West Coast pirate spotted in Dubai

The ridiculously large giga yacht Dubai

On my last “hitch”, I ended up in Ajman, near Dubai, picking up an ex Swire Pacific Offshore tug that my current company bought, and brought back to Canada. While there, I ran into an “old friend” unexpectedly. We took the day off from the busy shipyard, and went ‘touristing’ in Dubai. One of the sights we went to was the Palm Jumeirah, where, on one side of the man made island(s), rested the massive yacht “Dubai” at her private berth, and on the other side of the island, the expedition yacht, Bart Roberts.

MY Bart Roberts pictured in Dubai, May 2013

Some of you “west coasters” may recognize her as the 1963 Vickers built, former CCGS Narwhal, a medium, ice classed, nav aids tender, retired in November 1999 from the Canadian Coast Guard on the West Coast, based out of Victoria. She was my first – first “blue water” ship I worked on in the engine room. She had a mess of piping inside the engine room, two small Rustons for mains, and Beaudoin generators.

From the Starboard quarter, the MY Bart Roberts in Dubai, May 2013

She was extensively refitted – well the accommodations anyways – by local contractors at Odgen Point, in Victoria, under the guidance of a Florida company Tradepower International. She got a new sharper looking bow, some accommodation block “accents” and extensive interior remodeling and a new crane on her starboard side forward, instead of the massive buoy derrick she once had.

After the extensive refit in Victoria, she set sail south, for parts unknown, initially with a Canadian crew, and then quickly dropped off the radar after that. I received many inquiries about her, for a few years following her retirement; so it was quite something to randomly spot her in Dubai, back in late May. She was looking very much the way I last saw her, over ten years ago, although I imagine she’s had extensive air conditioning capacity added.

0040-ccgs narwhal.01 - buoy tender
CCGS Narwhal off Race Rocks, near Victoria, on one of her final assignments

At the time of her post retirement refit, she was turned into the “world largest expedition yacht”. She featured a sumptuous interior with a large fish tank, and massive stone fireplace, themed to the famous Caribbean pirate, Bart Roberts. Its former well deck and hold turned into a “toys hangar” with a high speed “thrill boat”, landing craft, and shifting swimming pool.

Transport Canada and Australian Marine Safety certified Marine Engineer, over 25 years experience sailing professionally on commercial ships all over the world. Creator and editor of www.dieselduck.net. Father of three, based in Nanaimo, British Columbia.

12 Responses

  1. I see the Bart Roberts on your site .. I had the pleasure of welding on that boat for quite a while .. The chest in the main salon is a creation of mine .. I hope she’s still going strong !

    • My Uncle is Arnold Gemino. I watched this boat built, even down to the insertion of the Piranha in the main fish tank. Truly a work of art on the interior. I’m thinking of heading over to Dubai to see her. The boat was moored in Ft. Pierce for a long time. Uncle Arnie was also known for the Thriller boats, also built in Ft. Pierce at Twin Vee. Alos built a jet boat. 25,000 hp!

  2. Hi

    Iam chief officer and my name is John Anemogiannis from Greece i interesting for cruises ship
    If is posible for this position please contact with me

    kind regards
    cpt. John Anemogiannis

  3. First off, thanks for your visit to Martin’s Marine Engineering Page – http://www.dieselduck.net.

    Unfortunately, I am not a company, just a guy who runs a website. Needless to say, I do not hire persons directly for positions ashore, or at sea. However, you might be interested in posting pertinent contact information, and / or a brief resume on the appropriate area in our http://www.dieselduck.net forum – also known as The Common Rail. Registered users are free to post their details for potential employer to see, and perhaps follow up on. On The Common Rail, there is also an area where current vacancies are advertised for your consideration.

    You may also wish to visit the “Work” page on the main site, listing many links to firms actively who have / are recruiting from the internet.

    However you choose to connect with employers, I urge you to be cautious in sharing sensitive personal information, and for you to be wary of offers that “sound too good to be true”. I also encourage you to share your success stories, and cautions, with the community at The Common Rail for the common good of our profession.

    I would further recommend that you compress your relevant information – COC (certificate of competency), passport, medical certificate, brief resume (2 page max) – into a more manageable and presentable file format such as Adobe pdf. This in my view would make your material easier to navigate through, for those with tighter time constraints.

    Please accept my best wishes to you for a satisfactory job search,


  4. The Bart Roberts has just moored of the bank of the Palm Jumeirah opposite the Fairmont Palm Hotel.
    Quite impressive still as the crane lowered a smaller craft into the sea.
    There’s not too much activity on board so difficult to know the purpose of being here.

  5. Martin,

    I can fill you in on the history from the day I left Ogden point on Bart to the day it was sold pre-Dubai

  6. Worked as 3rd mate and Captain of this vessel when she was the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Narwhal, when she worked on the East coast of Canada. Worked one summer on her in the Eastern Arctic in 1976. She was transferred to the West coast Region in the 90’s. Uncomfortable ship in very rough weather but a real work horse

  7. l joined narwhal in late october-early november 1977. went north to calibrate loran c . worst storm in memory. old hands – bill shaw,cook, had lots of warm clothes and life jacket first. skipper had heart attack after not sayin midships to the qm we came about three times in mountainous seas hundreds of miles off course. when capt. came back on bridge his hair was white. l heard he died while coming back after sick leave, seeing the name ; he died where he stood on the jetty. storm went on for a week or more. cg dartmouth couldn’t sen help – m/e’s @ 175rpm – should be 360…f/o dirt had clogged injectors. only a bookeeping error giving us 5000 spin-on duplex f/o filters instead of 50or whichever suddenly mfv cape fourchu under command of capt. anson conrad hailed back – be right there soon’s l haul back. l sailed under capt. conrad in the fourchu while making up sea time & restocking the coffers! now, that man was a seaman you could have hit belle island with a 1″ nut. no steerage at all. pretty soon, in the lee of nfld., things eased. when scatarie light hove into view,she picked up her skirts and made 14 – 15 kts. homeward. the only people who believe this are the veterans. we saw it all. lf you were there, rsvp there’s MUCH more to tell….l can probably name most of the ship’s company for that little jaunt, for they all worked to save narwhal.

  8. are there no east coasters extant? belly up, boys! how about the concrete bow? ice jamming the rudder quadrant on the deckhead? labrador sea craziness, oct/nov. 1977? oiler carrying m/e l/o p/p up that looong ladder from the outboard side of the eng.? no? some sailors won’t tell a yarn, but ….jeezly mole. then again, that’s …hm…nearly 50 yrs ago????? jeeze, l’m really freakin’ old. the war was still the big topic when l was a navy brat…good night, where’s all the time? (but time is a human construct enabling our ancestors to understand distance.))))))or so they tell me. 🙂 lol

  9. hey,dude, why don’t you write /a short informal letter/ there some of us alive who yet remember/how she lay on her side, letting the water/ come down the funnel/ l stood on the bottom of my bunk/ an ominous clunk sent me to the e/r/ where frank kehoe looked much paler/ he said, you start the fucking thing/ so l did, and all was better………….”,.hey jude”

  10. Sailed on her in 1974 , spent the summer in James Bay doing shipping lanes , Capt. James Rose was the Capt. at the time , I was in the steward dept. my step father William P. Lenihan was the wireless officer, Bill Shaw was 2nd. cook, Bob Wilson was 2nd. eng. , Leo Landry was oiler, Burt Smith oiler, . Ran into crew members in the Turks and Caicos Islands, when it was the Bart Roberts flying the Jolly Rodger, said they were setting up Jet boat trill rides in the early 2000’s Alfred G. Smith

  11. Worked on her in the 90’s out of victoria, my uncle worked on her in the 70’s , east coast, nova scotia , bay of fundy areas

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