New £700k patrol vessel

The Duchess of Northumberland launches the IFCA patrol vessel St Aidan at Royal Quays Marina.'Picture by Jane Coltman
The Duchess of Northumberland launches the IFCA patrol vessel St Aidan at Royal Quays Marina.'Picture by Jane Coltman

A new fisheries patrol vessel, which is set to become a familiar sight along our coastline, was officially named by the Duchess of Northumberland this week.

The new £700,000 vessel for the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) is called St Aidan, after one of Northumberland’s most illustrious saints, and she was christened at her berth in the Royal Quays Marina in North Shields on Tuesday with a traditional smashing of the bottle.

The new 16-metre GRP (glass reinforced plastic) catamaran, which replaces the 14-year-old St Oswald, will be used for a mixture of fisheries enforcement work, environmental studies along with seabed scanning and underwater surveying.

St Aidan is also much more efficient, with double the speed of her predecessor, while using only half the amount of fuel.

NIFCA’s chief fishery officer Al Browne said: “We are absolutely delighted with the new vessel and the extra capability she provides.

“The NIFCA would like to thank all concerned and we look forward to St Aidan providing excellent service to the people of Northumberland and North Tyneside for a number of years.”