Crowds gathered all along the Halifax waterfront this afternoon (January 24) as the CCGS Hudson arrived home for the last time. In a welcome usually reserved for naval vessels returning from war, the crowds were largely silent, but some cheers went up when the ship was close enough that crew members could be recognized from shore.
The ship was "dressed all over" with signal flags and was escorted into port by CCGS Sir William Alexander which put on a bit of a show with its rarely used water cannons.
Family members of the crew, former crew members and scientists who worked aboard the ship were among the well wishers who came out to see its arrival.
It was announced last week that the Hudson will be decommissioned due to the high cost of repairing a burned out propulsion motor suffered in November off St.John's. The ship was able to return to Halifax on one motor (and one propellor) to tie up at its base at the Bedford Institute. [Known as the BIO for its former name the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. It is now called simply the Bedford Institute as it is also home to the Canadian Coast Guard and to fisheries research, all under the direction of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.]
The Hudson made a ceremonial sail past of its home since 1963 on its way to Bedford Basin where the Sir William Alexander was standing by.
The ship turned in the Basin, under the watchful eye of a CCG helicopter then returned to tie up for the last time alongside the BIO.
The decommissioning processs will take some time, so it may well be next year before the ship is sent to the scrappers. Its replacement is now due in 2025 although that date is not carved in stone.