Final Voyages 33 results

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 ...

Dreamboat Turned Nightmare – Part V

Captain Byron Oxford and his eight-man crew survived a harrowing ordeal after the fishing vessel Atlantic Charger sank south of Baffin Island in September 2015. For some of the survivors, the experience will haunt them forever. Captain Oxford said he battled anxiety while at sea for several months after the incident. For the vessel’s owner, his battle was different and started after the loss of the Charger. For nearly nine months following the loss of his vessel, Brad Watkins dealt ...

Dreamboat Turned Nightmare — Part IV

After tossing around in 20-foot seas in the Davis Strait for eight or nine hours, Captain Byron Oxford and his eight crewmembers heard the distinct sound of a ship’s horn. Looking through the canopy opening of their life raft, they saw a large ship in the distance. Approximately an hour later, the ship drew near and attempted to rescue the crew of the Atlantic Charger, but getting a small rubber raft safely alongside a large steel ship in heavy seas was not an easy task — let alone getting ...