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OPEN Ocean Whakatohea Mussels’ new mussel farming vessel Kukutai was launched in Auckland yesterday.

Whakatohea Mussels chief executive Peter Vitasovich has provided images of the state-of-the-art 24-metre vessel resting on the launch cradle at the McMullen and Wing shipyard, where it has been under construction since December.

Located at Mount Wellington, McMullen and Wing is Auckland’s leading commercial shipyard and boat builder, sporting a 50-year history of innovation.

Also celebrated yesterday were the three young trainees from Opotiki for whom the launch represented a special milestone in their boat building careers with McMullen and Wing.

The Kukutai will complement Whakatohea Mussels’ current vessel, the Northern Quest, and allow the company to increase its harvesting capacity.

A full report on the custom-built vessel and the launch will appear in Thursday’s edition.