The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 2, n. 4 (January 1970)
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Jan 1970

Bascom, John N., Editor
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Meetings; Marine News; Ship of the Month No. 5; December Meeting; Federal Commerce And Navigation Company, Limited
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Jan 1970
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Toronto Marine Historical Society
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Meetings of the Toronto Marine Historical Society will be held Friday, January 9th, and Friday, February 6th, at the Marine Museum, at 8:00 p.m. The January meeting will be an open slide night.

Marine News

Shortly after being raised from the muddy bottom of Cleveland's Old River, the 66-year old carferry GRAND HAVEN was sold by T. J. McCarthy Steamship Company to Marine Salvage Ltd. of Port Colborne. Almost immediately she was resold to United Metals Ltd., Hamilton, and arrived at their yard on November 29th, in tow of the G. W. ROGERS and HERBERT A. Demolition is now underway.

Three more veteran lakers have arrived at Santander, Spain, for scrapping. The J. E. UPSON arrived on September 25th while PHILIP MINCH and HARRY Y. CROFT put in at the same Northern Spanish port on September 27th, 1969.

The canal tanker CONGAR, latterly owned by Johnstone Shipping Ltd., of Toronto, has been sold for service at Antigua, She departed Toronto on December 1st after being renamed ONG. We do not know yet whether she will carry petroleum products or water but we do know that her owner could surely have chosen a more imaginative name,

A new CONGAR will appear on the lakes next year. Johnstone Shipping Ltd. has purchased the 343-foot 1946-built tanker IMPERIAL HALIFAX from Imperial Oil Ltd. Used until recently on the East Coast, we understand that she has already been renamed and will enter the lakes next spring.

The Shell Oil tanker, TYEE SHELL, recently enlarged at Collingwood, has re-entered service as ARCTIC TRADER. She will spend the winter on the lakes and presumably will return to salt water come spring.

The scrapping of the self-unloading canaller BAYFAIR (a) COALHAVEN was completed during December at Hamilton by United Metals Ltd.

According to the Toronto Daily Star of December 17, 1969, Robert Schmon, President of the Ontario Paper Co., the parent company of the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. Ltd., and Comet Enterprises Ltd., has stated that the company will have disposed of all nine of its vessels "within two years." He attributed the decision to increasing toll rates on the Seaway and the lack of business for smaller ships.

The 1935-built Toronto ferry WILLIAM INGLIS returned home on December 5th after a 5-week visit to Port Weller Drydocks. Although normally in winter quarters by this time of the year, she went into service again almost immediately, taking the place of the usual winter boat, the ice-breaking (?) carferry, ONGIARA, which spent some time reposing on the pier at the Cousins Terminal while undergoing hull repairs. ONGIARA returned to service during Christmas week.

The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway's Lake Michigan carferry CITY OF FLINT 32, has been sold to the Norfolk & Western for the Detroit to Windsor service. She will be towed from her present berth at Ludington to Detroit where (you guessed it!) she will be stripped down to a barge. The Detroit River ferry service will soon undergo its annual trial by ice and the N. & W.'s barge operation will have its day of judgment.

The ALEXANDER LESLIE of Norlake Steamships Ltd., has made her last voyage. She passed down the Welland Canal on December 12th, 1969, enroute to the Trois Rivieres with grain, having been sold for scrapping to the same firm that purchased her late running mate MANITOBA. Her sale leaves Norlake without a ship.

An unusual visitor to the Welland Canal recently was CLIFFS VICTORY of the Cleveland Cliffs Steamship Co. which made a late trip down with ore for Dofasco in Hamilton. She passed up the canal again on December 20th, and will winter in Toledo.

The St. Lawrence Seaway closed for the season on December 15, the last commercial vessels to transit the waterway being QUEBECOIS downbound and LAKE TRANSPORT upbound. The Welland closed December 22nd but the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, will be open well into January.

The Chicago, Duluth & Georgian Bay Transit Co. is still involved in the business of going out of business! The facilities at Holland, Michigan, were recently sold. Meanwhile, the NEW Georgian Bay Line Inc., is moving its Cleveland office. President E. J. Goebel still hopes one of the Norwegian cruise ships from the Caribbean will be on the lakes in 1972.

At the time of writing, the Toronto Harbour winter fleet numbered thirty-nine vessels, as follows:




Ship of the Month No. 5 Peter Robertson

She Cheated the Scrappers ...

One of the most interesting developments of the Sixties has been the sale for scrap of a large number of our older vessels. Instead of being cut up in lake ports, many familiar ships have made the long voyage across the North Atlantic at the end of a tow line destined for European scrapyards. This movement first began in 1960 and, according to your editor's records, the PETER ROBERTSON was the ninetieth laker to be sold for scrapping overseas. She was also the eighth that never reached her destination.

The PETER ROBERTSON, originally named E. J. EARLING, was completed in May 1906, as Hull 514 of the Superior Shipbuilding Company, West Superior, Wisconsin. Her length was 535.5 feet, her beam 55 feet and her depth 31 feet, giving her a tonnage of 6657 gross and 5140 net. She was powered by triple expansion engines built by the Detroit Shipbuilding Co. She entered service for the Franklin Steamship Co., Herbert K. Oakes, Manager, and operated for them until sold in 1923 to the Kinney Steamship Company of Cleveland. The next year she was renamed ROBERT B. WALLACE.

In 1936 the ship was sold to the Wilson Transit Co., Cleveland, and she remained in their service until 1957 when she passed to the Republic Steel Corporation. The Wilson Marine Transit Company continued as operating managers, and in 1959 she was renamed PETER ROBERTSON. She was retired at the end of the 1968 season because of her small size and her coal-fired boilers and in retirement she joined her former running mate J. E. UPSON.

The ROBERTSON was sold early in 1969 to Sea-Land Service Inc., of New York and became what has been called a "box-top" ship. Her new owners traded her to the United States Maritime Administration in exchange for a unit of the reserve fleet which would be rebuilt and modernized. U. S. MarAd then sold her at auction to the Oxford Shipping Corp., representatives of European breakers.

On August 2nd, 1969, she passed down the Welland Canal in tow of the German tugs, FAIRPLAY X and FAIRPLAY XII. As the tugs were to return up the Lakes for another ship, they broke the law forbidding foreign tugs from breaking tow within Canadian waters and tied the ROBERTSON alongside the J. E. UPSON, also bound overseas, that was anchored in Lake Ontario off Port Dalhousie. On August 20th, in a strong easterly breeze, the ROBERTSON broke loose and grounded close inshore to the east of Jordan Harbour. The tugs could not free her and, when the Canadian Government became aware of the problem, they ordered that Canadian tugs would have to salvage the vessel and remove her from the Lakes, With much difficulty but with no damage, she was refloated on August 25th by DANIEL McALLISTER and SALVAGE MONARCH which took her all the way to Quebec City where she was readied for the long tow.

The FAIRPLAY X again took over the ship and on September 3rd the tandem tow of the ROBERTSON and the former Columbia craneship BUCKEYE, cleared port. They were reported passing Les Escoumains the following day. Once out in the Atlantic the ROBERTSON balked for the second time in the voyage and broke adrift from the tug which was hard pressed to recapture the wandering laker. The freighter had suffered rudder damage during the escapade and was forced to return to Sydney, Nova Scotia for repairs.

Some time later, the tug and two veteran lakers set out again and almost managed to cross the Atlantic successfully, only to have PETER ROBERTSON take on water and settle to the bottom near La Coruna, Spain, only a short distance from her destination of Santander, Full details of the occurrence are not yet known, but we understand that the ship has cracked amidships and has lost her unusual triple-deck bridge structure. Apparently before the ship's condition was fully realized, a Hamburg salvage firm was awarded a salvage contract and sent equipment to the scene but success would seem improbable if reports on the wreck are correct.

An old ship heading for the scrapyard usually looks pretty dead, but the PETER ROBERTSON must have had some life in her yet. Apparently determined not to be taken from her old stamping grounds, she reluctantly went to salt water but seems to have tried her best to avoid the cutting torch.

By the way, how many of our members can name the other seven lakers which have chosen the deep six over the scrapyards of Europe?

With the dates of loss, they are:

PERSEUS September 21st, 1961

ARCTURUS January 11th, 1962

W. WAYNE HANCOCK December 8th, 1962

FAYETTE BROWN December 5th, 1964

MOHAWK DEER November 5th, 1967

LAKETON January 13th, 1968

EDWARD Y. TOWNSEND October 7th, 1968

December Meeting

Those members who were present at our meeting of December 5th were treated to four excellent films concerning the winter ice problem on the St. Lawrence, fishing on the East Coast, the salvage and rescue operations of the Foundation Maritime Company, and shipbuilding in Japan. Our thanks to Fred Sankoff for arranging the loan of the films and to Dick George for serving as our projectionist.

Our Vice President, Reg Jones, outlined the plans for his firm, Ship's School Association, Inc., to charter the Lunenberg schooner, HARRY W. ADAMS, for cruises out of Toronto for Southern Ontario school children this coming summer. It was suggested that our Society could assist the historically important venture in many ways including the provision of members as tour guides. We hope to be able to charter the vessel for a Society meeting as well. A committee of Bruce Smith, Sandy Thomson and John Brannen will consider the matter and will be glad to hear from any interested persons. They may be contacted in care of the Editor.

Federal Commerce And Navigation Company, Limited

Fleet List and Short History

by Fred Sankoff

M. S. CHIOS: One of the many ships owned by the Livanos Group of companies on charter to Federal inbound on the Fedsea Line from the Far East arriving Toronto. Photo by Fred SankoffSome twenty-five years ago, saw the start of what is now one of the giants of the shipping industry. Federal Commerce & Navigation from the beginning, back in 1944, when Mr. Ernest Pathy set up a small office in Toronto, has come a long way over a quarter of a century to today's operations from its head office in the new Montreal Stock Exchange Building. This is the nerve centre for the world-wide operations of F.C.N., when during the height of the navigation season, some seventy-five ships are on charter with one million tons deadweight besides those that are owned by Federal or its affiliates.

FEDERAL VOYAGER: Upbound in the St. Lawrence passing Vercherres, Quebec, bound Montreal. Photo by Fred SankoffCertainly the company has made great strides with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Just a look around the Port of Toronto during the navigation season is an indicator of that. Steel from Antwerp being unloaded from the giant bulker, FEDERAL ST. LAURENT, owned by Belcan an F.C.N. affiliate; manufactured goods from Japan out of the hold of a new Freedom class ship like the KHIAN SAILOR a number of which are on charter to Federal Commerce. Rubber or plywood from the CHIOS, a Greek vessel also on charter just in from the Far East on the Fedsea Line, having called at such places as Keelung, Kachsiung, Hongkong, Singapore, to name a few.

When the Seaway closes, the charter fleet drops off to about 15 vessels and these operate mainly to the U.S. Gulf or East Coast for bulk cargoes. Most shippers, it seems, still prefer to handle their goods via the Seaway and thus arrange to bring the bulk of their goods in when it is open.

FEDERAL ST. LAURENT: Coming in off Lake Ontario, about to enter Port Weller Harbour. Photo by Fred SankoffFederal Commerce have always preferred to charter ships more or less tailored to suit the routes and cargoes to be handled. They vary in size from 7,000 tons single deckers, 12,000-16,000 tons 'tween deckers, up to and including the new FEDERAL SCHELDE and ST. LAURENT which are in the 33,000 DWT class. While the ships carry varied cargoes into the Lakes from the four corners of the globe, generally the cargo out is grain, except those that are on the Fedcom Service to Australia from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River ports.

A country such as Canada, bounded by the Atlantic on the East and the Pacific on the West, and with our great inland Lakes, that Federal today is the only large Canadian ocean-going operator either of owned or chartered ships to fully utilize our ports and natural waterways.

Ship-Owning Companies

Far Eastern Shipping Limited

Belcan S. A. (75% owned)

Cobelar S. A. (75% owned)

Federal Commerce & Navigation Co. Ltd.

Federal Terminals Limited

Two ships now being built in Japanese shipyards are owned by F. E. S. Belcan owns the FEDERAL SCHELDE and FEDERAL ST. LAURENT. Cobelar formerly owned the PATIGNIES.

The Fleet 1947-1969

1. FEDERAL MARINER (1947-1950) - FCN - 2895 gross, 1658 net, 4700 DWT. 315'5" x 46'5" x 22'9". Blt. 4-1945 as EVANGELINE PARK. Blt. by Foundation Maritime, Pictou, N. S. Sold to Brazil 1950 (a) SANTA MONICA (b) 1954 NAVEM MONICA.

2. FEDERAL PIONEER (l) - (1947-1950) - FCN - 2964 gross, 1635 net, 4700 DWT; 315'5" x 46'5" x 23'0". Blt. 6-1945 as BELL PARK. Blt by G. T. Davie & Son Ltd., Lauzon, Quebec. Sold to Brazil 1950, renamed SANTA HELENA.

3. FEDERAL TRADER (1947-1951) - FCN - 286l gross, 1658 net, 4700 DWT; 315'5" x 46'5" x 23'0". Blt 5-1943 as LANSDOWNE PARK. Blt by G.T.Davie & Son, Ltd., Lauzon, Quebec. (a) 1951 PROVINCIAL TRADER (b) 1951 GANDER BAY (c) 1955 ATLAWILL (d) 1958 CARIBBEAN TRADER. Stranded total loss as the S.S. CARIBBEAN TRADER, July 6, 1963, on the Alacan Reef north of Progresso, Mexico.

4. FEDERAL VOYAGER (1947-1961) - FCN - 7140 gross, 4410 net, 10,776 DWT; 441'6" x 57'2" x 27' 8 1/2". Blt 9-1944 as FORT EDMONTON. Builder, Burrard D.D.Co., Ltd., Vancouver, B. C. Sold for scrapping in Japan, 1961 (Chiba).

5. FEDERAL EXPLORER (1955-1960) - FCN - 2057 gross, 1168 net, 2935 DWT; 263'0" x 43'2" x 16'6". Blt 10-1922 by Frazer Brace Ltd., Three Rivers, Que., (a) 1922 FRANK A. AUGSBURY (b) GRANBY '26 (c) PARITA '45 (d) VALBRUNA '51 (e) LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL '52. Sold 1960 to Greek interest, renamed ITHAKA. Stranded in Hudson Bay, September 14, 1960.

6. FEDERAL PIONEER (2) (1958- ) Federal Terminals - 7158 gross, 4308 net, 10,697 DWT; 441'5" x 57'1" x 27' 8 1/2". Blt 9-1944 as OUTREMONT PARK. Builder United Shipyards Ltd., Montreal, Que. (a) 1946 BRAZILIAN PRINCE.

7. FEDERAL MONARCH (1959-1962) - Federal Petroleum Tankers - 26,912 gross, 17,072 net, 41,245 DWT; 710' 2" x 96' 5" x 36'. Blt 1959 by Davie S.S. Ltd., Levis, Que. Sold 1962 to Maple Leaf Mills. Managed by Leif Hoegh & Co. Inc., New York, on long term charter to Imperial Oil. Sold 1965 to Oswego Unity Corp. and renamed OSWEGO UNITY.

8. FEDERAL EXPRESS (1960- ) FCN - 1040 gross, 574 net; 209'3" x 33'2" x 18'0". Blt 1944 as H.M.C. WEST YORK, Midland S.B.Co. Ltd. (a) EXPRESSO '60 (b) MOULAY BOUCHALB '53 (c) GUATEMALA '46. Sunk in St. Lawrence River at Montreal, P.Q., May 5, 1960 after collision with a Swedish freighter.

9. FEDERAL BEAVER (1960-1965) - Federal Terminals - 182 gross, 55 net; 95'5" x 27'9". Blt 6-1962 by Russell Bros. Ltd., Owen Sound, Ontario (tug), based at Port Cartier to assist ore carriers. Sold in 1965 to Quebec Cartier Mining Co., renamed MANICOUGAN.

10. SEAWAY STAR (1960-1966) - Fed. Sea Equipment Ltd., 10,635 gross, 6629 net; 523' x 67'8" x 29'0 1/2". Blt 1949 by Furness S. B. Co. Ltd. Originally built as a tanker and converted to a bulker in 1960 (a) ELEONORA MAERSK '49 (b) JANINA '58 (c) DEALMOUTH '62. Sold by FCN 1966 to Aaron Maritime Co., Liberia; renamed FRIEDA.

11. FEDERAL HUSKY (1962-1965) - FCN - 3525 gross, 2508 net; 379' x 46' x 26'. Reblt 1928-1929 Collingwood Shipyards, Collingwood, Ont. Built originally as barge; converted to lake freighter in 1907. Operated by Algoma Central & Hudson Bay R. R. until wrecked on Manitoulin Island, December 10, 1927. Salvaged in 1928 and rebuilt at Collingwood 1929. Returned to service in 1929 as the ROBERT P. DURHAM, owned by Arrow Steamships, Toronto. (J. E. Russell of Toronto and R. A. Campbell of Montreal). Sold 1940 to Quebec and Ontario Transportation Co., and renamed HERON BAY. Purchased in 1962 by FCN and sold by them in 1965 for scrap. Arrived Bilbao, Spain, November 26, 1965.

12. PATIGNIES (1962-1969) Cobelar S.A., Antwerp - 14,176 gross, 10,959 net, 21,400 DWT; 600'3" x 75'5" x 30'7". Blt 1962 by J. Boel & Fils, Tamis. Sold Greek 1969.

13. FEDERAL SCHELDE (1967- ) Belcan S.A., 19,645 gross, 14,012 net, 33,000 DWT; 681'0" x 75'3". Blt 1967 by Cockerill Yd., Hoboken. One of the largest bulk carriers on the Lakes.

14. FEDERAL NIAGARA (1968- ) FCN - 15,961 gross, 14,084 net, 27,000 DWT; 579'10" x 81'6" x 32'0". Blt 1968 Osaka Zosensho, Osaka.

15. FEDERAL ST. LAURENT (1968- ) Belcan S.A., 19,644 gross, 14,012 net, 33,000 DWT; 681'0" x 75'3". Blt 1968 by Cockerill Yd., Hoboken.

16. YARD NO. 298, Far Eastern Shipping Ltd., 18,500 DWT. 479' x 74'10" x 30'. Builder, Osaka Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., Osaka. Delivery December 1969.

17. YARD NO. 299 - Far Eastern Shipping Ltd. - 18,500 DWT. 479' x 74'10" x 30'. Builder Osaka Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., Osaka. Delivery February 1970.

Vessels on Charter to F.C.N. into the Great Lakes

During the 1969 Season




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Scanner, v. 2, n. 4 (January 1970)

Meetings; Marine News; Ship of the Month No. 5; December Meeting; Federal Commerce And Navigation Company, Limited