B48 MFV Amethyst Week 39 2019 – Boat Launch

Celebrations are ongoing in Killybegs as Mooney Boats Ltd. successfully launches the largest vessel in the fishing port since 1980. The MFV Amethyst received its ceremonial launching on Saturday the 28th of September from owner Ralston Johnston, with his wife Jane Johnston taking the main stage at the launch party to christen the ship. Mr. Johnston and his family, from Gardenstown in Scotland, have operated fishing vessels in Fraserburgh for many years. Familiar with the quality of work previously produced by Mooney Boats Mr. Johnston approached the yard in late 2017 to commission a new build prawn trawler then designated as Build 48 (Yard No.B48).

The significance of the new build was not taken lightly by Mooney Boats, at 20.25 Meters in length and 7.3 Meters in breadth the vessel would challenge the dense peninsula on which the boatyard workshop is located. Planning for the launch took place long before the laying of the keel, on the 11th of October 2018, in order to calculate movements and launching methods of the finished hull. On the day before the launch, the removing of the almost complete MFV Amethyst from within the Boatyard Shed took place. This was a task of planning and precision, weighing 176 ton the vessel had a mere 6’ inches of clearance exiting the workshop shed allowing her into the sunlight for the first time.

Saturday the 28th saw lift co-ordinator and Killybegs local Eoghan Dorrian with his team from crane hire limited skilfully operate the Liebherr LTM 1750  (750ton) crane and Liebherr LTM 1500 (500ton) crane which they spent the previous week assembling. In total twelve artic lorry loads of crane ballast where required to rig both cranes in preparation to lift the 176ton vessel plus the required 10 ton of lifting gear. In the shadow of the ship, Jane and Ralston Johnston with their daughter Eilidh and son Jason watched in anticipation as the two monumental cranes lowered the vessel into the water for the first time. After a successful launch, celebratory champagne was passed around to invited guests at the boatyard with a meal and complimentary drinks to follow in the Tara Hotel. With the vessel now in the water the men and women of Mooney Boats are again working tirelessly to finish the now pier side MFV Amethyst, over the coming weeks.


We would like to take a moment to thank Crane Hire Ltd and Sinbad Marine Services for their assistance in getting the Amethyst from the yard to the Blackrock Pier, The Tara Hotel in Killybegs for hosting the launch party, and we would also thank Matty & Plunkett Smith for capturing some amazing photos and videos on the day.


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