Killybegs boatyard makes a splash with launch of largest vessel in the port since 1980

The MFV Amethyst received its ceremonial launch

Killybegs boatyard makes a splash with launch of largest vessel in the port since 1980

The Johnston and Mooney families at the ceremonial launch of the MFV Amethyst in Killybegs.

When they do things in Killybegs they like to make a big splash about it and that's certainly true when it came to the recent ceremonial launch of the largest vessel in the fishing port since 1980.

The skill and know of Mooney Boats Ltd made it all possible. They have been at the heart of the community in the town for more than four decades and it is to them that the industry leaders look to when wanting to refit or build a new craft. The Shore Road is certainly a hub of service and development and this latest launch proves yet again that this local firm is amongst the finest in the industry.

The MFV Amethyst received its ceremonial launching on Saturday, September 28 from owner Ralston Johnston, with his wife Jane Johnston taking main stage at the launch party to christen the ship.

Ralston Johnston, with his wife Jane Johnston taking main stage at the launch party to christen the MFV Amethyst

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 metres in length and 7.3 metres 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 October 11 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 the her into sunlight for the first time.

Saturday, September 28 saw lift coordinator and Killybegs local, Eoghan Dorrian, with his team from crane hire limited skillfully operate the Liebherr LTM 1750 (750 ton) 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 176 ton 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 followed by a meal and complimentary drinks in the nearby 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 and Plunkett Smith for capturing some amazing photos and videos on the day, " a company spokesperson said.

You can watch the launch at

Like I said, when it comes to making a splash, Killybegs is the place to be!

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