CCGS Alfred Needler


A beautiful warm spring-like day after a night of thunderstorms meant a trip to the Cape was called for. The waves were churning and there was a surfer bobbing like a seal out past the breaks when I arrived.

When I went up to the cottage all of the snow was gone from the south deck. The bench in the sun-baked area beckoned invitingly. Looking out at the lighthouse I could see the superstructure of a large vessel moving past Cat Rock.

I heard the deep thrumming of its engines and watched the bow rising and falling in slow motion. The vessel had a distinctive vertical white band beneath the wheelhouse and predominant  superstructure in the bow (black) and stern (yellow.)


I decided to check it out on the Marine Traffic website when I got home. It was an easy find: the Canadian Coast Guard research ship Alfred Needler, heading toward Shelburne.

DFO Photo

Although typically tasked to conduct surveys that involve bottom trawling for multiple species and environment data collection, in July 2016, Alfred Needler discovered the wreck of a ship while trawling the waters off Nova Scotia. Several large wooden fragments of a vessel, believed to date back to the 19th century, were pulled from the ocean floor.