Marine News

Table of Contents

Title Page
The Editor's Notebook
Marine News
"Scanner" Back Issues
Re the October Issue of "Scanner"
Ship of the Month No. 96 WAHCONDAH
A Sunday Ferry Case
One More Time For Turret Cape
Avalon Voyager Is Lost
Table of Illustrations

Photo by Al Schelling shows C. H. McCULLOUGH JR. (left), THOMAS F. COLE (right) and D. M. CLEMSON (rear) at Thunder Bay, as seen from COLE's bridge.
When we left the saga of the U.S. Steel scrap tows in the October issue, THOMAS F. COLE and D. M. CLEMSON were already at Thunder Bay for dismantling there, EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON and J. P. MORGAN JR. were at Montreal, ALVA C. DINKEY was at Buffalo, GOVERNOR MILLER was at Port Huron, and D. G. KERR was preparing to leave Duluth. We now resume the narrative, for there have been further developments.

The Malcolm tug BARBARA ANN cleared Montreal on September 11 with BUFFINGTON in tow, bound for Quebec. As far as we are aware, MORGAN is still at Montreal. GOVERNOR MILLER passed down the Welland Canal on September 30 in tow of TUG MALCOLM, STORMONT and ARGUE MARTIN. She made it safely down the canal and, at last report, was secured at Montreal. ALVA C. DINKEY was eventually hauled out of Buffalo and made the passage down the Welland on October 8, assisted by BARBARA ANN, STORMONT and JAMES E. McGRATH. We believe that she, also, is lying at Montreal.

Photo by J. H. Bascom shows ALVA C. DINKEY downbound above Welland Canal Lock 2 on Oct. 8, 1980, in tow of BARBARA ANN, JAMES E. McGRATH and STORMONT.
By far the most eventful downbound trip, however, was that of D. G. KERR. She was collected at Duluth on September 23 by the Toronto tug TUSKER but, in clearing Duluth, KERR struck the piers, inflicting damage to her port bow and rather considerable damage to the pier. TUSKER may also have struck the breakwater, for she was later reported to have taken some water. TUSKER finally brought KERR down the Welland on September 30 (the same day that MILLER was in the canal) with an assist from JAMES E. McGRATH and the Sarnia tug GLENADA. Allegedly as a result of the handling of the tow, TUSKER's skipper became embroiled in a dispute with the towmaster whilst KERR was in Lock 5; the tug's master was subsequently relieved of his duties. The tow eventually set off down Lake Ontario but KERR was anchored briefly in the lake whilst TUSKER put into Kingston for mechanical repairs. The tow was bound for Montreal but, as a result of a change in orders relayed from the broker in New York, TUSKER took D. G. KERR all the way to Sydney, Nova Scotia. TUSKER underwent further mechanical repair at Sydney and returned to her Toronto berth on October 19.

Collingwood Shipyards' Hull 219 was launched as scheduled on October 7 and was christened ALGOWOOD (despite problems in getting not one but two bottles of champagne to break on her bow). The name honours the town of Collingwood, where so many Algoma Central ships have been built. For a while, it seemed that the launch might have to be delayed, for a fire occurred on the evening of October 3 in the ways under the boat's stern. Damage to the timbers was heavy but ALGOWOOD suffered only the indignity of some scorched paint. Repairs were completed without difficulty prior to the launch date.

The next American Steamship Company vessel to emerge from the Bay Shipbuilding Corporation at Sturgeon Bay will, as previously reported, be a boat specially designed to shuttle taconite from Lorain to Cleveland. Boland and Cornelius will operate the ship under a long-term agreement with the Republic Steel Corporation, whose ore she will haul. Hull 724, as she is yet known, will have cabins designed to permit passage through Cleveland's bridges, and she will be equipped with special flanking rudders to facilitate navigation of the tortuous Cuyahoga River. Some sources have indicated that the self-unloader would be named CUYAHOGA, but this will not be the case. Instead, she will be christened AMERICAN REPUBLIC, a most appropriate name.

As reported last issue, Westdale Shipping's boomless self-unloader BROOKDALE (II) was sold in late September to A. Newman and Company of St. Catharines. She will be dismantled at Port Maitland, Ontario. BROOKDALE cleared Toronto at 1:30 a.m. on October 10 in tow of GLENADA, assisted through the Eastern Gap by TERRY S., across the lake by BAGOTVILLE, and up the Welland Canal by JAMES E. McGRATH. The tow laid over at Port Colborne for several days because of heavy weather on Lake Erie. Ye Ed. watched sadly as BROOKDALE left Toronto for the last time, a most impressive sight indeed. The 71-year-old steamer had a generator operating and virtually every light aboard her was glowing. Even the floodlights on her stack were turned on for the occasion.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the American Steamship Company may retire its self-unloader JOHN A. KLING at the close of the current season. KLING spent part of the autumn in lay-up but was then reactivated and even made a trip down to Hamilton during mid-October. The diminutive KLING was built for the Reiss Steamship Company (which technically still owns her) at Manitowoc in 1922, was lengthened in 1940, and was repowered with a diesel engine in 1966. She is a good enough vessel yet that other operators may be interested in her if, in fact, BoCo actually does intend to withdraw her from service.

We have received conflicting reports on the future of the idle Q & O steamer MARLHILL. At first, we were informed that she had been purchased by Newman for scrapping at Port Maitland. We then heard that she had been sold through a New York broker for dismantling overseas, and that she was to go to Port Maitland only to load scrap as a cargo for the Atlantic tow. By late October, however, MARLHILL was still lying in the Leslie Street slip at the east end of the Toronto turning basin.

The veteran bunkering tanker MARINE FUEL has been sold to Triad Salvage Inc. for dismantling at Ashtabula. MARINE FUEL was built in 1911 and, in recent years, minus her pilothouse, she has served as a waste storage facility at Cleveland.

Al Seigert was on the bridge of GEORGE M. HUMPHREY on Sept. 26, 1980, when he took this view of IRVIN L. CLYMER upbound on Lake Superior under tow, en route to Superior for refitting.
The long-idle U.S. Steel self-unloader IRVIN L. CLYMER cleared Rogers City on September 23, as scheduled. She was taken to Superior by the G-tug OHIO, with an assist through the Soo Locks by SAINTE MARIE II. She will be completely refitted by Fraser Shipyards for reactivation in 1981.

The "Steel Trust's" newest boat, the 1,000-foot self-unloader EDGAR B. SPEER, is now in service. After completing trials in Lake Erie off Lorain in mid-September, she set off up the lakes and passed up at the Soo on her maiden voyage on September 22. With business conditions remaining poor, the advent of SPEER has prompted U.S. Steel to take a number of its older carriers out of service. The "Supers" (LEON FRASER, et al.) were scheduled to lay up in late October or early November and the possibility exists that some of the steamers of that class may load winter storage grain to be delivered down the Seaway come spring. The self-unloaders ROGERS CITY and T. W. ROBINSON also were sent to the wall early. At last report, the SPEER was suffering from bowthruster problems which threatened to take her out of service and bring CASON J. CALLAWAY and PHILIP R. CLARKE back into operation.

ROLAND DESGAGNES was upbound in the St. Lawrence River in the early morning hours of October 18 when she suddenly veered to port, crossed between St. Helena Island and St. Lawrence Park, and went hard aground about one mile below the Thousand Islands Bridge. DANIEL A. McALLISTER and ROBINSON BAY were sent to the scene, along with U.S.C.G. POINT STEELE, and the Seaway was closed. DESGAGNES was freed on the 19th and, accompanied by the tugs and listing to port, she proceeded to Kingston for temporary repairs.

The C.S.L. steamer NIPIGON BAY has been yet another victim of accident in the Brockville area of the St. Lawrence. Upbound on October 15 with ore for Hamilton, she strayed to the south side of the river near Crossover Island and then swung back to the north shore. She was able to proceed, unloaded her cargo, and then sailed for Thunder Bay where she arrived on October 24. She is now in the shipyard and the cost of necessary repairs is estimated to be in the area of $500,000.

Reports indicate that a Torontonian named Fox has purchased from the Minister of Transport, Ottawa, the 205-foot passenger vessel NONIA, 1174 Gross, 575 Net, which was built in 1956 at Aberdeen, Scotland. NONIA has been idle recently but was previously used to service the east coast outports. Once she has managed to clear her Coast Guard safety inspection, NONIA will sail for Toronto, but we have no idea what she will do when she gets here. She has berths for 60 passengers.

The Muskoka Lakes passenger steamer SEGWUN ran sea trials on October 7 and 8 under the command of T.M.H.S. member Capt. Richard Farley. She performed well, despite minor mechanical difficulties, and an early start will be made next spring on getting the 93-year-old boat ready for her first passenger-carrying season since her retirement in 1958. We have received glowing reports on the success achieved in refurbishing her interior woodwork, and recent photos indicate that her exterior is even more impressive now than it was back when she was in regular service.

More detail is now available concerning the serious accident which befell RALPH MISENER during the summer. It occurred on August 12, while the ship was six miles out of Port Alfred, Quebec, with a cargo of 28,000 tons of petroleum coke. As a result of the failure of a locking device on an under-piston bolt, the crank case of her main diesel exploded and set off a second explosion outside the engine. Five crewmen were injured and two later died, chief engineer Peter Allan and a mechanical assistant. RALPH MISENER was towed to Port Alfred for unloading, and then to the Canadian Vickers Ltd. yard at Montreal for repairs. She returned to service during October, but with her gold stack bands replaced by the traditional silver ones.

Columbia Transportation's COURTNEY BURTON, (a) ERNEST T. WEIR (II)(79), arrived at Sturgeon Bay on August 25 and laid up in preparation for her upcoming self-unloader conversion. An early start on the work is possible as a result of the current depressed conditions in the lake shipping industry.

The Interlake Steamship Company's ELTON HOYT 2nd, converted to a self-unloader at AmShip's Toledo yard, is at last in service. She passed up the St. Clair River on her first trip on October 19th.

CANADIAN ENTERPRISE many look much like her earlier near-sister, CANADIAN TRANSPORT (II), but the similarity ends there. Significant design changes were made in the hull form and propulsion machinery of ENTERPRISE and these have paid off handsomely for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. The improvements incorporated in the ENTERPRISE have resulted in a saving of at least 10% on fuel costs, a most important consideration in these days of ever-increasing fuel prices. Meanwhile, the next Upper Lakes self-unloader is already taking shape on the "shelf" at Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. She will be christened CANADIAN PIONEER when she enters service during 1981.

Back in June, the Michigan Transportation Commission authorized a subsidy of $700,000 in an effort to maintain Chessie's carferry service between Ludington and Milwaukee. However, the Commission balked at requests that it renew the subsidy past September 30, citing fiscal problems which, it claimed, prevented expenditure of the vast sums necessary to preserve the Milwaukee service. The last trip on the route was scheduled for early October. Chessie must continue its Kewaunee and Manitowoc services at least until the summer of 1981, but there is no guarantee that the routes will be maintained thereafter, despite the wishes of both Wisconsin and Michigan that this be the case. The non-renewal of the Chessie subsidy also meant that the M.T.C. was no longer able to enforce its "hold" order against the proposed sale of the idle ferry SPARTAN by the railroad. Nevertheless, there is no indication of any great flock of prospective purchasers rallying 'round to snap up SPARTAN.

JOHN O. McKELLAR, upbound light for grain, suffered severe storm damage on Lake Superior on October 17. She suffered numerous cracks in her shell plating, tanktops, etc., and was making considerable water. She entered the shipyard at Thunder Bay on October 19 for repair.

The Paterson steamer QUEDOC passed up the upper St. Lawrence River on October 19 with considerable collision damage evident on her starboard bow, dodger rail and pilothouse visor. The damage was apparently caused in a collision with the salty GEORGE L., but no other details are yet available.

Back in the summer, when she was sent into early lay-up, there were fears that the Inland Steel steamer E. J. BLOCK had run her last. Fans of the 72-year-old vessel will, however, be glad to hear that she is now back in service.

The former tinstacker PETER A. B. WIDENER, recently purchased by the American Seaway Grain Company (an affiliate of Seaway Towing) for use as a storage barge, has recently forsaken her long-time Duluth home. She passed downbound at the Soo on October 4 behind the G-tug OHIO, bound for Saginaw where she loaded grain. On October 30, she was in the Welland Canal with the tugs SAINTE MARIE II, SOUTH CAROLINA and OHIO, en route to Sorel with her cargo. Once her cargo is delivered, she will return back up the lakes under tow for Duluth and, if weather permits, she will take a winter storage cargo to Buffalo. We originally thought that WIDENER would be used only for storage at Duluth, but it now seems that Seaway Towing has more ambitious plans for her. In fact, we have even heard reports that she may have her stern notched and a bowthruster installed so that she may be active in the grain trade.

The stripped-down hull of the former Halco tanker CAPE TRANSPORT continues to moulder away alongside the LaSalle Causeway at Kingston. For two years now, the canaller has been "en route" to the Caribbean for service as a water tanker, but her departure from the lakes has been, to say the least, protracted, and there there is no indication when she will depart. In contrast to her sister COVE TRANSPORT, which made her exit from the lakes via the east coast, complete with her superstructure, it was originally intended that CAPE TRANSPORT be taken down the New York State Barge Canal to the Hudson River.

The findings of the official enquiry into the fire aboard CARTIERCLIFFE HALL in June, 1979, have now been made public. According to press reports, Mr. Justice Kenneth MacKay, of the Quebec Superior Court, was extremely critical of Halco and of the ship's officers. The S.I.U. was also censured for not providing better basic training for seamen. It was also ordered that Halco pay enquiry costs in the amount of $150,000.

LAURENTIAN FOREST and AVON FOREST were 16380 Gross Ton "Ro-Ro" specialty carriers built in 1972 at Port Weller for the Burnett Steamship Company Ltd. of Newcastle-on-Tyne. Many members will recall these two red hulls lying at the Port Weller fit-out berth. Now comes word that, after only a handful of years in her intended service, LAURENTIAN FOREST has been sold to the Blackwall Shipping Company of Panama. She has been renamed (b) GRAND ENCOUNTER for her new duties.

The Ford Motor Company's steamer ERNEST R. BREECH, laid up at Dearborn as a result of business conditions, was towed in early October to Toledo where she loaded a rare (for her) storage cargo of soya beans. There are reports that other Ford boats may also have storage cargoes this winter.

The self-unloading barge BUCKEYE and tug OLIVE L. MOORE made a surprise visit to Toronto on October 23 with a load of salt. Upbound in the Welland Canal on the 24th, BUCKEYE stopped at Port Colborne to load a cargo of pig iron at the R & P coal dock. The tow returned to Toronto on November 3.

A group in Sandusky, Ohio, is attempting to raise money to build a full-scale replica of the double-ended sidewheel ferry G. A. BOECKLING which operated on Sandusky Bay until some thirty years ago. The original BOECKLING later became a stationary work facility for Peterson Builders at Sturgeon Bay. If the fund-raising campaign is successful, it is hoped that the new BOECKLING would be operative sometime in 1982, although this seems to be wishful thinking for such an ambitious project.

HOCHELAGA arrived at the Thunder Bay shipyard on October 14 for survey and inspection, and also for the installation of her new unloading boom, a replacement for the one she lost overboard at Windsor in the spring.

The salty MOUNT OTHRYS suffered a severe fire in her electrical system on August 28 whilst loading steel coils at Hamilton. The blaze was extinguished without harm to the boat's accommodations or cargo, but much damage was done to her main and auxiliary generators.

The Bultema Dock and Dredge Company has sold its crane barge MAITLAND NO. 1 for use in the Florida area, and she will be leaving the lakes in early November in tow of the tug JOHN ROEN V. MAITLAND NO. 1 was, of course, built as a carferry for Lake Erie service, but she is probably best known for her many years of service in the pulpwood trade under the colours of the Roen Steamship Company. JOHN ROEN V will return to the lakes after the long tow.

The tug TUSKER cleared Toronto on October 27 en route to Windsor to take in tow the tank barge LIQUILASSIE and bring her to Toronto. The pair will be used to carry liquid asphalt for McAsphalt Industries, the owner of the tug. During the winter, TUSKER will be on salt water and one of her tasks will be to go to New Orleans to collect two large tank barges which will be used in the asphalt trade on the lakes during 1981.

The Russian salty STANISLAVSKIY arrived at Toronto on October 3 and was promptly arrested on a court order obtained by Wallace Edwards, who has been attempting, since 1967, to collect from the Russian government the sum of $26,000 for a printing job he did for Expo '67. The York County sheriff had earlier balked at a demand that a Russian airliner be held for payment of the debt. STANISLAVSKIY was freed on October 10 after the ship's agents posted a bond to cover claim and costs plus a further amount as protection for other Canadians who might have a claim against the U.S.S.R. The ship cleared port on the 15th after loading was completed. Edwards then attempted to enforce his 1973 Ontario Supreme Court judgment against the Murmansk Shipping Company's $100,000 payment into a court trust account. Efforts were made to seize the bank account of the Russian embassy in Ottawa and, eventually, Edwards and the U.S.S.R. reached an out-of-court settlement.

Jacques Cousteau's oceanographic research vessel CALYPSO appeared on the lakes during the late summer and early autumn. She travelled widely in the area and her crew made some interesting dives, particularly those involving GUNILDA and EDMUND FITZGERALD on Lake Superior. Unfortunately, one of CALYPSO's crew died on September 3 whilst diving near Picton, Ontario.

We understand that the American Shipbuilding Company and the Bay Shipbuilding Corp. will both bid against an unidentified east coast shipyard in an attempt to secure the contract to build a coal-fired self-unloader designed for service between Newport News, Virginia, and other U.S. east coast ports. No further details are presently available.

We report in these pages major developments concerning deep-sea passenger vessels, for many of our members are greatly interested in such matters. Unfortunately, we must now comment upon the worst disaster to befall such a ship in recent years. The 1973-built Holland America Line cruise vessel PRINSENDAM was en route from Vancouver to the Far East when, in the early morning of October 4, she suffered an engineroom fire. The flames rapidly spread to the passenger accommodations and the entire complement of passengers and crew took to the lifeboats. During the night and following morning, all of those in the boats were picked up by Coast Guard helicopters and by the nearby tanker WILLIAMSBURG. Eventually, as a result of the largest marine rescue in modern times, all 519 persons were safely landed at Alaskan ports. PRINSENDAM was totally gutted by the fire and, although efforts were made to take her in tow, her hull suffered mortal damage and, on October 11, exactly one week after the fire broke out, she suddenly listed to starboard and quickly sank beneath the waters of the Gulf of Alaska. The wreck lies in 9,000 feet of water some 79 miles southwest of Sitka, Alaska. The loss of PRINSENDAM, albeit unaccompanied by any loss of life, is all the more tragic in view of the excellent safety record which has been maintained over the years by the Holland America Line.

The film shot aboard BROOKDALE in late August was an episode of "The Littlest Hobo" series which was aired in the Toronto area on October 23. The program was uninspired but did contain some good interior views of BROOKDALE's cabins.


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