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Washed Ashore: The Hamilton Banker

Colliers, Conception Bay

Date Last Modified: November 15, 2015

The Hamilton Banker is more of an "abandoned" ship than it is a shipwreck. The 34 metre fishing vessel lies lopsided on a mound of rocks near the community of Colliers. After partially sinking in Harbour Grace in 2006 it was towed here to await judgment on whether it was sea worthy. But as of July 2015 it remains stranded and forgotten with little hope in sight.

The Hamilton Banker is 34 metres long, 7.35 metres wide and weighs 330 tonnes. It was built in Norway in 1977 but later refurbished for use in Newfoundland in 1987. The ship has a solid steel hull allowing it to withstand small patches of ice and has a 600 hp main engine to help move it along. At the time of the ships sinking the ship was owned by several different fishing companies. 

On June 16, 2006, the ship made port in the town of Harbour Grace and the crew unloaded their gear and catch before turning in for the night. When they returned the following morning they found the ship had rolled onto her starboard side while still tied to the dock. Fire crews responded quickly but by the time they got there, there was little they could do. They quickly deployed a boom around the boat to prevent oil and contaminants from leaking out and pads and buoys were used to provide some floatation for the ship. 

Transport Canada and the RCMP investigated the sinking and discovered the cause of the sinking to be a malfunctioning valve that did not close properly. The valve had not shut properly and as the tide began to rise water leaked into the hull. 

"It appeared that the boat started to list during the rising of a tide, going from low to high, and the vessel hooked into the wharf or somehow got obstructed," said Cpl. Clarence Burgess

– "Rising tide helped sink vessel: investigators" – The Telegram

After the incident was determined to be an accident, the investigation was turned over to insurance officials and the cost was turned over to the insurance company and owners. 

On June 20, after divers had successfully plugged the hole in the hull, salvage crews began pumping water out of the vessel and raised the bow out of the water. After many hours of carefully maneuvering, the boat was refloated with the aid of water pumps and cranes. The ship was eventually towed to its current resting place in the community of Colliers.

As of July 2015 the ship belonged to the Newfoundland and Labrador Inc. who are based out of Colliers. 

Sources

"Rising tide helped sink vessel: investigators" – The Telegram

It Pays to be Prepared - Dept. Of Fisheries and Oceans

SAR Science - Winter 2006 Vol. 6