The Shipbreakers

There’s a very interesting article called The Shipbreakers in the current issue of The Atlantic Monthly magazine which discusses the industry built around breaking apart retired cargo ships in India.


Marcus's picture
Marcus on April 2, 2004 - 20:13 Permalink

For you ferry buffs out there…

Many of you might know that M/V Abegweit, built in 1947 at Marine Industries Ltd. (Sorel QC) is now the clubhouse for the Columbia Yacht Club in Chicago, Illinois.

Ironically, the M/V Abegweit, built in 1982 at Saint John Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Ltd. (Saint John NB) and which served from 1982-1997, is now anchored off Alang, India awaiting shipbreaking. She languished at Sydport (Sydney, NS) until summer 1999 when Accrued Investments of Houston purchased her for resale but after moving her to Galveston in July of that year, she never found a buyer.

In February 2004, she was observed with smoke coming from her stacks, and several days later had departed her berth of almost 4 and a half years. Under her own power, she crossed the Atlantic last month and transited the Mediterranean/Suez and should be scrapped by this fall.

An unfortunate ending for this ferry.

Marcus's picture
Marcus on April 3, 2004 - 20:43 Permalink

Actually she isn’t at Alang yet. She’s currently entering the Mediterranean, albeit travelling very slowly. Supposed to be at Alang by June.

The other icebreaker ferry M/V John Hamilton Gray is laid up at Freeport, Bahamas awaiting scrapping in India as well. No word on the schedule for this.

Interesting how ships which were once owned by the Government of Canada are now going to further the environmental problems of Gujarat State. Too bad the Confederation Bridge wouldn’t just collapse or evaporate into a black hole somewhere.

Kevin's picture
Kevin on September 4, 2004 - 06:07 Permalink

Have these two great ships been officially scrapped yet? Is there any chance either of the ships could find a buyer. I live on long island and know two ferry companies that should have been able to put these ships to good use. I like both, although the “gray” a little more, for the abegweit to be built in 1982 and scrapped already is a shame. Thanks any info would be appreciated

Marcus's picture
Marcus on March 10, 2005 - 21:15 Permalink

Yes, they are officially gone. Global scrap metal prices have gone through the roof in recent years as India & China’s economies are expanding at almost unsustainable rates. Both former icebreakers had a great deal of high-tensile steel in their hulls, so they were a real catch for scrappers, plus being former icebreakers, they require more fuel than regular ships to operate as they were heavier for their size. Finally, their designs did them in as they were custom-built for the Northumberland Strait, although the Gray was also used in Nfld. during the summers.

M/V Mariner (ex. M/V Accrued Mariner, exx. M/V Abegweit) sailed Galveston at end of Feb. 2004, arriving in India early May. Her owners after Marine Atlantic were Accrued Investments, Houston TX (July 1999-January 2004), and then Pelican Marine, India (January 2004-May 2004). Lloyd’s Registry lists her as scrapped May 9, 2004 in India (presumably Alang).

M/V Texas Treasure II (ex. M/V Contessa I, exx. M/V John Hamilton Gray) was used as a casino cruise ship in West Palm Beach FL from 1997-~2001, ditto at Port Aransas TX from 2001-~2003. She failed mandatory FDA hygiene inspections and coast guard safety inspections and was moved to Bahamas and listed for sale. At some point her owners (Contessa International) decided that scrapping would be more profitable so she sailed in early 2004, arriving in India early March. Lloyd’s Registry lists her as scrapped March 15, 2004 in India (presumably Alang).

It is quite ironic that the Gray, built in 1968, and the Abegweit, built in 1982, both met their fate independently at the same location on the other side of the world within 60 days of each other. Amazing.

Ken Williams's picture
Ken Williams on March 10, 2005 - 22:29 Permalink

I’ve been aboard the Abegweit in Chicago, and got a warm welcome from the members of Columbia Yacht Club. My Great Uncle Ben Pike was her captain, and sailed her into Chicago.
He says it was a very tight fit through some of the locks interconnecting the great lakes, a trip he’ll never forget.

Don Larson's picture
Don Larson on May 23, 2005 - 17:12 Permalink

I was born and raised near Chicago and spent most of my adult years living and working in the city, but spent most summers on P.E.I. from the time I was 7 years old. My gradparents built a summer cottage there in the 1950s and my family would make the long drive from Chicago every summer to visit for a few glorious weeks. We always looked forward to the ferry after 3 days of driving, and aways hoped we would get the “Abby” since it was the prettiest of the boats. My brothers and I would explore the entire ship

John's picture
John on March 4, 2006 - 21:54 Permalink

For fans of BC Ferries on the west coast of Canada sad news to report in regards to the 1962 built mv Queen of Victoria.

Recent pictures taken At a Alang Shipbreaker yard clearly shows the Queen of Ocoa on the beach just prior of been scrapped.

Doug's picture
Doug on March 15, 2006 - 07:44 Permalink

In response to the “Queen of Ocoa”, AKA Queen of Victoria scrapping, here is a link to a thread dedicated to the Victoria on a BC Ferry enthusiast forum. About halfway down is a picture of the Victoria beached at Alang. :(


Kathy's picture
Kathy on December 31, 2006 - 09:03 Permalink

I’m interested in finding out information on the Queen of Ocoa. Does anybody know why she was left for the shipbreakers? Who were the last owners and how was she spending her life after she was sold to R & G?
Any idea when she was finally scrapped?

Thanks. Any info or pictures would be a great help.

jeremy collings's picture
jeremy collings on November 11, 2008 - 19:04 Permalink

my name is jeremy collings and i am from prince edward island i spent many of hours on the four ferrys that ran between pei and new bruinswick i cant understand for the life of me why the idot,s would have kept the garbage ship the holiday island wich now operates beteen wood islands and caribue and let go of the two gracefull dependale giants the abegwiet and john hamilton gray. the holiday island even tday is forever broke down and she only runs during the mild summer months yet the unstopable abby wich ran all year nomatter how thick the ice was she seldom everbroke down i remember even as a kid when she had to go rescue the coastguard ship the sir john a macdonald i somtimes wish that darn bridge wouldve colapsed before those two very capable ice breakers had bin scraped ohwell perhaps im still living in the past i guess but still ill never forget the truely remarkable experiance of those two mighty ships crushing through the ice it was truely a way of life and somthing ill never forget on prince edward island. i feel some daythat all islanders will miss them as the bridge continues to deteriate that darn bridge wich is closed many of times had already seen after only the first two years of its life extensive repares. you can literaly when driving over the bridge see it leaning to one side and talk about a bumpy ride due to the masive pillars that had soon settle into the ocean floor and now after 11 years well its quite a magic carpet ride youd never have to worrie about falling asleep at the wheel. i just wish i could find some more photos of the two ships before the got scraped. i cant believe how quick time ha gone by and to think theve bin scraped fo almost five years already i supose the island has change quite a bit since the bridges arival i guess t was time for a change i just wish they took the ferrys to the other terminal

Robert Wiebe's picture
Robert Wiebe on January 21, 2009 - 15:04 Permalink

I am an artist, who is researching and requiring photos of wooden fishing boats from the 50’s-60’s that would have been used during the salmon fishing season in the Maritimes. These boats had a mast near the back of the boat on which they raised a sail, while drifting for salmon. The boats generally had a front cabin and were 30-40 feet in length.
These photos are not for publication and medium res jpgs are all that is required.
Thank you.
Robert Wiebe, Calgary AB

colin grant's picture
colin grant on February 5, 2009 - 19:14 Permalink

Hi Robert Wiebe, I have just purchased a signed print of yours..” A Perfect Evening” brings back so many memories great job.

Colin Grant

dave haugo's picture
dave haugo on April 12, 2010 - 16:06 Permalink

give me a call Robert or send me your phone #

dave haugo's picture
dave haugo on April 12, 2010 - 16:07 Permalink

give me a call Robert or send me your phone #