Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I woke up yesterday morning with the flue bug that Michael's had for several days, but had stuff I had to do. So I was driving home from getting groceries when I spotted this big tug coming into the harbour:

I knew it looked familiar and that was confirmed as soon as I saw the name: The Haida Chieftain is one of the biggest and oldest still-working tugs on this coast.

The 145-foot steel tugboat was built as a U.S. Navy tug by Foundation Marine Co. in 1944, and named Foundation Lillian. (Farley Mowat wrote a couple of good books about the Foundation tugs and their salvage work and tows in the Atlantic.)

After service with Foundation Marine on the east coast, she was renamed 'Escort' and then 'N.R. Lang', and was owned for a time by Kingcome Navigation (1971, running log barges and other materials through Seymour Narrows on a regular basis).

She's 30-ft wide, and 'draws' almost 13 feet (meaning that's how much of her is under the water that you can't see).

In January, 1965, the Haida Chieftain caught fire off Cape Beale on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The crew of 10 abandoned and were picked up by the tug LaPointe of the Vancouver Tug Boat Co. The brand-new tug La Beine, on her maiden trip, intercepted the Haida Chieftain, put out the fire, and towed the vessel to port. The Haida Chief was then rebuilt and returned to service.

Currently owned by WAYDEN TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS INC. of Richmond (a suburb of Vancouver), she required further repairs in 2004 when she rammed into the dock on Main Street in Richmond on New Year's Day.

And here she is about to go under the Johnson Street bridge en route to Point Hope Shipyard, yesterday.

There is an old video of her online, taken by a deckhand, slogging through some stormy waters off the Queen Charlottes. She's a grand old boat, that's for sure!

And yes, I've been knitting, too ... I finished the purple beaded scarflette while I was watching the Haida Chieftain go by!


Anonymous said...

That is a big tug!!

Lovely scarfy, as well :)


Grace said...

very pretty scarf feel better soon

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waterca said...

Nice to see she is still working. I can add a little to her history. She started life in a Texas shipyard as an Armed salvage tug. Never saw service in WW2. Foundation was an early Canadian owner. As the Haida Chieftain Kingcome Navigation paired her up with the brand new Haida Carrier in 1954. The Carrier was one of the first self dumping log barges. Sheids then Blueband had her towing that barge after Kingcome replaced her.


holidaygift said...

quite interesting; mainly because yesterday evening i had a conversation with an old classmate of mine who mentioned that he was in charge of a 7 million dollar remodelling and overhaul of this ship ; so he mentioned to me to look it up; since i had never heard of this boat before. Really facinating to start checking this out...

Unknown said...

Was indeed built in Orange , Texas at the Levingston Shipyard. Launched as the LT533 for the U.S. Navy. She is now called the Audry Gail and owned by Amix Group of Vancouver, Canada. I contacted Clarke Longmuir, President of Amix Group on Sept. 24, 2013 and was informed that she is to be broke up for scrap.

Unknown said...

I also had the pleasure of working on the refitting of this old girl in the mid to late 90's

Unknown said...

I also had the pleasure of working on this project

Unknown said...