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Tuesday, October 25, 2022

story of a fishing trawler - Giripat .. .. Ranee of Hyderabad !!

In the folklore of fishermen, ‘Ranee of Hyderabad’ was a charmer.  I have heard the story  (not once – multiple times – more of the same version) of the  boat “Rani of Hyderabad” pristine at its peak, built of teak and having copper hardware,  built somewhere in 1966  but continued its operation during 1990s also. Amidst the  ripe stories of the boats carried away in stormy weather, this one  from Kakinada coast was lost  in a storm and found miles away -   in 24 Paraganas / in Bangladesh (or was it Burma) but with all its crew safe and that some local astrologer was able to provide info on  its whereabout by looking for it in a betel leaf !! Strange are the ways at SEA.       

To those of us interested in knowing and understanding big ships,  fishing boats offer a good chance.. the Fishing  trawlers  commonly seen in most coastal areas. They are fishing vessels – slightly bigger boats used to catch fish in sea, or even in lakes and rivers.  Depending on the purpose, the length of voyage and other factors, the vessels vary in size and in their power and capacity.  There appears not much of standardization of fishing boats.. there are some which go for fishing and return in hours, some go early in the morning and return mid-day or evening; then there are others which go for 3 / 5 / 7 or more days of voyage.  Smaller boats are made up of fibre glass; bigger ones or are wood and steel too.  Have seen a fishing trawler made of teak wood with aluminum nails…

Trawler gets its name from the way it catches fish ~ it is primarily a dragger – a method of fishing that involves actively dragging or pulling a trawl through the water. Trawl nets are fishing nets that are pulled along the bottom of the sea. There are many variants of trawling gear. Then there is the otter board which keeps the trawl net open ….

Francisco Franco Bahamonde (1892 1975) was a Spanish general who led the Nationalist forces in overthrowing the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War and thereafter ruled over Spain from 1939 to 1975 as a dictator, assuming the title Caudillo. This period in Spanish history, from the Nationalist victory to Franco's death, is commonly known as Francoist dictatorship.  He rose from the post of a cadet in Spanish army to become the youngest General.    In 1936  leftist Popular Front came to power, initially reluctant, he joined the July 1936 military coup, which, after failing to take Spain, sparked the Spanish Civil War.  His dictatorship's use of forced labor, concentration camps and executions led to between 30,000 and 50,000 deaths, when combined with  wartime killings, the death toll is in lakhs !!

In post-civil war Spain, Franco developed a cult of personality around his rule by founding the Movimiento Nacional. During World War II he maintained Spanish neutrality, but supported the Axis—whose members Italy and Germany had supported him during the Civil War—damaging the country's international reputation in various ways. During the start of the Cold War, Franco lifted Spain out of its mid-20th century economic depression through technocratic and economically liberal policies, presiding over a period of accelerated growth known as the "Spanish miracle".   Franco died in 1975, aged 82, and was entombed in the Valle de los Caídos. He restored the monarchy in his final years, being succeeded by Juan Carlos, King of Spain, who led the Spanish transition to democracy.

Interestingly read about the missing of a small fishing trawler linked and being described as clandestine operation of British Naval Intelligence is interfering with Franco’s Spain !!

George Black Orsborne (1902 – 1957),  was a Grimsby trawler captain and seafarer, who acquired notoriety in 1936 when he took the trawler Girl Pat on an unauthorised voyage across the Atlantic. The escapade attracted much press attention, and Orsborne and his crew were briefly hailed as heroes.  Orsborne served in the Royal Navy in both world wars. He published an account of his adventurous life in 1949.

Girl Pat was a small fishing trawler, based at the Lincolnshire port of Grimsby, that in 1936 was the subject of a media sensation when taken by  its captain on an unauthorised transatlantic voyage. The escapade ended in Georgetown, British Guiana, with the arrest of the captain, George "Dod" Orsborne, and his brother. The pair were later imprisoned for the theft of the vessel.  Built in 1935, Girl Pat was the property of the Marstrand Fishing Company of Grimsby. On 1 April 1936, Orsborne, with a crew of four and his brother James as a supernumerary, took the vessel out on what the owners authorised as a routine North Sea fishing trip of two to three weeks' duration. After leaving port, Orsborne informed the crew that they were going on an extended cruise in more southerly waters. Nothing more was heard of them until mid-May, when the owners, who had by then assumed the vessel lost, received invoices relating to its repair and reprovisioning in the northern Spanish port of Corcubión. Subsequent sightings placed her in the Savage Islands, at Dakar in Senegal, and Îles du Salut off the coast of French Guiana in South America. The captain's main means of navigation during a voyage of more than 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km) was a sixpenny school atlas and a compass. At one point Girl Pat was reported wrecked in the Bahamas, with all hands lost. After the vessel's capture and detention following a chase outside Georgetown on 19 June, Orsborne and his crew were hailed as heroes in the world's press.

Charged with the theft of the vessel in October 1936, Orsborne maintained in court that the owners had instructed him to get rid of the ship, as part of a scheme to obtain its insurance value. This claim was dismissed by the court. Years later, in his memoirs, Orsborne told a different, uncorroborated story: in absconding with Girl Pat he had been carrying out a mission on behalf of British Naval Intelligence, connected with the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936.

After his release from prison, Orsborne took part in further maritime adventures and served in the navy in the Second World War. He died in 1957. In Georgetown Girl Pat was acquired by new owners who returned her to Britain, where she was displayed as a tourist attraction in several resorts. In 1939 she was sold to the Port of London Authority for use as a wreck-marking vessel and, after being requisitioned by the Royal Navy during the war, was returned to the authority in 1945. There is no public record of her subsequent career.

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Oct 2022. 

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