Home HRAcademia All aboard! 300 Hull schoolchildren set sail on the Humber thanks to ABP and Hull Children’s University

All aboard! 300 Hull schoolchildren set sail on the Humber thanks to ABP and Hull Children’s University

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Natasha Banke and children from St Richard’s RC Primary School prepare to set sail aboard the Regal Lady (image courtesy of ABP

Natasha Banke and children from St Richard’s RC Primary School prepare to set sail aboard the Regal Lady (image courtesy of ABP

Schoolchildren from across the city have been given the opportunity to learn about global trade and the importance of the Humber Estuary, as well as Hull’s proud maritime history whilst out on the ocean wave, thanks to Associated British Ports (ABP) and Hull Children’s University.

Following the success of 2014’s inaugural Humber river cruises, around 300 children embarked on four cruises, which featured sea shanty competitions and fact-filled commentaries written by the children themselves.

The cruises have been designed to show the children just how vital the Humber Estuary is as a trading gateway, as well as help them learn more about their city and the organisations whose business depend on the river.

Deputy Director of Hull Children’s University, Natasha Banke explained: “We have been offering port experience days for a number of years and these have always been popular, however there was a desire from both ourselves and our member schools to get out on the river and learn about the city’s trade links and its history in a completely new way and the idea of the Humber river cruises was born.

“Following the success of last year’s cruises, when over 300 children took to the river over the course of a week, we had to offer the experience again to schools that missed out last time.

“Fortunately we have a very accommodating partner in ABP, who have gone above and beyond to make sure the cruises go ahead and this year’s trips have been as good, if not better, than last year. The children have had a fantastic time and learnt so much about their home city.”

Children from St Richard’s RC Primary School, St James’ Primary School, Stoneferry Primary School and Mountbatten Primary School took to the water aboard Regal Lady, a double-ended steamer based in Scarborough that was built in 1930 and assisted with the Dunkirk evacuations.

Spencer Beadle (10), from St James’ Primary School said: “We’ve been on a boat down the Humber and learnt lots of different facts.

“We learned about the ships that are coming into Hull with all their goods, and the fact that The Deep has 3500 fish.

“We got to go under the Humber Bridge, which was really good. It has been really fun.”

The vessel sailed from King George Dock at ABP’s Port of Hull and took in Fort Paull, before turning around and journeying upriver under the Humber Bridge and making her way back to the dock.

Captain Andrew Firman is ABP’s Harbour Master Humber, he accompanied the vessel and ensured an ABP pilot was present on each cruise, helping the Regal Lady’s skipper Tom Machin navigate the Estuary.

Capt. Firman said: “The 2014 cruises were such a huge success that organising a series of trips for 2015 was never in question.

“It’s very satisfying to be able to get involved with something like this; something that makes such a huge difference to the children and to their education but that is hugely enjoyable at the same time. Many of the children hadn’t experienced anything like this before and it was fantastic to be able to not only facilitate that, but to share it with them.”


ABP is the UK’s leading ports operator with 21 ports and other transport related businesses creating a unique national network capable of handling a vast array of cargo.

Around one quarter of the UK’s seaborne trade passes through ABP’s Statutory Harbour Areas.  ABP contributes £5.6 billion to the UK economy every year and supports 84, 000 jobs. Our current investment programme promises to deliver an extra £1.75 billion for the economy every year.


  • Handled over 1.5 million vehicles in 2013.
  • Generates around one quarter of the UK’s rail freight
  • Has 1.4 million square metres of covered storage
  • Has 1000 hectares of open storage
  • Handled 119m tonnes of cargo in 2013
  • Owns 5000 hectares of port estate
  • Has 87km of quay

Over the next five years, ABP is investing over £650 million in a wide range of major projects across the group.

ABP Humber

The four ports of Grimsby, Immingham, Hull and Goole handle more than 65 million tonnes of cargo between them each year.

Grimsby and Immingham form the UK’s busiest trading gateway and move around 54 million tonnes of cargo per annum.

£130-plus million is currently being invested in the biomass handling terminal in Immingham, in a Humber-wide agreement with Drax Power Ltd that has seen £25 million invested in a biomass handling facility in Hull. The Immingham Renewable Fuels Terminal handles sustainable biomass shipments and will create over 100 permanent jobs once complete. The construction phase has also created 100 employment opportunities.

The Port of Hull handles 10 million tonnes of cargo per annum and is the is the focal point for the development of the UK’s largest offshore wind turbine construction, assembly, and service facility, which will be located on the Port’s Alexandra Dock. This new facility, coupled with a new rotor blade manufacturing base near Paull to the east of the port estate, represents a £310 million investment and could create up to 1000 direct jobs.

The Grimsby River Terminal represents an investment of £26 million and allows large car-carrying ships to berth outside the Port’s lock system. This development confirms the Port’s position as the UK’s leading automotive handling facility.

More than the equivalent of 1million teus (twenty foot equivalent unit) of unitised trade is shipped through ABP Humber ports.

Ro-ro and container traffic represents more than 30 sailings a week to Europe, Scandinavia the Baltic and beyond.

The Humber ports handle more than 70 freight train movements per day.

Goole is situated 50 miles upriver and is the UK’s premier inland port. It handles over two million tonnes of cargo annually.

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