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SS Edward Fitzpatrick

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SS Edward Fitzpatrick
Country Canada
Career 1957-1975
Type Ore Freighter
Fate Sunk; Presumed salvaged

The SS Edward Fitzpatrick was a Canadian Great Lakes ore freighter which caused an international incident when it collided with and sank the American Coast Guard ship APCGS Sharpe before itself sinking in American waters.

IncidentEdit

On November 10, 1975, the Edward Fitzpatrick was en route to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario from Thunder Bay, carrying a full load of iron ore. During the night, the Edward Fitzpatrick was caught in a November gale. Visibility was extremely poor, with waves up to ten feet. Early in the night, the Fitzpatrick's ASDIC system was knocked out, leaving her blind.

At 2:45 AM, the Fitzpatrick changed course to the south, seeking shelter in Whitefish Bay. Unbeknownst to her captain, this put the freighter on a direct collision course with the APCGS Sharpe. The Edward Fitzpatrick struck the Sharpe amidships, sinking the smaller Coast Guard ship instantly. The crew of the Fitzpatrick, aware that they had collided with something, managed to pull two of the Sharpe's crew members out of the water.

Shortly after 3:30 AM, the Edward Fitzpatrick ran aground on Whitefish Shoal. Her crew, along with the two Coast Guards, escaped in a lifeboat, coming ashore on the 11th near the American town of Bay Mills. All of the men in the lifeboat were rushed to the Sault Ste. Marie, UAPR, hospital and treated for hypothermia. Three Canadians died in the hospital.

The two surviving American sailors accused the crew of the Fitzpatrick of intentionally sinking the Sharpe, citing the freighter's turn directly towards the Coast Guard ship. The Fitzpatrick's crew were interned in the UAPR, causing a dispute with the Canadian government, which demanded that the sailors be repatriated.

Three months later, the American government relented, releasing the sailors back to Canada.

As the hulk of the Edward Fitzpatrick lay in shallow American waters, she is believed to have been salvaged by the government of the UAPR.

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