Forgotten fisherman to be remembered

Archival Moment

August 15, 2014

Public invited to attend event.

Youth to participate

frota branca2The Commanding Officer of the Portuguese, Naval Ocean Patrol vessel, NRP Viana De Castello has confirmed that it will be docking in St. John’s on Friday, August 15th and the  crew will lay a memorial wreath in Mt. Carmel Cemetery, St. John’s at the unmarked grave of White Fleet fisherman, Dionisiv Esteves.

The wreath laying ceremony will take place on Friday morning, August 15 at 11:00 a.m. The short ceremony, will take place in Mount Carmel Cemetery located at Kennas Hill and the Boulevard.

Dionisiv Esteves, died during the 1966 fishing campaign while unloading his daily catch of codfish. He was crushed between his swamped dory and the steel hull of the fishing vessel Santa Maria Manuela. His unmarked grave site, which was discovered, (three years ago) has come to symbolize all those Portuguese fishermen who lost their lives fishing on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Since the grave was discovered the daughter of Dionisiv Esteves has come forward to learn more about the father that she never met. His brother, Fernando Esteves has also come forward to make inquiries about the resting place of his brother.

Portuguese Grave 034This year Captain Teixeira of the Viana De Castello will be assigning 21 military personnel for the Mt Carmel wreath laying ceremony. For the first time thirteen Portuguese naval academy cadets will be present at the ceremony.

Jean Pierre Andrieux  said that “including the youth in the ceremony is an attempt to impress on them the long association of the people of Newfoundland with the ‘White Fleet.”

Immediately following this ceremony, a short visit to the Fatima Grotto at the Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist will take place. The Statue of the Lady of Fatima was a gift to the people of St. John’s from the Portuguese White Fleet fishermen in 1955. This was traditionally the altar that the Portuguese fishermen of the ‘White Fleet’ prayed at before they left the port of St. John’s to return to the Grand banks and eventually home.

The Viana De Castello is part of a fisheries inspection mission in the NAFO zone off the Grand Banks. The vessel I will remain in port until August 17.

Commanding Officer Rui Teixeira invites the public to attend these ceremonies as well as an Open House on the vessel from 2 pm to 5 pm on Saturday. The vessel will be docked at Pier 8.

Local businessman and author, Jean Pierre Andrieux is spearheading a financial campaign to raise funds to erect a memorial at the grave site of Esteves that would also serve to remember all Portuguese fishermen who lost their lives fishing in Newfoundland waters.

The wreath laying ceremony is open to the public. Those attending are encouraged to use the Kenna’s Hill entrance to the cemetery.

For further information contact Jean Pierre Andrieux @ or 753-7277 (home) or 687-6429 (cell).