The Royal Dutch Shell organization is now and has for many years been one of the world's larger petroleum refiners. It is a huge international corporation and as might be expected has not ignored the market for petroleum products in North America, particularly in that area surrounding the Great Lakes. The firm today operates in Canada under the name Shell Canada Ltd. and in the United States as Shell Oil Company.
Shell began moving petroleum products on the lakes in 1932. A company styled Dominion Tankers Ltd., Toronto, was formed with the backing of industrialist John A. McDougald. Alfred R. Roberts was president of the new firm and Capt. J. H. Solery was its manager. Dominion carried Shell products under charter until about 1942 when Shell established its own lake shipping department, incorporated as Shell Canadian Tankers Ltd., Toronto, and took over ownership of the vessels.
In 1963 Shell acquired the Canadian Oil Companies Ltd. of Toronto, a concern which had operated under the familiar name of White Rose. The tankers obtained from White Rose were operated as a separate division of Shell for a short time but they were merged into the Shell fleet itself about 1964. It was around this time that the shipping department dropped the name of Shell Canadian Tankers Ltd. and since then the ships have been registered to the parent Canadian firm, Shell Canada Ltd.
The vessels of Dominion Tankers Ltd. had black hulls and their cabins were a dark buff colour. The stacks were the same buff with a wide black band at the top on which was superimposed a buff circle on which was a large black "R". When Shell Canadian Tankers Ltd. took over operations, the buff colour was lightened somewhat. The stacks remained buff with a black smokeband but on the lower section of the funnel appeared a raised scallop shell which was buff and outlined in black and on which appeared the word "SHELL" in red. BLUE CROSS was the first to carry this design but she differed from all her mates in that her cabins were white throughout her years of service with the fleet. As the years passed, Shell gradually lightened the buff on the cabins until by the early sixties they were almost a cream colour. When Shell Canada Ltd. assumed control in 1964 the cabins became a real white while the lower section of the funnel design became a bright red.
ARCTIC TRADER, (a) TYEE SHELL (69). (C.188392). Diesel tanker built 1958 at Collingwood by Collingwood Shipyards Division, Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd., Hull 167. 236.0 x 39.7 x 20.1, Gross 1599, Net 838. Built for west coast service in B.C. waters. Returned to Collingwood 1969 for lengthening, widening and deepening by substitution of new bow and midbody. 295.0 x 45.6 x 24.6, Gross 2701, Net 1834. Since the rebuild, has operated on Lakes and east coast.
BAYSHELL (I), (a) JUSTINE C. ALLEN (50). (U.S. 229240, C.169868). Twin screw diesel tanker built 1930 at Sparrows Point, Maryland, by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Hull 4271. 199.7 x 38.0 x 14.2, Gross 988, Net 590. Built for Lake Tankers Corp., New York, a firm affiliated with Cities Service Oil Co. Inc. Acquired by Shell for lake service 1948 and used much of the time as a bunkering ship at Montreal. Sold 1967 to Maronando Cia. Nav., Panama, for service in European waters. Left lakes as (c) STELLA.
BAYSHELL (II). (C.325745). Diesel bunkering tanker built 1967 at Collingwood by Collingwood Shipyards Div., Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd., Hull 190. 200.0 x 40.0 x 14.0, Gross 1072, Net 987. Built for bunkers use at Montreal. Powered by twin outboard units.
FLORENCE. (C.88309). Wooden steam tug built 1885 at Levis, Quebec, by Maritime et Industrielle Cie. 91.0 x 19.8 x 9.0, Gross 113, Net 30. Originally owned by Jewell & Co. (Henry Jewell), Quebec City. Sold 1900 to T. Tremblay, Chicoutimi, Que. Sold 1903 to Hackett Towing & Wrecking Co., Amherstburg, Ont. Sold 1906 to Quebec Transportation & Forwarding Co. Ltd., Quebec. Sold 1914 to George Hall Coal Co., Montreal. Sold 1917 to the Essex Transit Co. Ltd., Ford City (Windsor), Ont. After a period of inactivity, sank at her dock at Windsor 1932. Purchased 1933 by Florence Transportation Co. Ltd., Toronto, a subsidiary of Dominion Tankers Ltd. Refitted to tow the tank barge PETER G. CAMPBELL. Foundered Nov. 14, 1933 off Timber Island in the False Ducks, Lake Ontario.
JENNY T. II, (a) ASHTABULA, (b) TIFFIN (69). (U.S. 212966, C.177562). Steel steam tug built 1915 at Cleveland by the Great Lakes Towing Co. for its own fleet. 73.3 x 17.0 x 9.8, Gross 66, Net 45. Sold 1947 to Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd. and used at various Canadian lake ports. Converted to diesel in mid-fifties and latterly operated in C.S.L. colours. Sold 1959 to Gravel & Lake Service Ltd., Port Arthur and used at Lakehead. Sold 1969 to Wakeham & Sons Ltd., Hamilton, for charter to Shell Canada Ltd. Used at Hamilton to tow bunkering barge S.M.T.B. NO. 7.
LAKESHELL (II) (69), (b) RIVERSHELL (II). (C.173192). Diesel canal tanker built 1940 at Sorel, Que., by Marine Industries Ltd., Hull 76. 252.3 x 43.9 x 20.3, Gross 2238, Net 1665. Built for Shell Canadian Tankers Ltd., Toronto. Retired at end of 1968 season and held in reserve at Toronto until sold Aug. 1969 to United Metals Ltd. Scrapped at Hamilton 1971.
W. HAROLD REA (70), (b) EASTERN SHELL (II). (C.316681). Diesel tanker built 1962 at Collingwood by Collingwood Shipyards Div., Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd., Hull 176. 335.0 x 46.0 x 24.6, Gross 4009, Net 2961. Built for Canadian Oil Companies Ltd., Toronto, and acquired by Shell 1963. In service.
S.M.T.B. NO. 7. (C.330099). Steel non-propelled bunkering barge built 1969 at Port Weller by Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd., Hull 52. 150.0 x 33.0 x 14.0, Gross 607, Net 581. Built for Shell Canada Ltd. and used at Hamilton, Ont., towed by JENNY T. II. In service.
WHITE ROSE (70), (a) EGLINTON PARK (45), (b) JOHN IRWIN (II)(56), (c) WHITE ROSE (II)(57), (e) FUEL MARKETER (II). (C.175579). Diesel canal tanker built 1944 at Sorel, Que., by Marine Industries Ltd., Hull 142. 259.0 x 43.9 x 20.0, Gross 2404, Net 1699. Built for the Canadian government-owned Park Steamship Co. Ltd., Montreal, and managed during World War II by Imperial Oil Ltd., Toronto. Sold 1945 by the War Assets Corporation to Canadian Oil Companies Ltd., Toronto, whose fleet was then managed by John Irwin of Montreal. Acquired by Shell 1963. Still in service. Since 1970 has operated for Shell subsidiary Canadian Fuel Marketers Ltd.
NORTHERN SHELL, (a) TIBETAN. (Br.199402). Diesel tanker built 1954 at Glasgow by C. Connell & Co. Ltd., Hull 476. 530.0 x 73.0 x 38.3, Gross 12608, Net 7200. Originally owned by Norwegian firm of Wm. Wilhelmson. Later purchased by Shell Canada Ltd. and registered at Hamilton, Bda. Used mainly on salt water but occasionally trades into Lake Ontario.
WESTERN SHELL (I), (a) Y.O. 119. (C.178797). Steel diesel tanker built 1943 at Portland, Oregon, by Albina Engine & Machine Works for U.S. government. 164.5 x 32.2 x 15.0, Gross 682, Net 495. Acquired by Shell after World War II for use on B.C. coast. Out of Canadian register after 1961.
ACAVUS (Br.187830) and ACHATINA (Br.187831). Sister diesel tankers built 1957 at Vegesack, Germany, by Bremer Vulkan. 531.0 x 69.3 x 39.0, Gross 12326, Net 7477. Built for Tanker Finance Ltd., London, and long-term chartered to Shell.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.