‘Kirkella’, the UK’s largest deep-sea trawler is due to return to sea today after an epic three-month double trip which came about due to coronavirus crisis.
UK Fisheries’ 81 metre, state-of-the-art fishing vessel arrived back in her home port of Hull on Monday morning, ending a mammoth trip that was doubled in length to almost 90 days due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Kirkella’s 30-strong crew are looking forward to some truly well-deserved time with their families after volunteering to extend their time at sea to prevent the risk of the novel Coronavirus getting on board – with what could have been disastrous consequences.
First mate Mark McGorrin said: “We’re all massively looking forward to getting home. ‘Kirkella’ is about the best fishing trawler there is to work on, but three months is a long time to be away and it will be very good to see Hull again. We’re really proud to have brought home almost 1,400 tonnes of British fish fillets over the two trips; it’s good to know that chippies will have access to their most important ingredient in these tough times.”
‘Kirkella’, which mainly fishes for cod and haddock in and around the Barents sea, caught 3,900 tonnes of liveweight fish to make 1,376 tonnes of fillets over the two trips, frozen almost immediately at sea to ensure maximum freshness. Her high-tech systems means there is zero discard and almost zero bycatch.
The waters off the northern coasts of Norway are notoriously stormy, and ‘Kirkella’ regularly endured rough seas and and storm-force winds. Despite this, she covered 6,000 nautical miles over the two trips after travel restrictions and safety concerns made a crew change in Tromsø impossible. An outbreak of any infectious disease on board any ship is, of course, very difficult to control, but happily the crew stayed healthy throughout.
To minimise risk, fresh crew have been in quarantine in a hotel for two weeks. Fully supplied, ‘Kirkella’ will head back to the distant waters where she plies her trade on today, Friday 29 May.
Source: UK Fisheries