Factory Ships

February 1 1939

Factory Ships

February 1 1939

Factory Ships

FACTORY ships are plowing the seas.

They freeze and package fish, catch and can crabs, manufacture sardine oil and meal and reduce whales to oil and feed. They fly the ensigns of a dozen countries, among them Argentina, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and the United States, and the fleet is growing.

“Mother” ships served by small craft follow the runs of Atlantic salmon, freezing and storing the fish at sea for sale in England ; they catch and can the spider crab in the Pacific for sale in the United States; there are floating salmon canneries in territorial waters of Alaska.

Factory ships ranging up to 43,000 tons displacement reduce whales by machinery'. They distill fresh water; they have refrigeration equipment for food, large storage tanks for the whale oil, and in addition

there are accommodations for crews of 300.

New types of factory ships operating off the Pacific Coast manufacture meal and oil from the pilchard or California sardine. Government statistics show that in the seven years “since the entry of factory ships in the sardine industry the production of oil, amounting now to more than 22,000,000 gallons, and of meal, amounting to 100,000 tons, has increased threefold.”

In early days the factory ship salted fish; now it guts, freezes and packages the product, performing at sea practically all the operations of land canneries and reduction plants. Trawlers launched in New England in recent years are equipped with mechanical refrigeration systems which circulate cold air throughout the fish hold. —New York Times.