The Ship Institute at the University of Nha Trang and the Yanmar Company of Japan has launched a composite-hulled tuna fishing ship in Nha Trang city.

The vessel, known as the VIJAS Research and Training Vessel, is the first of 180 tuna boats to be built for the central provinces of Binh Dinh, Phu Yen and Khanh Hoa.

The project has been organised by the Yanmar Company to lift fishermen's incomes and develop a sustainable tuna fishing industry.

The new boat, launched on August 2, is 18 metres long and 4.5 metres wide and has an average speed of 11 nautical miles per hour. It has eight holds for fish cellars and one ice cellar.

Worth 6 billion VND (285,700 USD), it is expected to make its first fishing trip in September.

It is equipped with the latest fishing equipment and Japanese technology for catching and preserving tuna, Yanmar project director Yukio Kikuchi told the Vnexpress e-newspaper.

The vessel can store 6,000 litres of fuel and 3,000 litres of water, enabling it to stay at sea for up to 20 days.

Composite boats are said to be safer than those made of timber. They also consume 30 percent less fuel.

The company plans to export 4,500 tonnes of Vietnamese tuna to Japan every year starting from 2015.

Kikuchi said the company would set up 10 teams with 60 vessels in each province.-VNA