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New trawler launch ‘symbolic of unprecedented fishing industry optimism’

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It is symbolic of both fishing industry hope and the burgeoning growth of two specialist firms.

The Sparkling Star trawler was launched at Whitby on Saturday 4 November, part of a significant partnership between Hull-based Pearson Electrical and Whitby trawler manufacturer Parkol Marine Engineering.

This is one of 10 new vessels Parkol has on order from fishing fleets across the UK and Ireland, and was commissioned by first-time owner James Corbett – backed by major player Don Fishing – who will be operating out of Ullapool, in the North of Scotland.

It is the result of ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity’ in the UK fisheries, according to Parkol Director and Engineering Manager Andrew Oliver. He says that plentiful fish stocks and post-Brexit optimism that the UK may regain at least some control of its waters as a result of the ongoing exit negotiations with Europe, are creating unprecedented demand.

And this is great news for both Parkol, whose order book is currently full until 2021, and Pearson Electrical, who they have commissioned to support their electrical wiring, maintenance and refitting work.

In fact, Parkol is currently running at four new trawler builds per year – twice its usual number, so much so that it has recently opened a second manufacturing base in Middlesbrough, which Pearson Electrical will also be servicing.

“The fishing industry is very buoyant at the moment,” said Andrew.

“There’s really no let-up, and people are still feeling very confident and wanting to order boats.

“While the fishing industry has had many knock-backs in the past and there is always concern that our fisheries may once again be used as a bargaining tool in Europe, we’re finding that UK trawler owners are largely living in hope.

“I think they’re taking the view that it can’t get any worse than it was before, and at least Brexit is a step forward, so they are ploughing on regardless.”

Parkol is one of only two major trawler manufacturers in the UK, and Andrew added that trawler launches like this one, which took place on Saturday, are always special.

“It’s always a proud and symbolic moment when a new trawler gets launched,” he added. “It denotes real positivity and hope.”

The Sparkling Star has been bought by seasoned skipper James Corbett, in partnership with Peterhead-based fish selling and vessel management company, Don Fishing. For him, it marks the fulfilment of a lifelong dream, and there was a real sense of occasion around the launch, as his extended family attended, in full Scottish kilt regalia, for a special ceremony to mark the occasion. This included the boat being blessed by a minister from the Mission to Seafarers north of the border.

“I’m from a fishing village in the North of Scotland called Kinlochbervie and have worked on the deck and latterly as a skipper of various boats for the past 30 years,” said James.

“Ever since I started out, I’ve dreamed of owning my own boat, and the completion of the Sparkling Star marks the culmination of all that – making my family first generation owners.”

The boat will now have its masts fitted over the next few weeks, ready for James to sail it north at the end of November, and straight into commission, fishing for ground stocks such as monkfish off Scotland’s north-west coast.

“The industry is really booming back home and the fish stocks are the best I’ve known since I’ve been skippering,” he added.

Marine, industrial and hazardous area specialists Pearson Electrical will commence work on the next vessel in the Parkol production line this week – the Summer Rose trawler, destined for Oban, also in the north of Scotland.

Managing Director Mark Pearson said: “The Sparkling Star’s launch was a fantastic occasion and a special moment for Pearson Electrical as a company.

“It’s our privilege to be part of both a historically positive time in the UK fishing industry, and the unfolding story of Parkol, which is one of the most respected trawler manufacturers in the UK.

“Our companies have real synergy – both in terms of our marine experience and connections, and the way we operate, as hands-on family businesses. It really is our privilege to be involved in this unprecedented run of orders they’re experiencing.” 

Parkol service UK coastal fishing fleets from the North and Scotland, including Shetland and Orkney, right down as far as Penzance and Cornwall. They both build and maintain the boats that make up these fleets. Such is their reputation that trawler owners will travel 36 hours from the North and 60 hours up from the South, to have them service their boats.

As well as new boat builds and maintenance, they are known for innovation, including fitting custom-designed equipment that can reduce fuel costs by up to 20 per cent.

They have been repeatedly recognised in the industry – winning ‘Fishing Vessel of the Year in the annual Fishing News awards for the past two years running.

Pearson Electrical has built up 30 years’ specialist experience in the marine, industrial and hazardous area sectors, and the ISO accreditations they achieved with the help of funding from the Green Port Hull growth initiative has unlocked the door to some of its biggest framework agreements ever, including one with A2SEA, which transports the wind turbines manufactured by Hull’s Siemens plant out to North Sea wind farms, and another with RTS Wind Recruitment, to support them in servicing the turbines.

More details about Pearson Electrical Limited are available from their website or by contacting them on (01482) 225080.

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