The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 3, n. 2 (November 1970)
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Nov 1970

Bascom, John N., Editor
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Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; You Tell Us; Delta Queen - A Question Mark; Vessel Passages; The History Of The Gdynia America Shipping Lines Co. Ltd.
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Nov 1970
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Friday, November 6th - Annual Fall Dinner Meeting.

Friday, December 4th - Film on Shipbuilding to be followed by an open show of members' colour slides.

The Editor's Notebook

With this issue we are starting another series of printed photo pages which we trust will appeal to our readers. In the near future, we hope to include not only pictures in connection with our fleet lists, but also some that are associated with current news items or our feature articles.

We are also resuming our regular fleet lists and we kick off this series with a history, by our President, of Gydnia America Lines one of the companies serving the Port of Montreal. As with Volume II, we shall be alternating lake and ocean fleet lists since this will give us an opportunity of pleasing both our fresh and salt water fans. We have already started work on the other fleet lists to be used this year, but if any of our readers have fleets which they would like to see written up in this newsletter, we would be pleased to prepare something for a later issue.

A lot of work goes into the preparation of each issue of SCANNER and accordingly we would like to thank those who have provided articles, information or moral support. In addition to the Society's Executive, our thanks go to Dave Glick, John Greenwood, Capt. John Leonard, Paul Sherlock, John Vournakis, Bill Luke, Skip Gillham, Capt. Dick Farley, and Betty Blake Simcox (Greene Line Steamers, Inc.), also to Dick Turner

Marine News

Unfortunately, we must now report one of the saddest news items that has come our way in a long time. We have recently learned that the veteran Paterson steamer ONTADOC, has been sold for scrap and passed down the Welland Canal for the last time on October 14th with a cargo of grain for Quebec. It has not yet been confirmed whether she will go overseas this autumn, nor have we the identity of her buyers. ONTADOC was the last conventional steamer in the Paterson fleet and had lately become something of a symbol of the many vessels of her type which have been gradually disappearing from the scene over the past few years. Her last seasons have been spent mainly on the coal run to Toronto and Hamilton from Lake Erie. In memory of ONTADOC, we hereby declare a one month period of mourning for the Toronto Marine Historical Society. During this period, all members shall, upon rising and before retiring daily, face in the direction of the Weaver Coal Dock in Toronto and read aloud the profile of the steamer that appeared in Vol. II, No. 2 (November 1969) of this publication.

The Hall Corp. tanker GULF TRANSPORT passed down the Welland Canal for the last time on Saturday, October 24, en route to Montreal where she was decommissioned. It is said that she has been sold to Italian buyers and that she will soon be leaving for the Mediterranean under her own power. GULF TRANSPORT originally sailed as BRITAMOCO for the British American Oil Co. Ltd., and was the last unit to operate on the lakes from amongst the fleet of four conventional steam canal tankers purchased by Halco from Gayport Shipping Ltd. in 1959.

Earlier in the year, we reported details of the takeover by Neonex International Ltd of Maple Leaf Mills Ltd., and the resultant change in the position of Upper lakes Shipping Ltd. Neonex has now stated that it has failed to complete the necessary transactions. No details have been announced, but we understand that negotiations are continuing.

The misfortunes of the Hall Corporation seem to be continuing without respite. On September 23 the self-unloader OREFAX grounded on a small, rocky island in the St. Lawrence River west of Brockville. She was released with some difficulty, several days later. The exact cause of the mishap has not been made public, but early reports suggested that engine problems had arisen.

The Toronto ferry SAM McBRIDE left under her own power on Friday, October 16th, bound for Whitby for her regular drydocking and inspection. Unfortunately, she suffered a mechanical failure shortly after leaving Toronto Harbour and had to be taken to her destination by the tug, G. W. ROGERS. The McBRIDE, built in 1939, has long been the mainstay of the ferry service but this year was relegated to the position of spare boat as a result of engine difficulties. She was last on drydock three years ago at which time the job was done at Port Dalhousie.

Speaking of the drydock at Whitby, we understand that it was the destination of INLAND TRANSPORT when she was towed from Toronto on August 3rd. The tanker was refitted and cleared on August 15th. Despite our fears as expressed in a previous issue, the tanker has operated ever since.

Not only are upper lake operators preparing for a long season, but it seems that the ships will be running late in our area as well. It has been announced that the closing date for the Welland Canal has been extended from December 22nd to the 31st of the month, the latest closing date ever. Operation will continue on a day-to-day basis until January 7th depending on traffic and weather conditions.

One of the fleets planning on keeping vessels running well into January is U.S. Steel. However, two of the company's ships headed for an early lay-up. WILLIAM A. McGONAGLE, built in 1916 at Ecorse, cracked her propeller shaft during September and went to South Chicago for repairs. The job done, she was towed on October 6th by LEON FRASER to a lay-up berth in Milwaukee. WILLIAM B. SCHILLER of 1910, will also remain idle after repairs necessitated by her backing into the South Chicago breakwater. She was towed to Milwaukee by PHILIP R. CLARKE.

Several smaller American carriers have headed in early also. The Wilson steamers, A. E. NETTLETON and EDWARD S. KENDRICK went to the wall in Buffalo with grain storage cargoes in mid-October and the Kinsman veteran, UHLMANN BROTHERS, went on the Toledo drydock on September 26th and has since laid up. The busy Canadian grain trade has kept most of the ships in operation on our side of the border but one exception is ROYALTON which laid up with storage in Hamilton during October.

We previously reported that the bulk carrier, RUTH HINDMAN, had been sold to Marine Salvage Ltd. for scrapping. We now learn that this was not the case and that no formal sale was completed pending the results of her survey which was due at the beginning of August. Apparently as a result of the flourishing grain trade, she received monthly extensions and did not go on the drydock at Port Weller until the week of October 19th. Her future will therefore depend on her condition as revealed by inspection.

It has been confirmed that ELIZABETH HINDMAN was sold to Hyman-Michaels Co. for scrapping and that she will be broken up by the company's Duluth Iron & Metal Division.

At Hamilton, work has started on the cutting up of the canaller, MANCOX. Still intact as of last reporting were GRAEME STEWART, MANZZUTTI, BAYGEORGE and RIVERSHELL.

The Interstate Commerce Commission has been petitioned by two railroads for permission to reduce their ferry services across Lake Michigan and thus avoid duplication of runs which both maintain. The Chesapeake and Ohio wants to drop the service between Ludington and Kewaunee while the Ann Arbor would end runs between Frankfort and Manitowoc. The end result would be that C & O would retain two cross-lake services and the Ann Arbor would operate one.

It has been reported that Erie Marine Inc. will soon begin construction of a second 1000-foot self-unloader at its Erie, Pennsylvania, shipyard. The vessel, unlike Hull 101 now being built for Bethlehem Steel, will be a conventional self-unloader and should be completed during the winter of 1971-72. No announcement of the identity of the firm for which the ship will be built has been made, but many followers of the shipping scene have ideas on the subject.

While on the subject of Hull 101, STUBBY was taken into the drydock at Erie in late September in preparation for separating the two halves and inserting the midbody section. The completed carrier should be ready sometime next spring.

The U. S. Coast Guard tender, TAMARACK, a familiar sight to ship fans visiting Sault Ste. Marie, was officially retired on October 16th. Built in 1934 at Manitowoc, the 124-foot TAMARACK had been stationed at the Soo for many years. She was an exceptionally trim vessel and was a bit of an oddity in the Coast Guard fleet in that her forecastle was painted white instead of the usual black. She will be replaced at the Soo by BUCKTHORN which has been transferred from Buffalo.

The Marine-Oswego-Trinity Group of New York has agreed to dispose of its ocean shipping interests to General American Transportation Corporation of Chicago. The part of the group not included in the sale is the American Steamship Co. of Buffalo, the Boland and Cornelius fleet. The sale will reportedly assist in the settlement of the estate of the late H. Lee White and will provide funds for a program of expansion by American Steamship. Despite much speculation, there have been no further developments in connection with the forced sale by American of the Reiss vessels.

An unusual visitor to the Welland Canal recently was the Buffalo firetug, EDWARD M. COTTER, which locked down on October 19th en route to Port Weller Drydocks for her five-year inspection. The COTTER was built in 1900 at Elisabeth, N. J., and sailed previously as W. S. GRATTAN and FIREFIGHTER.

We very much doubt that many of our members even noticed the recent departure from Toronto of the remains of a very significant vessel. The veteran steam harbour tug, G. R. GEARY, was last operated in 1966 and had since been lying idle in various locations around Toronto Harbour. She was stripped of cabins and machinery during 1968 and during the early part of 1969 was tied inside the inner end of the east pier of the Eastern Gap where she gradually settled to the bottom. On October 2nd, 1970, the tug ARGUE MARTIN, appeared on the scene towing the Hamilton Harbour Commission's floating derrick which lifted the hull of the old tug from the mud. Then on Sunday, October 4th supported by the crane and towed by ARGUE MARTIN and SOULANGES, the G. R. GEARY slipped quietly away from the port which she had served for so many years.

The summer issue of the S.S.H.S.A. quarterly "Steamboat Bill", confirms details of the final disgrace of ASSINIBOIA. She was raised from her resting place on the bottom of the Delaware River on January 4, 1970, and, on January 20th, was towed by tugs, PATRICE McALLISTER and ANN McALLISTER to a wrecker's yard in Bordertown, N.J.

Some of our salt water devotees may be interested to note that the TRANSGERMANIA, of Poseidon Linien, made her last trip into the lakes late in October. She has been sold and will soon leave the Poseidon lakes service as will LUISE BORNHOFEN whose charter has not been renewed by the same firm.

You Tell Us

In the last issue of this newsletter, we mentioned that the old derrick scow, AFT, had been sold to Marine Salvage for scrapping and that she had arrived at Humberstone.

The AFT started life as the package freighter, STARRUCCA, and was built in 1897 at Buffalo for the Union Steamboat Line. She was sold during the winter of 1915-16 to the Great Lakes Transit Corporation and served until the mid 1930's under the name, DELOS W. COOKE. After several years of inactivity, she was reactivated in 1941 by the Nicholson Transit Co. and she sailed for them under the name, STEEL KING, until her retirement at the end of the 1953 season. The barge, AFT, was made from the stern section of the hull in 1955.

Those of our members who have visited the Humberstone yard of Marine Salvage lately will undoubtedly have seen the AFT and we wonder how many noted the unusual workhouse mounted on the deck forward. It is the pilothouse from a laker and it immediately set ye Ed. wondering as to exactly which ship it came from. That's what we want you to tell us and we will welcome guesses from any members. If we get enough replies, we shall publish the answer next month,

We think that we have the identity of the pilothouse tied down. Now it took us a long time to do it, so we'll have to drop a few hints. First of all, forget the hideous orange paint and put in a few panes of glass, as well as two doors. Now try putting on a sunvisor. Any help? If not, try thinking of a vessel, still in operation, that was given a new pilothouse a few years before STEEL KING was cut down. She changed her registry recently.

That's all we'll tell you now. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

Ship of the Month No. 11 Three Strikes on the Mohawk Deer

Few indeed, in the history of shipping on the Great Lakes, are the cases of a ship being wrecked and abandoned on three different occasions during her lifetime. This is especially true of the steel carriers, for some of the early wooden ships had an amazing ability to withstand the ravages of time and the elements. Nevertheless, there was one particular steel vessel that suffered three strandings during her life of seventy-one years and managed to come back after two of them as if little had happened. She succumbed to the third exactly three years to the day prior to the appearance of these words in print.

It was early in 1896 that the firm of F. W. Wheeler and Company completed their Hull No. 112, the steel upper-lake bulk carrier, L. C. WALDO, at their shipyard at West Bay City, Michigan. The ship was built to the order of the Roby Transportation Company, Detroit, and was named for this firm's manager. Upon completion, she measured 387.3 feet in length, 48.0 in the beam and 28.0 in depth and these dimensions gave her tonnage of 4244 gross and 3290 net. She was given official number (U.S.) 141421. The vessel was equipped with coal-fired scotch boilers and a triple expansion engine with cylinders of 22", 37 1/2" and 63", and a 44" stroke.

L.C.WALDO was an extremely fine-looking steamer when she entered service. She was given a turret pilothouse with open bridge above and, like many ships of her era, she carried a large, gaily painted decorative ball part way up her steering pole. She had the typical fine lines that characterized shipbuilding in an era when marine architects cared as much about the appearance of a vessel as her carrying capacity.

The early years of the life of L. C. WALDO were, for the most part, uneventful. She was taken to drydock in 1905 and lengthened to 451.5 feet. This increased her tonnage to 4466 gross and 3519 net. The only time that she made the headlines was during the storm of October 1905. About dusk on the evening of October 19th, Capt. John Duddleson of the WALDO sighted the wooden steamer, KALIYUGA, of the St. Clair Steamship Company, a Cleveland-Cliffs affiliate, downbound in Lake Huron between Thunder Bay Island and Middle Island. The KALIYUGA was heading in an easterly direction at the time and taking a terrible beating from the huge seas running on the lake. KALIYUGA was never seen again and foundered with all hands somewhere in the area of Cove Island at the tip of Ontario's Bruce Peninsula.

By 1913, L. C. WALDO had been disfigured by the addition of an ugly wooden upper pilothouse which enclosed the open bridge. Such upper houses were then coming into fashion and, while they may have kept the officers on watch warmer than a barrel of straw on the open bridge would have, this particular cabin, which looked every bit the after-thought that it was, proved to be the undoing of the steamer.

On the morning of Saturday, November 8, 1913, L. C. WALDO, with Capt. Duddleson on the bridge, was downbound in Lake Superior with ore from Two Harbors for Cleveland. The ship was to the west of the Keweenaw Peninsula when she was suddenly struck by the beginnings of a severe gale that eventually grew into the disaster that has become known as the Great Storm. Murderous seas picked up almost immediately and suddenly a tremendous wave boarded the vessel from astern. It broke over the deck and utterly demolished the flimsy wooden pilothouses, taking with it the navigational equipment. The Captain, who narrowly missed death in the collapsing cabin, managed to struggle below and into the texas, and eventually brought the ship under partial control by means of the auxiliary apparatus in the severely damaged lower wheelhouse.

Without effective control, the WALDO was at the mercy of the raging lake and when, late on Saturday, the steamer ran on Gull Rock, Manitou Island, located near the tip the Keweenaw, there was little that her master could do. The ship drove hard aground, but was still fully exposed to the battering of the giant seas. The crew quickly went forward and, for the next ninety hours, was virtually imprisoned in the forward cabins, the only available shelter, without adequate food supplies and unable to leave the ship. The next day, the steamer, GEORGE STEPHENSON, sighted the wreck and put in a call for assistance that eventually brought the Eagle Harbor and Portage Lake life-saving crews to the rescue. The WALDO's people huddled around a fire kindled in a bathtub, burning the wreckage from the cabins, until the life-savers finally arrived on the scene on Tuesday, November 11th.

L. G. WALDO proved a constructive total loss and was abandoned to the insurers. In 1914, she was purchased as she lay for $10,000 by the Mathews Steamship Company Ltd., of Toronto. The ship was refloated and taken to the American Shipbuilding Company's yard at Lorain where repairs were started in 1915. The job was completed the following year and the ship, equipped with new scotch boilers built by the shipyard, entered service bearing the name RIVERTON. She was given official number (Can.) 137898 and emerged with a much different appearance than during the Roby years. In order to finance the project, Alfred Ernest Mathews had obtained a ten-year loan of $100,000 with the ship as security. It is said that he was able to pay the loan off with two years' earnings from RIVERTON.

For sixteen years, RIVERTON served the Mathews fleet well, but in 1932 the company gave in to the financial troubles that had beset the local shipping scene. A receiver was appointed and the fleet was operated during 1932 and 1933 by Toronto Elevators Ltd. In 1933, the remains of the Mathews Steamship Company was purchased by Capt. Robert Scott Misener and associates, and RIVERTON became part of Colonial Steamships Ltd. For the next ten years, she sailed under the Misener flag and often traded into Toronto. On one occasion, when she was being painted while in port, the hull paint was chipped away and there, seeing light for the first time in over twenty years, was the old Roby monogram, a white "R" inside the outline of a triangle.

Finally, thirty years after her meeting with Gull Rock, RIVERTON's number came up for a second time. In November of 1943, under the command of Capt. E. C. Hawman, she was downbound in Georgian Bay with a cargo of grain when she ran foul of Lottie Wolf Shoal near the Giant's Tomb. There were no casualties, but RIVERTON settled on the bottom. She was declared a constructive total loss and abandoned. Salvage was undertaken by John Harrison and Sons Co., Ltd., of Owen Sound using the tug, NORTHERN, and the lighter, MICHIGAN, the former C.P.R. carferry. However, during a severe gale on November 24, MICHIGAN also was wrecked on the shoal, where her bones still lie. Harrison was forced to give up the job for want of equipment and because of the heavy weather and the lateness of the season, with the result that RIVERTON spent the winter on Lottie Wolf Shoal.

She was eventually released the next year by the Sincennes-MacNaughton Line Ltd., a towing and salvage company of which Robert A. Campbell was managing director, and she was towed to Collingwood shipyards for repairs. The steamer was sold to the Mohawk Navigation Co. Ltd., Montreal, another firm managed by Mr. Campbell, and re-entered the Canadian grain trade, this time under the name MOHAWK DEER. Her tonnage by now was shown as 4422 gross and 2684 net. In 1948 she was transferred to yet another Campbell company, Beaconsfield Steamships Ltd., of Montreal, who gave her the familiar red hull and buff and black stack. During the Mohawk-Beaconsfield. years, MOHAWK DEER was seldom laid up, despite her years and she was a frequent visitor to the Welland Canal. On several occasions, she had winter storage cargoes for Toronto. In 1957, the vessel was altered slightly by the raising of the last three hatches to increase capacity in the after hold, but the curious trunk-like structure on deck rather detracted from her appearance. In 1964, MOHAWK DEER entered the last phase of her operating life. She once again took on the Mohawk green having been transferred back from Beaconsfield to the Mohawk fleet. She operated continuously until the end of the 1966 season when, at age 70, she was retired and laid up at Sorel with storage grain. She passed down the Welland Canal for the last time on December 11, 1966. She was the first casualty in the purge of the older Mohawk upper lakers that was soon to claim CAPTAIN C. D. SECORD and SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY. Early in 1967, she was sold to Steel Factors Ltd., of Montreal, who in turn sold her to European breakers.

MOHAWK DEER left Sorel under tow during October, 1967, and was the 57th laker to head overseas for scrapping. In tandem tow with the tanker MAKAWELI, she was bound for La Spezia, Italy, but once again fate stepped in and MOHAWK DEER took the third strike swinging. On November 5, just a few miles from her destination, she broke loose from the tug, JUNAK, and grounded on the rocky shore near the fishing village of Portofino, Italy. During the night of November 6/7, 1967, the old laker slipped from the rocks and sank. For the third time in her long life, she was abandoned, but this time there were no salvors to disturb her rest.

Delta Queen - A Question Mark

The DELTA QUEEN, as we now know her, is dead. And we do not even know if there will be a successor to whom we can wish a long life.

As most of our members will have heard, the Maritime Act of 1970 survived the Senate - House of Representatives Conference Committee and has now received the approval of Congress. Nevertheless, the Committee, after considerable deliberation, deleted from the Act a Senate amendment which would have permanently exempted DELTA QUEEN from the restrictions imposed by the 1966 Safety-at-Sea legislation.

As a result of the dropping of the amendment, the last of the overnight riverboats now lies cold at New Orleans awaiting a decision on her fate.

Many of the elected representatives of the people of the United States of America showed that they did care about the heritage of the nightboats, and support for the Save-the-QUEEN campaign can be judged from the fact that 25 bills to save the ship were introduced by 26 Congressmen and 4 Senators. One Congressman even went so far as to enlist the support of 195 other Congressmen in co-sponsoring a letter in support of the Senate amendment, Nevertheless, the letter fell on deaf ears since it was addressed to House Merchant Marine Chairman Edward Garmatz, who has stood solidly against the DELTA QUEEN throughout the campaign. Indeed, Mr. Garmatz was so strongly against allowing the steamer to operate that he refused to allow any of the Bills to actually come forward for Congressional action. Needless to say, the public-spirited Mr. Garmatz was wholeheartedly supported by the United States Coast Guard! On October 7, the President of Greene Line Steamers, Inc., Mr. William Muster, issued a statement concerning the future of the DELTA QUEEN. In place of the legislation to save DELTA QUEEN, Congress is now working on a plan to financially assist the Greene Line in building a new steamer. Presumably, the plan is to place the new ship in the same category as Lake or Ocean vessels which are eligible for government assistance on construction costs.

In any event, Muster has stated that if Congress can pass the necessary legislation during the current session, the Greene Line will preserve the continuity of their services by operating the DELTA QUEEN until the new vessel is ready. Undoubtedly the operation of the QUEEN with less than 50 passengers per trip as required by the current safety rules would result in a substantial loss to her owners, but the Greene Line has promised to abide by this course of action. Muster ruled out any possibility that the vessel would be preserved by conversion to a day excursion ship.

We, therefore, have no way of knowing yet whether the QUEEN will be operating next year on a reduced basis, or whether her great California paddlewheel has turned for the last time. We shall eagerly await word on the decision, and we hope that the U. S. legislators will realize how important their actions on this question will be.

Vessel Passages

One of the most popular items that we have tried for this newsletter has been the reprinting of old vessel passages from newspapers of the past. Perhaps people remember back to the time when it was not unusual to see fifty ships a day at the Welland Canal; perhaps they look for names of ships, now gone, that spark a memory, or perhaps they just remember the glorious days when newspapers even had vessel columns! It is now seven years since the Toronto papers carried a daily column of this type.

No matter what your pleasure, perhaps we can bring back a little bit of the past by this extract from the Toronto Evening Telegram of Monday, August 25, 1947. Twenty-three years is a long time....


August 24 - UPBOUND

Makaweli, Howard M. Hanna Jr., 1:00 a.m.; Robert Hobson, J. Pierpont Morgan, 1:30; Harry Yates, 2:00; Mantadoc, John Irwin, Alva C. Dinkey, 3:00; Vandoc, 3:30; William P. Snyder Jr., Elbert H. Gary, 4:00; Andrew S. Upson and barge Marsala, 5:30; William B. Dickson, Lavaldoc, Thomas Wilson, 6: 00; Chacornac, 8:30; Frank Armstrong, 9:00; Percival Roberts Jr., 10:30; Norman B. Ream, Youngstown, noon; Noronic, Assiniboia, 1:30 p.m.; Wolverine, Charles S. Hebard, 2:00; Cambria, Windoc, 2:30; S. B. Way, William G. Mather, 3:00; John B. Cowle, Clifford F. Hood, Leon Fraser, Powell Stackhouse, 3:30; James Davidson, 4:00; Helen Hindman, George A. Sloan, 5:00; William Edenborn, 5:30; Henry G. Dalton, Norco, 6:00; Charles C. West, 6:30; Altadoc and barge Sagamore, 7:30; Irving S. Olds, 8:30; E. A. S.Clarke, 9:00; Lackawanna, 10:30; Harry Coulby, midnight.

August 24 - DOWNBOUND

Sir William Fairbairn and barge Maia, Standard Portland Cement, 1:00 a.m.; Sewell Avery, 1:30; The Harvester, J.L.Reiss, 2:00; Amazon, J. H. Sheadle, Algosteel, 2:30; Robert C. Stanley, 3:30; William H. Wolf, 6:00; Carmi A.Thompson, Odanah, 7:00; Robert L. Ireland, Mohawk Deer and barge Alfred Krupp, Keewatin, 7:30; David Z.Norton, 8:00; Samuel Mather, 8:30; Peter White, 9:00; William A. Irvin, 9:30; Maunaloa II and barge John A. Roebling, 10:00; Jay C. Morse, Coralia, 11:00; Crete, 11:30; Edward J. Borwind, 12:30 p.m.; D. O. Mills, 1:30; Cornell, Selkirk, 2:00; Cuyler Adams, 2:30; A.H.Ferbert, 3:00; E.E.Johnson and barge Florence J., Kenora, Outarde, 4:00; J. Burton Ayers, 4:30; Douglass Houghton and barge John Fritz, 5:00; D. G. Kerr, 6:30; William J. Olcott, 7:00; Viscount Bennett, 7:30; John T. Hutchinson, 8:00; Sulphite and barge Swederrope, 8:30; Negaunee, 10:00; Edward G. Seubert, 10:30.

August 25 - UPBOUND

Algoway, Beaumont Parks, 2:30 a.m.; Lehigh, 3:30; John C. Williams, 4:00; George V. Perkins, 5:30; Saskadoc, 6:00.

August 25 - DOWNBOUND

Albert E. Heekin, 12:30 a.m.; Colonel James Pickands, 2:30; James Watt, 3:00; William E. Corey, 5:30; Eugene W. Pargny, Henry Ford II, 6:30; Norway, 7:30.

It looks like a pretty good weekend at the Soo for photographers! An interesting point is the number of barges reported in these passages. There are no less than eight steamer and barge combinations shown. One interesting passage is the freighter ALTADOC, and barge SAGAMORE. The barge had just been purchased during the month of July, 1947, by Paterson Steamships Ltd., from C. W. Bryson's India Navigation Co. and Paterson had not yet got around to giving her the new name, KENORDOC.

The History Of The Gdynia America Shipping Lines Co. Ltd.

(1930-1950) By Henryk Dehmel

M.S. BATORY. On a cloudy fall day approaching Vercherres, Quebec. September 17, 1962As a result of an agreement concluded on March 11, 1930, between the Polish company "Zegluga Polska" and the Danish East Asiatic Company Ltd., a limited company was formed, called Polish Transatlantic Shipping Company, Limited -- Gdynia-America Line, having its seat in Poland. The purpose of the newly-formed company was the operation of a regular passenger-cargo service to North American ports.

On October 31, 1934, the company took the name of Gdynia America Shipping Lines Co., Ltd., in abbreviation: GAL. To begin with the company had three passenger vessels taken over from the partner. These were the S.S. "Polonia", S.S. "Pulaski" and S.S. "Kosciuszko" totalling 20,697 GTR and 18,650 TDW. In order to accomplish its operational task, the company endeavoured to increase and modernise its tonnage by acquiring new ships. On November 29, 1933, GAL signed an agreement with an Italian yard, Cantieri Riuniti dell Adriatico in Monfalcone for the building of two passenger vessels for the North American Line. The building of the first vessel, to be named M.S. "Pilsudski" was started on March 1, 1934, and completed on August 22, 1935. The second ship, the M.S. "Batory" was launched on July 3, 1935, sailing on her first voyage to New York on May 18, 1936. The acquisition of these two ships enabled the company to expand its passenger policy in the North Atlantic region, to compete successfully with other lines and to achieve good results from its liner service and organised cruises.

Gradually GAL expanded its activities to include the Palestine Line (1933-1938), South American ports (1936) and the Mexican Gulf (1936). Further investments arose from the need to have appropriate vessels for the service offered by the company.

M.S. BATORY. Heading downriver, having passed the quaint town of Vercherres, Quebec. October 10, 1962The M.S. "Sobieski" was built at the English yard of Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson and the M.S. "Chrobry"at the Danish yard of Nakskow Skinsvaerf -- both in 1939 and both for the South American service. An order for two cargo vessels was placed with the Gdansk Yard. Both these vessels, the M.S. "Bielsko" and the M.S. "Lodz", were taken over by the Germans in September, 1939. For the South American cargo service, GAL purchased two second-hand vessels, which, as the M.S. "Stalowa Wola" and the M.S. "Morska Wola", were put into service. After the sale of the S.S. "Polonia" on September 1, 1939, GAL's fleet consisted of 8 vessels- totalling 70,696 GRT and 46,202 TDW.

GAL was increasing its activities in ocean-going cargo service. This action however, was held up through lack of appropriate tonnage and finance. This arose from the general situation in which maritime economy found itself in the years before the outbreak of the Second World War. At this time the Polish fleet consisted mainly of passenger vessels. In the second half of 1939 passenger tonnage amounted to 63,000 GRT, whereas the cargo fleet amounted to only 56,000 GRT. The cargo fleet was clearly under-developed.

GAL's further development, and that of other shipping companies in Poland, was interrupted owing to the outbreak of the Second World War and the German occupation of Poland. The Polish companies carried on abroad, having their base in London.

M.S. PILSUDSKI. Montreal, Quebec, Sept. 20, 1936. View taken from deck of C.P. S.S. Duchess of Atholl.Losses incurred by Polish shipping companies during the second world war amounted to 19 ships, totalling 65,345 GRT and 73,523 TDW. Direct personnel losses amounted to 66 people. GAL incurred the greatest losses. In addition to three of their own vessels (the M.S. "Pilsudski". M.S. "Chrobry" and S.S. "Paderewski"), two other ships were lost (the M.S. "Kinross and M.S. "Dumfries"), purchased through GAL (London) Ltd. Both these vessels, operating under British flag, were owned by GAL as sole shareholder in GAL (London) Ltd. , formed in 1941.

During the years between 1940 and 1945 GAL endeavoured to replace this tonnage, and finally acquired 8 ships; 3 were lost, so that 5 were left, totalling 34,238 GRT. On January 1, 1945, GAL owned 11 ships, totalling 79,223 GRT and 83,272 TDW. From 1944 GAL also operated vessels belonging to Zegluga Polska and Polsko-Brytyjskie Towarzystwo Okretowe. At the end of 1945 the total tonnage operated by GAL amounted to 24 ships, 102,241 GRT and 117,078 TDW.

During the Second World War the majority of Polish tonnage was chartered by the British Government. GAL's vessels being in British Government charter took part in all the major operations which required merchant ships.

During the Norwegian campaign, the M.S. "Chrobry" was sunk by enemy aircraft near Harstad. During the threat of German invasion of the British Isles, the M.S. "Batory" was carrying English children to Australia thus gaining much popularity and renown in Western Europe, In 1942 the S.S. "Pulaski" was speeding to the assistance of Singapore. Unfortunately, however, the garrison was compelled to surrender to the enemy before she was able to reach the port with supplies.

During the invasion of Madagascar in May, 1942, the M.S. "Sobieski" was the flag ship. There are many other cases which can illustrate the role played by Polish ships during wartime operations and the heroism showed by Polish crews. These ships were able to fight uneven battles with the enemy, come to the aid of others, very often dangering their own safety. In October, 1943, the S.S. "Narvik" saved 1,022 survivors from the Orcades, which had been torpedoed by a German U-boat. The M.S. "Morska Wola" and "Stalowa Wola" operated a regular service between Manchester and New York.

During the Second World War, enlivened and useful activities were developed by the Transport Union. This Union, under very difficult staff conditions, where there were all sorts of unfavourable influences, was able to achieve much better social conditions for crews sailing with the Polish Merchant fleet. The Union also did much regarding the return of the Polish fleet to Poland, in spite of opposition from Polish groups in London. An expression of the changes occurring in the environment of officers and crews was the majority decision to return to Poland.

S.S. STEFAN BATORY. Completely refitted at Gdansk.Between 1945 and 1950 GAL was fulfilling the tasks set to the merchant fleet in different social and economic conditions. Gradually socialist elements became more and more important in the company, following changes in the structure of maritime economy.

After 1945 the dominating task of the Polish Merchant Fleet, administered by GAL, was to ensure service to Polish ports and to pacify the needs of Polish foreign and transit trade with friendly countries. The development of the merchant fleet was strictly dependent of the situation and policy in foreign trade.

The main burden was placed on the development of liner services. This arose for several reasons, the chief one being to secure service for Polish foreign trade exchange, which was renewing former and traditional trade relations with European countries and with America, and then making new contacts with the Far East. The Polish Merchant Fleet was now developing a period of successful progressive shipping in the Far East areas. On June 22, 1949 the "General Walter" inaugurated a regular service to India. From that time on, Polish ships called regularly at more and more ports on this Far Eastern route. In 1950 this line was extended to ports of the Chinese People's Republic.

On January 1, 1951, two nationalised shipping companies were brought into being: Polish Ocean Lines in Gdynia, whose main task was the operation of regular ocean and European lines, and ocean tramping: Polish Steamship Company in Szczecin, whose main task was the operation of irregular short-sea trade and regular lines on the Baltic.

By December 31, 1967, the Polish Merchant Fleet reached a total of 228 ships, totalling 1,618,495 TDW. This fleet operates on 32 regular lines, and in ocean tramping Polish ships sail to practically every port in the world. GAL's participation in reaching this achievement will go down in the annals of its history.

By Fred Sankoff

With the Second War over, the M.V. Batory was returned to her owners by the British Ministry of Transport. In 1946 she was enroute to a shipyard in Antwerp, to be completely refitted for passenger service. Unfortunately while still in the yard at Antwerp she was severely damaged by fire, thus delaying her return to service. Finally in 1947 she set sail from Antwerp, looking just as graceful as the day she was built.

From 1947 to 1951 the M.S. Batory was a regular visitor to the Port of New York, from where she ran to Southampton, Copenhagen and Gdynia. After about four years of bucking the North Atlantic, she was withdrawn in the Fall of 1951, and shortly thereafter commenced operation on a new service from Southampton, Karachi and Bombay via the Suez Canal.

It was during the Suez crisis of 1956, and the eventual closing of the canal, which forced the Gdynia America Line to terminate their passenger service from the United Kingdom to India, after some five years of operation.

While the M.S. Batory made her first voyage to Montreal on September 5th, 1957, her sistership, the M.S. Pilsudski, preceded her into the Port of Montreal by some twenty-one years, as it was back in Sept. 20, 1936, when she arrived from New York on a seven day cruise. Unfortunately, the M.S. Pilsudski, which was named after a Polish General, had a very short life; while serving with the Allied forces she was torpedoed by a U-Boat on November 26th, 1939, off the North West Coast of England.

M.S. POLANCIA. One of P.O.L. modern cargo liners passing Rozenburg, Holland. July 4, 1969 inbound to Rotterdam.For some eleven years the M.S. Batory plied the North Atlantic run, Montreal and Quebec in the summer, and in the winter months usually with hundreds of new Canadians disembarking in cold and bleak Halifax. On December 4th, 1968, she set sail from Montreal with 304 passengers aboard on her final voyage. During the eleven years she was in service to Montreal and Halifax she made 107 round trips, and carried a total of 136,000 passengers, and 110,000 tons of cargo. While her active sea career lasted some thirty-two years and eight months, she is now a floating hotel at Gdynia, a ship as good as the Batory may last another thirty-two.

In 1968 the Polish Ocean Lines purchased the S.S. Maasdam from the Holland America Line to replace the M.S. Batory. The S.S. Maasdam was drydocked at the Gdansk Ship-Repair Yard. She was completely refitted inside and out, and now bears the proud name S.S. Stefan Batory, and like the old Batory will be on the North American run to Montreal and Quebec in the summer, however the winter months will find her cruising the Caribbean. The Stefan Batory left Gdynia on April 11th, 1969, on her maiden trip to Montreal, and is now a regular caller there, however Rotterdam has been added to her Ports of Call.

During the spring of 1969 Polish Ocean Lines announced plans for an impending service from Gdynia and Continental European ports to Montreal and the Great Lakes, with ships to be built especially for this service. The prototype of this vessel is designated class B446. M.V. Zakopane of some 7,500 tons DWT, is ice strengthened, stern anchor, and fully equipped for Seaway use. This service will commence when authorization is received for approval of this route.


Gross. 14287 tons.

Net. 7923 tons.

DWT. 5442 tons.

525'8" x 70'10" x 24'9'

Built April 1936 by C.R.D. Adriatico.

S. S. STEFAN BATORY (Ex Maasdam)

Gross. 15024 tons.

Net. 8926 tons.

DWT. 7057 tons.

503'4" X 69'2" X 28'9"

Built July 1952 by V. Wilton-Fijennord

Rebuilt. 1968 by Gdansk Ship-Repair Yard.

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Scanner, v. 3, n. 2 (November 1970)

Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; You Tell Us; Delta Queen - A Question Mark; Vessel Passages; The History Of The Gdynia America Shipping Lines Co. Ltd.