Portuguese Navy honours late sailor

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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Unmarked grave in St. John’s holds remains of fisherman

Members of the Portuguese Navy were in St. John’s on Friday to honour the life of a Portuguese sailor who lost his life at sea on the Grand Banks almost 50 years ago.

The unmarked grave of Dionisio Esteves is located in the Mount Carmel Cemetery. He died while fishing aboard the Santa Maria Manuela in 1966, a tall ship schooner that was also a member of the Portuguese White Fleet of fishing vessels.

A brief remembrance service was held Friday morning by Esteves’ burial plot. Thirteen crewmembers from the Portuguese Navy vessel Antonio Enes were on hand for the service.

“They die here and never return home,” said Portuguese Navy Cmdr. Nuno Rodrigues. “We have strange feelings about people that lose their lives at sea, because we are always at sea. We have much respect for the ones that lost their life at sea.”

The link between Newfoundland and Labrador and Portugal dates back centuries, largely relating to fishing activities. The Santa Maria Manuela visited St. John’s in May 2011 for the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate more than 400 years of Portuguese visits to the island.

According to Jean Pierre Andrieux of the Spanish Vice-Consulate in St. John’s, plans are being made to raise funds to erect a monument to honour Portuguese fish harvesters who have lost their lives at sea.

Antonio Enes is currently involved in a fisheries-related mission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization and is in St. John’s to restock supplies. It arrived in St. John’s Friday morning and is schedule to stay in the city for two days.

Rodrigues and his fellow Navy members were also scheduled Friday to visit the Basilica of St. John the Baptist to see the Our Lady of Fatima statue. The Portuguese government donated the statue to the Basilica in 1955 to honour its 100th anniversary. It has since become an attraction for people of faith visiting Newfoundland from Portugal.

arobinson@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TeleAndrew

Organizations: Portuguese Navy, Portuguese White Fleet, Spanish Vice-Consulate Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Portugal

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  • Sid Patricio
    August 18, 2013 - 23:45

    What a coincidence that I should stumble upon this article on the exact one year anniversary of this event. In March of 2011 I traveled to St. Johns, Newfoundland to try and locate the grave site of Dionisio Esteves, Portuguese cod fisherman and crew member of the Santa Maria Manuela who perished in 1966. I contacted the office of burial records at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist and was told that the Mount Carmel cemetery burial records of that time period were destroyed in a fire. Watching the cemetery scene in the White Ship video several times and using Google earth I was able to locate the exact cemetery, Mount Carmel Cemetery, as the burial ground where Dionisio was laid to rest. Using still images captured from the video, The White Ship, I was able to locate the exact grave site where Dionisio Esteves is buried. Photos of Mount Carmel Cemetery visit. www.flickr.com/photos/23978729@N02/sets/72157626562127650/detail/ The White Ship Video www.patricioclan.org/video/whiteship.html

  • Fatima
    August 18, 2012 - 15:26

    Too bad I do not see a Catholic Priest in the pictures. They should be such wonderful Catholic people as shown by the White Fleet's gift of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the Basilica. Maybe this fisherman was in the crowd at that time. They have a special place in the hearts of Our Lord and Our Lady. Lets hope they invovle the Catholic Church in future celebrations.

  • Casey
    August 18, 2012 - 07:55

    'Antonio Enes is currently involved in a fisheries-related mission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization and is in St. John’s to restock supplies. It arrived in St. John’s Friday morning and is schedule to stay in the city for two days'. In other words to hell with NL's fishery, NAFO is going to do what it wants, and Ottawa lets it happen.