Last issue, we reported that the Paterson canaller LACHINEDOC might not fit out in the spring, but we have now heard that she will definitely be in operation during the coming year as will the other three canallers of the fleet, namely TROISDOC, CALGADOC and SARNIADOC. We had been somewhat worried about the future of TROISDOC as she sustained rather serious fire damage to her after end while undergoing winter repairs in the Collingwood drydock. The fire, occurring on January 10, heavily damaged the galley and crew's mess and six shipyard workers had to escape by crawling through a porthole, the only one in fact in the after end that was large enough to permit a man to crawl through. TROISDOC is apparently important enough to Paterson's operation that she will be repaired. A sister of CALGADOC and SARNIADOC, she was formerly IROQUOIS of the Canadian Steamship Lines fleet and was purchased by Paterson in 1967.
The former Department of Transport tender MARMOT, towed down to Owen Sound from the Lakehead in August, has now been sold to Don Lee of Port Lambton, Ontario, and we understand that she will be taken to Hamilton for scrapping in the spring.
Another vessel to feel the wrecker's torch at Hamilton is the tank barge (and former steamer) ALFRED CYTACKI, latterly owned by Big D. Lines. Towed for a short period in 1972 by the big steam tug CHRIS M., she did not see any service in 1973 and is presently at Strathearne Terminals. We have heard that CHRIS M. will join her at the scrapping berth sometime in 1974. Anyone want a steam tug?
Both the J. H. HILLMAN JR. (to be renamed CRISPIN OGLEBAY) and J. BURTON AYERS are being converted to self-unloaders at the present time and it is interesting to note that their unloading booms were fabricated by G. & W. Welding in Cleveland and then moved by ship to the shipyards for installation. In November the boom for the HILLMAN went to Toledo on the deck of the Columbia craneship W.C. RICHARDSON and later the same month the boom for the AYERS was transported on the deck of ROBERT C. NORTON (I) .
The Canadian Dredge and Dock Company Ltd. appears to have given up plans to build a new tug at Kingston, a replacement for G.W. ROGERS. The tug was to be constructed this winter and, in fact, some of her steel was actually assembled in preparation for the job. We presume that the company feels it can make do with its present tugs for the time being. The ROGERS is normally stationed at Toronto and this winter she and GLEN ROVER are looking after moving all the storage hulls in port.
Your editor must admit that we were caught with our pants down when, in the February issue, we expounded at great lengths on the subject of lake cruises during the 1974 season and the passenger ship GALAXIAS which we had been led to believe would be operating the service. So many people came to our assistance in forwarding details of this vessel, that we just had to splurge with a big article. The day after we mailed the issue, we learned that GALAXIAS would not be operating in the lakes after all! Granted, we did find it somewhat strange that, despite the fact GALAXIAS was scheduled to run here, we saw brochures advertising her Aegean Sea cruises for '74, but then again we have been so starved for some sort of passenger service in this area that we were ready to believe just about anything. But, dear reader, do not despair, for there will still be a cruise ship operating on the lakes this season. Her name is ORION, and elsewhere in this issue you will find a description and history of the ship. Now, if there are no other sudden changes before April, we may just come out of this without too much egg on our faces.
One of the best pieces of news we have heard in many a moon concerns a proposal by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission to operate a ferry service between Manitoulin Island and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The fate of the proposal appears to hinge on the availability of docking facilities on the Michigan side and the Commission seems to be eyeing the Cedarville area for a terminal. From the description of the two vessels (unnamed in the newspaper release) which the Commission would like to use on the service, it is apparent that they can only be NORISLE and NORG0MA which will be displaced from their normal Tobermory - South Bay Mouth run later this year with the entry into service of CHI-CHEEMAUN. This new plan is one which we would very much like to see carried to fruition and we hope that preparations for the service will go smoothly.
Navigation through the St. Mary's River came to a close for the 1973 season one week into the month of February, 1974. The last ships to pass through the Soo Locks were the downbound U.S. Steel vessels JOHN G. MUNSON and ROGER BLOUGH. The MUNSON transitted the canal late on February 6 while the BLOUGH was timed down at the Poe Lock at 12:10 a.m., February 7. Thus the 1973 season which began with the first passage on March 28 became the longest northern lakes navigation season ever recorded. Late operations were hampered by heavy ice on the river and in the lock and the constant movement of ships on the river prevented the formation of the natural ice bridge which normally keeps the Sugar Island ferry channel free of heavy ice movements. The ferry SUGAR ISLANDER was in trouble in the ice on many occasions during January and early February and when the ferry was unable to make the crossing the United States Coast Guard tugs ARUNDEL and NAUGATUCK filled in.
We have just learned that there are no vessels (except harbour equipment) wintering in Buffalo harbour this year. This is quite surprising, since even in poor years for lake shipping, there have always been many ships both light and with storage cargoes laid up at Buffalo. A recent look at the Lake Carriers' Association report for 1918 indicates that over the winter of 1918-1919, there were 121 vessels with storage cargoes wintering at Buffalo plus a number of other ships not loaded with storage grain. How the mighty have fallen!
The salt water bulk carrier ADELFOI which grounded in the St. Lawrence at the Ile d'Orleans on December 26th is still hard aground and the ATLANTEAN NO. 1 is presently at the scene trying to free the ship. ADELFOI, a 1950-built Liberian motorship, was a visitor to the Great Lakes in 1973, and was outbound after her last visit when the accident took place.
A containership named CAST BEAVER grounded at Quebec on December 19 and, although quickly freed, spent about a month in drydock at Lauzon. The ship will be remembered as the former INISHOWEN HEAD of the Ulster Steam Shipping Company Ltd., the Head Line. She is now operating for Cast Containers.
Despite the sinking of her towmate BUCKEYE MONITOR in the North Atlantic on December 19th, ROBERT S. McNAMARA did make it safely across behind the tug SEETRANS 1. Confirmation has been received that the McNAMARA arrived at Santander, Spain, on January 11, 1974.
Halco: SCOTIACLIFFE HALL is out on charter to Bunge Canada Ltd. and is carrying U.S. grain from east and Gulf coast ports to Europe. CHEMICAL TRANSPORT is on charter to Dow Chemical and is ferrying caustic soda from Texas to Port Alfred. BAFFIN TRANSPORT is out to Imperial, and four other tankers are running on the St. Lawrence.
Canada Steamship Lines: ESKIMO has been chartered to Bomar Navigation and just made a trip to Portugal. FORT CHAMBLY has been on charter to Netumar Line (Brazilian) and is running from the east coast to Brazil. FORT ST. LOUIS is out on charter to Q&O who are using her as a runningmate for THOROLD on the newsprint trade from our east coast to New York and Florida.
The military artifacts committee of the Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario) historical sites board is at present making contact with the Crown Assets Corporation who are to dispose of the old warship H.M.C.S. SAULT STE. MARIE. They would like to obtain the ship and take her to the Soo for historical display.
We hear that the Erie canal barge motorship ANDROS MARINER (ex ROBERT BARNES FIERTZ) has been sold to two persons from South Carolina who plan to rebuild her to look like a Confederate blockade runner and fix her up as a period restaurant inside. Now that's a rebuild we would like to see. We think someone is dreaming. ROBERT BARNES FIERTZ looked about as much like a blockade runner as CHICORA (a real one) resembled an airplane!
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.