HECTOR GANNET LO143
John Stevenson Collection
Official No: 304294 Port and Year: London, 1962 (LO143)
Description: Steel stern trawler; single screw, motor.
Built: 1962, by P. K. Harries & Sons, Appledore. (Yard no. 528)
Tonnage: 361 grt 136 net.
Length / breadth / depth (feet): 125.1 / 29.11 / 10
Engine: 4 single acting 6 Cyl. 1,160 bhp. National Gas & Combustion Engine Company, Ashton under Lyne
Jul 1962: Hector Trawlers, Sea Pool, London EC3.
Manager: William H. Kerr (Ship Chandlers) Ltd, Docks, Milford.
1968: Offshore Marine Ltd., London.
Landed at Milford: 26 Jul 1962 - 27 Oct 1964
Alfred Beckett (1962/1963); S. Hearne (1964); Tommy Salter (1964).
1965: Left Milford for Newcastle to be converted to an oil rig attendant vessel.
15 Nov 1968: While answering a distress call to an oil rig which had suffered a blow-out, struck the rig's leg in bad weather and capsized in the North Sea; two men were killed and a third was missing. [The Times, 16 November 1968.]
Accidents and Incidents
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 27th July 1962:
FIRST STERN-FISHER AT MILFORD
Revolutionary New Trawler arrives
A new trawler with a revolutionary appearance arrived at Milford Haven on Thursday, the Hector Gannet, first British stern-fisher designed for the middle-water grounds.
Built at the yard of Messrs. P. K. Harris and Son, Appledore, the £160,000 vessel is the first of two which the Hector Trawling Company is bringing to Milford Haven to be managed by Messrs. W. H. Kerr
Milford has seen several impressive new ships in recent months, but never one that looked like this — a squat, powerful vessel with bridgeworks, accommodation and engine room all up for'ard and a long, open deck in her aft half with the stern fishing gantry towering over her broad "gate" stern. From a distance she has the lines of a powerful tug. Another distinctive feature is that she has no masts.
The Hector Gannet is 130 feet overall with a beam of 29ft. 6ins., and a depth of 14ft. 6ins.
She is powered by a National diesel engine of 1,160 r.p.m and has an electrically-operated Clarke-Chapman winch with generator operated off the main engine.
The engine is a constant speed version and the ship's speed is controlled by her hydraulically operated variable propeller.
The huge four-ton fishing gantry and the stern doors, which drop down when the vessel is fishing, are also hydraulically operated. The gannet's big fish hold is specially cooled. Her winch is equipped with two 1,000 fathoms of heavy warp.
What are the advantages of this method of trawling? Main improvement is a wider trawl maw when towing and fat greater protection and comfort for her crew.
The men working on the deck aft have the protection of the ship's high for'ard superstructure and the stern doors alleviate all necessity to lean over the sides when shooting or hauling. This is, in fact, trawling automatised to the highest degree yet developed.
The crew accommodation and facilities have to be seen to be believed — spacious, modern and comfortable and including two sets of showers, separate dining messes and carpets in all the officers' cabins!
In charge of this "different" new trawler is Skipper Alfred Beckett, Milford born and bred and leading "hake" master for many years. He is enthusiastic and very proud of his new ship.
The Gannet performed perfectly on her trip round from Appledore on Wednesday. Trials of the stern fishing trawl were held off Lundy in the Bristol Channel and Skipper Beckett was delighted with the operation. "We had a marvellous trip," he commented. "This ship has the power, the range and the capacity to really do things. I hope sincerely that in her we can fulfil all the hopes and expectations we have for her. We shall sail north for the St. Kilda grounds off Scotland.
The new trawler has a nice turn of speed at 12.4 knots, and with her her sturdy broad-beamed lines is a first class sea ship.
As Mate with Skipper Beckett is another Milford man, Mr. Leslie Garton.
Chief Engineer for the first two trips is the builders' expert, Mr. John Easton, of Appledore. He will hand over to his Second, Mr. Phillip Rowland, another Devonian, who will be the trawler's Chief Engineer.
The Hector Gannet made a strictly "no fuss" arrival. There will be no flags, no parties and no official visitors.
For 48 hours Messrs. Kerr's staff and the technicians servicing her full quota of up-to-date aids, including Radar, are on an all-out effort to make the trawler ready for the serious business of fishing. Mr. W. H. Kerr is himself supervising.
The Hector Gannet is due to sail on Saturday morning.
She is far more than a new ship — she is a revolutionary new method.
Skipper Beckett and his crew have the enthusiasm and keenness — with them goes the port's best wishes for good luck and success.
The Gannet's sister ship, the Hector Gull, is expected to be ready at the end of the summer.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 14th September 1962:
The revolutionary new stern trawler Hector Gannet on Monday landed the biggest single catch for many months.
Skipper Alfred Beckett brought in a total of 427 kits which included 119 of hake, 33 haddock, 31 cod, 124 coley, 29 whiting and 19 prawns. Her trip of 17 days grossed £2,559.
As a result of practical fishing experience it has been decided to carry out certain modifications and improvements to the stern fishers deck by hydraulic gear, in order to facilitate the handling of her catches. Skipper Beckett took the Gannet back to the builders' yard at Appledore, Devon, on Tuesday, and she is expected to be there ten days.
Her sister ship, the Hector Gull, is due to join the local fleet shortly. Both ships are owned by Hector Trawling Co., and are managed by Messrs. W. H. Kerr.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 14th December 1962:
After being in dock for twelve days for winch repairs, the stern fisher Hector Gannet sailed this morning (Friday) in charge of Skipper Alfred Beckett.
Her sister ship, Hector Gull, now nearing completion, will not now be joining the Milford fleet, but will fish out of Grimsby for the time being.
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