The Falkland Islands Government is preparing a very fond farewell to FPV Protegat, her crew and all at Galfishing Ltd following the completion of their contract to provide the fishery patrol vessel for the Falkland Islands. Precisely this month the state of the art FPV Lilibet, after a long trip from Vietnam, where she was built, has taken over the patrolling tasks in the Islands EEZ.
The Protegat was built in 1988 as a Japanese jigger and was bought by local company Galfishing in 2005. Glafishing added the ability to operate a long line system for toothfish with the intention to catch Illex and then later in the year move on to toothfish. To date FPV Protegat is the only Falkland-flagged vessel to have operated as a jigger.
On a short-term contract, FPV Protegat started operating as a patrol vessel for the Falkland Islands in 2008 and following a successful tender, started a longer contract in January 2009. To comply with merchant regulations which, at the time differed significantly from fishing vessel regulations, FPV Protegat ventured to Montevideo for extensive alterations to the accommodation that same year. Since then the vessel has operated continuously with periodic visits to Punta Arenas for dry docking and maintenance.
Director of RBC, Thomas Blake said: “Operating a vessel in this remote part of the world can be ever so slightly challenging at times, FPV Protegat has been in service for 15 years and has been a familiar and friendly sight within Falkland Islands waters during that time. A highlight and definitely my favorite albeit very short job that the vessel has done was the cargo run to the islands and West Falkland last year, we were lucky enough to have George and Owen Betts join the vessel to provide their expertise and I think they enjoyed the trip down memory lane – George still had his navigational notes from his time on the Tamar. I wish Seagull Marine all the best with FPV Lilibet – laugh and smile when you can because there are bound to be days that’ll furrow the brow”
Director of Natural Resources, Dr Andrea Clausen, said: “The Fisheries team are extremely grateful to the FPV Protegat and her crew for all they have done to help us deliver our “at sea” control and enforcement over the past 15 years. During this period Protegat has carried out a number of essential tasks for the Fisheries Department and has been a key part of our team. I would like to thank Galfishing Ltd for their support and positive partnership over the years.”
Chair of the Legislative Assembly, MLA Gavin Short said: “It is always difficult to say goodbye to something that has been part of our lives for so long. FPV Protegat has done an excellent service to the Falkland Islands and to all those that have needed assistance. My sincere thanks and best wishes go to the crew members, past and present, I hope you look back on your time in the Falklands with fond memories and some incredible stories.”