(The Fisherman's Advocate, December 10, 1943, page 1)
Motor Vessel "F.P. Union" Is Total Loss
Cut Down In Catalina Hr. By M. V. "Isabel H."
One of the most familiar and best known vessels on this coast has made port for the last time and rests
beneath the waves after 24 busy and strenuous years engaged in the transportation service of the
country, for the motor vessel "F. P. Union" is sunk. The "Union" had just entered Catalina Hr. when
she was accidentally rammed by the "Isabel H.", which vessel was outward bound for St. John's.
The "F. P. Union"; had been collecting fish for the F. U. Trading Co., Ltd., from their branches North,
and had left Doting Cove on Friday with a full load of dried shore fish and a deck load of refined oil in
barrels. She also had on deck a young cow. Thus her cargo was worth between 15 and 20 thousand
dollars. She was hit at 1:25 Saturday morning and sank within four minutes. According to reports the
Isabel's stem struck the Union just aft of mid ships. That would be around the engine room. The after
part of the boat was crushed badly. The crew of the "Union" leaped on board the "Isabel" just escaping
with their lives. The Captain and engineer had particularly narrow escapes. The Captain of the "Union",
Mr. James Murphy, had he foot caught in the wreckage. He was in the pilot house at the wheel. He
managed to drag his injured leg out of his boot, and climbing through the wheel house wi(n)dow, he
hauled himself away by hanging on to the sheet of the sail. The crew were all saved but all their
belongings and the cargo, including the cow, was lost. The cow, which had been purchased for winter's
beef, was owned jointly by Mr. M. W. Cook of the Advocate office and Capt. Fred Tulk of the
The "Union" was built in 1918 at Port Union by the Union Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., which firm has
owned and operated her ever since. She was wrecked in the fall of 1919, the same year she was put in
operation, but was refloated and repaired.
The "Union" was the first of four auxiliary sealing vessels built in Port Union. She was the first motor
vessel in these parts. In her early days she attracted considerable attention in whatever port she entered,
for those were the days of sail. Experience with the "Union" proved the great advantage to the coastwise
trade of a fully motored vessel. Although the "Union" carried auxiliary sails she relied on motor power.
She was the forerunner of the motor vessel which on this coast, as elsewhere, has supplanted sail.
During her intensely active career the "Union" prosecuted the sealfishery and Labrador fisheries, but
she was used mainly by her owners for the coastwise trade.
Many captains trod the deck of the "Union".
At the time she was lost her skipper was Capt. James Murphy. Her crew were Ken Tulk, mate; Obe
Howell, engineer; and Alec Cooze, cook, and Wm. Russell and Mose Sheppard. It is interesting to note
that Capt. Wm. Norman of the "Isabel H." was at one time captain of the "F. P. Union". As a matter of
fact the "Union" was Capt. Norman's first ship.
Transcribed by James Butler, 2000
Revised by Jim Butler, September, 2002