Ahab's Axplanations


Please find below an end of year report from our friend and fellow Federationist Capt. A. Hab regarding the events at our "sister" Federation in Grimsby. Once again, any similarities between what has happened throughout the year in Grimsby and closer to home in Kent, are I'm sure, purely coincidental !

We would like to thank the Captain for his regular updates during 2010 and hope that he will continue to keep us informed of events in Grimsby throughout 2011


Federation of Grimsby Trawler Operatives

Ahab's Axplanations

An occasional column explaining the workings of the Amalgamated Fishery Management in a lighthearted yet informative manner.

Dear Fellow Operatives,

It is Christmas Eve, and the cold north wind is blowing onto the quayside here at Grimsby. Even now as I look out of my porthole I can see operatives stamping the snow off their sea boots and scraping the ice off their tackle. A good time, then, to pull ones hammock closer to the galley range and consider what a year it has been.

As luck would have it, I have found the following document sandwiched between my copies of Moore's Nautical Almanac, and 'Hornpipe Monthly', official organ of the sea shanty and nautical squeeze-box dance movement. I present it here in full for your perusal:

Engineers Report 2010

Main Propulsion Unit:

After four years the previous power pack was found to lack the thrust required to run a vessel of this size. It required the service of two additional Jaguar high-speed diesels to move it between berths, but was at least photogenic, as evidenced by the frequency of its appearance in the Industry newsletter, The Belay.

In July a new engine was taken on board, which had previously been trialled on the flat waters of the Fens. This is now running at full steam, such that there is now hot debate as to which of its four auxiliary power packs should be scrapped for reasons of economy.

Steering Gear:

Charts showing the Industry's suggested course for the next four years have been presented to Operatives in Grimsby and elsewhere. After poring over the proposals many experienced operatives pointed out shoals, sandbanks, wreck sites and other hazards which had not been considered, and concluded that the Fishery would quickly run aground and be fatally holed beneath the waterline should this course be taken. It can only be hoped that the feedback system to the units that set the tiller are sufficiently robust to prevent this catastrophe.

Fish Handling Systems:

Under the third Kipper Procurement Model (KPM3) trawler crews operating out of Grimsby had dealt with all their own catch, such that very few fetid sprats were now hauled aboard, and the operatives there were becoming adept at all aspects of catching, cleaning, gutting and packing even quite complicated fish. Following inspection it has now been decided that all sea areas will revert to the industrial conveyor-belt system, staffed by operatives working in Volume Cod Teams.

Fuel Efficiency:

The allocation of fuel to the Industry has been reduced by 20%, and therefore the vessel must be operated a great deal more efficiently than ever before. This has meant that some superstructure has been removed and several items of decorative but otherwise useless deck gear have been jettisoned. Sadly it has also led to some hard decisions about other parts which may still need to be left on the quayside to keep the ship afloat.

The removal of so many items will undoubtedly lead the vessel to list one way or the other in its lightened condition, and work is currently ongoing to calculate the best way to distribute remaining ballast to ensure she runs on an even keel.


Overall the vessel is sound, and sufficiently seaworthy to weather the anticipated storms which will undoubtedly be encountered as we enter uncharted waters. The fear is that without sound navigation, informed by those who know well their own local undertows, sand bars and other hazards, she will undoubtedly broach to, and all hope will be lost for her recovery.

The Captain wishes all those who are putting to sea this festive period a safe and a happy Christmas, and a New Year that's as merry as a hold full of Santa's on double rum rations.

Yours, mixing his pud with a paddle,

Capt A. Hab (M.N. Ret'd)

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