MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood

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NL Ferry4 tango7174.jpg
Docking in Argentia, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Joseph and Clara Smallwood (1989–2011)
  • Smallwood (2011)
Owner: Government of Canada
Operator: Marine Atlantic
Port of registry:  Canada St. John's
Ordered: 1987
Builder: MIL-Davie Shipbuilding
Laid down: 1987
Launched: 1989
Christened: 1989
Completed: 1989
Maiden voyage: 1989
In service: 1989
Out of service: 2011
Identification: IMO number 8604797
Status: Broken up in 2011
General characteristics (as built)
Class and type: Gulfspan class icebreaking ropax ferry
Tonnage: 27,615 GT
Length: 172.76 m (567 ft)
Beam: 24.99 m (82 ft)
Draught: 12.19 m (40 ft 0 in)
Ramps: shore-based bi-level ramps
Ice class: Lloyd's 100A1, Northern Baltic 1A Super
Installed power:
  • 4 × MaK 8-cylinder diesels
  • combined 20600 kW
  • 2 propellers
  • 2 bow thrusters
  • 2 stern thrusters
  • 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph) (maximum)
  • 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) (service)
  • 1,200 passengers
  • 370 cars, 77 trucks
  • 1,800 m (5,906 ft) lane metres
Crew: 106 (summer), 68 (winter)

MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood was a Marine Atlantic passenger/vehicle ferry which operated between Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island in eastern Canada. She is named after former Newfoundland premier Joseph R. Smallwood and his wife Clara.

Concept and construction[edit]

Entering service in 1989, she was built by MIL Davie Incorporated in Lauzon, Quebec, and is specifically designed for the 520 km (280 nmi) seasonal route across the Cabot Strait between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Argentia, Newfoundland and Labrador.[1] A roll-on, roll-off design with a bow visor, Joseph and Clara Smallwood has 2 vehicle decks and 5 decks above, the main passenger deck being Deck 5.[2] She measures 180 m (580 ft)[2] in overall length and 25 metres in breadth, weighing 27,614 tons. Her capacity includes 1,200 passengers and 350 automobiles or 77 tractor trailers.[2] She had up to 106 crewmembers.

Joseph and Clara Smallwood was the sister ship to MV Caribou. Caribou was designed and commissioned by CN Marine in the early 1980s and was the culmination of years of research into effective icebreaking ship designs.[2] The resulting hull design whichCaribou and Joseph and Clara Smallwood were built to is called "Gulfspan", named in part after the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The "Gulfspan" hull is unique among Canadian ice-reinforced ships in that the ship slices through sea ice, rather than using its weight to ride up onto and crushing the ice underneath. This design permits the sister ships to maintain close to regular operating speed.[citation needed]

Service history[edit]

Caribou and Joseph and Clara Smallwood laid up at Sydport in Edwardsville, Nova Scotia in March 2011.

After Joseph and Clara Smallwood replaced MV Ambrose Shea in 1989, the North Sydney-Argentia crossing was reduced from 18 hours to a 14-hour schedule. During the fall, winter and spring seasons, Joseph and Clara Smallwood joined her sister ship Caribou, along with MV Leif Ericson on Marine Atlantic's 178 km (96 nmi) primary route between North Sydney, Nova Scotia and Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador.[1] Joseph and Clara Smallwood was 10 retired on March 2011, to make way for MV Blue Puttees and MV Highlanders which are on a five-year charter from Stena Line.


On August 11, 2011, it was announced that Joseph and Clara Smallwood had been sold to Merrion Navigation S.A. of the Marshall Islands.[3] Her name was shortened to Smallwood and she sailed to Alang, India and scrapped along with her elder sister Caribou.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Sailing Routes". Marine Atlantic. 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-02-25. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b c d Gillis, Rannie (May 25, 2009). "M.V. Atlantic Vision is the new big boy of ferries". Cape Breton Post. Sydney, Nova Scotia. Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  3. ^ Collins, Julie (August 11, 2011). "Marine Atlantic sells Caribou, Smallwood". Cape Breton Post. Sydney, Nova Scotia. Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-24. 
  4. ^ Thomas, Brodie (October 31, 2011). "Former ferries beached at Alang, India". The Gulf News. Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. Archived from the original on February 25, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-24.