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Blue Toon to high seas; First mate navigates up the Thames.

Byline: EMMA MORRICE

A NORTH-EAST man is at the helm of one of the UK's most advanced fishing vessels - which has been christened by Princess Anne.

Mark McGorrin, from Peterhead, first mate of the Kirkella, was at the christening of the ship by Princess Anne at the end of last month.

Kirkella, the UK's most advanced fishing vessel, made its way down the River Thames under Mark's navigation after he planned the route.

The white fish vessel is responsible for about 8% of the total cod and haddock caught and supplied to fish and chip shops across the country.

The 46-year-old started his career off in Peterhead, aged only 17. He worked his way up the ranks on various ships before being appointed first mate of the Kirkella.

Mark said: "I spent 11 weeks on it over Christmas and I've just done 10 weeks at sea.

"The ship is based out of Hull, and as chief mate I was asked to do the passage plans through London. I expected it to be rejected but it was passed first time. I'd never been down the Thames on a vessel.

"It was an amazing time going through Tower Bridge. We had a battleship on one side and a cruiseliner on the other.

"We came off the ship and we all went down to the marquee when the Princess Royal arrived.

"She had a look round the vessel and she was very impressed by it."

After the ceremony, all involved went for a meal at the Cutty Sark restaurant, where PS2,500 of fish caught by the Kirkella was eaten.

A number of crew aboard the Kirkella are from the north-east, including people from Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Macduff and Portsoy.

Mark said: "I work about six months a year and the rest of the time I usually spend on holiday or at home.

"We see the fjords, people pay to see them on cruise ships. We go to Tromso quite a lot, you get to see the Northern Lights which is nice, but it's a bit difficult if you're driving a boat."

He added that a perk of the job is the fish, and joked "my freezer's full".

CAPTION(S):

Mark McGorrin, 46, and the Kirkella white fish vessel which has been christened by Princess Anne

The crew on board the ship which sailed under Tower Bridge in London

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Publication:Evening Express (Aberdeen,Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 3, 2019
Words:395
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