Historic fishing trawler Arctic Corsair to be at the centre of major Hull tourist attraction

A preserved fishing boat will be moved to a new location in Hull to kickstart interest in the city's maritime heritage.

The Arctic Corsair at its current berth on the River Hull
The Arctic Corsair at its current berth on the River Hull

The Arctic Corsair has been open as a visitor attraction since 1999 from its berth on the River Hull between Drypool and Myton Bridge.

Britain's last surviving distant water 'sidewinder' trawler will move to a temporary new home at Alexandra Dock.

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Why the Arctic Corsair is a symbol of Hull's pastAlthough the relocation is necessary to enable flood defence improvements to be made, it will also boost its prominence on Hull's maritime tourist trail.

Silt that has gathered around the vessel over the past 20 years will now be cleared while Arctic Corsair is in Alexandra Dock.

The state-of-the-art new trawler for Hull which will supply the fish and chip industryAfter 2020, the trawler is scheduled to undergo a major restoration and will then be moved permanently to a dry dock at North End Shipyard, where she will become the focal point of a new visitor centre telling the story of the port's history.

Onlookers will be able to watch the vessel being moved to Alexandra Dock by two tugs from 7am on Sunday August 4, a transfer that has been described as 'complex'.

Coun Daren Hale of Hull City Council said:-

“This is a key milestone and a huge undertaking as the trawler hasn’t moved since 1998. Working with a specialist towing company, the trawler will be moved to temporary storage. The vessel will then be preserved inside and out, without losing its charm and securing her long-term future at its new, dry berth at the North End Shipyard.

“This is part of the wider transformational plans to strengthen our maritime story and reconnect the heart of Hull to its historic waterfront, the place where the city’s history began.”

The £27.4m Maritime City project includes the development of Hull Maritime Museum, Dock Office Chambers and North End Shipyard, with both the Arctic Corsair and the Spurn Lightship on display.

Hull remembers the Triple Trawler Tragedy, 50 years onArctic Corsair was built in 1960 at a Beverley boatyard as a diesel-powered deep-sea trawler. She was designed for the harsh conditions of the Icelandic fisheries where many of the Hull fleet worked.

In 1967, she was damaged in a collision off the Scottish coast with an Irish coal ship in thick fog.

Six years later, she broke the world record for the largest haul of cod and haddock from the White Sea.

The next chapter of her eventful service history came in 1976, when she rammed an Icelandic patrol vessel during the Cod Wars. The Odin's crew had attempted to cut the Corsair's trawler warps. The captain, Charles Pitts, warned of the fishermen's dangerous tactics, and his boat had to be given running repairs by the Royal Navy before spending several months back in port.

At one time, there were 150 sidewinders operating out of Hull, but the fleet was badly hit by the loss of their traditional fishing grounds and fuel price increases in the 1970s.

In 1981, she was retired, but four years later was converted back into a trawler and re-named Arctic Cavalier.

Hull City Council bought her in 1991, restored her original name and opened her as a museum ship.