Two-way vessel traffic returned to the upper reaches of the St. Clair River on September 26th when the partially raised bow section of the SIDNEY E. SMITH JR. (II) was secured to the American shore of the river. The bow still had a severe list to the starboard, however, and looked rather precarious. As with the stern section which was floated some time ago, workmen have been engaged in cutting away the superstructure which was, as might be imagined, in rather poor condition due to its summer beneath the swift waters of the Narrows. The stern section, on which bids for removal and scrapping have been asked, is currently moored above the bow and is secured to the lower end of the Peerless Cement Company dock. The Coast Guard is still discouraging vessels from passing oncoming traffic in the area of the wreck and vessels approaching the Blue Water Bridge must make appropriate Security Calls on the radio when upbound near the Traffic Buoy and when downbound at various buoys in Lake Huron.
The package freight operations of Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. have now been at a standstill for a number of weeks as a result of strike action by the company's cargo handlers who are seeking wages comparable to those paid at other docks to ordinary stevedores. The company has stated that it could not remain in operation if wages for handlers were that high and the argument has become deadlocked. In recent days, C.S.L. has been circulating word that it will abandon the service entirely if a settlement is not forthcoming in the near future. Meanwhile, shippers are becoming concerned over their goods which are marooned in C.S.L. warehouses beyond the picket lines and in the holds of the company's vessels laid up in various ports.
The Algoma Central Railway's self-unloader ALGORAIL encountered misfortune on October 6th when heavy winds blew her against the breakwater at Holland, Michigan, where she was to unload a cargo of salt from Goderich. The motorship sustained a fourteen foot gash in her side and settled to the bottom in shallow water. She was soon raised, unloaded, and sent off for repairs.
Another accident occurred on October 1st when the U.S. Steel ore carrier PHILIP R. CLARKE, downbound in the Seaway on her only such trip of the season, struck an unknown obstruction below the Snell Lock. She unloaded her cargo of grain at Montreal and went to the yard of Canadian Vickers Ltd. where her crew was paid off for a month to allow for extensive repairs.
Salvage work is underway on the small steel goelette VOYAGEUR D. which was sunk earlier in the year near St. Irenee, Quebec. The operation is being undertaken by Atlantic Salvage Ltd. and we understand that much of the cargo of aluminum has already been brought to the surface. VOYAGEUR D. was a visitor to the lakes during the 1971 shipping season.
The barge ALFRED KRUPP, used recently as a breakwater in the Hydro Electric Pumped Storage Project at Ludington, Michigan, was raised during the month of August. She was towed to Kewaunee, Wisconsin, on September l4th by the tug JOHN ROEN V. We understand that the barge appears to be in good shape. ALFRED KRUPP was latterly a unit of the fleet of the Mohawk Navigation Company Ltd., Montreal, and last operated about 1960, after which she was used for grain storage at Owen Sound. She was sold for use in the Lake Michigan "breakwater fleet" in 1967.
It appears that the Escanaba Towing Company's barge WILTRANCO has run into some more bad luck. We understand that she snagged the SMITH wreck buoy in the St. Clair River on two occasions during the latter part of the season and that she ran foul of a dock at Marine City, Michigan. In addition, her tug LEE REUBEN suffered an engine failure at the Soo during September and one of the barge's crew members was killed in a Blue Water Bridge unless she has two tugs. Visions of WILTRANCO high and dry some day in Port Huron's Pine Grove Park .........
The scrapping of THORO, (a) CARMI A. THOMPSON, (b) THOROLD (III), at Ramey's Bend on the Welland Canal is progressing at an unusually fast rate. As of October 21st, only about one quarter of her tank top was left and the side plating was cut right back to forward of the stern cabins. She will undoubtedly disappear entirely in short order. Meanwhile, THOROLD IV, (a) GOSFORTH, is in service on the lakes. We have yet to hear any recurrence of the report which made the rounds earlier in the year to the effect that Q & O was considering dropping further tonnage at the close of this year's navigation season. Mentioned as candidates for the retirement ranks were OUTARDE and the rather elderly motorships (ex barges) BLACK RIVER and PIC RIVER.
If Canada's Liberal federal government is returned to office in this fall's elections it appears that we may see some drastic changes in the shape of the Toronto Waterfront. On a recent visit to our city, Prime Minister Trudeau announced, presumably as an election plum, plans to redevelop the waterfront from York Street west to Bathurst Street as a park. City politicians were caught with their pants down on this one as they apparently had no inkling of what was planned. If the development is carried out, picnickers may well be able to look forward to eating their lunches in close proximity to the crystal clear waters of picturesque Toronto Bay on land currently occupied by the facilities of, amongst others, the Terminal Warehouse, Toronto Elevators, the Metro Marine Yard, the Canada Malting Company, Harbour Brick, and the former site of our late, lamented baseball stadium. It will be interesting to see whether the companies named, all of which engage in lake shipping, will relocate elsewhere on the waterfront.
UHLMANN BROTHERS, currently the "grand old lady" of the Kinsman Marine Transit Company's fleet, ran into a spot of trouble on September 21st. While in Lake Superior near Eagle Harbor, Michigan, she was caught in the trough of a heavy sea which was running and sent out a call for help. A number of vessels, including ELTON HOYT 2nd, stood by but UHLMANN BROTHERS managed to fight her way out of the trough and continued her voyage.
The second major collision of the 1972 season occurred about 11:00 a.m. on October 5th when the Bethlehem Steel Corporation's bulk carrier ARTHUR B. HOMER was struck head-on by the Greek salty NAVISHIPPER near Buoy 83 in the Fighting Island Channel of the Detroit River. It was subsequently learned that the salty had missed a turn in the channel and it was while her skipper was trying to correct the error that she strayed into the path of the downbound laker. It seems that the U.S. Coast Guard was waiting to serve NAVISHIPPER with a notice of violation for not carrying a pilot, but the accident occurred before the U.S.C.G. could board the vessel. The ship had sailed from Toledo with no pilot as a result of a longshoremen's strike at that port. The fine for such a violation is the ridiculously low sum of $500. The NAVISHIPPER was riding high in the water at the time of the collision and she opened a large gaping hole in the bow of the HOMER. The latter's forward cabins were pushed backward by the flaring bow of the Greek. The HOMER was subsequently unloaded at Detroit and proceeded under tow to Lorain where repairs, estimated at something in the area of $750,000, are being completed by the American Shipbuilding Company.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.