For Posterity's Sake
A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project
HMCS PROVIDER 508
Built by Davie Shipbuilding & Repairing Co. Ltd., Lauzon, Que, she was commissioned there on 28 Sep 1963. She was the first Operational Support ship in the RCN and was designed with the capacity for the stowage of fuel, ammunition, supplies, provisions (dry and refrigerated) and replacement helicopters. She was also designed to transfer supplies and personnel underway and provided support to operational forces at sea. At the time, she was the largest ship built in Canada for the RCN. She had 26 fuel cargo tanks which held approximately 14,000 tons of FFO, 1,500 tons of diesel and 900 tons of aviation gas (JP5) along with 430 tons of ammunition, provisions and spare parts. HMCS Provider had the capability of replenished and refueling up to 4000 gals/min at 18 plus knots.
Late in 1969, with the arrival of the two follow-on AORs, HMCS Preserver and HMCS Protecteur, she was transferred to the west coast. On 04 May 1970, HMCS Provider 508, HMCS Mackenzie 261, HMCS Yukon 263 and HMCS Terra Nova 259 departed Esquimalt for a Far East cruise. On 08 May 1986, HMCS Provider 508, HMCS Restigouche 257, HMCS Terra Nova 259 and HMCS Kootenay 258, departed Esquimalt for Exercise RIMPAC 86 and returned on 21 Jun 1986. In the spring of 1990 she took part in the Pacific Rim countries' exercise RIMPAC 90, along with units of the 2nd and 4th Destroyer Squadrons, which afterward visited Vladivostok, the first western warships to do so since 1939. Afterward, en route to visit Manila, she rescued a large number of Vietnamese boat people that had spent nine days without food or water after their boat had broken down. In late 1993 and early 1994 she took part in the UN embargo of Haiti. She returned to Halifax in June 1996. The ship was paid off 24 June 1998, two years later than originally planned, and remained in Halifax Harbour until 2002 while she awaited auction. She was sold to Greek interests and on 26 Jul 2002 left Halifax under tow for Greece, to become a water storage vessel. The following year she was towed to Turkey and broken up.