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Miranda’s Role

MIRANDA was a Government owned ship provided by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). She was operated by HM Coastguard under the direction of the Marine Division of the DTI and was managed by the Ellermans Wilson Line of Hull.

Her master (Support Commander) and Medical Officer were appointed by DTI, and a Meteorological Officer was provided by the Met Office. Marconi Marine provided the Electronics Officer and Radio Officers. Ellermans Wilson Line provided the other officers and the crew, which included a fishing adviser (ex Trawler Skipper) to assist the Support Commander in technical matters peculiar to trawlers.

Miranda was "on station" in the Denmark Strait (between Iceland and Greenland) from the beginning of December until the end of April and crew reliefs were initially effected by air transport at Reykjavik and/or Isafjordur in Iceland.

During the "Cod wars" reliefs were effected at Lerwick, Aberdeen or her home port of Hull.

Twice daily at 0940 GMT and at 2140 GMT, Miranda conducted a "round up" at which all British trawlers in Icelandic fishing grounds reported their position by means of a lettered grid. On completion, the Met Officer gave the weather forecast and following this, any advice or information which the Support Commander wished to give was broadcast. Finally, trawlers were asked to pass in any requests for medical advice or attention and for technical services.

Miranda maintained a constant radio watch on 500 kHz (W.T.), 2182 and 2226 kHz telephony and Channel 16 VHF for emergency calls for advice or assistance. A constant H.F. morse link was also maintained with Portishead Radio (GKK) with a dedicated operator where constant traffic of support nature and weather observations (OBS) were exchanged.


The Meteorological Officer prepared his weather forecasts from his own observations, from readings transmitted from UK, Greenland, Jan Mayen Island etc. and from facsimile charts received by radio. In the treacherous weather of Northwest Iceland, on-the-spot observations and synopsis compilation tended to give more accurate forecasts then could be made at a distance.

It was an important part of the support Commander's duty to study the short and longer term forecasts in relation to the disposition of ships on the plot. In certain circumstances he concluded that, in his opinion, the weather outlook, particularly the risk of icing (where sea water freezes on the vessels superstructure), is such that it was likely to prove unacceptably dangerous to ships in certain areas. In such cases he issued formal advice to those ships to clear the areas and if necessary, seek shelter. Owners intimated to their Skippers that "such advice was to be treated as orders unless to follow it would have put their ships in greater danger".


The Doctor was available for medical consultation 24 hours a day. He was assisted by a Sick Berth Attendant. The Hospital on Miranda comprised a surgery with operating table, dental chair, X-ray apparatus and a ward with 6 cots. There was also a dispensary and dark room.

This facility, without doubt, saved many lives.


Miranda had good workshop facilities with a lathe, drilling machine etc. and facilities for burning and welding. She also carried a limited stock of electronic spare parts. Her staff included a Chief and three Engineer Officers and an Electronics Officer. Many requests for technical assistance were made over the years and most of the time, Miranda's technical staff were able to effect either a permanent repair or in many cases at least, a "get you home" job.