Marine News

Table of Contents

Title Page
The Editor's Notebook
Marine News
A Return To Cabotia
Ship of the Month No. 163 GREY BEAVER and BROWN BEAVER
Robert A. Zeleznik
Lay-Up Listings - Winter 1987-1988
Paul Manion Revisited
Additional Marine News
Table of Illustrations

In the February issue, we ran a report concerning the final break-up of the historic Hall fleet, the disposition of the eight bulk carriers (one self-unloader and seven straight-deckers). It since has been clarified that LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL will be going to the Misener fleet rather than to C.S.L., and that C.S.L. will get MAPLECLIFFE HALL instead of Misener. At the time of our earlier report, there were indications that certain renames were under consideration by the new owners of the vessels, but we were unable to publish them as final decisions had not yet been made by the companies involved. In fact, the renames of the ships acquired by N. M. Paterson & Sons Ltd. are as follows: BEAVERCLIFFE HALL becomes (b) QUEDOC (III), MONTCLIFFE HALL becomes (c) CARTIERDOC (II) and STEELCLIFFE HALL will sail as (c) WINDOC (II). Of the C.S.L. purchases, FRANKCLIFFE HALL becomes (b) HALIFAX, CARTIERCLIFFE HALL will be (c) WINNIPEG (III) and MAPLECLIFFE HALL becomes (b) LEMOYNE (II). We are very pleased with all of these names, most of which are interesting revivals from the past. As far as Misener Shipping is concerned, certain renames have been suggested, but the matter is still under consideration.

Late in January, "Captain John" Letnik announced plans for a $5 million reconstruction of the passenger vessel JADRAN, which serves as Captain John's Harbour Boat Restaurant at the foot of Yonge Street, Toronto. Letnik bought the former Yugoslav cruise ship in 1975 and sailed her across the Atlantic (where she almost was lost in a vicious storm) and up the Seaway. The ship's restaurant and two banquet rooms will remain, while gift and souvenir stands and a coffee shop will be added. The vessel's passenger cabins have been unused since she came to Toronto, but now will be removed to make way for "hotel rooms", more dining space and a small theatre. Much of JADRAN's open deck space will be closed in or glassed-over in accordance with plans drawn up as a class project by University of Toronto design students. Adds Letnik, "I even want to add another smokestack to make it more masculine" '. What can we say...? Meanwhile, Letnik claims that he is cleaning up the befouled hull of NORMAC which lies on the south side of the Leslie Street slip, off the turning basin, although there is no outward sign of any improvement in the wreck. He claims that she will be rebuilt and then sailed over to "an undetermined U.S. city" to establish another floating restaurant there. Watch out, Rochester, for NORMAC may be heading your way...

The Canada Steamship Lines self-unloader NANTICOKE laid up at Montreal on December 17, but on January 15th she sailed for Halifax. We earlier had been given to understand that NANTICOKE was to be converted for deep-sea service, and it has been suggested that the work was done at Halifax. It is not known whether we will ever see NANTICOKE back in the lakes.

Meanwhile, it has been determined that the self-unloading unit which was taken out of Toronto in December by WOODLAND, bound for Brazil, will be fitted in the "Panamax" ATLANTIC HURON. We also learn that the ship is to be renamed CSL INNOVATOR when she is commissioned as a self-unloader during 1988. In the future, the "Atlantic lakes" series of names will be kept for use on vessels with true ocean-laker capacity. It thus is not beyond the realm of possibility that someday we may see an ATLANTIC HURON (II).

On January 6, 1988, Marine Industries Ltd. announced that its Montreal yard, recently known as M.I.L. Vickers, will no longer operate a ship repair business. The last vessel handled in the yard was ENERCHEM LAKER during October of 1987, and the last ship built by the Vickers yard was the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker NORMAN McLEOD ROGERS in 1969. Thus, yet another shipyard is struck from the list of such facilities remaining active on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

The salt-water tanker KIISLA, back in the lakes this winter, seems to have had a relatively easy time operating between Sarnia and Chicago, as ice conditions have been far from severe. As well, ENERCHEM AVANCE has been operating out of Sarnia and at last report had taken no winter's rest. LE FRENE NO. 1 also was running but she tied up at the government wharf, Sarnia, on February 2nd and was to remain for about a month, undergoing a refit.

The 1974-built Socanav Inc. tanker L'ORME NO. 1, (a) LEON SIMARD (82), got into a spot of trouble on January 25 as she was attempting in fog to dock at the Ultramar refinery at St. Romuald, Quebec. She struck the wharf, causing a small fire to break out there and also leading to a spill of crude oil into the St. Lawrence River. As yet, we have no estimate of damage to dock or ship, although the wharf was closed for several days. ENERCHEM TRAVAILLEUR, which was at the dock at the time, apparently sustained no damage.

The new owner of CAM ETINDE, the former LE CEDRE NO. 1, (a) ARTHUR SIMARD (82), is Cameroon Shipping Lines S.A. of Douala, and she is that company's first tanker. Incidentally, we should note some rather involved name changes involving this tanker whilst under the Canadian flag. She was ARTHUR SIMARD for Branch Lines Ltd. until CEDRE 1 was painted on her at Montreal on January 9, 1982. Three months later, she became LE CEDRE 1, and after Societe Sofati-Soconav took her over in September 1982, she became LE CEDRE NO. l.(We do not believe that the intervening names were officially registered.) Her registered owner in 1987 was, of course, Socanav Inc.

In the February issue, we mentioned the troubles that befell the former tinstacker ENDERS M. VOORHEES on her scrap tow from Algeciras, Spain, to Aliaga, Turkey, in tow of the Greek tug EVEREST. VOORHEES and THOMAS W. LAMONT arrived at Algeciras on October 24 in tow of IRVING BIRCH, and EVEREST set out for Aliaga with the LAMONT on December 15th. That tow apparently made it safely to Aliaga, and EVEREST then returned to Algeciras to begin the fateful tow of the VOORHEES. As far as we are aware, there have been no efforts to salvage the broken hull of the 1942-built "Super".

When the former Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company "Maritimers" CADILLAC and CHAMPLAIN were sold for scrap last summer, it was reported that they would be broken up at Istanbul, Turkey. Then, when the Dutch tug THOMAS DE GAUWDIEF took the two ships in tow at Quebec on September 8th, it was said that they were bound for Izmir, Turkey. The tandem tow passed Gibraltar on October 10, still reporting Izmir as its destination, but the World Ship Society has now reported (January) that CADILLAC and CHAMPLAIN arrived at the Turkish port of Aliaga on October 38th.

More is now known concerning the loss in the Pacific of the former Straits of Mackinac ferry VACATIONLAND. Bound from Seattle for Shanghai, China, for scrapping, she was in tow of the Japanese tug HOSHIN #8, in tandem with the long-idle, wartime-built ROSE KNOT, a former reserve fleet denizen. Clearing port on November 26, it was reported on 38 November that the ferry was taking water and that the tow was heading for shelter at Astoria, Oregon. On December 1, it was said that the tow was heading for Port Angeles, Washington. That same day, the tug crew boarded the ferry and, with the bow doors broken in and water penetrating below, pumps were placed aboard. The ferry then parted her tow and the tug MARINE CHALLENGER came to assist, taking over the tow of ROSE KNOT so that HOSHIN #8 could chase the wayward ferry. It was reported at 2240 G.M.T. on 3rd December, 1987, that GULF KANAYAK (or SUNSHINE COAST QUEEN or CANARCTIC EXPLORER or whatever one wants to call her) sank in a position 47.30.9 N. by 126.65.4 W. MARINE CHALLENGER, ROSE KNOT and HOSHIN #8 were reported moored at Seattle on December 5th.

It is said that the Canadian tug IRVING BIRCH will be the one to tow RALPH H. WATSON and ROBERT C. STANLEY, the two former tinstackers, away from winter berths at Sorel, bound for overseas breakers. It is believed that the tow will get under way in early spring. It may be that the troubles which dogged the deep-sea scrap tows of lakers THOMAS WILSON, ASHLAND and ENDERS M. VOORHEES (plus a good many tows in earlier years) will serve as a deterrent against mid-winter tows of old lakers to overseas destinations.

The future does not look bright for the 44-year-old U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker MACKINAW. As a result of funding cutbacks, which also would have closed the Coast Guard station at Marquette, Michigan, the big MACKINAW would have been mothballed on February 1st. Needless to say, the announcement was met with great concern in the lake shipping community, and eventually a compromise plan was introduced, whereby the Coast Guard would seek a supplemental budget allocation to allow MACKINAW to remain in service, at least through the 1989 fiscal year. Between the end of the current ice season and the final decision on the supplemental allocation, attrition would reduce the ship's crew and save costs. (MACKINAW costs some $3,000,000 per year to operate.) If additional funds are denied, then attrition would continue and the boat would be idle, but if the funding is approved, then the full crew would be restored. Regardless of the status of MACKINAW, it has been decided to keep the Marquette station open, for its closing would leave the entire Lake Superior shoreline between Sault Ste. Marie and Hancock without a manned Coast Guard facility.

After almost a century on the bottom of Lake Michigan, the wreck of the Graham and Morton Transportation Company steamer CHICORA allegedly has been located. The Breakwater Marine Salvage Company of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has asked the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for a permit to salvage materials from the wreck, but the company's principal, L. W. Simpson, has not made public the whereabouts of the wreck. CHICORA was a wooden-hulled, passenger and freight propellor, 209.0 x 35.0 x 15.3. 1122.92 Gross and 708.15 Net, built in 1892 as Hull 111 of the Detroit Dry Dock Company, and powered by a triple expansion engine 20, 33, 54 x 42". Laid up for the winter at St. Joseph, Michigan, late in 1894, she was fitted out in mid-January for one trip (or perhaps more) to Milwaukee to load flour. CHICORA cleared Milwaukee early on the morning of January 21, 1895, bound for St. Joseph, and never was seen again. Just too late, a telegram had arrived at the Milwaukee dock; it was from owner John Graham, advising Capt. E. G. Stines not to sail because of a weather disturbance heralded by an extremely low barometer. Reports of a vessel in distress came from the South Haven area, and wreckage later washed up in that same area, but none of CHICORA's 24 crewmen would ever come ashore.

In a November 3, 1987, plebiscite, Frankfort (Michigan) voters rejected by a margin of 396-193 a proposal to provide permanent mooring on the Frankfort side of Lake Betsie for the former Lake Michigan carferry CITY OF MILWAUKEE, which was to be preserved as an example of an unaltered, Logan-design carferry. However, Frankfort city council approved allowing the preservation society six months to find an alternate site for the museum project, failing which the city will seek bids for the sale of the steamer.

Another former Lake Michigan carferry, ARTHUR K. ATKINSON, (a) ANN ARBOR NO. 6 (59), is presently owned by Peterson Builders Inc. and is laid up at Kewaunee, Wisconsin. A developer, Don Hansen, who has built two motels and a marina at Two Rivers, Wisconsin, now would like to take the ATKINSON there and refurbish her as a tourist attraction with shops, staterooms and a restaurant aboard. At last report, Hansen was seeking private-sector funding for the purchase and refitting of the 71-year-old ferry.

Detroit city planner Alex Pollock announced, during February, plans to revive passenger ferry service between Detroit and Windsor. An unidentified private operator would run the service, making three trips per hour in peak periods with a 60-passenger boat, with a fare of $1.50 (U.S.) each way. However, it was not yet clear whether U.S. and Canadian customs and immigration authorities would agree to set up the facilities necessary for such a service.

It has been reported that, on February 22nd, the Cargill B-2 elevator at Duluth began to unload the storage grain cargo from the Interlake Steamship Company's 786-foot straight-decker JOHN SHERWIN. The interesting part about this is that the cargo of 830,729 bushels of barley had been held in the steamer since it was loaded at Cargill B-l elevator in September of 1986. The SHERWIN, built in 1958 and lengthened in 1973 (but never converted to a self-unloader as was her near-sister CHARLES M. BEEGHLY), last operated in the autumn of 1981, and is facing an extremely questionable future, for a straight-decker of her dimensions can no longer be considered to be economically viable, and the cost of a self-unloader conversion at this late date would appear to be prohibitive.


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