On March 27, the C.S.L. self-unloader JEAN PARISIEN was upbound in the Welland Canal from her winter berth at Hamilton, the first canal passage of the year. PARISIEN, however, was halted below Lock Three, to await the downbound passage of RALPH MISENER, the first downbound ship of the year. Ceremonies were held at Lock Three on March 28 aboard the suitably-dressed MISENER to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The Paterson motorship ONTADOC (II) was towed from Hamilton to Port Weller on March 24 by the tug R & L NO. 1. The following day, the salty ARCTIC was towed off the Port Weller drydock and ONTADOC was floated in for inspection and repairs.
The U.S. Corps of Engineers opened the Soo Locks early this year, at midnight on March 26. Waiting since the previous evening was U.S. Steel's CASON J. CALLAWAY, which logged the first commercial passage on the 26th at 12:14 a.m. A previous upbound passage had been made by the U.S.C.G. icebreaker MACKINAW, which had been bound for duty in Whitefish Bay amongst the icefields.
Late reports indicate that C. L. AUSTIN, (a) WILLIS L. KING (53), will soon be sold by S & E Shipping Corp. (Kinsman Lines Inc.) to Triad Salvage for scrapping. She will be taken to Ashtabula and dismantled there once the last remains of SYLVANIA have been broken up. The AUSTIN is presently laid up at Buffalo (she has not operated for two years) as also is Kinsman's FRANK R. DENTON, and we must now also wonder about the DENTON's future. Kinsman, apparently, is planning to operate only WILLIAM A. McGONAGLE, KINSMAN INDEPENDENT, and possibly MERLE M. McCURDY.
The annual Toledo - Detroit coal run got off to an early start this year when RICHARD J. REISS arrived March 7 from her Ecorse lay-up berth. It took 28 hours to load her that first trip, and she then departed for the Great Lakes Steel plant at Detroit. Interestingly, the REISS beat out HENRY FORD II on the first trip, but the FORD soon joined the REISS on the coal run.
The U.S. Navy Destroyer WILLIAM C. LAWE, DD 763, which for many years was a summer visitor to the lakes, and which many members observed at New Orleans during the off-season, was reported as being sold during 1983 to the Uruguay navy. That sale would undoubtedly account for the fact that the U.S. Navy's summer flag-showing and recruiting trip to the lakes was handled by the somewhat newer U.S.S. EDSON.
In our winter lay-up report, we mentioned that the small cement carrier BADGER STATE, (a) SPINDLETOP (46), (b) LAKE CHARLES (62), (c) ATLAS TRAVELER (77), (d) LOC BAY (80), was wintering at Port Huron. BADGER STATE is owned by the Medusa Cement Company, having been purchased in 1980 from the Erie Navigation Company, but the diminutive motorship has remained idle at Erie, Pa. On December 21, 1983, however, she was towed out of Erie harbour by the Canonie Transportation tug BARBARA ANDRIE, destined for use on Lake Michigan as a depot vessel. Difficulties were encountered with the late-season tow, and BADGER STATE was dropped off at Port Huron, where she still lies. We assume that she will continue her journey during the spring.
Reports indicate that the N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd. motorship LAWRENDOC (II) has been sold for use in the Gulf of Mexico, although we have no detail at present regarding the new owner's identity. LAWRENDOC (C.188400) is 275.8 x 45.0 x 21.5, 2497 Gross and 1619 Net, with two six-cylinder Canadian Fairbanks Morse diesel engines. She was built in 1962 at Hull 174 of Collingwood Shipyards, and she and her sistership, MONDOC (III), were the first in the series of small, cabins-aft, post-canallers built for Paterson in the 1960s and 1970s. MONDOC was sold off the lakes some years ago and currently operates in the Gulf of Mexico as (b) CORAH ANN.
Toronto Harbour's 1984 navigation season officially opened on March 24 with the arrival of STEPHEN B. ROMAN with a cargo of cement from Picton. The ROMAN wintered at the Lake Ontario Cement Company dock in Toronto, and departed light for Picton several days before she opened our port for the new season.
The Lake Ontario sandsucker W. M. EDINGTON, (a) RIDEAULITE (47), (b) IMPERIAL LACHINE (I)(54), (c) NIAGARA (69), has been sold by Ontario-Lake Erie Sand Ltd. to McKeil Work Boats Ltd., Winona, Ontario. The new owner, which operates numerous tugs out of Hamilton, will use EDINGTON on the sand trade into the Niagara River but, to achieve a saving on costs, will probably operate her as a barge, with motive power supplied by one of the firm's tugs. The vessel was built in 193 by the Furness Shipbuilding Company Ltd. (Hull 174) at Haverton Hill-on-Tees, England, for the Ottawa River service of Imperial Oil Ltd., 175.0 x 35.2 x 13.0, 723 Gross, 343 Net, powered by a Triple expansion engine, 13 1/2, 22 and 37 x 27, built by the North Eastern Marine Engineering Company Ltd., Newcastle. After Ottawa River service ended, she ran on the St. Lawrence River, occasionally venturing as far west as Toronto. Sold late in 1953 "to Holden Sand and Gravel Ltd., Toronto, she was converted during 1954 by the Toronto Dry Dock Company Ltd. into a self-unloading sandsucker, 769 Gross, 382 Net. Ownership was transferred in 1968 to the parent firm, McNamara Marine Ltd., Toronto. She was sold in 1969 to Federal Equipment Quebec Ltd., Chomedy, P.Q., and was immediately resold to Ontario-Lake Erie Sand Ltd., Oakville. In 1973, her steam machinery was removed (it is now displayed in front of the Marine Museum at Toronto) and the little sandsucker was repowered with a 1964-built Caterpillar diesel.
The U.S.S. Great Lakes Fleet Inc. started 1984 operations early. PHILIP R. CLARKE left her Milwaukee lay-up berth on March 7 and CASON J. CALLAWAY followed on March 8, both vessels entering the ore trade from Escanaba to Gary in order to replenish low stockpiles. Upbound for Escanaba on her first trip, however, CALLAWAY sustained damage in heavy ice which she encountered both in Rock Island Passage and in the Minneapolis Shoal area. She damaged her rudder and steering gear, and the Upper Lakes Towing Company Inc. tug OLIVE L. MOORE was sent to assist her, but the tug encountered engine difficulties during the operation. CALLAWAY finally made her Escanaba dock late on March 10 and was given temporary repairs pending the arrival of parts from Sturgeon Bay. In addition to CALLAWAY and CLARKE, U.S. Steel will fit out ARTHUR M. ANDERSON, EDGAR B. SPEER, EDWIN H. GOTT, the tug/barge PRESQUE ISLE, and the "Bradley" self-unloaders JOHN G. MUNSON, MYRON C. TAYLOR, CALCITE II, GEORGE A. SLOAN and IRVIN L. CLYMER. The trio of CALLAWAY, CLARKE and ANDERSON are said to be slated to ferry surplus taconite pellets between Conneaut and Lorain during 1984, although other sources indicate that the MUNSON will be assigned to that short-haul trade.
We earlier reported that the C.S.L. self-unloader STADACONA (III), (a) THUNDER BAY (II)(69), had suffered boom damage whilst loading grain at Thunder Bay last autumn. It was felt that this accident might end STADACONA's service for C.S.L., as she has been a "fringe" boat for several years. Recently, however, word was received that C.S.L. has repaired the 32-year-old steamer during the winter. We understand that STADACONA is unlikely to see regular service in 1984, but that she will be spare boat, for operation if needed.
Thursday, October 18 is the date tentatively set for the launch of Collingwood Shipyards' most recent hull, a 730-foot self-unloader built to ocean specifications for Canada Steamship Lines. As far as we know, this vessel is the last laker on Collingwood's orderbook, and thus will end a long run of continuous building. With indifferent economic conditions still prevailing, it seems unlikely that further orders for new construction will be forthcoming until business improves.
Late in 1983, Canonie Transportation of Muskegon, Michigan, sent its 87-foot tug AMERICAN VIKING eastward on a voyage to the coast. It has been reported that the tug has since been renamed MARY BETH ANDRIE.
Although it earlier appeared that Huron Cement might operate the venerable E. M. FORD in 1984, the company has since decided that she will not start the season. Only S. T. CRAPO, PAUL H. TOWNSEND and J. A. W. IGLEHART will begin the year, although the FORD may perhaps be activated later should business warrant. The FORD was moved from her Milwaukee berth on March 14 to permit CRAPO to unload there the following day.
In the March issue, we mentioned that, in 1984, the American-Canadian Line's motorship CARIBBEAN PRINCE would be operating one-way B.Y.O.B. voyages from Detroit to Owen Sound, with stops at Port Huron, Bay City, Alpena, Cheboygan and Mackinac Island. It now appears that Sault Ste. Marie has been added to her route, and that she will stop overnight at the Valley Camp dock on the Michigan side on each of her "upbound" trips. It is thought that she may be going to call at the Canadian Soo on her other trips.
Two veteran Canadian west coast passenger boats are still for sale, with no apparent progress being made in efforts to peddle them to other operators. Canadian Cruise Lines Ltd. ceased to operate the former Canadian National steamer PRINCE GEORGE during 1983 as a result of mounting debts. It appeared that the ship would likely be sold to an Edmonton firm, Parkcrest Consulting Ltd., for further service, but Parkcrest refused to complete the sale unless it could get unencumbered title to PRINCE GEORGE, and the ship was scheduled to be sold at auction in late March. Meanwhile, Canadian Pacific's beautiful PRINCESS PATRICIA is also still on the block. Several parties have expressed interest in the vessel, but only one concrete offer was received, and that fell through late in 1983.
In our last issue, we reported that the Westdale Shipping Ltd. self-unloader SILVERDALE had been "plastered" while laid up at Windsor, in connection with action begun by a creditor. We indicated that we believed that ERINDALE also had been seized, but we could not confirm at that time. We have since learned that ERINDALE was indeed plastered as well, and that the creditor that did it to her was ULS International Inc. It is believed that the action centres around Port Weller Dry Docks' bill for repairing ERINDALE's bow early in 1983. It has, however, been suggested that this may not mean the end of ERINDALE, and that she may operate in 1984 in conjunction with the Upper Lakes Shipping fleet. Nothing has yet been said concerning the future of SILVERDALE .
Members who were looking forward with interest to the proposed acquisition of the National Steel Corporation from National Intergroup Inc. by the United States Steel Corporation, will have to curb their wonderings as to how that merger might affect the two companies' lake fleets. Early in March, a joint release from the two firms indicated that they had terminated their agreement in principle regarding the deal. They cited the fact that the U.S. Justice Department had vowed to block a proposed merger between the LTV Corporation (which owns the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company) and the Republic Steel Corporation, and assumed that their own merger would also evoke officialdom's ire. In the meantime, the LTV - J&L merger has received tentative approval, and other rumours are circulating concerning the future of National Steel.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.