Marine News

Table of Contents

Title Page
The Editor's Notebook
Marine News
Ship of the Month No. 164 Yankcanuck (I)
Islander/Bruce Revisited
Seaway Ocean Vessels
Vessel Passages
Table of Illustrations

The prospects for the 1988 navigation season on the lakes appear far better than for any other recent year. Things are somewhat improved on the U.S. side, where heavier movements of ore are expected. On the Canadian side, the grain trade should be exceptional. Virtually every operable ship will be pressed into service, and the rush should last well into the mid-summer season. The acquisition of the Halco bulk carriers by the Paterson, Misener, and C.S.L. fleets will not result in idleness amongst any other ships of those companies, as originally had been feared, as there is grain enough to keep all of the ships occupied.

The U.S. Soo Locks opened for the 1988 season on March 22nd, with a plethora of Algoma Central Marine ships passing through on the first day of business. The first upbound vessel was ALGOWEST, followed closely by ALGOCAPE and ALGOMARINE, while ALGOWOOD won the honour of being the first downbounder.

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened for traffic on March 29th. The first upbound ship was JOHN A. FRANCE, which had wintered at St. Lambert with a transit cargo of ore. The second upbounder was the Misener ocean-laker CANADA MARQUIS, also bound into the lakes with ore. The Welland Canal officially opened on March 30 with the downbound passage of ALGOWOOD. The Welland could not be opened earlier because of its extensive winter maintenance programme, and the opening was further complicated by the need for emergency work to shore up the west tie-up wall above Lock One after a large section of that wharf collapsed into the dewatered canal on February 24th. Even so, only temporary repairs could be completed and permanent repair has had to be deferred until a more convenient time.

In the March issue, we mentioned that OTTERCLIFFE HALL and LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL, purchased from the Royal Bank of Canada and the defunct Halco fleet by Misener Shipping, would be renamed (d) R. PETER MISENER and (b) DAVID K. GARDINER, respectively. Since that time, it has become evident that the name painted on OTTERCLIFFE HALL is, in fact, only PETER MISENER, and it would seem that the first initial, normally used by the president of Misener Holdings Ltd., does not form part of the ship's new name. Difficulties were encountered in fitting out PETER MISENER, and we understand that considerable engine work was required to put the ship's machinery in proper working order. Meanwhile, the necessary repairs were put in hand at Sorel during the winter to overcome the turbine woes which were suffered during 1987 by SCOTT MISENER, although we do not have confirmation of the actual source of the necessary parts for the high-pressure turbine. A March 15th Lloyd's report also indicated that SCOTT MISENER required repairs to some of the principal tubes in the port boiler, but this work also was completed before SCOTT MISENER entered service upon the opening of the Seaway.

Last issue, we mentioned the troubles that occurred when L'ORME NO. 1 was attempting to land at the St. Romuald dock of the Ultramar Refinery near Quebec City. In fact, the accident actually occurred on February 1st (not January 25th as we had been led to believe), and the damage sustained by the ship and the dock were far more extensive than originally thought. The impact, which occurred during foggy conditions, caused a rupture of piping on the pier and a fire ensued, which severely damaged the forward section of the tanker as well as the wharf. The fully-loaded ENERCHEM TRAVAILLEUR, which was moored at the dock when the accident occurred, emerged unscathed. The wharf was closed for almost two weeks and did not resume operations until 13th February. L'ORME NO. 1 was taken to Montreal, arriving at the Shell Oil dock on February 5th, and was shifted to the "Old Port" two days later for repairs. L'ORME NO. 1 finally went back into service on 2nd March. It should be noted that, when the tanker collided with the Ultramar dock in the fog, C.C.G.S. DES GROSEILLIERS attempted to render assistance, but herself hit the pier, although she was not involved in the fire.

In the February issue, we outlined the troubles which beset the scrap tow of the former Columbia Transportation straight-deck bulk carriers THOMAS WILSON and ASHLAND, which were en route to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in tandem with the tugs REMBERTITURM and OSA RAVENSTURM. The WILSON parted her towline on December 30, 1987, and was lost at sea. ASHLAND made it to Bermuda and grounded there on January 16. ASHLAND was freed on January 20 but it would appear that the bottom damage which she suffered was so severe that the original tow could not be resumed. Bermuda has no facilities suitable for repairs of the type which ASHLAND required, and so it was decided that the former laker be resold to breakers more conveniently situated than those to which the steamer originally was destined. A Lloyd's report, dated February 25th from Cartagena, confirmed that ASHLAND arrived on February 5, 1988, at Mamonal, Colombia, for dismantling there. Neither the tugs which brought ASHLAND to Mamonal, nor the shipbreakers to which she was consigned, have been identified as yet.

In an earlier issue, we commented upon the mid-winter departure of C.S.L.'s self-unloader NANTICOKE from her Montreal berth, and her subsequent conversion to "Caribbean Class" at Halifax. Now, we understand that she has been re-registered in the Bahamas, and thus she joins ATLANTIC SUPERIOR and the HON. PAUL MARTIN under the Bahamian flag.

In a very surprising move, Misener Shipping flagged-out its big ocean-laker SELKIRK SETTLER (built in 1983 at Govan Shipyards, Glasgow) to Isle of Man registry during March 1988. The vessel now carries a Canadian master and chief engineer, Indian officers and engineers, and a Hong Kong crew. It is questionable whether she will appear in the lakes whilst under this unusual registry. Meanwhile, the two Yugoslav salties which Misener Shipping has time-chartered for 1988, PETKA and MALINSKA, will both sail into the lakes during May with cargoes of steel. Each of the ships (similar to Misener's own ocean-lakers) will carry grain cargoes back out of the Great Lakes.

A report in "The Globe and Mail", Toronto, on March 28th, indicated that the Canadian government is giving consideration to the creation of a second registry of shipping in order to allow Canadian vessel operators the opportunity to form companies which could compete against foreign rivals with low wages and tax rates. The ships of this second registry, and their crews, would not be subject to corporate or individual taxes, but any funds transferred as dividends to the Canadian parent firm would be taxable. Presumably, the availability of such a "Canadian foreign" registry would eliminate the need for Canadian shipping lines to "flag out" their vessels to foreign registries in order to compete in deep-sea trades.

Despite the fact that ENDERS M. VOORHEES did not arrive at her Turkish destination, Aliaga, on the tow from Algeciras, Spain, THOMAS W. LAMONT did complete the tow in safety. In our March issue, we reported that LAMONT had departed Algeciras on December 15 in tow of the Greek tug EVEREST, but we did not have her arrival date. It is now confirmed that the LAMONT put in at Aliaga on December 27th. Of course, EVEREST returned to Algeciras to fetch the VOORHEES, and lost her on Kithnos Island in the Cyclades on January 24. Incidentally, for those who have wondered, Aliaga is located about half-way down the Aegean Sea shoreline of western Turkey. It is on the Candarli Kor, somewhat to the north of Izmir, and to the southeast of the lower tip of the Greek Island of Lesbos.

On Wednesday, March 2nd, guests at the Holiday Inn on the Windsor waterfront received an unusually close view of shipping on the Detroit River. The hotel always has boasted a good view of the river, but things got rather out of hand when, shortly after noon that day, the Norfolk Southern Railroad's tug R. G. CASSIDY suffered a steering failure whilst crossing the river with one of the railroad's carfloat barges which was loaded with railway cars. The tug/barge combination (we are not sure which of the barges it was) ran right into the hotel and badly damaged a 65-foot section of the Inn's walkway. Concrete pillars were chipped and a room window was broken, although fortunately the room's occupants were not there at the time of the impact. The hotel was ordered evacuated for about twenty minutes, although there were no injuries, and the hotel did not appear to have suffered any major structural problems.

The Canada Steamship Lines straight-deck bulk carrier T. R. McLAGAN now has been lying idle for three full seasons. The steamer laid up at Kingston on November 3, 1984, and was towed up to Toronto in the autumn of 1987. Since then, she has been used for the storage of soya beans for Victory Mills but the future has not looked rosy. The vessel is alleged to have suffered turbine damage when C.S.L. tried to fit her out in the autumn grain rush of 1986, and the fit-out was immediately terminated. It recently had been suggested that McLAGAN likely would soon be sold for scrapping, although there was some thought that she might be used as a museum at Midland, the place where she was built. T. R. McLAGAN was built in 1954 as Hull 37 of Midland Shipyards Ltd., 694.3 (714.5 overall) x 70.0 x 37.1, 15500 Gross and 11271 Net. However, late reports indicate that the McLAGAN will sail again, for she is being chartered by the P & H Shipping Division of Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd. It apparently will be a term of the deal that the McLAGAN will sail for two years in C.S.L. colours (presumably under her current name) before being given the P & H livery. The McLAGAN was the first 700-foot laker, and we are indeed pleased that she will return to active service.

We have received confirmation that the new C.S.L. deep-sea self-unloader, which is under construction at the yard of Verolme do Brasil for delivery in April 1989, will be 682.4 x 105.0 x 43 = 8, 68350 dwt. She will be powered by a 16,320 BHP Sulzer diesel and will have a service speed of 13 knots. The design of the ship is based largely on that of the Govan-designed "Panamax" bulker PACIFIC PEACE which, as (b) ATLANTIC HURON, is presently being converted to a self-unloader for C.S.L. by Verolme do Brasil. Delivery of the 62700 dwt. conversion is scheduled for the summer of 1988, at which time the ship will be renamed (c) CSL INNOVATOR. No name has yet been announced for the new hull under construction.

On March 2, "The Journal of Commerce" reported that efforts of the fledgling Milwaukee Liner Service to establish a regular container trade into the lakes were dashed when the salty ISLAND QUEEN sank in the North Atlantic late in 1987. The service, which began operating in mid-1987 with the container carrier ATLANTIS, was intended to move containers between Milwaukee and Antwerp on monthly sailings, and was to handle break-bulk cargoes as well. The article suggested that the future of the line was in severe jeopardy as a result of the loss of ISLAND QUEEN, which it said was carrying 2,500 tons of lumber, loaded at "Ontario" for Antwerp, when she sank in a storm that caused the cargo to shift. The report also stated that a large amount of the cargo had washed ashore on the west coast of Ireland. We must admit that we have no record of this ship having been in the lakes at all during 1987! The February 1988 issue of the World Ship Society's "Marine News" reported that ISLAND QUEEN was (a) ISLA DEL ATLANTICO (82), (b) LUISA DEL CARIBE (85), (c) PETEN (87), 2523 Gross Tons, built in 1970. The motorship container carrier, owned by Manora Island Shipping Co. Ltd., Panama, was abandoned by her crew on December 27, 1987, in position 51.12 N., 22.02 W., after taking on a heavy list during bad weather whilst on a voyage from Canada to Ellesmere Port. Subsequent searches found no trace of the vessel. The report from "The Journal of Commerce" indicated that the ship's crew of fourteen had been rescued by an East German fishing vessel. This whole story strikes us as being extremely odd and, on top of everything else, we wonder how such a small ship could possibly have succeeded in the type of service allegedly intended for her.

In respect of the loss on December 3rd, 1987, of VACATIONLAND (60), (b) JACK DALTON (62), (c) PERE NOUVEL {67), (d) SUNSHINE COAST QUEEN, we now are given to understand that the former Straits of Mackinac auto and passenger ferry actually did bear the name (e) GULF KANAYAK on an official basis. The ship, which carried Canadian registry number 313942, appeared under that name in the 1987 Canadian List of Shipping. Thus it would seem that the only name that never was registered was (f) CANARCTIC EXPLORER, although that name had been painted on the ship at some point in time before she departed on her ill-starred final voyage.

For the fifth year running, the motorship STEPHEN B. ROMAN officially opened the navigation season at the port of Toronto, arriving with a cargo of cement from Picton on March 23rd. (The ROMAN had earlier wintered at Toronto.) Unfortunately, on the morning of the same day that the ship opened the port for 1988, there occurred the death at his home of the vessel's namesake. Stephen Roman, age 66 at the time of his passing, was chief executive and chairman of Denison Mines Ltd., and over the years he had become one of Canada's most successful entrepreneurs.

Two other lakers running early this season were S. T. CRAPO (a perennial season-opener), which sailed from Toledo for Alpena on March 17, and AMERICAN REPUBLIC, which began the Lorain to Cleveland ore shuttle on March 15. In fact, on the afternoon of March 17, Ye Ed., returning from a vacation in warmer climes, observed AMERICAN REPUBLIC in the Cuyahoga River when our plane flew over Cleveland.

Those observers who thought it unlikely that plans to move the long-idle passenger steamer AQUARAMA to Port Stanley, Ontario, would materialize, may be proven correct. As time passes, it seems less likely that the move will ever take place. A consortium of investors purchased AQUARAMA in 1987 and planned to tow her from Muskegon to Port Stanley for use as a combined hotel/restaurant/nightclub/convention facility. The consortium, however, has run into problems securing official approval for a site to moor the big ship in the small port, and there is much disagreement over who is to pay for improved roadways, increased sewage facilities, etc. As well, the new owners have sought remission of import duties involved in bringing the vessel into Canada, something which the federal authorities have been loath to approve.

It has been reported that the passenger ferry BLOCK ISLAND, which was taken from the east coast to Buffalo, late in 1987, for use on a revived service to Crystal Beach, will be renamed (e) AMERICANA (II). If so, the 1926-built motorship will bear a name which has not been seen in Buffalo since 1928, when the original AMERICANA, the 1908-built sistership of CANADIANA, went off to salt water. The first AMERICANA was scrapped at Baltimore in 1953, and CANADIANA is now lying at Buffalo, awaiting possible restoration after a quarter-century of idleness.

It would appear that the venerable sailing vessel VICTORY CHIMES may be on the lakes again in 1988. During 1987, she left Duluth, and she was removed from the lakes last autumn after bankruptcy proceedings involving her former owner. In January, however, the 173-foot three-master was acquired by Tom Monaghan, the proprietor of the Dominos Pizza chain of Michigan pizza parlours. It is said that VICTORY CHIMES, which will be refurbished on the east coast before her return to fresh water, will operate in conjunction with the affiliated Dominos Lodge on Drummond Island.

By the time these words appear in print, there will probably be some resolution to the confused situation concerning the American lake grain trade and the involvement in it of Kinsman Lines Inc. Readers will recall that, late in 1987. Kinsman sold for scrapping its 1910-built steamer MERLE M. McCURDY. As well, the 1923-built KINSMAN INDEPENDENT (II) was laid up in the Frog Pond at Toledo at the close of the 1987 season (not a good sign) and it is said that the cost of putting this ship into operable condition for the new season would be prohibitive. These developments appear to leave the Kinsman fleet with only HENRY STEINBRENNER (IV) ready for service. During the winter months, it has been suggested that Kinsman was in the act of obtaining the 36-year-old steamer ERNEST R. BREECH from the Rouge Steel Company and/or the 6l-year-old HARRY COULBY from the Interlake Steamship Company. The latter ship was drydocked at Superior for a week, and this fuelled the speculation. It will be very interesting to see what happens, particularly if the COULBY should be taken over by the Steinbrenner fleet, for Kinsman and Interlake have for many years been competitors in the U.S. lake grain trade, and it would previously have been considered unlikely that any vessel would move from one fleet to the other.

One of the victims of the poor conditions existing in the upper lakes ore trade in recent years has been the Inland Steel Company's big straight-deck steamer EDWARD L. RYERSON, which last ran in 1985 and which spent the 1986 and 1987 seasons lying idle at Indiana Harbor. The RYERSON, 714.0 x 75.1 x 34.5. 12170 Gross and 7637 Net, with an overall length of 730.0 feet, was built in 1960 at Manitowoc as Hull 425 of Manitowoc Shipbuilding Inc. With her avant-garde design accentuated by Inland's stylish colour scheme, and with her extensive guest accommodations, EDWARD L. RYERSON became one of the most popular modern lake vessels. She has, however, been far surpassed in size by newer ships, and her economic viability has suffered from the fact that she never was equipped with self-unloading gear. In fact, during 1987, it even was said that the RYERSON might soon be sold for scrapping. With a general upturn now occurring in the U.S. steel business, Inland decided that it would require the RYERSON's cargo capacity for the 1988 season and, much to the delight of all observers, the steamer was given an early fit-out. We understand that EDWARD L. RYERSON was out and running by March 25th.

Observers had been wondering what would happen to the uncompleted tug and barge which last year were purchased from Wedtech Corp. after lying for many years at the yard of the defunct Upper Peninsula Shipbuilding Company at Ontonagon, Michigan. The tug had been moved to Houghton, while the barge remained at the shipyard. Now, however, it would appear that nothing good is to come of the deal. The purchaser of the vessels was a company called Ontonagon Barge Lines, but its two principals are now in extremely hot water. Eugene Fisher of Miami and Kay Bell of San Francisco were both arrested recently by the F.B.I. and charged with importing and/or conspiring to distribute extremely large quantities of marijuana, and the two are to be tried at Benton, Illinois.

With extremely satisfactory results achieved in engineering as well as economic feasibility studies, the restoration of the double-ended sidewheel ferry G. A. BOECKLING will now begin to move ahead again. During the spring, the steamer will be towed to the shipyard at Toledo, where she will be drydocked for the next step of the project. Under the direction of Friends of the Boeckling Inc., not only will the ferry's hull and cabins be restored, but it also is hoped to have a replacement steam engine built for her so that eventually she may actually be returned to active service. It will be recalled that it was back in 1982 that the BOECKLING, idle for three decades, was towed back to Sandusky, Ohio, from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

On March 9th, two mobile cranes succeeded in raising the 46-foot tug KATE B. which earlier had sunk on the east side of the elevator wharf in Collingwood harbour. The Pitts Engineering Corporation (owner of the tug) and the Canadian Coast Guard had reached an agreement to leave the tug on the bottom until springtime, when Pitts' own equipment could be used to lift her, but the raising of the tug was rushed ahead when it became evident that fuel oil was leaking from the vessel despite efforts to remove it safely from her bunkers. Transport Canada was investigating the cause of the tug's sinking.

The salty CAPETAN YIANNIS finally cleared Quebec on March 6th, bound for Alexandria. The last salty out of the Seaway in 1987, she was at the Lauzon shipyard for the repair of extensive damage suffered at Milwaukee on December 15, but her departure from the St. Lawrence was delayed when ill-advised efforts to turn over the engine while the ship was lying in heavy ice caused additional damage which had to be fixed before CAPETAN YIANNIS could sail.

One of the first few ships to use the Soo locks this season was the tanker ENERCHEM REFINER, which locked upbound on March 24. It was noted, however, that she was loaded past her marks, and she was made to wait on the upper centre pier for Coast Guard inspection. After being found in violation of load restrictions, ENERCHEM REFINER went to the Algoma Steel plant to unload 400 tons of cargo, and she then was permitted to sail for Taconite Harbor, her original destination.


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