Fish are being landed in the Port of Hull once again via the Hull registered ultra modern factory vessel ‘Kirkella’ H7 owned by UK Fisheries Ltd. This state of the art fishing vessel brings a regular supply of one thousand two hundred (1,200) tons of fish fillets to market approximately every eight/ten weeks. This product is processed onboard and landed ready for distribution to sales outlets locally and throughout the country. The management of the product and fish stocks is rigorous and second to none in product quality and sustainability of the fishing grounds.
Prior to the Naming Ceremony of the new Hull trawler, ‘Kirkella’, in Greenwich, the STAND Committee were given the special opportunity, on 14th April 2019, to tour the vessel berthed in Queen Elizabeth Dock, Hull before she sailed to London.
**A report on STAND’s visit to London to the Naming Ceremony can be seen on the ‘STAND News’ page ( on the arrow: ‘A Royal Trip’).
The ship looked magnificent from the quayside and, as our tour progressed guided by Michael Thompson of UK Fisheries Ltd, nothing we saw changed our impression. The operations bridge from which the Skipper oversees and carries out the hauling & shooting of the trawl gear and the skillful role of locating, catching and bringing onboard the catch is fitted out with the highest and most up to date technological equipment. The men who man these controls, the Skipper and the Mate are highly skilled fishermen who have not only mastered the new technology but have an instinct and lifelong knowledge for understanding how and where to catch fish.
Handling of the fishing gear during hauling and shooting is still a job for the deck crew but made easier by having winches controlled from the bridge. The bridge afforded a 360 degree view and was equipped with all the electronic navigational equipment you would expect to see on a super liner. All this modern technology was a world away from the trawlers of years ago; the kind experienced by three of the Committee. It appeared more sophisticated than the equipment used at Houston Control when landing men on the moon fifty years ago.
The accommodation was finished to an extremely high standard with cabins having TV, Internet and telephones as standard. The ship was also fitted out with a gym, sauna and cinema for the comfort of the crew.
Dining arrangements are comfortable with a self service facility and a varied menu. The kitchen was spotless and very well equipped.
Fish handling is a thing of the past on this trawler with the factory area equipped with an array of machinery that would not look out of place in the most up to date shore factory. Fish are cleaned, sorted, filleted, frozen and packed ready for the supermarkets by computerised machinery.
After processing, the boxes of prepared fish are loaded onto pallets and stowed in the fish room by fork lift trucks; each pallet weighs just over one ton. Waste products are also treated on board and landed as fishmeal fertiliser as well as fish oil from the livers.
This environment plus the work schedule on offer makes the opportunities to become a crew member of ‘Kirkella’ very limited. The owners basically employ two (2) crews who operate one trip on and one trip off. Their daily work shift is eight hours on and eight hours off, a very different arrangement from the days of the side trawlers when the deck crew worked eighteen hours on and six hours off during the period the vessel was fishing.
A floating factory! The vessel is a credit to the owners, UK Fisheries Ltd and to the crew who serve her.
Our thanks go to Michael Thompson of UK Fisheries for the invitation and the opportunity to experience such an incredible vessel.