Why Arctic Corsair trawler is symbolic of Hull’s maritime past

Not only is the nationally-significant Arctic Corsair symbolic of Hull’s trawling industry, it also has a world record to its name.

The Arctic Corsair. Picture: James Hardisty.
The Arctic Corsair. Picture: James Hardisty.

Back in 1973, the vessel landed the greatest ever weight of Cod and Haddock from the White Sea, off the Northwest coast of Russia.

Three years after the feat, life for the 693 tonne trawler was less sweet. Involved in conflict in the Cod Wars - a series of confrontations between the United Kingdom and Iceland over fishing rights in the North Atlantic, it rammed the Icelandic Coastguard vessel and gun boat.

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In the spirit of reconciliation 40 years later, both vessels exchanged bells in 2017.

With such a colourful history, it is perhaps not surprising that the boat, built in Beverley in 1960 and withdrawn from fishing in 1987, has been preserved for the nation.

The sole survivor of Hull’s distant-water, sidewinder fishing fleet, it represents the end of a once major industry and pays tribute to the thousands of men and boys from the city who never made it home from sea.

Moved to a berth on the River Hull next to the Streetlife Museum in 1998, it is now owned and run by Hull City Council and Hull Culture and Leisure and has become a key part of the nation’s maritime heritage, operating as a floating museum attraction accessible to visitors for twenty years.

With such significance, it is now being refurbished, through the five-year Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City Project.

Though it is currently closed to the public, it will be fully restored as part of the scheme and once re-opened is set to provide increased volunteering and learning opportunities, in a new location.

As the project website states: “At sixty years old following a life in the extreme waters of the Atlantic, the Arctic Corsair will sail into its final, dry-berth at the North End Shipyard, off Dock Office Row.”

The aim? The trawler and its fascinating story will be preserved for generations to come.

Technical details: Nikon D5 with a Nikon 24-70mm lens, ISO 100, 500/sec shutter speed, f9 aperture.