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Maritime History: SS Kyle In Newfoundland

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The CBC’s Azzo Rezori talks to Harbour Grace mayor Terry Barnes about the SS Kyle. 

The SS Kyle is a 220 foot (67 m) steam ship that has run aground in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. In February 1967, she ran ashore. She was built to convey supplies and passengers between Carbonear and Labrador, but she was also used to transport infantry to Canada during WWII.

The SS Kyle has had various owners since her grounding on the Riverhead shoreline, including the Earle Brothers Freighting Company, Dominion Metals, and the Government of Newfoundland. Due to budgetary constraints, plans to relocate the vessel to Salmon Cove, Newfoundland, and turn her into a museum were shelved.

SS Kyle
Photo Credit Unknown

The SS Kyle, a member of the Alphabet Fleet, was named in accordance with the Reid Newfoundland Company’s fleet custom, which stipulated that their ships must be named after a Scottish burgh. Swan Hunter of Wallsend, England, built the ship in April 1913. Though her major function was to convey cargo and persons from Carbonear to Labrador, she also transported soldiers from Newfoundland to Canada during World War II and served as an icebreaker in the winter due to her large front end.

Newfoundlanders dubbed her the “Bulldog of the North.” She wasn’t the largest boat in the Reid Company’s fleet, but she was the fastest, and she served as a passenger and cargo ferry in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Kyle is 220 feet (67 meters) long, 32 feet (9.8 meters) broad, and 18 feet (5.5 meters) deep, with a gross tonnage of 1,055 tons. Kyle has six furnaces and travels at a speed of 22 mph (19 knots).

On March 28, 2014, a nearby Harbour Grace resident realized the Chart Room had gone through the famed Smoke Room, leaving Kyle’s fate unknown.


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Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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