As we mentioned in our last issue, the parade of old lakers down the Seaway and across the Atlantic for scrapping continues. The latest vessels to make the one-way trip are Columbia's WYANDOTTE (down the Welland September 5-6 in tow of SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER) and HURON (down the Welland September 10-11 with G. W. ROGERS and SALVAGE MONARCH). Both these veteran self-unloaders had been moored at the West Street wharf in Port Colborne where they were sealed for the ocean voyage.
We now have more information on other lakers which have made the scrap voyage earlier this year. B. F. JONES and EDWARD S. KENDRICK, the first to go, arrived on May 19th at Castellon, Spain. R. E. WEBSTER and A. E. NETTLETON cleared Quebec on June 15th in tow of JANTAR; JOHN P. REISS and CITY OF SAGINAW 31 cleared Quebec on June 29th behind KORAL; and on August 14th, JANTAR was back to pick up UHLMANN BROTHERS and OTTO M. REISS at Quebec. FAIRPLAY X took WILTRANCO and J. CLARE MILLER in tow from Montreal on August 22nd.
Scrappers on the lakes are active too, as Western Iron and Metal has bought the Goderich Elevator and Transit Company's storage barges F. H. DUNSFORD and K. A. POWELL. Both are to be dismantled at Thunder Bay. The DUNSFORD passed up the Soo Locks on August 18th in tow of the big tug THUNDER CAPE, while the same tug passed up with POWELL on August 31st. At Humberstone, Marine Salvage is cutting on the forward end of PETER REISS, while at Hamilton, United Metals have made quick work out of STERNECLIFFE HALL only the stern keel section being left by mid-September.
The three Canadian Dredge and Dock breakwater hulls have now arrived at Toronto, all three being delivered by SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER. KINSMAN VENTURE was brought into the harbour on August 31st, LACKAWANNA on September 3rd, and RIDGETOWN on September 4th. The vessels are presently resting in the Toronto Turning Basin and it now appears that they may not be used in the Eastern Gap realignment project. A certain amount of stripping has been done on the ships (which were pretty well cleaned out anyway) but no effort has been made to unload the stone cargoes. It is rumoured that RIDGETOWN may join WIARTON, GROVEDALE and HENRY R. PLATT JR. as part of the Stelco dock facing in Hamilton, but we have no confirmation of this.
We really must apologize for the misleading comment in our last issue to the effect that the appearance of the FRONTENAC (newly converted to a self-unloader) is not unpleasing. We based our statement on an aerial photo of the ship in the Collingwood Shipyard which appeared in August in the Toronto papers, but boy - how wrong could we be! The boom is hinged aft as on TADOUSSAC but instead of being set on the forward end of the aft cabin, it sprouts from a monstrous silver box set right on deck. This rig, which appears ridiculously topheavy, completely hides the funnel from sight when viewed from the bow and only the very tip of the mainmast is visible over the top of the installation. We have no doubt in saying that FRONTENAC is the ugliest self-unloader conversion ever perpetrated on the lakes, bar none!
It was announced on September 13th that Collingwood Shipyards had won a contract for a small bulk carrier for N. M. Paterson & Sons Ltd., Thunder Bay. The vessel, to be built as Hull 207, will measure 355' (l. o. a.) x 49' x 30'6 and will cost $5 million. The keel will be laid in June 1974 with the launch scheduled for October 1974 and delivery in the Spring of 1975. The motorship will operate in the lakes - East Coast trade and will probably be somewhat similar in appearance to LABRADOC and PRINDOC. Collingwood yard will be busy over the next few years as, in addition to the Paterson vessel, three other ships are in the works, H. M. GRIFFITH is to be delivered to C. S. L. late this month (October), while the new Manitoulin Island ferry is due out in early summer 1974 and a self-unloader for Algoma Central by October 1st, 1974.
During the week of September 10, the Roen Steamship Company of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, sold its barge SOLVEIG for dismantling at Kewaunee, The vessel, a 325-foot ugly duckling built off-lakes in 1944 as an L. S. T., was rebuilt as a crane barge for Roen in 1951 and served mainly in the pulp trade. This latest step in the breakup of the Roen interests leaves but three ships in the fleet, the barge MAITLAND NO. 1 and the tugs JOHN PURVES and JOHN ROEN V.
The tug HERBERT A., formerly owned by Herb Fraser and Associates of Port Colborne and sold last year for ocean service, is still lying at Sorel, Quebec, and was apparently renamed TARA HALL during August. It is not known what use will be made of the vessel.
Branch Lines' newest tanker ARTHUR SIMARD is due to enter service about the 15th of October and already Marine Industries has an order for the next tanker in the series, this one scheduled for completion in September 1974. Marine Industries also has an order for six salt water ships for a foreign owner so things will be booming in Sorel for the next few years.
The C. S. L. package freighter FORT ST. LOUIS has been chartered to the Newfoundland Steamship Company Ltd., a subsidiary of Clarke Traffic Services Ltd., for service between Montreal and Corner Brook, Nfld. With ESKIMO, FORT CHAMBLY and FORT ST. LOUIS operating off-lakes this summer, the drastically reduced lake run was held down by FORT HENRY, FORT YORK and FORT WILLIAM. Not one of these latter ships has been observed by your editor with anything near a capacity load and long gone are the days of big deckloads of package freight. Indeed, we will not be surprised if the C. S. L. lake package freight service is discontinued completely in the near future.
The research vessel INLAND SEAS, previously owned by the University of Michigan, has been bought by Don Lee of Port Lambton and has been moved to her new owner's home port from Sturgeon Bay. We understand that a buyer for the vessel is being sought.
Several St. Lawrence area tugs have been renamed. Davie Shipbuilding's tug TAKIS V is now the DONALD P. while FOUNDATION VISCOUNT is sailing for Richelieu Dredging Inc. under the name C. O. PARADIS. FOUNDATION VANGUARD now carries the name A. MOIR.
Good news for steam fans! The Toronto sidewheel ferry TRILLIUM passed her recent hull and machinery survey with flying colours, despite having been idle since 1956. Much work will have to be done, of course, on both hull and machinery if she is to be actually returned to service but at least the outlook is favourable. Now the city must consider the financial outlay required to rebuild the upperworks of the ferry.
Speaking of ferries, the Metro Toronto Parks Department has called for tenders for the repowering of the 1951-built double-ender THOMAS RENNIE. The RENNIE is the last of the ferries on Toronto Bay without direct pilot-house engine controls. Although her engines have given trouble in past years, much work has been done on them recently and they are now operating very smoothly. It seems a waste of money to repower the ship before she really needs it.....
For those interested in deep sea passenger vessels, we should make reference to the sale for scrapping of two major ships. The first is the Italia Line's motorship GIULIO CESARE which was built in 1951 for the service between Italy and South America, The CESARE arrived at La Spezia on May 11 and thus becomes the first victim in the forthcoming purge of Italian passenger operations. The other vessel recently sold for scrap is the P. and O. liner CHUSAN, a steamer built in 1950 by Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd, at Barrow-in-Furness. A tremendously popular vessel in both cruising and the trans-Pacific service, she was the second ship in the P. and O. post-war building programme. The scrapping of CHUSAN seems especially untimely when the company is still operating the older HIMALAYA. CHUSAN left Southampton for Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on May 12.
IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR is rapidly taking shape in the building berth at Port Weller Dry-docks but, from your editor's observations, it seems unlikely that she can be delivered this navigation season. As we had thought that the appearance of the new ship would surely spell the end for IMPERIAL SARNIA, we find most interesting a note in the Fall issue of Imperial Oil Fleet News that "as IMPERIAL SARNIA will probably be running next season, manning the new ship will be a problem." It seems we may have the old girl around for a while yet.
In our last issue we neglected to mention the retirement of the Canadian Coast Guard vessel MARMOT, a landing-ship type creature which has been around the lakes during the last few years. Supposedly to be scrapped at Owen Sound, MARMOT was towed from Thunder Bay by ALEXANDER HENRY. The HENRY abandoned the tow at Point Iroquois and from there down through the locks at the Soo to Pipe Island in the lower St. Mary's the tow was handled by the tug DANA T. BOWEN now based at the Canadian Soo. The HENRY then completed the tow to Owen Sound. Your editor observed the BOWEN and MARMOT downbound in the Canadian lock at the Soo in the early evening hours of August 13th.
Three well-known salt water ships which frequently visited the lakes have been sold, two of them for dismantling. The very handsome motorvessel AKOSOMBO which made several trips up the Seaway in 1972 has been sold by Elder Dempster Lines Ltd. to the China Mutual Steam Navigation Company Ltd. AKOSOMBO is notable for her very tall funnel and her splendid accommodations. A typical Blue Funnel liner (she served this line as ASCANIUS), she was built in 1950. The two ships sold for scrapping are OLYMPIC STORM, a 1954-built Liberian tanker which has made many calls at Toronto, and EXANTHIA, a veteran of 1941 which had served American Export Lines. The latter ship, along with sisterships EXTAVIA and EXIRIA inaugurated the American Export services into the lakes after opening of the Seaway and was well known for the classic lines given her by her builders, including a handsome counter stern, an anachronism on the high seas by the time of her building. EXANTHIA was sold by the U. S. Dept. of Commerce to Luria Bros. & Company while OLYMPIC STORM was bought by the Tung Ho Steel Enterprise Company Ltd. who began demolition on January 13, 1973.
The sandsucker CHARLES DICK spent a rather unusual summer running sand from the Niagara Bar to the Rochester area. She finished up the contract and headed back to her usual stomping grounds on Lake Erie on September 21.
A photograph appearing in the Goderich Signal-Star on September 13th shows the former Reoch steamer ELMDALE which is now a unit of the storage fleet belonging to the Goderich Elevator and Transit Company. ELMDALE already has a storage cargo of 289,540 bushels of wheat for the winter. We have also been informed by one of our spies that the owners of the ship have been busy painting the hulls of the remaining four storage units, the steamers LIONEL PARSONS, R. G. SANDERSON and D. B. WELDON, and the barge C. S. BAND.
The Hall tanker INLAND TRANSPORT has apparently been sold to United Metals in Hamilton as were the bulk carriers SHIERCLIFFE HALL and STERNECLIFFE HALL. The tanker, however, remains at Sarnia where she has been laid up since the close of the 1972 navigation season.
Reports appearing in Superior Evening Telegram and the Duluth News Tribune indicate that a firm called Incan Marine Ltd. (a joint venture of Canadian Pacific and Inchcape Ltd., a British concern) is considering the operation of a carferry service between Thunder Bay and Superior. The service would, we understand, be operated with barges and the principal cargo would be newsprint shipped from Thunder Bay by the Great Lakes Paper Company. At last report, Incan was attempting to arrange docking facilities at Superior. At least one barge is reported to be already under construction, although we have no idea where it might be being built.
AVON FOREST, the second vessel built at Port Weller Drydocks for the Burnett Steamship Company Ltd., cleared Port Weller on August 31st. She proceeded to Port Alfred for a load of newsprint bound for Europe.
We have a report that two more units of the Kinsman fleet have been put to the wall, the GEORGE E. SEEDHOUSE at Toledo and KINSMAN INDEPENDENT at Lorain. They join SILVER BAY and KINSMAN VOYAGER which went in earlier in the season. We hope they will be reactivated later this autumn.
The second major casualty of the 1973 season, (the first was HENRY H. ROGERS) has been Inland Steel's WILFRED SYKES. She grounded at Thunder Bay on August 5th while backing from the ore dock (Valley Camp) . She went to South Chicago under her own power and was on the drydock from August 9th to the 14th. She apparently suffered a fair amount of bottom damage.
The Hanna Furnace Corporation's steamer GEORGE R. FINK was sold during the month of September 1973, thus putting an end to rumours that other purchasers were on the verge of buying the vessel. She passed down the Welland Canal in tow of SALVAGE MONARCH and SUPERIOR on September 27-28 bound overseas for scrap, having been bought by Steel Factors Ltd. The FINK was hardly an old ship, having been built in 1923 as WORRELL CLARKSON, but she was still a hand-fired coalburner and this no doubt would discourage anyone interested in operating the ship further.
Elsewhere in this section we have commented on the number of ships under construction or ordered from the Collingwood Shipyard division of the Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd. It now develops that the yard has also won a contract for two 15,500 self-unloading bulk carriers to be built to the order of the Gypsum Transportation Company, a subsidiary of the Canadian Gypsum Company. The new vessels will operate solely on the east coast. Meanwhile, things look good for Port Weller Drydocks as that firm was low bidder on a new ferry for the Canadian National Railway's service to Newfoundland. The contract is to be let before the end of the year.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.