January 14, 1995
An icebreaker that had been in service with the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) for more than a quarter-century officially became part of the Chilean Navy’s fleet. This vessel was constructed by Canadian Vickers Limited at its shipyard in Montreal and acquired by the CCG in 1969. The vessel’s original name was CCGS Norman McLeod Rogers. Norman McLeod Rogers (1894-1940) was a public official who served as a member of the Parliament of Canada. He was also minister of labor and then minister of national defense during the administration of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.
Along with operating as an icebreaker, CCGS Norman McLeod Rogers was used by the CCG to help monitor and maintain large buoys that had increasingly replaced lightships as navigational aids in Canadian waters. After being acquired by the Chilean Navy towards the end of 1994, CCGS Norman McLeod Rogers was renamed Almirante (Admiral) Óscar Viel. Counter Admiral (Contraalmirante) Óscar Viel Toro (1837-1892) was a Chilean hero who served as commander of the country’s naval forces from 1881 to 1883 and again in 1891. (“Counter admiral” is equivalent to the rank of “rear admiral” in the navies of English-speaking countries.)
As part of the Chilean Navy, the Almirante Óscar Viel has been primarily used as a patrol and survey ship in the Antarctic region. Measuring 294.9 feet (89.9 meters) in length, this vessel remains in service today.
For more information on the Almirante Óscar Viel (formerly CCGS Norman McLeod Rogers), please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilean_icebreaker_Almirante_Óscar_Viel.