The Ahern Trader Shipwreck in Frederickton, Newfoundland

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Nature is slowly winning the battle

The Ahearn Trader, which went aground in 1960, has succumbed to the passage of time. She is pretty rusted out and doesn’t have much left of her.

What remains of the cargo vessel, the SS Ahern Trader, can be found in Frederickton, Newfoundland. The Ahern Trader used to carry cargo between Newfoundland’s coastal communities and Montreal. Powerful winds and ice pushed the ship aground in 1960, where it still stands today. Many people see it as an eyesore that should be removed, but it has also become a landmark for the city and is another tale of a ship lost in the North Atlantic, as do many other shipwrecks in Newfoundland.

Ahern Trader
Photo Credit: Megan Chant

The Ahern Trader arrived in Frederickton with a shipment of hay on the morning of January 8, 1960. The ship was under the charter of the Canadian National Railway at the time, and it was on the last leg of its journey delivering hay to communities on the north shore. The crew unloaded the hay and prepared the ship as it docked at the community’s government wharf.

However, a storm with 120-130 km/h winds and heavy snowfall hit the community as they were planning to leave. As the storm intensified, the ship was pushed into the wharf by the high waves. Fearing that the storm would damage the wharf, the Captain decided to set sail and anchor farther off shore until the storm passed. The ship departed the harbour in rough seas and poor visibility, then dropped its anchor to keep it stationary. The ship was forced ashore onto the jagged rocks not long after the anchor snapped.

Ahern Trader
Photo Credit: Megan Chant

The ship’s crew started blowing the whistle and firing flares to signal for aid as soon as they realized they had run aground. Many residents from Frederickton rushed to the beach to give assistance in whatever way they could. Fortunately, all of the crew members were able to safely exit the ship. No lives were lost.

Photos/Video Contributed by Megan Chant

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Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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