In our series “Big Gear from The Old Days” we wrote about the Kharkovchanka (Antarctic transporter from the Soviet Union), the legendary Lada Niva and the so-called High-speed Laboratory Railcar, the SVL. Now it’s time for a big ship. A mother ship!
The multi-purpose mother ship "Vostok"
Vostok in Russian is Восток, which translates to "East". The name was, of course, chosen in honour (and perhaps for propaganda reasons) because of the Vostok programme. A Soviet human spaceflight project to put the first Soviet citizens into low Earth orbit and return them safely. Think about Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961.
The Vostok was a fishing vessel built in 1971 by Admiralteiskiy Shipyard Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Russia (USSR). The massive engines capable to deliver 26,000 shp (or 19,125 kW) were produced by Kirov Works, also Leningrad.
The Soviet vessel Vostok with homeports in Odessa (Ukraine) and Vladivostok (Russia’s far east), was the largest of all mother ships ever constructed at the time. She measured 225 m in length and had a capacity to produce 150.000 cans and to freeze 200 tons of fish per day. The vessel contained a movie theatre and swimming pool.
The catch: she carried other ships?!
The Vostok carried 14 small trawler-seiners which were directed to the fish shoals by a helicopter, based onboard the Vostok. The trawler-seiners were equipped for fishing by trawl, purse seine and electric fishing. In 1974 they were removed and Vostok begun to work together with "Vasiliy Yakovenko" type freezer trawlers (link opens in a new window).
Above: the Vostok mothership on her first voyage followed by the smaller fishing ships. Source: Shipspotting.com, link opens in a new window.
Nice weather for twenty years?
The first call of the Vostok was at Tenerife in 1973. She was based at the Canaries for almost twenty years, as a canning factory (thus mother ship) for the Soviet, Russian and Ukrainian fishing fleets in the Sahara and Mauritanian fishing grounds.
Above: a picture of the Vostok at the Aliaga Shipbreaking Yard (Turkey) on 18th of September 1997, captured / added by Gena Anfimov (link to profile on Shipspotting.com, link opens in a new window). See more pictures of the Vostok in Shipspotting.com.
A short history of the floating canned fish factory
Originally Vostok was owned and operated by the USSR government. Her owner in 1992 was listed as USSR “Azcherryba”. By 1993 she was being operated by the Black Sea Fisheries Corporation “Antarktica”. Later on Vostok was sold to Resa-Yazici A.S. for demolition early in 1997. She arrived at Aliaga, Turkey on 17 September 1997 and was beached for demolition on the 18th of September 1997. She was registered as ‘scrapped’ in 2002.
The IMO number of the Vostok is 6915805. When you Google that number you'll find loads of pictures and more specs.
A cool card set containing the Vostok mother ship
We've got a cool card set containing an art-card depicting the Vostok mother ship. We've found these cards on a short trip to Lithuania, but they're Russian, in Cyrillic. Produced in 1974.
Above: picture from the art postcard set "Man and the Ocean", Moscow, USSR, 1974.