Camilla Desgagnes was built by Kroegerwerft G.m.b.H. at Rendsburg, Germany, as Hull 1506 and launched on February 17. 1982. This general cargo – Ro/Ro vessel measures 436 feet, 4
inches in length, 67 feet, 7 inches at the beam and has a molded depth of 46 feet, 3 inches. Tonnage was listed at 10,085 gross and 3,026 net registered tons. It was completed as
Camilla for Lundqvist-Rederierna of Finland and powered by a Model 12TM410 Werkspoor diesel engine that developed 7,797 brake horsepower and gave the ship a service speed of 13.7
knots. It specialized as a paper carrier with accommodations for 12 passengers.
The cargo shifted aboard Camilla on January 23, 2003, and the ship lost power and developed a severe list to port in heavy weather off the coast of Newfoundland. The 16-member
crew was airlifted to safety by helicopter when Camilla was in danger of being lost. The tugs Kigoria and Ryan Leet took the listing freighter in tow and they reached St. John’s,
Newfoundland, on February 12, 2003.
Camilla was righted, unloaded and eventually sold to Royal Bank of Canada. The name was listed as Camilla I before being placed on a bareboat charter to Desgagnes Transarctik Inc.
The vessel was re-enrolled at Quebec City as Camilla Desgagnes (C825762) on or about February 10, 2004, and classed as Lloyd’s +100A1 Ice Class 1A Super. By 2005, a deck crane had
On June 8, 2005, while in Long Island Sound on a voyage from Poughkeepsie, New York, to Saint John, New Brunswick, Camilla Desgagnes suffered a fire in the engine room. Although
the blaze was extinguished by the crew, they were removed from the ship and it was towed to Port Elizabeth, New Jersey, for repairs. These were completed on June 10 and the ship
returned to service.
On September 4, 2006, soon after departing the Arctic community of Mittimatalik, formerly Pond Inlet, there was a total engine failure and the Canadian Coast Guard ship Henry
Larsen towed Camilla Desgagnes to Milne Inlet where it was anchored. The deep-sea tug Ocean Foxtrot was dispatched from Baie Comeau to tow Camilla Desgagnes to Halifax for repairs
and the pair arrived there on October 16, 2006.
The ship was transferred to Barbados registry on February 14, 2007. The next year it accomplished a historic voyage ending on November 28, 2008. Camilla Desgagnes became the first
commercial vessel to transit the Northwest Passage, in both directions, during the same season. It had delivered supplies to the Arctic communities of Cambridge Bay, Kugluktuk, Gjoa
Haven and Talayoak before returning east.
On October 27, 2009, shortly after taking on a pilot at Escoumins, Quebec, the ship suffered a violent explosion in the main engine that blew internal parts through the engine
block. Fortunately, no crew members were injured and the ship was able to reach a safe anchorage with the aid of the pilot boat Charlevoix, C.C.G.S. Hudson and C.C.G.S. Martha L.
Black. The tug Ocean Raymond Lemay was dispatched from Quebec City to tow the damaged ship to port and they arrived at Quebec City and moored at Section #103 the next day. The
apparent cause of the explosion was a broken connecting rod. The vessel was repaired and returned to service in 2010.
Adapted with permission from "The Desgagnes Fleet" by Buck Longhurst, Mac Mackay, Skip Gillham.