For many months now, it had been suggested that Canada Steamship Lines Inc. would be contracting with a foreign shipyard for the construction of two large self-unloading bulk carriers. It has since been announced that, during July, C.S.L. let a contract to Nippon Kokan, Japan, for the building of two 28,000 d.w.t. bulk carriers. No names have been mentioned for the new ships, nor has it been revealed on which routes they may operate. The first of the vessels is scheduled for delivery in December 1986, while the second will make her debut in March of 1987. It is to be assumed that the ships will service some of the deep-sea trades which C.S.L. has been actively soliciting.
It has been reported that the former Detroit steam firetug JOHN KENDALL, which latterly was dieselized and owned by the Panoceanic Engineering Corporation of Alpena, Michigan, returned to Detroit during July of 1985. The KENDALL is now owned by the Ferriss Marine Contracting Corporation of Detroit and, at 135 feet, is considerably larger than Ferriss' other tug, the 43-foot workboat NORM B.
Thanksgiving Day (October l4th) was not a good day for the A. B. McLean Ltd. tug ROD McLEAN, (a) FAIRPORT, (b) BAYPORT (I), (c) TUG A., (d) TWIN PORT. Downbound at the Soo with the big barge G.L.B. NO. 2, loaded with logs, in tow, the tug was preparing to come alongside the Government Wharf on the Canadian side. The barge was to lower her spud so that the tow could be turned, and the McLEAN began to back up toward her barge. Unfortunately, the barge did not drop her spud and was still moving forward, and the backing tug was run over and sunk by the barge. Her five crewmen jumped to safety and there was no loss of life. We understand that the current was running strong at the time in the lower Soo harbour, with six gates open on the St. Mary's Falls dam. The tug has since been raised, but considerable work will be required before she is once again ready for service. This is not the first occasion on which ROD McLEAN has gone to the bottom. A. "city class" tug built by the Great Lakes Towing Company in 1914 at Cleveland, she was sold in 1941 to the Burke Towing and Salvage Company Ltd., and in 1942 she passed to Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. In 1959, she was pulled over, and sank off Collingwood whilst towing the steamer MOHAWK DEER, three of her six-man crew being lost. The hull was abandoned but later was raised and was purchased by F. R. Mireault of Fort William. In 1972, she was acquired by A. B. McLean Ltd., and she was completely rebuilt and dieselized in 1973-74.
One of the many vessels idled by the "Lock Seven Blockade" of the Welland Canal was the Groupe Desgagnes Inc. steamer GOLDEN HIND, (a) IMPERIAL WOODBEND (54). As reported in our last issue, this vessel, the last of the former Q & O upper lakers in the Desgagnes fleet, began to fit out at Toronto on October 7th, and it looked as if she would see her first active service since she laid up at Toronto in the autumn of 1983. She was all ready to depart Toronto on October 14th, apparently destined for service in the grain trade into the Bayports, when word was received that the Welland Canal had been closed. GOLDEN HIND almost immediately let down steam and the small Desgagnes motorship FRANQUELIN (II) laid up alongside her several days later. It is to be hoped that the reactivation of GOLDEN HIND will become a reality once the canal is reopened in November.
The former Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company racer CLIFFS VICTORY, (a) NOTRE DAME VICTORY (51), which recently was sold to the Hai International Corp. of Monrovia for scrapping in Taiwan, has been renamed (c) SAVIC (the 'S' from "Cliffs" and the 'VIC from "Victory", with an 'A' shoved in the middle). She was due to leave South Chicago in mid-October (an Oriental crew sailing her), with stops at several U.S. lake ports to load scrap before going overseas, but her departure was delayed by the Welland Canal blockade. It remains to be seen whether she will take her leave of the lakes after the reopening of the canal, or whether her departure will be put off until 1986.
Collingwood Shipyards has tentatively set Thursday, December 5th as the date for the launch of its latest vessel, a 258-foot icebreaker ordered for the Canadian Coast Guard. The deep draft of the hull has required some alterations to Collingwood harbour to accommodate her launch, but no difficulties are anticipated. The icebreaker is the last hull for which Collingwood has a confirmed order, and her launch is expected to be attended by the usual large crowd of observers who will brave the dank December breezes of Nottawasaga Bay to observe the event.
A report from the American Lakehead indicates that the scrapping of the former tinstacker WILLIAM B. SCHILLER has been completed at Duluth. Also at the Hyman Michaels yard, B. F. AFFLECK and AUGUST ZIESING have been moved across the slip to the scrapping berth, so work on them will probably progress rapidly . Meanwhile, the USS Great Lakes Fleet Inc. appears to be preparing to sell more of its idle ships for scrapping. At Superior, the idle "Maritimers" SEWELL AVERY and ROBERT C. STANLEY, and at Duluth the motorship THOMAS W. LAMONT, have been stripped of much of their equipment. The LAMONT has even had many engine parts removed. The demise of these familiar vessels would appear to be imminent. All three ships last operated in 1981.
For many years, the handsome steam tankers of the fleet of the Amoco Oil Company were familiar sights around the Great Lakes. Today, none of them remain in service, much to the chagrin of historians and photographers alike. Five years ago, the company retired the oldest of its steamers, AMOCO ILLINOIS, (a) WILLIAM P. COWAN (62), which was built by the American Shipbuilding Company at Lorain in 1918 for Amoco's predecessor, the Standard Oil fleet. The veteran tanker was laid to rest in the scenic slip at the Amoco tank farm located at Essexville (Bay City), Michigan. Four years ago, she was joined there in lay-up by AMOCO WISCONSIN, (a) EDWARD G. SEUBERT (62), which was a 1938 product of the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company. Even the company's largest and newest steam tanker, AMOCO INDIANA, (a) RED CROWN (62), built at Manitowoc in 1937, has not operated for two years. A report in the summer of 1985 indicated that AMOCO ILLINOIS and AMOCO WISCONSIN would shortly be sold for scrapping, but neither vessel moved from Essexville during the summer months. Then, on October 18th, the tugs GLENADA and MOUNT McKAY arrived at Windsor with AMOCO WISCONSIN in tow. The tanker has been purchased by M. & M. Steel Inc., and she will be scrapped at the same berth where SILVERDALE met her demise in 1984. At the time of this writing, it was believed that the same tugs would shortly return to Windsor with AMOCO ILLINOIS in tow, and that she also would be dismantled there. Meanwhile, AMOCO INDIANA remains idle at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and no announcement has been made concerning her disposition, although her future certainly does not appear to be promising.
At Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wisconsin, the mainmast and stack have been removed from the former Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company steamer FRONTENAC, but it is not known at present whether this indicates a start on the dismantling of the vessel or whether it simply heralds a salvaging of usable machinery parts. FRONTENAC was built by the Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse in 1923, and she served the Cliffs fleet continuously until she stranded to a total loss at Silver Bay, Minnesota, on November 22 1979. She was taken to Superior and was sold to Fraser Shipyards in 1980.
In the October issue, we commented upon the continuing saga of the barge (and former C.S.L. package freighter) FORT YORK, and particularly the difficulties that she caused whilst weaving her way up the Huron Cut on October 6, 1985. It seems that, on the same trip, she made her way upbound as far as the Soo, where she turned back after finding that her lumber cargo (which she was to have loaded at Thunder Bay) had been cancelled. She returned to Sarnia and there was arrested in connection with legal action begun by Sandrin Brothers Limited for accounts rendered in respect of assistance provided to the barge by the Sandrin tug GLENADA. At last report, FORT YORK was moored at the old C.S.L./C.N.R. freight shed at Point Edward, but it was not expected that she would remain for long in that exposed location. It would seem entirely possible that she might soon return to the Strathearne Avenue scrapyard at Hamilton, from which Charpat Transportation Inc. had resurrected her during the month of July.
For many years, the 65-foot tug J. A. CORNETT, owned by the Canadian Dredge and Dock Company Ltd., has been lying idle in the company's "boneyard" at Kingston. She had not been used for a long time, and as far as we can remember, at least not since the acquisition by C.D. & D. of BAGOTVILLE more than a decade ago. Late this summer, J. A. CORNETT was sold to Harry Gamble Shipyards of Port Dover, Ontario, and she left Kingston on September 14 in tow of the tug JOHN P. It is not known what Gamble will do with the CORNETT but she will undoubtedly lie at Port Dover until rebuilt, sold or scrapped.
Recent reports indicate that the Interlake Steamship Company's straight-deck steamer HARRY COULBY has been moved from her berth at Fraser Shipyard at Superior, Wisconsin, to a spot beside the same company's idle steamer JOHN SHERWIN at the same port. It is not known what this move bodes for the future of the handsome COULBY, which is presently out of class and requires drydocking for survey and inspection.
In our last issue, we reported in considerable detail the departure from the lakes of MENIHEK LAKE and LEON FALK JR., which previously had been operated, respectively, by the Canadian and U.S. affiliates of the Hanna interests. We mentioned that the two steamers had departed Quebec City on August 30th in tow of the tug CAPT. IOANNIS S. It is now learned that both vessels arrived in Spain on September 19, 1985. but as yet we do not have any confirmation of the identity of the Spanish port to which they were taken.
Much has been said in recent issues concerning the sale for scrapping of three of the four upper lakers which Groupe Desgagnes Inc. acquired early in 1984 from the defunct Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. In the last issue, we reported that OUTARDE (III), (a) ROBERT HOBSON (75), had been towed into the east pier scrapyard at Port Colborne on September 17th, and that the dismantling of the 58-year-old steamer had commenced shortly thereafter. We understand that the scrapping of the vessel has progressed swiftly and that little remains today of her after end. Of interest is the fact that the Niagara Regional Fire Department was given permission to set her forward end afire in a training session for its crews. The pilothouse and texas of OUTARDE were apparently gutted in this grisly exercise.
It has been reported that MARK TWAIN (the former MARK TWAIN SHOWBOAT and JAMES Y. LOCKWOOD) had her Canadian registry closed on July 19, 1985, and that she left New York City during August on the heavy-lift carrier HAPPY MARINER, bound for Amsterdam where she is to serve as a floating restaurant. She had originally served as a western rivers towboat, and then kicked about various lake ports. She spent a considerable period of time at Port Credit as a restaurant and lounge, but since 1982 has been moored on the Hudson River at New York. She never opened there as a dining facility as a result of disagreements between her owner and New York city authorities. With her much rebuilt superstructure, and looking more like a building than a Mississippi River towboat, she will make a peculiar sight indeed at Amsterdam.
Back in October, we mentioned that the ULS steamer SEAWAY QUEEN had been moved from her usual berth across the end of Pier 35 to a spot on the north side of Toronto's ship channel, where she was being loaded with soya beans. The beans were brought in by truck, and carried up over the side of the ship by means of a conveyor system. On October 17th, the loaded SEAWAY QUEEN was towed back to Pier 35 and her companion there, FRANK A. SHERMAN, was taken down into the channel so that she could receive a similar storage cargo. The SHERMAN, fully loaded, was brought back out into the main harbour on October 26th, and once again was moored alongside her near-sister. Undoubtedly, SEAWAY QUEEN and FRANK A. SHERMAN will be unloaded at Victory Mills during the winter months. The SHERMA.N will be no problem, but it will be interesting to see how the elevator, with its short slip, manages to get the cargo out of the centre hold of the 717-foot, straight-decked, SEAWAY QUEEN.
In the Mid-Summer issue, we reported that the former Goderich storage barge SPRUCEGLEN, (a) WILLIAM K. FIELD (34), (b) REISS BROTHERS (70), (c) GEORGE D. GOBLE (80), (d) ROBERT S. PIERSON (82), had been upbound at Sault Ste. Marie on June 16, 1985, in tow for Thunder Bay. We now have a report that the dismantling of SPRUCEGLEN was begun by Shearmet Recycling during August. At the same time, the former "Steel Trust" steamer JOHN HULST, also being scrapped by Shearmet at its Kaministiquia River yard, had been cut down so far that only a shell formed by her bottom frames remained.
In October, we mentioned that J. W. Purvis Marine Ltd. of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, had acquired the 110-foot, 23-year-old tug AVENGER from the Alexandra Towing Company (London) Ltd. A Canadian crew was sent to Britain to get the tug and, at the time of this writing, she was scheduled to sail from Gravesend on October 38th, bound for the lakes. It was intended that AVENGER would take the southern route across the North Atlantic, via the Azores, in an effort to make the trip under the best possible weather conditions.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.