News: Kirkella returns to Hull after virus forces three-month double trip

25 May 2020

UK Fisheries’ state-of-the-art fishing vessel Kirkella arrived back in her home port of Hull on Monday morning, ending  a mammoth trip that was doubled in length to almost 90 days due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kirkella’s 30-strong crew are looking forward to some truly well-deserved time with their families after volunteering to extend their time at sea to prevent the risk of the novel Coronavirus getting on board – with what could have been disastrous consequences. 

First mate Mark McGorrin said: “We’re all massively looking forward to getting home. Kirkella is about the best fishing trawler there is to work on, but three months is a long time to be away and it will be very good to see Hull again. We’re really proud to have brought home almost 1,400 tonnes of British fish fillets over the two trips; it’s good to know that chippies will have access to their most important ingredient in these tough times.”

Kirkella, which mainly fishes for cod and haddock in and around the Barents sea, caught 3,900 tonnes of liveweight fish to make 1,376 tonnes of fillets over the two trips, frozen almost immediately at sea to ensure maximum freshness. Her high-tech systems means there is zero discard and almost zero bycatch.

The waters off the northern coasts of Norway are notoriously stormy, and Kirkella regularly endured rough seas and and storm-force winds. Despite this, she covered 6,000 nautical miles over the two trips after travel restrictions and safety concerns made a crew change in Tromsø impossible. An outbreak of any infectious disease on board any ship is, of course, very difficult to control, but happily the crew stayed healthy throughout.

To minimise risk, fresh crew have been in quarantine in a hotel for two weeks. Fully supplied, Kirkella will head back to the distant waters where she plies her trade on Friday, May 29.

For more information please email

Notes to editors:

UK Fisheries supplies one in every twelve portions of fish for the UK’s 10,500 fish & chip shops. Our cod and haddock is freshly frozen to guarantee that it gives consumers across the country enjoyable and nutritious meals at an affordable price. We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety and well-being of our crews, on shore staff and valued supply chain as they continue to deliver high-quality food in a sustainable manner.

Our crews work through the winter in hostile conditions in northern distant waters near the Arctic Circle, more than 1,500 miles north of our base in Hull, catching cod and haddock. Our state-of-the-art vessels adhere to very strict standards in terms of both safety and sustainability.



Kirkella tour
Kirkella in Hull
Kirkella on the Humber
Kirkella Port 2
Kirkella Bow 2
Kirkella Birdseye 2
Kirkella Naming Ceremony and VIP Reception
Kirkella lunch party at Cutty Sark Museum
Kirkella Great British Fish & Chips event at Greenwich
Kirkella speech by HRH The Princess Royal
Kirkella passing through Tower Bridge
Kirkella BBC News
HRH The Princess Royal names Kirkella
Kirkella cutaway animation
Sir Barney White-Spunner, UK Fisheries Ltd, Interview
Kirkella General Tour
Kirkella Factory Tour


Kirkella trawling
Kirkella on Humber
Kirkella drone footage
Kirkella drone footage
Kirkella drone footage
The Kirkella Naming celebration lunch at the Cutty Sark Museum
The Fish Fryers free fish & chip event at Cutty Sark Gardens for 2,500 locals
The City of Hull Brass Band at Cutty Sark Gardens
Sir Barney White-Spunner, Chairman of the Advisory Board, UK Fisheries, at the Kirkella Naming celebration dinner at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Kirkella sailing upstream through Tower Bridge
Kirkella sailing downstream through Tower Bridge
HRH The Princess Royal with Graham Barney, Factory Manager, Kirkella
HRH The Princess Royal with Charlie Waddy, First Mate, on the bridge of Kirkella
HRH The Princess Royal unveiling a model of Kirkella presented by UK Fisheries to the National Maritime Museum
HRH The Princess Royal Naming Kirkella at Greenwich
HRH The Princess Royal meeting Stig Maersk, Musical Director, and players in the City of Hull Brass Band
HRH The Princess Royal making her address at the Kirkella Naming Ceremony in Greenwich
2,500 local people in Greenwich enjoying free Kirkella-caught cod & chips
Sir Barney White-Spunner, Chairman of the Advisory Board, UK Fisheries Ltd
UK Fisheries infographic
Kirkella poster
Cutaway illustration of Kirkella
UK Fisheries Ltd logo