This summer, Cole International had the pleasure of coordinating the transport of a piece of Canadian maritime history. The 800-pound hand-carved wooden figurehead was built to grace the bow of a sailing ship with a story that began over 140 years ago in a small port town in New Brunswick.
The Prince Victor, a classic three-masted sailing schooner, was built by Vail and Moran Shipbuilders in St. Martins, New Brunswick in 1870. The ship sailed around the world and changed ownership several times over 17 years of service on the seas.
On April 7th 1887, under ownership of the Norwegian firm Sanband & Roer, the ship met her demise when she ran aground on the Severn River on the border between Wales and England. Over the next few years, parts of the vessel were salvaged and the remains were reduced to a wreckage.
One local resident salvaged the figurehead and installed it in his garden, chained to a tree, where it stood for the next 70 years. Around 1957, a museum in the nearby town of Gloucestershire learned of the ancient figurehead and managed to take possession of it, housing it in the museum's basement until 2012.
That year, it was discovered by a New Brunswick native on holiday in the UK and, once its historical significance was confirmed, steps were taken to restore the much-decayed figurehead and repatriate it to Canadian soil. The town of St. Martins and the maritime museum there raised the funds to restore and transport the figurehead, and arranged for its successful return journey in the summer of 2016.
An exciting role for a proud Canadian company
Moving an ancient 800-pound wood carving is no small undertaking. Enter: Cole International. Our extensive experience in coordinating and insuring shipment of a wide variety of goods made Cole a perfect fit for the job. Our Halifax office was contacted by Rob Moran, direct descendent of the shipbuilders who launched the Prince Victor 140 years ago, and asked if we could help bring the figurehead home.
After much careful consideration and research into the best way to safely crate and transport the figurehead, Cole arranged for its move from England to New Brunswick. The first leg of its trip was by sea from England to Montreal, then it transported over land from Montreal to Moncton and ultimately the Bay of Fundy down of St. Martins.
The Quaco Historical & Library Society Inc. in St Martins is set to unveil the figurehead as the centrepiece of its collection in early 2017.
Information provided by: Freight Dept. - Cole International