Arbroath’s last deep sea trawler sold

Some of the crew on the Crystal Tide in Arbroath Harbou last Thursday. They are, from left - John Swankie, Kieran McGuigan, Sam Swankie and Darryl Horner.
Some of the crew on the Crystal Tide in Arbroath Harbou last Thursday. They are, from left - John Swankie, Kieran McGuigan, Sam Swankie and Darryl Horner.

THE LAST Arbroath registered deep sea white fish trawler has been sold and this week headed for Northern Ireland.

The ‘Crystal Tide’, AH 135, owned since 1982 by John Swankie, 14 Shore, has fallen victim to a combination of EU fisheries regulations and spiralling costs which have made her operation no longer viable.

At 18.45 metres in length with a beam of 6.1 metres and a draft of 2.7 metres, she is powered by a 320 hp Caterpillar diesel engine.

The skipper, Sam Swankie (44), and four-strong crew are now out of work.

John Swankie bought the vessel in 1982 and initially took her to sea himself until about 15 years ago. At that time he retired from fishing and took up a part time post crewing on research ships.

His son, Keith Swankie, was skipper for a while, then his brother, Ian Swankie, took her to sea, but Sam Swankie - no relation - took over the job some 10 years ago.

The ‘Crystal Tide’ left the harbour for the last time on her 450 mile journey to her new home. She was forced to route through the Pentland Firth and then through The Minch as the Caledonian Canal is closed.

Her former owner has not totally divorced himself from the sea but runs the angling charter vessel ‘Heather Isle’.

He commented: “We tried to keep her going as long as we could but it just got to the stage when it was no longer viable with the present quota regulations, days at sea and the new cod conservation scheme.”