In The Harbour: CCGS Terry Fox

Continuing with this theme of ships that are in the harbour for the winter, and following up with the icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent from last week, I decided to do a profile on the first Coast Guard ship I ever saw. When I still lived in Ontario, I remember watching the show "Mighty Ships" on Discovery Channel. They showcased one of our heavy icebreakers that also doubled as a supply vessel, heavy tug, and all around multi-purpose vessel. That ship was the CCGS Terry Fox, and she is our ship for this segment of "This Week".

Ship Stats

  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Length: 88 metres
  • Beam: 17.8 metres
  • Weight: 4,236 tonnes
  • Draught: 8.3 metres
  • Range: 3,560 kilometres
  • Endurance: 58 days
  • Complement: 24
  • Speed: 15.5 knots
  • Year: 1983 (commissioned 1992)

Named for the famous runner and cancer research advocate, the M/V Terry Fox was commissioned in 1983 by Gulf Oil in British Columbia. Her purpose (along with the M/V Arctic Kalvik, which became the CCGS Vladimir Ignatyuk) was to provide support to the oil rigs, acting as an escort for tankers, a heavy tug, and a supply boat. In 1992 she was sold to the Canadian Coast Guard, renamed the CCGS Terry Fox, and transferred to the East Coast of Canada.

Photo from Robert Allen Ltd.

During the winter months, she works the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence Seaway, providing icebreaking assistance for commercial vessels in the area. With her uniquely shaped bow, she can push up onto the ice and her weight allows her to crack back down through. She frees up the waterways so that ships can make it into the ports. During the summer, she sails to the Eastern Arctic to escort cargo and summer goods to the communities along the coast such as Kugluktuk and Nanisivik.

Terry Fox in St. John's, Summer 2010. Photo by Heather Elliott.

She's worked alongside on scientific runs as well. As I mentioned last week, she sailed up to the North Pole with the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. She was completing a six-week long survey of the Canadian waters in the Arctic, mapping the floor under the North Pole. If you're interested in the results of the survey, you can find them at this website!

Before she embarked on her Arctic excursion earlier this year, she needed some upgrades. In June of last year she went into refit at CCG Southside Base in St. John's, and the St. John's Dockyard. They did work on her hull and machinery, and replaced the system that operates the main anchor. A new port side propellor as well as a stern thruster were installed, and her navigational and electrical systems were completely upgraded. Her accommodations, which hadn't been done since the 1980s, were also modernized. Even though she is put through refit every other year, this time the focus was on extending her lifespan. She's on the schedule to be decommissioned in 2020, but with the refit it's possible that that could be pushed.

That's all of now! Until next time!

Images this week are my own, except for the one of her in her original paint job. That is compliments of Halifax Shipping News, who found it on Robert Allen Ltd.'s website.