MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Southern Star, a ship built at Omega Shipyard in Moss Point, has been christened and is now ready to head to South America.
A christening ceremony featuring local dignitaries and executives from Omega Protein was held Monday at the Moss Point shipyard. Following the christening, invited guests took a short river cruise on the Southern Star, admiring the vessel.
The newly retrofitted vessel will head to Uruguay next, where it will be used by a sister division of Omega Protein. The state-of-the-art ship is going to be a quantum leap into the future compared to what's currently available in the Uruguayan fishery.
Renovations to the vessel include a completely rebuilt propulsion system and state-of-the-art digitally controlled equipment designed to reduce the amount of manual labor necessary to catch and land red crab.
With its new equipment, the Southern Star will be able to stay at sea for up to 30 days per trip. The vessel will also have facilities to process, package, freeze, and store red crabs on-board, allowing the vessel to sell directly to retailers and wholesalers. Those amenities will allow for better quality and fresher product.
Approximately 225 workers are employed at Omega Protein, which includes the employees at the Moss Point shipyard. Omega Shipyard supports all of the Omega Protein vessels, including nine fishing vessels.
Moss Point is home to one of Omega Protein’s fish processing plants as well as its wholly-owned shipyard. Omega Shipyard sits on approximately 50 acres and is used for routine maintenance and vessel refurbishment on Omega Protein’s fishing vessels.
Omega Protein, which was founded 106 years ago in Virginia, has operated in Moss Point since the 1960′s.
Omega Protein is the leading, vertically integrated producer in the United States of omega-3 rich fish oil, protein-rich specialty fishmeal and organic fish solubles for livestock and aquaculture feed manufacturers.