Thursday, August 19, 2010

Salem Maritime mourns loss of beloved Friendship Captain

At Salem Maritime National Historic Site, the replica tall ship Friendship’s lower yards are tilted, or “cockbilled,” and a black streamer is flying from her mainmast in a traditional form of shipboard mourning.

Captain James Fox, the beloved captain of Friendship, died on August 17, 2010, following a battle with cancer. He will be missed by all the National Park Service staff and volunteers who worked with him since Friendship first arrived in Salem.

“Captain Fox was one of the first and most passionate supporters of getting Friendship to the national park in Salem," said Salem Maritime Superintendent Patricia Trap. “He signed on as a volunteer to captain the ship to Salem in 1998, and from then on devoted thousands of hours to be sure that the ship safely fulfilled her mission as a floating ambassador for the National Park Service, the Essex National Heritage Area, and the City of Salem.”

Captain Fox was instrumental in getting Friendship through her U.S. Coast Guard Certification requirements to allow passengers to sail on the ship. “With Captain Fox’s leadership, we are now ready to embark on a new chapter in Friendship’s history—developing a sailing program for the general public,” stated Trap. “We will miss him.”

n his memory, a plaque with the names of the captains of the original and the modern day Friendship will be placed on board the ship that he helped to bring to life. "Wherever Friendship sails from now on, he will always be with us," said Colleen Bruce, Chief of Marine and Special Programs at Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

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Our thoughts and condolences go out to Captain Fox's family, his friends, and the volunteers and staff at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

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The image above, taken by Leighton O'Connor, shows the Friendship with its masts tilted in the sunset on Wednesday night.

For more information on the tall ship Friendship, visit

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