CCGS Earl Grey

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Name: Earl Grey
Namesake: Albert Grey, 4th Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada
Owner: Government of Canada
Operator: Canadian Coast Guard
Port of registry: Ottawa, Ontario
Ordered: 1983
Builder: Pictou Shipyards Limited, Pictou, Nova Scotia
Yard number: 218
Commissioned: 30 May 1986
In service: 1986–present
Homeport: CCG Base at Charlottetown (Maritime Region)
Status: in active service, as of 2011
General characteristics
Class and type: Samuel Risley-class light icebreaker/buoy tender
Displacement: 2,935 long tons (2,982 t)
Length: 69.73 m (228 ft 9 in)
Beam: 13.7 m (44 ft 11 in)
Draught: 5.2 m (17 ft 1 in)
Ice class: Arctic class 2
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) maximum
Range: 18,000 nmi (33,000 km) at 11 kn (20 km/h; 13 mph)
Endurance: 58 days
Complement: 24

CCGS Earl Grey[note 1] is a Samuel Risley-class light icebreaker and buoy tender in the Canadian Coast Guard. Constructed in 1986, the vessel serves a variety of roles, including light ice-breaking and buoy tending, as well as being strengthened for navigation in ice to perform tasking along the shores off the Atlantic coast of Canada. Like her sister ship, CCGS Samuel Risley, she carries a large and powerful crane on her long low afterdeck for manipulating buoys. Earl Grey is the second icebreaker in Canadian service to carry the name.[1]

Design and description[edit]

The design of the vessel is based on offshore supply-tugboat designs, with strengthened chines.[2] The vessel has a tall foredeck, and a long low quarterdeck, for carrying buoys, where a crane with a capability of lifting 15 long tons (15 t) is permanently mounted. The crane is motion stabilized.[3] Earl Grey is 69.7 metres (228 ft 8 in) long overall with a beam of 13.7 metres (44 ft 11 in). The icebreaker has a draught of 5.2 metres (17 ft 1 in). Earl Grey displaces 2,935 long tons (2,982 t) and has a 1,988 gross tonnage (GT) and a 642 net tonnage (NT).[4][5]

The ship is powered by four Deutz 4SA 9-cylinder diesel-electric engines driving two controllable pitch propellers that create 8,836 horsepower (6,589 kW). This gives the vessel a maximum speed of 15 knots (28 km/h). The vessel has a capacity of 634 m3 (139,000 imp gal) of diesel fuel that gives Earl Grey a range of 18,000 nautical miles (33,000 km) at 11 knots (20 km/h) and the vessel can stay at sea for up to 58 days. The ship is equipped with one Caterpillar 3306 emergency generator.[4][5]

The vessel is equipped with two Racal Decca navigational radars using the I band.[5] Earl Grey is a light icebreaker and has an ice class of Arctic Class 2, which certifies that the ship has the capability to break ice up to 2 feet (0.61 m) thick. The vessel has a complement of 24, with 9 officers and 15 crew.[4]


Ordered in 1983, the ship was constructed by Pictou Shipyard Ltd at their yard in Pictou, Nova Scotia with the yard number 218.[1][4][6] The vessel was completed on 30 May 1986.[5][6] The vessel is registered in Ottawa, Ontario and home ported at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.[4]

The ship took part in fall 1998 in assisting in the recovery of wreckage from the crash of Swissair Flight 111. Earl Grey and CCGS Mary Hichens recovered wreckage from the plane, while transferring human remains to HMCS Preserver.[7] On 7–8 December 1989, two cargo vessels, Capitaine Torres and Johanna B, sank in the Cabot Strait. Earl Grey was among the units dispatched to search for survivors, but they failed to find any.[8] In 1996, the ship assisted in the recovery and raising of the wrecked oil barge Irving Whale which had been carrying bunker oil that had been salvaged from another sunken ship from the sea floor.[9]

On 21 March 2001, CCGS Earl Grey, CCGC Sambro, CFAV Firebird, HMCS Moncton, HMCS Goose Bay, CCGS Sir William Alexander and the commercial oceangoing salvage tugboat Ryan Leet all tried to render assistance to the container ship Kitano which had caught fire off Chebucto Head.[10][11] In the 2009 budget for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Canadian Coast Guard, requested funds to refit Earl Grey and some of the CCG's other large vessels.[12] The contract to refit Earl Grey was awarded to Davie Shipbuilding, announced on 12 March 2015.[13] In January 2017 Earl Grey was sent to monitor the tanker Arca 1 which ran aground off the coast of Nova Scotia.[14]


The first Earl Grey, sold to Russia in 1914.

In 1909 the Government of Canada ordered an icebreaking passenger steamship for service in the Northumberland Strait to connect the ports of Charlottetown and Georgetown on Prince Edward Island with the mainland port of Pictou. She was commissioned in 1910 by then Governor General, Albert Grey as CGS Earl Grey (Canadian Government Ship Earl Grey). She was sold in 1914 to Imperial Russia, an ally during World War I. The ship, christened Kanada and later Fyodor Litke, operated in the Arctic until 1958.[15]



  1. ^ CCGS stands for Canadian Coast Guard Ship


  1. ^ a b Maginley and Collin, p. 175
  2. ^ Maginley, p. 66
  3. ^ Maginley, p. 70
  4. ^ a b c d e "CCG Fleet: Vessel Details – CCGS Earl Grey". Canadian Coast Guard. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d Saunders, p. 96
  6. ^ a b "Earl Grey (8412340)". Miramar Ship Index. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  7. ^ Maginley, p. 199
  8. ^ Maginley, p. 150
  9. ^ Maginley, pp. 175–176
  10. ^ "Marine Investigation Report, Container Fire, Container Vessel Kitano, Off Chebucto Head, Nova Scotia, 22 March 2001" (PDF). Transportation Safety Board of Canada. 28 January 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 November 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2008. The three SAR aircraft were forced to return to their base to await improved weather conditions, the CFAV Firebird could only proceed as far as Maughers Beach while the CCGS Earl Grey and the CCGC Sambro were forced to heave to and monitor the situation.
  11. ^ "Marine Investigation Report, Container Fire, Container Vessel Kitano, Off Chebucto Head, Nova Scotia, 22 March 2001: Summary". Transportation Safety Board of Canada. 28 January 2003. Archived from the original on 25 November 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2008. The wind and sea conditions stopped the fire tug CFAV Firebird from proceeding beyond the middle harbour and prevented the other surface SAR vessels from getting alongside the vessel for any length of time to assist.
  12. ^ "Canadian Coast Guard Ship Earl Grey – Refit". Canadian Coast Guard. 2009. Archived from the original on 13 September 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Davie Awarded Vessel Life Extension Program for Canadian Coast Guard Ship CCGS Earl Grey". Your Shipbuilding News. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  14. ^ Patil, Anjuli (8 January 2017). "Rescue workers scoop crew from tanker stranded off Cape Breton". CBC News. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Ships of the CCG 1850–1967". Canadian Coast Guard. 31 March 2008. Archived from the original on 13 September 2009.


  • Maginley, Charles D. (2003). The Canadian Coast Guard 1962–2002. St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-55125-075-6.
  • Maginley, Charles D.; Collin, Bernard (2001). The Ships of Canada's Marine Services. St. Catharines, Ontario: Vanwell Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-55125-070-5.
  • Saunders, Stephen, ed. (2004). Jane's Fighting Ships 2004–2005. Alexandria, Virginia: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-2623-1.

External links[edit]