The Final Voyage of HMCS Algonquin
The HMCS Algonquin is currently making a 7,600 nautical mile voyage to Nova Scotia, the final voyage the ship will ever make after decades of service in the Royal Canadian Navy.
Travelling through the Panama Canal, the ship is set to arrive at Liverpool, NS where it will be dismantled by RJ MacIsaac Marine Construction. The construction company won the $39 million contract to dispose of both HMCS Algonquin and Protecteur.
The last of her class built, the HMCS Algonquin was commissioned in November 1973. The ship took part in countless multinational exercises and was home to hundreds of sailors.
“The camaraderie on the 280, and the Algonquin in particular, is very good. The ship’s company worked well together it was a tight crew, and it just seems to be a different feeling when you’re on board there with the crew. It probably stems from that fact that there’re multiple generations that have sailed on there many, many times,” said Lt.(N) Doug Totten, who has served on the ship since June 2014 and was part of the final crew.
Totten took on the role of the executive officer after the ship was decommissioned last year and helped to prepare the ship for disposal.
“It’s bittersweet to be the last crew. It was very rewarding to prepare her for disposal, but it is also very sad the fact that she is going for disposal,” admitted Totten.
There has not been a final crew in the RCN in more than a decade. News of the decommission and disposal of the Algonquin generated a lot of interest, and many former sailors reached out for a memento of the times they had had serving on the ship, according to Totten.
Totten made sure to join crew members to say one last goodbye as the ship sailed off the coast of Esquimalt on May 9.
“I made it a point to be there to watch her exit the final time. One, it was a closure of the last year’s events, from its decommissioning to its disposal. It was good to see that some of the ships paid her respects as she left. HMCS Regina piped the formal salute as she passed by, even though she’s not a commissioned warship and then at Esquimalt Lagoon, over by Fisgard lighthouse, there’s a place where all the cars can park. There were people there honking their horns and flashing their lights for her as she went by so they give her a send off as well,” recalled Totten.
It is estimated it could take up to two months before the HMCS Algonquin reaches Nova Scotia and the dismantling process begins.
Feature Image courtesy of Combat Camera.