A surprise announcement concerns the sale of one of the major American lake shipping concerns, but no, Steinbrenner is not involved! We understand that the Diamond Shamrock Corporation has disposed of its interest in Pickands Mather & Company, the parent firm of the Interlake Steamship Company, The purchaser is Moore-McCormack Co. Inc., of which Pickands Mather & Company will now be the largest division since it includes both mining and shipping interests. The other division will, of course, be Moore-McCormack Lines Inc., the famous American operator of ocean passenger and freight vessels. Diamond Shamrock was a corporation interested mainly in chemicals and it will be interesting to see what changes result from control of P.M. passing to another firm primarily engaged in shipping.
In our last issue, we reported that although a settlement had been reached in the wage dispute between Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. and its shoreside freight handlers, the company's vessels had not returned to service. In this, we were only partially correct, since a few of the package freighters did appear to make a few trips. Among those that did not fit out were FORT HENRY, FRENCH RIVER and ENGLISH RIVER. Then in mid-December there came the announcement which we had expected, to the effect that service will be severely curtailed next season. The company will close its facilities at Montreal, Port Credit and Point Edward (Sarnia) and in 1973 will operate only to Valleyfield, Hamilton, Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. Of its eight package freighters, C.S.L. plans to operate only three and it has already become quite clear that the company is anxious to peddle its superfluous tonnage to other operators. We feel that it will not be long until C.S.L. will announce its total withdrawal from the package freight trade as we cannot see how the operation can be maintained successfully after such a cutback in service.
It has been learned that the Hall Corporation tanker INLAND TRANSPORT suffered a relatively serious grounding late in the season at Little Current on the North Channel. We understand that there was some spillage of cargo at the time. The motor-vessel was taken to Collingwood Shipyards for inspection and has since gone into winter quarters at Sarnia. There has been no definite word on her future, but things do not look good. INLAND TRANSPORT was built in 1926 at Kearney, New Jersey, as the bulk carrier STEEL CHEMIST for the United States Steel Products Corporation and was originally fitted with deck cranes for handling cargoes of steel products. She was later known as (b) THE INLAND and (c) TRANSINLAND, sailing under these names for the Inland Steel Company and Transit Tankers and Terminals Ltd., respectively.
The vessel currently under construction at Sorel for Branch Lines Ltd. is, of course, to be christened ARTHUR SIMARD and will enter service in 1973. She is Marine Industries Hull No. 415. It has been announced that a sister tanker will be built immediately following her completion for delivery in November 1974. The new ship will be known while under construction as Hull 413, the step backwards in numbering apparently being made to use up a hull number left vacant as a result of the cancellation of an earlier contract.
The veteran self-unloaders UNITED STATES GYPSUM and PETER REISS have been sold by the American Steamship Company (Boland & Cornelius) to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne for scrapping. The GYPSUM was heavily damaged in a collision and grounding incident in November and is currently reposing at the old Great Lakes Engineering Works dock at Ecorse, Michigan. The REISS was involved in an unsuccessful barge operation recently. We understand that BoCo may also decide to dispose of HENNEPIN shortly unless there is a sudden rush of business requiring her operation.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company has invited scrap bids on its inactive car-ferries PERE MARQUETTE 21 and PERE MARQUETTE 22, although this does not mean that the vessels will actually be sold. Both steamers were built in 1924 at Manitowoc and have since been lengthened and repowered. Meanwhile, the railway's CITY OF SAGINAW 31 is still reposing at Manitowoc with unrepaired fire damage. In view of the C & O's current attitude toward the operation of the cross-lake services, we doubt that she will ever be repaired.
We had previously reported that the last cargo of newsprint to be shipped by water from the Thorold plant of the Ontario Paper Company would be loaded during the winter months in CHICAGO TRIBUNE for spring movement to its destination. We have since learned that the schedule was advanced and that the TRIBUNE cleared Thorold with the last cargo on November 30th. She was then to load a storage cargo of barley for Toronto, but she was not quick enough to catch the Welland before its early closing and will be wintering in Port Colborne.
Incidentally, the last ship down the Welland Canal before its closing was the Q & O motorship PIC RIVER. Due to bad weather, the canal was held open past its intended closure date of December 15 and the PIC RIVER actually entered the waterway late on the 16th. She did not clear Port Weller until the following day, en route to Toronto with a storage cargo.
The Ontario Ministry of Industry and Tourism has announced a grant of $7,000 to be used to help offset the cost of drydocking the former Muskoka lakes steamer SEGWUN for hull inspection and repair. It is understood that the vessel would be drydocked in the lock located at Port Carling. SEGWUN has been used the past few years as a marine museum at Gravenhurst as she is the last of the Muskoka passenger steamers, but prior to the cessation of the passenger service in 1958, she was used as a dayboat, primarily on Lake Muskoka. It is hoped that SEGWUN might some day be returned to service, if only in order to move her marine exhibits about the lakes. SEGWUN was built in 1887 of iron, having been fabricated in Scotland, and was originally operated as the sidewheeler NIPISSING.
The Ontario Department of Transportation and Communications will spend $1.7-million on a new 50-car ferry to improve service on the route between Kingston and Wolfe Island. The new ferry is to enter service in 1974 but we have been unable to determine where she will be built. In addition, the sum of $900,000 will be spent on improvements to docking facilities and to help keep ahead of the ice problem during the winter months.
The U.S. District Court in Cleveland has agreed to allow the August purchase of the Wilson Marine Transit Company's fleet by the American Ship Building Company, providing that there are no objections by a date in January and provided also that AmShip sell or scrap a total of nine ships from its combined fleet, including three of the six best Wilson vessels. The entire matter is quite complicated, but the end result will be a considerable paring back of the Kinsman-Wilson operations as measured by the number of vessels. The sales have, in fact, already started as the parent AmShip has disposed of the Wilson steamer J.H. HILLMAN JR. to the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton & Company, for conversion to a self-unloader. We would also look for several of the older and smaller Kinsman ships to be sold for scrapping shortly.
The diminutive Lake Ontario sandsucker C.W. CADWELL, which spent most of the year in idleness at her owner's dock at Queenston, was sold during the Autumn to Equipment House Ltd., a firm connected with the Harbour Brick Company Ltd. of Toronto. The CADWELL was put on the drydock at Port Weller and then went into service for a short period prior to going to winter quarters at Toronto in November.
There had been some confusion as to whether the self-unloader building at Collingwood as Hull 203 (a sister to J.W. McGIFFIN) would be completed for Canada Steamship lanes Ltd. or whether she would be sold on the ways to the Algoma Central Railway. It has now been confirmed that the vessel will be for C.S.L. and that Algoma has no new ships in mind at the present time.
The former Upper Lakes Shipping bulk carrier WIARTON, (a) THOMAS LYNCH, was stripped of her cabins and machinery by United Steel and Metals at Hamilton during November and December. Thereafter, she was loaded with stone and is, we understand, destined to join GROVEDALE (II) and HENRY R.PLATT JR.(II) as part of the dock facing at Stelco's coal receiving facilities. Her bridge structure and the iron deckhand are reposing forlornly atop a pile of rubble in the wrecker's yard.
We are indeed pleased to learn that yet another old laker sold for scrapping overseas has chosen the Deep Six over the wrecker's torch. We have a report (as yet not completely confirmed) that MICHIPICOTEN broke away from her tug on November 17th while in the vicinity of Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and subsequently broke in two. The stern section apparently foundered immediately, while the bow floated for about a day. Provided this report is true, and we see no reason to disbelieve it, MICHIPICOTEN becomes the ninth laker so lost, the others being (in order of their demise) PERSEUS, ARCTURUS, W. WAYNE HANCOCK, FAYETTE BROWN (also lost on Anticosti Island), MOHAWK DEER, LAKETON, EDWARD Y. TOWNSEND, and PETER ROBERTSON.
The scrapping of the three Canadian Dredge and Dock steam tugs FRANK DIXON, STRATHMORE, and A.M.GERMAN at Hamilton has been halted and the hulls placed under seizure pending the results of legal action and conflict of interest charges against one of the Hamilton Harbour Commissioners who is one of the principals of the shipbreaking firm. We understand that the gentleman involved has now been removed from his seat on the Commission. The dispute arose over the refusal to grant an operating permit to a competing scrapping firm that wished to make use of the harbour facilities.
The small Paterson motorvessel PRINDOC grounded in the St. Lawrence above the Eisenhower Lock in the vicinity of Cat Island on November 22nd. She was released on November 24th by McAllister tugs which came to the scene.
Another casualty of the autumn season was the Paterson upper laker SENATOR OF CANADA which ran aground on December 12th near Le Moines Point to the west of Kingston, She had loaded grain at Kingston and was en route to Trois Rivieres at the time of the occurrence. The salvage barge MAPLEHEATH was used to remove grain from the SENATOR and she was finally refloated on December 15, being taken back into Kingston for temporary repairs. She finally cleared port the following day.
The 551-foot 1960-built Norwegian tanker STOUT FALCON sustained serious fire damage in her crews quarters while on Lake Michigan on November 28. Three injured crewmen were removed by United States Coast Guard helicopter.
It has been announced that the Port Huron plant of the Peerless Cement Company will be closed down on January 5th, 1973, about a year earlier than originally planned. Although manufacturing will have ceased, cement will continue to be shipped from the plant until current supplies are exhausted. The plant was constructed back in 1923 by the Egyptian Portland Cement Company, being acquired by Peerless in 1927. Ship photographers gathering beneath the Blue Water Bridge will undoubtedly be glad of this development since they will now be able to shoot without the bother of the heavy clouds of dust and smoke produced by the plant and the objectionable material which frequently fell from the air to stain clothes and obscure lenses.
The tug DANA T. BOWEN was sold during the autumn by the Hindman Transportation Company Ltd. to Messrs. Don Lee and Francis McMillan who have had her moved from Owen Sound to Port Lambton, Ontario, a small port on the St. Clair River. We presume that she will be resold but there has been no word to this effect yet.
The barge RESOLUTE is rapidly disappearing under the cutting torches at Green Bay, Wisconsin. Latterly owned by the Roen Steamship Company of Sturgeon Bay, RESOLUTE was originally the bulk cargo barge MANDA and was built in 1896 for the Minnesota Steamship Company. She later served the Pittsburgh Steamship Company, the Great Lakes Towing Company, and the Fiber Paper Company before passing to Roen ownership in 1946. She has not seen operation for a number of years.
Elsewhere in this issue, readers will find a listing of vessels spending the winter in Toronto Harbour. It is indeed interesting to note that among the names is that of GEORGE M. CARL. Unless our memory and records both fail us, we believe that this is the first time a Misener boat has wintered at Toronto since our perennial lay-up, LAKETON, last had a storage cargo here for Victory Mills over the winter of 1958-59!
The Toronto ferry SAM McBRIDE was moved during December from the city ferry terminal to a berth in the turning basin where she will receive her new engines which we understand to be Caterpillar diesels. The job of repowering will be done by Ship Repair and Supply Ltd.
We thought we had reported this item earlier, but on checking back issues we could not find it, so for the benefit of those who may not have heard we pass along word that the new Imperial Oil tanker building at Port Weller will be christened IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR.
In the December issue, we reported that WESTDALE would be converted to oil fuel while in winter quarters at Port Colborne. We have now learned that she will also be compartmented in order to make her more suitable for service in the Georgian Bay parcel grain trade if and when she might be required. Incidentally, despite pessimistic rumours making the rounds concerning the future of Reoch's only other remaining straightdecker ELMDALE, we can report that her owners have not as yet made any firm decision on whether or not she will see further service.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.