Official No: 389566 Port Number and Year: - in San Sebastian, 1974.
8th in Milford, 1981
Description: Steel side trawler, single screw oil burning motor vessel.
Crew: 13 Registered at Milford: 18 May 1981
Built: 1974, Astilleros de Atlantico, Santander, Spain.
Tonnage: 206.6 grt 108.36 net
Length / breadth / depth (feet): 109.0 (117.45 loa) / 22.3 / 12.1
Engine: Internal combustion engine; oil; 4 single acting 6 cyl. 1040 bhp; 11 kts; by Maschinenbau Kiel (MaK), Germany
As BETI DONOSTI
1974?: Pesquera Laurak-Bat S.A., San Sebastian, Spain
25 Sep 1980: As SLEBECH
As SLEBECH M319
18 May 1981: Betty Fisheries, C Shed, The Docks, Milford.
29 Feb 1982: Building 66, Docks, Milford. (Change of address.)
10 Mar 1986: Galaza Fisheries, 112 Durnford St., Stonehouse, Plymouth.
Landed at Milford:
Slebech is a parish situated on the upper Eastern Cleddau river, east of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.
The following local managing owners, are not recorded in the Register (1981):
Managing owners: Peter George Wright, 64 Great North Rd., Milford
John Edwin Crawford, 1 Leonardston View, Neyland.
13 Apr 1984: Collided with Esso Refinery jetty, Milford Haven. [See story below.]
Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 11 Apr 1989
Accidents and Incidents
Flag-ship battle at Milford
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 10th April 1981:
ANGRY WELSH fishermen are to take a row about Spanish trawlers to the House of Commons and, if their pleas fail to result in a ban on the vessels, a strike may follow.
This is the situation after a stormy week in Milford Haven which saw the arrival of three trawlers from Spain. Although they are registered in Britain, they have mostly Spanish crews. To local fishermen the ships are virtually poaching and the bulk of their catches will end up in Spain.
Slebech was the first vessel to arrive and trawlermen tried to stop her unloading a catch of 7,000 kilos. They failed and the ship was later joined by two more.
Some of the fish were unloaded on to container lorries bound for France and Spain.
From the Western Telegraph & Cymric Times of Wednesday 18th April 1984:
Only a week after Esso Oil Company announced that they had two potential purchasers for their refinery jetty, they could face a repair bill for up to £1OO,OOO, following an incident in the early hours of Friday morning, when it was hit by a trawler.
Officials at the port remained perplexed this week as to how the 110 foot "Slebech" managed to collide with the western end of the jetty, which was illuminated with three powerful navigation lights. Sailing conditions .... had been perfect, with calm waters, little wind and no fog. It is believed that the trawler was doing up to 12 knots shortly before the collision. .....
The collision left a support on the western side of the jetty damaged, and the bows of the trawler twisted. The vessel is expected to be out of action for at least two weeks ....
The "Slebech" had just sailed from Northern Spain where it had been nearly refurbished ready to join its three sister ships at Milford to start a new season of fishing off West Wales.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 24th May 1985:
The master of the 200 ton fishing vessel "Slebech", which went crashing into the Esso Marine Terminal in perfect weather conditions on Friday 13th April last year, was fined a total of £500 at Milford Court on Wednesday. Edward Charles Lea, fifty eight years old, who resided in Grimsby, could not explain why the vessel, owned by the U.K.-based Betty Fisheries Ltd, collided with the huge marine jetty, causing extensive damage to both the vessel and jetty in conditions of calm weather, excellent visibility and with the aid of navigational and working lights.
But a log book entry recording the bow damage caused to the vessel in the collision put the cause of the crash down to "a mistake with the lights". Defendant was in the chart room of the "Slebech", when the telegraph bell warned about the impending collision. A Spanish captain, who has served on the vessel since its construction seven years ago, was at the helm. But Skipper Lea pleaded guilty to failing to maintain a proper look-out and failing to avoid a collision. Damage was above the water line and the trawler was able to proceed into dock.
From the West Wales Guardian of Friday 19th April 1985:
Various operations with Spanish connections have come and gone from Milford over recent years and the only one now remaining is the firmly established Crickpoint Ltd. The company operates four trawlers and two liners from Milford. Their catches are all boxed at sea and shipped straight to Spain on landing. Although there is some Spanish ownership in the company, a major share-holder is managing director John Crawford of Milford. He stressed that the company is a bona-fide U.K. operation.
"Crickpoint is not a flag of convenience operation - it is a genuine U.K. company, registered in London, with U.K. capital and management, British crews and British registered vessels which comply fully with all Department of transport standards," said Mr. Crawford. "We provide work for around 70 to 80 U.K. fishermen, plus shore staff."
The four trawlers are managed by Mr. Crawford, and the two liners by Mr. Ernie Leach. All the vessels are operated on a share basis.
The trawlers - Milford Star, Slebech, Slebech 2 and Slebech 3 - each work with a crew of 12. They are all over 100ft. with engines in the 550 hp - 1,000 hp range. The vessels work bobbin gear on the roughre grounds further off than those worked by the Milford co-op vessels. They work mainly for hake, ling and megrim on trips of around a fortnight.
The firm operates two big liners - Boga, a 98ft. and 800 hp vessel, built in 1971, and Sasoeta, a 114-footer which is currently being re-engined in Denmark with a 750 hp B&W engine. She is expected to be back fishing by the end of April. The liners work two to three week trips with a crew of 20, including a Spanish fishing master and Spanish engineer and three other Spaniards. They usually land around 300 kit of boxed fish, which is shipped straight to Spain. The boats work 13,000 short shank hooks on monofilament lines, streaming them in a continuous line if weather conditions permit. Mr. Leach said that the vessels often had problems with French trawlers towing their lines away.
From the Western Telegraph & Cymric Times of Wednesday 16th July 1986:
FLAG SHIPS IN CLASH OFF IRELAND
Irish trawlers and English-registered 'flag ships' have clashed off West Cork and the incidents have been investigated by the Irish Navy.
Fast Fish of Castletownbere claims that one of its trawlers was harassed by up to eight Spanish trawlers which are registered in England and operate from British ports, rarely calling into West Cork ports.
The British-registered trawlers claim they were long-lining when the Irish boats crossed them. But the Irish allege that the British boats cut their nets and attempted to ram them.
The protection vessel Deidre was called to the scene 40 miles west of the Beara Peninsula, and boarded the British-registered Spanish trawler Slebech (M319). ...............
From the Western Telegraph & Cymric Times of Wednesday 29th November 1989:
Spanish trawler company fined
An infringement of fishing regulations cost a Spanish trawling company £600 when the case was heard at Milford Haven magistrates court on Wednesday.
Mr Geraint Walters who prosecuted on behalf of the Department of Transport told magistrates that the British registered vessel the Slebech, owned by Galaza Fisheries Ltd., had breached regulations with regard to manning levels.
Mr. Walters said that because of the boat's engine power, it was required to have two certificated engineers on board. A routine check carried out in October 1988 revealed that there was only one engineer, who held a Liberian certificate - a qualification not recognised in Britain.
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