Late in 1972, the first of two new Canadian-built Roll-on-Roll-off (Ro/Ro) vessels will go into service on the North Atlantic run to various British ports and North Europe. This vessel, nearing completion) at Port Weller at the time of writing, has been named LAURENTIAN FOREST while her sister, currently in the early stages of construction, will be christened AVON FOREST.
Each of the 20,000 ton DWT motorships will have a capacity of 1,250,000 cubic feet. When both are in service, they will provide a 20 knot, twice-monthly service. From Eastern Canada, mixed cargo will be carried, including paper products and asbestos as well as aluminum ingots from Arvida on the Saguenay River. On the westbound trip LAURENTIAN FOREST and her running mate will bring British automobiles to Montreal.
Highly sophisticated hydraulically operated watertight doors located fore and aft on the starboard side together with an associated hydraulic ramping system permit cargo to be moved on or off the ships at all phases of the tide without the necessity for special shore-ramping facilities. Computerized sensing devices ensure stable ramp angles under all tidal conditions.
The ships for this new Ro/Ro service are built to Lloyds' Ice Class 1 and are capable of year-round service to all St. Lawrence River ports. With engines developing 18,000 BHP, they are designed to withstand the heavy winter conditions on the rough North Atlantic, Anti-roll tanks will help to ensure smooth damage-free passages.
The twin vessels have been built for the account of the Burnett Steamship Company Limited of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a subsidiary of Federal Commerce & Navigation Company Limited of Montreal. Members of the Society who have seen LAURENTIAN FOREST at Port Weller will undoubtedly have been struck by the vivid red hull paint which is much like that of the Simard tankers or the Lauritzen polar vessels. This colour was selected for the new motorships by Mr. Pathe, President of Federal Commerce.
LAURENTIAN FOREST left the Port Weller yard on Wednesday, September 27th, 1972, at about 8:00 a.m. and was secure in Lock One a bit over an hour later. At about 10:15 a.m. she proceeded out into Lake Ontario on her first sea trials. Apparently while undergoing various engine trials, she developed generator problems, not an uncommon event for new ships. Her delivery has been delayed somewhat and all indications are that it will be sometime late in November before she will be ready to proceed downriver to Montreal, where the sheds will be filled with cargo awaiting her arrival. She will load there and then go to Trois Rivieres for additional cargo. Before setting out for overseas on the maiden voyage, her final call will be at Arvida, Quebec. We wish her well and all who may sail in her.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.