Published: October 7th 2009
October 7th 2009
The Ithaca sits on the tidal flats.
Technically, the Ithaca is actually in Canada's Nunavut Territory! The Mean tide line is the Manitoba/Nunavut boundary.
The 260 ft MV Ithaca has been sitting on a bed of gravel on a shallow tidal flat off the Manitoba coast about 15 km east of Churchill since September 14th 1960.
It is about a 1 km hike at low tide to get out there.
During the last three years Theresa and I have made several visits to the ship and we've even spent the night camping on the stern, which included an amazing sunset and sunrise and aurora...
The following article is a summary of a report from Price Ray of Peter Martin Associates Ltd. 1970.
In 1960, a nickel mine near Rankin Inlet, Northwest Territories (now part of Nunavut Territory) chartered the Greek ship Ithaca to transport the ore to Churchill, Manitoba. The ship was hired as it was in Montreal at the time and was about to sail back to Greece empty. Arrangements were made by the ship's owner in Athens and off she went up the Labrador coast and through the Hudson Straits to Rankin Inlet.
A gentleman by the name Billy Carson was employed by North Rankin Nickel as a mechanic and when he saw the Ithaca anchor off
The fourth deck.
A lot of the floor had rusted through so we had to watch where we put our feet!
shore he did not like what he saw! "She was a complete wreck", he said.
However, the ship was quickly loaded with 3000 tons of ore and set course for Churchill. After unloading at Churchill, the ship was loaded with some pre-fab housing units and a small supply of mining equipment. As soon as the ship was loaded the crew walked off the ship. They complained to mine representatives that they had not been paid for more than two months. After a few negotiations they were paid and they headed back to Rankin Inlet.
"Looks like dirty weather", one of the crew announced.
Rain was hitting the decks and the wind was picking up and within a short while after leaving the Port of Churchill, the Ithaca had been engulfed by the storm and was being tossed around. The captain tried to turn the ship around and head back to the safety of the port but the sea and wind was too strong. The Captain dropped anchor and the situation was eased a little - but not for long! The ship was straining in the wind so much that it snapped the anchor chain causing it to bob up and
The cook house.
Complete with a tiled floor (at one point in time).
down so much that it snapped the rudder off! Now the ship was completely helpless! She drifted and rolled until she was driven into a reef 750 metres from shore, ripping the entire bottom of the ship out.
All 37 crew members survived.
In the following few days after it ran aground, it was emptied of its cargo by truck and hard physical labour, but all the cargo was eventually removed.
After all the cargo was removed, salvage rights followed. Many people in town stripped the ship of whatever they found useful...
From Lloyds Maritime Information Services.
The British flag steamship "Ithaca" of 2057 tons gross, built 1922, registered at the port of Nassau, Bahamas (which was a British colony), was wrecked on September 14th 1960, shortly after leaving the port of Churchill. The 38 year old ship, which was listed under the registered ownership of Ithaca Shipping Company, of Nassau, New Providence Island, Bahamas departed from Churchill on September 14th 1960, bound for Rankin Inlet, NWT, carrying 30 tons of equipment that included two generators and pre-fab (plywood) panels for the Canadian Department of Transport. She was soon driven aground off Bird Cove, 10 miles east of Churchill,
The view from the ship.
The seemingly endless tidal flats of the Manitoba coastline. The tides have an 18 ft range twice a day and because of the flatness it can go out several miles.
at Latitude 58-46-42N and longitude 93-53-24W, after her rudder broke during an 80 mph gale. Badly holed , lying on a boulder strewn beach with her machinery space flooded and her rudder torn off, she was abandoned and settled as a constructive total loss by her insurers...
The "Ithaca" had been built by Frazer Brace Ltd, at Trois Rivieres, Quebec as the 'Frank A Augsbury'. She was sold at an unknown date and her name was chaged to 'Granby'. The ship was sold again in 1948 and renamed 'Parita 2', then sold again in 1952 and renamed 'Valbruna'.
In 1952 she underwent another sale and this time the name was 'Lawrence Cliffe Hall' which can still be seen at the stern of the ship. In 1955 in was sold and it name became 'Federal Explorer', then in 1960
she lived the final few months of her life as 'Ithaca'.
Dave and Theresa.
There are more photos below