Ship details:

Irving Birch

Vessel image

Photo: John Henderson

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Registry #1 326472 Registry #2 Registry #3
IMO# 6705212 MMSI# 316003500 VRN#
Name 1 1967 Irving Birch Name 5
Name 2 1999 Atlantic Birch Name 6
Name 3 Name 7
Name 4 Name 8
Year Built 1967 Place Saint John Area NB Country Canada
Designer (nk) Measurement (imp) 150'
Builder Saint John Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co., Saint John NB Measurement (metric) 45.69m x 11.13m x 4.66m
Hull Steel Displacement
Gross Tonnage 827.1 Type 1 Tug
Registered Tonnage 13.76 Type 2
Engine 3750bhp diesel engine (2004c) Engine Manufacture
Repower Propulsion Twin Screw
Rebuilds Call Sign VDYT
Pendant  # Masters
In 1967-1969 she was owned by J.D. Irving Ltd., Saint John NB. In 1979 she was owned by New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. Ltd., Saint John NB. In 2004 she was owned by Acadia Broadcasting Ltd., Saint John NB.
Fate Registry closed Date 2017-06-08
Named Features
Significance of Name
In 1980 she made a partial transit of the Northwest Passage. She was the largest Canadian commercial vessel to penetrate as far as Rae Point, Melville Island into the Passage from the East. She traveled in the company of the CCGS Pierre Radisson and the Irving Arctic. In 2016 she was tied up at Saint John NB for dismantling. A 2016 article in The Nauticapedia article by George Duddy - “Arctic Barges L.A. Learmonth, Scotty Gall and Johnny Norberg - An Unusual Tribute to the Fur Trade” - relates the story of ice strengthened tug Irving Birch’s 1968 and 1969 voyages to Rea Point on Melville Island for Panarctic Oils. The 1968 voyage was a success with the Scotty Gall left grounded on the beach to serve as fuel supply for drilling operations. The tug and the L.A. Learmonth returned to the east coast after testing the Learmonth’s unique Alexbow ice breaking bow. An attempted repeat voyage with the tug, the Learmont and a new tanker barge The Johnny Norberg was a disaster as both barges were sunk after being crushed in a ice flow while approaching Rea Point. Although the Johnny Norberg was probably registered, no record appears in government published records. This is probably related to the fact she was lost in the year of her construction. This vessel is no longer registered in Canada.
MacFarlane, J.M. (1992) Northwest Passage Challengers. In Resolution. Spring Issue. Maritime Museum of British Columbia
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