Marine News

Table of Contents

Title Page
The Editor's Notebook
Marine News
Segwun in 1983
Ship of the Month No. 120 Pontiac (I)
More About Whalebacks
Table of Illustrations

The stern section of the Algoma Central Marine motorvessel, JOHN B. AIRD, left Collingwood on April 15. bound for Thunder Bay in tow of the tug WILFRED M. COHEN. She passed up the Soo Canal on April 17, with JOHN McLEAN assisting, and the McLEAN stayed with the tow throughout the thirty-hour-plus crossing of Lake Superior due to high winds. The tow arrived at Thunder Bay on April 19. At Port Arthur Shipyards, the stern section will be joined to the short forward section that has been constructed there. JOHN B. AIRD is scheduled to be christened on June 3. 1983.

It has been confirmed that Collingwood Shipyards will launch its Hull 227 at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 14, 1983. The vessel involved is a straight-decker (generally similar in design to LAKE WABUSH and ALGOWEST) which is being built to the order of Canada Steamship Lines. Many of the recent launches at Collingwood have taken place in less than ideal weather conditions during early spring or late autumn, and the summertime launch of Hull 227 will provide observers (who will undoubtedly be there in great numbers) with a chance to see a side-launch in good conditions. The launching will form an important part of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the town of Collingwood, and the 100th anniversary of the shipyard itself.

Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. has disposed of one of its salt-water self-unloaders, namely CAPE BRETON MINER, (a) CAPE BRETON MINER (69), (b) CONVEYOR (72), a 645-foot, 15941-ton steamer built in 1964 as Hull 35 of Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. In latter years, she has been used primarily to carry grain into the Mexican port of Tampico, where special storage facilities were constructed so that CAPE BRETON MINER could unload directly into bins without the necessity of mooring in the port's overcrowded docking areas. The MINER proved very successful in her Mexican service and succeeded in convincing local authorities that grain could be handled in an efficient and economical manner. Now CAPE BRETON MINER has actually been sold to Mexican interests, presumably to be operated in the same service, and we understand that she has been renamed (d) MASAHUA. Part of the rationale involved in the sale of the MINER may well lie in the fact that Upper Lakes has commissioned its new deep-sea self-unloader which was built for the line in the Far East.

The new Upper Lakes Shipping self-unloader built at Hyundai, Ulsan (Korea), for deep-sea service, and launched December 4, 1982, has been christened NELVANA . It had earlier been suggested that the vessel might be named NORTHERN LAKES, but that name was eventually rejected in view of the fact that the boat is far too large ever to pass through the St. Lawrence canals into the lakes. By mid-April, she was already in commission and was en route to Vancouver to pick up a load of coal for Algiers. After delivering that cargo, NELVANA is scheduled to go into regular service on the east coast, carrying phosphate rock.

Over the past several issues, we have commented upon the rebuilding of the former C.S.L. package freighter FORT WILLIAM into an airslide-equipped bulk cement carrier for the Lake Ontario Cement Company Ltd. We had suggested that a rename was planned for the vessel, and we can now confirm that the motorship will be rechristened (b) STEPHEN B. ROMAN before she enters service. Mr. Roman is the president of Denison Mines Ltd., which is the majority shareholder of Lake Ontario Cement. STEPHEN B. ROMAN is due to be commissioned in early July.

By mid-April, the Canada Steamship Lines straight-deck steamer WHITEFISH BAY, newly converted (or perhaps we should say reconverted) from the self-unloader QUETICO, was back in service, marking the completion of a reconstruction that very few, if any, observers ever thought would happen. With her hull once again painted red, and her original name given back to her, WHITEFISH BAY looks much as she did when she was built back in 1961. She does, however, retain two vestiges of her self-unloading service, in that she still carries her raised hatches and the enclosed bridgewings that were given to her when she was rebuilt as a self-unloader in 1969.

For many years, the diesel-electric passenger and auto ferry ABEGWEIT, 356 feet in length and 6694 Gross Tons, built in 1947 at Sorel, P.Q., was the pride of the east coast ferry fleet operated by Canadian National. But, in recent years, she was superceded by more modern vessels and, in 1981, having been retired from active service, she was renamed (b) ABBY so that her old name could be freed for use on a newly-built ferry ordered by C. N. Marine Inc. Earlier this year, it was rumoured that she had been sold to the Columbia Yacht Club of Chicago for use as a floating clubhouse, but many observers discounted this suggestion. Nevertheless, it proved to be correct and ABBY passed up the Welland Canal on April 10-11, 1983, under her own power and bound for Chicago. ABBY is the latest in a long series of superannuated vessels that the Columbia Yacht Club has used for clubhouse facilities. For many years, the Club used the hull of the old sidewheel passenger steamer FLORIDA, (a) CITY OF MACKINAC (I)(93), (b) STATE OF NEW YORK 20), which was relegated to this duty in 1937. the ship having been largely destroyed by fire in 1932. From 1924 until 1937, when her wooden hull was condemned, the yacht club utilized the 1888-built break-bulk ferry steamer F. & P.M. NO. 4 (01), (b) PERE MARQUETTE 4 (24), (c) COLUMBIA YACHT CLUB, which had been retired by Pere Marquette Line Steamers after a May 15, 1923 collision with the line's big steel carferry PERE MARQUETTE 17. Prior to 1924, the Columbia Yacht Club had used the hull of the 123-foot wooden schooner CARRIER, which had been built in 1865 at Marine City, Michigan.

During the 1982 season, the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company operated only one vessel, WALTER A. STERLING, on a regular basis, although EDWARD B. GREENE was also put in service late in the season. The 1983 season has not looked much better for Cliffs, and the fleet planned to begin the year with only the STERLING in commission. Nevertheless, the GREENE has already seen unexpected service as a result of an early-season accident to which the STERLING fell victim. Downbound in the St. Mary's River below the Rock Cut in the West Neebish Channel, WALTER A. STERLING reportedly struck an obstruction in the channel near Buoy 24 during the early morning hours of April 6. The steamer tore a gash approximately 250 feet long in her hull and, as she was taking on considerable water, she was intentionally run aground. Refloated on April 8 after part of her cargo was lightered by the HENRY FORD II, the STERLING was taken to Lorain where she was unloaded and where repairs will be put in hand. The crew was then taken off STERLING, and was sent to Toledo to begin fitting out EDWARD B. GREENE as a replacement for the wounded flagship. The GREENE herself encountered problems on April 17, when her reduction gear failed whilst the steamer was out on Whitefish Bay, downbound on her first trip from Marquette. The tugs CHIPPEWA and W. J. IVAN PURVIS towed her into the Soo on the following day for repairs.

Another casualty of the early part of the 1983 navigation season was the National Steel Corporation's 1,000-foot self-unloader GEORGE A. STINSON. The STINSON was unloading at Zug Island, Detroit, during the night of April 17th, when the kingpin of her unloading boom failed, causing the boom to collapse. Immediate arrangements were made to have the boom replaced, but it is estimated that this work may take twenty weeks or more. National Steel then began to fit out GEORGE M. HUMPHREY as a replacement, and she was in service by the end of April. Meanwhile, we understand that efforts will be made to operate the STINSON with a jury rig that will permit her to dump her cargo over the side, albeit with considerably less efficiency than if she had her unloading boom. Thus, GEORGE A. STINSON will become the first 1,000-foot laker to operate as a "straight-decker".

With Texaco Canada Ltd. having retired its tanker TEXACO WARRIOR (II) at the close of the 1982 season, some unusual vessels have been carrying Texaco cargoes this spring. GULF CANADA arrived at the Algoma plant at the Soo during April with a cargo of Texaco heavy oil, and earlier the same month IMPERIAL SARNIA took a cargo to the Lakehead for Texaco.

For many years, Toronto's Royal Canadian Yacht Club has been known not only for the sailing prowess of its members and the elegance of its social activities, but also for the two beautiful old tenders which it uses to carry members and guests from its dock (now located at the foot of Parliament Street) to the club premises on Centre Island. The tenders, namely HIAWATHA, which was built in 1895, and KWASIND, built in 1911, have always been maintained in immaculate condition and it remains to this day "de rigeur" that gentlemen making the crossing be decked out in jackets and ties while aboard the ferry even if they are going to the club only to scrub down their yachts . KWASIND is the regular boat in service, but HIAWATHA assists on days of heavy passenger movement and often runs the route during inclement weather, when her slightly larger enclosed cabin is appreciated by passengers. HIAWATHA and KWASIND both look much as they did when they were built, although their steam engines have long since been replaced, first by gas engines and latterly by diesels .

HIAWATHA is of particular interest because she is the oldest passenger vessel operating on the Great Lakes and the second-oldest passenger vessel operating anywhere in Canada (only SEGWUN on the Muskoka Lakes is older). During the past winter, HIAWATHA was taken to the facilities of Harbour Marine Services at Port Credit (Mississauga), where she was completely refurbished and, as much as possible, restored to her original condition. Fully repainted in her original colours, she was lifted back into the water on April 28th, and she should soon be back in service on Toronto Bay. Press reports indicate that the R.C.Y.C. anticipates that HIAWATHA should be good for at least fifty more years of service, and we sincerely hope that this prediction proves to be accurate, for HIAWATHA is not only an historic vessel but also a most handsome one indeed.

In the last several issues, we have commented upon the impending rebuilding of HILDA MARJANNE and NORTHERN VENTURE by Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd. for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., using the after ends of CABOT and CHIMO, respectively. We have also mentioned that the converted ships will be unique in appearance as stemwinders, with their beam tapering by almost twenty feet just forward of the after cabin. We are reminded of a similar rebuilding which took place a number of years ago, the work being completely undisguised by surrounding hull plating. The tanker TYEE SHELL was built at Collingwood in 1958 for the Canadian west coast service of Shell Canada Ltd. The small (236 foot) motortanker was brought back to Collingwood in 1969, and there her old bow was cut away and a new one added. The rebuild increased her length by some seventy feet and gave her about six feet more beam. Her old stern was simply attached to the new bow, with the almost six-foot difference in width being overcome with no tapering hull section at all. Thus, she has a bulge of almost three feet per side located just forward of the bridge structure. The tanker emerged from the reconstruction as (b) ARCTIC TRADER, and has operated in lake service, although she will soon become (c) RIVERSHELL (III) for use in the Montreal bunkering service. Because of her small size, however, it is very difficult to view her at an angle at which one might actually see the disparity in beam between the forward and after sections of the hull.

In regard to NORTHERN VENTURE and HILDA MARJANNE, we should mention that the VENTURE will be the first of the pair to be rebuilt. The job of stripping off her old cabins began whilst the VENTURE was in winter quarters at Hamilton. The MARJANNE, however, had a transit storage cargo, and not only did she fit out to deliver it but she has since been operating in regular service, for she must await space at the Port Weller shipyard before her conversion can begin.

Upper Lakes Shipping has taken over the soya bean trade to Toronto's Victory Mills, a run that was generally handled by the Soo River Company until its demise last August. Several idle U.L.S. steamers were given storage loads for the mill last autumn, the beans being brought in by self-unloader and then unloaded from the storage boats during the winter. This process was repeated during the second week of April, when CANADIAN TRANSPORT arrived at Toronto with a cargo of beans which was transferred to the still-idle GORDON C. LEITCH and R. BRUCE ANGUS, and then unloaded from them into the elevator. The process was repeated on May 9 with CANADIAN OLYMPIC unloading.

With its recent acquisition of SPRUCEGLEN, Goderich Elevators Ltd. (the former Goderich Elevator and Transit Company Ltd.) sought scrap "bids on its other three storage hulls, namely LIONEL PARSONS, (a) HOWARD M. HANNA JR. (I)(14), (b) SIR WILFRED LAURIER (l5), (c) GLENSHEE (26), (d) MARQUETTE (27), (e) GODERICH (I)(63), (f) AGAWA (II)(68), which was built in 1908 and which has lain at Goderich since the winter of 1967-68, D. B. WELDON (II), (a) JAY C. MORSE (65), (b) SHELTER BAY (II)(79), which was retired by Q & 0 at the close of the 1978 season and taken to Goderich during 1979. and whose pilothouse now rests on the wharf at Goderich as a marine museum, and the oldest of the three, R. G. SANDERSON, (a) FRANK W. GILCHRIST (13), (b) CEPHEUS (26), (c) MANTADOC (I)(63), which was built in 1903 and went into the Goderich storage fleet in 1963. The successful bidder on the three vessels was the Western Metals Corp. of Thunder Bay, which will dismantle them at the Lakehead. First to leave Goderich was the venerable SANDERSON, which passed upbound at Sault Ste. Marie on April 24th in tow of the tug W. J. IVAN PURVIS. The PARSONS and WELDON will apparently follow shortly.

In the April issue, we mentioned that rumours had circulated regarding the possible purchase of the Columbia Transportation Division self-unloader W. W. HOLLOWAY by a Windsor firm, Great Lakes Transportation Inc., for use in the sand and stone trades. In the interim, we have heard nothing further concerning the HOLLOWAY. It seems, however, that Columbia Transportation has decided to fit out MIDDLETOWN, which was converted to a self-unloader last year at Sturgeon Bay, and will place her in the Lake Michigan which W. W. HOLLOWAY operated until two years ago.

At the time of this writing, it appeared likely that the 72-year-old steam carferry CHIEF WAWATAM would finally reach the end of her operating career at the end of April. Readers will recall that the CHIEF, which spent last summer idle at Sault Ste. Marie, was temporarily reactivated late in 1982, after The Boat Company was formed by the Michigan Northern Railroad to operate the Straits of Mackinac service. But Michigan state authorities set a deadline of April for a long-term cost reduction plan for the Straits ferry, and it is unlikely that costs can be cut any further with the CHIEF running. The ferry is long overdue for survey and inspection, and has been running on a temporary exemption. A tentative drydock reservation was made for her with Bay Shipbuilding at Sturgeon Bay for the end of April, but the CHIEF was only to go on the dock if some way could be found to finance the drydocking, estimated to cost between $400,000 and $700,000. The Michigan Northern itself cannot pay such a large amount, but it has been suggested that a way might be found for the state to continue paying the CHIEF'S operating subsidy if Michigan Northern, the Soo Line, and the Detroit and Mackinac Railroad could agree to split the cost of the drydocking. If arrangements cannot be made and CHIEF WAWATAM is retired, Michigan Northern will abandon all service north of Petoskey, for the line depends on the ferry for access to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

We do not have space in these pages to attempt to list which vessels each lake fleet will fit out in 1983, and we would not try to do so even if we could, for the plans of the various companies change so frequently that any information given would doubtless be out of date by the time it appeared in print. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that, even in yet another year of less-than-favourable business conditions, Kinsman Lines, S & E Shipping Corporation, intends to operate four of its six venerable steamers. Starting out the year will be ALASTAIR GUTHRIE (1922), KINSMAN INDEPENDENT (1923), MERLE M. McCURDY (1910) and WILLIAM A. McGONAGLE (1916), while C. L. AUSTIN and FRANK R. DENTON, both of which date from 1911, will remain idle at Buffalo. The AUSTIN, which was the only Kinsman boat that did not run in 1982, requires drydocking as she is presently out of class.

We had earlier reported that the U.S.S. Great Lakes Fleet Inc. would this year transfer its sistership self-unloaders ARTHUR M. ANDERSON, PHILIP R. CLARKE and CASON J. CALLAWAY into its "Bradley" division, thus resulting in a change of hull colour from red to grey. It now seems that the change has been postponed until at least 1985. apparently as a result of union considerations. (The "Pittsburgh" and "Bradley" boats are manned by crews with different union affiliations.) Meanwhile, although it was planned that all of the three steamers in question would fit out this spring, it now appears that CALLAWAY will remain in lay-up at Superior, Wisconsin. On the other hand, and contrary to earlier reports, U.S. Steel will operate ROGER BLOUGH, and the big self-unloader, which did not run last year, should be in service during the month of June.

Le Sault de Sainte Marie Historical Sites Inc. advertised in March that, until April 1, 1983. it would accept bids for the removal of the old wrecking tug FAVORITE from the Mariners Park slip on Water Street at the Michigan Soo. We have not yet received word as to whether any acceptable bids were submitted. FAVORITE was built in 1919 by the Great Lakes Towing Company at Cleveland, and was the third wrecking tug of that name to serve the famous tug fleet. She was 158.0 x 40.2 x 13.3, 746 Gross and 393 Net, and her two-cylinder compound engine, 25" and 50" x 36", which was built by the Montague Iron Works, developed 1200 I.H.P. on steam developed by three single-ended Scotch boilers. FAVORITE did yeoman service on the lakes for many years, providing invaluable assistance whenever the efforts of the wrecking tug and her heavy-lift deck crane were needed. Latterly, with marine accidents on the decrease and other equipment available, FAVORITE saw very little service and eventually she was permanently retired. After many years of total idleness, she was donated by Great Lakes Towing to Le Sault de Sainte Marie Historical Sites Inc., and was towed to the Soo by the G-tug LAURENCE C. TURNER in mid-August, 1972. FAVORITE was repainted to make her look reasonably presentable, but she was never opened to public inspection, for she was in very poor condition and much of her equipment had been removed by her former owner. In subsequent years, her condition deteriorated to the point where it became difficult even to keep her afloat, and it became obvious that she could never be used as a floating museum without the expenditure of large sums of money to refurbish her. Hence, scrap bids were called.

In an update on the 1983 operations of P & H Shipping, things look a bit less favourable than observers had previously hoped. To begin the season, P & H fitted out BEECHGLEN (PIERSON DAUGHTERS), BIRCHGLEN (JOAN M. McCULLOUGH), CEDARGLEN (E. J. NEWBERRY), 0AKGLEN (J. F. VAUGHAN) and WILL0WGLEN (JOSEPH X. ROBERT). The ELMGLEN (HOWARD F. ANDREWS), which wintered at Humberstone and was towed to Toronto this spring by McKeil tugs, arrived on April 6 and was laid to rest alongside NORDALE at the foot of Yonge Street. ELMGLEN and PINEGLEN (SOO RIVER TRADER), will be held in reserve as spare boats. SPRUCEGLEN (ROBERT S. PIERSON) was officially transferred in March to Goderich Elevators Ltd. and will serve as a storage hull at Goderich. FERNGLEN (JUDITH M. PIERSON), the handsome steamer which was the first vessel ever owned by the now-defunct Soo River Company, has been idle in the Leslie Street slip at Toronto since the autumn of 1982, apparently without any hope of further service. The 77-year-old PINEGLEN, which still has the 1982 "memorial shamrocks" on her bridge, is now out of class and, with her planned spring drydocking cancelled, now lies alongside FERNGLEN. ELMGLEN is due for her quadrennial survey and inspection in October, and it is suggested that her hull is not in the best of condition. Meanwhile, the active P & H vessels have all been given their new stack insignia, and all of them (as well as the idle PINEGLEN) have lost their white hull stripes, although they have retained their black hulls and white forecastles.

On March 30, the Westdale Shipping steamer ERINDALE, (a) W. F. WHITE (76), was taken in tow by the Canadian Dredge and Dock Company's tugs G. W. ROGERS and BAGOTVILLE, was hauled out from behind NORDALE, and was towed from Toronto to Port Weller. There she was taken in hand by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. and was placed on the graving dock for the repair of bow damages which were suffered in a 1981 altercation with the abutment of the Allanburg bridge on the Welland Canal. ERINDALE did not operate in 1982, but she was repaired in order that she might serve as a replacement for LEADALE (II), which was sold for scrap this spring as a result of her December, 1982, sinking at Thorold. After her bow was repaired, ERINDALE was taken to Hamilton for a brief period of inactivity but, at the time of this writing, it was anticipated that both ERINDALE and SILVERDALE would be in service by mid-May. The third Westdale steamer, NORDALE, last operated in 1981 and much of her equipment was stripped out during 1982 in anticipation of a sale for scrapping that has not as yet materialized.

Commissioning ceremonies were held at Port Weller on May 6th for the first of the new Misener Transportation Glasgow-built stemwinders, SELKIRK SETTLER. Hull 256 of Govan Shipyards, she was christened on April 15 in a double ceremony, at which the second Misener boat, CANADA MARQUIS, was also christened. CANADA. MARQUIS is not expected to sail for Canada until some time in the month of June. The last of the three sisterships to arrive on the lakes will be SASKATCHEWAN PIONEER, which will be operated by Misener for Pioneer Shipping Ltd.

N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd., Thunder Bay, has at last disposed of its last true canaller, TROISDOC (III), (a) IROQUOIS (67). The motorship was built in 1955 at Collingwood for Canada Steamship Lines as a virtual sistership of C.S.L.'s METIS and Paterson's CALGADOC (II) and SARNIADOC (II). C.S.L. later added deck cranes to IROQUOIS, but she was never lengthened as was METIS. In 1967, IROQUOIS was sold to the Paterson fleet, where she joined CALGADOC and SARNIADOC in various trades requiring small vessels, notably the carriage of grain out of Wallaceburg. TROISDOC was finally retired several years ago, and was laid up at Kingston pending disposal. She was formally transferred on April 15, 1983, to Transportacion Maritima Peninsular S.A., of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, and has since been renamed (c) KAPA. As a result of this sale, TROISDOC joins both CALGADOC and SARNIADOC in service in the Caribbean. Of the four sisters, only METIS remains on the lakes and even her future is in considerable doubt as a result of the impending commissioning of STEPHEN B. ROMAN to take her place on the Lake Ontario Cement Company's run from Picton to Toronto.


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