In our last issue we reported certain developments concerning the idle tanker IMPERIAL WINDSOR which had been sold earlier by Imperial Oil Ltd. to Beauchamp Investments Ltd., Corunna. We can now report further. The name GOLDEN TITAN was never officially registered and was not applied to the bows of the ship and hence photographers may rest at ease. The vessel is now in the process of being sold by Beauchamp to the Algonquin Corporation Ltd., a subsidiary of the Hall Corporation which, as readers will remember, owned the self-unloader ROBERT J. PAISLEY for a short period. The tanker will be renamed CURLEW in time for the opening of navigation and will be operated by Halco in the lake trade. We understand that the steamer is in good condition and that Halco hopes to get at least five seasons of operation from her. Contrary to some earlier suggestions, it appears that she will not be repowered but will retain her old triple expansion machinery. She will operate with a plain black stack to signify the Algonquin ownership. Incidentally, it is interesting to note that CURLEW is named for a wooden tug which served the forerunners of the Hall fleet from 1875 to 1907.
We have known for the last few months that the Hindman Transportation Co. Ltd., of Owen Sound was interested in obtaining another vessel for its lake fleet. It had naturally been assumed by observers that Hindman was interested in one of the idle American ore carriers currently lying at Duluth. It therefore comes as no little surprise to learn that Hindman has actually purchased the 588 foot steamer GEORGE R. FINK from the Hanna Furnace Corporation. The FINK, built in 1923 by the Toledo Shipbuilding Company, did not operate during 1972 and is currently lying at Cleveland. As the FINK is coal-fired, we must assume that her new owners will waste little time in having her converted to oil since bunkers for coalburning steamers are almost non-existent on the Canadian side of the lakes.
Readers will recall our previous references to the repowering of the ferry SAM McBRIDE at Toronto this winter. Now comes the shocker. The old Fairbanks-Morse diesels which have propelled the ferry from one breakdown to another over the past thirty-three years (credit being due, we are sure, to inexperienced and less-than-enthusiastic engineers) are being installed in the veteran sandsucker C.W. CADWELL currently lying at the foot of Bathurst Street here. Although the new installation will undoubtedly free the CADWELL from persecution by residents along the Niagara River and from prosecution by the Ontario Government air pollution inspectors, we find it somewhat ironic that a power plant such as this has been chosen. In addition, no longer will ship fans have the joy of seeing the huge clouds of smoke that always followed the little steamer as she plodded her way around Lake Ontario.
Another sandsucker is in the news, this time the CHARLES DICK. On February 13th, control of her owners, National Sand & Material Co. Ltd., passed to the Erie Sand organization, operators of sandsuckers and self-unloading bulk carriers under the American flag. We are informed that the operations of National Sand will not be changed by the sale and that all will continue as before. However, there appears to be a very distinct possibility that W.M. EDINGTON, operated for several years by another Canadian subsidiary of Erie Sand, will shortly be transferred to the National Sand fleet.
The Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. package freighter ENGLISH RIVER is to be converted by Port Arthur Shipyards for use as a bulk cement carrier. We understand that she will be used by Canada Cement as an addition to their current fleet (CEMENTKARRIER) once the new Canada Cement facility at Bath, Ontario, is in operation, but it is not as yet clear whether she will be sold to Canada Cement or operated for them by C.S.L. The conversion is scheduled to be completed by the autumn of 1973 and the cost will be about $1.5 million.
The hull of WIARTON has now been sunk at the Stelco coal dock in Hamilton and thus joins GROVEDALE and HENRY R. PLATT JR. as part of the dock facing. The WIARTON is in the most easterly position of the three ships and faces generally west with her bow alongside that of the PLATT.
The Reoch self-unloader LEADALE sustained serious damage in a fire which occurred on February 14th while the steamer was laid up in Hamilton with a storage cargo of soybeans. Newspaper accounts of the incident state that the fire was extinguished before the cargo was damaged, but photos taken at the scene show the entire forward end of the vessel enveloped in smoke and flame. It is quite evident that her forecastle as well as the texas and pilothouse are completely gutted and it will be interesting to see whether the Reoch management will consider repairs to be worthwhile in view of the age of the vessel.
Reports are presently circulating to the effect that the U.S.Steel Great Lakes Fleet is giving consideration to lengthening its ore carriers CASON J. CALLAWAY, PHILIP R. CLARKE and ARTHUR M. ANDERSON. The trio of 629-footers was completed in 1952 and, up until the entry into service this year of ROGER BLOUGH, they were the largest ships operated by U.S.Steel.
The Rochester-Monroe County Port Authority has let it be known that two companies have expressed interest in operating a freight "ferry" service from Rochester to Oshawa and Toronto. It is understood that the main cargo would be freight containers and highway trailers which would be saved the long drive around the lake, but one of the companies is also considering carrying passengers and automobiles. Shades of the Ontario Car Ferry Company, whose two ferries ONTARIO NO. 1 and ONTARIO NO. 2 were retired from their Rochester-Cobourg run in 1950. Could it be that the new firm(s) might be casting their eyes in the direction of some of the disused Lake Michigan carferries for the new service? Lots of ferries could be available since the Grand Trunk normally operates only one of its three ships, the Chesapeake & Ohio has extra vessels, and the Ann Arbor is trying as hard as possible to get out of the carferry business altogether.
It is now reported that G.G. POST and ONTADOC, in tow of the tug KORAL, stopped at Gibraltar after their transatlantic voyage and cleared there on October 11th, 1972, en route to Turkey. The POST arrived at Izmir and the ONTADOC at Istanbul later in October. We had originally reported that they had been sold for transportation use of some sort but it now appears that they have been or will be scrapped. POST was sold by Marine Salvage Ltd. to Turkish breakers, while ONTADOC went from Marine Salvage to Cosmos Marine Development Corp. and thence to the Turks.
The conversion of the J.H. HILLMAN JR., recently purchased from the Kinsman Marine Transit Company by the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton & Company, to a self-unloader will be handled by the Toledo yard of the American Shipbuilding Company, The steamer will also receive a bowthruster and will be converted to burn oil, with automated boiler controls being fitted. She will receive the same type of unloading equipment as the FRANK PURNELL. The job is expected to be completed in time for the HILLMAN to catch the latter part of the 1973 navigation season.
Meanwhile, Kinsman continues to divest itself of tonnage in compliance with the judgment which we explained in some detail last month. As required, Kinsman has sold the veteran Wilson steamers EDWARD S. KENDRICK and B.F. JONES, the buyer being Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne. The JONES and KENDRICK were both built in 1907 by the West Bay City Shipbuilding Company Ltd. (Hulls 621 and 622 respectively; for the Gilchrist Transportation Company of Cleveland. They had served the Wilson fleet since their acquisition in 1913 upon the dissolution of the Gilchrist interests. The KENDRICK was (a) H.P. McINTOSH (34), while the JONES had formerly sailed as (a GENERAL GARRETSON (35), (b) E.J. KULAS (I) (36), (c) POWHATAN (37), (d) CHARLES A. PAUL (56).
While on the subject of Marine Salvage, we should report that scrapping operations on ALPENA have commenced and by mid-February the forward cabins, forecastle, and A-frame and boom had been removed. HENRY G. DALTON and YVON DUPRE JR. are, for the best part, untouched.
Two foreign shipping lines will not return to lake service in 1973 and this development is all the more lamentable since it means that no longer will ships of the Fjell Line be seen in the lakes. Fjell was the oldest foreign flag service to these parts, having been one of the first such fleets to introduce liner service here, the other company being the Oranje Lijn which gave up the route several years ago. The two operations now closing are Scanlake Lines, a combination of Fjell and another veteran - Swedish Chicago Lines, and Fjell-Fred Olsen Lines. The two operators claim to be victims of the container trade.
It appears that the Detroit River mail service may soon be discontinued. Once again (they did it in 1971 also), the Chicago regional office of the U.S. Postal Service has ordered the Detroit P. O. to discontinue use of the marine station, the J.W. WESTCOTT II, operated by the J. W. Westcott Company. The Post Office, however, has left the door open for continuation of the service if private financing for its costs can be found, such as through the Lake Carriers Association. Such action would have to come quickly, though, since the present contract for delivery by Westcott will expire on June 30th.
Prospects do not appear to be particularly good for the future of the tanker TEXACO-BRAVE. The steamer is currently laid up at Toronto for the winter. We understand that Texaco can charter Simard tankers just as economically as they can operate the BRAVE and in addition, TEXACO-CHIEF has more business than she can handle down the St. Lawrence. If the BRAVE does run this year, it will be out of Montreal and it looks like fans in this area will have seen the last of her when she heads out this spring. She has always been a classy-looking ship, kept in immaculate condition, and we shall be sorry to see her go.
The scow T.H.C. 17, with a load of broken concrete on her deck, disappeared beneath the murky waters of Toronto's Keating Channel one day in January and is still reposing on the bottom. She apparently sprang a leak. There would normally be no reason for us to report an occurrence of this nature, but this particular barge is somewhat interesting in that it is the hull of the former cable-operated AIRPORT FERRY which for about thirty years crossed the Western Gap from the Fleet Street "Flats" to the King George V airport located on Hanlan's Point.
We can now give further details on the departure of MICHIPICOTEN which, as readers will recall, broke adrift from her tug and sank off Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on November 17th, 1972. She had been sold by Providence Shipping Ltd. to Union Pipe and Machinery Ltd. and was then resold to Spanish breakers. She cleared Quebec on November 15th in tow of KORAL.
The longest lake shipping season ever recorded was brought to a close on Thursday, February 8th, when the U.S. Steel ore carrier A.H. FERBERT left the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie en route to South Chicago with the last ore cargo of the 1972-73 season. The shipping season at the Soo lasted for 308 days! Once the last few U.S. Steel vessels laid up for the winter (or what is left of it), there remained in operation only a handful of tankers and carferries. On the same day that the FERBERT closed the Soo, the big ROGER BLOUGH arrived at her layup berth in Lorain after having unloaded her last cargo at Conneaut, We understand that the BLOUGH will be the subject of some repair work by American Shipbuilding personnel who will try to remedy some of the problems the vessel encountered this year. Presumably this work will include some effort to avoid further cracking of the bunker tanks, a particularly troublesome problem which bothered the BLOUGH all year. It seems she will also be fitted with a Kort Nozzle instead of her traditional propeller in an effort to end the vibration problem.
Another U.S. Steel vessel, the PHILIP R. CLARKE, will get automated boiler controls this winter while in layup at Milwaukee. The WILLIAM A. IRVIN of the same fleet has been on the drydock at Lorain for shaft repairs which had threatened to keep her idle in 1973. It appears that she will now operate, but her sister GOVERNOR MILLER may spend 1973 at the wall.
We are very pleased to hear that the BoCo self-unloader HENNEPIN has been receiving repairs to the plating on her starboard bow as this pretty well guarantees her another season of operation. It had been the thought of the American Steamship Company to drop HENNEPIN from their fleet at the end of 1972 unless prospects for business in 1973 were exceptionally good. The work on HENNEPIN is being done at Lorain.
Still dealing with work being carried out at Lorain, we can report that the bow of the Bethlehem bulk carrier ARTHUR B. HOMER has now been rebuilt and her new pilothouse fitted, Readers will recall that the HOMER sustained very severe bow damage in a collision with the salty NAVISHIPPER last season.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company, which seems to have been "burning its bridges" as far as its carferry operations are concerned, has taken another step toward reducing the size of its fleet. It has asked for scrap bids on PERE MARQUETTE 21 and PERE MARQUETTE 22, sister ships built in 1924 at Manitowoc. The two were lengthened and repowered at the same port in 1954 and 1953 respectively.
The big Toronto harbour tug QUEEN CITY has been sold by Waterman's Services (Scott) Ltd. to Robert Adams of Royal Oak, Michigan, who will apparently operate her in the charter trade under the Canadian Company Tugs Ltd. It is not known for certain where she will operate. QUEEN CITY has been used only sparingly in the past few years by her former owner who operates a fleet of small tugs in Toronto.
The Roen Steamship Company of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, has disposed of two more of its vessels. The barge HILDA, formerly used as a pulpwood carrier since being cut down from a carferry, has been sold to the Roen Salvage Company and she will be used for non-transportation purposes in the construction business. More of a surprise is the sale of the MARQUIS ROEN to a New Orleans company who will take her off the lakes, presumably to the Gulf of Mexico. She is to be delivered to her new owners in April. The MARQUIS ROEN is, of course, equipped with both deck cranes and an unloading boom and was built in 1900 as the bulk carrier ROBERT W.E.BUNSEN for the Bessemer Steamship Company.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.