Former ferries beached at Alang, India

Brodie Thomas
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The Caribou and the Smallwood have arrived at their final destination.

The Smallwood, left, and the Caribo (formerly the Caribou) are beached together at Alang, India. They will be dismantled for scrap. Photo copyright

The two superferries were often parked side-by-side at the Marine Atlantic terminals in Port aux Basques and North Sydney.

Now they are side-by-side on the beach at Alang, India. Ships brought to Alang are dismantled for scrap metal and parts.

Alang has a reputation for practices that are environmentally unsound because shipbreaking is done on the beach instead of in a drydock where spills can be contained.

Worker safety has also been questioned. The 2004 National Film Board documentary Shipbreakers documents the living conditions of the workers.

This photo was obtained by blogger Peter Knego. He said the two ferries were beached on Oct. 17 and 19. Mr. Knego received the photo from a photographer at Alang who wishes to remain anonymous.

The ship tracking website now lists both ferries as “broken up.” Previously, they were listed as “to be broken up.”

The ferries were sold by Marine Atlantic to separate buyers in August. The Caribou was sold to Comrie Ltd. of St. Vincent and the Grenadines while the Smallwood was sold to Merrion Navigation S.A. of the Marshall Islands.

However, both ferries are now owned by Best Oasis Ltd. of India, according to online ship registries and that company’s website.

Marine Atlantic Spokesperson Tara Lang said the Crown Corporation knew there was a possibility the ships would be broken up for scrap after they were sold.

“The buyers plans were to explore options to sell the vessels for trading purposes and if they were not successful then they would recycle them,” wrote Ms. Lang in an e-mail to The Gulf News.

She said one condition of sale included a commitment that if either buyer decided to recycle the vessels, it would be done at a yard with full green recycling facilities in compliance with IMO guidelines.

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Recent comments

  • John Robertson
    February 15, 2015 - 20:14

    As usual Marine Atlantic has made another major error - why could these vessels been overhauled I have travelled on these vessels many times - they were solid, stable and dependable - certainly not like the new boats presently being used They could both handle 99% of what the Atlantic could throw at them - Shame on the Federal Gov't to allow this and Shame, Shame, Shame to Marine Atlantic

  • Matt Vincent
    September 04, 2012 - 17:48

    This saddens me, my father started work on the Smallwood at age 19 and sadly passed away on it at age see a part of my childhood memories and NL & NS history beached in India is heart wrenching.....Matt Vincent

  • Joe
    November 03, 2011 - 10:55

    just to add marine atlantic says they didnt know any of this was going to happen in the way that it did what are the odds of two separate ships being sold to two separate companies ending up on a beach together at to be scrapped at the same time,sounds like someone knew something somewhere

  • Joe
    November 03, 2011 - 10:45

    It just amazes me how two ships that were doing their job and doing it well were just thrown away,if they had cracked hauls or were unsafe cause of stress fractures or whatever you could see them being sold off for scrap but they were safe and other than needing a refit like all ships need from time to time there was nothing wrong with them this is a waste,not to mention as far as good ships to replace them ,where? we now have two giant mistakes marine atlantic has decided to buy two ships not designed for our waters make them shorter against their design and then add a heavy floor on the top to give us a top heavy boat that has already proven to be unstable to replace two boats that could and have gone through the worst,its been a long time since we have lost a ferry in our area but i can see its becoming a possibility again,just a ride on these two boats in the slightest of rough conditions will tell you how bad they handle,think about it why is it now marine atlantic stops all boats at the slightest bad weather,so yeah they can clean out the parking lot in one sailing but thats if they sail.

  • Tanya
    November 02, 2011 - 20:55

    Russ, whomever the comment referred to as being in "left field", having experience as much as Mr. Janes or not, I can assure you I am not in "left field". Maybe I haven't been a bosun, but I could be...I was a steward for almost 10 years, and an oiler/engineroom storekeeper for the past almost 10. I'm sure there are some things Mr. Janes knows that I don't, and vice versa. Nobody here is trying to badger another. We are a group of people who made our living and lives on these vessels for a very long time, and to see our other "homes" in this state is a pitiful sight. There really is no need for rude or ignorant remarks to anyone. Thanks. :)

    • Russ
      November 04, 2011 - 15:44

      Then you shouldn't have made your comment towards Mr. Janes of, "I don't think any of these ppl who have commented are in left field ", and then continued on with your sarcasm of I am holier than thou because of my experience. Because, it sure looks like it to me that is what you’re doing here. But it’s funny how that works, Isn’t it, and if you had the sense to check the time date stamp on the comments, you would have noticed that Mr. Janes made the first comment here. So whose commentaries were you were referring to when making your comment towards Mr. Janes?

  • April
    November 02, 2011 - 20:50

    OH MY GOD... This is absolutley Heartaching to even see such a thing done to these beauitful ships. What were they thinking to even get rid of these ships?? When you grow up watching these ships come in and out in your hometown, this is like watching a family member die..... HEARTBREAKING!!!!

  • sean
    November 01, 2011 - 19:13

    it is so sad to see two beautiful ships like the boo and the smallwood beached for scrap . i sailed on both ships and they served nfld well over the past 25 years for the caribou and 20 for the smallwood . Those ships were made for our waters and conditions and very well built by Quebec ,in Canada . Never again will we get two ships to serve us so well .

  • Auda
    November 01, 2011 - 17:50

    LIke WHO CARES who has more right to say what they said or who has more experience than someone else!!!!! Who cares cares who is in 'left field" or not....lololol... Whats the difference!! .Tanya was just stating HER experience on these ships!!!! These vessels have been someone's lively hood for many many years...Many memories, good times, bad times, friendships and hard work have taken place on these vessels and its just painful to see them end up this way!!!! MANY would LOVE to still be travelling back and forth on these beautiful ships!! VERY VERY SAD day in Cape Breton to see these ships like this!!!! Such a shame!!

    • Carman Francis
      November 01, 2011 - 23:00

      Such a shame to see these lovely ships meet such a sad end. There is still a lot of good years left for these beautiful ships. There are lots of ships a lot older then they are and still in use today. I joined these ships when they were new and I have a lot of happy memories of working on them. I really felt so sad to see them sitting there awaiting the end result.

  • mai employee
    November 01, 2011 - 17:31

    Done at a yard with full green recycling facilities in compliance with IMO guidelines. WOW..she actually said that was a condition of the sale. Why do you think countries like India provide this service. There is no yard...they have been beached in a third world country where they will be picked apart by people getting paid a few dollars a day. Check out the pictures from the midship century website. Its a giant sea side scrap yard.

  • Russ
    November 01, 2011 - 15:07

    Tanya, Philip Janes is right, also he wasn’t talking about the people commenting here, it was towards some of those that writes for this paper, but I suggest it is fair to say you should be included to the left fielders he was talking about. And with respect to having any knowledge of safe practices at sea, Philip is a retired boatswain, or bos'n in the Canadian Navy with 35 years of service and experience. So I’m pretty sure that it’s most likely he is more qualified than you with respect to any knowledge of safe practices at sea. Philip was a resident of Port Aux Basque, has visited his home on numerous occasions and was a passenger on both ferries, so again, it’s safe to say he has some first hand knowledge on them as well. When you say We all live in the same universe, yes that is correct and there are worse things in this universe to worry about than how another country decides to get rid of something, that is their business not ours.

    • Katherine
      November 01, 2011 - 17:03

      Russ, to say that India's poor practices are none of our business is incredibly ignorant and uneducated. "Environmentally unsound" affects everyone. We all live on one planet. The water and the air on Earth are part of a closed circulation system. Pollution in India affects Canada, and vice versa.

    • Katherine
      November 01, 2011 - 17:10

      Russ, to say that India's poor practices are none of our business is incredibly ignorant and sounds uneducated. "Environmentally unsound" affects everybody. We all live on the same planet. The water and the air on Earth are part of a closed circulation system. Polution in India affects Canada, and vice versa. Human pollution will drive the extinction humans and of life as we know it, if we're not careful. Canadians have every right to be concerned about "how another country decides to get rid of something".

    • RUSS
      November 02, 2011 - 02:32

      Really Katherine, First, I didn't say it was right for them to ignore environmental stewardship with the way they do their business, you assumed I did, and you know what it is to assume, do you? But it is what it is and that is their business, it’s their government that decides to enact and enforce legislation to clean up the mess their country is in not ours. If you don’t like it go over there and protest, feel free to do so I really don’t think anyone would stop you on this side of the world. And your statement about incredibly ignorant and uneducated should be taken for what it is. So in making such a statement, please do tell, what is your education and experience with these matters of environment, inquiring minds want to know?

  • Alice Ings
    November 01, 2011 - 09:41

    It is sad indeed to see these two ships beached for scrap...In a world of now over 7 billion people, many who dont have a roof over their heads that somehow the Caribou and Smallwood could not have been used for a useful purpose...As a retired employee of MAI it is very disappointing to see this happen...

    • Jamie
      November 07, 2011 - 10:37

      I agree Alice...there is too much waste everywhere. This is a sad sight on many levels.

  • Newfie stuck in Nova Scotia
    November 01, 2011 - 09:29

    Will we all knew that those ships serve us will. That photo shown will make a great photo for anyone who want to remember those ship. { Lable it The Last Day} Now we have moved on to a couple of great and even nicer ships. Last summer Marine Atlantic proved our new ships will work for us newfie who wants to go home without waiting in North Sydney for hours on hours. Keep up the good work Marine Atlantic and the crew and staff. I look forward to sailing these new boats lot starting in March.

  • Kami
    November 01, 2011 - 08:20

    Ive been on these ships and they were amazing , beautiful and safe...They will be missed and nothing will ever compare to the two of them..

  • philip janes
    November 01, 2011 - 07:29

    Just a comment on the sell of your ships, in what universe are you from? How can you tell another country how to get rid of something? Just as i thought you are all out in left field.

    • Tanya
      November 01, 2011 - 09:39

      I have worked on these ships for almost 20 years. It is a crying shame to see them in this state. To compare them to the vessels MAI has today is like chaulk & cheese. I don't think any of these ppl who have commented are in "left field". Unless you have a first hand knowledge of them, worked on them, and have any knowledge of safe practices at sea, you have little right to comment on how another country gets rid of something. We all live in the same universe. These ships are a huge part of many people's lives, and the memories and friendships will echo in the hallways there even when they are long gone.

  • Christine
    November 01, 2011 - 07:17

    Amazing how other Countries take care of things compared to Canada. It's a shame.

  • Andrew
    November 01, 2011 - 01:52

    You can say what you like about the ferries and whatever service you may have had, looks kinds sas seeing them both beached to be scrapped like that.

  • Deborah Peters
    October 31, 2011 - 20:23

    I am a stevedore and worked for over ten years on each of these vessels, the Smallwood and the Boo-Boo (Caribou), with Marine Atlantic Inc. in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. What a shame to see them come to this terrible end. These girls deseve better care than they got. Great ships....they are sadly missed. Deborah Peters