Category Archives: history

the SS Royal William


SS Royal William was a Canadian steamship that is sometimes credited with achieving the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean to be made almost entirely under steam power, using sails only during periods of boiler maintenance

She was commissioned by brewer John Molson and a group of investors, built in Cape Blanc, Quebec by John Saxton Campbell and George Black she was launched on 27 April 1831. The steam engines were made and installed in Montreal. She made several trips between Quebec and the Atlantic colonies in 1831. Her owners decided to sail her to Europe and find a buyer. She departed from Pictou, Nova Scotia on 18 August 1833 with seven passengers, a small amount of freight and a load of coal and arrived at Gravesend on the River Thames after a 25-day passage.

 Royal William was eventually sold to the Spanish Navy where she served for many years and earned the distinction of being the first steamship to fire a shot in anger during a minor Spanish rebellion.

One of Royal William’s co-owners was Samuel Cunard a merchant from Halifax Nova Scotia who drew important lessons from the ship which he applied when he founded the Cunard Steamship Company a few years later.

Happy 100th Acadia

 Today marks the 100th anivarsary of the Launching of the CSS Acadia. The Acadia is a  former hydrographic Canadian Survey ship of the Canadian Government, that is now part of the collection of the Maritime Museaum of the Atlantic.

Acadia served Canada for more than five decades from 1913–1969, charting the coastline of almost every part of Eastern Canada including pioneering surveys of Hudson Bay. She was also twice commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy as HMCS Acadia, during the 2 world wars.

Retaining her original engines, boilers and little-changed accommodations, she is one of the best preserved Edwardian ocean steamships in the world and a renowned example of Canada’s earliest scientific prowess in the fields of hydrography and oceanography.

A bit About the Foundation Maritime Company.

For Hundreds of years man has taken to the seas, and for just as long, been telling triumphant sea stories. Stories of triumph over great odds; Bligh’s navigation after the Mutiny on the bounty, and Shackelton’s voyage to South Georgia island come to mind.

Halifax has a history of Sea Stories, Men Left Halifax to fight in multiple wars, Privateers returned with their captured prizes. The stories that came out of Foundation Maritime were so immense, they filled 2 volumes by Farley Mowat; Grey Seas Under, and The Serpents Coil.

Foundation Maritime grew out of the Foundation Company of Canada, which was a construction firm who owned barges and dredges for constructing Harbour works. They needed a Tug, and found the Laid up ex HMS Frisky, now Gustavo Ipland, in Hamburg Germany. They purchased her, and Named her Foundation Franklin in 1930.

Having a tug, eventually led to it being chartered for salvage work, and Foundation Maritime was born. As the years went on, many additional tugs were purchased and chartered, and the business expanded to include terminal operations, towing and salvage. Foundation Maritime shrewdly perusing Business and ships in distress.

For much of its early years, even finding a ship in distress was a problem. Modern electronic navigation systems were not invented yet, and ships were guided by the stars. in a storm, or cloud cover, it could be days before you could confirm your position. This is also the case with the distressed vessel being sought. their position was days old, and may not have even been correct to begin with. if you could reach them on the radio, it might have been possible to RF Direction find them,Though during the wars, this was a asking to be sunk by a uboat.

The Foundation Company of Canada Still exists today as the construction firm AECON. Foundation Maritime Sold its tugs in 1973, Leading to the formation of Eastern Canada Towing and Salvage (EcTug). the tugs retained thier names, however Point was substituted for Foundation in their names. ECTug was then aquired, and became Svitzer Canada. In 2010 they signed a MOU with Atlantic towing, With Atlantic Towing taking over halifax operations, and Svitzer working Port Hawksbury/ Straight of Canso The foundation Maritime wharfs still stand, at the foot of Salter St.

The Tugs of Foundation Maritime
Salvage Work

Photos Are from Mac Mackay. Check out his Shipfax and TugFax Blogs

SS American Victory Tour

The SS American Victory was a US Victory Ship. after serving in the second world war, and korea, she was mothballed to the fleet in Virgina. When she came up for disposal, funds were raised to repair, and tow her to Tampa Fl. She is in full sailing condition, and sails when funds allow.

A full photo tour is available on our Flickr Page.

Enos Collins

The Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron race committee vessel is named the Enos Collins, and today the federal government named a building in Amherst after him.

“Enos Collins was part owner of three privateer ships, including the Liverpool Packet, which captured 50 American merchant vessels for the British,” MP Armstrong stated. “Not only did he contribute immensely to our victory in the War of 1812, but he was also well-known in the community for his contributions to several charities in the Halifax region.”

As a young boy, Enos Collins went to sea aboard his father’s ship. His ambition eventually led him to become part owner of multiple vessels trading out of the thriving seaport of Liverpool, Nova Scotia. During the War of 1812, Collins was a co-owner of the Liverpool Packet, which became famous for capturing 50 American merchant vessels for the British. At that time, he also founded the Halifax Banking Company, which is known today as the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
For more information on Enos Collins and the War of 1812, please visit 1812.gc.ca.

Captain James Cook

Captain James Cook, was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. He was Killed by Natives on the island of Kona Hawaii, 234 years ago today. Why do we care about James Cook? He was responsible for the earliest charts of much of the east coast of Canada including Halifax – His chart of which is below.
 

From Wikipedia:

During the Seven Years’ War, he served in North America as master of Pembroke. In 1758, he took part in the major amphibious assault that captured the Fortress of Louisbourg from the French, after which he participated in the siege of Quebec City and then the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. He showed a talent for surveying and cartography, and was responsible for mapping much of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River during the siege, thus allowing General Wolfe to make his famous stealth attack on the Plains of Abraham.

Cook’s aptitude for surveying was put to good use mapping the jagged coast of Newfoundland in the 1760s, aboard HMS Grenville. He surveyed the northwest stretch in 1763 and 1764, the south coast between the Burin Peninsula and Cape Ray in 1765 and 1766, and the west coast in 1767. At this time Cook employed local pilots to point out the “rocks and hidden dangers” along the south and west coasts. During the 1765 season, four pilots were engaged at 4 shillings a day each: John Beck for the coast west of “Great St. Lawrence”, Morgan Snook for Fortune Bay, John Dawson for Connaigre and Hermitage Bay, and John Peck for the “Bay of Despair.”

His five seasons in Newfoundland produced the first large-scale and accurate maps of the island’s coasts and were the first scientific, large scale, hydrographic surveys to use precise triangulation to establish land outlines. They also gave Cook his mastery of practical surveying, achieved under often adverse conditions, and brought him to the attention of the Admiralty and Royal Society at a crucial moment both in his career and in the direction of British overseas discovery. Cook’s map would be used into the 20th century—copies of it being referenced by those sailing Newfoundland’s waters for 200 years.

2012 the year in review

Goodbye 2012

2012 was an interesting year. 180000 people read halifaxshippingnews.ca in 2012 – more then ever before, and growth was steadly climbing from month to month. We also had the 320 posts this year – almost one a day, and picked up Telonix as our first sponsor.

In Ship Building news, The APA recived its new Pilot Boat. The First 3 Hero Class midshore patrol vessels were launched for the Coast Guard. HRM Decided to build a 4th Ferry, and the 3 existing ones got AIS. The Bluenose was launched, and Oceanex, Fedanav, and ACL all ordered new ships.

Halifax saw a variety of interesting Visiting naval  Ships, including USCG Dependable, Tahoma, JuniperReliance and Spencer; Royal Navy HMS Scott, HMS Protector, US Navy ships USS Laboon, USS Fort WorthUSS De Wert and USS Hurricane; Plan Zenghe, HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl, The German vessels FGS Emden, FGS Hessen, FGS Frankfurt am Main; HDMS Esbern Snare; USNS GrappleFrench Naval Tug Malabar

Breakdowns – Atlantic Cartier with engine troubles, Renate Shulte with a hole in her bow from a loose anchor, Stuttgart Express with a bunker leak.

We commemorated the Titanic 100th anniversary, tall ships, afl went bankrupt and the ship was sold by the court. Pier 9 expansion was well under way and the  Pier 42 Expansion was completed; first disney cruise; and the Scotia Dock II sold for scrap.

there are many more notable events that I missed.
Lets bring on 2013, it should be interesting.