Considerable litigation has resulted from the December 24, 1979, sinking of the Huron Cement steamer E. M. FORD at Milwaukee. The Amoco Oil Company has taken action against National Gypsum, alleging that the sunken FORD blocked access by the now-retired tanker AMOCO ILLINOIS to the Jones Island oil terminal and thus increased the cost of unloading the steamer. National Gypsum has sued the City of Milwaukee, charging that the municipality was negligent in assigning the FORD to a winter lay-up berth on the exposed side of Jones Island, where she lay at the mercy of the high winds and heavy seas which caused her to break her moorings and pound against the wharf. E. M. FORD, now 84 years old, was later repaired and returned to service, a development which brought joy to all lake historians and observers.
By mid-April, the entire superstructure of NORMAC, the former Captain John's Harbour Boat Restaurant, had been removed from the vessel. Her hull still lies on the bottom of Toronto's Yonge Street slip and the only evidence of her whereabouts is the buoys which mark the location of the wreck. NORMAC's owner, John Letnik, has concluded his legal action against the Aetna Insurance Company, but is still involved in litigation with the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto (owner of the sidewheel ferry TRILLIUM), and with the Toronto Harbour Commission. The latter suit alleges that the T.H.C. was negligent in allowing NORMAC to be moored where TRILLIUM could strike her! (We understand that Metro is considering building a new city dock for TRILLIUM to prevent a recurrence of the type of accident that damaged NORMAC on June 2, 1981.)
The Gaelic Tug Boat Company, Detroit, has purchased salt water tugs from Texas owners, and they will be renamed and used for harbour work. The first is PROPELLER (U.S.257991), 81.7 x 25.0 x 11.0, 146 Gross, 39 Net, which was built in 1949 by Alexander Shipyard Inc., New Orleans. She was owned in 1971 by Suderman and Young Towing Company Inc., Galveston. The second tug is JENNIFER GEORGE (U.S.263869), 81.7 x 25.0 x 10.9, 149 Gross, 63 Net, which was built in 1952 at New Orleans. The last owner we show for her (1971) was the Bay-Houston Towing Company, Galveston.
The Great Lakes Towing Company, Cleveland, has changed the traditional names and colours of some of its lake tugs, transferring them to its subsidiary, the Admiral Tug and Barge Line. Now painted bright blue with stars on their stacks, they are renamed in honour of World War II Pacific battles. MAINE is now SAIPAN, MARYLAND is TARAWA, AMERICA is MIDWAY, and SOUTH CAROLINA is rechristened TULAGI.
The motorship NONIA, 1173 Gross Tons, which was built in 1956 at Aberdeen, Scotland, and which ran on the east coast of Canada for many years, was arrested at Montreal last year, after an alleged sale to a Toronto owner. She wintered at Montreal. The marshal to the court called for tenders on the vessel, with all bids to be submitted by May 31st.
The Hudson's Bay Company is back in the shipping business. It has purchased HUDSON VENTURE, (a) GONDUL (71), (b) SILVA (80), and has renamed her (d) CANGUK, an Inuit word meaning "wild goose". Jules Jourdain, president of her former owner, Jourdain Navigation Ltd., Montreal, has joined the H.B.Co. as its marine manager to operate CANGUK.
DUC D'ORLEANS is a 194-passenger excursion boat operating out of Sarnia and owned by 453939 Ontario Ltd., Corunna. Her actual owner, Ken Bracewell, asked the St. Clair Parkway Commission to waive the $3,000 dockage fee at Alexander Mackenzie Park pending a decline in high interest rates which have reduced her profitability. On March 17, his request was denied, but the Commission agreed to accept instalment payments. DUC D'ORLEANS will expand her operations in 1982 to take trips from Windsor, Chatham and Wallaceburg. Her treatment by the Parkway Commission is reminiscent of the way Sarnia city fathers drove BLUE WATER BELLE out of town by refusing her suitable dockage.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.