Toronto's steam sidewheel ferry and excursion vessel TRILLIUM celebrated her 75th anniversary during June and the event was marked by a series of public excursions which TRILLIUM ran from June 17 to 22. Each trip lasted one hour and forty minutes, and the cost to the public was the princely sum of five cents each, the same fare that was charged for the Island ferry ride when TRILLIUM was first commissioned back in 1910. The trips attracted considerable public attention, and the crew members were decked out in period "uniforms" to make the event even more memorable. One particular trip, on June 18, TRILLIUM's official birthday, featured some very special guests who attended by invitation, amongst them being the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario. TRILLIUM this year sports fancy new nameboards on her pilothouses, specially decorated ringbuoys, and many new decorations around the entrance to her new city-side dock.
In all the hoopla over TRILLIUM's anniversary, very few people have remembered that 1985 also marks the 50th birthday of the diesel-powered Island ferry WILLIAM INGLIS, (a) SHAMROCK (II)(37), which was built at Toronto in 1935. Even so, the INGLIS herself is much spruced up this year, with new engines that run much more quietly than her previous (second) set of diesels. As well, deck space on the promenade deck has been greatly increased with the removal of the large lifejacket boxes and resultant relocation of the nearby seats; the lifejackets are now strung beneath the deckhead as they were in INGLIS' early years. As well, she now sports a new window arrangement in the "bow" pilothouse, with one large window taking the place of the three old centre windows, and with the window frames restored to a varnished finish. If this arrangement is successful, the work will also be done on her other pilothouse and on the SAM McBRIDE and THOMAS RENNIE as well. In the meatime,[sic] to make the two ends of INGLIS more compatible, the window frames in the "stern" pilothouse have been painted brown, and the overall effect is most pleasing. The same treatment has been given to the small windows in the promenade deck uptake casing, and we rather wish that it would also be done on the main deck windows.
One of the most famous yacht clubs on the Great Lakes is the Royal Canadian Yacht Club at Toronto. For many years, the R.C.Y.C. has been particularly well known amongst shipping observers as a result of the two beautiful old passenger vessels that it operates as ferries between downtown Toronto and the club's premises on the Toronto Islands. Both HIAWATHA (1895) and KWASIND (1912) were originally built as steamers, and they have retained much of their original appearance over the years despite numerous rebuilds and repowerings. A few years ago, HIAWATHA, which has the distinction of being the oldest commercial passenger vessel operating on the Great Lakes, was taken to Port Credit where, during the winter, she was completely restored and refurbished. She emerged from the reconstruction looking even better than she had before, resplendent in new and very attractive colours. During the winter of 1984-85, KWASIND also was rebuilt, but this job was done at Toronto (atop the pier on the north side of the Cousins Terminal), and the result is nothing short of an insult to KWASIND's illustrious career. Her entire wooden superstructure was scrapped instead of being restored, and new cabins were built. We suppose that the pilothouse is acceptable (albeit peculiar), but the cabin and awning deck aft are simply ugly. No attempt has been made to shape the new superstructure to the sweeping sheer of the hull, and the lack of fine lines in the new construction makes KWASIND look definitely "droopy" aft. As well, the white hull stripe and red boot-top look as if they were painted freehand by a kindergarten class. In short, what might have been an historically significant restoration has turned out to be an aesthetic disaster. By the way, KWASIND did not re-enter service until the first week of July, and so the early-season service to the R.C.Y.C. had to be maintained by HIAWATHA and, when an extra boat was necessary, by a chartered Boat Tours International ("Simpson") glass-topped tour boat. Would that the reconstructed KWASIND had been worth the wait...
The fleet of Societe Sofati/Soconav, Montreal, has recently been increased by the addition of two more tankers. During the month of June, the company acquired the last two tankers owned by Gulf Canada Ltd., these being GULF GATINEAU and GULF MACKENZIE, which were built by Marine Industries Ltd. at Sorel in 1976 and 1977, respectively. The two Gulf lake tankers are very similar to many of the other Sofati/Soconav boats, the latter having been constructed by Marine Industries for its former shipping subsidiary, Branch Lines Ltd. Gulf has taken back a 15-year mortgage on the two boats, and they will continue to handle Gulf's lake requirements, and particularly the service to Gulf's refinery at Clarkson, Ontario. Both motorships were drydocked at Lauzon for survey and are now in service, GULF GATINEAU renamed (b) J. C. PHILLIPS, and GULF MACKENZIE rechristened (b) L. ROCHETTE. The latter ship is named in honour of Louis Rochette, who is the president of Sofati/ Soconav. It is said that the Quebec firm may soon purchase the fleet of yet another lake tanker operator, but there is no definite news in that respect at present.
It has recently been learned that Canada Steamship Lines has contracted with Collingwood Shipyards for the conversion of the straight-decker PRAIRIE HARVEST to a self-unloader during the winter of 1985-86. PRAIRIE HARVEST was built at Collingwood in 1984, and was the first straight-decker built for the C.S.L. fleet in many years. The surprise conversion has apparently been prompted not only by C.S.L.'s salt-water self-unloader commitments (and particularly the Portuguese coal run), but also by the continuing depressed Canadian grain trade, for which PRAIRIE HARVEST was specifically built. It remains to be seen whether PRAIRIE HARVEST will see any off-lakes service after her conversion, or whether she will remain in the lakes to take the place of ATLANTIC SUPERIOR (and possibly also HON. PAUL MARTIN) which will be running in foreign waters.
The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston has acquired another vessel for display at its museum complex. The new addition is the 1959-built Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker ALEXANDER HENRY, long famous for her icebreaking exploits in the Thunder Bay area. ALEXANDER HENRY arrived at Kingston in May, and has since been opened to the public as a museum ship. Unfortunately, the arrival of the HENRY appears to have doomed the former ferry WOLFE ISLANDER (III), which the museum acquired from the Ontario government in 1984 for the sum of $1.00. Despite the historical significance of the retired ferry, the museum apparently does not want her, and present plans are for her to be sunk in about 85 feet of water, between Dawson's Point on Wolfe Island and Bayfield Shoal, where she would serve as an attraction for divers.
The proliferation of excursion vessels (mostly of the small variety) on Toronto Harbour had brought with it a significant problem, that being the illegal sale of liquor. A few of the harbour cruise boats (including the Island ferries which often run charter service) are licenced to sell liquor, but most of the other excursion boats are not, and officials fear for the safety of passengers aboard the unlicenced vessels. The Metro Police have begun a crackdown on such operations, and a raid on the sailing vessel EMPIRE SANDY (the former steam tug CHRIS M.) on July 4th resulted in the seizure of $1,500 worth of liquor and beer, and charges being laid against twelve people. A similar raid on June 30 saw nine people charged. Federal authorities are also involved, looking into loopholes in the vessel registration regulations which permit many of these excursion boats to operate as charter yachts rather than as licenced and duly inspected passenger vessels.
The old DREDGE PRIMROSE, which caused a furor in Kingston last year when she sank and unleashed an oil spill whilst being towed out of the harbour, is again the subject of controversy. During July, while moored at the Canadian Dredge and Dock yard, vandals cut her adrift. She was corralled by CC. G.S. SIMCOE and was taken to the LaSalle Causeway, where she was secured. Canadian Dredge did not want her back, as her owner is bankrupt and nobody would pay mooring charges. Meanwhile, the PRIMROSE is scheduled to be sold by auction by the Frontenac County Sheriff's office on September 9th.
A particularly notable scrap tow occurred on May 18-19, when the Bethlehem Steel Corporation steamer JOHNSTOWN passed down the Welland Canal in tow of the tugs SALVAGE MONARCH, HELEN M. McALLISTER and DANIEL McALLISTER. JOHNSTOWN had been sold to Marine Salvage Ltd. early in the spring of 1985, and was en route to overseas shipbreakers. In a bizarre twist of fate, JOHNSTOWN almost did not make it down the Welland Canal, for her after tow line parted in heavy winds just as she was entering Port Colborne harbour. She very nearly struck the end of the Maple Leaf Mills elevator pier, but was corralled by the tugs just in time to prevent what might have been a most serious accident. JOHNSTOWN was built by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Shipbuilding Division, at Sparrows Point, Maryland, in 1952, and was brought to the lakes via the Mississippi River and the Illinois Waterway. She was lengthened by 72 feet in 1958, but never was converted to a self-unloader as was her sistership, SPARROWS POINT, and thus her usefulness to her owners waned. Her sudden sale for scrapping early this year was a shock to shipping observers, although it was not entirely unexpected.
Spending the winter at Ramey's Bend in the Marine Salvage Ltd. scrapyard was the former Cleveland-Cliffs steamer PONTIAC, which had been towed to Port Colborne from Toledo on October 6, 1984. It had been anticipated that she would be resold for scrapping overseas, and this is exactly what has come to pass. PONTIAC was towed out of Ramey's Bend on May l6th by the McKeil tugs GLENEVIS, ARGUE MARTIN and STORMONT, which took her down the Welland Canal. She was downbound through the Seaway on May 19th, bound for Quebec City and an overseas scrap tow, having been resold by Marine Salvage to European ship-breakers. PONTIAC was built at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in Ecorse, Michigan, in 1917, and she served the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company for her entire active life. She was repowered in 1955 and last operated in 1982. PONTIAC headed across the Atlantic, en route to Spain, in tandem tow with JOHNSTOWN behind the Polish tug KORAL, and the outbound tow passed Sept Iles, Quebec, on May 30th.
In the May issue, we reported that the 25-year-old steamer QUEDOC (II), (a) NEW QUEDOC (63), and the 28-year-old steamer SENATOR OF CANADA had been laid up at Toronto by N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd., Thunder Bay. It was readily understood that QUEDOC might soon be sold for scrapping but it was thought that SENATOR OF CANADA would be held as a spare boat for the Paterson fleet until her "ticket" expired in 1986. QUEDOC was taken around to Victory Mills on April 29, fuelling speculation that she might be used for the storage of soya beans, but she was towed away from the elevator on May 3, and was again moored alongside the SENATOR on the north side of Pier 35. In due course of time, both steamers were sold to Marine Salvage Ltd., the price of scrap metal having improved considerably. QUEDOC raised steam on June 15, and departed Toronto under her own power via the Western Gap at about 2:00 p.m. on June 20, bound for Quebec City and an overseas tow. The SENATOR OF CANADA also raised steam, and she left Toronto under her own power for the same destination on June 26, at about 4:00 p.m. Both steamers had their stack markings obliterated before departure on their final trips. On June JO, both vessels were resold to Cord Steel, Montreal, which in turn resold them to Caribbean breakers, and on July 1st both departed Quebec in tow of the tug CAPT. IOANNIS S. One published report indicated that they were bound for Curacao, but we have it on the best of authority that they were, in fact, en route to Caracas, Venezuela. Meanwhile, another similar Paterson steamer, PATERSON (I), which was sold for scrapping last year, has been well cut down at Thunder Bay, and this spring her hull was towed from the Mission River dock of Shear-met Recycling to its Kaministiquia River dock for final dismantling. These three handsome lakers will certainly be missed by lake shipping observers, but their small dimensions made them entirely unsuitable for operation under today's uncertain business conditions. As well, their steam machinery made them uneconomical to operate. (It is for this latter reason that Paterson's COMEAUDOC will be converted from steam to diesel power during the coming winter at Collingwood.)
Another beautiful laker recently sold for scrap is the Algoma Central Railway, Marine Division, self-unloader E. B. BARBER. This vessel was built at Port Arthur Shipbuilding in 1953, and at the time of her commissioning was considered to be one of the most handsome "modern" lake vessels ever put in service. She looked superb in the then-new Algoma blue colours (she was the first ship in the fleet to wear them). The BARBER was converted to a self-unloader in 1964, and the addition of the unloading equipment and a raised trunk deck, together with pilothouse wings, detracted rather considerably from her appearance, as did the Algoma policy of doing away with the white forecastle and quarterdeck colours on its self-unloaders. Nevertheless, the BARBER was a workhorse for her owners, and she operated very successfully for the three decades of her life. She last operated in the autumn of 1984 and then spent the past winter in lay-up in the Leslie Street slip off Toronto's turning basin. This spring, she was sold to Marine Salvage Ltd., which resold her to overseas shipbreakers. On Saturday, July 6th, she was towed from Toronto by SALVAGE MONARCH (assisted out of the harbour by the pilot tug COLINETTE), en route to Quebec City and a tow across the Atlantic. E. B. BARBER, like her near-sister PATERSON (I), and also QUEDOC and SENATOR OF CANADA, suffered from the fact that she was built to considerably less than full Seaway dimensions, and her high cost of operation did not permit her to be run economically in today's business climate. We are, however, indeed sad to see her sold for scrapping at such a tender age.
Back on November 22, 1984, the American Steamship Company's self-unloader SAGINAW BAY, (a) FRANK H. GOODYEAR (II)(39), (b) DIAMOND ALKALI (II)(76), (c) BUFFALO (I)(78), arrived at Ramey's Bend in tow, having been purchased by Marine Salvage Ltd. She spent the winter in the scrapyard, but was resold this spring to overseas breakers. She passed down the Welland Canal on July 6-7 in tow of the tugs GLENEVIS, ARGUE MARTIN and PRINCESS NO. 1, bound for Quebec City, and it was said that she would go across the Atlantic in tandem tow with E. B. BARBER. The SAGINAW BAY dated from 1917, when she was built by the Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse, Michigan. She was converted to a self-unloader in 1939, and she was repowered with a diesel engine in 1964. She had been idle at Cleveland for several years before her scrap sale, allegedly as a result of deteriorated hull condition. The demise of this vessel is particularly notable in that she was the last survivor from amongst the extensive fleet of lakers that once was operated by the famous Capt. John Mitchell of Cleveland.
Another veteran laker recently acquired by Marine Salvage Ltd. is the Columbia Transportation Division self-unloading motorvessel W. W. HOLLOWAY, (a) HENRY A. HAWGOOD (12), (b) C. RUSSELL HUBBARD (37), which has been idle at Toledo for a number of years. The HOLLOWAY was built at Cleveland by the American Shipbuilding Company in 1906, was converted to a self-unloader in 1957, and was given diesel machinery in 1963. She was typical of the older but considerably refurbished self-unloaders which formed the backbone of the Columbia fleet for many years. It is anticipated that W. W. HOLLOWAY will be resold to overseas breakers rather than being dismantled in the Marine Salvage scrapyard at Ramey's Bend.
Yet another laker recently purchased by Marine Salvage Ltd. is the extremely venerable canal-sized sandsucker NIAGARA, which has been acquired from the Erie Sand Steamship Company. NIAGARA, was built in 1897 by F. W. Wheeler and Company at West Bay City, Michigan. She was shortened in 1926, was converted to a sandsucker in 1927. and in 1959 was given diesel propulsion machinery and also was fitted with self-unloading gear. In her later years, NIAGARA regularly operated in the Saginaw Bay area, where she dug sand for use in the making of moulds for the automobile industry. She was retired in 1983, and lay idle at Erie, Pennsylvania, ever since. As a result of her small size, an overseas scrap tow for NIAGARA would appear to be unwarranted, and it is expected that Marine Salvage will dismantle her at Ramey's Bend, most likely during the coming winter. NIAGARA will best be remembered by Saginaw area residents for her frequent trips through the Zilwaukee Bridge over the Saginaw River, causing severe traffic jams on Highway I-75. The resultant mess on the Interstate led the Michigan Highways Department to petition federal authorities for funds for the construction of a high-level bridge over the river, and that structure is presently under construction.
When the P. & H. Shipping Division of Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd. retired its steamer CEDARGLEN at the close of the 1984 navigation season, and sent her to Goderich for use as a grain storage barge there, observers felt that it would not be long before the previous Goderich storage barge, the former P. & H. steamer SPRUCEGLEN, would be sold for scrap. In fact, this is exactly what has happened. SPRUCEGLEN, (a) WILLIAM K. FIELD (34), (b) REISS BROTHERS (70), (c) GEORGE D. GOBLE (80), (d) ROBERT S. PIERSON (82), was sold early in 1985 to Shearmet Recycling, the Thunder Bay shipbreaking firm, and she was upbound at Sault Ste. Marie on June l6th in tow of the tugs THUNDER CAPE and W. J. IVAN PURVIS, en route to the Lakehead and the breakers' torches. The SPRUCEGLEN was known not only for her extremely handsome appearance and the lavish guest quarters contained in her triple-deck bridge structure, but also for the fact that she was the last operating Canadian coal-fired lake vessel. She ran only very briefly for P. & H. Shipping, after it acquired the fleet of the defunct Soo River Company, and she was retired at the close of the 1982 season.
Ever since the tragic Christmas, 1981, fire that ended her career, the former Halco motortanker HUDSON TRANSPORT has been lying idle, awaiting an appointment with the shipbreakers. Sold to Marine Salvage Ltd. of Port Colborne, the tanker lay at Sorel for several seasons, but she has now reappeared on the lakes. On May 28, the McKeil tugs GLENEVIS and ARGUE MARTIN towed HUDSON TRANSPORT into the Marine Salvage scrapyard at Ramey's Bend, where she will be cut up for scrap. The fire damage to HUDSON TRANSPORT was confined to the accommodations area aft, but the cost of repair, coupled with the increasing cost of regular maintenance of the cargo tanks and related equipment on a tanker built in 1962, have combined to make further operation of the vessel uneconomical, and her sale for dismantling was inevitable.
In our May issue, we reported on the sale for scrapping of the Nipigon Transport Ltd. straight-deck bulk carrier LAKE WINNIPEG, (a) TABLE ROCK (48), (b) NIVOSE (61). The steamer last operated in 1983, and had spent the last year in idleness at Montreal. It has now been confirmed that LAKE WINNIPEG was sold via Gibson Shipbrokers to Batista e Iramos Lda., a Portuguese firm. Her Canadian registry was closed on May 1, 1985, and she cleared Montreal on May 2nd in tow of the tug IRVING CEDAR. Her destination was said to be Sacavem, Portugal, which is on the outskirts of Lisbon, but as yet we do not have confirmation of her arrival there. LAKE WINNIPEG was the largest Canadian laker yet sold for scrapping, and the first Seaway-size lake ship to be consigned to such a fate. It is quite apparent that a number of other such ships will soon follow.
Early this year, the fleet of Nipigon Transport Ltd./Carryore Ltd. underwent a change of ownership. The fleet had previously been a joint operation of Cargill Grain and the Hanna ore interests, but Cargill bowed out of the picture and the Hanna interests assumed full ownership. With the Canadian grain trade in the doldrums these days, and with LAKE WINNIPEG already sold for scrap, the fleet has sold for scrapping the beautiful 1959-built Seaway-size steamer MENIHEK LAKE, which unfortunately became very expensive to operate, primarily because of her high fuel consumption. MENIHEK LAKE operated very briefly during the summer of 1984, but since then had been laid up at her Hamilton berth along with her Carryore running-mate CAROL LAKE. Her stack markings obliterated, MENIHEK LAKE was due to sail eastbound for Quebec City, on her last voyage, on August 15th.
There have also been changes in the Hanna fleet of U.S.-flag upper-lakers. The former National Steel Corporation fleet is now being run by M. A. Hanna Inc., and the old National Steel insignia have been removed from the ships' bows. Meanwhile, the fleet has sold for overseas dismantling its Seaway-size steamer LEON FALK JR., (a) WINTER HILL (6l), which last operated in 1981 and which has lain idle at Ecorse ever since. She was due to sail under her own power for Quebec on August 15th. Hanna has only been operating GEORGE A. STINSON and PAUL H. CARNAHAN, (a) HONEY HILL (46), (b) ATLANTIC DEALER (6l), the sistership of the FALK, in 1985, and it is said that CARNAHAN will be withdrawn when her certificate expires in August, and that, at that time, she also will be sold for scrapping overseas. It had been thought that, when CARNAHAN was taken out of service, Hanna would reactivate GEORGE M. HUMPHREY and give her an overdue five-year survey and inspection, but that would now appear to be extremely unlikely, and the HUMPHREY'S future is in doubt.
ULS International Inc. has at last taken steps to dispose of some of its many idle lakers. Laid up at Toronto during the first half of the 1985 navigation season have been GORDON C. LEITCH, R. BRUCE ANGUS, FRANK A. SHERMA.N, SEAWAY QUEEN, WHEAT KING, RED WING and CANADIAN HUNTER, joined during July by CANADIAN MARINER and in August by QUEBECOIS and MONTREALAIS. Other ULS boats have been idle at other ports. During the last few years, LEITCH and ANGUS have been used as soya bean storage barges for Victory Mills, but late in June both steamers had their funnel markings obliterated and the openings in their cabins were sealed with plywood patches. Sold for scrapping in Portugal, the ships departed Toronto on July 15th, ANGUS in tow of GLENADA, and LEITCH behind PRESCOTONT. GORDON C. LEITCH was built in 1952 at Midland, a sistership of JAMES NORRIS which became a self-unloader in 1981. A similar conversion was planned for LEITCH, but the deterioration of the economy cancelled the project. R. BRUCE ANGUS was built in 1951 at Port Arthur as the tanker (a) IMPERIAL REDWATER (54), and was converted to a straight-decker in 1954, a near-sister to Desgagnes' GOLDEN HIND and C.S.L.'s NIPIGON BAY. Taking the place of LEITCH and ANGUS for bean storage at Toronto is FRANK A. SHERMAN, which already has had one load for Victory Mills. SEAWAY QUEEN is currently tied alongside SHERMAN on the west face of Pier 35, but she is too long for the Victory unloading leg to reach her middle hold, and her future is in considerable doubt. As well, WHEAT KING has been stripped of much equipment and her disposal would appear to be imminent.
With so many scrap sales being featured in the news these days, it is refreshing to be able to record the commissioning of a new lake ship, even though she may be the last of her type built for a considerable period of time unless economic conditions improve greatly. In the May issue, we noted the launch at Collingwood on April 18, 1985, of the motorship PATERSON (II), which was built to the order of N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd., Thunder Bay. PATERSON ran trials and was accepted by her owners late in June and she was upbound at the Soo on her maiden voyage on June 28. On the completion of her first trip, she had her large anchor pockets reduced in size to clear the Seaway Locks. A straight-decker, PATERSON (II) was built especially for the grain trade, and replaces three older vessels which, as previously noted, have been sold out of the fleet for scrapping. We wish the new vessel many years of successful operation.
In the May issue, we mentioned that the Shediac Tanker Corp./ Metro Marine tanker METRO SUN, (a) PARTINGTON (79), (b) SHELL SCIENTIST (8l), had come to the lakes and had been renamed (d) HAMILTON ENERGY for a bunkering service formed by a consortium of Canada Steamship Lines and ULS International. We noted the possibility that the de-engined UNGAVA TRANSPORT would be used in some capacity by the same owners. The purchaser of both ships has now been identified as Provmar Fuels Inc., which is operating the new bunkers service. On June 28-29, HAMILTON ENERGY was at Toronto, pumping the bunker oil out of the doomed GORDON C, LEITCH, and it was seen at that time that the diminutive tanker was painted black with white cabins, and a turquoise stack with two red bands surrounding a white band. Meanwhile, the powerless UNGAVA TRANSPORT, (a) VARANGNES (70), (b) TOMMY WIBORG (74), has been renamed (d) PROVMAR TERMINAL. She will remain in the Strathearne Avenue area of Hamilton harbour, where she will serve as "mother ship" and cargo source for HAMILTON ENERGY.
Back in 1984, C.S.L. sold its steam-powered package freighters FORT YORK and FORT HENRY for scrapping, and they were towed to Hamilton. In the meantime, no effort had been made to begin cutting them up, and it was assumed that their new owners were trying to resell the ships, possibly for further operation. Now one of the steamers has been returned to service, albeit under conditions entirely different from those for which she was built. The 27-year-old FORT YORK has been acquired by Charpat Transportation Inc., and her registered owner is Windsor Detroit Barge Line Ltd., Windsor. She is to be used as a barge, carrying lumber down from Lake Superior, and a rough notch was cut in her stern before she left Hamilton. The work is eventually to be completed at Windsor, and at that time FORT YORK'S after cabins are to be cut away to provide visibility for the pushing tug. The same firm has also acquired the McAsphalt tug TUSKER, and she will normally handle FORT YORK. On the barge's first trip, however, TUSKER was not available and the barge was towed by PRESCOTONT, with ARGUE MARTIN assisting at the stern. The tow was upbound at the Soo on its first trip on July 24th, and on July 30 the barge cleared Thunder Bay with a full cargo of lumber for Windsor.
It was announced during June that the veteran U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender SUNDEW would undergo a refurbishing that will add considerable years to her life expectancy. The 180-foot vessel, normally stationed at Duluth, was towed to Ecorse for drydocking and a month of routine maintenance. She was then to be out of service for an additional three months for the installation of a pair of new engines. The repowering was expected to cost in the area of $750,000 but the contract for this portion of the work had not yet been let and it was thus not known where the job would be done. SUNDEW, which was constructed in 1944 at Duluth by the Marine Iron and Shipbuilding Company, has suffered severe engine problems over the last two years, and parts for her old Cooper-Bessemer engines have become extremely difficult to obtain.
A few months ago, the World Ship Society's "Marine News" reported that the former Upper Lakes Shipping self-unloader THORNHILL (II), (a) ONTARIO POWER (83), had been sold by the ULS affiliate, Marbulk Carriers Ltd., Vanuatu, to Naviera Seri S.A. de C.V., Mexico. The ship was renamed (c) AKALLI SERI.
Another "Marine News" report (April, 1985) indicates that an old familiar canaller was sold for scrapping back in 1982. The vessel was RIO DAULE, (a) BRITAMOLENE (59), (b) WAVE TRANSPORT (63), (c) FLORENCE B. (66), (d) CAPTAIN THEO (73). She was sold by Transportes Maritimos & Fluviales S.A., Ecuador, to Jorge Naula, and she was delivered at Guayaquil, Ecuador, in June 1982. The steamer was built for the British American Oil Company Ltd., and operated on the lakes under its colours for many years. Subsequent lake operators were Gayport Shipping Ltd. (for B-A Oil) and the Hall Corporation Ltd.
The 55-year-old Groupe Desgagnes Inc. motorship CHICAGO TRIBUNE (II) is a vessel for whose future observers have expressed doubt for a number of years. However, the former canaller is still running, mainly in the malt and barley trade from Thunder Bay to Toronto. The TRIBUNE was drydocked this spring at Whitby, and this would appear to indicate that Desgagnes intends to keep her in active service. In 1984, she was given the Desgagnes yellow strip on her bows and stack, but this year something different has been added. The TRIBUNE now sports a full white forecastle, something that she has not carried since her very early years in the Q & 0 fleet, when she ran as (a) THOROLD (I)(33). Meanwhile, during July, CHICAGO TRIBUNE'S running-mates FRANQUELIN and NEW YORK NEWS made a number of trips into Wallaceburg to load Ontario grain for the Bayports. Their arrival in Wallaceburg was most welcome, for that port had seen no commercial shipping activity since 1983. Not so fortunate is the Desgagnes upper laker MELDRUM BAY, which has been idle for two years at Toronto. This steamer has been completely stripped out in preparation for scrapping (even her davits and lifeboats were taken off), and her remaining bunker fuel has been pumped out and transferred to GOLDEN HIND, a move that indicates that the latter vessel might yet run for Desgagnes.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.