Kirkella: Take a behind the scenes tour of Hull's last distant water fishing trawler as it returns to port

Spirits lift when Kirkella docks in Hull.

The vessel, which returned to port on April 2, is the city's last distant water trawler, working the Arctic cod grounds and a reminder of better times for the Humber's fishing industry.

It has faced a tumultuous past few years since a disappointing post-Brexit trade deal with Norway 'scuppered' the state-of-the-art £52million boat's immediate future.

Owners UK Fisheries have admitted that Kirkella may have to be sold or moved abroad to continue as a working vessel.

The Kirkella berthed in Hull

As a member of the EU, the British trawler was able to catch around 10,000 tonnes of cod in Norwegian waters, but this has now shrunk to a “derisory” 500 tonnes.

The Kirkella, built only in 2018, has around 60 crew members, many from Hull and Grimsby.

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During periods of uncertainty over quotas last year, the Kirkella had to remain at its berth at King George Dock until agreements were finalised.

The crew's living quarters

The vessel once caught up to 10 per cent of all the cod sold in UK fish and chip shops. There is a processing and freezing facility on-board, but fishermen take their pay from their share of a voyage's profits and do not earn when ashore.

Compared to the old 'sidewinder' trawlers that made Hull famous in the 1960s and 70s, the Kirkella is full of modern comforts. It has internet. a TV, gym and cinema room. In the past, cabins were shared by up to 10 men and water had to be hand pumped into the bath in the engine room aboard some ships.

One crewman who will not be returning when the Kirkella sails again is first mate Charlie Waddy, who is retiring after more than 40 years at sea. The Cod Wars veteran grew up in the Hessle Road fishing community and his father was lost in the Arctic Viking sinking off Flamborough Head.

Mr Waddy admitted that he had voted for Brexit in the hope that it would offer a better deal for the fishing industry - and now feels let down.

First mate Charlie Waddy at the bridge