After 22 loyal years – and 185,000 miles on board the Gry Maritha – Captain Paul Stevens will be retiring in May.

Captain Stevens, 68, will retire almost 22 years to the day he joined the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, in May 2000.

A familiar and well-respected face on the Isles of Scilly, he has spent two decades serving the islands all year-round on board the dedicated freight ship Gry Maritha.

He said: “I’ve loved my time on the Gry, but all good things must come to an end. I will miss going to sea, the boat and the close-knit crew who are more like a second family.”

Seafaring is in Stevens’ blood. He left school at the age of 15 to become a fisherman, working on trawlers out of St Ives and Hayle, and then for 30 years from Newlyn and various ports around the UK, until a chance conversation with a Dutch colleague on board.

“He told me he was applying for an engineering job on the Gry. I thought it sounded interesting, so I applied too. It was an opportunity I’d never considered before, but it suddenly appeared on my doorstep. Needless to say I got the job, and the rest is history.”

Stuart Reid, chief executive of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, added: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Paul for his incredible contributions to the company over the past two decades. We will certainly miss him and wish him well for his retirement.”