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HMS Providence

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For other uses, see Providence (disambiguation)
Hms providence sailing
Career information
Port of registry

London, England


King George II


Hector Barbossa

Notable crewmembers

Crew of the HMS Providence


Sunk in 1750 by mermaids off of Whitecap Bay[1]

Technical information

Square-Rigged Barque[3]


9 knots[3]


36 cannons[2]


British Royal Navy

Behind the scenes
First appearance

On Stranger Tides

Last appearance

On Stranger Tides


Sunk by mermaids[1]


HMS Surprise

"I'm on a tight schedule, Gibbs. The HMS Providence sets sail at first light, and if you do not care to watch it hanging here dead with a mouthful of flies...speak now."
Hector Barbossa to Joshamee Gibbs[src]

The HMS Providence was a three-masted ship-of-war in the British Royal Navy serving under King George II, most notably under the command of pirate turned privateer, Captain Hector Barbossa. With its oversized Union Jack billowing in the breeze, the Providence was the pride of the King's fleet.

Built for battle, square-rigged for speed, and equipped for long tours of duty, there was no frigate better prepared or commissioned into His Majesty's service. Although the ship's main purpose was to patrol the seas and eradicate piracy, the Providence was most notably used during the perilous quest for the Fountain of Youth. With the help of navigator Joshamee Gibbs, Captain Barbossa led his crew to provide he most formidable task force His Majesty could assemble as this worthy vessel sailed forth on its quest without fear. Throughout the voyage to find the Fountain, the Providence encountered the Spanish Armada through the Atlantic Ocean and sailed to the mysterious Whitecap Bay, where she met her end at the webbed hands of the mermaids who lived there.


Early use

It is unknown when the Providence was built, but she would eventually serve the British Royal Navy as the pride of King George II's fleet.[4] It probably recieved this title after the loss of the Royal Navy's prized flagship, the HMS Dauntless, in a hurricane. The Providence's usual job was to patrol the seas, searching for pirates to eradicate.[5] The Providence was most notably under the command of Hector Barbossa, an ex-pirate who had received a Royal Pardon and became a privateer in the King's court. After that, the Providence was ruled with an iron fist, with no rum, no smoking, and no uncouth songs.[4]

Quest for the Fountain of Youth


The Providence in pursuit of the Fountain of Youth.

King George II would be given a report from his ministers that King Ferdinand of Spain had located the Fountain of Youth. In an attempt to solve the issue of finding the Fountain, the King and the Royal Navy tried to enlist help from the notorious pirate Jack Sparrow, who had knowledge of the route to the Fountain.[6] After the elusive pirate escaped St. James's Palace, the reformed pirate and privateer Hector Barbossa was sent to find the Fountain in the King's behalf. Barbossa was given a formidable crew for the Providence, including officers Theodore Groves and Gillette. As he knew the route to the Fountain of Youth, Joshamee Gibbs was forced to come aboard the Providence as well, serving as the navigator during the voyage.[1]

Spanish encounter

"The Fountain is the prize. It appears we be not even worth the time it take to sink us. Now, we've fallen behind! All hands! Make more sail!"
"All hands! More sail!"
"Ride hard between wind and tide!
Hector Barbossa and Theodore Groves[src]

As the voyage progressed, Barbossa needed a heading from Gibbs, who was brought to the helm. After looking through the ship's maps and charts, Gibbs was sure they were on the right course, as he saw three galleons of the Spanish Armada on the horizon, following them from a distance. Knowing that they were led by the Spaniard, Barbossa ordered the crew of the Providence to get into battle stations. But before they could fire, the Spanish galleons simply passed by the Providence without fire, bewildering Barbossa's officers. Barbossa deduced that the objective to find the Fountain was why the Spanish didn't attack, and that they weren't worth the time it'd take to attack and sink them. Barbossa was determined more than ever to reach their destination.[1]

Whitecap Bay

"Aye! Hands all off, and bear away! Stave on ahead to Whitecap Bay!"
Hector Barbossa to his crew[src]

While the Providence was slashing through the waves on a course for the Spanish Main, the crew spread rumors about their destination. Holding a silver plate bearing finely sliced apples, Barbossa enjoyed a repast on the poop deck of the Providence before Groves stood by to inform him of the crew's complaints. Seeing that the crew, including Gibbs, were so eager for this knowledge, Barbossa revealed their immediate course: Whitecap Bay, perilous waters where mermaids have gathered. The crew started to fear the worst, even leading one of its members to jump overboard and start swimming to a distant island on the horizon. However, Barbossa managed to inspire confidence into the men by asking if they were King's men. And so the Providence set sail for Whitecap Bay.[1]


The Providence attacked by mermaids at Whitecap Bay.

The HMS Providence arrived to Whitecap Bay. As a storm erupted, Barbossa brought a team ashore, consisting of a handful of men, including Groves, Gillette, and Joshamee Gibbs. While Barbossa's men found remains of deceased mermaids, they became aware of screams and shrieks from the water: the Providence was under attack by the surviving mermaids from the previous night. Concerned for the men aboard, many of whom were being plucked off the ship itself by the mermaids seaweed ropes, Groves urged Barbossa to help them, but Barbossa denied the idea. Leaving Barbossa and the remaining crew to watch, the Providence soon fell to its attackers and sunk beneath the waters.[1]

With the Providence ultimately destroyed, the crew was without a ship. Nonetheless, Gibbs was able to lead the crew to their next heading, thereby continuing their journey through dense jungle.[1]

Design and appearance

The HMS Providence was a three-masted frigate class vessel,[7] captained by Hector Barbossa. With its outsized Union Jack billowing in the breeze, there was no ship better prepared to take on sanctioned missions for King George II. Sleek, clean, and professional, a proud vessel of the Royal Navy,[2] the Providence was the pride of the King's fleet.[4] The secret files of British Prime Minister Henry Pelham revealed his analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of his own force—and its pirate foe—most notably during the race toward the Fountain of Youth. The Providence had the advantage on paper, but there were supernatural factors to be taken into account when it came to Blackbeard's world-renowned vessel, the Queen Anne's Revenge.[3]

Built for battle, square-rigged for speed, and equipped for long tours of duty,[4] the Providence was the best vessel in the British fleet. With the Navy's strongest officers on board, it was reputed to be nigh unbeatable.[3] The Providence had a furled jib on the bowsprit. The crow's nest afforded a view of the horizon twice as far as can be glimpsed on deck. On the back of the Providence, there was a seven-windowed Great Cabin that afforded Barbossa a view of the seas. It was within this cabin that Barbossa had secret naval charts safely stowed there.[4]

The Providence was heavily armed, carrying dozens of twelve-pound cannons and six swivel guns. The Providence had two stern chasers below the captain's cabin,[8] but no cannons on the bow, leaving her at a disadvantage during a pursuit. However, her armament was sizable enough that Hector Barbossa didn't hesitate to order his crew to prepare for battle against the three Spanish galleons, though he was heavily outnumbered.[1]

Behind the scenes

  • The HMS Providence was portrayed by the HMS Surprise in On Stranger Tides. The Surprise was a ship replica of the HMS Rose.[9]
  • Originally, the name for the Providence was to be the Perseverate. This was to be a homage to the dangers of shooting sequels, which On Stranger Tides was, as the fourth film in the Pirates series.[10]
  • The small White Ensign displayed on the longboats of the Providence implies that the ship belongs to the White Squadron of the Royal Navy. However, the ship flows the big Union Jack from the peak of the gaff, instead of the big White Ensign.
  • The version of the Union Jack used for the HMS Providence wasn't invented before the beginning of the 19th century, at least fifty years after the events of On Stranger Tides.
  • In LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game, the Providence appeared in only one scene, where the mermaids sink the Providence immediately after Hector Barbossa and Joshamee Gibbs arrived onshore.
  • A Royal Navy ship remarkably similar to the Providence appears in the trailer for the video game Port Royale 3.[11]


The Pirates of the Caribbean wiki has a collection of images and media related to HMS Providence.


Notes and references

British Royal Navy ships in Pirates of the Caribbean
Royal Navy ships
AlbionHMS AchillesHMS AdventureBattle-RoyaleBastionHMS BlazerBritish galleonBritish warshipBulwarkCenturionHMS CenturyColossusHMS CometHMS DauntlessHMS DiamondDreadnoughtEliteHMS EndeavourEn-GardeFerretHMS GoliathGreyhoundHMS HoundHMS HyenaHMS InterceptorHMS InvincibleKingfisherLawrence Norrington's shipMan O' WarMonarchMourning StarHMS NewcastlePantherHMS PeregrineHMS PhoenixPredatorPride of LondonHMS ProvidenceHMS RavenHMS ResistanceHMS RoseHMS SuccessTimothyTally-hoHMS TrepasseyVanguardHMS VictorHMS VictoryHMS Belette

vdeCrew of the HMS Providence
Captain: Hector Barbossa
HMS Providence
Lieutenant Commander Theodore GrovesLieutenant GilletteJoshamee GibbsProvidence Sailor

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