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Miranda Web site 2015
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The Full Story Page 2

In September 1972 the Icelandic Government unilaterally declared an exclusive fifty nautical mile fishing zone around her coasts and the first of the recent ‘cod wars’ commenced. This meant that the fishing vessels of those nations in dispute with Iceland could no longer enter her ports for repairs, fresh water, provisions or fuel , nor could they land injured men without running the risk of arrest and subsequent court proceedings for ‘illegal fishing’. At no time however did the Icelanders say that they would not accept sick or injured fishermen, and indeed, during this and the later dispute, these men were regularly landed by the support ships to Icelandic ports to receive excellent medical care before being repatriated by air.

One support ship could not cope with the medical and repair aspects of the operation on her own, and MAFF chartered two stern trawlers.

Iceland map Othello off Northwest Iceland

These were Ranger Brisies, later renamed Hausa, and Othello into which hospital accommodation and a limited repair facility were built. Miranda was ‘loaned’ to MAFF who assumed operational control of the entire support operation. Two of the three support vessels would be on the fishing grounds at any one time.

Miranda, because of her slower speed was bunkered and turned round at Lerwick. Shetland, whilst the other two vessels used their home port at Hull for turn round; each vessel being committed to five week voyages.

Z Boat crew prepare to depart on a cold winters day On their way Approaching Trawler

It was not uncommon for there to be up to 130 trawlers on the Icelandic grounds at any one time, and the magnitude of the support problem can be appreciated. Each vessel worked around the clock and, in Miranda, eighteen sorties by inflatable boat per day to different trawlers was not unusual.

A political compromise was eventually reached in November 1973 when, in return for recognition of Iceland’s fifty mile zone they agreed to allow foreign fishing to continue under licence within that zone except in designated conservation and exclusive small boat areas. A state of affairs which lasted until late 1975 when the agreement expired and subsequent negotiations ended in deadlock.

The Icelandic Government once again unilaterally extended her fishery limits, this time to two hundred nautical miles.

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‘Z’ Boat Excursion to Trawler

Othello off Northwest Iceland