THE M.V. FORT SEVERN - A HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY NORTHERN SUPPLY SHIP - EROTIC COMMUNITIES?
THE M.V. FORT SEVERN - A HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY NORTHERN SUPPLY SHIP - EROTIC COMMUNITIES COULD NOT EXIST WITHOUT THE SERVICES SUPPLY SHIPS PROVIDE.
Most Eskimos in Canada live north of the tree line on the rim of the mainland. In the main they are coastal dwellers and about 75% still depend almost entirely on the fish and mammals of the northern waters for food and clothing.
The Eskimo who has given up nomadic for settlement life, in a thriving community or otherwise, depends on the supply ship for his annual stock of building materials, household equipment, cigarettes, calico & other yard good, perishables Etc.
Payne Bay, in northern Quebec on the western shore of Ungava Bay, has a population of some 160 Eskimos and 15 whites (the latter being employees of the Hudson's Bay Company & the Federal Dept. of Northern Affairs and National Resources). The entire settlement looks forward to and is out to greet the supply ship on the day she docks. Lugging the equipment from ship to barge, barge to dock, dock to warehouse by the Eskimo takes on the flavour of a field day and is entered into with much fervour and enthusiasm.
At this time of year Eskimo settlements (even the most northerly beyond the Northwest Territories and the Yukon) experience a short summer with temperatures well above the freezing point. The season between frosts, however, is approximately 52 days in contrast to areas 1300 miles south where the season lasts 130 days.
In 1670 King Charles II of England granted a charter to the Governor (Prince Rupert) and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay. The first of the Adventurers being two young coureurs de bois, Radisson & Groseilliers.
The Hudson's Bay Company was born and 300 years later is still an important factor in the life of Canada. Three years after the Dominion of Canada was formed, the Dominion bought the vast territories and the enormous trade monopoly held by the Hudson's Bay Company. The Company survived and has become more vigorous and flourishing than ever -- a trading company which has become an historic institution.
In our material the FORT SEVERN is at the Hudson's Bay Dock at Payne Bay. The annual supplies are unloaded by the populace - men, women and children.
The FORT SEVERN was built in 1954 at Grol's Shipyard, Zuibrock, Holland and was purchased for the Hudson's Bay Company in 1955. Her gross tonnage is 372.96 and she has a cruising speed of around 9 knots. There is no passenger accommodation in the ship.
This year on June 15th the FORT SEVERN slipped her moorings at Sydney, Nova Scotia (where she winters) and began a new season of transporting supplies to Company units strung around the coastline of Ungava Bay. She took on supplies at Montreal the started her tour northward around Canada's east coast, stopping at various settlements, to the Arctic, arriving in Churchill, Manitoba on Hudson Bay approximately July 28th. Five voyages are planned for this supply ship, the remaining four beginning approx. August 3 to units on the western shores of Hudson Bay in the Northwest Territories, ending voyage 5 at the end of September. Itineraries for the balance of the season are prepared as cargo warrants and as ice, tidal and weather conditions permit. Steaming north as spring break-up opens the waterways for them other ships of the Company fleet set out to deliver the supplies that may have to last for a year. Other points in Newfoundland, Northern Quebec and the Arctic are serviced by the supply ships the PIERRE RADISSON, the RUPPERT RIVER and the CHURCHILL RIVER, from the beginning of June until the middle of November.
The Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources does not operate supply ships as such but it does charter when it is necessary to get equipment to representatives of the Department in a northerly area. These ships also have been used to transport the sick from remote areas to areas to hospitalization.
Canada's Federal Department of Transport names her Supply Vessels after such northern sea birds as the Auk, the Eider, the Gannet, the Puffin, the Skua. To many (Canadians included) "The Arctic" means the shores of Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait or perhaps the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. Today these vessels service the once little-known islands and channels of Canada's northern most fiords of Ellesmere Island. An ever growing number of Canadians are finding the navigation among the Arctic Island is a routine (but rugged) business.
The Department maintains shallow-draft cargo carriers where shoal waters make the inshore use of regular cargo ships impossible. And still others (fully-strengthened icebreakers) provide support for chartered ships that carry the greater part of the annual supply shipments without which the Arctic communities could not exist. Despite ice conditions which vary from year to year Canada's Coast Guard "delivers the goods" and the Arctic outposts are well provisioned for another year. In 1954 when this operation began 8,000 tons were carried into the North. Today Arctic resupply averages 100,000 tons.
The Captains and crews of the 4 Hudson's Bay Company supply ships, and those of the Department of Transport must be, without reservation, the most welcome men in the entire shipping world. If Eskimos and others along the route greet Captain Greg Furlong of the FORT SEVERN with the enthusiasm of the Payne Bay community, he must find his job very rewarding.