Remembering the sinking of the Marques tall ship
Published Sunday, August 6, 2017 7:16PM ADT
The tall ships are now visiting different ports of call across Atlantic Canada and for many maritimers, the Tall Ships Festival of 2017 brought back memories of the parade of sail from June 1984.
Retired CTV journalist, Richard Perry who lives in Antigonish, says he can't think of that historic event without remembering the tragic sinking of the Marques.
It began with random searching on YouTube, when Perry noticed a link to CTV coverage of 1984's parade of sail.
“After about ten seconds in, I thought, jeez, I recognize that voice and it was the report I had done then. I was quite surprised,” says Perry. “I hadn't seen that story since I did it.”
Perry – who was working as the network’s bureau chief – was sent to Bermuda hours after the sinking of the British tall ship.
Nineteen of the 28 people on board died, including a Canadian journalist and a sailor.
Perry found video of the three-mast tall ship, taken just before it left Bermuda and headed for Halifax.
Hours later the ship was struck by heavy seas and a rogue wave.
“The survivors say, the water poured in through the hatches and in less than a minute, they say the ship had gone down,” he says. “It really hit home then because all of the people who came forward were under the age of 25. In fact, half of the crew on the ship were under the age of 25.”
Only one body was ever recovered from the sinking. A planned ecumenical service in Halifax became a tragic memorial service to honour those lost at sea.
Perry continued to work in journalism for several years before moving over to public relations in 2000. He says the tragic story of the Marques is one he has never forgotten.
“The loss of life is certainly not new to Nova Scotians,” he says. “We've had our fair share of tragedies over the years, but there's something about it, how it was tied into this large tourism event that so many people were attending.”
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.