With the termination of the Welland Canal shunter test program for 1979, the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority has ended its charter of MARINSAL and returned her Marine Salvage Ltd. She was towed from Port Weller on December 18 and was taken to Hamilton where she will spend the winter. It is said that Marine Salvage will send her overseas for scrapping during 1980.
Marine Salvage Ltd. has also acquired the 55-year-old Misener Transportation Ltd. steamer ROYALTON, which laid up at Hamilton early in September, the ship having seen only some four months of service during 1979. It seems likely that ROYALTON would have continued to operate for Misener had she not damaged her tailshaft, stern gland and engine bed during the summer. Faced with an estimated $500,000 in repairs, Misener decided that ROYALTON was beyond help. It was originally thought that she might be donated to a group in Collingwood that proposed to use her as a marine museum, but such plans did not come to fruition and she was, accordingly, sold for scrap. Present plans are for ROYALTON to go overseas during 1980, making the Atlantic crossing in tandem with MARINSAL.
As mentioned in the December issue, the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company's FRONTENAC has been declared a constructive total loss as a result of her grounding at Silver Bay. She is presently laid up at Superior, an examination of the damage having been done at Fraser Shipyards. It is evident that FRONTENAC will never again sail as we have known her, but we have been hearing suggestions that either Cliffs or another U.S. fleet may make use of her stern section to replace the stern of another boat. The purpose of such an exchange would be to take advantage of FRONTENAC's good power plant. She was reboilered in 1954 and fitted with a new DeLaval two-cylinder steam turbine capable of developing 5,500 shaft horsepower. Such a conversion might well benefit one of the AmShip-built Maritime-Class vessels equipped with a Lentz-Poppet four-cylinder compound steam engine, a type of machinery which has proven to be something less than satisfactory.
Another victim of the 1979 navigation season has been the self-unloader G. A. TOMLINSON of the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton Company. Damaged in collision with a barge at Cleveland in the spring and in an altercation with the Ashtabula breakwater during autumn, the veteran appears to have reached the end of her career. She arrived at Ashtabula under her own power on December 13 and laid up at the scrapping berth of Triad Salvage. It is anticipated that Triad will dismantle her there. TOMLINSON, 532.0 x 58.2 x 32.0, 6598 Gross and 4850 Net, was built in 1907 at Ecorse, Michigan, Hull 29 of the Great Lakes Engineering Works, as (a) D. O. MILLS for the Masaba Steamship Company (Pickands Mather and Company). She was transferred by P.M. in 1913 to the newly-formed Interlake Steamship Company, for whom she ran until sold in 1959 to the Tomlinson Fleet Corporation. Converted to a self-unloader at Superior, she was renamed (b) G. A. TOMLINSON (II) in 1960. Upon the final dissolution of the Tomlinson interests in 1971, she was acquired by Columbia, for whom she has laboured hauling coal and stone.
The latest acquisition of the Soo River Company, the former Kinsman steamer GEORGE D. GOBLE, entered the Welland Canal downbound late on December 15 and arrived at winter quarters at Hamilton on the morning of December 16. She will receive a general refit during the winter months. While there have been suggestions to the contrary, and understandably so, we must reiterate that, at the time of the purchase of GOBLE, Soo River advised that there were no immediate plans to convert the ship to oil firing. This is not to say, of course, that a change of heart might not occur.
Meanwhile, the Soo River Company has been stripping out PIERSON INDEPENDENT which has been lying at the foot of Wellington Street, Hamilton. The ship has not yet been sold for scrapping, but it seems evident that such a sale will occur once all useful equipment has been removed from the old steamer.
The small bulk cement carrier LOC BAY, (a) SPINDLETOP (46), (b) LAKE CHARLES (62), (c) ATLAS TRAVELLER (77), which has operated sporadically on the cement run between Bath, Ontario, and Charlotte, New York, for the Erie Sand Steamship Company, was sold late in 1979 to the Medusa Cement Company Division of the Medusa Corporation. It is not known what Medusa will do with the 1943-built motorship, but it is to be hoped that the company's plans for her will be more successful than earlier intentions concerning C. H. McCULLOUGH JR. and HULL NO. 3, the latter now running under charter to Cliffs as PIONEER (III). LOC BAY's place on the Lake Ontario cement trade will be taken by Erie's barge canal motorship DAY PECKINPAUGH.
It would seem that the career of HELEN EVANS as a storage hull at Toronto may have come to an unexpected end. The vessel was purchased in early autumn by Strathearne Terminals Ltd., Hamilton, but instead of scrapping the ship, her new owner chartered her to Victory Soya Mills Ltd., Toronto, for the storage of soya beans. Loaded with beans during the first week of November, she was moored across the end of Polson Street but soon developed a most alarming list to starboard, which increased to the point that her pilothouse roof could be seen from dock-side. She was moved back to the elevator in the week before Christmas and was hurriedly unloaded. It is not known whether her cargo sustained water damage.
The Branch Lines tanker EDOUARD SIMARD, the victim of a late-season grounding at Amherstburg, was towed down the Welland Canal on December 15 by DANIEL McALLISTER, STORMONT and LAVAL. The tanker's pumproom was flooded in the accident and her rudder was seriously damaged, rendering the ship unmanageable. She was taken to Montreal for unloading and then to the Davie shipyard, Lauzon, for repairs. The tug LAVAL, by the way, is the former ATLANTIC which, along with two wood-chip barges, was constructed at Port Weller back in 1909. She is owned by Atlantic and Pacific Barge Transport Ltd. of Vancouver.
At long last, there have been significant developments concerning the U.S. Steel self-unloader IRVIN L. CLYMER. The 1917-built steamer, (a) CARL D. BRADLEY (I)(27), (b) JOHN G. MUNSON (I)(51), has been laid up at Rogers City, Michigan, for many years, despite the fact that she has been looked over by an assortment of other interested operators. The latest prospective purchaser is the Huron Cement Division, National Gypsum Company, which definitely wishes to obtain CLYMER's services. No sale has yet been finalized due, apparently, to labour difficulties, but the transfer will probably be completed by the spring of 1980.
The veteran Huron Cement steamer E. M. FORD, laid up for the winter at Jones Island, Milwaukee, was torn from her moorings in a storm on December 24 and, after being pounded repeatedly against the dock, holed herself and sank. Loaded with a storage cargo of bulk cement, the vessel settled until submerged to deck level aft. We presume that the 82-year-old FORD will be raised quickly and hope that this incident will not bring her career to an untimely end.
With the acquisition of TEGUCIGALPA, Secola Shipping Ltd. and/or Ship Repairs and Supplies Ltd., Toronto, have disposed of SECOLA, (a) CEDARBRANCH (II)(78). The tanker has been purchased by Japanese interests and was renamed (c) KITO MARU before she cleared Sorel for the sea on December 5.
The United States Steel Corporation Great Lakes Fleet has embarked on an extensive program of installing new sewage treatment plants in its boats during the present winter. The vessels involved are B. F. AFFLECK, ARTHUR M. ANDERSON (which will also get new tanktops at Fraser Shipyards), SEWELL AVERY, CALCITE II, CASON J. CALLAWAY, PHILIP R. CLARKE, JOHN HULST, WILLIAM A. IRVIN, HORACE JOHNSON, THOMAS W. LAMONT, EUGENE W. PARGNY, ROGERS CITY, GEORGE A. SLOAN, ROBERT C. STANLEY, MYRON C. TAYLOR, EUGENE P. THOMAS, RALPH H. WATSON and HOMER D. WILLIAMS. We are pleased to note the inclusion of IRVIN, AFFLECK and JOHNSON in the list, for this would appear to confirm that they do have a future with the fleet. One notable omission is the self-unloader T. W. ROBINSON; she operated in 1979 but her retirement has been rumoured for several years.
The self-unloader conversion of the Interlake Steamship Company's ELTON HOYT 2nd will be performed during the winter at the AmShip Toledo yard. It will be recalled that this work was originally scheduled for the winter of 1978-79 but had to be postponed as a result of AmShip's lengthy labour unrest. Once the shipyard has done its thing with HOYT, work will begin on a similar conversion for the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company's EDWARD B. GREENE.
Two vessels of the Inland Steel Company will receive considerable work during the winter months. PHILIP D. BLOCK will be fitted with new fuel burners and automated boiler controls, while WILFRED SYKES will be taken in hand by Fraser Shipyards, Superior, for the renewing of much of her plating and internal framing.
The Hall Corporation Shipping Ltd. has added another tanker to its fleet, but it is unlikely that this boat will ever venture into the lakes as she is intended for service in the Gulf of Mexico and European waters. BIRK, a vessel of 15,000 tons deadweight, has been purchased from Odfjell Tankers, a Norwegian concern. Renamed COASTAL TRANSPORT, she will be drydocked at Rotterdam and will then enter service under the Liberian flag but with a Canadian crew. Hall officials have stated that she will remain in Liberian registry until such time as Canadian authorities reveal their proposals for the country's sadly-neglected deep-sea fleet. Unfortunately, the present political situation is unlikely to speed any decision in this regard.
Much to the surprise of many observers, the salty SARONIC SEA was not forced to spend the winter in the Great Lakes. The Ministry of the Environment stepped into the picture when it began to look as if the ship would remain ashore for the winter. Fearing ecological damage should the ship break up, the Ministry ordered her removal and the various tugs renewed their efforts to free the ship. She was finally refloated at noon on December 6, nearly a month after her stranding, and managed to escape the system before the closure of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
One salty that did not clear the lakes in time is the Greek bulk carrier ARCHANGELOS which will winter in Port Weller's lower harbour. Beset by mechanical problems in her race against the calendar, the vessel was finally towed back up Lake Ontario, arriving at Port Weller on December 21.
We continue to hear suggestions that the Soo River Company may be interested in acquiring the services of the 1906-built Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. bulk carrier GODERICH. There is nothing definite to report at this time, although we know that representatives of the Pierson interests were aboard GODERICH as she unloaded at Maple Leaf Mills, Port Colborne, during the second week of December. GODERICH is presently in winter quarters at Toronto.
CANADIAN ENTERPRISE was christened at Port Weller on December 8 by Maureen McTeer, the wife of Prime Minister Joe Clark. The self-unloader was upbound at Port Weller on her maiden voyage early on December 13.
We have received a report that the barge MANILA, built in 1899 at Chicago for the Minnesota Steamship Company, was removed from documentation in May 1978, the hull allegedly having been scrapped. Her last owner was the Gulf Atlantic Transport Corporation, Jacksonville, Florida. MANILA last operated on the lakes for the Buckeye Steamship Company, Hutchinson and Company, managers, but was retired in June of 1956, as were all of Hutchinson's barges, as a result of a tug strike which made the passage of barges through the Soo Canal virtually impossible. She was sold in 1956 to the West Kentucky Coal Company (Nashville Coal Company) for use in the Gulf of Mexico and was taken to salt water via the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. She was operated by the River and Gulf Transfer Company, Jacksonville, but had passed to Gulf Atlantic by 1964. She was shortened from 436.0 feet to 399.5 in 1964 by Gibbs Shipyards Inc., Jacksonville.
It has been reported that Port Huron Seaway Terminals Inc. paid $145,000 to purchase KINSMAN ENTERPRISE for use as a storage hull. The firm had earlier attempted to purchase her sistership HERON BAY (II), but this sale was blocked due to problems involving her Canadian registry. The ENTERPRISE, which may well be renamed in the near future, is allegedly to be used for the storage of sugar beets and sunflower seeds!
Shipments across Lake Michigan via the Ann Arbor Railroad's carferries reached such a high level during autumn that shipping embargoes were imposed at Kewaunee and Manitowoc to prevent a further backup of cars in the yards. In an effort to improve the situation, which was worsened when CITY OF MILWAUKEE had to be drydocked at Sturgeon Bay for tailshaft repairs, the Michigan Interstate Railway Company, operator of the Ann Arbor, attempted to charter from the Chessie System its idle SPARTAN. The charter, however, was vetoed by the Michigan Department of Transportation, a wise move considering that SPARTAN is too large to berth at Frankfort. Chessie, meanwhile, was operating only CITY OF MIDLAND 41, but has since placed BADGER back in service as well. The I.C.C. extended its hearings on Chessie's abandonment petitions and thus, much to the relief of most shippers and observers, no approval has yet been given to the so-called "Kewaunee Plan", a scheme which would be little more than a protracted licence for Chessie to drop its ferry routes.
Two keels were laid at the Bay Shipbuilding Corporation's Sturgeon Bay shipyard on November 12. The first, Hull 724, will be another 635-foot self-unloader for the American Steamship Company, scheduled for delivery late in 1980. Hull 725 will be a 396-foot tanker barge ordered by Turecamo Coastal and Harbor Towing Corporation, Staten Island, N.Y.
The Algerian salty BIBAN finally cleared Montreal behind the French tug ABEILLE 30 on December 11, bound for a European port. She suffered serious engine damage at Duluth in early July and was towed down the lakes at that time. We have no idea what she has been doing at Montreal in the interim.
Not only will Lake Ontario see three hydrofoils operating between Toronto and Youngstown in 1980, but plans are underway for a major ferry service across the lake. Such schemes have been mentioned for many years, but are now, apparently, being spurred on by plans to approve gambling casinos in New York state,. We understand that prospective operators have already gone to the east coast to inspect idle Canadian National ferries which might be available. It was originally suggested that the service would run between Oshawa and Rochester, but the latter city would not make suitable docking facilities available, and the Canadian backers feel now that Toronto would make a more suitable northerly terminus than Oshawa. We have heard that Lewiston is being considered as the southerly port for the route.
The former Stag Line salty PHOTINIA, which has been lying at Chicago and awaiting scrapping since being towed there from Sturgeon Bay late in 1978, was again picked up by tugs this autumn. She arrived at Kewaunee, Wisconsin, on November 14, and it would seem that she will be dismantled there.
The Columbia straight-decker ASHLAND suffered a loss of power in Lake Superior on December 10 as a result of electrical problems. WILLIS B. BOYER, LEWIS WILSON FOY and EDWIN H. GOTT, as well as Coast Guard assistance, stood by as ASHLAND drifted some twenty miles east of Copper Harbor. Bound from Silver Bay to Ashtabula with taconite, the steamer was eventually able to get underway without the help of a tug which had come to the scene. She reached Thunder Bay on December 12, underwent repairs, and cleared under her own power the following day.
A newcomer to our area recently has been the big tug R & L NO. 1 (C.391523) which was completed in 1979 at Wheatley, Ontario, for Wakeham and Sons Ltd. of Hamilton. She measures 79 x 25 x 9, 143 Gross and 58 Net.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.