The "Great Scrap Rush" of 1986 began with the sale of four idle ULS vessels "through the intervention of A. L. Burbank & Co. Ltd., New York, to free flag interests". The sale on the London market, as reported previously, involved FRANK A. SHERMAN, RED WING, WHEAT KING and MELDRUM BAY, with all four destined to wind up in a Brazilian scrapyard. SHERMAN and RED WING both left Toronto under their own power on June 10, the former at 6:35 a.m. via the East Gap, and the latter at 11:20 a.m. by the West Gap (her bowthruster having been removed, making it impossible for her to make the sharp port turn from the channel into the Eastern Gap). Both were downbound in the Seaway on June 12 and were moored at Section 27, Quebec City, by June 13. WHEAT KING, much of her machinery having been removed last winter, was towed out Toronto's East Gap on July 15 and was shepherded down the Seaway by the McKeil tugs GLENSIDE, GLENEVIS, ARGUE MARTIN and STORMONT, eventually being taken to Lauzon. MELDRUM BAY was towed away from the foot of Sherbourne Street, Toronto, on July 24 and was downbound in the Seaway, in tow of GLENSIDE, ARGUE MARTIN and STORMONT, on the evening of July 27, bound for Lauzon. All four should shortly be departing for Brazil in tow of deep-sea tugs.
The American Steamship Company in 1986 sold two of its idle self-unloaders, SHARON and DETROIT EDISON, to Corostel Trading Ltd., Montreal (a firm affiliated with the Ziff shipbreaking interests), for scrapping. The two vessels allegedly fetched a price of $693,720 U.S. Both had been laid up for a number of years, DETROIT EDISON at Sturgeon Bay and SHARON at Monroe. SHARON was downbound at Port Colborne on June 20 in tow of DANIEL McALLISTER, HELEN M. McALLISTER and SALVAGE MONARCH. DETROIT EDISON was downbound in the Seaway on July 13 with HELEN M. McALLISTER, CATHY McALLISTER and SALVAGE MONARCH. Both went to Quebec City and, on July 16, the U.S. tug PRUDENT, assisted by SALVAGE MONARCH, took the pair out of Quebec in a tandem tow, bound for a scrapyard at Brownsville, Texas.
The 1924-built JOHN DYKSTRA (II), (a) BENSON FORD (I)(82), long a member of the Ford Motor Company fleet and latterly an unused barge owned by Lake Transportation Inc. (F. Sullivan & Co.), was sold this spring to Marine Salvage Ltd. for scrapping. Before she left Cleveland, her forecastle and triple-deck forward cabin were removed by the Sullivan family and taken by barge to South Bass Island, Lake Erie, for use as a cottage. The arrival of the ship's bridge structure ashore on July 19 upset the neighbours (who consider it an eyesore) and local authorities were miffed because approval for the installation of the structure was not sought. As well, it was necessary to ballast the DYKSTRA's bow before the cabin could be lifted off by crane, and the water ballast was still in her when the tugs arrived to tow the hull away. Nevertheless, DYKSTRA arrived at Port Colborne on July 12 and, in tow of ARGUE MARTIN and GLENBROOK, she was soon moved to Ramey's Bend, where she will be cut up.
Apparently as a result of the arrival of the DYKSTRA, Marine Salvage decided not to scrap PHILIP D. BLOCK at Ramey's Bend. As of August 18, crews were busy sealing up the BLOCK in preparation for an overseas tow. On August 21, the tug SALVAGE MONARCH arrived at Port Colborne from Toledo with W. W. HOLLOWAY, another Marine Salvage acquisition, and left her there. The following day, SALVAGE MONARCH, assisted by GLENEVIS and STORMONT, hauled the BLOCK out of Ramey's Bend and set off with her for Quebec. SALVAGE MONARCH will return later to take the HOLLOWAY in tow again, bound also for Quebec City.
After several years of intense shipbreaking activity at two Thunder Bay yards, Shearmet Recycling has gone out of business. When operations ceased, Shearmet had on hand for dismantling AUGUST ZIESING and the remains of SPRUCEGLEN and JOHN HULST. It was said that the scrapping of these ships would be completed by the Lakehead Scrap Metal Company, but on the morning of August 18, ZIESING was brought to the east pier scrapyard at Port Colborne by the tugs ELMORE M. MISNER and VAC, which had picked her up off Long Point from the G-tugs OHIO and NEBRASKA. With ZIESING acquired by International Marine (a ULS affiliate), scrapping began almost immediately. As well, MarAd approval has been sought for the same firm to acquire Cleveland-Cliffs' idle WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR.
The Rouge Steel Company has sold for scrap two idle bulk carriers which have been lying for two seasons in the River Rouge at Dearborn, Michigan. The NO. 265808, (a) RICHARD M. MARSHALL (57), (b) JOSEPH S. WOOD (II)(66), (c) JOHN DYKSTRA (I)(82), (d) BENSON FORD (II)(85), and NO. 266029, (a) WILLIAM CLAY FORD (I)(85), have been sold to the Robinson Scrap Iron and Metal Company, Detroit. It is said that NO. 2658O8 will be towed overseas for scrapping, while NO. 266029, which is too large to transit the Seaway, will be broken up at Detroit. That these 33-year-old steamers should be scrapped is not surprising, for the former BENSON FORD is small by today's standards, and the old WILLIAM CLAY FORD, while lengthened by 120 feet as recently as 1979, was never given the self-unloading equipment that could have made her a more viable carrier. Part of NO. 266029 will survive, however, and on August 20 she was towed to the Detroit Marine Terminal dock on the Rouge so that her pilothouse could be removed. It will be installed on the grounds of the Dossin Museum, on Belle Isle, overlooking the Detroit River.
The M. A. Hanna Company has sold for scrap its last two idle steamers, the GEORGE M. HUMPHREY (II), which was built at Lorain in 1954, and PAUL H. CARNAHAN, (a) HONEY HILL (46), (b) ATLANTIC DEALER (6l), which was built in 1945 at Chester, Pennsylvania, and converted from a T-2 tanker in 196l. HUMPHREY has been idle at Ecorse for several years but CARNAHAN operated until her certificate expired during 1985, and both made their last trip down the lakes under their own power. The HUMPHREY departed Ecorse on the morning of August 13 but her transit of the Welland Canal on August 14 was delayed as a result of an altercation with the fender cable at Lock One. When she was delivered to Lauzon, her crew returned and sailed from Ecorse with the CARNAHAN on August 21, taking her down the canal the following day. The sale of these two steamers leaves GEORGE A. STINSON as the last vessel remaining in the once-large Hanna fleet.
Misener Shipping Ltd. has sold for scrapping its JOHN E. F. MISENER, (a) SCOTT MISENER (II)(54). The 35-year-old straight-decker has been purchased by the Ziff (Union Pipe and Machinery) interests of Montreal, after several years of idleness. The steamer has been stripped by her former owners, and it is anticipated that she will be towed away from her Port McNicoll berth (the site of the old C.P.R. flour shed) during September, in preparation for an overseas tow. JOHN E. F. MISENER, built at Port Weller in 1951, was a particularly handsome vessel, and the first of three ships built at the same yard for Misener in the space of three years. Her cabin woodwork was spectacular but the ship herself, having been built to small dimensions and of truly "transitional" design, has long since proved to be uneconomical to operate.
We have further news in the continuing saga of SAVIC which, as readers will recall, was lying at Montreal ever since she cleared the lakes late in 1985. On June 12, at 8:00 a.m., SAVIC was ordered to leave Section 37 in Montreal Harbour, and she proceeded to the Lanoraie Anchorage where she is now lying. During July, the Ziff interests acquired her for scrapping and almost immediately removed the crew which had been aboard since October 1985. It is said that SAVIC will be resold to foreign breakers and that she will be towed to an overseas scrapyard in the near future.
During the spring of 1986, Marine Salvage Ltd. removed the superstructure from the fire-ravaged after end of the former Halco tanker HUDSON TRANSPORT, and the vessel was then moved to the old Law Stone dock at Humberstone. It has been suggested that the hull might be used as a barge, but no confirmation of any such plans has yet become available.
A severe storm which struck the Duluth area on Saturday, June 21, created havoc amongst the Lakehead's idle ships. The former tinstacker JOSHUA A. HATFIELD was torn away from the Azcon Corp. scrapyard and was blown hard ashore on Hearding Island in Superior Bay. Tugs were unable to free the ship and it was feared that it would be necessary to dredge a channel back to deep water if she were to be freed, the only alternative being to scrap the HATFIELD where she lay. Favourable winds on July 11, however, permitted the refloating of the ship without dredging, and she was towed back to the Azcon scrapyard. The same storm caught A. H. FERBERT, IRVING S. OLDS and ENDERS M. VOORHEES laid up at Hallett Dock #5 in West Duluth; they pulled the bollards out of the dock, knocked several chutes off the ore dock, blew across St. Louis Bay, and went aground at Superior, where they were retrieved by tugs the following day. HARRY COULBY and JOHN SHERWIN, moored at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, broke their moorings and were blown across the slip, but suffered little if any damage.
At long last, plans to preserve the 1938-built U.S. Steel steamer WILLIAM A. IRVIN have come to fruition. This spring, the Duluth Convention Centre Board approved the purchase of the handsome vessel for the sum of $110,000 so that she could be put on display this summer in the Duluth Arena area. On May 12, she was towed from her West Duluth lay-up berth to Fraser Shipyards for the necessary refurbishing and painting and, the work completed, she was towed back to Duluth on June 17 by the tugs SIOUX and DAKOTA. After a delay while liability insurance was procured, the IRVIN was opened to the public on 28th June, 1986.
Another preservation project that seems finally to have got on track involves the former Cleveland-Cliffs steamer WILLIS B. BOYER at Toledo. The local city council had earlier balked at the cost, but the matter was later reassessed when saner minds prevailed, and on June 3rd the ship was purchased by the City of Toledo for $120,000 with private funding assistance. The city has also approved tentative plans for a concern known as Toledo-A-Float to operate a museum, restaurant and patio bar aboard the 75-year-old BOYER.
The venerable sandsucker NIAGARA (formerly of the Erie Sand Steamship Company), which was sold last year to Marine Salvage Ltd. for scrapping, has now returned to Erie, Pennsylvania, after spending the past winter in the Ramey's Bend scrapyard. The McKeil tug GLENBROOK took NIAGARA in tow at Humberstone on June 9 and arrived safely with her at Erie the following day. NIAGARA is moored at the Erie Sand dock while her new owners finalize plans for her restoration as an historic display, and it is hoped that she will be open to the public in 1987, at which time she will have attained the age of 90 years.
For many years now, the former Manitoulin Island ferry NORISLE has been lying at Manitowaning, on Lake Huron's North Channel, purportedly as a marine museum. She has gradually fallen into disrepair, although occasional theatre performances have been held on her car deck and in the freight shed ashore. This spring, however, the Municipality of Assiginack (Manitoulin Island) obtained a government grant of $175.008 to assist with renovations so that the steamer might be opened at Manitowaning as a restaurant and museum.
The USS Great Lakes Fleet's 44-year-old "Super" LEON FRASER, which has been idle at Lorain since 1981, is to be preserved. The former AmShip yard at Lorain has been purchased by Spitzer Management of Elyria, Ohio, which plans to redevelop the property. The FRASER is to be incorporated into the theme development of the project, and as such she appears to be the only one of the five tinstack "Supers" facing a promising future.
In the April issue, we mentioned the purchase by the Algoma Central Railway, Marine Division, of the outstanding shares of Nipigon Transport Ltd. This acquisition brought to the Algoma fleet the bulk carriers LAKE WABUSH, LAKE MANITOBA and LAKETON, the latter being given back her former name LAKE NIPIGON at Montreal on April 14. All these boats have remained in Nipigon colours during 1986, although flying the A.C.R. houseflag. In the press on July 30, A. C.R. announced its intention of purchasing the outstanding shares of Carryore Ltd., these presently being held in the following manner: M. A. Hanna Co., 927; LTV Steel, 964; National Steel Corp., 1,631 and Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel, 142. The purchase of the Carryore shares will bring the entire Carryore/Nipigon operation under Algoma ownership and would allow A.C.R. to assimilate all of the Carryore/Nipigon boats (including the idle CAROL LAKE) into its own fleet, for operation or disposal as may be appropriate. Meanwhile, on August 13, CAROL LAKE was towed to a new berth in Hamilton's East Port area.
At a press conference held at Collingwood on August 22, it was announced that Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering will be merged with Port Weller Dry Docks, thus bringing together the shipyard operations of the C.S.L. Group and ULS International. However, it was also announced that Collingwood Shipyards, which had laid off all but a small maintenance crew after completing the construction of C.C.G.S. SIR WILFRID LAURIER and the repowering of COMEAUDOC, will be permanently closed on September 12. It had earlier been suggested that the Collingwood yard might survive as a design centre and a builder of industrial equipment, but the recent announcement indicates that the yard's equipment will be moved to Port Weller, while the land will be sold for redevelopment. The closing of the Collingwood yard after 103 years of operation not only strikes a nasty blow to the economy of the town, but also leaves only two major shipyards (Thunder Bay and Port Weller) in operation on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes.
The American Steamship Company's "Maritime Class" self-unloading motorship RICHARD J. REISS (II), (a) ADIRONDACK (43), is now operating under charter to the Erie Sand Steamship Company. She has been given Erie stack colours but still has a black hull, as she had only recently been painted by American and it was thought unnecessary to spend money on painting her green at this time. Erie has, however, renamed her (c) RICHARD REISS, the dropping of the initial having no other purpose than to avoid having a ship in the Erie fleet with thirteen letters in her name! With the REISS (which actually is still owned by the Reiss Steamship Company) added to the Erie fleet, the company has not fitted out CONSUMERS POWER, which likewise is chartered from American Steamship, and the POWER is unlikely to see service this year unless business conditions improve markedly.
At about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 19, 1986, the P & H steamer BEECHGLEN ran aground in fog near St. Anicet on the south shore of Lake St. Francis, 75 km. southwest of Montreal, whilst downbound with wheat for Trois-Rivieres. Six tugs tried unsuccessfully to free the ship and it was only after part of her cargo was lightered that BEECHGLEN floated free. She was underway again at 12:30 p.m., July 21, and she delivered her cargo after being examined at St. Zotique. For a while, we understand, it was touch-and-go whether the vessel would be repaired, but she did make her way under her own power to Port Weller Dry Docks, where the necessary extensive repairs were begun.
The C.S.L. self-unloader MANITOULIN was the victim of a July 15 grounding in Sandusky Bay. The ship, bound from Sandusky to Hamilton with coal, suffered a power and steering failure and ran aground near the Cedar Point breakwall, holing her starboard ballast tank. The damage was not terribly serious and, refloated fifteen hours after the accident, MANITOULIN proceeded to Port Colborne for repairs.
The tug RENE SIMARD, which had been laid up for many years at Sorel, was sold early in 1986 to Steven Wallace of Wallace Marine, Penetanguishene. She has been renamed GEORGIAN STORM, reregistered at Midland, and her owner intends to put her to private use on Georgian Bay. By early August, GEORGIAN STORM had made her way to Toronto, and looking much the worse for her prolonged inactivity, was lying in the Leslie Street slip. She was towed up the Welland Canal on August 20th by a fishtug from Owen Sound.
The 1986 season has brought a change in the operation of the "Huron Cement" lake fleet. The National Gypsum Company has entered into an arrangement with LaFarge Coppee of France for LaFarge to take over National's cement operations. The new French owner cannot operate lake boats and so, on April 29, all of the "Huron" vessels were sold to Skaarup Shipping Corp., Philadelphia, which set up the Skaarup Lake Shipping Corp. to run the ships. The registry port of all Huron vessels has been changed from Wilmington to Philadelphia, but no other changes are anticipated. Meanwhile, the Huron fleet entered the new season planning to run the 88-year-old E. M. FORD and the 82-year-old J. B. FORD, with both these veterans scheduled for drydocking at Sturgeon Bay and with PAUL H. TOWNSEND also due for drydocking. E. M. FORD, which had been idle at Milwaukee since December 18, 1981, left that port in tow for Sturgeon Bay on May 25 and she was on the dock the following day. By June 3, she was at Alpena, operating once again under her own power as the oldest lake freighter in regular service.
With its barge ROBERT KOCH lying wrecked off Oswego after her late-1985 accident, the St. Lawrence Cement Company Inc. has been using trucks to move most of its cement from Clarkson to Buffalo and Oswego. Several runs to Oswego were made by the small cement carrier PORTLAND CARRIER, which was moved in from the east coast, but her availability has been severely restricted by her owner's own requirements. As well, the salt water vessel DHAN has made a number of trips out of Clarkson with cement. Meanwhile, McAllister Towing & Salvage Inc. took on the job of salvaging the KOCH, and the tug DANIEL McALLISTER and lighter MAPLEHEATH were sent to Oswego. Although the hull of the KOCH was cracked, some 800 tons of cement were salvageable and were taken off the wreck. The barge eventually was refloated and by July 25 she was at Kingston. She was downbound at the Snell Lock in the Seaway early on July 26 with the tugs DANIEL McALLISTER and HELEN M. McALLISTER, and by July 28 she was lying at Sorel. Several suggestions have been made concerning her future, but it appears likely that she will be scrapped at Contrecoeur, Quebec, by Gondel International.
But what of PORTLAND CARRIER? A World Ship Society report (May 1986) identified her as the former FRAGUADOR, sold by Naviera Alvargonzalez S.A. and A. Tudela-Veguin to Naviera Alvargonzalez S.A. and Cementos Cantabrica, both of Spain, and then to Fitzennis Cement Carriers Ltd., Canada, being renamed (b) PORTLAND CARRIER. The 1982-83 Lloyd's Register lists FRAGUADOR, a machinery-aft, diesel-electric, self-unloading cement carrier, built in 1969 at San Fernando by Empresa Nacional "Bazan" de C.N.M. S.A. (Hull 153), with machinery supplied by Maybach Mercedes-Benz Motorenbau, Friedrichshafen. Registered at Gijon, Spain, and 251.7 x 41.6 x 21.9, 1854 Gross and 640 Net, she was operated for the owners by Romualdo Alvargonzalez S.A. As PORTLAND CARRIER cannot often be in the lakes, St. Lawrence Cement is reportedly looking to purchase a tug/barge combination, possibly from Saudi Arabian owners.
Once again, the Great Lakes Towing Company has sent lake tugs to salt water. The company has obtained a contract to service naval vessels at Pensacola, Florida, and MARYLAND, TENNESSEE, MAINE, MICHIGAN, PENNSYLVANIA and NEW MEXICO have been sent southward. The six tugs, lashed together in pairs, were in the Welland Canal on May 24 and arrived at Oswego the following day. On May 26, they entered the New York State Barge Canal and they arrived at Pensacola on June 15. Meanwhile, Great Lakes has reassigned several of its tugs that remain on the lakes. VIRGINIA has joined OKLAHOMA at Green Bay, while VERMONT and WISCONSIN are now stationed at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
ARCTIC, having spent the winter of 1985-86 on the drydock at Port Weller receiving a new bow section to complete her extensive upgrading and enhance her ice service capabilities, departed Port Weller on May 20 for trials on Lake Ontario. The results of the trials obviously were satisfactory, for ARCTIC sailed from Port Weller for Montreal on May 21st.
The Toronto Harbour Commission now has two sistership ferries for the route across the Western Gap from the foot of Bathurst Street to the Island Airport. For many years, the T.H.C. has operated the double-ended passenger and auto ferry MAPLE CITY on the run, but problems developed whenever the ferry had to be withdrawn for maintenance. This spring, the Commission purchased from the Amherstburg - Bob Lo Island service the MAPLE CITY's idle sistership, WINDMILL POINT, which arrived at Toronto early in May. Since then, she has been lying on the north side of Pier 35, awaiting the necessary refitting as an alternate for MAPLE CITY, and she has yet to be painted in T.H.C. colours. It had become necessary that a spare ferry be obtained for the route, as the Island Airport handles considerable passenger traffic now with the increase in the number of "Stol" planes landing there. A shuttle-bus service from downtown takes passengers across on the ferry to the airport terminal.
During July 1986, LTV Steel made a Chapter Eleven filing in the hope of arranging refinancing to avoid bankruptcy, and the move threw the U.S. lake shipping industry into a state of chaos. One of the fleets hit hard by the situation is the Interlake Steamship Company, Pickands Mather & Company, managers, which reportedly relied upon LTV ore contracts for a substantial portion of its business. In response to the LTV filing, Moore-McCormack Lines, the parent of Interlake and Pickands Mather, placed the Interlake/P.M. interests up for sale, and we understand that other lake vessel operators may also be affected adversely by the LTV problems. It will be interesting to see whether any resolution of these difficulties will be forthcoming, and also how many other steelmakers wind up in the same predicament as LTV.
The United States Steel Corporation is restructuring its troubled steel and iron ore assets as a "stand-alone" unit. The firm's famous name will be retained for the marketing of steel, but the conglomerate itself has now taken the name U.S.X. Corp. Considering that, in recent years, U.S. Steel has become involved in many ventures far removed from the steel industry, the change is hardly unexpected. What is peculiar, however, is another report to the effect that the steel giant will force its shipping division to bid on the open market for its ore contract. Such a move could well spell the end for the lake "tinstack" fleet as we have known it. Meanwhile, the vessels of the USS Great Lakes Fleet Inc. were idled in early August by a strike of Steelworkers.
The package freighter JENSEN STAR, (a) FRENCH RIVER (82), is back in the lumber trade, operating under a new name, (c) WOODLAND. Her previous operators encountered problems and it is said that the vessel was seized by Greyhound Financial Inc. as a result of debt. The ship is now owned by Woodlands Marine Inc., which appears to be an affiliate of Arnone Transport of Thunder Bay. The management of the boat is being handled by N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd., and also interested in the venture are the Windsor parties who took over Newman Harbour Terminals (the firm that operated JENSEN STAR in 1984 and 1985) WOODLAND is painted red, with white cabins, and her stack is all black. She departed Thunder Bay on her first downbound trip on May 19th.
The 343-foot barge GENMAR 132, formerly used by the McAllister Towing & Salvage Inc. fleet in the Montreal area, has now been renamed McALLISTER 132 and is based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, operated in the lumber trade by A. B. McLean Ltd. She bears the legend "McLean-McAllister Transportation" painted down her sides, and on her stern has been placed the elevated pilothouse that in 1985 had been fitted aboard McLean's veteran barge CHARLES W. JOHNSON. In fact, McAllister now controls the shipping activities of A. B. McLean Ltd.
Another lake lumber trade operation involves the barge THOR 101 and tug GREGORY J. BUSCH, the latter owned by the Busch Oceanographic Equipment Company of Saginaw, Michigan. Many of the trips of the BUSCH and her barge have taken the pair to Monroe, Michigan, where they have landed at the dock formerly occupied for many years by the idle self-unloader SHARON.
The 1986 season has seen an addition to the Societe Sofati/Soconav fleet in the form of a tanker imported from the British Isles. She is RUDDERMAN (Br. 336939), which arrived at Montreal on June 20. A motorship built in 1968 at Selby by Cochrane & Sons Ltd. (Hull 1519), she is 260.0 x 41.0 x 20.0, 1592 Gross and 926 Net. Previously registered at London, she was owned by Ingram Overseas Ltd. and managed by Rowbotham Tankships Ltd. By July 1st, she was reregistered at Montreal and renamed (b) HENRI TELLIER for her new duties.
A new Canadian Coast Guard vessel is now stationed at Sault Ste. Marie. The veteran C.C.G.S. VERENDRYE, which was based at the Soo for many years, is now in reserve at Parry Sound and, despite suggestions for her future use, is likely to be sold for scrapping in the near future. Her successor, the diminutive C.C.G.S. CARIBOU ISLE, arrived at the Soo on July 12 and after the necessary trials was placed in service. CARIBOU ISLE was built at Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, and "showed the flag" in various ports, including Toronto, on her delivery voyage. Christening ceremonies for the new ship are scheduled to be held at the Soo during the month of September.
The Groupe Desgagnes motorship STELLA DESGAGNES (formerly NEW YORK NEWS) arrived at Wallaceburg on June 11th to load 200,000 bushels of corn at Hazzard's Grain Dock. This was the first trip of a commercial vessel to Wallaceburg in 1986, and there was a ceremonial presentation of a top hat to her master, Capt. A.J. Hamilton, to mark the occasion. STELLA DESGAGNES also had an unusual trip in mid-July, when she took a barley cargo to Halifax. Meanwhile, her sistership FRANQUELIN is still operating under that name despite reports that she would be renamed GENEVIEVE DESGAGNES. FRANQUELIN was idle briefly, laying up at Toronto on June 6, but she went back into service again on June 21. CHICAGO TRIBUNE made one trip to Toronto early in the year and then laid up there and has not moved since. She was not given the proposed new name DUCEY DESGAGNES, and with Desgagnes having lost to Paterson the contract of serving the Canada Malting elevators at Toronto (which will close late in 1987 anyway), it seems unlikely that CHICAGO TRIBUNE will run again. She presently looks sad indeed, with most of the paint peeled off her forward cabins. Also idle at Toronto through 1986 is GOLDEN HIND, which ran briefly for Desgagnes in the autumn of 1985. It has been said that GOLDEN HIND has been sold to the Union Pipe and Machinery interests and that she will be sent overseas for scrapping this autumn.
The Paterson fleet having acquired the Canada Malting contract, it sent its motorship ONTADOC (II) to Thunder Bay for the fitting of an additional bulkhead to make her more suitable for the barley and malt trade. The last Desgagnes trip to Toronto involved CATHERINE DESGAGNES, which arrived at the Bathurst Street elevator on June 21. With ONTADOC still at the Portship yard, the first Paterson trip was taken by LABRADOC, which arrived at Toronto on July 1st. KINGDOC also made a trip to Toronto during mid-August.
The Toronto lay-up fleet has been depleted during 1986, although a number of idle ships are still here. FRANK A. SHERMAN, RED WING, WHEAT KING and MELDRUM BAY departed via scrap sales during the summer, but CHICAGO TRIBUNE, CANADIAN MARINER, BIRCHGLEN and LAKE MANITOBA came in to lay up, as also did FRANQUELIN (albeit briefly). BIRCHGLEN arrived on June 8 and tied up on the south wall of the Leslie Street slip but was towed away to Hamilton by McKeil tugs on August 15. apparently to serve there as a storage barge. CANADIAN MARINER laid up on May 31 on the north side of Pier 35 with a transit cargo of grain. LAKE MANITOBA arrived on July 8 and laid up on the south side of the ship channel, just inside the Cherry Street bridge. Meanwhile, SEAWAY QUEEN and CANADIAN HUNTER continue to serve as storage barges for Victory Mills.
The Rouge Steel Company's straight-deck bulk carrier ERNEST R. BREECH has once again been a familiar sight in the Welland Canal during 1986. She has spent much of her time running ore to Hamilton, and on alternate voyages has carried grain down the lakes to Buffalo.
The conversion of the Paterson bulk carrier COMEAUDOC from steam to diesel power was completed during the spring and the ship has been operating ever since. Most of the conversion work was done at Collingwood, and COMEAUDOC sailed light ship, under her own power, to Thunder Bay in late April. The finishing touches were then put to the job and COMEAUDOC cleared Thunder Bay with a cargo of grain on May 19th.
Joining the fleet of excursion vessels operating in the western Lake Ontario area in 1986 is the new MACASSA BAY, a 141-ton, 160-passenger motorship built over the last three years at Hamilton by Ernie Kablau and operated by E. K. Tour Boat Service Ltd. She has operated charter trips out of Hamilton, Toronto and Port Dalhousie, and it is hoped that eventually she will be able to run scheduled public trips around the lake.
The 103-foot passenger and auto ferry MYSTIC ISLE, built in 1942 at Manitowoc for the Erie-Isle Ferry Company, operated for many years between Put-in-Bay and Catawba and Middle Bass Islands in Lake Erie. Some years ago, she went to salt water and wound up being used as a fishboat. Four years ago, she was arrested for carrying marijuana into Miami, and she had been idle there ever since. On May 23. 1986, she was sunk off Miami to create an artificial reef.
The C.S.L. self-unloader ATLANTIC SUPERIOR is operating in foreign waters in 1986, and under a foreign flag. The ship departed Thunder Bay on May 7 with a cargo of potash for Baltimore, and when she arrived at her destination she was placed under the Bahamian flag and given a new crew. She then loaded coal for Portugal and since has been running the coal trade between Rotterdam and Sines, Portugal. She is managed by Fednav Ship Management Ltd., London, and is manned by a joint Fednav/C.S.L. crew. It was the original intent of ATLANTIC SUPERIOR'S owners to bring her back under the Canadian flag this autumn, and we shall look forward to seeing whether this comes to pass.
The C.S.L. straight-deck bulk carrier PRAIRIE HARVEST, which was built especially for the grain trade, saw some unusual service this spring. She spent much of the early season operating with FERBEC on the ore run from Havre St. Pierre to Sorel, but by mid-summer had returned to the lake grain trade.
A sheriff's sale was held at Toronto on June 3rd for the forced disposal of the tug TUSKER, which in 1985 was used in connection with the ill-starred operation of the barge FORT YORK, and which previously had been operated by McAsphalt Industries Ltd., Toronto. The operation of FORT YORK foundered amongst financial difficulties, and the tug, libelled in a crew's action, spent the past winter at Port Stanley. At the sheriff's sale, TUSKER was acquired by Sandrin Brothers Limited, Sarnia, and she sailed from Port Stanley for Sarnia on June 19. Looking rather the worse for wear, she has since spent much of her time lying at the Government Wharf at Sarnia, although she has been used on several local tows.
The C.S.L. grain elevator at Kingston was emptied by May 4 and, that month, Kingston city council approved an official plan amendment and zoning change to permit entrepreneur Photis Liappas to proceed with his project of converting the elevator into 410 condominium units, with another 38 townhouses also to be built on the site. Liappas was then able to purchase the elevator from C.S.L., and the elevator crew was to leave the site by the end of May. As yet. no effort has been made to move the C.S.L. lay-up fleet (T. R. McLAGAN, NIPIGON BAY, METIS and HOCHELAGA) away from the elevator, but no doubt the ships will be taken elsewhere before long. Unfortunately, it would seem that the scrapyard is the likely destination for all four of the idle vessels.
Our April 1986 issue carried a report on the apparent sale for scrap of the barge GENERAL KARRIER, the former CEMENTKARRIER. We had been led to believe that the barge, which wintered at Sorel, had been acquired by Marine Salvage Ltd., but such is not the case. In fact, Three Rivers Boatman, which owned GENERAL KARRIER ever since she was cut down to a barge in 1978, sold her to Gondel International, which has begun shipbreaking at Contrecoeur. The firm broke up the barge FORT GASPE in 1985, and now is working on GENERAL KARRIER. Next in line for scrapping is the coaster FORT SEVERN, which arrived at the yard on May 15. After Gondel is finished with her, it will dismantle the recently salvaged ROBERT KOCH.
Twin City Dry Dock & Marine of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, has built a new 450-ton drydock for its busy shipyard. The new dock was scheduled to be launched on July 3, but problems were encountered and it was only with the second attempt of the day on July 10, with a large bulldozer pushing and the tug CHIPPEWA pulling, that the dock was finally put into the water. The first test of the new facility came on August 7, when U.S.C.G. MESQUITE was put into the dock. The dock developed a severe starboard list and MESQUITE was hurriedly undocked to keep her from capsizing. The process was repeated on August 12, with exactly the same results, and at last report the cause of the difficulties had not been determined.
With the decision made that the veteran Straits of Mackinac steam carferry CHIEF WAWATAM has run her last and should be preserved in some form, the battle rages on as to whether she will be preserved at Mackinaw City or St. Ignace as a museum, or whether she should be sunk as a breakwater. It is hoped that the famous CHIEF will be preserved intact if, as is indicated, any further service for the aging ferry is out of the question.
At long last, the hull of the former passenger vessel NORMAC has been raised from the bottom of the Yonge Street slip at Toronto. NORMAC, which had served as Captain John's Harbour Boat Restaurant at Toronto after her retirement by the Owen Sound Transportation Company Ltd., sank under odd circumstances in June of 1981, two weeks to the day after she was struck at her berth by the steam sidewheeler TRILLIUM. The litigation arising out of the incident is still in progress, but the Toronto Harbour Commission demanded that John Letnik remove NORMAC (which had been cut down to the deck) from the slip. Can Dive Services Ltd. used shore cranes to accomplish the task and the befouled hull was brought to the surface on June 14, 1986. After a few days afloat, it was towed to the Leslie Street slip, off the turning basin, and it lies there now, while Letnik talks of rebuilding the hulk to serve once more as a restaurant. We shall see...
The cement-carrying barge ST. MARYS CEMENT, the first vessel to be completed by the new Toledo Shipyard, was christened on May 24. She entered service in late June and is being handled by the tug TRITON, which was brought up from New Orleans for the purpose.
It has been learned that the combination passenger and freight ferry, which is now nearing completion at Port Weller Dry Docks, and intended for east coast service, is to be named NORTHERN RANGER. The vessel will be finished in time for delivery before the close of the lake shipping season. She will be owned by ULS (Atlantic) Leasing Inc. and operated by CN Marine.
In 1979, Toronto played host to the sailing vessel PRIDE OF BALTIMORE, a 97-foot ship, built in 1977, which was used to publicize her namesake city. The handsome boat was well received in Toronto and many local citizens toured her. Unfortunately, on May 14, 1986, whilst returning from a European tour, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE was suddenly overwhelmed and sunk in a violent squall 300 miles north of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Lost with the ship were her master and three crew members, the rest of the crew being rescued by a passing freighter. Since the loss of the vessel, some authorities have suggested that there may have been reason to question the stability of PRIDE OF BALTIMORE.
Provincial officials are persevering in their efforts to obtain a new ferry for the Pelee Island service. They have been examining a boat currently operating in the Quebec City area, as well as one in Newfoundland, but no decision has yet been made, and it is possible that the province may eventually decide to have a new vessel built for the service.
The town of Wheatley, Ontario, now has a novel tourist booth and marine museum. The venerable fish tug ALMA, which was retired in 1985. was purchased in March by Wheatley interests, was pulled from the water, and was hauled to a position in a vacant lot on Talbot Street West, where she is to be refurbished for her new shore-side duties.
Several naval vessels visited the Great Lakes during the summer months, among them being H. M. C. S. NIPIGON and U. S. S. GLOVER. A most unusual naval ship seen in these parts was U. S. S. SALVOR, a large deep-sea rescue and salvage "tug" which was built by Peterson Builders at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. On her delivery voyage, she was dispatched to Lake Superior for deep-water tests, and then visited several lake ports (including Toronto) on her way out of the lakes.
For quite some time, it has been suggested that McAllister Towing & Salvage Inc. would be closing its operations at Kingston and moving elsewhere in the area. In fact, this is exactly what has happened. On August 15, McAllister announced that its Kingston property had been sold and its equipment will be moved as soon as possible, at least by the end of the 1986 season. The company has not said for certain where it will relocate, but local speculation has it that Morrisburg will be the new yard site.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.