The Hospital Ship Gil Eannes
Designed and built at the Estaleiros Navais de Viana do Castelo (The Boatbuilding Yard of Viana do Castelo) in 1955
That year, the ship began her duties of medical assistance to the cod fishing fleets of Portugal and other countries on the Newfoundland and Greenland seas. The ship not only served as a hospital but also delivered mail, was a towboat and an icebreaker and even ensured the supply of provision, nets, fishing materials, fuel, freshwater and bait for the cod fishing fleets.
From 1963 the ship's duties changed and she began to serve as a commercial vessel, as refrigerated transport, and even as a carrier of passengers between fishing sorties. She made her final trip to Newfoundland in 1973. That year she also made a goodwill mission as a 'Portuguese Ambassador' to Brazil.
After that, Gil Eannes had no further use and was shunted from dock to dock in Lisbon harbour until she was finally sold for scrap in 1997.
Stirred by the inglorious fate of such an emblematic hospital ship, the community of Viana decide to bring her back to her birthplace, recuing her from the scrapyard and permanently berthing her in the Viana do Castelo harbour as a reminder of the maritime past of the city.
She is now the property of the Gil Eannes Foundation, composed of several organizations in Viana do Castelo.
The ship has been open to the public since August 1998.
See also picture #19036
Picture added on 12 February 2012 at 08:34