CCGS Hudson – 59 years of service:
Originally christened the Canadian Scientific Ship (CSS) Hudson, the vessel was delivered to the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys (now Natural Resources Canada) and entered service in 1963. After 33 years of service, the Hudson entered the Canadian Coast Guard fleet in 1996 as part of the merger of the DFO science and enforcement vessels into CCG, where it served Canadians as the CCG's primary oceanographic science vessel for 26 more years until its decommissioning on January 19, 2022.
Throughout its service life, the Hudson was responsible not only for new discoveries in the field of oceanographic research, but also for many firsts in Canadian and international maritime history.
In 1967, the Hudson showcased its new satellite navigation system at Expo 67 in Montréal, Québec. The Hudson was the first non-United States Navy vessel to equip the, at the time, state of the art navigation system.
In 1970, the Hudson became the first vessel to completely circumnavigate the Americas during the Hudson 70 Expedition. Carrying over 120 scientists, the Hudson departed Halifax in November 1969 and travelled south, spending two months off the coast of Chile and south of Cape Horn performing oceanographic research, including measuring, for the first time, the Antarctic circumpolar current in the Drake Passage. The Hudson then sailed north through the Pacific and became the sixth vessel to transit the Northwest Passage before returning to Halifax in November 1970. As part of the Hudson 70 Expedition, the Hudson became one of the first Canadian vessels to employ a helicopter during arctic operations. This highlighted the utility of ship-based helicopters for arctic operations and ensured they became a regular feature on Canadian Coast Guard vessels in the Arctic.
In the late 1970s, the Hudson was the first to survey Baffin Bay, located between Baffin Island and Greenland.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the Hudson represented Canada in international programs such as the Joint Global Ocean Fluxes Study and the World Ocean Circulation Experiment.
In 2016, the Hudson sailed to Bermuda to explore and study the southern end of the New England Seamounts. The Seamounts extend over 1,100 kilometres from the coast of New England to just east of Bermuda.
Safeguarding the seas
While science was the Hudson’s primary mission, the vessel was involved in many search and rescue operations.
In 1976, the Hudson led successful rescues of the crews of the Fishery Patrol Vessel Cape Freels. News reports at the time described it as "the greatest sea rescue in Newfoundland history."
In November 2021, the Hudson assisted to the FV Fishin’ Fionnatic after it sustained damage from a rogue wave. The Hudson escorted the vessel 200 nautical miles back to port through heavy seas and high winds.
The Hudson also supported operations during well-known maritime disasters. It participated in recovery operations for the Ocean Ranger and SwissAir 111 incidents, and was one of the first vessels on scene at the Athenian Venture disaster.
“Safety First, Service Always”
The Hudson was a unique vessel. Everything from its lab spaces, to its hull design was purpose built to advance Canadian oceanographic sciences for many years. While the Hudson’s main mission was scientific in nature, it contributed to many firsts in Canadian and international maritime history, and helped keep people safe.
The Hudson’s historic service to Canadians over the past 59 years provides a shining example of the ship and its past crews exemplifying the Canadian Coast Guard’s motto: Safety First, Service Always.
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