One more of the lake craneships has been removed from service with the retirement of the WILLIAM H. DONNER, owned by the Bethlehem Steel Corp., and operated by Boland & Cornelius of Buffalo. We understand that the proposed sale of the 1914-built steamer, one of a vanishing breed of specialty carriers, to the Miller Compressing Co. of Milwaukee, has yet to be completed. It is believed that her running mate, CAMBRIA, will also be retired shortly.
The Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton & Co., has purchased the Interlake self-unloader, FRANK PURNELL (II). Built in 1943 for the U.S. Maritime Commission, the ship is the most widely travelled of all the vessels of her class having sailed previously as PILOT KNOB (II) and then as STEELTON (II) for the Bethlehem Steel Corp. She was involved in a very interesting deal when in 1965 she was traded by Bethlehem to Interlake in exchange for her sister ship, FRANK PURNELL (I). The two ships then exchanged names and the second PURNELL was converted to a self-unloader.
The Kinsman Marine Transit Co. has announced that the bulk carrier, WILLIAM J.OLCOTT, idle for ten years and now being refitted for service, will be renamed GEORGE E. SEEDHOUSE, in honour of a prominent Clevelander. She is due to re-enter service this year.
On February 11, Marine Salvage Ltd., of Port Colborne, purchased the veteran Canadian lakers MATHEWSTON (1922) and NIXON BERRY (1920) for scrapping. Both ships were owned by Scott Misener Steamships Ltd. The BERRY had sailed for a number of years as Tomlinson's MERTON E. FARR and was notable in being the last ship built by the Detroit Shipbuilding Co. at Wyandotte, Michigan. The MATHEWSTON started her life as a unit of the fleet of the Mathews Steamship Co., Toronto, and had only recently reverted to her original name, having been known in the interim as RALPH S. MISENER.
The 11,379-ton Liberian tanker, ARROW, was inbound with a cargo of bunker oil on February 4, 1970, when she ran aground in Cape Breton Island's Chedabucto Bay near the town of Arichat, Nova Scotia. Authorities became concerned over the spillage of oil and attempts were made to destroy the cargo. The tanker was later beset by heavy seas and broke in half on February 8th. The stern section was to be scuttled in deep water but the plan was ruined when the stern sank on the spot on February 12th. The bow soon followed suit. Plans to burn the spilled oil were hampered by the gluey consistency of the material in cold temperatures. Under charter to Imperial Oil at the time, the ARROW was a familiar visitor to the Toronto area and had been built in 1948 at Sparrows Point, Maryland.
Other oil problems have been in the news lately. Argument is still hot over who will pay for the recent removal of bunker oil from the salty NORDMEER lost in Lake Huron off Alpena in 1966. Meanwhile, observers are concerned over the possibility of bunkers leaking from the ocean ship MONROVIA, which was sunk in Lake Huron in a collision with the Misener steamer, ROYALTON, in 1959.
Three more old lakers have arrived safely at European scrapyards. The craneship BUCKEYE put in Santander, November 4th, 1969, while C. A. BENNETT and MIDLAND PRINCE arrived at Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, in June. Demolition on the latter two began on July 31st and August 29th respectively.
Delivered to Far Eastern Shipping, a subsidiary of Federal Commerce & Navigation, was the bulk carrier, FEDERAL MACKENZIE. She was completed by Osaka Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., December 1969. 1970 will be a big year for container traffic on the lakes if present indications are correct. Three large consortia are planning to exploit the possibilities with 21 ships. Medlakes Line will again have five ships here, while Tacline (Trans-Atlantic Lakes Line) will bring in MEDIA, SCOTIA, ORNEFJELL, MAKEFJELL, CLEVELAND and CHICAGO, as well as the new ROCHAMBEAU and SUFFREN. The Scanlake Line plans to use the TOPDALSFJORD, BYKLEFJELL, BLANKAHOLM, ODENSHOLM, VRETAHOLM, OCTAVIA and JENS JOST. It is interesting to note that very few of these ships are actually designed to carry containers despite recent shipbuilding trends.
The former McAllister-Pyke tug MATHILDA, built in 1899 at Sorel, and inoperative for several years, has been sold to J. P. McAllister of New York and has arrived at the latter port via the Erie Barge Canal and the Hudson River, It is understood that she may become part of the projected South Street Seaport Museum.
For the past thirteen years, the Wilson Marine Transit Co., Cleveland, has held a contract for the transportation of ore for the Republic Steel Corp. and for the management of the Republic fleet of lakers. The contract expires December 31st, 1971, however, and Republic is now negotiating with the Cleveland Cliffs Steamship Co. which seems likely to be the successful bidder. If the deal should be finalized, it would appear that Cliffs would take over the operation of Republic's vessels and that the future of the Wilson fleet would be in considerable doubt.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.