During the autumn of 1983, the courts finally approved the sale to Marine Salvage Ltd. of CONALLISON, (a) FRANK C. BALL (30), (b) J. R. SENSIBAR (81) following the 1982 bankruptcy of Johnstone Shipping Ltd. of Toronto. The self-unloading motorship, which was 75 years old and nearly worn-out by the time Johnstone acquired her from the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton and Company, during the summer of 1981, operated only briefly for her new owners during the late summer and early autumn of that year. She then laid up along the north (Commissioners Street) wall of the Toronto turning basin, and has been there ever since. During the afternoon of November 22nd, however, two of the McKeil tugs from Hamilton took her in tow and headed out into Lake Ontario. CONALLISON was en route to Port Colborne, where Marine Salvage will dismantle her.
Meanwhile, Johnstone Shipping's other two boats, the tanker CONGAR (III), (a) IMPERIAL LONDON (77), (b) TEGUCIGALPA (80), and the canal-sized craneship CONDARRELL, (a) D. C. EVEREST (81), are still lying idle in the Toronto turning basin. Marine Salvage also owns CONDARRELL and is attempting to peddle her to other operators for further service. Also being advertised for sale by Marine Salvage at the present time are the former Canadian Coast Guard tender SKUA, and the burned-out Halco tanker HUDSON TRANSPORT, both of which are now lying at Sorel, Quebec.
The Westdale Shipping Ltd. self-unloader ERINDALE, (a) W. F. WHITE (76), spent part of the autumn of 1983 in temporary lay-up at Toronto, where she was moored alongside the idle ELMGLEN across the end of Pier 27 at the foot of Yonge Street. However, during the week of November 14th, ERINDALE fitted out again and, on the evening of November 17th, she proceeded down the Toronto ship channel and moored alongside the Richard L. Hearn hydro generating station. The Hearn plant has recently been shut down and mothballed, but a large quantity of steam coal was on hand at the facility when it was closed. ERINDALE took on a load of this coal, which was put aboard by means of a small conveyor, and delivered the cargo to the Lakeview generating station, another of Ontario Hydro's thermal generating facilities, which is located just to the west of Toronto. Since then, ERINDALE has been employed steadily on this shuttle service, and it seems likely that she will continue on this route until all of the coal is removed from the Hearn plant. It is interesting to note that the Lakeview plant, although still operating at this time, is itself scheduled to be reduced to standby status sometime during 1984.
Last issue, we reported on the sale to Triad Salvage, for scrapping at Ashtabula, Ohio, of the 78-year-old Columbia Transportation self-unloader SYLVANIA, (a) SYLVANIA (15), (b) D. M. PHILBIN (29). We mentioned that the veteran steamer was due to be towed out of the Frog Pond at Toledo on October 25 or 26. In fact, the vessel did not leave her long-time berth at Toledo until October 31st. The Great Lakes Towing Company's tugs ARKANSAS and WYOMING towed SYLVANIA from the Frog Pond during the early evening, and then handed her over to the larger tug OHIO for the tow down Lake Erie to Ashtabula. It would appear that the actual purchaser of SYLVANIA is Joseph Behr and Sons of Rockford, Illinois, for whom Triad will do the dismantling. In the meantime, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority is proceeding with its plans to acquire the forward cabin of SYLVANIA, together with some of the steamer's equipment, for incorporation into a marine museum which is to be developed on Water Street, under Toledo's Cherry Street Bridge, as an extension of Promenade Park.
The SHELL AMERICA, a research ship which was built this year by Marinette Marine at Marinette, Wisconsin, stopped off at Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. on November 8th whilst en route to salt water, and more particularly to Houston, Texas. The purpose of her visit was to have some minor adjustments made before she left the lakes. She was downbound in the Seaway system on November 9th.
The Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. motorship BAIE COMEAU II, (a) MONTE ALMANZOR (77), which was built in Spain in 1973, was sold during the month of October after having been idle at Sorel since January. The purchaser of the 355.3-foot vessel is the Progress Shipping Company of Panama, which apparently will operate her on the Gulf of Mexico under the name (c) AGIA TRIAS. The nature of the new name would lead one to presume that her owners are Greek.
With CANADIAN EXPLORER (the former NORTHERN VENTURE and CABOT) now in service for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. has begun its work on the creation of CANADIAN RANGER from HILDA MARJANNE and CHIMO. The CHIMO herself arrived at Port Weller from Hamilton on September 17th in tow of the tugs R. & L. NO. 1 and JAMES E. McGRATH. HILDA MARJANNE made the same trip on November 7th in tow of the Canadian Dredge and Dock tugs G. W. ROGERS and BAGOTVILLE, by which time CHIMO was up on the graving dock at Port Weller and already cut in half. The MARJANNE was put on the drydock within a day or two of her arrival, as soon as CANADIAN TRANSPORT cleared the main dock after repairs. Already, the after end of HILDA MARJANNE and the discarded forward section of CHIMO have been taken to Port Maitland for scrapping, just as was the forward end of CABOT earlier this year.
Three former Lake Michigan carferries are presently being advertised for sale, all three of them being idle at this time, and all three being former members of the fleet of the Grand Trunk - Milwaukee Carferry Company. GRAND RAPIDS (1926) and MADISON (1927) have recently been owned by Bultema Marine Transportation of Muskegon, Michigan, Bultema having acquired them after their retirement by the Grand Trunk line. The third steamer, CITY OF MILWAUKEE (1931), is presently owned by the State of Michigan, which acquired her after the Grand Trunk went out of the cerferry [sic] business. The state had leased her for service on the now-defunct Ann Arbor carferry line and, as such, she was the last operating example of an un-rebuilt Logan-designed lake carferry. She has been laid up ever since the Ann Arbor (which latterly was run by the Michigan Interstate Railway Company) went out of the carferry business in early 1982 after a dispute over the financing of the Michigan Interstate. The Northwest Michigan Maritime Museum at Frankfort has asked that CITY OF MILWAUKEE be donated to it for historical display, but no official response appears to have been forthcoming in respect of this request. It is, of course, to be hoped that CITY OF MILWAUKEE can be preserved so that future generations can see what a traditional Logan carferry looked like.
An unusual visitor to Toronto harbour was the Halco self-unloader FRANKCLIFFE HALL, which arrived during the afternoon of November 17th with a cargo of road salt. We have not seen many salt cargoes arrive at Toronto this autumn, a fact that is directly related to the virtually snowless winter of 1982-83. In fact, so little salt was used on the roads of Metropolitan Toronto last winter that a considerable surplus remained on the dock beside the ship channel throughout the summer of 1983.
An accident which had the potential for a very serious result occurred on the morning of November 1st, when the Greek salty PAULINA C., whilst downbound with a cargo of corn, encountered difficulties in the Lower Beauharnois Lock of the Seaway system. The vessel moved too far forward in the lock broke the guard cable, and struck the lower gates. Extensive damage was done and the gatelifter HERCULES was brought to the scene to assist in effecting repairs. Needless to say, the Seaway was closed for a considerable period of time, and a lengthy backlog of vessel traffic developed. This was the first time in many years that an accident of this nature had happened, that is, that a ship had actually managed to break through the guard cable and make contact with the gates. The seriousness of a situation involving the knocking out of a lock's lower gates whilst the upper gates are still open, was graphically illustrated in the Canadian Soo Lock accident of 1909, when the PERRY G. WALKER struck the lower gates whilst CRESCENT CITY and ASSINIBOIA were entering the lock downbound.
The Columbia Transportation steamer RESERVE was converted from a straightdeck bulk carrier to a self-unloader at the Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, yard of Bay Shipbuilding during 1982, but she then remained idle, rather than going into service as might have been expected. Her delayed commissioning was a result of the current economic depression. But RESERVE did fit out this September and, on the 30th of the month, she was upbound through the Soo Locks on her first trip as a self-unloader. The similar conversions of ARMCO and MIDDLETOWN, which were completed earlier, as well as that of RESERVE, were planned and contracted prior to the reversal of business conditions, and Columbia went ahead with them, not because they were immediately justified, but because of considerations for future requirements. As a matter of interest, MIDDLETOWN has recently been employed on the Toledo to Detroit coal run that was served by SYLVANIA for many years.
The Toronto Eastern Gap, which for many years had served as an alternate entrance to Toronto harbour, but one that could only be used by small vessels with shallow draft as a result of continual silting problems, was completely rebuilt and widened during 1973 and 1974. Ever since, the Eastern Gap has been the main harbour entrance, with its silting difficulties alleviated because of a change in the course of the long-shore drift which has resulted from the construction of the Eastern Headland, which protrudes far out into the lake from the foot of Leslie Street. Recently, however, it has become necessary to do some dredging in order to maintain the depth of the outer approach to the gap, and equipment of the Pitts Engineering Construction Ltd., Toronto, began work on this project during November. This is the first dredging that has been done in the channel since its reconstruction a decade ago.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.