Monday, 14 March 2016

Knorr & Matthew

In an interesting coincidence, I saw two stories this week within a day of each other that took me back 19 years to a university work term at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO). I was lucky enough to be taken on by the Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) for the 1997 winter work term (and indeed one day a week for that summer), where I frequently had a view of the comings and goings from the BIO wharf. 

R/V Knorr at the BIO wharf in 1997.
One visitor during my time there was the R/V Knorr, a US Navy-owned research vessel operating out of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and the ship that discovered the wreck of the RMS Titanic. I was lucky enough to catch her during her departure from BIO, during light flurries. Launched in 1968, she was already 29 years old at the time, and she was still operating out of Woods Hole as late as 2014 or so. 

R/V Knorr departing from BIO in 1997.
Also at the wharf during some of my time at BIO was CCGS Matthew, a hydrographic vessel operated by CHS (she may still have been referred to as CSS Matthew at that time). She was at that time still in her all-white paint job, before the Canadian Coast Guard colours were applied. 

CCGS Matthew (left), CCGS Parizeau (right), with HMCS IROQUOIS photobombing in the background. All are now decommissioned or paid off (1997). None of the three ships are in CCGS or Navy service any longer.
Within a year or so of this photo, Matthew was repainted in the standard Canadian Coast Guard colours, and this is how she appears in most of the photos that I have of her. A few from my collection:

CCGS Matthew in 2005.
CCGS Matthew in 2008.

CCGS Matthew in 2012.
This last photo is probably the most recent that I have of her (underway at least), as she was laid up in 2012 due to budget cuts. Shipfax is now reporting that she has been renamed 2015-03, and is being readied for disposal. Built only in 1990, at 26 years of age she should have some life left in her, but alas, not in Canadian government service. 

R/V Knorr has 20 years on Matthew (errr, I mean 2015-03), but instead of being scrapped, is being renamed ARM RIO TECOLUTLA and is being transferred to the Mexican Navy. Perhaps someone will find some use for Matthew, though perhaps her singular design as a hydrographic survey ship will count against her. I was told that she rolled quite badly when her two survey boats were not embarked, but perhaps the aft deck could be closed in and some ballast added.

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