Another major accident of the fall season occurred on November 22nd, when the 56-year-old Cleveland-Cliffs steamer FRONTENAC, bound for the Reserve Mining Company dock for a load of taconite, missed the channel at the entrance to the harbour at Silver Bay. In heavy weather, and with a marker light extinguished, FRONTENAC went hard aground on a rocky shoal near Pellet Island, just inside the breakwater. The pounding caused cracks to open in the ship's bottom and side plating and she took on considerable water. Part of her crew was removed but later was allowed to return. FRONTENAC was refloated on November 24 and was taken to the dock at Silver Bay for inspection and temporary repair. She sailed for Duluth on November 29, making the trip under her own power but accompanied by her sistership PONTIAC and the tug PENINSULA. Once at Superior, she was examined by Fraser Shipyards crews and was found to be damaged beyond economical repair. It is to be assumed that she will be scrapped, but we understand that her engine may be removed for further use.
The high winds which struck the lakes during November played particular havoc with the large fleet of salties anchored off Port Weller, awaiting upbound passage through the Welland Canal. The Italian ANDORA was blown aground on November 16 but was soon released with little damage. Less fortunate was the Greek SARONIC SEA, which dragged her hook on November 16 and wound up hard aground on a shale ledge some 400 feet off the foot of Geneva Street, St. Catharines. She was in such shallow water that tugs were having difficulties getting close enough to attempt salvage, and this situation was worsened when the ship's own misguided efforts to free herself resulted in her being pushed even further towards shore. She was still hard aground on December 2, with ground tackle being rigged in a last-ditch effort to free the boat in time for her to leave the lakes before the closing of the canals. Some of her crew had been sent home after certain unpleasantness aboard required the attendance of the constabulary. We rather suspect that SARONIC SEA will be spending the winter ashore.
The autumn of 1979 has not been kind to the Soo River Company. Not only did PIERSON INDEPENDENT come to grief in the St. Lawrence, but PIERSON DAUGHTERS and the Yugoslav freighter JABLANICA collided on the river near Alexandria Bay, N.Y., on November 25. The DAUGHTERS suffered minor bow damage, but the salty was more seriously wounded and was grounded on Broadway Shoal, blocking traffic in the process. JABLANICA lost some fuel in the accident and a boom was placed around her. None of the persons aboard either ship sustained injury.
An unusual visitor to Wallaceburg was the Q & O motorship FRANQUELIN (II), which arrived on November 15 to load corn for Prescott. The needs of the St. Clair Grain and Feed terminal are normally served by the Paterson canaller TROISDOC (III), but a backlog of corn to be shipped and the need to find out how much dredging will be necessary to keep open the channel to Wallaceburg, prompted FRANQUELIN's call. She was assisted up and down the river by the Sandrin Bros. tug GLENADA out of Sarnia. The local press described FRANQUELIN as the largest boat ever to visit Wallaceburg, but this is not so. It is thought that this record properly belongs to the late Columbia Transportation self-unloader BEN E. TATE.
On November 1, the upperworks of the Great Lakes Towing Company's tug AMERICA were destroyed by fire whilst the tug lay at Detroit. AMERICA has since been taken to the company's Cleveland yard, but there are no immediate plans to refit her. AMERICA is older than many observers realize, for she was built back in 1897. She took on her present appearance in a 1950 reconstruction.
The hull of the 1897-built sandsucker and former passenger boat S. M. DOUGLAS, (a) WHITE STAR (49) , last operated by the Simpson Sand Company Ltd., has recently been used as a breakwater by the yacht club at Brockville, Ontario. During the autumn, the hull was raised, having been purchased by an R. Mcintosh. Early on November 13, she was taken in tow by two local tugs and was moved to Ivy Lea. It is not yet clear whether she will be broken up or, perhaps, used as a breakwater in the Kingston area. The hull is said to be in very good condition despite its advanced age.
Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. has ordered from Collingwood Shipyards a 730-foot self-unloader with full deep-sea capabilities and special ice-navigation equipment. The keel of the $34-million vessel will be laid in October of 1980 and she is to be delivered to C.S.L. late in 1981.
Late information indicates that GEORGE D. GOBLE is to arrive at Hamilton on December 12 for the winter, laying up without storage cargo. Much work is to be done on her during the winter. There are, however, no immediate plans to convert her to oil fuel and she will, therefore, be the only coal-fired laker operating under the Canadian flag in 1980.
The end has come for the 3179-ton passenger and freight motorship FEDERAL PALM which was built in 1961 by Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. Along with her Vickers-built sistership, FEDERAL MAPLE, the PALM was presented by the Canadian government to the British West Indies Federation for Caribbean service. In 1972, she was sold to the Nauru government and was renamed CENPAC ROUNDER for South Pacific service. During the night of March 27-28, she was caught in Cyclone Meli and was driven ashore on Votualailai reef near Western Samoa. She was refloated on April 27 but was damaged beyond economical repair. Accordingly, she was sold to the Yuham Sangsa Company for scrapping; clearing Nauru on May 16, she was scheduled to arrive at Busan on June 6.
Scrapping of the U.S. Steel steamer WILLIAM P. PALMER had progressed to the mid-point at the Hyman-Michaels yard, Duluth, by mid-November. Next in line to be scrapped is the venerable but beautiful JAMES A. FARRELL, once flagship of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company. Other tinstackers being dismantled are WILLIAM B. SCHILLER, RICHARD TRIMBLE and PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.