The Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. bulk carrier ST. LAWRENCE NAVIGATOR arrived at Port Weller Dry Docks on September 21 and entered drydock on October 4 in preparation for her conversion to a maximum-sized laker. Her new forebody is being constructed at the shipyard and the old forward end has been sold to A. Newman and Company, St. Catharines, for scrapping. Some sources have indicated that the old hull section will be broken up at Port Maitland while others state that it will be towed to Hamilton for dismantling.
The C.S.L. package freighter FORT WILLIAM passed down the Welland Canal on October 2, bound for Hamilton, with her bow stove in after an altercation with, of all things, the Detroit River Light. The collision occurred the previous day during a fog. Both of her anchors were pushed back into her bows and her forepeak was open to the water. The extensive repairs required by FORT WILLIAM will be put in hand by Port Arthur Shipyards.
Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. has reconsidered its retirement of the handsome steam package freighter FORT HENRY. The package freight business on the upper lakes is sufficiently brisk, particularly after the accident involving FORT WILLIAM, that C.S.L. has reactivated FORT HENRY to assist in the movement of an unusual volume of cargo. FORT HENRY has been laid up at Kingston and, until now, prospects for her future were not good, the company having let it be known that she was for sale.
Meanwhile, yet another plan for the reactivation of FRENCH RIVER has fallen through and the vessel lies idle at Kingston. She was reactivated briefly this spring for the container run between Valleyfield and Hamilton, but this service was not successful. Poissonnerie Blanc-Sablon Inc., a subsidiary of Verreault Navigation Inc. of Les Mechins, Quebec, laid out $140,000 for an option to purchase FRENCH RIVER and convert her to a fish factory but, when the federal authorities turned thumbs down on this scheme, Verreault lost not only its option on the boat but also its money. Things are going anything but well for FRENCH RIVER these days...
As mentioned previously, the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton Company, will embark on a comprehensive program of self-unloader conversions. COURTNEY BURTON, (a) ERNEST T. WEIR (II)(79), will get the treatment during the winter of 1980-81, ARMCO during the winter of 1981-81, and RESERVE in 1982-83. It has recently been rumoured that a conversion was planned for MIDDLETOWN, (a) MARQUETTE (43), (b) NESHANIC (47), (c) GULFOIL (6l), (d) PIONEER CHALLENGER (62), as well, and we now have confirmation that she will join ARMCO in the shipyard over the winter of 1981-82.
The port of Toronto received a surprise visit from the steam tanker SEAWAY TRADER, (a) IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD (79), on the evening of October 9, the vessel clearing again on the following day. When the 31-year-old lengthened canaller was returned to service in late summer, it was thought that her new owner would run her in the lakes for a few trips, but that she would eventually take up duties on the east coast.
The Interlake Steamship Company has encountered considerable difficulty in rounding up sufficient tonnage to handle its commitments for the haulage of Republic Steel Corporation iron ore. Interlake recently cancelled its option on a 1,000-footer from Bay Shipbuilding because of the impossibility of having the vessel completed in adequate time. Interlake then proposed to bring to the lakes the Moore-McCormack Lines "C-3" MORMACGLEN, to be rebuilt during the coming winter as an 824-foot boom-and-pilothouse-forward self-unloader. This plan, too, has been forced into abeyance because the U.S. Maritime Administration has refused to sanction the conversion pending the outcome of legal entanglements involving a salt-water operator who attempted to use another such ship in home-waters trade after she had been constructed specifically for international service. Interlake, it seems, will have no choice but to fulfill its commitments with chartered tonnage. Meanwhile, however, the company has completed plans for the conversion to a self-unloader of CHARLES M. BEEGHLY, (a) SHENANGO II (67), the work to be done over the winter of 1980-81 at a cost of nearly $13 million. ELTON HOYT 2nd will be made over into a self-unloader during the 1979-80 winter.
We mentioned last month that ROYALTON went into early-winter lay-up at Hamilton on September 10 but that she was expected to operate again in 1980. This prediction was based on earlier comments from Misener Transportation personnel. There now seems to have been an abrupt about-face, for Misener currently indicates that ROYALTON will not see further service. We do not know what will eventually happen to this 536-foot, 55-year-old steamer, but certain other operators are interested in acquiring her services should Misener decide to dispose of her.
Readers will recall our considerable regret back in 1975 when the handsome little steamer JAMES E. FERRIS, (a) ONTARIO (16), (b) F. R. HAZARD (24), went overseas for scrapping after her sale by Kinsman to Marine Salvage Ltd. As it developed, FERRIS was not immediately dismantled but rather was taken to Hamburg for use as a storage hull. We now learn that she was subsequently renamed (d) PRAM but has since met her earlier-anticipated fate. She was sold early this year to Recuperaciones Submarinas S.A. and was towed to Santander, Spain, where demolition began on April 1, 1979.
The former Boland and Cornelius self-unloader JOSEPH S. YOUNG (II), (a) WILPEN (27), (b) DAVID P. THOMPSON (69), a veteran of 72 years, departed Quebec City on September 12, 1979 in tow of the seagoing tug HANSEAT. She was scheduled to arrive at Vado, Italy, on October 6, there to be dismantled. Although only converted to a self-unloader in 1957 and repowered in 1959, the 562-foot YOUNG was considered to be in poor condition in recent years and had not operated for several seasons. Other operators had taken a look at her but had decided that her condition did not warrant the necessary expenditure.
An advertisement in the September issue of "Marine Engineering/Log" noted that the Bultema Dock and Dredge Company of Muskegon, Michigan, is seeking to dispose of certain equipment. Among the surplus items for sale are the remains of two former carferries, one of these being GRAND RAPIDS, the longtime spare boat of the Grand Trunk Milwaukee Car Ferry Company. Built in 1926 and the oldest of three sisterships (the others being MADISON and CITY OF MILWAUKEE), this vessel was sold to Bultema several years ago after a lengthy period of idleness. According to the advertisement, she has been relieved of her machinery. The second boat is the barge MAITLAND NO. 1, built in 1916 as a Lake Erie carferry and converted to a crane-barge in 1943 by the Roen Steamship Company of Sturgeon Bay. She latterly served Eder Barge and Towing Inc. of Milwaukee.
The self-propelled bunkering barge SILLERY, (a) IMPERIAL VERDUN (79), entered service at Quebec during the month of September. Her new operator is Quebec Tugs Ltd., an affiliate of Canada Steamship Lines Ltd.
The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority will conclude its testing of the prototype Welland Canal shunter units with MARINSAL at the close of the 1979 navigation season. Early in 1980, the S.L.S.A. will charter the salty FEDERAL CLYDE for a 30-day period in order to test the procedures necessary to hook the shunters up to vessels when escorting them through the canal. It is to be assumed that MARINSAL will be returned to Marine Salvage Ltd. and will wind up hack at Ramey's Bend for scrapping.
The former steam tug CHRIS M. was given back her original name of EMPIRE SANDY during the summer of 1979. Her hull, which had borne the words "Save Island Homes" in an effort to assist the campaign to preserve the residential community on the Toronto Islands, was given a coat of primer and then most (but not all) of it was painted white. The stripped-out texas and pilothouse were removed in early October. Still registered in her old home port of Thunder Bay, the tug is owned by Joyce E. Rogers of Algonquin Island, Toronto. Her husband, Norman Rogers, hopes to convert EMPIRE SANDY into some sort of excursion vessel, but such plans would appear to be somewhat optimistic, to say the least. The hull of the big tug is lying in the old ferry dock slip east of the foot of York Street, Toronto.
The purchaser of the Paterson canal motorship MONDOC (III), (b) CORAH ANN, has now been identified as Portcold Ltd., Jamaica. MONDOC, which left the lakes late last autumn, was sold from lay-up on the east coast in January.
The Chicago firetug VICTOR L. SCHLAEGER was called during September to extinguish a fire in the after cabins of the salty PHOTINIA which has been lying at Chicago since late last year awaiting the wreckers' torches. The career of the former Stag Line motorship came to an abrupt end early in 1978 when she sustained severe damage in a grounding off Milwaukee harbour.
The remains of WYCHEM 105, the former steamer SAMUEL F. B. MORSE, entered drydock at Sturgeon Bay on August 30 for a further rebuilding. The MORSE, a near-sistership of DOUGLASS HOUGHTON, was built in 1898 for the Bessemer Steamship Company and served the Pittsburgh Steamship Company for more than half a century. After almost two decades of inactivity in the Roen boneyard at Sturgeon Bay, she was cut down to a yard barge in 1975. She is now being further reduced, although the purpose of this alteration is not yet known.
Last month, we reported the loss of the Jadroplov motorvessel MAKARSKA, a frequent visitor to the Great Lakes for many years. We have since learned that the Yugoslavian freighter was in collision on July 29 with SIDNEY EXPRESS near Gibraltar, in a position 36°, 46' North by 01°, 56' West. She drifted for two days and then foundered. Three persons were reported missing but the remainder of her crew and passengers were rescued.
Another familiar salt water vessel lost recently was the 1950-ton motorship MESSINIA II, which foundered off Algiers during July after being abandoned whilst en route from Cartagena to Port Said. She was built in 1952 as MONICA SMITH and traded into the lakes for many years under the colours of the Swedish Chicago Line. Sold in 1967, she was renamed (b) MONICA S. It was after a further sale in 1976 that she took on her last name, MESSINIA II.
The former Paterson canal-sized motorvessel EL SALINERO, (a) CALGADOC (II) (77), is still operating in the Caribbean. She was observed on drydock in late September at the Algiers Drydock Company shipyard in New Orleans. She is still painted exactly as she was during her Paterson years, the only difference being that the letter appearing inside the diamonds on her bows and stack is now an 'R' instead of a 'P'.
Late reports indicate that BLACK RIVER was secured in Ramey's Bend on the afternoon of October 22 at the conclusion of her final voyage. She caused the Seaway Authority a few anxious moments during her upbound passage of the canal when, in the area of Bridge 11, she suffered mechanical difficulties. Makeshift repairs allowed her to continue on to her final resting place.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.