It looks as if the autumn of 1987 will be a very busy one for Canadian lake shippers. In mid-September, the Wheat Board notified the fleets that all available tonnage would be required for October 1st in anticipation of a large grain movement before the closing of navigation. During September, many idle Canadian lakers were fitting out in preparation for the grain rush.
Last issue, we mentioned that WOODLAND had been diverted from her usual lake service for a summer run to the Arctic, leaving the lakes with a cargo of lumber for Ogdensburg and Montreal. WOODLAND arrived at Montreal on August 2, loaded for the Arctic, and departed on August 8, loading additional cargo at Contrecoeur and Quebec City before heading north. Formerly (a) FRENCH RIVER (81) and (b) JENSEN STAR (86), she is no stranger to the Arctic. This particular trip, her first under her present name, was made for Arvida Shipping and took her to native villages and military posts in the Foxe Bay area. She was due at Repulse Bay on August 21, and would also call at Hall Beach and Igloolik before stopping at Longstaff Bluff on September 16, her last call before returning to Montreal. Her cargo included defence equipment, construction materials for a school, canned food, frozen french fries, 25 tonnes of beer and soft drinks, dynamite, naphtha, methanol, and 5 tonnes of soap-stone for carvings. WOODLAND will be back on the lakes during the autumn.
The big new U.S. Coast Guard vessel ESCANABA was upbound in the Seaway on August 19, bound for a tour of the lakes, and called at Toronto September 13 -15. The original U.S.C.G. ESCANABA, built in 1932 at Bay City for lake service, was sunk off Greenland on June 13, 1943, with the loss of 101 lives. Only two survived. The new ESCANABA is part of the "Famous Class" of cutters, all named for former vessels of renown in the Coast Guard fleet.
The second of the big containerships built by the Bay Shipbuilding Corp. at Sturgeon Bay has been delivered to Sea-Land Service Inc. SEA-LAND TACOMA, which was launched September 27, 1986, was downbound at the Huron Cut on Labour Day, September 7, 1987, and stopped at the Shell Dock at Corunna for fuel. She was in the Welland Canal on September 8. The final ship of the trio, SEA-LAND KODIAK, is to be delivered during November.
The Enerchem Transport Inc. tankers have displayed a variety of colours this season, as the company concentrates on its operations rather than the cosmetic appearance of its ships. (Several of the tankers have been drydocked for inspection and repairs during 1987.) Some have their names in large letters on the bow and others in letters so small that they are barely legible. Not all have the company's name on the side, and there have even been variations in stack design, with one of the ships sporting a series of ochre bands low on the stack instead of one wide band. It had been said that the letter 'E' would eventually form part of the funnel design, and we had begun to think that this would never come to be, but during July, ENERCHEM REFINER (formerly INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORT) began to carry a large white 'E' on the blue band on her stack. Perhaps eventually all of the company's tankers will appear in a full set of colours...
The former Shell Canadian Tankers Ltd. motorship LAKESHELL (III), built by Marine Industries Ltd. at Sorel in 1969. and now operated by Socanav Inc., was renamed (b) W. M. VACY ASH at Montreal on July 18. The new name honours the president of Shell Canada. At last report, EASTERN SHELL (II), (a) W. HAROLD REA (70), was operating on the east coast and had not yet been renamed. NORTHERN SHELL (II) and the bunkers barge BAYSHELL (II) remain idle at Toronto. (BAYSHELL is not involved with Socanav as Shell has retained control of its bunkering operations.) Meanwhile, the September 10 issue of "Fairplay" reported that Socanav has sold its 1973-built LE CEDRE NO. 1, (a) ARTHUR SIMARD (82), to undisclosed interests for some $2.5 million U.S. Not only is the reported sale price incredibly high, but we wonder who would pay such a price for a 14-year-old, 5918-ton lake tanker. It will be interesting to see whether, perhaps, NORTHERN SHELL might be fitted out to take the place of LE CEDRE NO. 1 in the otherwise fully-active Socanav fleet, despite earlier suggestions that it would be NORTHERN SHELL that would be sold.
An unusual visitor to the lakes this summer was the big sailing vessel ERNESTINA, which was built in 1894 and now is owned by the State of Massachusetts. She arrived at Montreal on July 13 and, the next day, set off upbound into the lakes. She was in the Welland Canal on July 16, bound for Detroit and Traverse City, and the 112-foot schooner arrived at Toronto on August 16. She was back at Montreal on August 21 and, on the 24th, sailed for her home port of New Bedford, Mass.
The small container and ro/ro motorship TARROS CEDAR, registered at Georgetown, Cayman Islands, was chartered this summer by Atlantic Container Express for service between Montreal and St. John's, Newfoundland. She first appeared at Montreal July 11, but her further service was hampered by severe engine problems which required extensive repair.
At about 9:00 a.m., September 12, the Yugoslav salty RUDER BOSKOVIC was downbound in the Huron Cut in dense fog. She missed the turn under the Blue Water Bridge, and the current swept her against the U.S. shore in front of the new Thomas Edison Inn. The resulting impact knocked out some 120 feet of the new park seawall. The ship anchored near St. Clair for Coast Guard inspection but we understand that she was not as severely damaged as was the seawall!
Last issue, we reported the sale to Taiwan breakers of two former Upper Lakes Shipping self-unloaders, MAZAHUA, (a) CAPE BRETON MINER (69), (b) CONVEYOR (72), (c) CAPE BRETON MINER (83), and KALLI, (a) ONTARIO POWER (83), (b) THORNHILL (II)(84), (c) AKALLI SERI (86). The World Ship Society in a recent news item reported that MAZAHUA, sold by "Vanuatu-flag owners", arrived at Kaohsiung on May 27, 1987, while KALLI, sold by Gulfmar Transportation C.V., Vanuatu, arrived at Kaohsiung on June 9th.
Another August W.S.S. report states that the 11,603-ton drilling ship NAVIFOR NORSE, built in 1958, has been sold by Societe Elf-Gabon, Panama, to A.N.S. Andskip IV, Norway, and has been renamed (h) ILE DE KASSA. Readers will more readily recall this ship when we note that she earlier operated as (a) AVERY C. ADAMS (64), (b) CYPRESS (68), (c) UNION (69), (d) FREJA (72), (e) SCOTIACLIFFE HALL (74) and (f) SCOTIACLIFFE (76).
It is also reported that, in 1986, Sceptre Dredging Ltd. renamed its spoil carrier ILE AUX COUDRES, (a) HUTCHCLIFFE HALL (72). Her new name is (c) CANADIAN CHALLENGER. This is one of the vessels that, in 1972, was acquired by the dredging consortium which worked the massive North Traverse project in the St. Lawrence River below Quebec City.
The efforts of the Great Lakes Naval and Maritime Museum to keep the World War II submarine U.S.S. SILVERSIDES at Chicago ended in August after years of dispute with Chicago authorities. On the morning of August 7, SILVERSIDES was towed away from Navy Pier by the tug MARI BETH ANDRIE with the museum's own tug MARQUETTE on the stern, and the following day the tow arrived at Muskegon, the submarine's new home. Muskegon had long been negotiating with the U.S. Navy to obtain for display a retired warship, and finally managed to secure approval to take over SILVERSIDES. In Chicago, the sub got no funding, very few visitors, and large bills for mooring at Navy Pier, but the City of Muskegon offered a 99-year lease at $1.00 per year, a subsidy of $30,000 per year for three years, and the prospect of considerable tourist support.
We earlier mentioned problems involving the STAR OF CHARLEVOIX dinner/cruise service at Charlevoix, Michigan, and the boat's short stay at Toronto early in the season as STAR OF TORONTO. Now we learn that a new ship is running at Charlevoix, namely SPIRIT OF CHARLEVOIX, a 93-footer on charter/purchase option from the Arnold Transit Company. Charlevoix city council has given the SPIRIT first right of refusal to run from the city dock in 1988, thus placing the Star Line service there in jeopardy, including the new sternwheeler being built for the run. Perhaps one of the boats will wind up in Toronto after all...
In an earlier issue, we remarked upon the large number of deep-sea passenger ships that would be calling at Montreal in 1987. In fact, even more such vessels called during the season or will do so this autumn. CANADA STAR, of course, has been trading regularly into the river, and Montreal has also welcomed STEFAN BATORY, JASON, OCEAN PRINCESS, ILLIRIA and EUGENIO COSTA. Due during September and October are STELLA SOLARIS, SAGAFJORD, EUROPA, ROYAL VIKING SEA, ROYAL VIKING SKY and ROYAL ODYSSEY. Unusual visitors scheduled to call at Montreal next summer are Sitmar's FAIRWIND (formerly SYLVANIA), and the newly-built CROWN ODYSSEY which will be second only to" ORIANA for the record of the vessel with the greatest Gross Tonnage ever to visit the port. STEFAN BATORY will make her last Montreal transatlantic sailing on 7th October, 1987, after which there will be no regular North Atlantic Ferry service available from the city.
The four Belgian-flag Fednav salties which used to trade into the lakes but laid up in Antwerp in December because of the high cost of operation, have all re-entered service. FEDERAL DANUBE (the first back into the lakes), FEDERAL MAAS and FEDERAL THAMES all now fly the Cypriot flag and only FEDERAL OTTAWA remains under Belgian registry with a Belgian crew. The Korean-built FEDERAL CALUMET, FEDERAL RHINE, FEDERAL SCHELDE and FEDERAL ST. CLAIR fly the Liberian flag. Meanwhile, Fednav (U.S.A.) Inc.'s FEDERAL LAKES was in mid-September at Bethlehem Steel's yard at Beaumont, Texas, being prepared to enter the Navy Ready Reserve fleet, with FEDERAL SEAWAY due at Beaumont in December. These two ships simply were not suitable for container trade, and Fednav still hopes to continue that service with more suitable tonnage.
For the last two years, the former C.S.L. package freighter FORT YORK has lain beside the C.N.R. freight shed at Point Edward. Used briefly in 1985 as a barge in an ill-starred service which ended in a financial morass which still is in litigation, the sternless ship (her fantail was roughly chopped to form a towing notch) has recently been home to derelicts who were living aboard despite efforts to evict them. In August, the squatters apparently were responsible for a fire in a paint locker in the 30-year-old former steamer's forecastle. Then on the afternoon of September 11, a more serious blaze broke out, gutting her bridge, captain's deck and boat deck areas, and it required two and a half hours for firemen to douse the fire. In the process, some seven feet of water accumulated in the bilge aft, and although FORT YORK remained on an even keel, she was down considerably at the stern. Her future prospects seem to include nothing but the scrapyard...
On August 20, the "Journal of Commerce" reported that the Interlake Steamship Company had petitioned U.S. MarAd for permission to sell for scrap its steamer SAMUEL MATHER, which has been lying idle at the DeTour Coal Dock since November 23, 1981. The ship's sale to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne, was consummated on August 31, and it is thought that the "Maritime Class" steamer may go overseas with the former tinstacker A. H. FERBERT, which Marine Salvage acquired earlier in 1987. MATHER was built by Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ashtabula in 1943 as (a) PILOT KNOB (I), although she never sailed under that name. Interlake commissioned her in 1943 as (b) FRANK ARMSTRONG (76), and her first master was the famous Capt. H. C. Inches, latterly a T.M.H.S. member. When she was repowered in 1960, she was the first "Maritimer" ever to undergo such a refitting.
Last issue, we commented briefly on the troubled encountered by TUSKER and GLENADA in the eastward scrap tow of CADILLAC, (a) LAKE ANGELINA (43). The former Cleveland-Cliffs "Maritimer" was towed down the Welland August 19-20 but did not arrive at Quebec until August 31. Even her trip down the Welland was delayed, as CADILLAC had not been secured for a canal tow and more work had to be done before the Seaway cleared the tow for passage. CADILLAC finally reached Iroquois on the 23rd and was ordered to await Seaway clearance. Then, there were the troubles near Eisenhower which we mentioned last issue (and we will NOT go into detail here in view of the nature of the problems.) The tow was delayed considerably and then was windbound at St. Zotique anchorage above Valleyfield until the 26th. Allowed to move again that same day, they were forced to undergo inspection again above Upper Beauharnois. After finally clearing St. Lambert, the tow went to the lower wall for the tugs to exchange positions (the most powerful tug being on the stern in the canals) and several of TUSKER's crew, including the chief engineer, deserted. Thus, it was the last day of the month when the tow reached its destination. On September 2nd, TUSKER was upbound again in the Seaway, towing GLENADA and bound for Port Colborne. Meanwhile, ELMORE M. MISNER and MICHAEL D. MISNER, after considerable delay, had taken CHAMPLAIN, (a) BELLE ISLE (43), down the Welland and TUSKER had her in tow in the Seaway on September 5. Both CHAMPLAIN and CADILLAC are bound for breakers in Istanbul, Turkey.
JANTAR has had a busy summer hauling lakers overseas. As earlier reported, she cleared Lauzon on June 6 with MELDRUM BAY, bound for Lisbon, Portugal, and it is confirmed that on July 9, she sailed from Lauzon with PETER A. B. WIDENER, also bound for Lisbon. We have no idea why these two lakers were taken across in separate tows rather than together. In any event, JANTAR delivered the WIDENER safely (we do not yet have arrival dates for any of these tows), and on August 11 she departed Quebec City towing T. W. ROBINSON and NO. 2658O8, bound for Recife, Brazil. ROBINSON had been taken down the Seaway July 31 - August 1 by TUSKER and GLENADA, and arrived at Quebec on August 2. The two tugs then sailed for Sorel, took in tow NO. 2658O8, which they deposited there on June 17, and on August 4 they brought her into Quebec City.
In a belated report on August 26, the "Journal of Commerce" reported that U.S. MarAd had approved the sale of the former steamer/storage barge CLARENCE B. RANDALL (II), (a) J. J. SULLIVAN (62), by North Central Maritime, Duluth, to Corostel Trading Ltd., Montreal, for resale to M & M Steel Inc., Windsor, for scrapping there. In fact, the RANDALL, which had lain idle for years at Milwaukee, arrived in tow at the M & M scrapyard at Windsor on January 19, 1987. North Central Maritime had originally intended to rename her WANNAMINGO for grain storage use, but the name was never officially registered.
The same "Journal of Commerce" report mentioned another ship which had carried the RANDALL name. Oglebay Norton Company applied to MarAd for permission to sell for scrap (to Corostel Trading Ltd., Montreal) two of its "Maritime Class" straight-deckers, ASHLAND, (a) CLARENCE B, RANDALL (I)(62), built by Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ashtabula in 1943, and THOMAS WILSON, a 1943 product of the American Shipbuilding Company's Lorain yard. Neither steamer has operated in many years and both will be going overseas for dismantling. ASHLAND, in fact, was at Port Colborne on September 16 in preparation for a tow down the canal by ELMORE M. MISNER and MICHAEL D. MISNER. The "Journal" report did not mention that the last Columbia straight-decker, WILLIAM A. REISS (II), (a) JOHN A. TOPPING (34), which was built by G.L.E.W., at River Rouge in 1925. repowered in 1953 and deepened in 1963, is also said to be in line for disposal. All three steamers have been laid up at Toledo.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.