Source: The Ships of Canada's Naval Forces 1910-1981 by Ken Macpherson and John Burgess


Acquired by RCN: 1941

Commissioned: 1941

Paid off: 1945. Transferred to the Department of Revenue in 1949.

Fate: Foundered 15 Jul 1954


Built in Mahone bay, NS, this wooden-hulled craft saw service as a rum-runner during the early 1930s but was in the employ of the Newfoundland government when the RCN chartered her in 1941.  MARVITA served as an examination vessel until 1945, returning to her previous owners in 1946.  She was transferred to the federal Department of Revenue in 1949, and was lost on Cape Ballard, Nfld., on 15 July 1954.



The following information is from a book published by Jean-Pierre Andrieux from the memoirs of George Collins.


MARVITA had 2 Fairbanks Morse Opposed Piston Engines, giving her a cruising speed of 15 kts and a top speed of 18 kts. The vessel, as a rum runner, had two copper lined tanks, holding 23,000 gallons each, where they stored whiskey. Marvita was one of the most successful rum runners and was never caught or lost cargo. She had approximately 23 trips from St. Pierre to Newfoundland with illegal liquor.


Another crew member of the MARVITA was Clyde Collins, 1st cousin to George Collins. Clyde was onboard the MARVITA when she sank. The following is the account of the sinking of MARVITA according to Clyde Collins.


"Marvita was lost at Cape Ballard, near Cappahayden, on route to St. John's Newfoundland. The vessel had 8 crew members on board. She was in thick fog. The Marvita lost control of her magnetic compass. There were several stories of ships losing their magnetic compass and going off to the west, in that area. This happened to the Marvita which cause her to steer too close to the coast, in the thick fog. Shortly before the vessel struck the rocks, they heard the vessel's fog horn echo off of the cliffs. About 30 seconds later, they grounded on a sunker. The vessel ended up close to a rocky ledge. Everybody came up on deck and were able to jump from the vessel, onto the rocks. They turned to see two waves strike the vessel. With the second wave, the swell swallowed her and she sunk. All 8 crew members survived."



Photos and Documents



Commanding Officers


Ch/Skpr Michael Dermot MacDonald, RCNR - 14 Mar 1943 - unk


Skpr Lt Alfred John Sinclair, RCNR - 26 Oct 1944 - 27 Oct 1944


Lt Marcus Henry Roberts, RCNR - 01 Feb 1945 - unk



     In memory of those who have crossed the bar    

They shall not be forgotten




Former Crew Members


Buckley, George Henry, Skpr, RCNR - 18 May 1943


Housell, Frederick, Ch/Skpr, RCNR - 01 May 1941


Ritcey, Gerald Macintosh, Ch/Skpr, RCNR - 11 Feb 1944 / Jan 1945



Photos and Documents




RCN Photo # NF-2560


Courtesy of the Comox RCAF Museum

Dept. of Revenue Vessel MARVITA docked at Fortune, Newfoundland


Credit: Jean-Pierre Andrieux's photo collection of Newfoundland vessels


Courtesy of Anthony Griffin

George Collins by the bridge of the MARVITA


This photo was taken the same day as the above photo at Fortune, Newfoundland


From the collection of George Collins


Courtesy of Anthony Griffin

Article on the loss of the MARVITA


The Daily News

St. John's, Newfoundland

Saturday, 17 Jul 1954