A surprise announcement made on August 8 by the Power Corporation of Canada revealed that the conglomerate has acquired a small interest in Canadian Pacific Ltd. and also has agreed, pending federal government approval, to sell the C.S.L. Group Inc. to Paul Martin, president of C.S.L., and Federal Commerce and Navigation Ltd. The selling price of C.S.L. was mentioned as being in the area of $195,000,000. It is unknown whether there will be any major changes in C.S.L. operations as a result of the transfer of ownership.
MARLHILL, sold for use as a grain storage barge in Mexico, as earlier reported, cleared Toronto on April 29 in tow of DANIEL McALLISTER. The same tug took LAC DES ILES out of Toronto on May 4 and, eventually, the two old lakers began the long tow down the east coast behind the tug IRVING BIRCH. However, at about 7:45 a.m. on May 30, MARLHILL foundered some 150 miles due east of Norfolk, Virginia. IRVING BIRCH apparently carried on with LAC DES ILES but the latter also foundered, her turn coming at 1:40 a.m. on June 1, as she went to the bottom in 240 feet of water, 61 nautical miles off Cape Henry Light, in a position described as 136.55.6 North by 74.44.2 West. No comment has yet been made concerning the cause of the loss of the two veterans.
Now in service across Lake Ontario between Oshawa and Oswego as a truck ferry is the roll-on/roll-off motorship LAKESPAN ONTARIO, (a) LADY CATHERINE. Nine years old, she was purchased in June by Lakespan Marine Inc., Oshawa, from the Golden West Shipping Company of Oslo, Norway, for whom she had run between Italy and North Africa. Lakespan is a joint venture of C.N. Marine Corp., Moncton, and Rideau Shipping Company Ltd., Ottawa. It hopes that the ship, with a capacity of 65 trailers per trip, will attract business from shippers who wish to avoid the long drive around the lake. Also planning to enter the Lake Ontario ferry service soon is Ro-Ro Ontario Inc., an affiliate of Sherwood Marine Inc., which intends to carry trailers between Toronto and Somerset, N.Y. Both operators have expressed a need for relief from a recently-imposed increase in federal taxes on marine fuel in order to make the services more attractive to shippers.
A recent entry into service is the first straight-deck bulk carrier built for the Great Lakes since the construction of OTTERCLIFFE HALL in 1969. The 730-foot LAKE WABUSH, launched this spring by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., passed her trials without difficulty and was duly accepted by Nipigon Transport Ltd., her port of registry being Edmonton, Alberta. She passed up the St. Mary's River on her maiden voyage on July 18 and, on her arrival at Thunder Bay, was drydocked there for the final touches. She is much better in appearance than other recently-built stemwinders and has some natural curves in her hull, especially in her bow and stern. She generally resembles ALGOWOOD except that she lacks unloading gear. Meanwhile, Nipigon has sent its LAKE WINNIPEG and its affiliate Carryore's MENIHEK LAKE to Port McNicoll with storage grain cargoes, an indication of the "softness" of the export grain market.
An August 8 press announcement indicated that Misener Transportation has contracted for the construction at Govan, Glasgow, Scotland, for the construction of two 730-foot straight-deck bulk carriers for delivery in 1983, as well as a third, similar, vessel for Pioneer Shipping Ltd., whose fleet is managed by Misener. No other details are yet available. It is noteworthy that after so many years of the supremacy of self-unloaders in the Canadian lake fleet, the straight-decker is once again becoming popular, with Misener and Pioneer joining Nipigon Transport and C.S.L. in ordering such vessels for the grain trade.
The pilothouse and texas were removed on May 27 from the Goderich Elevator and Transit Company's storage barge D. B. WELDON (II), (a) JAY C. MORSE, (b) SHELTER BAY (II), (c) SHELTER B., and were set on the wharf near the company elevator for use as a marine museum. This is particularly appropriate in view of Goderich's marine heritage and the local availability of marine artifacts.
The chemical tanker SUNCOR CHIPPEWA, recently completed for Sunchem Shipping Inc. of Toronto, called at Toronto on her maiden voyage on May 29, upbound light for Sarnia. After the appropriate ceremonies, she cleared Toronto late that evening and is now in service. Designed for service between the Sunoco plant at Sarnia and ports of northern Europe, particularly Rotterdam, she looks like any other medium-sized salt water tanker with cabins aft. In honour of her addition to the great Canadian deep-sea fleet, she has been registered at Monrovia, Liberia!
The United States Steel Corp. activated a rather larger fleet in 1981 than had earlier been anticipated. Of the "Bradley" self-unloaders, all are operating, including the refurbished IRVIN L. CLYMER. Of the rest of the fleet, only GOTT, SPEER, BLOUGH, ANDERSON, CALLAWAY, CLARKE, FAIRLESS, FERBERT, FRASER, OLDS and VOORHEES were originally placed in service, but these were later joined by SEWELL AVERY, ROBERT C. STANLEY, THOMAS W. LAMONT, EUGENE P. THOMAS and HOMER D. WILLIAMS. All of these are still in operation, except for THOMAS and WILLIAMS which went back to the wall late in July. Further operation of the WILLIAMS would seem to be very unlikely.
U.S. Steel has finally decided to proceed with the self-unloader conversions of CASON J. CALLAWAY, ARTHUR M. ANDERSON and PHILIP R. CLARKE. The work will be accomplished very quickly and the contract for the work has gone to Fraser Shipyards. CALLAWAY will go to the yard on September 1 and will be back in service during October, 1981. The other two (order unknown), will go in during October and December, respectively, and both will be ready for service in the spring of 1982. Much of the work has been prefabricated by Fraser to save time whilst the ships are in the yard.
The necessary boiler repairs were completed aboard SOO RIVER TRADER during May by Herb Fraser and Associates while the veteran steamer lay at the old Law stone dock at Humberstone, and she cleared Port Colborne upbound on June 2nd. During her period of inactivity, the TRADER was completely repainted and she now appears quite spiffy, with her name emblazoned across the bridge and boilerhouse rails.
The Great Lakes Towing Company has apparently decided that it does require its veteran tug AMERICA, and has begun to repair her at its Cleveland yard. AMERICA, built in 1897 and rebuilt several times during the intervening years, was severely damaged by fire whilst lying at Detroit on November 1, 1979, and it had earlier been supposed that Great Lakes Towing would not have sufficient demand for the tug to warrant the cost of repairs.
As an aftermath of the sinking of the tug LAUREN CASTLE last autumn after her collision with the tanker AMOCO WISCONSIN on Lake Michigan, it is reported that the tug's master, Capt. R. Bedell, has been censured by the U.S. Coast Guard on several counts of negligence and misconduct in connection with the operation of LAUREN CASTLE.
Yet another tug has foundered on Lake Michigan, the 1908-built EDWARD E. GILLEN, (a) ERASTUS C. KNIGHT (18), (b) AUBREY (64), owned by the Edward E. Gillen Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While undergoing tests in tow of the icebreaker U.S.C.G. WESTWIND on June 3, the GILLEN capsized and sank some 2 1/2 miles off Milwaukee. Her crew of 4 was rescued by a Coast Guard lifeboat. We do not know whether the tug may be a salvage proposition.
The Halco self-unloader HALLFAX has reached the end of her usefulness to her owner. Built in 1962 at Glasgow by William Hamilton and Son Ltd., and lengthened and deepened four years later, HALLFAX has had anything but a glorious life on the lakes. Beset by assorted woes and accidents over the years, she was retired at the close of the 1980 season and efforts are presently under way to sell her for Caribbean service. It is also reported that Halco has recently sold its salt water tankers COASTAL TRANSPORT and CANSO TRANSPORT which were purchased by Hall in 1979 and 1980, respectively.
The Manitoulin Island ferry CHI-CHEEMAUN, owned by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and managed by the Owen Sound Transportation Company Ltd., sustained serious damage in a grounding on June 29. Arriving at South Baymouth from Tobermory, she struck bottom in a dense fog and damaged her hull and propellor. She was immediately taken out of service, much to the dismay of passengers waiting at South Baymouth for the southbound trip, many of whom found difficulty in obtaining accommodations in the rather remote area before travelling onwards by the longer land route. As no alternate ferry was available, it was necessary to get CHI-CHEEMAUN to a shipyard as soon as possible. She could not go to Collingwood, as the drydock there is closed during shipyard improvements. It was proposed to tow her to Thunder Bay, but another boat was on the dock there. As a result, she was eventually towed to Bay Shipbuilding at Sturgeon Bay, where repairs took about a week.
On June 12, 1981, Dome Petroleum Ltd. purchased all shares of Davie Shipbuilding Ltd. and thus acquired control of the Davie yard at Lauzon as well as the Branch Lines Ltd. tanker fleet which Davie controlled. Dome plans to expand Davie operations so that it can handle its regular shipyard business as well as the construction of drilling equipment and large tankers for Dome's well operations in the Beaufort Sea and on the east coast. The Branch Lines tankers will be operated by "another company", but it is not yet known whether this means that they will be run by another Dome subsidiary or whether they will be sold to another operator.
The Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway has at last retired from service its famous 85-year-old steam tug EDNA G. For longer than most observers might care to remember, EDNA G. has lent a hand to arriving and departing ore boats at Two Harbors, Minnesota, and her melodious triple-chime whistle has been a joy to the ear. Retirement will not take her to the scrapper's yard, however, for she is destined to become a static display ashore on the Two Harbors waterfront.
Sherwood Marine Inc. has had an active year in the Toronto area excursion business. CAYUGA II has been busy with Niagara trips and evening charters on Toronto Bay, while SHIAWASSIE has done many excursions. BLUE WATER BELLE, renamed CALEDONIA, has been the recipient of many large charters, some stolen away from TRILLIUM, and she has done better this year than in any of her previous seasons on Lake Ontario. All three Sherwood boats are now painted all white with large multi-coloured stripes running diagonally down their sides amidships. The design rather reminds one of a Pittsburgh streetcar...
So far, 1981 has been a most peculiar year for the Toronto Island ferries of the Metropolitan Toronto Parks Department, a year frought with unusual occurrences, staff problems, and a woeful and very apparent lack of equipment maintenance. On the other hand, it has also seen the completion of a new dock for TRILLIUM at Centre Island, just to the east of the usual ferry slip, and the big sidewheeler first began regular overload traffic service to Centre on Saturday, July 4. On weekdays, she remains in charter-only service, while charters that she would normally have taken on weekends are now diverted to the Sherwood Marine steamer CALEDONIA.
TRILLIUM was the "culprit" in a widely-publicized accident which occurred about 9:30 p.m. on June 2. Returning to her Yonge Street dock after an early-evening charter, her engine failed to stop or go astern, apparently due to a hydraulic lock in her reverse gear. Lines could not be secured as she passed her normal mooring spot and, after glancing off several of the Simpson glass-topped tour boats docked in the slip for the night, she struck the portside amidships of the restaurant ship NORMAC. Damage to TRILLIUM was minimal but NORMAC sustained a large dent in her portside plating, a small fire in wiring running down her side having been extinguished by TRILLIUM's crew. Small holes were punched in NORMAC's starboard side by the timbers which secured her to the dock and fire department crews pumped NORMAC dry until patches could be fitted. NORMAC's diners were safely removed, although two persons suffered minor injuries. Then, in the late afternoon of June 16, exactly two weeks later, NORMAC suddenly took water and listed to port. John Letnik, her owner, happened to be aboard at the time and got ashore safely as his restaurant listed farther and finally came to rest on the bottom, submerged to the upper deck and listing far to port. The cause of the sinking has not yet been determined nor have salvage operations begun. While Letnik proceeds with legal action, diners are being accommodated aboard Captain John's other vessel, the former Yugoslav cruise ship JADRAN. The conclusion of this matter will be watched with considerable interest...
One of the most surprising news items of 1981 concerned an attempt on May 19 to blow up the hydrofoils QUEEN OF TORONTO, PRINCE OF NIAGARA and PRINCESS OF THE LAKES while they lay at their winter berth on the east side of Port Dalhousie harbour. Large quantities of dynamite were found on the vessels by fit-out crews, as well as a timing device which had malfunctioned. The port was sealed off by police, the explosives removed, and an investigation launched into the would-be bombing. So far, no charges have been laid. As noted previously, Royal Hydrofoil Cruises was denied permission to operate from Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake during 1981. As a result, two hydrofoils remain idle at Port Dalhousie, while QUEEN OF TORONTO passed up the Welland Canal on May 25, bound for Detroit. We understand that she has not yet found suitable employment there, despite several attempts.
The Newfoundland powered schooner CLARENVILLE arrived at Toronto on July 2 and stopped over for about two weeks en route to Owen Sound where she will serve as a restaurant to replace the lost AVALON VOYAGER II. The wooden-hulled CLARENVILLE is almost an exact sistership to the boat which was lost on Lake Huron late last autumn. She was given added cabins and all of her restaurant equipment in a rebuilding which was done before her departure from the east coast.
A survey of the former steam double-ended paddle ferry G. A. BOECKLING by the United States Salvage Association Inc. on behalf of The Friends of the Boeckling group of Sandusky, Ohio, indicates that the 72-year-old boat is in sufficiently good condition to warrant drydocking at Sturgeon Bay and the tow to Sandusky for restoration. The survey was completed with a view to having the BOECKLING restored as a static display, but it is, of course, hoped that the ferry will one day be able to return to service on Sandusky Bay, where she operated for so many years.
The former Columbia Transportation self-unloader J. R. SENSIBAR, acquired this spring by Johnstone Shipping Ltd., Toronto, was drydocked by AmShip at Toledo and, on June 19, arrived at the old Consolidation Coal Company dock at Windsor in tow of BARBARA ANN and DARYL C. HANNAH. She was refitted there and entered service during late July as (c) CONALLISON. She made her first appearance at Toronto on August 9 and, at that time, only her stack was painted in Johnstone colours. The stack design is the same as that carried by the canaller CONDARRELL. The latter, meanwhile, (a) D. C. EVEREST (81), has been busy since her entry into service during mid-May, but she has had more than her share of misfortune. During June, she lost the boom of her crane whilst unloading a cargo of broken castings at the River Rouge Ford plant, and the last 75 tons had to be scooped out by a shore-based derrick. CONDARRELL eventually made her way to Toronto for repairs, stopping over there en route to Newfoundland with a cargo of bulk chemicals. She returned to Toronto in early July for repairs to her bow after an altercation with the wall at Lock 2 in the Welland Canal. She retains her blue hull and her blue stack with a white band and black top, but on the white band has now been added a raised white square on which appears a large brown beaver and the word "Johnstone" in black letters.
Now that her charter on the east coast has concluded, FORT ST. LOUIS has returned to the C.S.L. package freight service. For the first time in many years, she passed up the Welland Canal on May 21. She runs the package freight trade this year along with FORT CHAMBLY and FORT WILLIAM, with FORT HENRY and FORT YORK lying idle. Of course, FRENCH RIVER has been sold out of the fleet.
The Interlake Steamship Company's newest self-unloader, the 1,013-foot WILLIAM J. DeLANCEY, entered service on May 10 and made her first trip upbound at the Soo on May 11. Her first cargo was taconite from Silver Bay, with which she arrived at the Lorain ore terminal of Republic Steel on May 16. She is generally similar in appearance to JAMES R. BARKER and MESABI MINER, although she is somewhat larger and more advanced as regards equipment.
AMERICAN REPUBLIC, the shuttle ore carrier built by Bay Shipbuilding for the American Steamship Company to run from Lorain to the Republic Steel plant up the Cuyahoga River at Cleveland, was christened at her builder's yard on May 16. She ran trials on the 18th and cleared on May 21 to load ore at Escanaba. She made her maiden arrival at Cleveland on May 24 and had no trouble negotiating the winding Cuyahoga with her special equipment or backing herself down the river on departure without the assistance of tugs. She will, however, return to the shipyard this winter for additional bracing in her superstructure to correct problems encountered during the unloading process.
BayShip's Hull 726, the 1,000-foot self-unloader COLUMBIA STAR, was christened on May 8 by Mrs. John Dwyer, wife of the president of the Oglebay Norton Company. The ship entered service after trials and made her first trip up the Soo Canal on May 31. Her principal trade will be the carriage of taconite to the Lake Front Docks at Oregon, Ohio, just outside Toledo harbour.
Another recent completion by BayShip was the self-unloader conversion of COURTNEY BURTON, also for Columbia Transportation. The steamer was floated from the drydock on April 18 and cleared Sturgeon Bay on May 23. Her conversion is much more satisfactory from an aesthetic viewpoint than have been several other machinery-aft jobs, for the equipment is simple and functional, and does not block the after superstructure of the vessel from sight.
The tug TRIO BRAVO, the former JOHN ROEN V, was raised from her watery berth in Florida on March 24. It will be recalled that TRIO BRAVO and TRIO TRADO (the former barge and carferry MAITLAND NO. 1), both headed southwards to new careers in the Gulf of Mexico, but that the barge foundered off the east coast during January, while the tug sank at Port Everglades on January 21, shortly after her arrival there. Her cabins were demolished in the accident.
After much delay, the McAsphalt Industries Ltd. tug TUSKER collected her ex-Exxon barge at Lake Charles, Louisiana, during early July, and returned with it to the lakes. The barge, renamed MCASPHALT 201, made her maiden arrival at Toronto on August 2 and is presently being towed by TUSKER in the Quebec City - Toronto asphalt trade.
The Gaelic Tug Boat Company of Detroit has added yet another tug to its growing fleet. Purchased from New York owners is LEWIS NO. 8, 80 by 24, which cleared New York for the lakes late in May. She has been renamed TIPPERARY (II) for her new duties.
SIR JAMES DUNN suffered no lasting effects from her April 10 grounding in the St. Mary's River above Mission Point. Downbound with grain for Trois-Rivieres, she stranded on the Bayfield Turn but was released the following day by W. J. IVAN PURVIS, MISEFORD, STE. MARIE I and II, OLIVE L. MOORE, and BARBARA ANN. With damage to her sidetanks, she resumed her trip and then went to the shipyard at Thunder Bay for repairs.
The Chessie System received approval in June from the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon its carferry service between Ludington and Manitowoc, although it is thought that interested parties will appeal the decision. The "Kewaunee Plan" seems to be coming to fruition, for this abandonment would leave the Ludington-Kewaunee route as the only Chessie service on Lake Michigan. Meanwhile, Michigan authorities gave approval for a one-year subsidized demonstration of passenger service between Ludington and Milwaukee, over the route dropped last year by Chessie. Begun during July, the service is operated by the chartered Chessie steam ferry BADGER.
The Straits of Mackinac steam carferry CHIEF WAWATAM has been very busy this spring and summer, running a greatly increased schedule of sailings in order to keep up with the eastward movement of lumber shipments via rail. It has been many moons since the CHIEF has been so active.
A most beautiful visitor to Toronto during early June was the sailing vessel BLUENOSE II which ventured away from her Nova Scotia home waters on a goodwill tour. Resplendent in fresh paint and with all her sails set, she made quite a sight as she sailed in and out of port during the better part of a week. Between excursions, she entertained visitors aboard whilst she lay alongside the Harbourfront Park wharf.
The tug JOHN PURVES and barge MEL WILLIAM SELVICK have been frequent visitors to the Welland Canal this year, carrying cement upbound from Clarkson. SELVICK had some bad luck on May 9, however; upbound below Port Robinson, the starboard stringer cable between tug and barge broke and the tow put in to the old canal above "Bridge 12" to fit a new line. Scarcely had the tow got underway again, however, when it met the downbound J. N. McWATTERS near Mile 14. The suction of the passing laker caused the starboard tow cable to break again and the SELVICK swung to port, striking the port quarter of McWATTERS. Damage was minimal but the canal was temporarily closed, with the barge swung crossways to the channel while a new cable was fitted. Eventually the tow got underway again and moved to the Welland dock for inspection. The SELVICK's green hull colour has now been replaced by an attractive grey shade with a white forecastle, reflecting the interest of the Dundee Cement Company in the vessel.
Four Upper Lakes Shipping boats have spent the summer in idleness at Toronto. POINTE NOIRE did not fit out this spring and remained along the north side of Pier 35. GORDON C. LEITCH arrived on May 12 and laid up at the same pier. RED WING arrived on May 15 and WHEAT KING on May 20, this pair going to the turning basin. Several other U.L.S. boats have laid up in other ports. This inactivity seems strange in view of the operations of other Canadian fleets, but resulted from the U.S. coal strike, a slackening of grain exports, and increased fuel costs.
Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. has been busy this summer with its usual complement of repair jobs and inspections. CANADIAN PROSPECTOR was at the yard from April 28 to May 19 for a refit and repair of grounding damage. Hull 67, the new self-unloader CANADIAN PIONEER, was floated off the graving dock on May 16 and was taken from the drydock to the fit-out berth on May 27. On May 19, the keel of Hull 68 was laid on the "shelf", this being an as-yet-unnamed icebreaker for delivery during 1982 to the Canadian Coast Guard.
The Interlake Steamship Company's straight-decker SAMUEL MATHER, which did not fit out at the beginning of the 1981 season, is now in service. She passed up the Soo on her first trip of the year on June 15. In a similar move, Columbia Transportation fitted out the straight-decker WILLIAM A. REISS and self-unloader CRISPIN OGLEBAY during June. A slight upturn in business conditions is credited for the reactivation of these boats.
Westdale Shipping's SILVERDALE has now been given the black forecastle and white rail which most boats of that fleet have carried in recent years. The 56-year-old steamer, (a) GLENEAGLES, was purchased from C.S.L. in 1978 and, ever since, had retained her old white forecastle. With the repainting of SILVERDALE, the only ship still active in the fleet with a white forecastle is LEADALE (II), the former BoCo self-unloader JOHN A. KLING.
The Ann Arbor's Lake Michigan carferry VIKING was drydocked at Sturgeon Bay during May and left the shipyard on May 18 wearing new black and orange colours. Perhaps this new colour scheme is in preparation for Hallowe'en...
The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority has called for tenders on the final phase of the Welland Canal widening north of Port Robinson. Meanwhile, no decision has yet been made on plans advanced by E. S. Fox Ltd. for the building of a shipyard on the stub of the old canal above "Steelton Gap", although there has been a suggestion that the Canada Starch Company Ltd. might like to build a plant at the other end of the old canal below Humberstone.
The former steamer PETER A. B. WIDENER has returned to the lakes, much to the surprise of observers who thought that she would never come back from her unfortunate trip to Montreal last fall. Upbound in tow of BARBARA ANN and two McKeil tugs, she arrived off Port Weller on May 6 but her canal passage was delayed by inclement weather. Her destination was Buffalo but she was subsequently towed to Chicago during late July. Meanwhile, North American Towing, a new affiliate of Seaway Towing, has brought three recently-purchased east coast tugs to the lakes, all arriving during July. TROJAN and TRITON will be used at Chicago, while MARY L. McALLISTER will join SEAWAY NO. 1 and the reengined DOLOMITE at the Soo, with STE. MARIE I and STE. MARIE II moving to take up new duties at Duluth.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.