The striking new vessel is named after the East Yorkshire village of Kirk Ella, and her home port is in the nearby city of Kingston upon Hull, which has a centuries-old tradition as an important base for the British fishing industry.
Decked out in bunting and naval flags, the 81-metre, 4,000 ton Kirkella arrived at Greenwich, steaming under a raised Tower Bridge before turning opposite the Tower of London and then returning to moor close to Cutty Sark Gardens.
Accompanied by Colonel Jane Davis, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Her Royal Highness toured Kirkella and met some of her officers and crew before sampling some of the delicious cod caught by Kirkella in the bountiful seas off the northern coast of Norway.
Later, Prince Anne visited another proud representative of Britain’s maritime heritage, the Cutty Sark, now housed in her own impressive museum close to Greenwich Pier.
Some 350 guests attended the ceremonies, and they and more than 1,000 members of the public were treated to a delicious Kirkella-caught fish & chip lunch, courtesy of UK Fisheries.
Sir Barney White-Spunner, Chairman of the Advisory Board of UK Fisheries, said the day had marked a fitting start to Kirkella’s career.
“We’re delighted that Her Royal Highness was able to be with us today to name this beautiful ship, which will help secure the future for our distant waters fishing industry and maintain the proud fishing traditions of the North-East of England,” he said.
Kirkella, the UK’s most advanced fishing vessel, is as high as three London buses above the waterline.
With a crew of 30 and trips lasting between four and six weeks each to waters 1,500 miles north of her home port of Hull, she lands around eight per cent of all the cod and haddock UK enjoys in fish & chip shops across the country.