Marine News

Table of Contents

Title Page
The Editor's Notebook
R. T. McCannell
Marine News
Ship of the Month No. 119 Kipawa.
More About Rosedale
The Marine Library
Valley Camp Revisited
Table of Illustrations

As time passes, we gradually learn more of the details of the upcoming conversion of NORTHERN VENTURE and HILDA MARJANNE to repowered stemwinders using the stern sections of the former Clarke Steamships motorvessels CABOT and CHIMO. Purely by chance, the report carried in our March issue correctly mentioned the hull pairings; CABOT's stern is to be grafted onto the hull of HILDA MARJANNE, while the aft section of CHIMO will be tacked onto NORTHERN VENTURE. Both MARJANNE and VENTURE are wintering at Hamilton, the former with storage grain and the latter light ship. Work has already started on stripping the forward and after cabins off the VENTURE and she will be towed as soon as possible to Port Weller for the start of her conversion. MARJANNE will, no doubt, make one trip in the spring to deliver her cargo before proceeding to the shipyard. CABOT and CHIMO will be brought to Port Weller as soon as the canals are open; CHIMO will come up under her own power, while CABOT will apparently be towed up from Sorel.

NORTHERN VENTURE and HILDA MARJANNE are presently just a bit short of full Seaway dimensions. During conversion, they will have a new 25-foot section inserted in each hull to make them full canal size, these inserts tapered so as to join the 56-foot-wide sterns of CABOT and CHIMO to the 75-foot-wide hulls of MARJANNE and VENTURE without building new shells around the sterns of the Clarke boats. Needless to say, the end result of grafting of this type will be most unusual indeed, and we cannot but assume that NORTHERN VENTURE and HILDA. MARJANNE will become two of the ugliest vessels ever to sail the Great Lakes. Their needle-like sterns will be without equal in lake history, the only possible comparison being with tug/barge combinations such as PRESQUE ISLE or AMOCO GREAT LAKES/AMOCO MICHIGAN.

Throughout the winter, rumours have circulated concerning the possible acquisition of the Columbia Transportation Division self-unloading motorship W. W. HOLLOWAY by a Windsor firm for use in the sand and stone trades. Now we learn that a company calling itself Great Lakes Transportation Inc., of Windsor, has looked over the HOLLOWAY several times and has been soliciting cargoes for the vessel, although we have no knowledge of any actual sale of the ship having taken place up to the time of this writing. Presumably, any sale would be contingent upon the obtaining of sufficient business to keep the HOLLOWAY operating.

W. W. HOLLOWAY (U.S.203582) is 532.0 x 56.0 x 31.0, 7166 Gross, 5111 Net, built in 1906 as Hull 435 of the American Shipbuilding Company's Cleveland yard. Originally named (a) HENRY A. HAWGOOD, she was built for W. A. and A. H. Hawgood, and operated for several of their companies. The Hawgoods, however, got into severe financial troubles, in which the American Shipbuilding Company was implicated, and the fleet was eventually dissolved. On September 27, 1911, HENRY A. HAWGOOD was sold (for only $25,000) to the Hubbard Steamship Company, Cleveland, of which W. C. Richardson was manager, and she was renamed (b) C. RUSSELL HUBBARD in 1912. Oglebay Norton and Company took over his vessels after Richardson died in 1919. and the HUBBARD was transferred to the Columbia Steamship Company in 1921. She saw several further reorganizations of the Oglebay Norton/Columbia structure, and in 1937 became (c) W. W. HOLLOWAY. She was converted to a self-unloader in 1957 by the Christy Corp. at Sturgeon Bay, at which time she received new forward cabins, and in 1963 was repowered with a 2250 H.P. eight-cylinder Nordberg diesel. She has been lying idle in the Frog Pond at Toledo since 1981.

We sincerely hope that the HOLLOWAY can be reactivated for new duties but we question how much life the 77-year-old vessel has left in her, considering the fact that she was used very hard during her Columbia years. We all know the problems which plagued J. R. SENSIBAR, another well-worn Columbia self-unloading motorship, which was bought by Johnstone Shipping Ltd., Toronto, in 1981 and renamed CONALLISON, operating for only a few months. In addition to her mechanical problems, CONALLISON is a victim of her owner's bankruptcy; she is presently lying idle at Toronto and it is unlikely that she will ever again operate.

Recent reports indicate that an old visitor to the lakes, actually an "almost-laker" for a few seasons, is still running on salt water. NAVIF0R NORSE, (a) AVERY C. ADAMS (64), (b) CYPRESS (68), (c) UNION (69), (d) FREJA (72), (e) SCOTIACLIFFE HALL (74), (f) SCOTIACLIFFE {76), was built in 1958 as Hull 271 of Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal, for the Wilson Shipping Corp., a Canadian subsidiary of the Wilson Marine Transit Company of Cleveland. She passed to several other owners, almost all of whom sent the ship into the lakes, and was purchased in 1972 by the Hall Corporation. She was used on the lakes as well on salt water until Hall sold her in 1974 to Olsen & Ugelstad of Oslo, Norway (operators of the Fjell Line which once was so familiar on the lakes) and was registered to Forell Inc., Liberia, and converted to an oil drilling ship. In 1982, NAVIFOR NORSE was again sold, to Societe Elf-Gabon, of Panama, but without change of name.

The past winter has not been kind to the lift bridge which carries Beach Boulevard over the canal entrance to Hamilton harbour, and the bridge's problems may well cause a delay in the 1983 opening of navigation at Hamilton. The canal, which cuts through the narrow strand known as Burlington Beach, provides the only route of entry and exit for vessels serving the Lake Ontario port, and the present vertical lift bridge (which provides local access as well as an alternative route to the Burlington Skyway) is the successor to earlier bascule and swing bridges. During December of 1982, a heavy snowstorm dumped such a load of wet snow on the bridge that it could not be raised for several days and ships were forced to wait until the snow was shovelled off the bridge before they could pass through the canal. Then, during the winter months, local authorities removed the long-disused railroad tracks from the lakeward side of the bridge deck and replaced them with a widened auto roadway. What the authorities forgot, however, is that a vertical lift bridge only works because of the delicate balance between the bridge deck and the counterweights. It seems that nobody realized that a solid roadway is much heavier than an open deck with tracks on it, and when the bridge was tested after the completion of the work in early March, the hoisting motor managed to lift the structure only some four feet, whereupon the deck fell back down to the closed position and refused to move again. At last report, engineers were trying to figure out how they could rectify the problem in time to have the bridge operative for the opening of navigation.

By mid-March, the reconversion of QUETICO/WHITEFISH BAY from a self-unloader to a straight-decker was nearing completion at Collingwood, and the vessel's hull was once again being painted red. WHITEFISH BAY should be ready for service shortly after the canals open this spring, and we look forward to seeing this handsome steamer operating without the unloading gear that so disfigured her. We presume that she will look much as she did when first placed in service by Canada Steamship Lines twenty-two years ago.

We knew that she had been sold, but recent reports confirm the scrapping of LAGO, (a) MONTROSE (63), (b) CONCORDIA LAGO (81). She was sold by Triton Maritime Ltd., Greece, to Pakistan shipbreakers and sailed from Colombo on her last voyage on May 16, 1982. MONTROSE, built in 1961 and a sistership of MONTCALM, is best remembered for her July 30, 1962, sinking under the Ambassador Bridge in the Detroit River after a collision with a cement clinker barge which was being pushed at the time by the tug B. H. BECKER.

P & H Shipping has begun to give its vessels new colours. The interesting part of the change is that the new livery does not yet appear to be much different from that of the Soo River Company, for which all of the boats formerly operated. By mid-March, OAKGLEN and WILLOWGLEN, at Toronto, had received the P & H crest, applied to their stacks in the place previously occupied by the Soo River shamrock, but with no other change in stack colours. The Parrish and Heimbecker insignia, as used on the boats, is a white crest with a black outline just inside its border, with the fanciful raised letters 'P&H' centred on the crest in black. If any further repainting of the vessels is to be done, we are unlikely to see the same until the onset of warmer weather in the spring. Meanwhile, with FERNGLEN and SPRUCEGLEN formally retired, and with many questions surrounding the future of the other elderly steamers that P&H acquired from the bankrupt Soo River Company, there continue to circulate numerous suggestions concerning the acquisition by P & H Shipping of other Canadian boats. None of these stories have been confirmed, and we must treat them as "wishful thinking" on the part of observers until such time as official announcements be made.

The Ontario government has let to a Kingston firm a contract for removing dangerous asbestos insulation from the cabins of the ferry CHARLEVOIX which was brought to Lake Ontario last year. When the work is done, CHARLEVOIX is to take over as back-up to WOLFE ISLANDER III, permitting the disposal of the old WOLFE ISLANDER. There are no firm plans at present for the use of SAGUENAY, the other former Clarke Steamships ferry now lying at Kingston.

Last issue, we reported that the Automobile Club of Michigan had discontinued efforts to purchase the Bob-Lo Island amusement park and its venerable ferry steamers from the park's receivers. The club reconsidered its February 9 decision when, on February 24, a U.S. judge set certain qualifications for bidders and thus gave the club additional time to prepare plans for the financing of the acquisition. On March 14, Judge Brody ruled that the club had submitted the most attractive of several bids, and it now seems a certainty that the park will be operated by the Automobile Club this summer. Still to be passed before finalization of the sale were approval hearings set for March 28 and April 20, and the securing of approval from Canada's Foreign Investment Review Agency. It is hoped that none of the unsuccessful bidders will dispute the court decision. The Automobile Club's bid involves payment of $3,200,000 to the two major secured creditors and an additional $3,300,000 to the various unsecured creditors.

The small passenger and auto ferry ONTAMICH, which operates across the St. Clair River between Port Lambton, Ontario, and Roberts Landing, Michigan, has been sold by her Roberts Landing owner, Peter Jillson, to Lowell Dalgety whose Blue Water Ferry Ltd. runs the larger ferry DALDEAN between Sombra, Ontario, and Marine City, Michigan, farther up the river. Dalgety has promised that ONTAMICH will remain on her old route through 1983 but will not guarantee service thereafter. There has been much speculation regarding what Dalgety might do with ONTAMICH, and Port Lambton residents, upset about the possibility of losing their ferry, are taking steps to fight any discontinuation of the service.

Although prospects for the 1983 lake shipping season are for a reasonable movement of Canadian grain and a considerable improvement in the demand for ore, things continue to look bad for the movement of U.S. export grain. The Reagan administration is attempting to reduce the size of the U.S. grain crop, and any export shipments that are to be moved will probably go via the Mississippi River barge route, which can move grain more economically than can lake ships. It was the lack of U.S. export grain that hurt Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. so badly in 1982, for that fleet has always depended heavily on this trade. As a result, one would imagine that Upper Lakes will still have a large number of vessels lying idle during 1983.

Last issue, we reported that the Toronto Island ferry ONGIARA would be laid up for survey and the replacement of one of her engines. Her last day of service was February 27. and she was still idle during the last week of March. Her withdrawal was most frustrating for Island residents because, for the first time in many winters, Toronto Bay has been almost entirely free of ice and this would have been one of the few years in which ONGIARA could have operated right through the winter. The Metro Toronto Parks Department made things even worse when it refused to fit out any of the four other ferries (the 48-year-old WILLIAM INGLIS would have been suitable) to run for the duration, and forced Islanders to go all the way to the west end of the harbour, cross on the Airport ferry MAPLE CITY, and then travel the entire length of the Island back eastward by shuttle bus. Seeking an alternative service, the Islanders chartered the small excursion boat TORONTONIAN and, carrying residents as members of the charter party, ran her every half hour during morning and evening rush hours. The most interesting part of this is that TORONTONIAN was originally built in 1962 at Kingston for the Metro ferry service as (a) SHIAWASSIE. The 52-foot motorship was entirely inadequate and unsuitable for the Island route and was sold several years ago, much to the delight of Islanders. That they should now be so happy to ride the boat is a singularly curious development.

We earlier mentioned that the Gaelic Tug Boat Company, Detroit, had again increased the size of its fleet, this time through the acquisition of the 33-year-old tug WILLIAM BELL from the Dravo Corporation, Pittsburgh. We now learn that the tug has been rechristened NEWCASTLE for her new duties.

The Chessie System has postponed the planned March 31 abandonment of its Ludington - Kewaunee carferry service. Nevertheless, those interested in riding the 1953-built steamer BADGER will only have until May 18 to do so, for BADGER will then be laid up and replaced by the 42-year-old steamer CITY OF MIDLAND 41. Present plans are for the MIDLAND to run through the autumn of 1983, at which time Chessie hopes to have permission to abandon the Lake Michigan service altogether.

In the March issue, we commented on the sinking of the former canaller EAGLESCLIFFE, (a) EAGLESCLIFFE HALL (II)(74), in the Gulf of Mexico near Galveston, Texas. It seems that EAGLESCLIFFE began to take water forward on February 8, while enroute to Galveston with a cargo of 3,500 tons of grain. Efforts to keep the ship afloat were unsuccessful and she was run into shallow water. She settled to the bottom on February 9, with only her bridge and boat decks visible. We do not know whether any decision has yet been made concerning possible salvage of the vessel, but we tend to doubt that EAGLESCLIFFE will be recovered for operation, bearing in mind her age (26 years) and small size (252.8 x 44.0 x 20.8, 2334 Gross, 1562 Net). The canaller was built in 1957 as Hull 520 of the Grangemouth Drydock Company Ltd., Grangemouth, Scotland, and was one of seven diesel-powered near-sisterships constructed for the Hall Corporation during the 1950s.

The American Shipbuilding Company ceased using its Toledo shipyard in the spring of 1982 because of the lack of shipbuilding activity on the U.S. side of the lakes during the present adverse business conditions. On February 3, 1983, AmShip announced that the Toledo yard was closed indefinitely, and there seems little hope that we will ever again see activity there. Toledo thus follows the company's South Chicago yard into full closure. In recent years, AmShip used Toledo mostly for repair work, although the yard did construct hull sections for the 1,000-footers, to assist the Lorain yard, and also handled a number of self-unloader conversions. Once the operator of many shipyards around the lakes, AmShip now operates only its main yard at Lorain, Ohio, and even that facility is anything but busy these days.

In the autumn of 1981, we reported that the American Seaway Grain Company's storage barges PETER A. B. WIDENER and CLARENCE B. RANDALL (II) would be renamed, respectively, FUGAWE and WANNAMINGO by their present owner, an affiliate of Seaway Towing Inc. and the North American Towing Company. At present, WIDENER is lying idle at South Chicago, and RANDALL (with part of her after cabin removed) at Milwaukee, with no indication of any renames. It is confirmed, however, that although the new names have not been painted on the hulls, they have been officially registered. It is hoped that storage work can be found for FUGAWE and WANNAMINGO if business conditions improve.

Previous reports indicated that CHARLES M. WHITE, (a) MOUNT MANSFIELD (51). had been seen in a Bombay, India, scrapyard in January, 1981, and that she had subsequently been scrapped. It will be recalled that the three former Republic Steel "red tomatoes", CHARLES M. WHITE, TOM M. GIRDLER and TH0MA.S F. PATTON, were towed out of the lakes for scrapping during the summer of 1980. It is now confirmed that the company responsible for scrapping WHITE was the Hindustan Steel Syndicate, and that work started during March, 1981, at a place called Darukhana, which we assume to be an area of Bombay. There has never been any confirmation of the scrapping of PATTON or GIRDLER.

We understand that the two new Misener Transportation stemwinders, SELKIRK SETTLER and CANADA MARQUIS, Hulls 256 and 257 of Govan Shipyards, Glasgow, will be christened on April 15. The SETTLER will sail for Canada shortly after the ceremonies, while the MARQUIS will follow later, probably in June.

Toronto Harbour was officially "opened" for the 1983 navigation season when METIS arrived on March 25 with a cargo of cement from Picton. METIS got her season off to an early start when she departed her winter lay-up berth at Toronto during the middle week of March.


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