The Santo André Ship-Museum is an extension of the Ílhavo Maritime Museum. It was part of the Portuguese cod-fishing fleet and is designed to illustrate the different arts and techniques of trawling. This side trawler (used in the more “classical” form of trawling) was built in 1948, in Holland, having been commissioned by the Aveiro Fishing Company. It was a modern vessel, measuring 71.40 metres in length and with a hold capacity for two thousand tons of fish.
In the 1980s, restrictions were introduced for fishing in overseas waters, which resulted in a reduction in the size of the fleet and in the scrapping of many of the vessels. The Santo André ship did not escape this trend. On 21 August, 1997, it began to be dismantled. There still remained, however, the memory of what had once been an emblematic ship and so it was considered necessary to preserve it. People joined forces and ideas were exchanged.
The shipowner, António do Lago Cerqueira, and Ílhavo Municipal Council together decided to transform the old Santo André into a ship-museum, thus fulfilling the dream of all those who had lived through the epic period of cod-fishing in the Atlantic Ocean. The Santo André was saved. Other trawlers from its generation did not enjoy the same fate and their memory was lost and buried in the scrapyards.
Converted into a museum, the Santo André ship has begun a new cycle in its life: its mission is to show present and future generations how cod-trawling was once performed, while honouring the memory of all the ship’s crews over its half century of fishing activity.