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235 million last trip for Venus

Freezer trawler Venus HF docked in Reykjavík last wednesday after its final trip for HB Grandi. This follows the decision earlier this year to take two of the company’s freezer vessels out of operation, with Venus laid up and Helga María AK converted to operate as a wetfish trawler. It is now 40 years since Venus arrived in Iceland, then named Júní, and among the crew then was Gudmundur Jónsson who was chief mate on the new trawler back then and has been the skipper for many years.

‘The ship was built in San Sebastian in Spain for Bæjarútgerð Hafnarfjarðar (BÚH), and arrived in its new home port for the first time on the 3rd of June 1973. It was named Júní and was the third trawler for the company to carry that name, and to differentiate it from the previous trawlers, it was normally referred to as ’Big Júní,’ said skipper Gudmundur Jónsson, explaining that he spent four years on board and in 1977 he switched to another company trawler, Maí.

In 1984 the ship was renamed Venus HF and there were ideas about refitting it to operate as a freezer, which was finally done in Denmark in 1986.

‘In 1994 the ship was set on fire at the quayside in Hafnarfjördur. At least, I’m convinced that the fire was started deliberately, although others have different ideas about how the fire started,’ he said. After this, the decision was taken to rebuild the ship at a yard in Poland and this took place in 1996.

‘It was lengthened by nine metres and rebuilt practically from the bottom up. All that’s left of the original ship that came from Spain is the outer skin, the steel in the oldest section of the hull.’

Gudmundur Jónsson said that he has no idea what part Venus will play in the future, although he said it is clear that the trawler is a better ship than many that are fishing in Icelandic waters at the moment.

The last trip took Venus all around Iceland. The catch was 845 tonnes of raw fish, equivalent to 19,200 cartons of frozen products with a catch value of ISK 235 million.