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Former Lowestoft trawler meets sorry end

PUBLISHED: 14:44 20 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:34 05 July 2010

BASHED-UP BOW: The former Lowestoft trawler St Martin on her last voyage.

BASHED-UP BOW: The former Lowestoft trawler St Martin on her last voyage.

SHE used to be a familiar member of the Lowestoft fishing fleet and would dock frequently in town.

But the former beam trawler LT62 St Martin is now heading for the scrapyard after a being involved in a collision at sea.

SHE used to be a familiar member of the Lowestoft fishing fleet and would dock frequently in town.

But the former beam trawler LT62 St Martin is now heading for the scrapyard after a being involved in a collision at sea.

“A sorry end” was how one Journal reader described the demise of a former favourite (the picture of her on the right was taken at Vlieland, in the Netherlands).

On December 8 last year LT62 was in collision with a roll-on, roll-off ferry in the North Sea. The trawler, now in Dutch ownership as LT62 Hendrik Senior, suffered extensive damage, and her owners later decided to scrap her.

The collision involved the Birka Exporter, a Finnish vessel, in the Terschelling separation zone. According to eye-witness reports, the Birka Exporter suffered a hole of six by three metres in her bow and the crew of the LT 62 needed assistance as she took on water.

Rescue boats from Vlieland and Terschelling provided pumps to remove the water, and the tugs Hurricane and Tempest helped out with salvaging the vessels. The Birka Exporter was taken to Amsterdam for repairs, while LT62 headed for Harlingen after being pumped out.

Local historian and author of maritime books Malcolm White said the LT62 was one of the beam trawlers belonging to Colne Shipping, the last fishing company at Lowestoft, before ceasing fishing operations in August 2002.

The St Martin joined the Lowestoft trawler fleet when new in 1991.

The Journal's archives show that the beam trawler was delivered to Lowestoft on November 17, 1991, and was sailing just four days later.

In successive years - 1997 and 1998 - the vessel, skippered by John Jonas, took home the top trawler honours, with earnings of almost £800,000 each year.

Her hull was constructed in Poland, she had a German engine and the vessel was eventually completed in Holland. She was the sister vessel of the St Matthew.

At the beginning of the 21st century the Colne Shipping fleet consisted of 10 vessels - nine trawlers and a tug.

But Colne Shipping laid up most of its trawler fleet in 2002 because it was making a loss, and by 2003 the company owned just five trawlers, having sold the St Anthony and the St Martin to Holland.

Interestingly, there's a Lowestoft twist in the tale of her successor.

Mr White explained: “The trawler is being replaced in the Dutch fleet by another beam trawler, which has the Lowestoft registration LT162.

“Another former Lowestoft trawler, LT1005 St Anthony, which was sold to Dutch owners by Colne Shipping and later sold to Danish owners, has been replaced in the Dutch fleet by the another trawler with the Lowestoft registration LT34.

“Strange as it may seem, and although they do not land fish here, the Lowestoft-registered, Dutch-owned trawlers are very active in the North Sea and making a great deal of money for their owners in Holland.”

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