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World's oldest steam trawler

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    World's oldest steam trawler

    The Viola has been rotting away at South Georgia for many years, but now some enthusiasts wants to bring her back home to Hull:

    What an absolutely fascinating link you've alerted us to Ombugge. Big thank you!
    The moment I saw this involved South Georgia, I excitedly delved into the photos from my visit there to see if by any chance I might have encountered the vessel - my overwhelming memory is understandably of the whalers' graveyard where Shackleton is buried.

    It was March of 2005, and if you go to the "History" tab on the website you'll read, in "The story of Viola" penultimate paragraph, that Viola (later renamed Dias) and another whaling and sealing ship, Petrel, were refloated in the previous year, 2004 "and hauled into their present position". There is also mention of a third ship called Albatros.

    Here is my view from the deck of Nordnorge on an Hurtigruten 'explorer cruise' in the days before they even had Fram. It seems a long time ago already, and Grytviken too has seen changes since then. The very Norwegian looking buildings in my photo are the museum (formerly the whaling station manager's house) and the church, and you can see, just to the left of the church, that some clearing up work of rusting remains of the whaling industry is already taking place. Keeping track of developments of this kind is a challenge, not helped by 'stock photos' without specific dates being casually reproduced elsewhere - sometimes inaccurately and frequently misleading as I'm sure we've all experienced!

    So, this is the 5th of March 2005, and you can see two vessels near to the museum. From the Viola website, the one on the right is Viola/Dias, and it seems a reasonable assumption that her companion is Albatros because I have definitely identified Petrel in other photos. farther along the shore. To the left of previous photo from Nordnorge were the main main cluster of tanks and industral buildings and the ship I'll show you to be Petrel.


      My last photos of the afternoon before returning to Nordnorge from near the museum turned out to show Viola! Here she is alongside the vessel likely to be Albatros.

      If you now go to the website tab "Media/News" and on to page 6, you'll see an item from 11th November 2016 "Survey Report starts race against time". Click on the "read more" for a bigger photo to compare with mine below - rust marks clearly identify the ship. Note that the funnel appears to have been removed since my photo (but is seen on a photo in "The Trust" section of the website).

      There are other interesting photos from the deck of the ship in the "Gallery" section.


        I had earlier that afternoon got close to and photographed the third ship that you saw from Nordnorge...

        ...and you can see the name Petrel.

        The Viola project to bring a ship back home will for sure resonate with readers of this forum. As I was comparing those patterns of rust in photos a decade apart, it was not surprising that my mind turned to differences in deterioration in a polar tundra climate compared with the tropics.

        At the time I visited South Georgia in 2005 I had never been to Hull, and even if I had come across reference to Viola it would be unlikely to grab my attention in quite the same way as my local port of Leith's South Atlantic connections.
        Hull was not on the way to anywhere least until four years ago when I went on a short cruise (to Norway actually) departing from and returning to Hull aboard the then MV Azores. Staying overnight I had time to look around and was pleasantly surprised by how interesting a city it was. There was an optimism and increasing buzz about the place in anticipation of it becoming the UK’s City of Culture in 2017, and indeed that has does seem to have put Hull on the map so to speak. I would have said that if any place could succeed in bringing an historic ship back home, Hull just might make it happen. But another year passes, and in the maelstrom that is UK politics right now priorities may change course.

        But from now on I shall certainly be following the story, and with more than merely casual interest.


          OMG - that is about the coolest thing ever.

          The reck looks so surreal where it rests... almost as if time were standing still. I particularly like image 2-2 ... perhaps because of the angle or because of the derelict background. It's as if it was just let there, if you look beyond the decay off course. So really surreal.
          With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

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