It is not often that a vessel which appears headed for the wreckers' yard is reactivated, but such is the case of GEORGE M. CARL of, Scott Misener Steamships Ltd. This steamer has been lying idle at Sorel and all indications were that she would soon be sold and would make the one-way tow across the North Atlantic. However, her owners have now decided that an improvement in business prospects merits the fitting out of the CARL and it has been announced that she will head down the St. Lawrence for an upbound cargo of ore. She will then proceed to Port Colborne where she will be converted from coal to oil fuel by Herb Fraser and Associates Ltd. The conversion will undoubtedly ensure her operation for several more years.
The Interlake steamer HENRY G. DALTON suffered a serious fire in her after cabin while tied up at Buffalo in early March. No shipkeeper was aboard and it was not until the fire had gained considerable headway in the galley and mess that it was discovered. Damage is estimated at about $70,000, The vessel was just concluding a three-year charter to the Wilson Marine Transit Co. at the time and has since reverted to Interlake. The Pickands Mather organization has no plans to operate the vessel due to extensive repairs required.
The proposed deal between the American Shipbuilding Co. and Litton Industries Inc. for the purchase by AmShip of the shipyard at Erie and the Wilson fleet has been called off. It would appear that monetary considerations may have killed the sale, but it may be that AmShip had no desire to inherit the problems being encountered by Erie Marine in the completion of STEWART J. CORT. In addition, the value of the Wilson fleet of steamers has been considerably decreased by the firm's loss of ore contracts. Nevertheless, Litton says it considers its lake operations to be a viable business and is not seeking other buyers.
Since the recently-announced retirement of ROBERT S. McNAMARA, observers have been speculating as to what ship would be used by the Ford Motor Co. to transport coal to its plant on Detroit's River Rouge. It is now learned that the company may be intending to convert HENRY FORD II to a self-unloader for the service. The HENRY is a 598 foot motorship built in 1924 at Lorain and, along with her near-sister BENSON FORD, is known for the particularly distinctive sound produced by her diesels. Both ships have previously been employed mainly on the ore run between Marquette and the Rouge.
Speaking of the Ford Motor Co., we should record the passing on March 2nd of John Dykstra, president of the company from 1961 to 1963 and a director from 1958 to 1965. The steamer JOSEPH S. WOOD was renamed JOHN DYKSTRA. in his honour at the time of her purchase several years ago.
Cadwell Marine Ltd., Niagara Falls, was recently fined $200 on each of two counts of smoke emission by the steam sandsucker C. W. CADWELL. The offences allegedly occurred on October 28 and December 10 while the ship was unloading at the Queenston wharf. The vessel's owner complained in court of the high cost of conversion to oil fuel and attempted to lay part of the blame with the provincial government which collects considerable royalties on the sand the vessel dredges from the Niagara River.
For several months, rumours have been making the rounds to the effect that the Papachristidis Co. Ltd. had made arrangements to dispose of its lake fleet. However, it was not until mid-March that it was announced that Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd, had purchased the five maximum-sized Papachristidis bulk carriers for the sum of $25 million. The purchase brings the number of ships in the Upper Lakes fleet to 22 and makes it the second largest Canadian lake operation. The two Vickers-built units involved in the sale, MONTREALAIS and QUEBECOIS, will retain their original names, but GRANDE HERMINE, PETITE HERMINE and FEUX-FOLLETS will become CANADIAN MARINER. CANADIAN HUNTER and CANADIAN LEADER respectively. The vessels will be delivered to their new owners in time for the start of the 1972 shipping season.
The Bethlehem Steel Corp. is expected to take delivery of its new self-unloading bulk carrier STEWART J. CORT about the first of April, but we must say that we will believe this when we see it! The Bethlehem fleet will activate all of its units about the fourth week of April and will even run its oldest ship, the 1917-built BETHLEHEM which most observers had thought the company would retire upon completion of the new vessel. Bethlehem will be one of the few fleets on the lakes to achieve 100 percent operation of its units this year and for this reason, perhaps we should review some of the plans for the various lake fleets that have made their intentions for the coming season known.
American Steamship. Co. will activate all its vessels with the exception of PETER REISS which has now been laid up after operating earlier in the winter on Operation Coal Scuttle. A surprise to us is the operation of HENNEPIN, JACK WIRT and UNITED STATES GYPSUM.
United States Steel will operate all of its self-unloaders and 32 of its 41 straight-deckers, including the craneship CLIFFORD F. HOOD. One of the self-unloaders, the veteran W.F.WHITE, has received a major refitting during the winter at Cleveland.
Kinsman Marine Transit Co. will keep five vessels in ordinary. These will include R.E.WEBSTER, JOE S. MORROW, and PAUL L.TIETJEN, the latter vessel being a surprise in her appearance on this list. The other ships which will not turn have not been identified positively, but are suspected to be UHLMANN BROTHERS and KINSMAN VOYAGER. A happy development is that JAMES E. FERRIS will be activated this year.
Wilson Marine Transit Co. poses a very large question mark at this time. The company had originally intended to operate only THOMAS WILSON, J. BURTON AYERS, J. H. HILLMAN JR., A.T.LAWSON and BEN MOREELL, but recent developments concerning ore rates make it questionable that the company will operate at all.
Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. will operate all its vessels except, of course, WIARTON. The sale of this ship to Hamilton scrappers has been held up pending the sorting out of the Upper Lakes-Maple Leaf Mills-Neonex deal.
The Algoma Central Railway recently released its annual report for the year 1971. Total cargo tonnages were up 36% over the previous year. The report stated that the new self-unloader currently building at Collingwood is expected to be delivered in September of this year and an artist's impression of the new vessel showed her carrying the name ALGOWAY on the stern. We are pleased that the company is returning to its famous "Algo" series of names.
Details of the planned conversion of W. M. EDINGTON to diesel propulsion have now been released. The little sandsucker will be towed to Whitby for the removal of her steam machinery. She will then be towed back up Lake Ontario and through the Welland Canal to Port Colborne for the installation of the diesel. It looks like a good deal for whoever gets the towing contract!
The Canadian Dredge & Dock Co. Ltd., Toronto, formerly a division of CDRH Limited, has been acquired by Marwell Dredging Ltd., Regina, Saskatchewan. Only one of the officers of this company is from the lakes area so it would appear that the new management may not be too close to the local shipping scene. CD&D operates mainly on the lower lakes and one of their biggest marine projects has been the construction of harbour facilities at the new Ontario Hydro installation at Nanticoke.
In order to consolidate its various operations, the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Co. Ltd. has moved its offices from Montreal to Delphian House, St. Catharines, where it will maintain joint offices with the parent company, the Ontario Paper Co. Ltd. Speaking of Q&O, it appears that the company is negotiating for the purchase of at least one and perhaps more salt water vessels which it plans to keep in 12-months-a-year service. The ship(s) would operate on the lakes in the summer and the east coast in winter. One of the ships in which interest has been shown is the small British motorship GOSFORTH, a familiar visitor to the lakes for a number of years.
In order to dispose of the partnership assets of the S.& J. Tug Co. following the death of James Reid, a public auction will be conducted by the Sheriff of Lambton County at Sarnia, Ontario, on April 10, 1972, to sell, subject to a reserve bid, the 90-foot steel tug NIPIGON. Readers will remember that this is the tug that was hauled so laboriously overland from Lake Nipigon to Lake Superior when the firm purchased her only last year.
And still the Steinbrenner empire expands! It was announced recently that negotiations for the purchase of the Great lakes Towing Co. by the American Ship Building Co. are nearing completion. The "G Tugs," so named because of their stack insignia, serve virtually every major American lake port and form the largest towing company on either side of the lakes.
The former Canadian Pacific liner EMPRESS OP CANADA, still operating under her old colours but with the new name MARDI GRAS, ran aground on a sandbar off Miami on March 11th while on her first trip for her new owners. She was released without damage after several hours.
The P. & O. Steam Navigation Co. Ltd. has announced that its 29,779-ton liner IBERIA is to be withdrawn from service and put up for sale. The ship was built in 1954 by Harland & Wolff Ltd. at Belfast. She is, apparently, somewhat slower than other ships of the fleet and does not fit into the cruising plans of the company. Her place on the service will be taken by the line's new vessel under construction at Genoa. To be named SPIRIT OF LONDON, this ship is expected to be delivered next autumn.
For those who collect technical data on new vessels, we have some statistics on the U.S. Steel flagship nearing completion at Lorain. ROGER BLOUGH has been assigned official number U.S. 533062. Gross Tonnage is 22,041. while Net is 14,114. Her midsummer draft will be 28'7" and her capacity at that draft will be 47,300 g.t. She is now expected to enter service late this June.
Some few months ago, we reported that the new Branch lanes tanker building at Sorel would be christened ARSENE SIMARD. We now learn that a sister ship, 415 feet in length, has also been ordered from Marine Industries for delivery in 1973. This ship will be named ARTHUR SIMARD.
The museum ship VALLEY CAMP, formerly a unit of the fleet of the Republic Steel Corporation, has been entered in the National Register of Historic Places. That means that the vessel, currently on display in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, has been designated a historic site and is eligible for federal assistance (the U.S. government) in future development.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.