As our long-time readers will know, we frequently answer (or attempt to answer) enquiries of a marine nature which have been directed to us by members. It may take us a while to dig up the necessary information but we always try to reply, either in the pages of "Scanner", or by personal letter.
We recently received a letter from member James H. Ramay in which he made several requests for information about lakers and former lakers. Jim was for many years a resident of the Port Huron area, an avid boatwatcher who spent many long hours at the Huron Cut observing the vessel traffic. A few years back, health considerations forced him to move south and now he and his wife reside in Sun City Centre, Florida. He keeps a weather eye peeled for marine goings-on in the warmer climes and, without fail, reports to us any news of lakers which may come his way (and it is not unusual for certain vessels with which we are familiar to find their way to that area). We might have replied to Jim's letter by way of a personal answer, but we thought it preferable to do so in the pages of "Scanner", if for no other reason than to show how much we appreciate the continued support of members who can no longer take an active part in the activities of the Great Lakes area. Their interest is no less keen than is ours.
Jim asked about the present status of four ships, namely, EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON, W. F. WHITE, SARNIADOC (II) and HAMILDOC (II). The first of these is still owned by the United States Steel Corporation Great Lakes Fleet, and is presently laid up at Superior, Wisconsin. The BUFFINGTON, a veteran of 70 years, last operated in 1974. It is expected that she will be one of six more idle tinstackers which will be sold for scrapping in the near future, so there seems to be little chance that she will ever again see service for any operator.
W. F. WHITE, a self-unloader built in 1915, served many long years in the Bradley fleet. Sent to the east coast for a few seasons in the early sixties, she subsequently returned to the lakes and operated for U.S. Steel until she was sold to Westdale Shipping Ltd. in 1976. She now serves this company, the successor to the Reoch interests, as (b) ERINDALE and her normal run is in the stone trade from Colborne, Ontario, to Clarkson, a service which keeps her far out of range of her admirers' cameras.
SARNIADOC (II), a canal-sized motorship built at Collingwood in 1956, was sold for off-lakes use in 1976. As far as we are aware, she is still in service in the Caribbean under the name (b) COLORADAS. HAMILDOC (II), built at Lauzon in 1963, was sold in 1977 to the Tharros Navigation Company Ltd. of Monrovia, Liberia. At last report, she was still sailing as (b) THARROS.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.