When L. B. Lloyd, a Toronto gas and oil dealer, ventured into the business of refining petroleum products in the 1930's, it was necessary to bring crude oil to the new refinery he built at Port Credit, Ontario, Accordingly, he became associated with John E. Russell of Toronto who was renowned as a marine salvage expert and had much experience in the operation of tugs, barges and bulk carriers.
Russell set about assembling a fleet of tugs and barges to supply the new refinery. While refitting the barge EN-AR-CO in the turning basin at Toronto on July 23, 1934, a welder's torch ignited waste in the hold of the old barge. A violent explosion and fire ensued and the barge was severely damaged. John Russell was aboard at the time and received injuries which proved fatal.
Prior to the building of the barge BRUCE HUDSON in 1935, the principal carrier used was the barge ROY K. RUSSELL which began life in 1872 at Buffalo as the crack passenger and freight propeller JAPAN of the Anchor Line. After the advent of the HUDSON, both barges were employed bringing crude from Montreal East to Port Credit. The first tug used was MUSCALLONGE and she used to tow the two barges in tandem. As MUSCALLONGE was too large to lock through the St. Lawrence Canal locks with a barge, they took along on the tow the small wooden tug AJAX for use in the locks. The ROY K. RUSSELL was forbidden to use the St. Lawrence Canal while laden with oil due to her advanced age and poor condition, so she was left at Prescott while the HUDSON proceeded to Montreal East. HUDSON then returned to Prescott and pumped her cargo into the RUSSELL, thereafter returning to Montreal for her own load. On the return trip to Port Credit, the RUSSELL was picked up at Prescott. Usually MUSCALLONGE led the tow with the RUSSELL astern of her. The RUSSELL was followed by BRUCE HUDSON and AJAX was trailed out astern of the second barge. As the bunker capacity of AJAX was very small, she was usually towed deadhead to Port Credit.
In spite of many difficulties encountered in the operation of the barges, the Lloyd venture prospered and in due course the fleet was expanded. In 1937, control of the Lloyd refinery and tankers passed to the Goodrich Oil Company but Lloyd Tankers Ltd. continued to be a corporate entity. Then in 1947 Trinidad Leaseholds Ltd. (Regent Oil) acquired control of the Port Credit refinery and the vessels were sold. Still later, Texaco Canada Ltd. acquired control of Regent.
BRUCE HUDSON (Can. 158658). Steel tank barge built 1935 by Horton Steel Works Ltd. at Fort Erie, Ontario. 164 x 30 x 11.5. Gross 452. Named after the son of L. B. Lloyd, Soon after entering service, while in tow of MUSCALLONGE bound from Montreal East to Port Credit with crude, she capsized on July 16, 1935, off Cobourg in Lake Ontario, but did not sink. With the aid of tug RIVAL of Sin Mac Lines Ltd., the upside-down barge was towed to Toronto where the cargo was siphoned off. RIVAL and MUSCALLONGE then tried to roll the barge over but did not succeed, so she was towed to Port Weller where the GATELIFTER helped to do the job. Not long after returning to service, the HUDSON again got into trouble on Lake Ontario (November 1936) while in tow of the tug ETHEL. The tug ran out of fuel and as the weather was poor and the barge was icing badly, she cut the barge adrift and proceeded to Port Hope for bunkers, taking off the HUDSON's crew. The steamer BRULIN found the drifting barge and towed it to Port Weller so that when the tug returned the next day, she could not locate the barge! The Exchequer Court of Canada finally awarded salvage fees of $9999.00 to the owner and crew of BRULIN. In 1937 HUDSON again gave evidence of unseaworthiness when she broke away from RIVAL on Lake Erie. She managed to reach the port of Erieau but barely escaped stranding.
As a result of the poor operating experience of the barge, it was decided to rebuild her as a steamer at Muir's Drydock at Port Dalhousie, the job being done in 1939. She was lengthened 8 feet and fitted with twin screws powered by steam engines which had previously seen service in the passenger steamer WAUBIC. Her boilers came from C.S.L.'s MARTIAN (I) formerly the MARS (I) of Cleveland's Gilchrist fleet. The rebuild made her more seaworthy but her troubles were not over. On July 27, 1943, she caught fire while loading gasoline at East Chicago. Captain Ross Hindman of Midland, his 16-year old son, and two other crewmen were killed in the resultant explosion. The superstructure was badly damaged but the tanker did not sink.
She was towed to Muir's yard for repairs, arriving at Port Dalhousie on August 10, 1943. In 1946 she was lengthened 40 feet and deepened 5 feet at Port Weller Drydocks. She was sold in 1947 to Transit Tankers and Terminals Ltd., Montreal, Gaston Elie, Manager, but continued to operate under charter to Trinidad Leaseholds Ltd., Port Credit. Renamed (b) COASTAL CLIFF in 1952. Converted to diesel power 1957 and lengthened to 249.3 x 30.0 x 16.3. Gross 1319, Net 933. Later transferred to the affiliated Coastalake Tankers Ltd. and Canadian Sealakers Ltd. About 1968 she went back to Transit Tankers and was sold in 1969 to Challenger Ltd. for service in the Caribbean as (c) WITCROIX.
JOAN VIRGINIA (52), (a) CHARPENTIER, (b) VERNON (22), (c) CEDARBAY (36), (e) COASTAL CASCADES. (Can. 150835). Twin screw steel steam coaster built 1919 at La Seyne, France, by Forgeries & Chantiers de la Mediterranee (Hull 1124) for the French Government. 218.8 x 34.3 x 12.4. Gross 1229, Net 651. Acquired 1922 by the Tree Line Navigation Co. Ltd. and brought to the lakes. After service in the package freight and bulk trades, she was sold in 1936 to Lloyd Refineries Ltd. She was converted to a tanker at Port Dalhousie by Muir's Drydock during August-November 1936 and renamed (d) JOAN VIRGINIA in honour of L. B. Lloyd's daughter. Sold 1947 to Transit Tankers and Terminals Ltd., Montreal. She was idle at Cascades, Quebec, during the 1957 and 1958 seasons. After a short period of operation in 1959, she was chartered to Canadian Petrofina Ltd. for use as a storage barge at Montreal. Sank at her dock in Montreal on July 24, 1960. Refloated in August 1960, she was finally cut up for scrap in 1962.
ROY K. RUSSELL, (a) JAPAN (U.S. 161767), (b) CITY OF HAMILTON (I)(Can. 133752), (c) CITY OF WALKERVILLE, (d) ROY K. RUSSELL, (e) JAPAN, (f) ROY K. RUSSELL. Iron passenger and freight propeller built 1871 by Gibsons at Buffalo for the famous Anchor Line (the Erie and Western Transit Co.) of the Pennsylvania Railroad. She and her sister ships INDIA and CHINA were the finest of their day. Each carried a lifesize statue atop the pilothouse representing a typical native of the country for which she was named. 210.0 x 32.6 x 14.0. Gross 1239, Net 932. Operated 1872 to 1892 in the pool service formed by a number of lake lines in the Buffalo-Duluth service under the flag of the Lake Superior Transit Co. Sold 1910 to the Montreal & Lake Erie Steamship Co., Toronto. This concern later became part of the Merchants Mutual Line and thus entered the Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. merger in 1913. C.S.L. removed the passenger cabins and employed her as a package freighter. Sold 1929 to John E. Russell, Toronto, and cut down to a barge. Converted to a tanker barge 1930 and operated by Ohio Tankers Corp. (Capt. C. D. Secord). Returned to Russell ownership and Canadian registry in 1931 and operated for Lloyd Refineries Ltd. She broke her moorings at the Port Credit refinery late in 1935 and, as her mushroom anchor would not hold on the shale bottom, she drifted onto the rock ledge at the mouth of the Credit River. Her cargo was salvaged but she remained hard ashore and was frozen in all winter. She was refloated by the tug AJAX in April 1936. It was decided that she was not worth repairing so she was stripped at Port Credit and towed to Hamilton for scrapping in July 1936 by MUSCALLONGE.
MUSCALLONGE, (a) VIGILANT. (U.S. 161767), (Can. 133752). Double deck wooden tug built by the Jenks Shipbuilding Co. at Port Huron, Michigan, in 1896. 128.0 x 24.5 x 12.0. Gross 360, Net 245. In 1899 she became a unit of the newly formed Great Lakes Towing Co. which was a merger of most of the large U. S. towing companies on the Upper Lakes. Sold about 1908 to John Hannan and the Ogdensburg Coal & Towing Co. About this time, she was cut down to a single-decker with pilothouse atop the cabin. Sold about 1912 to the Norton Griffiths Dredging Co. Ltd., Montreal, and by 1918 she was a unit of the Sincennes MacNaughton Line Ltd., Montreal. The editor has a photo of her in the colours of the Roger Miller Co. Ltd., Toronto, taken sometime between 1912 and 1918 so it would appear Norton Griffiths may have been affiliated with Roger Miller Co. Ltd. In 1934 after a period of idleness, Sin Mac chartered her to John E. Russell to tow barges for Lloyd Refineries Ltd. On August 15, 1936, while towing BRUCE HUDSON and assisted by AJAX near Brockville, Ontario, fire broke out in the galley of MUSCALLONGE. As the fire was out of control, Capt. Ahern of Port Dalhousie cut the barge adrift and beached the tug. At dawn the next day, as the stern began to settle, her bunker tanks containing about 1000 gallons of oil exploded, and she burned to the water's edge.
AJAX (Can. 111935). Wooden tug built 1902 at Bobcaygeon, Ontario, for service on the Kawartha lakes as a rafting tug. 54.0 x 14.6 x 6.1. Gross 33, Net 23. Long owned by W. F. C. Boyd, Bobcaygeon, Acquired by the Lloyd Tankers fleet in 1934. About 1935 or 1936 she sank at her dock at Port Credit but was quickly salvaged by Russell Salvage units. After BRUCE HUDSON was converted to a steamer in 1939, she lay idle for several years at Port Dalhousie before being stripped. It is believed that her hull was laid to rest in the tug boneyard above Lock One and to the west of the Henley Grandstand.
EN-AR-CO, (a) BERKS (06), (b) W. S. CALVERT (2l). (U.S. 2905), (Can. 122113). Iron screw collier built by the Delaware River Iron Shipbuilding and Engine Co. at Chester, Pennsylvania, and launched April 29, 1874. 189.0 x 29.0 x 14.4. Gross 565, Net 376. Owned by the Philadelphia & Reading Railway to carry anthracite coal from Philadelphia to New England ports. She was of rather strange appearance and carried her engines amidships, being fitted with one stack and two masts. Acquired 1906 by the Canadian Transit Co. Ltd., Toronto, and converted to a barge. Purchased in 1909 by the National Refining Co. (later Canadian Oil Companies Ltd.), Toronto, her name standing for the company's initials. They transferred her to their subsidiary Sarnia & Toledo Transit Co. in 1910. Sold 1934 to John E. Russell, Toronto. While refitting at Toronto for Lloyd Tankers, she blew up while moored in the turning basin on July 23, 1934. Russell lost his life in the explosion. Sold 1935 to Pyke Salvage and Navigation Co., Kingston, and converted to a coal barge and lighter with a steam whirly crane mounted on deck. Pyke Salvage later became McAllister-Pyke Salvage Ltd, After several years of inactivity, she was sold in 1969 to United Steel and Refining Co. and towed to Hamilton for scrapping.
RIVAL (Can. 150842). Steel tug built 1923 at Sorel for Sincennes MacNaughton Line Ltd., Montreal. 84.4 x 24.1 x 11.2. Gross 196, Net 115. Has always been in the Sin Mac fleet and its successor, McAllister Towing Ltd., Montreal. On November 10, 1931, she sank in the Welland Canal at Port Colborne as the result of an explosion. Promptly raised and repaired. During the mid 1930's she operated under charter to Lloyd Tankers Ltd., frequently towing BRUCE HUDSON until the latter was powered in 1939. RIVAL was later dieselized.
ETHEL (Can. 103332). Steel steam tug built 1895 at Sorel. 64.0 x 19.2 x 9.0. Gross 72, Net 49. Long operated by Sincennes MacNaughton Line Ltd., Montreal. Sold during the early 1930's to Harrigan Tug Lines, Port Dalhousie, and in the mid 1930's was chartered to Lloyd Tankers Ltd. for use with BRUCE HUDSON and ROY K. RUSSELL. Sold 1938 to the Russell Construction Co. Ltd., Toronto, and renamed (b) R. C. CO. TUG NO. 1. Later when Russell was reorganized as Russell Construction Ltd., she became (c) R. C. L. TUG NO. 1. When Balfour Beatty & Co. Canada Ltd., the owners of Russell Construction Ltd., went into receivership in 1962, she was sold to the Hamilton Harbour Commissioners and renamed (d) ARGUE MARTIN. Sold about 1967 to Evans McKeil Work Boats Ltd., Winona, Ontario, and still operates out of Hamilton. Latterly converted to diesel power.
The refinery at Port Credit utilized the slip west of the Credit River which had been excavated earlier by M. J. Haney to facilitate the shipment of bricks and materials to and from his brickworks. The slip was only eleven feet deep and while BRUCE HUDSON (as a barge) and ROY K. RUSSELL could use the slip, JOAN VIRGINIA and the tug MUSCALLONGE could not. JOAN VIRGINIA and other deep-draft tankers unloaded at a crib sunk in the lake offshore and connected to the refinery by pipeline. BRUCE HUDSON had no power of her own for pumping cargo and it was necessary to use steam from a tug moored alongside. Since MUSCALLONGE could not get into the slip, AJAX was used, and this is the reason that she was deadheaded back to Port Credit on each westbound trip from Montreal rather than being left at the head of the St. Lawrence Canals to assist on the next downbound trip.
On one other occasion BRUCE HUDSON very nearly came to grief (as if we had not described enough such incidents already). In this case, MUSCALLONGE was towing the barge up Montreal Harbour when the tug suddenly lost control in the current, veering off course and nosing into the mud onshore. The HUDSON went adrift and was saved from being swept into the abutment of the Jacques Cartier bridge by two nearby harbour tugs.
We have already mentioned that the owners and crew of BRULIN were awarded $9999.00 for rescuing the wallowing HUDSON in her escapade of November 1936. It seems that Lloyd Tankers was a little slow in paying off the Exchequer Court judgment and accordingly the HUDSON was seized by court order during the summer of 1937. She was held for several weeks until the sum was paid.
For his help with the corporate history of the fleet and many of the details on individual ships, we should like to thank member Lorne Joyce who not only drew on his own records for information but also scurried around and seemingly talked to half the town of Port Credit's residents trying to work out several troublesome points before our printing deadline.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.