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Learn More About the MV Patrick Morris

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MV Patrick Morris

The 460-foot vessel, SS New Grand Haven (Patrick Morris) was built for the West India Fruit and Steamship Company by Canadian Vickers Ltd. of Montreal, Quebec in 1951 and operated as a rail-car ferry between Palm Beach, Florida and Havana, Cuba until 1959, when Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba and business declined due to the United States Trade Embargo. The company sold all six of its ferries in 1961.

The Canadian government purchased the SS New Grand Haven, converted it to diesel power, and renamed it the MV Patrick Morris in honour of Irishman Patrick Morris, a Newfoundland colonial politician. The ship was affectionately known as Paddy Morris, and she was the first CN train ferry to serve the North Sydney-Port aux Basques route.


The MV Patrick Morris was a Canadian National Railway (CN) train ferry that sank during a raging storm on her way from North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland on April 20, 1970, while responding to a mayday call from the Newfoundland-based herring seiner FV Enterprise. Captain Roland Penney was given permission to leave North Sydney ahead of schedule to assist the distressed wood-hulled fishing vessel. On the night of April 19, the Patrick Morris set sail shortly before midnight for the rescue mission.

The Enterprise, a 27-year-old fishing boat from Newfoundland, had been in serious trouble earlier that evening off northern Cape Breton. With eight men on board, she sent out a distress call at 8 p.m. and was never heard from again.

Around daybreak, a crew member of the Patrick Morris discovered a body in the water, which they assumed was that of an Enterprise crew member. The Patrick Morris was overwhelmed while maneuvering to recover the body when she was hit by a 30 ft (9.1 m) wave that smashed through rail car loading doors at the stern and she began taking on water. Patrick Morris issued her own distress call at 6:51 a.m. and sank 35 minutes later.

47 of the Patrick Morris 51 officers and sailors survived the Patrick Morris sinking. Captain Penney, Chief Engineer David Reekie, Second Engineer Joseph Henry Slayman, and Third Engineer Ronald A. Anderson all died. All 8 aboard the Enterprise perished.

The wreck of the Patrick Morris is located in the Cabot Strait, about 15 nautical miles (28 kilometres) east of Cape Smokey, at a depth of 300 feet (91 meters).

At the time of this article, it is unknown if anyone has ventured into the deep to dive the MV Patrick Morris.


Blue Horizon

About Author

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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