Final Voyages 35 results

Ernest Thornhill – A Man of Uncommon Courage and Bravery

Captain Bert Boertien has had his fair share of injuries including broken bones in his fishing career. The renowned fishing skipper from Souris, P.E.I. also had several close calls that could have been fatal, but on each occasion, luck and lots of it, was on his side. From his room at a nursing home in Souris, he loves to recount those stories and share them with friends. The Navigator was lucky enough to hear a few. In 1969, Bert’s fishing vessel, North Bay caught fire and sank off ...

The Tragedy of the Miss Ally – Part V

Above photo: Fishermen’s Memorial in Woods Harbour, Nova Scotia The last communication between the fishing vessel Miss Ally was just before 11 p.m. Sunday, February 17, 2013. Not long after that, the vessel’s emergency locator beacon sounded. At that time, the Joint Rescue Coordinating Centre (JRCC) and Coast Guard staff realized that the 44-foot boat had likely succumbed to the storm that was raging off eastern Nova Scotia. A few hours later, two Coast Guard staff were asked to go ...

The Tragedy of the Miss Ally – Part IV

Above photo: William Alexander — the Coast Guard ship that was tasked to the location of the Miss Ally On Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, Katlin Nickerson’s plan was to haul halibut lines and head for port with a good paying trip in the fish hold of the Miss Ally. But darkness closed in and the crew couldn’t find the markers to finish taking back the last several lines of gear. Katlin decided to wait until daylight to finish the job and then head to port. Not far away, an intense storm ...

The Tragedy of the Miss Ally – Part III

The fishing vessel Miss Ally out of Wood’s Harbour, Nova Scotia, had fished halibut more than 100 miles offshore for four days before heading for port on February 17, 2013. Captain Katlin Nickerson and his four crewmembers were all young men and close friends. The fishing had been fair during their four days at sea, but word of an approaching storm scheduled to slam the area on Sunday evening sent most vessels scurrying for safety by Saturday night or early next morning. The Miss Ally ...

The Tragedy of the Miss Ally – Part II

The loss of the Miss Ally still sends chills down the spines of fishing families in southwestern Nova Scotia. Five young men died when the 44-foot vessel was overwhelmed by a huge wave as they were steaming home from a fishing trip. Last month, we introduced you to Della Sears Newell, the mother of the young captain of the Miss Ally. Della told us about her son and his accomplishments. She also told us about driving Katlin to the boat on February 12, 2013 and watched as his longliner headed out ...

The Tragedy of the Miss Ally – Part I

It was a grey day in February 2017 as Della Sears Newell sat at her kitchen table viewing a scrapbook containing pages of newspaper clippings, hand-written notes and an unofficial log of activities from the Joint Rescue Coordinating Centre (JRCC) in Halifax dated February 16 and 17, 2013. Oblivious to the light snow falling outside her window, Della was at home on Cape Sable Island, just days before the fourth anniversary of the loss of her son. Della is emotional and stressed, but also ...

Safety – Everybody’s Job

Safety in the fishing industry is different than in other industries. Statistically, fishing is still the most dangerous occupation in the country outside the military and policing. We lose, on average, nearly a dozen fishermen every year. That high number is due in part to the fact that some accidents at sea cause multiple deaths, especially in these days of larger boats. While no two fatal accidents are alike in the inshore fishing industry, there are often similarities. I once wrote ...

Houston, We Have a Problem – Part II

Last month, we told you about the U.S. barge Houston that was adrift in a bad storm near Port Hood, Cape Breton on December 17, 2007. The barge was not carrying cargo but did have approximately 9,000 gallons of fuel onboard and that was a huge environmental concern. If the Houston was pushed onto the rocky shores and punctured a hole in its hull, a fuel spill could be a catastrophe for marine life in the area. The Coast Guard ships Terry Fox and Edward Cornwallis were dispatched to the scene to ...

Houston, We Have a Problem

In the 1970s, a pop culture phrase for something gone wrong was “Houston, we have a problem.” The line was attributed to astronaut James Lovell, commander of the Apollo 13 space mission in 1970 when the spacecraft developed a serious mechanical problem while in space, forcing abandonment of a planned attempt to land on the moon. It is not exactly word for word what the astronaut said, but it was close enough to become an every-day catch phrase by those who lived in that era. A few ...

Almost Home

In the early hours of an October morning in 2009, Captain Dean Hynes and his four-man crew were looking forward to getting home after a long evening and night mackerel seining off Stephenville on Newfoundland’s southwest coast. Dean, from Fox Island River, was captain and owner of the Blue Islander, a 45-foot seiner. His crewmembers consisted of three brothers, who were also Dean’s cousins — Wally, Paddy and Doug Leroy. The fifth man was Shane Lafitte, a new addition to the crew. Shane ...