A FORMER Scottish fishing boat the Scotch Queen, a vessel on the National Historic Ships Register, has been successfully salvaged in a weeklong operation near Turnaware Bar on the River Fal. The Scotch Queen had been laid up in the river for a long time when she suddenly sank overnight.

The vessel’s insurers contracted Falmouth based Sea Wide Services to salvage the sunken vessel.

Sea Wide Services managing director Brendan Rowe said: “ This was a difficult job. It took six days to tunnel underneath the vessel to rig six sets of lifting slings. We were working in reduced visibility and mud.”

Brendan then chartered in the KML (Keynvor Morlift Ltd) floating crane to lift and remove the wreck to KML’s base at Coastlines Wharf, in Penryn, where the 110-ton, 75-foot long MFV is to be broken up.

Scotch Queen was built at Grimsby by Humphrey & Smith Ltd in 1944 and was formerly an Admiralty MFV, MFV 1100.

Built of oak on oak she was one of the few remaining 75ft Admiralty MFVs. Between 1945 and 1948 she was in naval service (in 1945 under NORE command in Dover), but was decommissioned in 1948 and become a fishing vessel until 1986.

After decommissioning, Scotch Queen was converted into a fishing vessel mainly used for herring. In one trip she caught 196 cran equivalent to 196,000 herring. Then followed a period where she went to work as a diving and survey vessel.

She was first registered at Fraserburgh as Scotch Queen for James and John Watt. In 1953, she was re-registered as LK331 by James Watt. In 1980, she was sold to John Laurenson, of Hamnavoe, Scotland. In 1986 she was sold to Mobell Marine as a diving and survey vessel during which time she was modified and a deckhouse added. Her masts were also changed to ‘A’ frames. She was then sold again in 1993 to private owners.

Keynvor MorLift Ltd are UK-based marine contractors who are specialists in shoreline, coastal and offshore marine services and operations. The company acquired Falmouth Wharves, or Coastlines Wharves, last year and has a whole range of specialist craft which can be frequently seen in the harbour.

KML has recently completed a sea defence project overseen for Torbay Council by the Torbay Development Agency, in which almost 15,500 tonnes of granite boulders extracted from the Chywoon Quarry in Penryn, were transported to KML’s independent Falmouth Wharves. From there it was loaded onto KML’s specialist rock barges using 50t specialist excavators with rock grabs.

Using KML’s fleet of multi-purpose vessels, the rock barge was towed from Falmouth to Hollicombe Beach, where the stone was discharged to the intertidal drop zone and subsequently placed into the rock revetment, protecting Hollicombe’s and adjacent Oil Cove’s crumbling cliffs and the railway line behind, from erosion by the sea and extreme weather.