Dexter Filming Locations: Cargo Ship: The Fearless

DEXTER Filming Locations - hundreds of actual places where the TV show Dexter was filmed.

The location: Cargo Ship: The Fearless

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A cargo ship named the Fearless.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. At the Miami port, Pier 18, northwest corridor.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 9, of Season 7, "Helter Skelter".

    A mob assassin, Benjamin Caffrey, is trying to find & kill Isaak, so he starts following Dexter, in hope that he will lead him to Isaak.

    Dexter, who is cooperating with Isaak (because he's holding Hannah hostage), spots the man, and phones Isaak.  Isaak tells him to lead him to the Fearless, where he'll be waiting.

    Caffrey follows him to the ship, and is about to attack Dexter with a knife, when Isaak appears on an upper deck, with a gun, and shoots the assassin several times in the chest.

    Dexter & Isaak agree to put an end to their hostility.

    As Dexter is washing the blood from the deck, Isaak walks away and runs right into George, his employee at the Fox Hole, the man who convinced the mob to kill Isaak.  He shoots Isaak in the stomach.

    He is about to shoot him in the head, when he hears Dexter coming, and leaves.

    Dexter rushes to Isaak, but it's too late. Isaak knows he is dying, and doesn't survive the trip back to shore.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A trawler, at a dock.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This scene was shot on Pier D in the Long Beach Harbor, aboard a decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, originally named the Sorrel.

    The Sorrel was built in 1942, one of 13 "A"-Class 180-foot tenders built during World War II.

After the war, the Sorrel
operated out of Boston as an icebreaker, buoy tender and Search & Rescue ship, then went to Alaska in 1954.

In 1976, they brought it back to New England for some updates & renovations (which changed its appearance), and it worked New York waters until it was decommissioned in 1996.

The Sorrel was sold to a private owner, and was renamed the SS Reliance
. It was operated as a training ship for young people by the Sea Scouts, out of Stockton, CA.

Apparently, the Scouts eventually sold it, and it has now been renamed the Fearless, owned by Seaway Marine and based at the L.A./L.B. harbor.

According to their website, the Fearless "provides services for national & international shipping, relief transportation efforts and salvage".

It has appeared in other TV shows as well, including "Bones", "Jag" and "The Event".

    During the Dexter shoot, in August 2012, it was docked on the east side of the harbor channel that runs under the Gerald Desmond Bridge (Ocean Avenue), and was just south of that bridge.

In the screencap below, the camera is facing north/northwest,
and you can see the Desmond bridge in the background.

Here is an aerial photo of the Pier D dock location.  And here is a map link.

    The dock isn't far from the Queen's Wharf restaurant seen earlier in the same episode.  And it's less than two miles southeast of the Coral Cove marina where they filmed LaGuerta talking to the harbor master.

    However, earlier (undated) Bing aerial photos show the Fearless docked at the nearby Pier C:

    The initial driving scene (of Caffrey driving into the port) was shot on the Pier (D) to the east of the ship.
    In the screencap below, the car is headed west on El Embarcadero Street, approaching Pier D Avenue West.

    This Google StreetView matches the scene (except for the large ship seen on the horizon).

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A.  The initial tip came from Rick, who let me know that they were filming aboard a ship down near Pier D.

    After the episode aired, I got an email from a fan, Todd Milyard, who told me that the ship appeared to be a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, and sent me this photo of a similar ship.  The resemblance was striking.

    But I needed to find out which of the 180-foot 39 Coast Guard Cutters it was.

    I emailed Scott Price, a Deputy Historian at the U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, sent him screencaps of the ship taken from Episode 9, on the longshot chance that he might be able to identify it.

    Scott confirmed that it was definitely a US Coast Guard buoy tender, 180 class, and he pointed me to a post on a website that said that the Sorrel has been used in a  recent Starbucks TV commercial, and which also reported that the Sorrel had been renamed the SS Reliance.

    When I attempted to track down that Sea Scouts ship, I learned that it has been sold again, and found at least one mention of a ship actually named the Fearless.  Even more Googling ensued, until I eventually found a post from someone with the username "BuoyJumper", who stated that the Fearless was owned by Seaway Marine.

    I then started Googling for "Seaway Marine", and eventually turned up their website, which gave me the story.

    You can read more about the history of the Sorrel (and Coast Guard buoy tenders in general) here.

    ( Thanks to everyone who helped: Rick, Todd, Scott and "Buoy Jumper"Thanks guys! )

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