Having completed her 1981 charter to Algoma Steel, the third member of the Johnstone Shipping fleet, CONDARRELL, arrived at Toronto on November 17 and laid up alongside CONGAR, right near the bow of CONALLISON. Of the three Johnstone vessels, CONDARRELL would appear to have the brightest future.
Our November issue carried details of the exchange between Triad Salvage Inc. and the Soo River Company which has brought MAXINE to Soo River and committed H. C. HEIMBECKER to the wreckers' torches at Ashtabula. HEIMBECKER's last trip, from Owen Sound to Ashtabula, was made at reduced speed due to the functioning of only one boiler, and was further delayed by the death aboard of an engineer, which forced the ship to make an unexpected stop at Goderich. HEIMBECKER arrived at Ashtabula on November 3 and scrapping operations began almost immediately. By mid-November, much of the after end of the venerable steamer had already been cut down.
Meanwhile, the Soo River Company altered its plans and decided not to keep J. F. VAUGHAN, the former MAXINE, at South Chicago for the winter. A storage cargo of beans for Hamilton was arranged and, on November 15, VAUGHAN left South Chicago in tow of the Malcolm tug BARBARA ANN. By November 19, the tow was at Toledo, where the VAUGHAN was loaded. After a delayed passage down the Welland Canal, she arrived at Hamilton on November 27. The VAUGHAN will spend the winter at Hamilton and will fit out in Soo River colours in the spring.
Shediac Bulk Shipping Ltd., of Moncton, New Brunswick, has again enlarged its fleet of tankers operating on the east coast and St. Lawrence River. Now joining SEAWAY TRADER, (a) IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD (79), and METRO STAR, (a) HAMBLE (79), (b) SHELL REFINER (81), is the newly-acquired METRO SUN, (a) PARTINGTON (79), (b) SHELL SCIENTIST (81), which was built in 1965 at Grangemouth. She made her maiden arrival at Montreal on November 14th.
Several issues ago, we remarked upon the sale by Halco Inc. of its saltwater tankers CANSO TRANSPORT and COASTAL TRANSPORT, two vessels which had never traded into the lakes and which enjoyed but short careers in Halco colours. We now learn that, on October 10, CANSO TRANSPORT cleared Durban, South Africa, under her new name, CHEMICAL SOL. On October 7, COASTAL TRANSPORT cleared Rio Grande for Durban and it is to be assumed that she, also, has since been renamed by her new owners.
Ever since the control of Branch Lines Ltd. was acquired by Davie Shipbuilding Ltd. from Marine Industries Ltd. (the company is now known as Branch Lines, Division of Davie Shipbuilding Ltd.), observers have been expecting a massive renaming project to obliterate all of the ships' names which honour members of the Simard family who controlled Marine Industries. Beginning in January, 1982, all of the tankers will be renamed, and the following are the changes that we may expect: MAPLEBRANCH becomes ERABLE 1; JOS. SIMARD becomes FRENE 1; EDOUARD SIMARD becomes CHENE 1; LEON SIMARD becomes ORME 1; LUDGER SIMARD becomes SAULE 1; and ARTHUR SIMARD becomes CEDRE 1. The first part of each name is the French word for a kind of tree but, as yet, we have no idea what the numeral "1" signifies.
As of September 30, the Michigan State Department of Transportation extended for 60 days its subsidization of the operation of the venerable Straits of Mackinac steam carferry CHIEF WAWATAM, thus ensuring her operation until at least the end of November. During recent months, budgetary limitations had prompted demands for the reduction and eventual elimination of the subsidy which has kept CHIEF WAWATAM in steam. Such a move would undoubtedly force the retirement of the picturesque ferry.
For the last two years, the Maritime Commission class steamer PIONEER (III), (a) McINTYRE (43), (b) FRANK PURNELL (I)(66), (c) STEELTON (IV)(78), (d) HULL NO. 3 (79), has been lying idle in the Frog Pond at Toledo. Owned by the Medusa Cement Company Division of Medusa Corporation since 1978, she has not operated since her charter to the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company for part of the 1979 season. Now, it seems, Medusa has taken the first major step toward the eventual conversion of the 1943-built vessel to a cement carrier. In tow of TUG MALCOLM, she arrived at Port Huron from Toledo on November 7, and was temporarily moored alongside the storage barge KINSMAN ENTERPRISE, en route to Sturgeon Bay where she will have cement-handling gear installed. She is then slated to be moved to Chicago's Lake Calumet area, where she will be used for a period of time as a storage and cement transfer facility. It seems likely that PIONEER (probably renamed) will eventually enter active service for Medusa, either as an addition to its fleet or else as a replacement for the 75-year-old MEDUSA CHALLENGER.
As reported last issue, the launch of Collingwood Shipyards' Hull 222, the stern section (some three-quarters of her eventual total length) of the latest C.S.L. self-unloader, was scheduled for Friday, November 6. On that day, however, much of Ontario was plagued by extremely high winds and unusually low temperatures. The winds were so strong that the side-launch of the new vessel had to be postponed, and she did not actually hit the waters of Collingwood harbour until Monday, November 9, at which time a successful launch was achieved. The ship will be towed to Thunder Bay in late April, 1982, and there will be joined to the bow section which is being built by Port Arthur Shipyards. The name to be given to Hull 222 will not be announced until the christening ceremonies in the spring, but it is widely supposed that she may be named in honour of Paul Martin, the president of C.S.L. who recently, in partnership with Federal Commerce and Navigation Ltd., purchased control of C.S.L. from its former owners.
Work began this autumn on the dredging and clearing of the navigation channel in the Sydenham River from Wallaceburg to Dresden, Ontario. Shippers of grain from Wallaceburg have, for years, been attempting to have governmental authorities agree to the dredging and straightening of the entire Sydenham River - Chenal Ecarte waterway in order to permit larger vessels to load at Wallaceburg, but this partial dredging job is all that has resulted to date.
On October 28, the tug DANIEL McALLISTER, out of Montreal, picked up the idle Paterson canaller TROISDOC (III) at Cardinal and headed up the St. Lawrence River with her, en route to Kingston. Arriving safely at the latter port on October 29, TROISDOC was laid up alongside WITTRANSPORT II at the LaSalle Causeway. On October 31, however, TROISDOC was cut adrift by vandals who, apparently, objected to the addition of the canaller to Kingston's "derelict" fleet. (WITTRANSPORT II is not at all popular amongst the residents of Kingston.) Fortunately, no damage was done either to the ship or to the causeway or its bridge. DANIEL McALLISTER was summoned back from Montreal and, on November 5, she towed TROISDOC away from the causeway and out to a lay-up berth near the Cataraqui Elevator, a favourite spot for laying up idle ships. With TROISDOC's future uncertain, the R.C.M.P. is investigating the circumstances of her being cut adrift in the hope that the culprits can be apprehended and brought to justice.
Heavy winds swept the lower lakes area on Wednesday, November 18, and they claimed a barge out on Lake Erie. The barge, owned by Great Lakes Marine Contracting of Port Dover, Ontario, was en route from Port Colborne to Cleveland with a load of 1,600 metric tonnes of pig iron when she was overwhelmed by the heavy seas and sent to the bottom of the lake, fortunately without loss of life. We are not certain, but we assume that the pig iron had been taken from the dock of the now-defunct Algoma Steel plant at Port Colborne, which recently was purchased for redevelopment by Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. Assorted materials had been lying on the plant's wharf ever since the facility was closed four years ago.
The St. Lawrence Cement Company's barge D.D.S. SALVAGER cleared Port Colborne, upbound, on November 15, in tow of the A. B. McLean Ltd. tug WILFRED M. COHEN. The barge's conversion to a cement carrier was completed at Port Colborne by E. G. Marsh Ltd. In the spring of 1982, the barge will commence her shuttle service between Duluth and Thunder Bay, carrying cement which is to be brought up the lakes by bulk carriers and stored in silos at Duluth. It is to be assumed that D.D.S. SALVAGER will be renamed before she enters service.
The Columbia Transportation straight-decker ARMCO cleared Toledo on October 13, bound for the Bay Shipbuilding yard where she will be converted to a self-unloader during the winter. She arrived at Sturgeon Bay on October 14. Meanwhile, Columbia's other candidate for conversion this winter, the steamer MIDDLETOWN, cleared Toledo on October 14 and arrived at Sturgeon Bay on October 16.
The U.S. Steel straight-decker ARTHUR M. ANDERSON was reported upbound at the Sault on October 31, bound for lay-up at Fraser Shipyards at Superior, Wisconsin. She will be converted to a self-unloader during the winter, as also will be her two sisters, CASON J. CALLAWAY and PHILIP R. CLARKE, both of which arrived at the Fraser yard late in August. The commencement dates for all three of these conversions had been moved forward from those originally planned, not only because the prefabrication of much of the equipment at the yard would permit completion of all three jobs by the spring, but also because the poor economic conditions of 1981 permitted the ships to be withdrawn from their regular duties earlier than had been anticipated.
The Bay Shipbuilding Corporation's Hull 730, the ocean-going coal barge OCEANPORT, owned by the Ocean Barge Corporation, was christened on October 11. She cleared Sturgeon Bay on October 16, bound for salt water in tow of the big tug GULF COMMANDER. She stopped at Conneaut, Ohio, en route, to load her first cargo of coal.
On the afternoon of Saturday, November 14, Sherwood Marine Inc. brought its small excursion vessels SHIAWASSIE and NIAGARA across Lake Ontario to join CAYUGA II in winter quarters in Toronto's York Street slip. Meanwhile, the steamer CALEDONIA, operated by Sherwood in the charter-party trade but only partially owned by Sherwood, remains on the face of the wall at the lower end of Sherbourne Street. In the interim, doubts have been raised concerning Sherwood's financial situation and whether any of the boats will run in 1982. CAYUGA II was attached by creditors late in November, and both SHIAWASSIE and NIAGARA will allegedly have to be returned to Niagara-on-the-Lake in order to satisfy the demands of creditors in that area. It is unlikely that creditors will be able to touch CALEDONIA, for she is owned jointly by Sherwood, Capt. Al. Avery, Imperial Oil Limited, and the Royal Bank of Canada. Sherwood's uncertain financial position may well have a deleterious effect upon the company's plans for a Ro-Ro trailer ferry service across Lake Ontario.
Last month, we reported on the improved financial position of the operators of the Bob-Lo Island ferry service, a development which has gladdened the hearts of fans of the company's veteran steamers COLUMBIA and STE. CLAIRE. A successful summer in 1981 has enabled the firm to make the necessary refinancing arrangements and to pay off government loans on both sides of the border. Meanwhile, both steamers were sent off to Toledo in late September for their five-year survey and inspection, and they were placed together in the AmShip drydock there.
The Chessie System's 1981-82 winter schedule for the Lake Michigan ferry service features operation Tuesday through Saturday, holidays excepted, with three trips per week to Manitowoc and six to Kewaunee. Off-season crossings are normally handled by CITY OF MIDLAND 41, but this winter's schedule calls for the operation of the newer BADGER instead.
On November 2, the former wrecking tug SALVAGE PRINCE was moved to a winter berth on the inside of the north end of the west pier of Toronto's Eastern Gap at Ward's Island. We do not know who now owns SALVAGE PRINCE, or what will become of her. For the last few years, the former steamer has occupied various berths in the turning basin and on the east harbour wall near the foot of Polson Street. Her machinery has long since been removed and, for a time, she served as home for a group of unusual persons who had planned to rebuild her as a "salvage vessel" for use in the Caribbean. The tug was partially repainted during the early summer of 1981, but she faces what can only be described as an uncertain future, with little prospect of further active service .
The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority has made public the closing dates for its canals. The St. Lawrence canals will close in sufficient time for the dewatering of the Eisenhower and Snell Locks to begin no later than 8:00 a.m., December 21, 1981. The Welland Canal will accept vessels arriving at Call-In Points 15 (upbound) and 16 (downbound) no later than 8:00 a.m., December 31. Mariners have also been warned that the official closing date for the U.S. locks at Sault Ste. Marie is December 15, although the actual closing date has yet to be announced.
A November 12 report in the Toronto press indicated that one of the items on a "shopping list" being prepared for the Metropolitan Toronto Council by its various departments is a request from the Metro Parks Department, operator of the Toronto Island ferry service, for a new ferryboat. The request is for a $6,000,000 ice-breaking boat capable of carrying both passengers and vehicles. While no other details have been made public, it appears that Metro wishes to replace the present carferry ONGIARA., which is now 18 years old. ONGIARA runs the Hanlan's Point route during the summer and, in winter, attempts to maintain the vital crossing for Island residents and Parks Dept. vehicles. She is not an icebreaker, however, and is only designed to operate IN ice, with the result that the ferry service is interrupted each winter when the ice thickens or when ONGIARA falls victim to one of her frequent mechanical indispositions. In fact, ONGIARA, despite her ability to carry trucks, has proved much less suitable as a winter ferry than did the steam tugs NED HANLAN, G. R. GEARY, J. C. STEWART and H. J. DIXON which provided winter ferry service for so many years. There would be much joy in the Island Community if commuters could enjoy the comfort of a dependable ferry in winter instead of having to make the crossing via the circuitous route across the airport and the Western Gap each time ONGIARA is out of service.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.