On April 14, 2012 HMCS Ville de Québec was on the site of the Titanic sinking exactly 100 years after Titanic struck an iceberg, to pay respects to those who were lost at sea. At the exact moment of the anniversary that Titanic struck the iceberg, HMCS Ville de Québec was in position directly above the wreckage. The weather conditions and sea state were similar to those one hundred years earlier. Cdr Yves Germain, Commanding Officer, was present on the bridge to represent the Royal Canadian Navy as the ship marked a page of nautical history. The honour fell to Lt(N) Nikita Kovaloff, Officer of the Watch, to describe the circumstances of the sinking to all present. A minute of silence was then observed in tribute.
The next morning, the anniversary of the sinking itself, the ship’s company fell in on the flight deck to participate in a formal memorial service directly above Titanic’s final resting place. Lt(N) the Rev. Tim Parker, Ship’s Chaplain, officiated and LCdr Jean Couillard, Executive Officer, served as Parade Commander. Cdr Germain addressed the sailors, describing how the Titanic tragedy still has a significant influence on seamanship today. The Captain had earlier ordered a barrel full of seawater brought aboard the ship and said, “As a sign of solidarity with the passengers and crew of Titanic who found themselves in the water, I invite you to put your hand in the freezing water in the barrel on the quarter deck for a minute at the end of the ceremony. The temperature of the water will be nearly zero degrees; similar to that night 100 years ago. It is recorded that only 13 people who fell in the water survived. ” The Padre read aloud all the names of those Canadians known to have died while the ship’s bell rang and then read aloud the names of those who survived and told several of their life stories. He offered prayers on behalf of all and encouraged the crew to remember that “This ship is our life,” and to reflect on their understanding of life and death. He blessed the memorial wreath of fresh flowers which was then piped into the sea and saluted by the Captain and the Coxswain, CPO1 Michel Vigneault. When the memorial service ended, the ship’s company took turns placing their hands in the freezing water for several minutes and then returned to their duties protecting Canadian interests on the ocean.