Hull 718 of the Bay Shipbuilding Corporation was floated at Sturgeon Bay during July, 1978. The 1000-foot self-unloader, which is built to the order of the United States Steel Corporation, is similar in design (except for the unloading equipment) to BELLE RIVER and LEWIS WILSON FOY, which were commissioned in 1977 and 1978, respectively, for the American Steamship Company and the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. In October, Hull 718 is to be christened EDWIN H. GOTT in honour of a retired "Steel Trust" board chairman.
Meanwhile, U.S. Steel has ordered a third new vessel, this one to be built at Sturgeon Bay as a sister to Inland Steel's JOSEPH L. BLOCK. The self-unloader, relatively small by today's standards, will be for the "Bradley" division of the fleet and thus will appear in that section's gray livery rather than in the familiar red as will EDWIN H. GOTT.
With three new vessels on order, the U.S. Steel Corporation has disposed of five more of its idle carriers. With HENRY H. ROGERS, GEORGE G. CRAWFORD and WILLIAM J. FILBERT already cut up by Hyman-Michaels at Duluth, and with HENRY PHIPPS now half-gone at the same yard, the fleet has sold WILLIAM B. SCHILLER (1910), WILLIAM P. PALMER (1910), PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR. (1913). RICHARD TRIMBLE (1913) and JAMES A. FARRELL (also 1913) for scrap to the same firm. The first to go will be SCHILLER, which will follow PHIPPS and the already-stripped HARRY L. ALLEN of the Kinsman fleet under the wreckers' torches. It is not hard to see the others as expendable, but we have great difficulty in realizing that the beautiful FARRELL, long the flagship of the fleet and, until a few years ago, one of the company boats carrying guests, is not being retained, at least as a spare boat. This just goes to show how "out of it" an enthusiast can be these days when he considers aesthetics over cubic capacity!
Scrapping of the Kinsman steamer CHICAGO TRADER, which last operated in 1976, is progressing at Ashtabula. At last report, work was well advanced on the ship's stern. Meanwhile, another Kinsman steamer, the GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER, is expected to arrive shortly at Humberstone where she will be laid to rest in the old canal where AVONDALE has lain for two years. AVONDALE will be moved to the scrapping berth at Ramey's Bend for dismantling, but it is not known whether Marine Salvage Ltd. plans to cut up the STEINBRENNER there as well or sell her for scrapping elsewhere.
The two Welland Canal shunters which are being built at Niagara Falls, Ontario, by E. S. Fox Ltd., are expected to be delivered to the Seaway Authority late in September and will be put into trial service shortly thereafter. As predicted, the test boat will be the former Kinsman steamer PETER ROBERTSON (II) which has been chartered to the S.L.S.A. by Marine Salvage Ltd. The ROBERTSON was moved from Humberstone to Thorold during May to make her ready for her new duties and was even taken briefly to the Port Weller shipyard for necessary work. She will be renamed MARINSAL and, when in test service, will have a shunter attached by pins to bow and stern, the shunters to be operated direct from the old laker's pilothouse. MARINSAL will be powered solely by the shunters but her boiler will be used as an air receiver to operate auxiliary equipment such as pumps and deck winches.
It has been known for several months that Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. has made plans for the conversion of ST. LAWRENCE PROSPECTOR, (a) CARLTON, to a 730-foot laker. It was at first thought that the job would be done in Europe, and then, when Upper Lakes made overtures towards the acquisition of the Halifax dockyards from Hawker Siddeley Ltd., it was thought that the work might be done there. To the contrary, it has now been announced that the job has been awarded to the St. John Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, St. John, New Brunswick, the work to be done during the winter of 1978-79. At present, there are no plans for a similar conversion for ST. LAWRENCE NAVIGATOR, (a) DEMETERTON, which is said to be useful as she is for an east coast trade.
The sale of the five-vessel fleet of the Hindman Transportation Company Ltd. to the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. received federal approval on May 15 and shortly thereafter, the Hindman boats began to be seen sporting their new stack colours. None of the boats has yet been renamed and there is every indication that no renaming is planned for the present.
Last autumn, the rumours were flying fast concerning the possible retirement of SHELTER BAY. Since the acquisition of the Hindman fleet by Q & O, we have heard repeated word of the impending withdrawal not only of SHELTER BAY, which is being made busy primarily on the ore trade between Thunder Bay and Indiana Harbor, but also of HERON BAY. The latter is a particularly noteworthy vessel in that she was built in 1905 as J. PIERPONT MORGAN and was the first of the famous series of "beatle-browed" steamers built for the fleet of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company, Cleveland.
All season long, we have heard rumours that the Bethlehem Steel Corporation would be willing to dispose of its "Maritime Class" steamers STEELTON and LEHIGH, these bulk carriers having been rendered surplus tonnage with the commissioning in June, 1978, of LEWIS WILSON FOY. The asking price was alleged to be $1,000,000 each and, the exchange rate being what it has been of late, Canadian operators who were interested in the boats were discouraged from making the necessary expenditure. At long last, STEELTON was sold on July 13 to Medusa Cement, which will convert the steamer to a bulk cement carrier in much the same manner as it earlier converted ALEX D. CHISHOLM which now sails as MEDUSA CHALLENGER. Medusa's other steamer, C. H. McCULLOUGH JR., was taken to the AmShip drydock at South Chicago earlier in the year, having recently been used only for grain storage, but it was determined that she was not worth the required expenditure for repairs and conversion; it seems that her place in the fleet will be taken by STEELTON. No new name for the latter has been announced, nor do we know whether Bethlehem is still seeking a buyer for LEHIGH.
The future of the steam tanker IMPERIAL SARNIA is still not certain. She will need considerable work, including deck renewal, if she is to operate past the close of this season and, whereas it was earlier reported that Imperial Oil Ltd. had no plans to pay for such major repair, the company is now saying that it has not yet decided whether to do the work or not. Meanwhile, IMPERIAL SARNIA is still going strong, running mainly on the upper lakes, resplendent in a new coat of paint which was applied during July. IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD has also been kept busy and, in mid-July, went to the wall at Sarnia for her annual five-week vacation rest. She should be back in service by the time this appears in print, but we should not be too hopeful for a protracted period of continued operation for the COLLINGWOOD. There is some suggestion that she may soon be sold for off-lakes service, in which case one of the salt-water Imperial tankers may be brought to the lakes, or else chartered or purchased ocean tonnage obtained, to replace both COLLINGWOOD and SARNIA.
While on the subject of Imperial tankers, we should mention that the fleet has disposed of its last deep-sea ship, IMPERIAL OTTAWA. This tanker had proven to be uneconomical to operate, despite her relative youth, and in the spring of 1978 was sold to the Esso Petroleum Company Ltd. and handed over to her new owner at Singapore.
A Latin-American crew arrived at Ramey's Bend during July to fit out the steam tanker IMPERIAL LONDON which, as earlier noted, has been sold to Honduran operators. It was expected that an extensive period of time would be needed to outfit the LONDON for her new duties and that she would not be ready to depart until late in August.
The newest addition to the fleet of Algoma Central Marine, the maximum-sized self-unloader ALGOBAY, was launched at Collingwood on June 19. Generally similar to the C.S.L. stemwinder LOUIS R. DESMARAIS which came from the same yard in late 1977, ALGOBAY has a rather interesting bow. It is specially shaped to permit operation in ice and has considerable flare to it as the vessel is to run in coastal service during the winter months. One result of the refined bow design is a somewhat more aesthetically acceptable vessel than J. W. McGIFFIN, H. M. GRIFFITH, ALGOLAKE or JEAN PARISIEN.
At the same time as ALGOBAY was launched, the keel was laid for Collingwood's Hull 217 which is yet another self-unloader for Algoma. In a marked departure from current trends, this ship will not be of maximum Seaway size and will measure only 658 x 65, the idea being that she will be able to serve smaller ports and docks which are inaccessible to the larger ships.
All three of the Hall Corporation's converted salties are now in service and proving to be valuable additions to the Halco fleet despite their rather unorthodox appearance. CARTIERCLIFFE HALL emerged from the Davie yard at Lauzon, Quebec, late last fall; MONTCLIFFE HALL and STEELCLIFFE HALL followed her this spring. The three bulk carriers are virtual sisterships, although there are a few minor differences, notably in the placing of the stanchions around the lower deck of the accommodations aft.
June 1st was a notable day on the Toronto waterfront, for there returned to port a vessel which had long been a familiar sight in the harbour but which has not been seen here for several seasons. We are referring to the Canada Cement Lafarge Ltd. electric motorvessel CEMENTKARRIER. For longer than most observers would care to admit, they saw her as she shuttled back and forth between Toronto and the Bay of Quinte area, carrying bulk cement cargoes to the Canada Cement facility in Toronto's Polson Street slip. With the conversion of the C.S.L. package freighter ENGLISH RIVER to a bulk cement carrier for this service, CEMENTKARRIER was relegated to a short period of service on the St. Lawrence and then spent the last few years in layup. She was brought back to Toronto by Ship Repair and Supply Ltd. which had her moored on the west wall of the turning basin during the summer. Dismantling began almost immediately, and although it originally appeared that the entire vessel would be scrapped, the cutting stopped when the cabins had been stripped off and the machinery removed. On August 17, she was towed from Toronto by the tug ROBERT H., her destination being Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, from whence she will be operated as a barge by as-yet-unidentified parties. ROBERT H. is a 104-footer owned by Three Rivers Boatman Ltd. and it is possible that this company may operate CEMENTKARRIER.
When ROBERT H. came to Toronto to pick up CEMENTKARRIER, she did not arrive empty-handed, for she brought with her the Branch Lines motortanker WILLOWBRANCH which has lain idle the past two years at Sorel. Unlike her sister CEDARBRANCH, which has been returned to service under the name SECOLA, the WILLOWBRANCH will be cut down to a barge by Ship Repair and Supply Ltd. and will, allegedly, be used as a barge out of Trois-Rivieres by the same parties that now have CEMENTKARRIER.
Another boat which has made a surprise return to Toronto is the long-idle Canadian Dredge and Dock Company fuel barge C.D. 110, (a) COLUMBIAN (05), (b) BROCKVILLE (09), (c) RAPIDS QUEEN (39). This hull was built as a steel passenger steamer back in 1892 at Chester, Pennsylvania, for the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Co. Ltd. For many years, she was part of the famous "Rapids Line" of boats operated by R & O and later C.S.L. between Prescott and Montreal to connect with the Lake Ontario steamers. She last operated back in 1935 on the Toronto - Thousand Islands route and subsequently was cut down for use as a bunkering barge. She has not seen active service for many years. Earlier this year, she was purchased by Toronto's Queen City Yacht Club which had her towed to Toronto on June 11 and moored along the inner end of the west pier of the Eastern Gap. The Q.C.Y.C. intended to use the battered hull as a breakwater across the mouth of the lagoon which runs between Ward's and Algonquin Islands near the club's premises, but difficulties have been encountered in that local harbour and parks authorities have required assurances that there will be no spillage from the hull. The problem has not yet been resolved and so C.D. 110 has not been moved to what was planned as her final resting place.
On June 7 and 8 respectively, the Canadian registration of the Westdale Shipping Ltd. self-unloader LEADALE and the Halco tanker BAFFIN TRANSPORT were closed, each being noted as having been sold to Mexican interests. It is not known whether LEADALE, currently idle at Toronto, or BAFFIN TRANSPORT, laid up at Sorel for several years, were to be operated or scrapped. At least in the case of LEADALE, we have heard that the Mexican sale has fallen through and it is said that this 68-year-old steamer will soon be dismantled at Hamilton's Strathearne Terminals.
The motorvessel PHOTINIA, owned by the Stag Line Ltd., North Shields, England, and a frequent visitor to the lakes for many years, went hard aground in Lake Michigan near the Milwaukee harbour entrance on May 13. Tugs failed to free the vessel and, underwater examination of the hull having indicated that PHOTINIA was seriously damaged, the Stag Line abandoned her to the underwriters, the West Of England Protection and Indemnity Association. During June, the stranded boat was sold to the Selvick Marine Towing Company and Midwest Marine Construction Inc. who jointly attempted to refloat her in the hope that she could be repaired and sold for further operation. Selvick eventually bought out the interest of Midwest and, on July 7 six tugs managed to pull PHOTINIA free. She was towed to Sturgeon Bay by JOHN M. SELVICK and WILLIAM C. SELVICK and was placed on drydock for examination. Inspection of the hull, however, indicated that damage was so extensive that repairs would run to approximately $2.8 million. Accordingly, it is Selvick's present intention to dispose of PHOTINIA for scrap and it seems likely that she will be broken up at Sturgeon Bay.
Another visitor to the Great Lakes came to grief this spring, but fortunately the accident which caused the loss of Ogden Marine's steamer YELLOWSTONE did not occur in lake waters. YELLOWSTONE came to the lakes late in May to pick up a cargo of grain consigned to Tunis from Duluth, and passed down the Welland Canal on May 27. On the morning of June 12, while off Gibraltar, she was picking her way through a sudden fog when she was rammed by the Algerian freighter IBN BATOUTA, the bow of the latter ship cutting into the YELLOWSTONE'S engineroom. The two ships remained locked together but on June 13, when they were separated, YELLOWSTONE quickly filled and sank. Five crewmen from the American vessel were lost in the accident, several crushed in the collision itself and the remainder trapped in the flooded engineroom.
The steamer ERNEST T. WEIR, purchased early in the year by the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton Company, from the National Steel Corporation, entered service in April in her new colours. The ship looks much better in Columbia livery, the only weak point in her appearance being the stack. Columbia and Hanna stack designs both incorporate a star and Columbia simply left the Hanna star on the funnel, surmounting it with the usual white 'C'. Unfortunately, the star is so big that when it is surrounded by the yellow band, there is not much room left above it for the upper red band. The result is an unbalanced look for the stack. There seem to be no plans to rename the WEIR and her addition makes Columbia's roster of vessels look like a "founders' fleet", many of its ships being named for gentlemen prominent in the development of lake shipping. The fleet includes boats named for such personalities as Weir, Capt. Thomas Wilson, G. A. Tomlinson, William A. Reiss, J. R. Sensibar, and, of course, O.N.Co.'s own Robert C. Norton and Crispin Oglebay.
The salt-water motorvessel ARCTIC was christened at Port Weller on June 2 and entered service the same month after passing trials with flying colours. Her maiden voyage took her to Toledo to load and, whilst there, she got into an argument with the Cherry Street bridge. ARCTIC sustained a nasty gash in her port bow but was able to load for her trip out of the lakes. She stopped off at Port Weller on the way in order that repairs might be put in hand, and is now in service to the Arctic regions.
The tug QUEEN CITY is once again up for sale. The 107-foot tug, which served, in succession, the Welland Canal as the maintenance vessel JALOBERT, Hamilton Harbour as the ferry and tug MACASSA, and the Toronto area pilot service under her present name, is currently owned by The Tug Ltd. Although her owner is located in Detroit, she has kept her Canadian registry and is used as a party boat for private groups. The asking price is $75,000 and it is said that interest in the tug has been shown by Watermans Services Scott Ltd. of Toronto, her former owner, who might like to bring her back to her namesake city.
This year, photographers have reason for renewed interest in the pretty little American Can of Canada diesel canaller D. C. EVEREST because her hull, which has been painted green ever since she was built almost twenty-five years ago, has this year been repainted a light blue shade which is most pleasing to the eye. The green on her stack has likewise been replaced by blue. Lower lake observers have been able to catch a rare glimpse of the EVEREST this summer, for in late July she made an unexpected trip down to Cornwall. In her earlier years, the EVEREST would make occasional trips down the Welland in the spring and fall, but she has not been seen in these parts for many years.
While Michigan legislators argue over the fate of the steam carferry CHIEF WAWATAM, the Michigan State Highway Commission has given the 67-year-old boat a reprieve. The Commission on June 28 granted to the Straits Car-Ferry Service Corporation an extension which will allow the CHIEF to maintain her service between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace through September 30. Despite the work which was recently done on the CHIEF at Sturgeon Bay, she is in need of extensive refurbishing and a decision on her future is expected to be made at the Commission meeting scheduled for August 23rd.
When the Interlake Steamship Company won from the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company the contract to carry Republic Steel iron ore, it was generally thought that Cliffs would roll over and play dead as regards the carriage of any ore not destined for its own mills. We are happy to note that this is not the case and that Cliffs will be giving Interlake and BoCo a run for their money in the "independent" trade. It was recently announced that Cliffs had won a 20-year contract to carry western coal to power plants of the Detroit Edison Company and in particular to its new facility at Monroe, Michigan. In addition to ensuring the completion of the self-unloader conversions of WALTER A. STERLING (presently underway at AmShip, Lorain) and EDWARD B. GREENE (scheduled for next winter at the same yard), the contract has strengthened the economic viability of the remainder of the company's fleet, including WILLIAM G. MATHER, CADILLAC and CHAMPLAIN, for which self-unloader conversions are mentioned. As well, Cliffs has an option on the construction of one 1000-footer and tentative plans for more.
The former Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. bulk carrier THORNHILL returned from Toronto to Hamilton under tow during the first week of May. The 72-year-old steamer had been resurrected from the Strathearne Terminals scrapyard last fall to serve over the winter as a soya bean storage facility at Toronto's Victory Mills.
The two tugs purchased by the Great Lakes Pilots' Association from the Great Lakes Towing Company are now in service at Sault Ste. Marie. OREGON and MICHIGAN have been renamed STE. MARIE I and STE. MARIE II, respectively, the former being stationed above the locks and moored at the coal dock, while the latter works below the locks and makes her home in the Carbide slip. The tugs are available for emergency work but normally busy themselves at pushing salt water vessels in and out of the American canal. Their hulls and cabins are still in G-tug colours, but they have been given a new stack design, buff with a black top and a large white letter 'S'.
So far during the 1978 navigation season, four tankers have been brought to Toronto for tank cleaning and lining. TEXACO BRAVE, TEXACO WARRIOR, GULF GATINEAU and GULF MACKENZIE have all spent considerable time in the turning basin while the work was being done.
When BAY TRANSPORT was dismantled at Toronto and Hamilton two years ago, her diesel engines were removed and sold to the operator of the tug W. J. IVAN PURVIS which is based at the Canadian Soo. One of the engines was fitted in the PURVIS, (a) MAGPIE, (b) DANA T. BOWEN, and the other was left to an undetermined fate. We have now learned that the second engine was sold by Purvis and is to be installed in the former Detroit firetug JOHN KENDALL which is currently being rebuilt at Alpena, Michigan.
The tug ALLEGHENY, which sank at her dock at Traverse City, Michigan, in the windstorm of January 26, was sold in late spring by Northwestern Michigan College to the Malcolm Salvage Company of St. Clair, which had to salvage the tug before refitting her for its own use. Malcolm is the operator of the big tug BARBARA ANN which works in the St. Clair River area.
Hull 721 of the Bay Shipbuilding Corporation was christened BUFFALO in ceremonies held at Sturgeon Bay on August 2. The small self-unloader will be in service later this year for the American Steamship Company.
The future of the Lake Michigan carferries is very much in doubt and the cross-lake service of the Grand Trunk Railroad is no exception, the line having petitioned for abandonment. With GRAND RAPIDS having been sold several years ago, MADISON has carried on alone, the CITY OF MILWAUKEE being held in reserve as spare boat. MADISON has long been the workhorse of the fleet and her hard use over the years is now showing. It has been found that she needs some $400,000 in repairs as a result of operation in ice. Accordingly, MADISON has now been retired and CITY OF MILWAUKEE, which was drydocked at Lorain in 1977 and given considerable repair work, will carry on alone until such time as the disposition of the service is decided.
The Huron Cement steamer LEWIS G. HARRIMAN has been reactivated after her conversion to oil fuel. This boat, the former JOHN W. BOARDMAN, has been a rare sight these last few years due to her lengthy periods of inactivity. At present, all of the Huron fleet is in service, including the aging E. M. FORD (1898) and J. B. FORD (1904).
The first of the WYTM-Class tugs being built for the U.S. Coast Guard at Tacoma, Washington, by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company Inc., has been launched. Measuring 140.0 x 37.5 x 12.0 and with a displacement of 662 tons, the tug will have a cruising range of 4,000 miles at a speed of 12 knots, and will be manned by a crew of 17. Officially known as WYTM 101, she will be christened KATMAI BAY and will replace the aging NAUGATUCK at the Soo. Her three sisters, also on order from Tacoma, will be delivered by June, 1979, and will replace KAW, RARITAN and OJIBWA.
Last issue, we noted that PINEDALE had appeared at Toronto in April, having been towed over from Hamilton to be readied for her new service as a breakwater on the east shore of Lake Huron. PINEDALE left Toronto under tow at the end of April but we have still to learn where she is being used.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.