top of page

Gadus The New Triumph of the Seas

We travelled to the Faroes to see the Baptism of the new GADUS

By Austen Dack

One of my highlights of 2023 was taking a trip to the Faroes to see the launch of the brand-new FAS fishing vessel Gadus. I was to meet up on my journey with industry friends including Julie Waites (FASFA), plus NFFF stalwarts Andrew Crook, Caroline Murphy and Josette Foster.

I left Stansted and met up with those travelling from the north of the UK in Denmark. Due to the inclement weather and a seven hour delay we spent the afternoon in a windy Copenhagen, before finally setting off & arriving in the Faroe Islands in the early hours of the next day.

The Faroe islands are just 220 miles northwest of Scotland between Norway and Iceland. It’s a group of 18 islands and only has a population of 50,000. It’s a self-governing country within Denmark. Only 10 of the 17 islands are populated. We stayed in Torshavn which is the predominant settlement and the smallest capital city in the world.

Having arrived in darkness (2am local time) it was hard to imagine the beatific scenery that we were about to witness. At around 8am the sun rose over Torshavn. Our Hotel Føroyar provided a great peaceful location, with views of the city and ocean. The natural grass roof of this peaceful, design hotel matches the surrounding green countryside. All rooms overlook Nólsoy Fjord and central Tórshav.

Next stop would be Klaksvík. Around forty minutes by bus it gave us a chance to see more of the wonderful scenery. The landscape is just gorgeous. The hills are beautiful, and I’ve never seen green quite this colour. The islands are unusual because they have no (or few) trees. Some of this is because of the harsh climate but it’s also because of the soil.

Klaksvík is the second largest city in the Faroe Islands. Located in unbelievable settings on Borðoy island, the community is very much anchored in its fishing culture. It would be the setting for the baptism of Gadus.

First, we gathered in a local art gallery next to the harbour to have lunch. Around forty invited guests dined and we also sampled local beers from the brewery next door Föroya Bjór. I enjoyed the GULL, which was a Gold Medal winner at the World Beer Awards. We were also given a few drams of the local Einar’s single malt whiskey. The mouthwatering lunch menu included snowcrabs, langoustines, roasted lambracks, plus a surprise (but delicious) tasting of uniker caviar.

Soon it was time to leave the gallery and to witness the main event. Gadus was moored just out of sight, and already thousands of locals and invited guests had gathered to witness her inaugural voyage and ceremony. The boisterous weather of the day before had been replaced by bright sunshine – the Sea Gods were looking down on the Hansen family!

At the moment I could see the true spirit of the Faroes in all of its glory. As Gadus slowly started to make her way to her crowning spot, the atmosphere of the occasion grew. Many of the family were dressed in traditional Faroese attire. The men wearing breeches and the distinct Faroese hats and women in full-length skirts with beautifully embroidered aprons and shawls. The magnificent pyramid mountain on the island of Kunoy and the multi-coloured traditional houses gave Gadus a unique backdrop as she majestically sailed into full view.

It wasn’t until she came to a standstill in front of us that you could full ascertain just how monumental she was. At over 88 metres in length (that’s around 7 double decker buses) and 18 metres wide, she towers any other vessel I’ve seen by around 20 metres.

Before the baptism we were treated with speeches on the quayside. Although some in English, it was the national tongue which caught my attention. The pride and passion from Hanus Hansen, owner of JFK, and Gadus was all too apparent. Soon it was time for the blessing of the new vessel. Edith Johnson was in charge of breaking of a sacrificial bottle of champagne over the bow, she threw it with vigour towards Gadus. Thankfully it smashed and once again the assembled band once again went into full flow.

With thousands gathered it seemed that everyone wanted to catch a glimpse onboard. Queues to board were long and didn’t subside for many hours to come. The accommodation is for a crew of 43, all very comfortable and built with the wellbeing of the fishermen in mind. The 2060 cubic metre refrigerated fish room is vast - capable of holding an estimated 1400 tonnes of frozen production, as well as storage for 815 cubic metres of fishmeal and 110 cubic metres of fish oil.

The factory deck is designed for zero waste as it provided Gadus with capacity to produce around 100 tonnes of frozen production per day. The whitefish processing lines can handle roundfish such as cod, haddock and saithe, as well as Greenland halibut and redfish, plus the factory deck also houses a shrimp processing line in addition to having options for processing pelagics too. As I left my tour via the stern we were shown the fantastically equipped gym, and also panoramic hot tub and spa area, again built with crew welfare in mind.

Back outside over 2,000 people were treated to some very tasty fish and chips. Once again Lewis's Fish & Grill from Kent came over to be the guest friers. They are a family owned and managed business with over 30 years experience. Lewis’s is managed by brothers Gavin & Craig Lewis. They are passionate about serving the best quality food, every time. Isle of Ely Produce are proud to supply potatoes to JFK which arrived by boat just the day before the event to accompany the local fish.

As the day drew to a close it was time for the evening celebrations to begin. Hanus and Jogvan Hansen had gathered together nearly 300 people for a party to remember. I felt like I was part of the wider family as I joined Jogvan on his table.

What ensued was a night that will live with me forever. The vessel makers, owners, financiers, family, captain, senior crew and more all under one roof. The meal was incredible and the entertainment sublime. It was like being on the set of a Faroese Jools Holland show, with quality act after quality act coming on the stage including the local version of Peter Kay.

All too soon our time together in the Faroes had come to an end. I was so pleased to have been part of the baptism entourage. It has given me further education into how they think, act and of course fish for the products that end up in chip shops across the UK.

JFK are a leading fish producer with over 100 years of history in the Faroe Islands. With vast resources and expertise, their portfolio includes sea-frozen fish from the Barents Sea and processed fish from Faroese waters.

Ask your fish supplier for fish from Gadus/JFK


bottom of page