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September 27th 2020 - 03:06
July 6th, 2007
July 6th, 2007

Robertson II Salvage - Official Press Release

This morning I received an email from Ryan Anthony Czyz, one of the crew of the Robertson II. He wanted to pass along a public letter and a press release to everyone. I have included the press release here and will post a second article with the letter...

PRESS RELEASE: July 5, 2007
The Grand Banks schooner Robertson II runs aground on Minx Reef,
Saturna Island. Canada Day.

In response to the positive reportage on the īRobbieīsī current resting place, the owner, Mr Roy Boudreau and crew would firstly like to thank all who have been in contact with messages of goodwill.

Although it may seem that this is the last voyage for Canadaīs last remaining Grand Banks schooner before becoming a haven for divers or a reef marker, this is certainly not our intention. We are doing all we can to rectify the situation and get her upright and floating again. However, we have come across some difficulty in keeping the water out, and she is currently stuck fast.  She is lying on her starboard side at almost 90 degrees.  At low tide she is almost entirely out of the water.

Currently we are experiencing extreme tides. In the early hours of the 1st July, Canada Day, we rounded the reef into the entrance to the harbor, and the tide just caught us and she settled, with a slight judder, on the gravel and rock bottom.  We tried desperately to try to get her off the reef in the hours after but to no avail.  When the tide receded she started to list hard to starboard at which time the crew abandoned ship safely, without incident.  She finally rolled onto her side to its current position, the 100 metric ton vessel putting all her weight on her ribs and cracking some, allowing water to flow through her hull.  Four high capacity pumps were not able to reduce the flow of water coming through the leaks.  Since then all hatches have been sealed in an attempt to keep any further water from entering.  We are pumping all fuel from her into storage drums to prevent any environmental damage.  We are also using all measures to soak up as much of the minimal amount of fuel which is slowly trickling out of her.  

This disaster has completely changed the plans for the Robbie. Getting her afloat again is now just the beginning to a huge restoration project. Whilst it would be easier and of infinitely less financial outlay to let her sink in deeper water and create an artificial reef for wildlife and divers alike, those who have been, or are still associated with the Robbie want to see her floated, restored, and back in action on the seas, serving as a testament to those who have worked and sailed on her for the last 67 years, and not confined to the history books as a wreck or picked apart by souvenir hunters. It will now take a great deal of funding and manpower to make all of the restoration possible. There is no reason why as Canadians we cannot pull together to save this historic vessel from becoming a diving attraction.  All we need, in short order are some extra resources to assist in her preservation.  She is entirely salvageable and can be brought back to continue her legacy and serve in all her glory once again.  Literally, thousands of youngsters have been affected by the training and life lessons that she provided. Parents who have been a part of her are now bringing their children so that they too can share in the same understanding their forebears had.

Like the historic Cutty Sark, moored in Greenwich, England, which recently suffered in a horrific fire, to some small extent, they were lucky, as approximately 50% of the shipīs fittings were in storage or under conservation, so she will be rebuilt, with private and public funding and still serve as a lasting reminder of English maritime heritage. The Robertson II was also undergoing restoration, but unfortunately our work was in situ, and privately funded, with a limited resource, so if she goes, we will all lament the end of an era, not just in the books of Canadian maritime history, but to all with a love of the sea who follow after us.

If there is anyone out there who would like to assist in any way please get in touch.

Individuals or organizations can make contribution efforts through the Merchant Marine Sail and Steam Society.  Please get in contact and we will be able to properly direct funds from there.

Main Contacts:

Ryan Anthony Czyz
(250) 216-8077

Humphrey Killam:
(250) 216-2940

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