For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project


Former Italian Stern Trawler ASPA QUARTO

HMCS Cormorant 20


Battle honours and awards:  Quebec  1759,   Minorca  1798,   China  1856, 1959



Built: 1965

Acquired by RCN: Jul 1975

Commissioned: 10 Nov 1978

Paid off: 02 Jul 1997

Fate: Unknown


Built at Cantiere Navale Apunia, Marine-Carrara, Italy in 1965, she was the former Italian-flag stern trawler Aspa Quarto. She was purchased for Maritime Command in Jul 1975, and converted principally at Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon, Que., to her new purpose. She was commissioned there 10 Nov 1978. She served as mother ship to SDL-1 (Submersible Diver Lockout), a mini-sub capable of reaching a depth of 2000 feet, and which has been extensively used to chart the bottom of Halifax harbour. Between 23 Aug and 05 Oct 1989, Cormorant, along with CFAV Quest, was deployed to Canada's eastern High Arctic waters, conducting defence research in Baffin Bay, Lancaster Sound and Davis Strait. In the course of the operation, dubbed NORPLOY 89, she visited Canada's northernmost Inuit community, Grise Fjord, on Ellesmere Island. Her SDL-1 also found and filmed the Breadalbane, crushed and sunk by ice off Beechey Island in 1853 while searching for John Franklin's lost Northwest Passage expedition. During this deployment she holed her bow on pack ice. Her crew made emergency repairs and she was able to return to Halifax and repairs were effected on the syncrolift. During her career she was used for a variety of purposes ranging from retrieval of illegal drug caches; covering vents in the sunken barge Irving Whale to recovering the bell from the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Cormorant had among her complement the first women to be assigned to a Canadian naval vessel. She was paid off on 2 July 1997. Initially sold  to United States owners for diving operations, she remained docked in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, rusting away. The Cormorant was purchased at auction by Neil Hjelle in September 2009 to be refit and used for research in the Mediterranean and Middle East. As of Mar 2015, Cormorant still lay idle and deteriorating at Bridgewater, NS.


Commanding Officers

LCdr J.G. Morrison - 24 Jul 1978 - 17 Aug 1981

LCdr Jack W.D. Alexander - 17 Aug 1981 - 27 Jun 1983

LCdr Brian John Fisher - 27 Jun 1983 - 30 Jul 1984

LCdr R.W. Bowers - 30 Jul 1984 - unk

LCdr A.G.D. Perusse - Jun 1986 - 10 Jun 1988

LCdr M.P. Palmer - 10 Jun 1988 - 10 Aug 1990

LCdr P.O. Gaynor - 10 Aug 1990 - 08 Oct 1992

LCdr A.T. Pinnell - 08 Oct 1992 - Aug 1994


     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten


Adams, Glenn R,


Alexander, Jack W.D.


2nd Commanding Officer

Boucher, Roger Phillippe





Croucher, Selby Claude


Commissioning crew as a PO1 Electrician

Downie, Robert E.


Doyle, Lloyd Emmerson





Esbaugh, Thomas Jerome


Fisher, Brian John


3rd Commanding Officer





Hatt, Myles R.

1958 - 2016

Hughes, Douglas Frederick






MacAdams, Betty Lou


Molloy, John Patrick


Commissioning crew as Sgt Electrician

Mclellan, Barry


McVarnock, Thomas




Poirier, Pamela Denise











Rank, Gordon Henry







Wolfe, Henry Harvey







Former Crew Members

MacDonald, James A., STWD

Weir, Garry, MS, NRAD Op 274, 1991



Photos and Documents



HMCS Cormorant - Commissioning Booklet

Ship's company photos for HMCS Cormorant