HMCS Miramichi (MCB 163) underway
|Preceded by:||Algerine class|
|Succeeded by:||Anticosti class|
|In commission:||1 December 1953 – 1998|
|Beam:||28 ft (8.5 m)|
|Draught:||8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) max|
|Propulsion:||2 shafts, 2 GM 12-cylinder diesels, 2,400 bhp (1,800 kW)|
|Speed:||16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph)|
|Mechanical minesweeping equipment (later removed)|
|Armament:||1 × 40 mm Bofors single mount (later removed)|
|Notes:||Initial plan was for 14 vessels. 6 RCN vessels sold to allies while under construction, replaced by 6 new builds carrying the same name but new pennants.|
The Bay-class minesweepers, also known as the Gaspé-class minesweepers, were a class of minesweepers operated by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Canadian Forces (CF) during the Cold War. Their design was similar to the British Ton-class minesweepers.
The class derives its name from bays in Canada and was designed by the RCN as a replacement for Second World War-era minesweepers. Fourteen were laid down in 1951–1952, however six were subsequently transferred to the French Navy in 1954. These ships were replaced by six of the same name in 1956–1957 but were assigned new pennant numbers.
They were reclassed in Canadian Forces service as patrol escorts in 1972 and six vessels remained in service until the late 1990s, providing coastal surveillance and shiphandling experience for junior officers with Maritime Forces Pacific. The removal of the aft mounted minesweeping equipment in the 1970s allowed for the erection of additional sleeping spaces and a wash space for aspiring officers, unofficially known on all ships as "Dunk's Diner".
Design and description
The class was designed with mahogany wood planking overlaying an aluminum frame and decks. Vessels of the Bay class had a standard displacement of 390 tonnes (380 long tons) and 412 tonnes (405 long tons) at deep load. They were 152 feet (46 m) long overall and 140 feet (43 m) between perpendiculars, with a beam of 28 feet (8.5 m) and a draught of 8 feet 6 inches (2.59 m) max. They had a complement of 40.
The minesweepers were powered by two GM 12-cylinder diesel engines turning two shafts, creating 2,400 brake horsepower (1,800 kW). This gave the Bay class a maximum speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph). They carried 52 tons of oil. The ships were armed with one 40 mm/60 caliber Mk 7 gun.
|Ship||Original pennant number||Builder||Laid down||Launched||Commissioned||Paid off||Fate|
|Chaleur||MCB 144||Port Arthur Shipbuilding, Port Arthur||8 June 1951||21 June 1952||18 June 1954||30 September 1954||Sold to France as La Dieppoise in 1954, stricken 1985.|
|Chaleur||MCB 164||Marine Industries, Sorel||20 February 1956||11 May 1957||12 September 1957||18 December 1998|
|Chignecto||MCB 156||Marine Industries, Sorel||4 June 1951||13 June 1952||1 December 1953||31 May 1954||Sold to France as La Bayonnaise in 1954, stricken 1976.|
|Chignecto||MCB 160||Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon||25 October 1955||17 November 1956||1 August 1957||19 December 1998|
|Comox||MCB 146||Victoria Machinery Depot, Victoria||8 June 1951||24 April 1952||2 April 1954||11 September 1957||Sold to Turkey as Tirebolu in 1957.|
|Cowichan||MCB 147||Victoria Machinery Depot, Victoria||20 June 1951||12 November 1951||10 December 1953||31 March 1954||Sold to France as La Malouine in 1954, stricken 1977.|
|Cowichan||MCB 162||Yarrows Shipbuilding, Esquimalt||10 July 1956||26 February 1957||12 December 1957||22 August 1997|
|Fortune||MCB 151||Victoria Machinery Depot, Victoria||24 April 1952||14 April 1953||3 November 1954||28 February 1964||Sold in 1964, becoming mercantile Greenpeace Two in 1966 and later Edgewater Fortune.|
|Fundy||MCB 145||Saint John Drydock and Shipbuilding, Saint John||19 June 1951||9 December 1953||19 March 1954||31 March 1964||Sold to France as La Dunkerquoise in 1954, stricken 1984.|
|Fundy||MCB 159||Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon||7 March 1955||14 June 1956||27 November 1956||19 December 1996|
|Gaspé||MCB 143||Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon||21 March 1951||12 November 1951||5 December 1953||22 August 1957||Sold to Turkey as Trabzon in 1957.|
|James Bay||MCB 152||Yarrows Shipbuilding, Esquimalt||16 August 1951||12 March 1953||3 May 1954||28 February 1964||Sold into mercantile service.|
|Miramichi||MCB 150||Saint John Drydock and Shipbuilding, Saint John||13 June 1952||4 May 1954||30 July 1954||1 October 1964||Sold to France as La Lorientaise in 1954, stricken 1984.|
|Miramichi||MCB 163||Victoria Machinery Depot, Victoria||2 February 1956||22 February 1957||29 October 1957||16 December 1998|
|Quinte||MCB 149||Port Arthur Shipbuilding, Port Arthur||14 June 1952||8 August 1953||15 October 1954||26 February 1964|
|Resolute||MCB 154||Kingston Shipbuilding, Kingston||29 February 1951[dubious ]||20 June 1953||16 September 1954||14 February 1964|
|Thunder||MCB 153||Canadian Vickers, Montreal||17 May 1951||17 July 1952||15 December 1953||31 March 1964||Sold to France as La Paimpolaise in 1954, stricken 1986.|
|Thunder||MCB 161||Port Arthur Shipbuilding, Port Arthur||1 September 1955||27 October 1956||3 October 1957||22 August 1997|
|Trinity||MCB 157||Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon||31 January 1952||31 July 1953||16 June 1954||21 August 1957||Sold to Turkey as Terme in 1957.|
|Ungava||MCB 148||Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon||17 December 1951||20 May 1953||4 June 1954||23 August 1957||Sold to Turkey as Tekirdag in 1957.|
Four vessels of the class were ordered in September 1949, followed by a further 10 in 1951 to replace the Second World War-era minesweepers. The second group of new construction was a result of Canada's entry into the Korean War. Initially ascribed the classification MCA they changed to MCB in 1954. In 1954, six ships, Chaleur, Chignecto, Cowichan, Fundy, Miramachi, and Thunder were transferred to the French Navy under the Mutual Aid Agreement of NATO due to a shortage of the type in allied navies. Chignecto, Cowichan, Fundy and Thunder were transferred on 7 April at Halifax, Nova Scotia with Chaleur and Miramichi on 9 October. Their names were reused for later vessels of the class. In 1958, four more, Comox, Gaspé, Trinity and Ungava, were transferred to the Turkish Navy.
Chaleur, Fundy, Quinte and Thunder formed the First Minesweeping Squadron in 1960. In October 1960, Fundy, Thunder, Chaleur, Chignecto, Resolute and Quinte took part in the NATO naval exercise Sweep Clear V off Shelburne, Nova Scotia. The Second Minesweeping Squadron, comprising Fortune, Miramichi, Cowichan and James Bay made a port visit at Stockton, California in June 1960 before transiting into the Pacific. In May–June 1961, the First Canadian Minesweeping Squadron, composed of Chaleur, Chignecto, Fundy, Quinte, Resolute and Thunder, performed a tour of the Great Lakes, making several port visits.
In an effort to free up funding in the early 1960s for other capital projects, the remaining ten were placed in reserve. Four more of the class, Resolute, Quinte, James Bay and Fortune were paid off in 1964 and sold to commercial interests. Fortune was renamed Greenpeace Two and was used in an attempt to stop nuclear testing in the Aleutian Islands in 1971. In 1972, the six that remained were redesignated small patrol escorts with the classification PFL. In 1979 they were designated training ships with the classification PB. By 1980, they were part of the West Coast Training Squadron and they served with Training Group Pacific in the 1990s. They were discarded in the late 1990s with the second Chignecto the last to be paid off on 19 December 1998. In Canadian service they were replaced first by Anticosti class until the new Kingston-class coastal defence vessels were ready.
In 1954 six ships were transferred to the French Navy and renamed Le Dieppoise (M 730), La Bayonnaise (M 728), La Malouine (M 727), La Dunkerquoise (M 726), La Lorientaise (M 731) and La Paimpolaise (M 729) respectively. The six vessels were transferred under the Mutual Defense Program. In the 1960s the six were modified for use as colonial patrol boats. Their minesweeping gear was removed and air conditioning installed. Their hull identification was changed to P 655, P 654, P 651, P 653, P 652, and P 657 respectively.
La Bayonnaise was stricken in 1976, followed by La Malouine in 1977. The remaining four were stationed in the Pacific until the 1980s when they were replaced by Super Patra-class patrol craft. In 1986 La Lorientaise and La Dunkerquoise were discarded and La Dieppoise and La Paimpolaise followed a year later.
- Gardiner and Chumbley, p. 49
- Blackman, p. 100
- Macpherson and Barrie, p. 271
- "Four Minesweepers, Gate Vessel Ordered". The Crowsnest. Vol. 1 no. 12. Ottawa: King's Printer. October 1949. p. 2.
- Gimblett, p. 133
- "Ships Scattered Across the Globe". The Crowsnest. Vol. 6 no. 4. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. February 1954. p. 2.
- "Four Ships for NATO". The Crowsnest. Vol. 6 no. 6. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. April 1954. pp. 4–6.
- "Ladies of the Month". The Crowsnest. Vol. 6 no. 6. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. April 1954. p. 1.
- "'Sweepers Turned Over to France". The Crowsnest. Vol. 6 no. 12. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. p. 2.
- "First Minesweeping Squadron". The Crowsnest. Vol. 12 no. 10. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. August 1960. p. 18.
- "Joint Sweeping Exercise Held". The Crowsnest. Vol. 13 no. 2. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. December 1960. p. 3.
- "Second Minesweeping Squadron". The Crowsnest. Vol. 13 no. 1. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. November 1960. p. 24.
- "Eight Ships Will Tour Great Lakes". The Crowsnest. Vol. 13 no. 7. Ottawa: Queen's Printer. May 1961. pp. 2–3.
- Gimblett, p. 154
- Macpherson and Barrie, p. 273
- Milner, p. 285
- Macpherson and Barrie, p. 272
- Gimblett, p. 192
- Gardiner and Chumbley, p. 129
- Milner, p. 220
- Blackman, Raymond V.B., ed. (1953). Jane's Fighting Ships 1953–54. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. OCLC 913556389.
- Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen; Budzbon, Przemysław, eds. (1995). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
- Gimblett, Richard H., ed. (2009). The Naval Service of Canada 1910–2010: The Centennial Story. Toronto: Dundurn Press. ISBN 978-1-55488-470-4.
- Macpherson, Ken; Barrie, Ron (2002). Warships of Canada's Naval Forces 1910–2002 (3 ed.). St. Catharines: Vanwell Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-55125-072-1.
- Milner, Marc (2010). Canada's Navy: The First Century (Second ed.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-9604-3.
- Bay class – hazegray.org