Trawlers, Standby Ships, Supply Ships, Wind Farm Service Operation Vessels

The 766gt Grampian Sprite was built in 1983 by Richards Shipbuilders at Great Yarmouth as the supply vessel Stirling Sprite for Stirling Shipping. In 1990 she was converted into a standby safety vessel and renamed Grampian Sprite. In 2015 she joined North Sea Marine as MSM Sea and in 2018 she became Atlantic Sea of Vestlandske Trafikk A/S. In 2019 she was converted into a fish farm support vessel by Hydro Shipping of Trondheim and renamed Hydro Pioneer. She is seen here at Aberdeen in September 2013. (Nigel Lawrence)

The fishing history of George Craig goes back at least a century as he was operating the steam trawler Taurus of 128 grt during World War I. She had been built back in 1883 by Earle’s Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd. at Hull, and was sunk on 14th July 1917 by a mine laid by U-71 to the East of the Shetland Islands with the loss of all of her crew of nine. He then owned two steam trawlers in 1928 from his home at 108, Victoria Road in Torry in the south district of Aberdeen in Cecil Rhodes of 112 grt built back in 1891, and Craig-an-Eran of 202 grt built in 1906. The latter was built as Loch Earn and registered under the Red Star Steam Fishing Co. Ltd. on 15th May 1906 at 164 Market Street in Aberdeen by Harry A. Holmes. She served as a minesweeper during World War I and was renamed George Stroud in 1917 by Stroud’s Steam Fishing Co. Ltd. at the same address in Aberdeen. She was purchased on 11th July 1928 and renamed Craig-an-Eran by George Craig. She was named after a horse that won the 2,000 guineas in 1921 owned by 2nd Viscount Waldorf Astor. She stranded on 18th March 1938 at Broadhaven to north of Wick, and was towed into Wick and later repaired by John Lewis & Sons Ltd., Aberdeen. She was sold to Herman Westerborg to fish out of Milford Haven in 1939 and was attacked by bombs and gunfire on 8th January 1942 off the Old Head of Kinsale. She fished for another ten years until broken up in 1952. During World War II, trawler skipper George Craig had his own expanding fishing company operating three coal fired, steam powered, deep sea trawlers out of Aberdeen.

The fishing history of the North Star Fishing Co. Ltd. of Aberdeen goes back to the first screw propelled trawler built in Aberdeen in 1883 as North Star by John Duthie for W. Pyper & Company of Aberdeen. She had dimensions of length 101.4 feet, moulded beam of 19.0 feet, and depth of 14.2 feet. She landed £46,951 of wet fish at Aberdeen during her first seven years of fishing, and was sold to the North Star Fishing Co. Ltd. (John Alexander Harrow, manager) in 1901. She later fished from South Wales and then became the Tees tug Primrose in 1903 and was broken up in December, 1914. North Star (2) of 188 grt was built in 1907 by Hall, Russell & Co. Ltd. for the North Star Fishing Co. Ltd. (John Alexander Harrow, manager). She was requisitioned on the outbreak of World War I and converted to a minesweeper, and was returned to her owners in 1919. She was sold in 1923 to A. Christie of Aberdeen, and then fished from Granton in 1935 until broken up a year later.


The 197grt Mary Craig was built in 1959 by Richards Shipbuilders at Lowestoft. In 1976 she was converted into a standby safety vessel. Since 1995 she has been operated by A. Sykes.


The fleet expanded in the post-war years, with the combined fleet of George Craig and the North Star Fishing Co. Ltd. of Aberdeen in 1950 standing at a dozen trawlers in Avondow, Avonglen, Avonriver, Avonview, Avonwater, Controller, John Morrison, Kings Court, River Ness, Strathdevon, Strathglass and Sunlight. The North Star Fishing Co. Ltd. was taken over on 30th April 1962 by George Craig & Sons Ltd. of Aberdeen to fish for cod with a bigger fleet. A fleet of twenty deep sea trawlers was being operated in the 1960s and early 1970s named Mary Craig, George Craig, Cevic, Coastal Empress, Grampian Cairn, Grampian Crest, Grampian Eagle, Grampian Glen, Grampian Heather, Grampian Hill, Grampian Monarch, Admiral Drake, Admiral Frobisher, Admiral Jellicoe, Scottish King, Scottish Princess, Scottish Queen, Avonview, Avonriver and Parkroyd, the latter built in 1960 and purchased in 1969 from Near Water Trawlers of Grimsby. The fleet had black hulls with a white line and red boot topping, and grey funnels with a thin black top separated by red over white bands. The trio of trawlers with Scottish names were owned by Scottish Trawlers Ltd. and also carried a Scottish thistle on their Craig funnel colours.

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