Marine News

Table of Contents

Title Page
The Editor's Notebook
Marine News
Ship of the Month No. 94 Rothesay
Marine Publications Available
Additional Marine News
Table of Illustrations

A most serious accident occurred about 5:00 a.m. on June 25, when MONTREALAIS and ALGOBAY collided head-on during a dense fog in the St. Clair River off St. Clair, Michigan. MONTREALAIS was downbound with ore for Hamilton, while ALGOBAY was upbound light to load salt at Goderich. The river was partially blocked to traffic until MONTREALAIS could be moved from the channel. The Algoma Central self-unloader, for which this was not her first serious accident by any means, received bow damage estimated in the area of $700,000 and was taken to the Welland dock for repairs by Herb Fraser and Associates. More seriously damaged, however, was MONTREALAIS, whose bow was stove in back to the forward cabin. With damage in the $1,000,000 range, she was moved under her own power to the Port Weller shipyard for repairs.

Another nasty accident occurred about 9:35 p.m. on July 21, when LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL, upbound with ore, struck the south tower of the St. Louis railway bridge in the Beauharnois Canal section of the Seaway. LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL knocked the bridge such a wallop that the south tower was shifted nine feet off centre and twisted so that the counterweight was jammed in the wreckage and the bridge could not be lowered. For a while, it was feared that the span might fall into the canal, but it was shored up sufficiently that the Seaway could be reopened to traffic two days later. Damage to the bridge is in the region of $200,000,000 and "repairs" will take the better part of a year as the span must be dismantled whilst in the raised position. LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL, meanwhile, went to Valleyfield, P.Q., where part of her cargo was unloaded. She then proceeded to Montreal, where she was drydocked by Canadian Vickers Ltd. for the necessary repairs to her port bow.

FRANKCLIFFE HALL, a near-sister to LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL, has also been in the news lately. Her conversion to a self-unloader was not completed as scheduled at Thunder Bay due to an impending strike of shipyard personnel. Instead, she loaded her first cargo, potash for Montreal, and set off downbound, passing through the Soo Locks on July 18 and stopping at Hamilton for completion of the conversion. FRANKCLIFFE HALL now looks much like C.S.L.'s FRONTENAC, also a Thunder Bay conversion; in fact, the two passed on the morning of July 18 near Frechette Point, St. Mary's River, the crew of each boat watching the other ship closely. Suffice it to say that FRANKCLIFFE's stack is no longer visible from forward and her unloading "box" is even larger than that of FRONTENAC.

Another Seaway bridge has suffered extensive damage, this accident involving Bridge 19 which carries Highway 3. Main Street, over the Welland Canal at Humberstone. In the early morning of August 5, "the bascule bridge somehow descended onto the stern of the downbound salty SCAN CRUSADER. The vessel was damaged but proceeded on her way to Montreal for repairs. Bridge 19 will be out of service for at least a month and considerable inconvenience is being occasioned to Port Colborne residents and visitors. The only alternate road crossing of the canal in the area is Bridge 21 at Clarence Street.

Royal Hydrofoil Cruises began service to Niagara-on-the-Lake from the foot of Yonge Street, Toronto, during mid-May. The service has not been overly successful and there have been complaints from local operators and unions concerning the Panamanian registry of the three hydrofoils and their use of foreign masters. To attract passengers, the round-trip adult fare was soon reduced from $35 to $25, and a further decrease to $20 came late in July. The number of sailings has also been reduced. On the route are QUEEN OF TORONTO, (a) QUEEN OF THE WAVES (80), and PRINCESS OF THE LAKES, (a) PRINCESS OF THE WAVES (80), both of 310 Gross tons and built in 1971, as well as the 1968-built, 321-ton PRINCE OF NIAGARA, (a) EXPRESSAN (69), (b) HS 15 (69), (c) HYDROLINER (69), (d) SCANRIDE (70), (e) NORFOIL (73), (f) PRINCE OF THE WAVES (80). All are owned by Royal Hydrofoil S.A., Panama, and were purchased last autumn from K/S A/S International Hydrofoil Operation Norway. Winter mooring and repair facilities for the craft are maintained on the lower east wall of Port Dalhousie harbour.

The depressed business conditions of 1980 have taken their toll on lake shipping, many fleets having their older and smaller vessels lying at the wall. Nowhere has this fact been more noticeable than in the reduction in size of the U.S. Steel fleet. Although the company is operating all of the "Bradley" self-unloaders except IRVIN L. CLYMER, it is only running ten other boats in the ore trade, namely EDWIN H. GOTT, ROGER BLOUGH, ARTHUR M. ANDERSON, CASON J. CALLAWAY, PHILIP R. CLARKE, BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS, A. H. FERBERT, LEON FRASER, IRVING S. OLDS and ENDERS M. VOORHEES. Tinstackers B. F. AFFLECK, HORACE JOHNSON and JOHN HULST, all of which ran in 1979, did not fit out in 1980 and seven others (SEWELL AVERY, THOMAS W. LAMONT, EUGENE W. PARGNY, ROBERT C. STANLEY, EUGENE P. THOMAS, RALPH H. WATSON and HOMER D. WILLIAMS) which operated early in 1980 were laid up by the end of May. U.S. Steel is in no rush to commission its newest self-unloader, EDGAR B. SPEER, Hull 908 of the American Shipbuilding Company, which was christened on June 4 at Lorain. Were she put in service within the next few months, there is little doubt but that more tinstackers would be laid up. SPEER, incidentally, is very similar in appearance to EDWIN H. GOTT, complete to her "transverse shuttleboom".

U.S. Steel has never been known for selling its older vessels for scrap at the end of their usefulness to the fleet. Due to the good condition in which the company has always kept its boats, such steamers have usually found their ways into the hands of other operators. Notable exceptions, of course, were the old hulls, such as ZENITH CITY, RENSSELAER, etc., which were traded to the Maritime Commission for new tonnage during World War II and later broken up at Hamilton. During the late 1970's, the company sold off older tonnage for scrapping by Hyman-Michaels at Duluth, HENRY H. ROGERS, GEORGE G. CRAWFORD, WILLIAM J. FILBERT, HENRY PHIPPS, PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR., WILLIAM P. PALMER, RICHARD TRIMBLE and JAMES A. FARRELL already having met that fate and WILLIAM B. SCHILLER now on the wait list for a scrapyard berth. With the exception of the venerable craneship CLIFFORD F. HOOD, however, which went in 1974, no. U.S. Steel boat has ever gone to an overseas scrapyard whilst wearing the company colours.

On July 15, 1980, J. P. MORGAN JR. (with TUG MALCOM and W. J. IVAN PURVIS) and EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON (with BARBARA ANN and JOHN McLEAN passed down the St. Mary's River for the last time. Bound for Milwaukee and then overseas for scrapping, they were photographed near Frechette Point by the Editor.
All that is now about to change, for J. P. MORGAN JR. and EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON, the former in tow of TUG MALCOLM and W. J. IVAN PURVIS, and the latter under the ministrations of BARBARA ANN and JOHN McLEAN, passed down the St. Mary's River on July 15, en route from lay-up at Superior to Milwaukee, where they loaded scrap for delivery in Spain. The steamers will be cut up there on arrival. By early August, BUFFINGTON was at Port Huron, awaiting a tow to Hamilton to finish loading scrap. Both steamers are of historical interest, BUFFINGTON as a result of her June 23, 1942 grounding and near-loss on Boulder Reef, Lake Michigan, and MORGAN in consequence of her fog-shrouded collision with CRETE on Lake Superior near the entrance to the Portage Canal on June 23, 1948. Had it not been for the extreme demand for tonnage in the wartime and immediate postwar periods, neither would likely have survived such severe damage. Both vessels were products of the American Shipbuilding Company, BUFFINGTON (Hull 366) having been built in 1909 and MORGAN (Hull 373) in 1910.

It is our belief that scrap sales have also been arranged for THOMAS F . COLE (1907), ALVA C. DINKEY (1909) and D. M. CLEMSON (1917), with GOVERNOR MILLER (1938) and D. G. KERR (1916) likely to follow suit. By early August, DINKEY had arrived at Milwaukee to load scrap for overseas, whilst COLE had been towed to Thunder Bay for dismantling by Western Metals, CLEMSON being expected at Thunder Bay shortly also. Whether KERR and MILLER will go overseas, we do not know as yet, for these scrap pairings have been subject to many changes ever since the news of them first broke in July. It might seem odd that the 42-year-old MILLER would be included in a scrap sale when her sister and two near-sisters are still part of the fleet, albeit currently in reserve. Unfortunately, MILLER is still a coal-burner and has much bottom damage, all of which would have to be repaired if she were ever again to operate.

On July 15, 1980, EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON (with BARBARA ANN and JOHN McLEAN in the St. Mary's River.
Two old lakers are beginning new careers as grain storage hulls as a result of their purchase by an affiliate of Seaway Towing Company. Involved are the former Inland Steel 1907-built CLARENCE B. RANDALL (II) and U.S. Steel's PETER A. B. WIDENER, a veteran of 1906. WIDENER, already laid up at Duluth, will be used there, while RANDALL, minus her after cabins already removed in preparation for scrapping, will serve at South Chicago and will shortly be towed there from Milwaukee. It is interesting to note that WIDENER was the last of the "beatle-browed" Pittsburgh Steamship Company steamers to remain in U.S. Steel ownership, and the last to be owned by any fleet actively engaged in the operation of lake bulk carriers.

SALLY M-W, the former Sarnia pilot boat, was purchased this summer by Seaway Towing Company for use in pilot service at Sault Ste. Marie. Taken to the Soo, registered first to a Canadian and then to a U.S.-flag affiliate of Seaway, she replaces J.P. IX, the former Soo pilot boat which now serves in the same capacity at Chicago. Repainted with green hull and cream cabins, SALLY M-W has been renamed SOO RIVER BELLE.

Another recent acquisition of Seaway Towing is the U.S. Steel steam tug DOLOMITE which last operated at Rogers City in 1978. She is now lying in the Carbide slip at the Michigan Sault, the intention of her owner being to convert her to diesel power and use her in general towing. DOLOMITE is an extremely handsome tug and it is unfortunate that she could not be operated in steam. However, U.S. Steel always used her as a harbour tug, with very limited range, and her boilers do not have sufficient steam capacity to allow her to run at full power for more than a few minutes at a time. In addition, her bunkers are too small for her to carry enough oil fuel for a long towing job.

Although the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. was interested in acquiring C.S.L.'s idle ESKIMO, it seems that Q & O did not jump fast enough to purchase her. While Q & O was dithering about her condition and arrangements to drydock her at Collingwood for inspection, ESKIMO was purchased by Rail and Water Terminal (Quebec) Inc., an affiliate of the Groupe Desgagnes. She passed down the Welland Canal on the evening of May 29 on her delivery voyage, flying the Desgagnes houseflag but still wearing C.S.L. colours on her hull. Although Desgagnes purchased ESKIMO primarily for coastal service, there is a possibility that we may see her back in the lakes to pick up the odd cargo at the Algoma Steel plant in the Canadian Sault.

CONSUMERS POWER, now chartered by the American Steamship Company to the Erie Sand Steamship Company, appears resplendent in her new colours. She can now be seen with her smart green hull, white forecastle and cabins, and black stack with bright orange band and large black letter 'E'. The latter is a bit of a departure from normal Erie colours; the black triangle and letters 'E.S.S.' appear to have been dropped in this case as a result of the fact that CONSUMERS POWER is only in the fleet on charter.

The Erie Sand Steamship Company's self-unloader J. F. SCHOELLKOPF JR., (a) HUGH KENNEDY (30), a veteran of 73 years, arrived at Ramey's Bend on May 3 in tow of STORMONT and ARGUE MARTIN. Her owner, Marine Salvage Ltd., had no intention of scrapping her at Humberstone but was forced to put her in the scrapyard to await the arrival of tugs contracted to take her down the Seaway en route to an overseas scrapyard. She finally was taken down the Welland Canal on June 17 by CATHY McALLISTER and HELEN M. McALLISTER. The scrapping of SCHOELLKOPF leaves active only one of the many handsome steamers built for the famous Capt. John Mitchell. The survivor is the last boat ever constructed for Mitchell, his FRANK H. GOODYEAR (II) of 1917, which still operates for the American Steamship Company as (d) SAGINAW BAY.

The Halco tanker JAMES TRANSPORT, built in 1967 by Davie Shipbuilding at Lauzon, P.Q., will receive a major rebuilding in the near future. The motorship will be lengthened by 40 feet and will receive a total refit. It is not yet clear which shipyard will get the contract, worth approximately $l million.

This has not been a good year for self-unloading booms. At least four of them have suffered accident, two having been rendered total losses. RICHARD J. REISS, of the American Steamship Company, broke her boom in three pieces during the early season and repairs were made at Cleveland. J. W. McGIFFIN seriously damaged her boom in late May and spent the first half of June lying in the Toronto turning basin whilst repairs were put in hand. C.S.L.'s HOCHELAGA dropped her boom into the Detroit River whilst docked at Windsor on April 22; a new boom was ordered from Port Arthur Shipyards but a strike of yard workers has delayed construction of the equipment. Meanwhile, HOCHELAGA has been running as a straight-decker in the grain trade, primarily to Kingston. A small chute has been placed so that the grain may be elevated aboard ship through the unloading equipment and delivered over the side.

The fourth victim was the veteran BROOKDALE (II) of Westdale Shipping Ltd., which lost her boom over the dock at Windsor (the same location as HOCHELAGA's accident) during a severe windstorm in mid-July. BROOKDALE sailed to Buffalo and then to Port Colborne, where the last remains of the boom were removed from her deck. She then proceeded to Toronto, arriving there prior to July 26, and laid up at the Cousins Terminal. BROOKDALE is shortly due for inspection and survey and the cost of docking her, making repairs that were known prior to the accident, and fitting a new boom, is thought to be in excess of $2,000,000. All things considered, we doubt that the 1909-built steamer will ever be returned to service.

INLAND TRANSPORT, the long-idle Halco tanker now owned by Harry G. Gamble of Port Dover, Ontario, has been moved from Port Dover to Port Maitland. She is to be dismantled there but her engines may be rescued for further lake service.

The cement barge MEL WILLIAM SELVICK, the former SAMUEL MITCHELL of Huron Cement fame, has made several trips down the Welland Canal during 1980 in tow of JOHN M. SELVICK. In each case, she returned upbound with refined cement from Clarkson for Ashtabula. Selvick Marine Towing Corp. would like to use her regularly on this route. The barge, of course, has lost all of her old cabins and now sports only a small "booth" atop the quarterdeck. Nevertheless, there is no hiding her handsome lines which are indicative of the builder's art back in 1892.

Several years ago, the Inland Steel Company stated that it would, at some future date, convert EDWARD L. RYERSON to a self-unloader so that she might be a more suitable running-mate for WILFRED SYKES and JOSEPH L. BLOCK. The poor conditions of 1980 have, it seems, given Inland cold feet, for the company has now shelved indefinitely the plans for such a conversion. As well, the fleet's three oldest boats, E.J. BLOCK (1908), PHILIP D. BLOCK (1925) and L. E. BLOCK (1927), all getting on in years but all rebuilt and repowered some thirty years ago, were laid up during the latter half of July. E. J. BLOCK, the first Inland boat to undergo a major rebuild, and a bit of an oddity with her diesel-electric drive (similar to that fitted in the canaller CEMENTKARRIER), appears now to have reached the end of her career with Inland. Built for the Hawgood fleet at West Bay City as (a) W. R. WOODFORD (12), she later sailed as (b) N. F. LEOPOLD (43). Recently, she has served mainly as a shuttle boat in Indiana Harbor, moving cargo through a bridge narrow enough that none of the company's other ships could make it through the draw. E. J. BLOCK was upbound at the Soo on her last trip on July 15, returning downbound on July 18 with ore from Thunder Bay for Indiana Harbor and then laying up at AmShip's South Chicago yard. She is soon due for her five-year inspection but it is unlikely that Inland will dock her. We understand, however, that several other operators have expressed an interest in obtaining her services.

The scrapping of the Columbia Transportation steam self-unloader G. A. TOMLINSON (II) began at Ashtabula on April 1. The stern was cut down to the waterline by early June and the hull was half dismantled by early August.

For several years now, the three "Red Tomatoes" (so-called because of their large red stacks whilst in Republic Steel colours) have been nearing the end of their useful lives. THOMAS F. PATTON, TOM M. GIRDLER and CHARLES M. WHITE may have been good boats when they were lengthened and rebuilt from C4 salties in 1951, hut they seem no longer to be suitable for any lake trade. The ships cannot be lengthened again because of their shallow hulls and they are now so small that they have to be operated at high speeds in order to carry enough cargo to justify their operation. At such speeds, however, not only would they collect Coast Guard speeding violations but their powerful engines would also devour oil in alarming quantities. As a result, Cleveland-Cliffs has dropped its bareboat charter of the trio and the Republic Steel Corp. has sold them to European buyers who will shortly tow them across the Atlantic for scrapping. WHITE and GIRDLER laid up during June at Lorain and PATTON, which did not run at all in 1980, remained at Toledo. The Cliffs insignia have been removed from each vessel.

All three steamers were built by the Kaiser Company Inc. at Vancouver, Washington. LOUIS McHENRY HOWE (51), (b) TOM M. GIRDLER, was completed in 1945, whilst 1946 saw the completion of MOUNT MANSFIELD (51), (b) CHARLES M. WHITE, and SCOTT E. LAND (51), (b) TROY H. BROWNING (55), (c) THOMAS F. PATTON. They were brought up the Mississippi and their rebuilds were completed by AmShip at South Chicago. The Browning interests of Detroit (the Nicholson-Universal Steamship Company) were their first lake operators, running them for Republic Steel. The trio has always stood out from other lakers because of their unconventional appearance and the PATTON has, in recent years, carried the additional distinction of being fitted with the melodious triple chime whistle which Republic removed from J. E. UPSON when the latter was scrapped.

SEAWAY TRADER, (a) IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD (79), is again in service on Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence in 1980, many of her cargoes being furnace oil from Toronto to Kingston. However, SEAWAY TRADER looks considerably different than she did in 1979. She now has what might best be described as a "pea green" hull with white cabins. Her stack is the same green shade with a white band and a red-and-green 'METRO' insignia; a similar marking also appears on her old deck signboards.

SEAWAY TRADER'S sistership, CONGAR (III), (a) IMPERIAL LONDON (78), (b) TEGUCIGALPA (80), is now in service for an affiliate of Ship Repairs and Supplies Ltd. She took her time fitting out at Toronto during May and June, finally running trials around Toronto Island on June 14. Several days later, she departed for regular service. CONGAR is painted black with white cabins and a blue stack with wide white band and black top. A large tank has been placed on deck aft of the bridge and she also has gained two kingposts which were salvaged from the scrapped WILLOWBRANCH.

Upper Lakes Shipping's self-unloader CAPE BRETON MINER spent late spring and early summer on drydock at Port Weller for a thorough refit., including the replacement of all hold bulkheads and many of the cargo gates and belts. MINER had been carrying a special type of Caribbean sand to Texas ports, and one cargo had been loaded aboard whilst still wet after having been dredged from the ocean bottom. The combination of wet sand and salt water so solidified in MINER'S holds that much of it had to be blasted out before repairs could begin. Scarcely was CAPE BRETON MINER out of the drydock in early July than she grounded in the Chippewa Bay area of the Seaway and had to be returned to the shipyard for bottom repairs.

Three old lakers have been towed from lay-up berths at Hamilton this year en route to overseas breakers. PIERSON INDEPENDENT was downbound in the Seaway on May 3 with the tugs SALVAGE MONARCH and CATHY McALLISTER. ROYALTON passed downbound on May 20 with SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER, while the same two tugs took MARINSAL down the Seaway on May 26. We have no departure date for PIERSON INDEPENDENT, but ROYALTON and MARINSAL cleared Quebec in tandem tow with the deep-sea tug HANSEAT on May 31.

The Bay Shipbuilding Corp. has been busy during 1980. AMERICAN MARINER (originally intended to be named CHICAGO, the raised letters of which name are still visible) was christened at Sturgeon Bay on April 15 and left Escanaba April 18 on her maiden voyage with ore for Ashtabula. The yard's Hull 725, a 396-foot tank barge for Turecamo Coastal and Harbor Towing Corp., Staten Island, was christened MARIE TILTON on June 27. Hull 727 is a 407-foot barge for Hannah Inland Waterways Corp. Reportedly to be named HANNAH 6301, her keel was laid May 5 and she will be delivered during November. Hull 724, now nearing completion, is a 635-foot self-unloader for Boland and Cornelius, allegedly to be christened CUYAHOGA. Featuring a pilothouse designed to permit passage through Cleveland's bridges, she is due for delivery in September but may not be commissioned until 1981 if the current poor business conditions prevail.

The American Shipbuilding Company's Hull 909, a 1,000-foot self-unloader for the Interlake Steamship Company, is gradually getting closer to completion, although much work remains to be done. The hull mid-section, built at AmShip's Toledo yard, was towed to Lorain on May 19 and the stern section followed on May 20.

Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. has been awarded a contract by Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. for the construction of a 730-foot self-unloader capable of running on salt water. Delivery is scheduled for early in the 1983 season.

Canada Steamship Lines has placed yet another order with Collingwood Shipyards, this for a 730-foot self-unloader similar to Hull 222 which already is on order for C.S.L. The vessel may be ready late in 1983. Collingwood has also secured another contract, this for a 730-foot straight-decker for Algoma Central Marine. The unusual ship, which may be similar in design to one already ordered by Nipigon Transports Ltd., will be built specially for the grain trade. This is the third A.C.R. vessel on order at the yard; the first two are self-unloaders, one due in March 1981, and the second in the winter of 1982-83. Collingwood is not presently hurting for business!

The self-unloader conversion of Bethlehem Steel's SPARROWS POINT was completed this spring by Fraser Shipyards. Her first cargo was a load of 20, 652 tons of taconite loaded at the Burlington Northern ore dock at the American Lakehead on April 25 for delivery at Burns Harbor.

With the deepening of the recession that has idled many ore carriers, the Interlake Steamship Company laid up its lengthened steamers JOHN SHERWIN (II) and CHARLES M. BEEGHLY, and has taken advantage of the latter's inactivity to get an early start on her self-unloader conversion. The work had begun at Fraser Shipyards, Superior, by early July. If BEEGHLY may be ready for service earlier than intended, however, the same does not apply to Interlake's ELTON HOYT 2nd. The HOYT was taken to AmShip's Toledo yard late last fall and the work has been going on ever since. Some five months behind schedule, HOYT was not expected to be ready for service until August.

The Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company's EDWARD B. GREENE passed up the Soo Canal on July 17 en route to Superior. She loaded for Toledo, delivered her cargo, and then moved to AmShip's Toledo yard for conversion to a self-unloader. It is to be assumed that her rig will look much like that installed several years ago aboard WALTER A. STERLING.

The most recent addition to the C.S.L. fleet entered service during the early summer. NANTICOKE, built at Collingwood as Hull 218, was christened on May 27 and enrolled as C.383534, 730.0 x 76.0 x 46.0, 22,706 Gross tons. She was upbound at the Soo on June 15 on her maiden voyage.

The new Eastern Canada Towing Ltd. tug POINTE SEPT-ILES, built at Collingwood to replace the lost POINTE MARGUERITE, was christened at the shipyard on April 10. She was enrolled as C.392670 at Halifax on April 14, 98.0 x 35.0 x 14.0 and 424 Gross tons.

The fire-damaged BoCo self-unloader NICOLET is now ensconced in the AmShip yard at Toledo for repairs. The work is scheduled for completion by March 15, 1981.

Bay Shipbuilding Corp. has been awarded contracts for the self-unloader conversions of Columbia Transportation Division's COURTNEY BURTON and MIDDLETOWN, the work on the former to be done over the coming winter. As yet, there is no word as to whether conversions will also be authorized for ARMCO and RESERVE. Meanwhile, Columbia's ROBERT C. NORTON (II), CRISPIN OGLEBAY (II), WILLIAM A. REISS, ASHLAND, THOMAS WILSON, J. R. SENSIBAR and the beautiful SYLVANIA are all laid up and the last four of these have little likelihood of seeing further service for the fleet. Columbia's W. W. HOLLOWAY was on the drydock at South Chicago in early August, so her future looks bright.

When the Cleveland Tankers Inc. steamer MERCURY (II) was dismantled at Sturgeon Bay some five years ago, most observers believed that this was the end of the career of this handsome vessel with the famous sawmill stack. Not so, however, as we have now determined. The very last remains of MERCURY were acquired by the Roen Salvage Company of Sturgeon Bay and were converted into a 250-foot deck barge, complete with cargo crane. She is used mainly in the Lake Michigan area.

The old Medusa Cement steamer C. H. McCULLOUGH JR. passed up the St. Mary's River on May 19 behind the tug WILFRED M. COHEN, bound from South Chicago to Thunder Bay for scrapping. She arrived May 20 at the Western Metals Dock and dismantling operations should be well under way at the present time.

The former Westdale Shipping Ltd. self-unloader PINEDALE, which has served for the past two years as a breakwater at the site of the Wesleyville Hydro generating plant on the north shore of Lake Ontario, returned to Toronto on the evening of May 27 in tow of STORMONT and LAC MANITOBA. She was moored at the end of Polson Street and was moved the following morning to the east end of the Ship Channel north wall. PINEDALE looks much the worse for her experience and pumping has been required to keep her afloat. A quantity of steel forms was removed from her deck on arrival, but there is yet no word of PINEDALE's ultimate disposition.

The misfortunes of CARTIERCLIFFE HALL continue. On May 7, whilst her fire extinguishing system was being repaired, one man was killed and another seriously injured in the explosion of a carbon dioxide cylinder. Despite this setback, the completion of CARTIERCLIFFE's repairs was rushed ahead and she was able to enter service towards the latter part of May. On June 4, during her first upbound trip with an ore cargo from Port Cartier, she grounded in the upper St. Lawrence but damage, apparently, was not too serious. We have also heard unconfirmed reports of a minor fire aboard the vessel at Montreal on one of her first trips.

Aesthetically speaking, CARTIERCLIFFE HALL has hardly been improved by her rebuild. Her new after cabin is a high square box, totally untapered, with what might otherwise be a rather handsome pilothouse on top. The one concession to the principle of the curve is a slight bow to the front of this apartment-like structure. The stack protrudes from the top of a large box immediately behind the bridge.

The Welland Canal shunter test program was brought to a temporary close on May 10 when MENIHEK LAKE cleared Port Weller, back in the service of Carryore Ltd. The shunters have been stowed in the gatelifter slip, there being no immediate plans for them. The experiment, including last season's games with MARINSAL, is considered a success, although more mechanical problems were encountered in 1980 than in 1979. Incidentally, the shunters are now officially called "seahorses" because of copyright infringement problems.

LAKE WINNIPEG, outbound from Duluth on May 24 with a grain cargo, struck a seawall berm and tore a hole, 100 feet by 7 feet, below her waterline. Despite taking on water, she continued downbound, only to run aground on May 25 whilst outbound at DeTour Passage. She somehow ran foul of Crab Island Shoal and was not released until May 27 after lightering operations. LAKE WINNIPEG continued on her way but went to Davie Shipyard, Lauzon, for extensive repairs to her hull plating.

The last of Paterson's true canallers, TROISDOC (III), (a) IROQUOIS (67), may be sold for service in the Gulf of Mexico at the close of the 1980 season. This could mean the end of commercial shipping at Wallaceburg, Ontario unless the federal government makes an early decision on the dredging of the channel leading to the port. Larger boats can no longer reach Wallaceburg without the costly aid of tugs and even then cannot load to full draft. On the other hand, the little TROISDOC really cannot carry enough cargo to suit the Canada Starch Company Ltd., the recipient of her loads of corn. The necessary dredging had the approval of the short-lived Conservative government but the re-election of Trudeau's Liberals has placed the project in extreme jeopardy. If no dredging is done, the only hope for area shipping may be a project for a turning basin four miles up the Chenal Ecarte from the St. Clair River for use by self-unloaders carrying gravel.

The Toronto sidewheel steamer TRILLIUM is again running charter service this summer despite hopes that she could operate public excursions. TRILLIUM made her first actual ferry trip in over two years on July 27, when she ran three whole trips to Hanlan's Point for a summer folk festival. It had been intended to operate her throughout the day but fog and then a brisk easterly breeze combined to make her entry into the narrow Point dock very hazardous and she was laid up for the rest of the day. Funds have been earmarked for the construction of a new dock for TRILLIUM at Centre Island; the job, to begin this autumn, will entail the removal of the westerly end of Olympic Island but will ensure a useful function for TRILLIUM on days of heavy passenger movement. The Metro Parks Dept. has also expressed certain interest in purchasing an additional ferry, one which could be adapted to carry 2,000 or more passengers.

The Toronto excursion steamer BLUE WATER BELLE, beset by financial difficulties after a less-than-successful 1979 season, is now managed by Sherwood Marine, the operator of CAYUGA II. She raised steam in mid-May but, in apparent repetition of her 1979 follies, did not make a revenue trip until July 26 and, since then, has run only occasionally. Her managers would do well to remember that an excursion boat which remains at the dock does not make money...

The Soo Canal was reduced to a two-lock operation on July 13 with the temporary closing of the third (Davis) lock due to a slump in vessel traffic. The operation of only the Poe and MacArthur Locks caused monumental dispatching problems during the ensuing two weeks and, by the morning of July 25, the Davis Lock was again being used. The fourth (Sabin) lock has been on standby for several years and there has been talk of replacing it and the Davis with one larger lock.

The Lake Michigan carferries have been making news again of late. Amid a welter of threats, offers and counteroffers that almost ended the Chessie's Milwaukee service, the Michigan Transportation Commission agreed to subsidize the railroad's ferries to keep them in operation. Then things went sour with the Ann Arbor Railroad System which has been operated by the Michigan Interstate Railway Company. The "Annie" announced a cessation of all ferry runs as of June 16, but on June 12 agreed to a 12-day extension. Just three days short of the deadline, the Ann Arbor was apparently purchased by the Michigan Transportation Commission, the sale including the docks at Frankfort but not the ferries themselves. This deal seems to guarantee the continued operation of VIKING, CITY OF MILWAUKEE and ARTHUR K. ATKINSON, the latter having been on drydock at South Chicago and scheduled to return to service on August 9. If certain proposals succeed, there may eventually be a merger of Chessie and Ann Arbor carferries under a "Lake Michigan Transportation Authority".

The $20,000,000 Republic Steel Corp. pellet dock at Lorain received its first cargo on May 2 with the arrival of JAMES R. BARKER with 55,000 tons of taconite. BARKER, built at Lorain, thus became the first 1,000-footer ever to deliver a cargo to Lorain.


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