Thursday, 10 March 2022

Fuel: in Lorient, the trawler Le Dolmen will not go to sea for glory

The war in Ukraine is yet to impact fully on the price of diesel fuel in the UK. Handline, inshore and gillnetters burn considerably less fuel than trawlers and even more so than beam trawlers - the biggest of which can typically consume somewhere in the region of £3,000 per day in red diesel - which means the expenses alone for a trip could exceed well over 50%.

In Cornwall, CFPO are telling its members that, they're very aware of the rising fuel costs & the toll this is taking on the fleet. Discussions between @GOVUK and industry are taking place. This Friday, @NFFO_UK will hold an emergency Executive Committee meeting on this issue.

French fishermen are already reacting to the increase in their fuel costs as this translated story testifies.

The team of the trawler Le Dolmen could stay ashore for ten days. 

In Lorient, the increase in the price of fuel risks leaving fishermen at the quay. “The boats will stop one after the other”, assures the boss of Le Dolmen. On the quays of the port of Keroman, in Lorient, the price of diesel fuel is in everyone's conversation. Both the increase in fuel prices , effective for several weeks already, is increasingly weighing heavily on the activity and wages of the armaments. This Wednesday morning, aboard the seiner trawler Le Dolmen, the crew is preparing to go back to sea. "We returned on Tuesday, we were off the coast of the Vendée and we are leaving this Wednesday afternoon", specifies one of the sailors. A new tide that could well be one of the last. “We have 23 tonnes of diesel, we can last ten days”, says Frédéric Lizeul, boss of this 21.90 m trawler armed by the Keroman Artisanal Fishing Armament and launched in May 2019 Another ten days before having to cease all activity.

We, what we ask for is diesel at a normal price, to go to work Worse than 2008

The situation despairs him. “What we are asking for is diesel at a normal price, to go to work”. He has already experienced moments of tension. As in 2008, at the height of the crisis when diesel had reached 77 euro cents. “But never to this point! “Prices change every day and make any projection impossible. Returning from the sea, Frédéric Lizeul was unable to attend, this Tuesday, in the Bigouden port of Loctudy, the exceptional meeting which brought together around sixty shipowners from all over the Atlantic coast. A meeting from which “not much came out,” he laments. “A letter will be sent to the State services”. Proposals are expected. For what return?

Up to one euro, we managed to give a salary, beyond that, we go to sea for glory Empty the tanks

The fisherman boss is rather pessimistic. He is not the only one. On the quays, the mines are closed. The concern is palpable because the situation described as historic by the regional authorities does not seem likely to improve anytime soon. "With the war in Ukraine, the price will not go down," assures another fisherman. And continue to undermine activities that are already suffering. “We are in deep shit. Up to one euro, we managed to give a salary, beyond that, we go to sea for glory, ”says Frédéric Lizeul. However, in its design, Le Dolmen is a ship designed to consume less diesel, some 20% savings compared to older boats. For the time being, with a fuel whose price continues to climb, the boss of the Dolmen claims to have no visibility. But according to him, one thing is certain, "with diesel at 1, 10 € we will only pay the costs”. No interest in this case to take the sea.

Like Le Dolmen, many trawlers will continue to fish until the end, until the tanks are empty. "The boats will stop one after the other", warns Frédéric Lizeul. And if the situation does not change by then, Le Dolmen could remain docked within ten days.