Speaking of vessels sold for scrapping, it will be recalled that OUTARDE was supposedly to winter at Sorel before being sent overseas. We now learn that she is instead laid up at Montreal alongside BETHLEHEM.
The American Steamship Company has run into a bit of hard luck recently with some of its vessels and it appears that the scrappers may be the ones to benefit in two of the cases, JOHN J. BOLAND lost her unloading boom over the side on December 16 while unloading at Green Bay, Wisconsin, and we hear that the boom was a total loss. The most serious of the incidents involved RICHARD J. REISS which parted her mooring cables at Stoneport on December 15 and was blown onto the breakwater. She was taken to South Chicago for repairs and damage is understood to fall in the million dollar range, as much of her bottom plating was ruined. Another incident at Stoneport involved HARRIS N. SNYDER and, although we do not have details of this accident, we understand that BoCo is considering disposing of the steamer for scrapping. One vessel that definitely has been sold for scrap is the veteran BEN W. CALVIN which apparently failed to pass inspection this fall due to boiler problems. She was officially transferred to Marine Salvage Ltd. on January 8th and presumably will be sent overseas. The CALVIN was built in 1911 at Lorain as (a) WILLIAM C. AGNEW for the Buffalo Steamship Company, Mitchell & Company, and was later known as (b) GEORGE P. RAND. She is easily recognizable by her handsome triple-deck bridge structure.
When she appears back in service next spring, the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Company's motorship CHICAGO TRIBUNE will have changed her profile somewhat. She unloaded quickly after arriving at Toronto and was then moved to the west side of the Parliament Street slip where crews are now working to lop 30 inches off the top of her trunk. It seems that the trunk was a bit too high to fit conveniently under a number of the grain elevators that the vessel must serve. Quite frankly, since the company no longer ships paper by water and the trunk is of little use in the grain trade, we wonder why they are not removing the entire structure.
We are most happy to hear that the new self-unloader building at Collingwood for the Algoma Central Railway will have her pilothouse forward, although in all other respects she is to be a sister of H.M.GRIFFITH. It will be interesting to see how the two designs are integrated in one ship. Incidentally, we also hear that there is a very good possibility that her name will be ALGOSOO.
It has been announced that the new rail ferry being built by Burrard at Vancouver for the Incan service between Superior and Thunder Bay will be christened INCAN SUPERIOR. A great deal of ingenuity has obviously been used in coming up with that name!
The tug DOLPHIN X apparently had a tough job in getting HURON and WYANDOTTE safely across the Atlantic to Santander, Spain, where they arrived on October 20th. We understand that they encountered rough weather and lost quite a bit of towline during the trip.
An advertisement in the December 2, 1973 issue of Boats and Harbors featured a photo of the steam ferry THE STRAITS OF MACKINAC which is being offered for sale by the present owners, Paterson Builders Inc., Sturgeon Bay. The asking price is $120,000. The same issue carried illustrated ads from the Lundeburg Maryland Seamanship School which is trying to sell off the steamers SOUTH AMERICAN and JOHN A. MESECK. The former is well known to lake fans and is described as "steel hull in towable condition" with machinery removed. The MESECK is a 240-foot excursion boat formerly used in the New York area.
"Operation Coal Scuttle, " the annual winter movement of coal from Toledo to the Detroit area was brought to a premature end this winter on January 14 when ice problems forced the Toledo coal docks to suspend shipments. The BoCo self-unloaders CONSUMERS POWER and HENNEPIN were stuck fast in heavy ice near the Detroit River Light in western Lake Erie and DETROIT EDISON grounded near Toledo when heavy ice caught her and carried her into shoal water where she grounded. Ore carriers have also been trapped in the ice. This must surely be one of the longest seasons ever for the veteran HENNEPIN which would, we thought, have been getting a bit ripe by now for inclusion in a service as hard as this. We wonder whether we will see this 1905-vintage steamer fit out again next spring....
A few months ago we reported that negotiations were underway for the purchase of Interlake's steamer WALTER E. WATSON by the National Steel Corporation. In fact, the sale was completed on December 21st and the WATSON now belongs to Hanna. She will, in due course, be converted to a craneship and will be operated between Detroit and Burns Harbor by the Hanna Mining Company, a subsidiary of National Steel. Is it possible that her new name might be NATIONAL TRADER?
The place in the Interlake Steamship Company's fleet vacated with the departure of WALTER E. WATSON will be filled in 1974 by COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS which has been idle for two years. The PICKANDS has been drydocked at Sturgeon Bay and is said to be in excellent condition. COLONEL JAMES, PICKANDS was built at Lorain in 1926 by the American Shipbuilding Company and measures 586.3 feet in length.
We have learned that Gulf Oil Canada Ltd. has not renewed its longterm charter of the tanker GULF SENTINEL which has operated a bunkering service on Western Lake Ontario) since 1962. The diminutive motorship is only 178.9 feet long and is owned by Johnstone Shipping Ltd. of Toronto. She is presently in winter quarters in the Turning Basin here. Without the bunker service, it seems unlikely that GULF SENTINEL will fit out next year as she is far too small to be operated economically in any long distance trade. Built by Swan Hunter at Newcastle in 1933 as a barge, she was later converted to a diesel and was a unit of the Shell fleet until 1960 when she was sold to Arthur Hill of Hamilton. Upon the windup of his somewhat misguided shipping "venture" the next year, she passed to Johnstone ownership. She was probably best known under the names with which she served Shell, PETER G. CAMPBELL and RIVERSHELL(1).
The Paterson canal motorship LACHINEDOC is wintering at Cardinal this year with a storage cargo and the word at present is that she will not be reactivated in the spring but will instead be sold, possibly for scrapping. LACHINEDOC, the second vessel of that name to serve the Paterson fleet, was built in 1956 by the Atlantic Shipbuilding Company Ltd. at Newport, Wales, and was thus only three years old when the Seaway opened and rendered ships of her type unnecessary. The Patersons found enough work for her, as well as CALGADOC and SARNIADOC together with the TROISDOC purchased later, to keep her going until now, but it seems that she has reached the end of her usefulness for her present owners. We hope that her buyer will be someone who will wish to operate her.
WESTCLIFFE HALL, the second canaller sold by Halco for operation in salt water under the British flag , cleared Kingston for Montreal on December 15. Weather conditions were not good for the trip, however, and she returned upstream to Prescott where she is presently laid up. Only NORTHCLIFFE HALL remains at Kingston and it is expected that she will leave the lakes in the spring.
The 88-foot steam tug DOLOMITE sank at her dock at Rogers City on December 27th. We have no further detail on this occurrence and would like to hear from any member who may know more. DOLOMITE owned by U. S. Steel, was built at Lorain in 1927 and originally carried the name ROGERS CITY.
Speaking of steam tugs, the famous EDNA G. of the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway Company featured prominently in a widely circulated newspaper photograph of the heavily iced PRESQUE ISLE arriving at Two Harbors, Minnesota, in December. EDNA G. looked most business-like as she gave out a lovely cloud of coal smoke. PRESQUE ISLE only made the one trip and then laid up for the winter, her owners not wishing to get involved in ice problems.
Some of the new breed of stemwinders have found themselves in trouble when ice starts to form across the broad expanse of uncabined bow. It seems that someone forgot to provide steam lines forward and there is no way to melt off the ice. We understand that other operators planning such vessels have wisely included steam lines in their designs.
As noted elsewhere in this issue, there are thirty-four vessels wintering in Toronto harbour this winter, an increase of nine over last year. This is all the more pleasing in view of the fact that the problems in shipping soya beans from U.S. ports had threatened to greatly reduce the winter just as it reduced, and for a time during the summer completely stopped, parade of lakers to Victory Soya Mills with this cargo. Of particular interest are the six maximum-sized lakers including a real stranger, C.S.L.'s bulk carrier RICHELIEU which has a transit cargo for Montreal. The last of the lay-ups arrived in port on January 3rd when WHEAT KING came in with grain for Toronto Elevators.
At the time of writing, work had begun with the re-engining of the Toronto ferry THOMAS RENNIE which is spending the winter in the Turning Basin. The contract for the work was let to Ship Repair & Supply Ltd. and this firm has now removed the funnel and a section of the boat deck to allow for the removal of the old Fairbanks-Morse diesels. She is to get Caterpillars as did SAM McBRIDE last winter, but this time the Metro Parks Department took the precaution of removing the ferry's horn before sending her off for the work. During the work on the McBRIDE last winter, the horn was damaged and all through the 1973 season she sounded rather like a goat with indigestion.
The special extension of the Welland Canal navigation season from December 31 to January 4, proved to be rather a flop as very few vessels took advantage of the opportunity to move last minute cargoes. Many vessels were attracted to late operation on the upper lakes this winter and others were already in winter quarters, the lower section of the Seaway having closed thus barring the possibility of further shipments to the Montreal area. About the only vessels to make any great use of the additional time were those carrying coal from Lake Erie ports for Lake Ontario hydro plants.
The former Kinsman steamer HENRY LALIBERTE was due to leave Montreal in tow of the tugs HELEN M. McALLISTER and ATLANTIC for Quebec on January 9 but we believe that the departure was delayed due to bad weather.
The tug TARA HALL (better known on the lakes as HERBERT A.) was spotted by one of our spies at Trois Rivieres, Quebec, on January 6th at which time she was preparing to sail for the Bahamas. She had spent the year lying at Sorel and we had begun to wonder whether she would ever make the journey south.
A late-season accident occurred on New Year's Day when the C.S.L. self-unloader QUETICO struck the Algoma Steel dock at the Canadian Sault punching a rather large hole in her bow above the waterline. Repairs have since been put in hand by the shipyard at Thunder Bay.
The little motorship MACKINAC ISLANDER, once a steam ferry at the Straits and later a "pollywog" type freighter on the upper lakes until sold a few years ago for service as a crab boat in Alaskan waters, was reported on January 8th as haying been lost with all hands, off the Aleutian Islands. We have yet to receive a confirmation of this report.
We understand that scrapping of the Goderich Elevator and Transit Company's barge F. H. DUNSFORD is virtually complete at Thunder Bay and that K. A. POWELL is waiting her turn. The scrapping is being done by the Western Iron & Metal Company.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.