The CCGS Norman McLeod Rogers was launched in 1968. She transferred to the Victoria Coast Guard Base in 1990 and was declared surplus in 1994. Chile bought the vessel in December 1994 and served in her Navy as the “Almirante Oscar Viel” for twenty two years. Oscar Viel was a Chilean admiral in the 1880’s.
John Constable was the point of contact during the transfer and received these photos from her first captain, Mario Escobar, showing her decommissioning ceremony. There is some reminiscing of her crew, although in Spanish, one can sense she was a happy ship.
From Mario Escobar, the skipper who took her to Chile.
It’s a little late to make contact after so long time; but…. never is to late. Month ago I received two nice invitations, the first to participate in the ceremony for the retirement of AP OSCAR VIEL, and the second was to sail on board O.VIEL from Punta Arenas to Talcahuano (our main Naval Base and Navy Shipyard). I did accept both. To be again on board the icebreaker was really a very nice experience. I was attended during that 5 days better than Prince Charles on board the HMS BRITANNIA. That was 3 weeks ago. Then I have the opportunity to reread the Ship´s record book. In the book is written with good detail, from the moment you show us the ship on January 12th 1995 up to the
arrival to Valparaíso on February 16th. Was a long trip but I feel very proud because my people make it very well, we arrived by our self (her self).
John, at the beginning with the actual Commanding Officer (and the Last), we thought the possibility to invite you for the ceremony, but after few seconds we realized that will be a simple and short ceremony with most of the former Commanding Officer. But I can ensure you will be present in the speech. 1995 was a very busy year for me, after the arrival to Valparaíso I was involved in the repair, navalize, and training of the crew and then we made two trips to the Antarctica at the end of this year, after that I was retired from the Navy. But never is so late for say THANKS YOU VERY MUCH. The useful and valuable help from your and your Service and also the friendly camaraderie of the Canadian Navy (especially Admiral JOHNSTON ) were very important factor for the successful result of my task. I will never forget when you obtain a life boat and said me: ¨Mario I got that boat for you , you can´t departure without one, it is my present¨. Remembrances.
Well John , I hope I will be less lazy the next time. I´ll send you some pictures of the ceremony, I promise. Perhaps, you would like to send a small message to be read during the ceremony, that will be very appreciate by the Commanding officer and for everyone, of course. Dear John , thank you again, I´ll be in touch.