The spring of 1987 is shaping up as a very good one for Canadian vessel operators and ship enthusiasts alike. The Canadian canals are due to open on 1st April, and the Canadian Wheat Board will be seeking to move some six million tonnes of grain, which should keep almost every available Canadian ship fully occupied through June and possibly well into the usually-quiet mid-summer period. This is the best news that we have heard in a great many springs!
It is reported that the "Panamax" bulk carrier ATLANTIC HURON, operated by Fednav Ltd., Montreal, for C.S.L., grounded on February 24 whilst a pilot was attempting to dock her at the Cooper Darrow Bulk Terminal in the Mississippi River near New Orleans. At the time, ATLANTIC HURON was en route from Vitoria, Brazil, and it was necessary to lighter some 2,000 tons of her cargo of iron ore in order to refloat the ship.
U.S. MarAd gave interested parties until February 10 to present objections to the plans of Moore McCormack Resources Inc. to sell all of the stock of Interlake Steamship Company and Moore McCormack Leasing to the Interlake Holding Company, and all shares of McCormack Bulk Transport Inc. to Barker Associates Inc. James R. Barker will hold all shares of Interlake Holding, as well as 55% of Barker Associates stock (the remaining 45% being split equally amongst his three children). We have not heard of any objections.
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Communications has decided against buying a used ferry to replace PELEE ISLANDER and UPPER CANADA on the Pelee Island route, and instead will spend $10 million to design and construct a new boat. She is to be an end-loader, with a capacity of 400 passengers and 30 autos, and will also be able to load trucks if necessary. It is hoped to have the ferry ready for service by the autumn of 1988.
It became known early in February that the Halco self-unloader FRANKCLIFFE HALL has been chartered to C.S.L. for the 1987, and we understand that there may be a further option period of up to two years. Whether C.S.L. will be able to keep the ship busy all year is a good question, when it has been having difficulties keeping its own boats busy aside from the recent grain rush, but the charter to C.S.L. will effectively keep FRANKCLIFFE HALL from being sold or chartered to any competitors. In the December issue, we reported that, on November 19, 1986, whilst waiting on the lower tie-up wall at the St. Lambert Lock, FRANKCLIFFE HALL had been struck on the starboard bow by the downbound salty SOLTA. A member who has seen the damage confirms to us that it is, in fact, on the port bow, and we are reminded that upbound vessels moor starboard side to below St. Lambert. We stand corrected*.
As reported in the January issue, it is confirmed that W. W. HOLLOWAY and PHILIP D. BLOCK arrived in tow of JANTAR at Recife, Brazil, on October 24th. It is also known that SMIT-LLOYD 109 arrived at Kaohsiung on December 10 with GEORGE M. HUMPHREY and PAUL H. CARNAHAN in tow. Also confirmed is the arrival on October 28 at Mamonal, Colombia, of KORAL with GOLDEN HIND and JOHN E. F. MISENER in tow. It must have been some time later that the MISENER was moved into Cartagena, where one of our spies saw her in January. (Mamonal is located south of Cartagena, on the northwest shore of Colombia.)
Meanwhile, FRANK A. SHERMAN and RED WING made it through the Panama Canal in tow of CANADIAN VIKING, for they were observed on the Pacific side of the canal shortly before Christmas. We have not received an arrival date for them in the Far East, and we have heard suggestions concerning financial problems of the tug's owners, and even a rumour that she abandoned the tow near the canal. We shall await with great interest the receipt of further details.
We have yet another instalment in the saga of the protracted final voyage of SAVIC, the former CLIFFS VICTORY. It is reported that she arrived at Inchon, Korea, on December 8 and sailed for Masan, Korea, on December 19. We presume that she unloaded her cargo of containers at Inchon, but we do not yet know whether the second port was the steamer's scrapyard destination. We cannot see anyone in the Far East operating SAVIC economically, but then again, one never can tell. We shall look forward to receiving additional information as soon as it is available.
The former Upper Lakes Shipping bulk carrier WHEAT KING was observed anchored at Rotterdam, not far from the E.C.T. container terminal, on January 27th. Apart from her name and U.L.S. insignia having been painted out, there was no sign of any change in the vessel, and specifically she did show any new colours or signs of conversion work.
It is reported that the former BoCo self-unloader DETROIT EDISON, which had been lying sunk at Brownsville, Texas, after an assault by vandals, was raised and on January 16 was moved to the berth where she is to be scrapped. The Brownsville breakers had already cut up SHARON, which went to the Gulf with DETROIT EDISON during the summer of 1986.
SEA-LAND ANCHORAGE, Hull 735 of the Bay Shipbuilding Corp. and the first of three large salties presently under construction at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, is to sail from the shipyard on May 15. It is said that she will load at Detroit on her delivery trip to her intended home waters of the west coast.
By early February, Wedtech Corp. had received a firm bid from Wheeler Industries of Washington, D.C., to purchase its Ontonagon, Michigan, shipyard. As well, Wedtech expected to receive a bid from M. J. Electric of Iron Mountain, Michigan, and hoped for bids from two other firms. (Wedtech made a Chapter Eleven filing in New York bankruptcy court on December 13th.) Meanwhile, it was announced that Wedtech had secured a contract for the construction at Ontonagon of two high-speed, 150-foot, 250-passenger ferries for the Department of Transportation of Puerto Rico, the boats to operate from the main island of Puerto Rico to two offshore islands. The contract allegedly is worth $2.5 million, but we are not certain if this covers just the first ferry (definite in the contract) or also the second (a contract option). Regardless, this is the first non-military contract received by Wedtech since it took over the Ontonagon yard of the former Upper Peninsula Shipbuilding Company.
It was announced in early February that the Amoco Oil Company will close its terminal at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on March 31, and will then scrap the eight tanks on the premises. The terminal, located on Portage Avenue opposite the Carbide Dock, has regularly been supplied by lake tankers and, in fact, GREAT LAKES and MICHIGAN were to make one last trip to the Soo prior to the closing of the tank farm. In future, the distribution of Amoco products in the Soo area will be handled from Cheboygan.
A. B. McLean Ltd. is proceeding with the relocation of its gravel dock on a site, above the Canadian Soo Lock, which has been purchased from Algoma Steel. New equipment has been acquired, and the former U.S. Steel steamer SEWELL AVERY has been bought for use as a dock facing. Department of Transport approval has been given for the navigable waters alteration and only environmental approval is now outstanding. McLean's move to the new site this year will end fourteen years of hassle resulting from the municipal expropriation of the old site, which McLean has continued to occupy in the interim.
It has been said that bids have been called on the conversion of a laker for use as a cement loading and transfer facility, but we have no information on the identity of the parties involved or the location at which the hull might be used. The ship being considered for conversion allegedly is either BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS, A. H. FERBERT or ENDERS M. VOORHEES, three U.S.X. "Supers".
The January 1987 issue of the World Ship Society's "Marine News" reported that the steam tanker RIO DAULE, (a) BRITAMOLENE (59), (b) WAVE TRANSPORT (63), (c) FLORENCE B. (66), (d) CAPTAIN THEO (73), had been sold by Transportes Maritimos y Fluviales S.A., Tramfsa, to Cia. Naviera Agmaresa S.A., both of Ecuador. This is interesting indeed, as our records showed that the former canaller, long operated by or for the British American Oil Company Ltd., had been sold for scrapping by Transportes Maritimos y Fluviales S.A. and had been delivered to the scrapper, Jorge Naula, at Guayaquil, Ecuador, in June of 1982. Is the present report in error, or did the steamer somehow manage to escape the scrappers and continue to operate? Additional information would be most welcome.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.