It was thirty years ago that the ship first arrived in Halifax, . on March 20, 1989 to be precise, to take up its naval career. It was not a new ship however, but was built in 1973 by Allied Shipbuilding of North Vancouver as the offshore supply vessel Lady Jean. The owners were International Offshore Services (Liberia) part of the British shipping company P+O, owned by Inchcape plc. In 1975 the vessel was sold to Tidewater Marine of Liberia and became Jean Tide.
[ As a totally unnecessary aside, the onetime chairman of P+O was James Lyle Mackay, 1st Earl of Inchape. He was born in Montrose, UK in 1852 - the same town where my great-grandfather was born. He was the son of another James Mackay and Deborah Lyle. Ms. Lyle was the daughter of the owners of the Lyle shipyard in Dartmouth, NS. James Mackay, the elder, was a ship's master whose vessel was at one time under repair at Lyle's yard. Despite her father's best efforts to shield her from the likes of a sailor, the two met and eventuiually wed. The Lyles went on to be part of the Tate + Lyle sugar empire.
James Mackay, the younger, through canny investing became a partner in a Bombay ship's agency, and a member of the Legislative Council of India. He was later appointed to negotiate a treaty with China and signed it on behalf of the British government in 1902. He went on to become vice president of the Suez Canal Company, and chairman of the Peninsular + Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P+O). For this and many other achievements he was knighted and elevated to the peerage.
One of his daughters married Rajah Brooke, another went missing in 1928 while attempting a transatlantic flight. Not only the peerage, but chairmanship of P+O and Inchcape plc seemed to be hereditary and the 3rd Earl, Kenneth James William Mackay, who died in 1994, had a huge influence in Britsh business in his years as chairman.
I mention this only in passing as it has little significance to the story of the Anticosti, except though its brief connection with P+O, and its coincidence of being in Halifax.]
In 1988 as part of the planning for a new series of Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels the RCN put out a request for a pair of ships that could be used as "trial horses" for testing equipment, and for crew preparation. The only stipulation was that they were to be Canadian built. From the several offers, the RCN acquired Jean Tide and sister vessel Joyce Tide (ex Lady Joyce.)
Both were staffed by RN crews and delivered from Europe to Halifax. Joyce Tide arrived at HMC Dockyard March 21. After extensive refitting at Marystown Shipyard in Newfoundland the boats were commissioned as naval auxiliary minewsweepers in 1990. Jean Tide becoming CFAV Anticosti MA 110 and Joyce Tide becoming CFAV Moresby MA 112. The latter was transferred to the west coast in 1997.
During their time with the RCN in additon to trials use, the boats participated in naval exercises, including refuleing at sea, and Anticosti assisted in recovery efforts after the SwissAir crash in St.Margaret's Bay.
When the MCDVs were built by Haifax Shipyard and commissioned, the two ex suppliers were no longer need and were laid up in March 2000. Star Line Inc of Clarenville, NL purchased Anticosti in 2001. On December 19 of that year McKeil's Escort Protector towed the ship out for Clarenville.
Ownership later moved to North Atlantic Shipping Corp of St.Johns under the Cape Harrison Marine management.The boat was refitted for a variety of research and offshore chores. On May 10, 2013 while Anticosti was shifting piers in St.John's, fire broke out in the crankcase area. In its haste to get alongside for assistance from the fire department the ship slammed into the pier. By the time the ship was secure the crew had extinguished the fire, but damage from the allision proved to be more severe than that from the fire.
On August 8, 2014 Anticosti's Canadian registry was closed by then owners North Atlantic Trading Ltd and the ship hoisted the Panama flag. Eventually the ship was renamed Todo Pedoroso but it remains tied up in St.John's. Available on-line sources still list North Atlantic Trading Ltd as owner. It is also possible that its Panamanian registry was closed in June 2017. Shortly before that the ship's AIS signal came to life for a time, but went off line not long after.
- A previous Anticosti served with the RCN from 1942 to 1945. It was one of sixteen Western Isles class anti-submarine trawlers built in Canada for the Royal Navy. Eight were loaned to the RCN but commissioned as RN vessels, complete with RN crews.
- Moresby MA112 was to have been named Baffin (as was one of the Isles class Anti-submarine trawlers) but the name was changed to a west coast name before it was commissioned. It was sold in 2002 and is still listed as operational. Now in its ninth name change and having been registered in St.Vincent and Cambodia, it has settled on the Panamanian flag with the name DOS Explorer for Deep Ocean Salvage Inc, based in Riga, Latvia. The boat has been reported in Liepaja, Latvia since 2015.