First of new generation of pelagic trawlers to be named in Norway

The <i>Serene</i> undergoing sea trial recently.

The Serene undergoing sea trial recently. Click on image to enlarge.

The first of a new generation of pelagic super-trawler will be officially named in Norway next weekend for her Whalsay owners who have had a three-year wait.

A party of around 70 people will fly over for the ceremony and if all goes well with fishing trials the new ship could arrive in Shetland for the first time a few days later.

The Serene Fishing Company placed the order with West Contractors (Westcon) in 2006 after selling the last Serene to Iceland. Due to high demand in European shipbuilding it was expected to take two years for the vessel to be delivered but a combination of delays stretched the wait a further year.

The new 71.7-metre (235 feet) Serene for skipper Bobby Polson and his six Whalsay partners is the latest in a long line involving the Polson family to bear that name.

The first, a 21-metre (70 foot) drifter/seine-netter in 1955, was for Mr Polson’s father, 81-year-old Mackie Polson, who has a shareholding in the latest version too.

The new ship is the first pelagic trawler ordered for the UK fleet with a covered deck instead of the usual open deck, giving crew members more protection from the elements when working in bad weather.

Another safety first is the innovation of pumping her catch aboard over the stern rather than the side, which means she will not have to lie and roll broadside to a heavy sea.

While the new ship is only marginally longer than the previous Serene she is far bigger in the beam at 15.6m (51 feet), providing greater stability and more space to carry fish.

The skipper and some other shareholders have been over at the Westcon yard near Haugesund, between Bergen and Stavanger, for some time supervising the final stages of the build. Other crew members will travel over tomorrow to join fishing trials on Sunday. Guests will fly on Thursday on a charter and scheduled flight.

Since selling their last boat the owners and crew have been doing other jobs. Last year some of them bought an old seine-netter, the Tranquility, to go to the white fish, just as early versions of the Serene had done.

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