Historic Spencer Gulf vessel up for sale

A fishing vessel with historic ties to the Spencer Gulf is being put up for sale to ensure its future.

The Copper Coast Historic Vessel Association is calling for expressions of interest in the sale and purchase of the historic fishing vessel FV Mary-Ann Simms.

The boat was built by RT Searles and Sons, Port Adelaide in 1956 for the Simms fishing family in Moonta Bay on the Yorke Peninsula.

Association chairperson Michael Nance said the Mary-Ann Simms became an iconic boat during the more than 50 years it operated on the Spencer Gulf.

“The vessel was originally built as a scale fishing boat but was converted into a tuna fishing boat and is well known among tuna fishing families,” he said.

VIDEO: Former Port Lincoln Times journalist Derek Rogers put together some highlights of skipper Ben Simms' footage of the first Tunarama and tuna fishing on the Mary-Ann Simms in the industry's early poling days.

Mr Nance said the boat had a connection with Port Lincoln, being well known in local tuna fishing circles and in the last 50 years the vessel would travel to the city for regular maintenance.

The association has been the custodians of the boats for about seven years after it was gifted by then owner and long time skipper Ben Simms.

However Mr Nance said the association was putting the boat up for sale as it was no longer in a position to maintain it in a satisfactory state.

“Being a small volunteer group we’re struggling to raise enough money and maintain the boat in the condition it always has been,” he said.

Once history’s lost, you never get it back again.

Michael Nance

“It’s due to go up on the slip again, but we don’t really have the funds to put it up on the slip in Port Lincoln again for its annual maintenance.”

The vessel, which currently on a marina berth in the Wallaroo Marina, has been out for tender during the past few weeks.

Mr Nance said so far there had been a couple of enquiries from within South Australia as well as one from Western Australia.

He said tender would close this Monday but it would possibly be extended further.

“If there is a business or individual who would be willing to support us in maintaining the vessel, that would be good as well.”

Mr Nance said it would be disappointing if there were no interest in the boat as it was in great need to be put up on a slip very soon.

“Once history’s lost, you never get it back again,” he said.

Tender Information Kits, including a tender form, is available by contacting Mr Nance on 0428 294 141 or treasurer Sherrie Simms-Farmer on 0467 233 358.​