in Ayr, and an 11m trawler-style motor yacht for a private owner.

Macduff Ship Design is a global company – part of its range of designs is a Multi-Mac multi-vessel, a sort of jack-of-all-trades workboat, with some of them built by Tor Marine shipyard in Turkey for operations in Saudi Arabia.

The firm’s managing director Ian Ellis, who has been with Macduff Ship Design since it began in 1993, told The National of the extent of the company’s international collaborations.

“As well as our work with the Macduff Shipyards from where we started,” he said, “we have designed vessels throughout the world.

“The map on our website shows just how global our reach is, and while we started out servicing the local fishing industry, we moved into other sectors such as tugs, pilot and harbour vessels, though I must say that after a long time in the doldrums the fishing sector is back again both here and globally – we have just finished our first UK fishing boat for a number of years.

“We are also excited about our first design for vessels for Canada which are being built in Vietnam – that’s a big move for us and we are hopeful it will lead to more orders from Canada.

“On the back of it I’m heading off to Canada soon for a fishing industry exhibition and will be looking for more business there.”

The vagaries of the shipbuilding industry, like that of the North Sea fishing and energy sectors, are well known, but Macduff has certainly shown stamina over the years.

Ellis added: “The Acamar was a project that we had worked on for more than six years and for various economic reasons it stalled, so it was nice to pick it up again and finish it off successfully.

“It was a development of designs that we had done 10 years ago and we had to make various changes, but it was good to work on a development of one of our designs that has been very successful.”