The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Stephen Clement (Propeller), U202987, collision, 5 May 1911

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      Down Bound In Lower Detroit River When Rammed By The STEPHEN CLEMENT.
Detroit, May 5. -- The steel steamer FISHER was sunk early today opposite Wyandotte, in the lower Detroit River, in a collision with the steamer STEPHEN CLEMENT, of Cleveland. Chief engineer W.W. Auhl and steward Louis Sugden and Sugden's wife, who was assistant steward, are missing and are believed to have been drowned.
      The FISHER sank with a big hole amidships in a few minutes. A boat from the CLEMENT rescued the remainder of the FISHER's crew who jumped overboard in their night clothing.
      The ERWIN L. FISHER was a steel steamer, 220 feet long with 40 feet beam and 15 feet depth and was built in 1910. She was owned by the Argo Steamship Company of Cleveland.
      The FISHER was down-bound and the CLEMENT up-bound and the two vessels crashed together off Grassy Island. The big CLEMENT, 480 feet long, struck the smaller steamer bow on, amidship and tore a great hole in her hull. While the crew of the FISHER, awakened by the shock of the collision were tumbling from their berths and running to the rail to jump overboard their vessel turned on her side and went to the bottom.
      Engineer Auhl is believed to have been trapped in the engine room, while Steward Sugden and wife are supposed to have been drowned in their cabin.
      The FISHER lies in 16 feet of water. The survivors of her crew were brought to Detroit by the CLEMENT.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Friday, May 5, 1911

      . . . . .

      Vessel Which Sank The FISHER In Detroit River Here For Repairs.
      Investigation By Steamboat Inspectors.
      The steamer S.M. CLEMENT, the survivor of the collision in which the steamer ERWIN L. FISHER went to the bottom of Detroit River last Thursday, was led up Buffalo River this morning to the Buffalo Dry-dock, where she was placed for repairs. A badly smashed stem and a number of damaged plates were the visible evidences of the collision in which three people lost their lives. The damages are not believed to be serious although the vessel has been badly strained. The CLEMENT has been unloading at the docks of the Buffalo & Susquehanna Coal & Iron Company. Tomorrow the steamboat inspectors will make an investigation of the wreck.
      "Yes, the Detroit office has requested us to make an investigation of the matter," said steamboat inspector Nojan this morning. "It is out of the jurisdiction of the Detroit office."
      The investigation will be begun tomorrow according to present plans. Not only will the United States inspectors make a thorough examination, but the officers and crew of the vessel who are now in town will be put through a rigid cross-examination concerning the accident, in order that the blame, if there is any, may be fixed. The members of the crew, of course, have nothing to say about the affair.
      The FISHER, now lying in 15 feet of water off Wyandotte, has been abandoned by the owners to the underwriters as a total loss. Her cargo of steel rails will very likely have to be lightened before she can be raised. Bids for raising were submitted yesterday by Capt. Cunning of the Great Lakes Towing Company, the Reid Wrecking Company and the Hackett Wrecking Company. Capt. Cunning's bid was lowest at $39,000 or 40 per cent of the value of the property recovered. The raising of the FISHER may become as much of a difficulty as that of the RICHARDSON with this difference--the FISHER lies almost directly in the channel of the river but the high seas of the lakes will not have to be countered in the raising operations.
      Buffalo Evening News
      Tuesday, May 9, 1911

Steam screw S.M. CLEMENT. U. S. No. 202087. Of 5,821 tons gross; 4,487 tons net. Built Lorain, Ohio, 1905. Home port, Cleveland, Ohio. 480.0 x 52.0 x 30.0 Freight service. Crew of 23. Steel built. Of 500 indicated horsepower.
      Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1911

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Reason: collision
Lives: nil
Remarks: Repaired
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Michigan, United States
    Latitude: 42.21421 Longitude: -83.14992
William R. McNeil
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Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Stephen Clement (Propeller), U202987, collision, 5 May 1911