Viola a step closer to Hull
The Viola Trust, set up to manage the return and restoration of the steam trawler Viola from South Georgia, now has the necessary permissions to remove the abandoned trawler from its position at the former whaling station at Grytviken. The venture is feasible, but this would have to happen soon.
According to Robb Robinson, who has been involved in the venture from the outset, the initiative is making progress and a survey of Viola reported that it can be moved, but this would have to be done relatively soon, before its condition deteriorates further.
The Viola Trust was set up to bring the trawler back to where it was built in Hull, and for it to be preserved there, with local companies involved in the restoration that would also provide a showcase for Hullâ€™s engineering skills and capabilities.
The trust has set up a website at www.violatrawler.net and is seeking contributions towards the cost of bringing Viola back to Hull for the first time since it sailed from the port in 1914 for war service. At various times is served as a trawler, minesweeper, whaler and sealer before being laid up in South Georgia.
â€˜We now have a dedicated campaign website and see for yourselves why we are putting so much effort into bringing back this remarkable vessel and putting her to work to promote our industry and train the engineers of the future,â€™ he said.
A survey of Viola was carried out by John Simpson and Ros Spink of Solis Marine to assess its condition.
â€˜One of the things we had to try and establish was the curvature and shape of the hull because weâ€™ll need to bring in a cradle to lift her. Parts of the hull lie in the beach and parts in the seabed. We were able to use plumb lines and a tape measure to calculate the curvature around the stern,â€™ he said.
â€˜We could then prepare a computer model which will greatly assist when it comes to looking at salvage methods and transport. We now know a lot more about the ship and are much more confident. Ros was able to get much of the information she needed about the structural condition to make an assessment and give the salvage companies the information they need.â€™
Paul Escreet, chair of the trustees, commented that the survey results were very encouraging, demonstrating that the project is still feasible.
â€˜But they also indicated that the salvage operation has to be done within a relatively short time scale. We canâ€™t leave this for another five years because by then things will have gone too far. It is essential that we act now,â€™ he said.
â€˜We are appealing to businesses and to individuals â€“ particularly to anyone with a maritime connection, a link to Hullâ€™s remarkable heritage and an interest in supporting engineering and education â€“ to support our campaign. We will be organising a wide range of opportunities to raise funds and will publicise our progress through the Trustâ€™s website.â€™
He added that the Viola Trust is grateful for the support of the Royal Navy and in particular the company and crew of HMS Clyde, the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the British Antarctic Survey team based at King Edward Point.
Source: Viola Trust
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