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Coast Guard ship grounds on a shoal that hasn’t been surveyed since the 19th century

Oct 2, 2015 02:00 PM

Two cadets were evacuated and divers had to repair the hull when a Canadian Coast Guard vessel drifted onto a Newfoundland shoal that was last charted in 1872.

Ann Harvey, a 272-foot Canadian Coast Guard buoy tender, light icebreaker and search-and-rescue vessel, made contact with the sea bottom on April 1 about 5 nm south of Burgeo, Newfoundland, and began taking on water, said Winfred Risser, a regional safety investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

The incident happened while the ship was repositioning to deploy the Graley Rock buoy. The propulsion motor room flooded and the sewage room’s watertight door did not seal properly, allowing the sewage room and central stores area to flood as well.

Ann Harvey is a diesel-electric vessel with three engines powering three electric generators and two electric motors driving twin fixed-pitch screws. The motors were shut down as the water level rose, leaving the ship without propulsion.

Two cadets were airlifted from Ann Harvey, leaving 26 regular crewmembers aboard.

Ann Harvey was initially towed away from the shoal by the lifeboat CCGS W.G. George. Additional pumps and supplies were provided by the CCGS W. G. George and by search-and-rescue helicopters.  

Later in the day the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent arrived on the scene and towed Ann Harvey to Connoire Bay, west of Burgeo, for an underwater inspection.

Royal Canadian Navy divers inspected the ship’s damage and a commercial diving team was brought in to repair the hole in the hull.

Once temporary repairs were completed, the CCGS Teleost towed the ship to St. John’s, Newfoundland, where permanent hull repairs were completed at Newdock St. John’s Dockyard Ltd.

Risser said that the Canadian Hydrographic Service chart for Graley Rock includes the message, “CAUTION. Mariners are advised to exercise caution when navigating in this area. The area bounded by pecked line is a metric reproduction of former British Admiralty chart 272 based on surveys to 1872, and is not surveyed to modern standards.”

The Source Classification Diagram indicates the Graley Rock area soundings were from a lead line survey completed in 1872.

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