In the January issue, we mentioned that NO. 265808, the former BENSON FORD (II), had been towed from the Ramey's Bend scrapyard late in December and taken to the coal dock at Thorold by THUNDER CAPE and GLENBROOK. It had been suggested that she might be used in connection with the Welland Canal reconstruction project, but that is not what she is doing this winter. The steamer has been leased to Heritage Harbour Navigation Company Ltd., which in turn has chartered her to the Ontario Paper Company Ltd. She is being used for the storage of saltcake (a by-product of the paper mill), and in the spring her cargo will be transferred into a salty for shipment overseas. We have only one question. Who or what is the Heritage Harbour Navigation Company?
M & M Steel will, indeed, break up CLARENCE B. RANDALL at Windsor as soon as the scrapping of AMOCO ILLINOIS is completed. The tugs TUSKER and GLENADA departed Sarnia during the night of January 12-13, towed the old steamer out of Milwaukee on January 16, and arrived with her at Windsor on January 19, surely one of the latest long-distance scrap tows ever attempted on the lakes. The RANDALL, together with PETER A. B. WIDENER, was owned by the American Seaway Grain Company, an affiliate of North American Towing and Seaway Towing. They were to be used as storage barges under the names WANNAMINGO and FUGAWE, respectively, but these names were neither painted on the ships nor officially registered. Both ships were sold via Gibson Shipbrokers, New York, and were thought to be headed overseas together, but RANDALL was later resold to M & M and will finish out her days on fresh water.
The towing combine which has operated since 1977 under the control of the Upper Great Lakes Pilots Association and the International Longshoremen's Union of Duluth has come to an end. With the operation receiving increasing criticism from various sources, the combine has sold Seaway Towing Inc. to its local Sault Ste. Marie operator, long-time T.M.H.S. member Capt. John Wellington, and the tug CHIPPEWA will now be operated by Wellington Towing Inc. Another tug will be acquired to assist CHIPPEWA, which for the last several years has had competition from two Great Lakes Towing Company tugs. Meanwhile, the closely-related North American Towing Company, which has operated tugs at Duluth and Chicago, also in competition with Great Lakes, has also been sold and reorganized as Republic Tugs Inc. The severing of the ties between the pilots, longshoremen and tug operators can mean nothing but good news for the tugmen, with the return of normal, healthy competition to the upper lakes towing scene.
It has been reported that, in early December, the 160-foot motorship MARINE COASTER, owned by the Puddister Trading Company Ltd. and idle since 1977. was intentionally sunk off the coast of Newfoundland. She was built as a steamer in 1902 at Paisley, Scotland, by Fleming and Ferguson Ltd. for the old Dominion Department of Marine and Fisheries, named (a) DRUID (51). She later sailed as (b) STEVE AHERN (58), (c) ISLE VERTE (60), (d) VEGA (65), (e) EVA MARIE (67) and (f) EVA (71) before taking on her last name, and she served a great number of owners over the years. She frequently traded into the lakes as STEVE AHERN, operating for Ahern Shipping Ltd., Montreal, after being converted from lighthouse tender to coaster and repowered in 1951. Later, as EVA MARIE and EVA, she returned to the lakes for Bouchard Navigation Ltee. of La Petite Riviere St. Francois, Quebec.
Ever since the Chapter Eleven filing by LTV Steel in July of 1986, Moore-McCormack Resources Inc. has sought to dispose of its lake shipping subsidiary, the Interlake Steamship Company. It was announced on January 19. 1987. that Moore-McCormack had agreed to sell Interlake (as well as three deep-sea tankers) to James R. Barker, chairman and chief executive officer of the firm. Barker has resigned both positions as part of the deal. It is not at present known if there will be any great change in the operation of Interlake but Moore-MacCormack [sic]will continue to fund certain of the fleet's expected cash losses. It is certain, however, that the boats will no longer bear the old Pickands Mather logo on their bows.
It has been reported that the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company has disposed of two more of its steamers. Recently sold for scrapping were CADILLAC (a) LAKE ANGELINA (43), and CHAMPLAIN, (a) BELLE ISLE (43), both of which are "Maritimers" built in 1943. The buyer of the ships is unidentified, but an overseas scrap tow in 1987 seems likely. Meanwhile, with WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR. sold for scrapping at Port Colborne, and WILLIS B. BOYER for a museum at Toledo, the only boat left in the Cliffs fleet is the 62-year-old WILLIAM G. MATHER. It is suggested that she may eventually become a museum at Cleveland, but nothing definite has yet been announced in this respect.
The Algoma Central Railway-Marine Division is proceeding with plans to rename its straight-deckers A. S. GLOSSBRENNER and V. W. SCULLY, as well as the ships it acquired in 1986 from the Nipigon and Carryore fleets, namely LAKE WABUSH, LAKE NIPIGON, LAKE MANITOBA and CAROL LAKE. All six boats will get "Algo" names, but at the time of this writing, the Algoma Central board has not yet made a final decision on the names to be used.
In the January issue, we reported that the Polish tug JANTAR, with WHEAT KING in tow, put in at Halifax on December 2nd, allegedly for repairs to damage suffered when the tow left Lauzon. We now learn that the tow was not able to set out into the North Atlantic from Halifax until December 10th.
The winter lay-up list produced by the Hamilton Harbour Commissioners is very interesting in that it shows two ships by the names of PROVMAR TERMINAL #1 and PROVMAR TERMINAL #2, adding beneath those names, respectively, UNGAVA TRANSPORT and IMPERIAL SARNIA. We wonder whether this listing reflects official renames for these vessels. (At last report, UNGAVA TRANSPORT was simply known as PROVMAR TERMINAL, with no numeral added to her name.)
While FEDERAL LAKES and FEDERAL SEAWAY are operating out of Charleston and Norfolk this winter, Fednav's FEDERAL RHINE is wintering at Detroit after bringing a late-season steel cargo to Toronto. FEDERAL RHINE would have incurred substantial canal surcharges had she been sailed from the lakes that late, but the lay-up also concerns a Fednav dispute with Belgian shipping unions and an argument over Belgian government subsidies. Although the company's other boats are operating, all six Belgium-registered ships (such as the RHINE) are now laid up pending a resolution of the problems.
In mid-January, the wandering T.M.H.S. Chief Purser caught sight of JOHN E. F. MISENER lying at a scrapyard at Cartagena, Colombia. It is to be assumed that GOLDEN HIND is also lying somewhere in the Cartagena area, unless she already has been dismantled.
It is said that C.S.L. has acquired yet another Panamax-type bulk carrier, and it would appear to be confirmed in that a ship named ATLANTIC ERIE has been reported recently as trading in the Gulf of Mexico. We know nothing further about the ship. It has also been said that C.S.L. may have its Panamax bulkers converted to self-unloaders in Brazil (not the Far East) so as to obtain preference in respect of cargoes carried to and from that country.
As reported earlier, AMBASSADOR, (a) CANADIAN AMBASSADOR, is presently operating under Vanuatu registry for ULS affiliate Mar-Bulk Shipping Ltd. At the same time as the ship was renamed, her stacks were painted blue with yellow seahorses, a design used by some other ULS salt-water vessels.
The weather this winter has been surprisingly good, and accordingly the tanker KIISLA has so far encountered very little difficulty in maintaining her run from Sarnia into Lake Michigan. LE FRENE NO. 1 and ENERCHEM FUSION were also operating out of Sarnia, but they laid up there in mid-January. The Gaelic Tug Boat Company of Detroit has begun the task of rebuilding its idle tug ATLAS, and also has chartered the 82-foot, 1954-built JOHN A. McGUIRE from Great Lakes International Inc. (formerly Great Lakes Dredge and Dock). The McGUIRE, idle in 1986, was towed from Cleveland to Detroit by Gaelic's WM. A. WHITNEY, arriving on January 22nd. No rename has yet been announced for either the ATLAS or the McGUIRE.
Reproduced for the Web with the permission of the Toronto Marine Historical Society.