ATLANTIC SEAL LO106
As SAXON RANGER
Courtesy of Steve Farrow - www.trawlerart.com
Official No: 302796 Port Number and Year: London, 1961 (LO106)
Grimsby, 1967 (GY1396)
Description: Steel side trawler; single screw motor vessel. Diesel electric.
Built: by J. S. Doig, Grimsby, 1961. (Yard no. 68)
Tonnage: 286 gross 94 net
Length / breadth / depth (feet): 120.9 / 26.1 / 11.4
Engine: Four single acting. 6Cyl; 700 ihp. Davey, Paxman & Co.
As ATLANTIC SEAL LO106
Sep 1961: Storgram Trawlers, London EC2
Managers: Milford Management, Docks, Milford.
As SAXON RANGER GY1396
Jun 1967: Saxon Trawlers, Grimsby.
Jan 1975: Owners in Freemantle, WA.
Landed at Milford: 18 Nov 1961 - 4 Dec 1962
Skippers: Arthur Harvey
1975: As SAXON RANGER, sold to Australian owners.
2003: Went aground, and subsequently sunk as a diving wreck, off Rockingham, WA.. [See story below.]
Accidents and Incidents:
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 15th September 1961:
Atlantic Seal, Milford's first diesel-electric trawler, 130ft. long, is expected to sail from Grimsby on her maiden voyage in a fortnight's time. Built by Messrs. Doig's of Grimsby for Storgram Trawlers Ltd., the new ship will be managed at Milford by Norrard Trawlers.
She will be commanded by Skipper Arthur Harvey, top earning master at Milford for many years in Milford Fisheries "hake" trawlers. The bosun, Mr. Oliver Smith-Howell has already joined the Atlantic Seal at Grimsby, and Skipper Harvey and the the rest of the crew will join her shortly.
On completion of trials the new trawler will "fish a trip" round to Milford Haven, and is expected to land her first catch at the port in mid-October.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 24th November 1961:
It was a great pity that the maiden landings of Milford's two new trawlers, the Atlantic Seal and the Juniper, should have coincided with an unexpected week of slump, the worst of the year in the port.
No less that 329 kits of hake were landed but quite a quantity of "needles" and "brokers" found their way for cat food.
Five big hake boats, practically half of the port's fleet in this class, landed on Monday, but prices have fluctuated badly. Ray, which was £9 10s. on Wednesday, dropped to £6 10s. yesterday.
Week's top trip was the Milford Star (Skipper George Mair), whose landing was spread over Monday and Tuesday and who had 43 kits of hake and 101 of cod.
Next came the new Juniper (Skipper Alf Beckett), whose catch would have fetched hundreds of pounds more on an average market. He had a100 kits of hake and his grossing was £1,669.
The Nobel (Skipper A. Riby) had 87 of hake on Saturday and Skipper Arthur Harvey, in the new Atlantic Seal, had 73 kits of hake.
The Times, Monday, Dec 11, 1961; pg. 6; Issue 55261; col F
Fishing Port's New Hope
Trawler "Gamble" Successful
FROM OUR SOUTH WALES CORRESPONDENT.
mILFORD HAVEN, DEC. 10
Carrying with her hopes that the long decline of the Welsh fishing industry has been halted, a new trawler is on her way to the hake grounds of the Atlantic. She is the first of nine being built for Milford Haven owners at a cost of £1,150,000.
"For years Milford has been a dying fishing port", said Mr. W. H. Kerr, president of the Trawler Owners' Association in Milford. "We believe we have at last turned the corner."
The large fleets which once sailed to the hake grounds from Cardiff and Swansea have already died, and it looked as though the industry in Wales might vanish completely. Then with Government help owners here took what some called "a gamble", though most believe it to be "a considered business venture".
The White Fish Authority is putting up 60 per cent of the cost of the new trawlers and the Government is to make a further grant of 25 per cent, leaving the owners to find the remaining 15 per cent and the cost of fitting out. The second of the new ships is expected in March, and the rest will be arriving at the rate of one a month from May
MORE FOR CREW
If their purchase was a gamble it has come off, judging by early form. After her 15-day proving trip the new trawler, Atlantic Seal, brought home a catch worth £2,400 - twice the value of that landed by an old-type Milford vessel plying different grounds at the same time.
The new trawler, which is diesel-powered, is 15 per cent faster than the steam-driven older trawlers, and uses 30 tons of oil compared with 100 tons of fuel oil swallowed up by the others. "There is a fuel bill of up to £400 a trip compared with £800 to £900", said Mr. Kerr.
Lower costs and bigger catches mean better money for crews; one of the laments in Swansea and Cardiff was that the hake fleet could not compete with wages and conditions of "landlubber" industries, so the quality of manpower suffered.
Out in the Atlantic today the 11 men on the new trawler may be eating food taken from a refrigerator, having a wash under one of the showers, or settling down to read by the light of a "bedside" lamp: each man has his own berth.
In command is Skipper Arthur Harvey, a man in his forties, who recently carried out research on behalf of the Government into the possibilities of reopening old hake grounds and extending others. Part of the successful is marked by a circle pencilled on a chart in the Trawler Owners' Association's offices. It is to this area, known as "The Farm", that the Atlantic Seal is now making.
What this farm produce could mean for the housewife remains to be seen. But trawlermen here think that more lucrative fishing in the Atlantic could lead to lower prices on the fishmonger's slab - particularly in South Wales.
[ Note: The ATLANTIC SEAL was registered in London; within a year of this article's publication, she was transferred to Grimsby. ]
John Stevenson Collection
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 9th February 1962:
FIRE ON SUPER TRAWLER
Skipper Describes Incident
When fire broke out in the engine room of the £150,000 diesel-electric trawler, Atlantic Seal, eight miles south-west of the Smalls on Wednesday night, shipping in the area and the St.David's lifeboat were alerted by radio, but fortunately their help was not needed.
The trawler, pride of the Milford fishing fleet, was outward bound to the fishing grounds on her fourth trip from the port in charge of skipper Arthur Harvey.
Skipper Harvey described the incident to our reporter on Thursday:—
"I happened to be turned in and they called me out," he said, "When i got there the engine room was just like an inferno. Mr Eric Beckett, who was slightly burned on the neck, and Mr Hedley Laugharne, did a splendid job. They shut off all the air intakes and closed up the engine room to smother the fire until we thought it was safe to open up again and use our foam equipment. We did this after about 20 minutes."
"Our chief concern was the header tank containing one and a half tons of oil," added the Skipper. "The metal underneath was red hot and if that had gone it could have been very serious."
Skipper Harvey said when the engine room was closed up the lifeboat and life rafts were got ready "just in case", and a wireless message sent out.
Shortly before the lifeboat was due to be launched, however, the Skipper radioed that the fire was now under control and they were returning to port. He asked for a tug to stand by but the Atlantic Seal made port under her own power.
Mr Fred Ingram (junior), a director of Storgram Trawlers, said on Thursday that the fire was caused by waste oil falling on to the exhaust pipes. Luckily the damage was much less serious than feared and after burned lagging and a quantity of electrical equipment had been replaced the trawler would sail again on Friday (today).
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 3rd May 1963:
After preliminary trials on the Humber, Britain's latest stern trawler Atlantic Dolphin is having certain modifications specified by her owners, Storgram Trawlers, Ltd., of London.
The company had a former interest in the Milford Haven fishing industry. Their other diesel electric ship, the Atlantic Seal, operated out of Milford for a year, under the management of Milford Managements, Ltd., with a crew plus the skipper from Milford. She left for the port of Grimsby some months ago.
The 400 tonne former fishing vessel, known as the Saxon Ranger is the first purpose sunk dive wreck in the Perth metropolitan area.
The Saxon Ranger (formerly Atlantic Seal) was built around 1960 in Grimsby, England at a cost of 100,000 pounds to work as a side trawler in the North Atlantic ocean. The vessel is 37 metres in length with a beam of 9 metres and hosted a crew of 17.
Owned by the British Trawler Company, arrangements were made in 1974 for the vessel to be used to develop a southern fishery off Albany.
It was later sold and arrived in Australian waters working around Tasmania and Albany WA with occasional trips into the Antarctic.
The first catch of 52 tonne of fish was blockaded by unions and had to be hand filleted on board.
Continually plagued with 'bad luck' the vessel suffered numerous breakdowns, broke moorings, ran out of fuel, and was finally salvaged from the shores of Rockingham after a gale in 2003.
Considered a jinx, the Saxon Ranger now lies in 25metres of water amongst other sunken wrecks on the seabed floor of the West Coast Dive Park.
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