NESFC Patrol Vessel History
Over the years NESFC supported the building and commissioning of a number of dedicated offshore patrol and research vessels specified to protect and monitor exploited fish stocks within its District. The Committee’s most recent acquisition, North Eastern Guardian III, a 26 m vessel built in Finland and delivered in 2007, transferred into the ownership of the new Authority in April 2011.
St Quintin 1899 to 1913
In 1897, in recognition of the need for an offshore presence to police fishing activities, Members supported the purchase of NESFCs first patrol vessel, for the princely sum of £2,860. The vessel, a steam cruiser named ‘St Quintin’, after the Committee’s then Chairman, was built by Messrs Edward Brothers of Shields and delivered to the Committee on 1 July 1899. The vessel was commanded by Captain R.E Simpson and carried a ‘fast’ motor launch equipped with a searchlight. Secrecy of her movements were the watch word. In 1908 the ‘Yorkshire Weekly Post’ commented:
‘Even the crew themselves have no idea of the direction in which they are about to patrol when they leave harbour, or how long they will be away. Their instructions are to have enough food on board to last as long as the coals whether there be a day’s or weeks supply in the bunkers.’
Operationally the ‘St Quintin’ proved relatively ineffective. With a top speed of just 6 knots, she was little match for the steam trawlers of the day. In 1913 the vessel was eventually sold to the Dowager of the Marchioness of Bute for £925. The price was inclusive of the services of the existing crew.
North Eastern Guardian 1986 to 1996
Although the Committee periodically chartered vessels to undertake offshore enforcement work, seventy years passed before a decision was taken to purchase the second dedicated patrol vessel. North Eastern Guardian (NEG) a 16m GRP ‘Arun’ hulled vessel, built by Halmatic U.K, entered service in February 1986, manned by a dedicated crew of three officers. With a greater turn of speed and modern navigational equipment North Eastern Guardian proved more effective at both policing and monitoring regional inshore fishing activity. The vessel restored the Committee’s faith in the operational need to retain a dedicated offshore patrolling resource.
North Eastern Guardian II
North Eastern Guardian II 1996 to 2007
In February 1996, NEG was replaced by North Eastern Guardian II (NEG II) - a 17m aluminium hulled vessel, built by Tyovene Oy in Finland. The vessel carried a larger 5.5m boarding rigid inflatable boat and ‘state of the art’ radar plotting and electronic navigational systems. Capable of a top speed of 22 knots NEG II proved very effective at policing closed areas, ‘limit line’ provisions and undertaking offshore compliance inspections.