As usual, the Kinsman Marine Transit Company of Cleveland is in the news again. This time it is as a result of the commissioning of another unit for the fleet. The former Interlake freighter, E.A.S. CLARKE, has entered service as the KINSMAN VOYAGER after being refitted at Lorain, Ohio. The ship had been inactive for the better part of a decade.
Usually we are quite pleased when a new laker enters service but, in the case of the newest unit of the Cleveland Tankers fleet, we are not so sure. A previous issue of this newsletter reported the launch of the tank barge PHOENIX. Now we must say that her appearance is not particularly striking since she is little more than an overgrown barge-canal tank barge. Nevertheless, she is the largest carrier in the Cleveland Tankers fleet, and is undoubtedly most economical to operate. Pushed by the tug JAMES TURECAMO, her first voyage into the Lakes brought her to the Sunoco Dock in Toronto where she arrived on May 4th.
The sale of the craneship WILLIAM H. DONNER to Miller Compressing Company of Milwaukee, was completed in April and on the 25th of the month, she arrived at the Lake Michigan port under tow of the Roen tug JOHN PURVES. She will be operated as a barge, still with her own cranes, and will be used to complete the loading of salt water vessels.
The U. S. House of Representatives has passed a bill designating the Great Lakes as the fourth seacoast. The effect of this legislation is that federal operating and construction subsidies will be available to U. S. lake fleets operating in foreign trade. Lake vessel owners will be permitted to establish a tax-deferred reserve fund for new construction and for the rebuilding of older carriers.
Many of our readers will be pleased to hear that the veteran Upper Lakes Shipping steamer MAUNALOA II will be with us for some time to come. She was up for survey in June; however, her owners received permission to operate her for a further period believed to extend into the 1971 season. We trust that business conditions will remain such as to warrant her further service. The MAUNALOA II is the last existing unit of the old Minnesota Steamship Company, Duluth, for whom she was built in 1899.
The Upper Lakes Shipping bulk carrier, RIDGETOWN, as well as the Kinsman vessels, LACKAWANNA and KINSMAN VENTURE, has been purchased by Canadian Dredge and Dock Co., for use as a breakwater in connection with the construction of the slip at the new Ontario Hydro plant at Nanticoke on Lake Erie. RIDGETOWN cleared Toronto under tow on June 1st and was subsequently loaded with stone at Port Colborne. Within the month, all three ships were placed in position end to end across the mouth of the new harbour. It is understood that the ships will be raised and sold for scrapping at such time as the construction is completed.
On May 15th, George M. Steinbrenner announced that Campbell W. Elliott, 56, senior Vice-President - Administration of the Midland-Ross Corp., had been elected President and Chief Operating Officer of the American Shipbuilding Company, effective June 1st.
The Neebish Rock Cut has always been known as one of the more dangerous channels in the Lakes system and on May 24th it was the scene of another mishap. The Columbia craneship W. C. RICHARDSON, downbound with slag from the Algoma Steel plant at the Soo for Lackawanna, failed to negotiate the turn at the upper entrance to the Cut and went ashore, suffering bow damage. Temporary repairs were completed at DeTour.
A new addition to the scenery at Ramey's Bend on the Welland Canal in May was the large tug TRIDENT STAR, now owned by Marine Salvage Limited. Steam powered, 158 ft. long and built in 1904 at Camden, N. J., she previously bore the names LENAPE, E. E. JOHNSON (II) and GOOD NEWS. Under the latter name, she spent considerable time idle at Hamilton and Toronto in the early 1960's.
The Gartland Steamship Company's bulk carrier, HENRY R. PLATT JR. (II), which became part of the Boland & Cornelius fleet in 1969, has been sold to Transworld Steel Corp. of Panama for scrapping. At present laid up in Cleveland, she did not operate for BoCo.
Speaking of Boland & Cornelius, there have been recent repercussions to the 1969 takeover by that concern of the Reiss and Gartland fleets. An antitrust suit has been filed in Buffalo by the U.S. Justice Department. American Steamship, which has consented, is now forced to dispose of all former Reiss ships to another operator within two years. It would appear that the firm cannot avoid competition by scrapping the older vessels. In addition BoCo cannot buy any other operating lakers or purchase stock in any other bulk fleet on the lakes for the next five years. During that period, any expansion of the fleet will have to be by means of new tonnage.
The last two "Wolvin" type canallers on the lakes, MANZZUTTI and MANCOX, were towed down the Welland Canal on May 18th by the tugs HERBERT A. and JAMES WHALEN, enroute to Hamilton where they will be demolished by United Steel & Metals. Owned by the Yankcanuck Steamship Co., the two ships have been idle for several years at Sault Ste. Marie.
Our salt water fans will be interested to learn that the LURLINE, Matson's flagship, has been sold to Chandris Lines and will be renamed BRITANIS. The exodus of large liners from American registry seems to be continuing.
Two more lakers have made their last trips down the Welland Canal enroute for scrapping and, by your Editor's calculation, the departure of Misener's NIXON BERRY and MATHEWSTON brings to 99 the number of such passages since 1960. The following details should bring us up-to-date on the subject:
There have been many changes in the lake carferry situation since our last report. The Norfolk & Western Railway has renamed its two Detroit River tugs. The S.P. REYNOLDS is now the F.A. JOHNSON while the ST. JOSEPH will sail as R.G.CASSIDY.
Former C & O ferry, CITY OF FLINT 32, has been renamed ROANOKE and it now comes to light that the job of cutting her down included reversing her ends. While ferries operating on the open lake load at the stern, river ferries usually load from the bow, and accordingly her stern is now......
Switching to look at the C.N.R. ferry picture, we note that the two ships to be used on the Sarnia service, ST. CLAIR and SCOTIA II, were both at Port Weller drydock during the late spring to be reduced to barges. The tug AMHERSTBURG took ST. CLAIR out of Sarnia on May 22nd, and she brought SCOTIA II down the Welland Canal on June l8th. We understand that C. N. will be commissioning its own Detroit River tug in September, and that she will be an import to the lakes.
On the carferry scene, however, the cruelest blow of all has been the forced retirement of LANSDOWNE as a steamer as a result of her blowing both ends out of her port cylinder on June 24. She is now laid up at Windsor and will soon be reduced to a barge, but in view of the lack of suitable tug to push her, HURON, latterly pushed by AMHERSTBURG, has been reactivated as a steamer and this development, albeit only temporary, does a little to make up for the loss of the LANSDOWNE.
The luck of the Hall Corporation seems to be holding - and all of it bad! At 4:10 a.m. on July l4th, the EASTCLIFFE HALL, bound up to Saginaw with pig iron, struck Crysler Shoal, 18 miles west of Cornwall and quickly settled to the bottom taking with her nine persons. Only the ship's masts are visible and it would appear that she is a total loss. Disposition of the wreck has yet to be announced. The EASTCLIFFE HALL was built as a canaller by Canadian Vickers at Montreal in 1954 and was lengthened and deepened in 1959.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.