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End of the line for Nil Desperandum

The Nil Desperandum at Hay's Dock on Friday. Photos: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

AN ICONIC fishing boat which has been working the waters around Shetland for half a century will finally be scrapped later this year.

The Nil Desperandum has been berthed at Hay’s Dock, in Lerwick, for several years after the seine netter was gifted to Shetland Amenity Trust by the late James (Pinkie) Wiseman.

In an attempt to safeguard the 71-year-old vessel, volunteers dismantled her mast and removed the heavy winches from her deck, about four years ago.

When it became clear earlier this year that the amenity trust had no funds to restore the vessel, an appeal went out to the community to take on the project – but the trust did not receive any responses.

General manager Mat Roberts said the trust was now talking to a number of salvage contractors with the view to remove the Nil Desperandum from Hay’s Dock for disposal.

Nil Desperandum.

“We have been speaking to the family at length and have consulted with them, and their request was could they please have the name plate and registration number back,” he said.

“There was quite a lot of volunteer effort to try and get it back to a condition where at least she could be part of the floating collection, sadly by the time it got to that point she was beyond salvage.

“I am very sad to say goodbye to her because she meant a lot to a lot of people over the years.”

Built for the Ministry of Defence in 1947, the Nil Desperandum was purchased by the Wiseman family in 1951 to fish the local waters.

The 12 metre vessel is said to be the first vessel in Shetland to have had a gutting machine installed on board.