Friday, October 5th - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Program to be announced in the mid-Summer issue. There will be no regular meetings during the summer months.
Our May Dinner Meeting was a great success and a full house, including several of our out-of-town members, enjoyed the address by Mr. Alex. Elliott of Port Weller Drydocks. His comments on current thinking behind the design of ships were most informative. There followed a most spirited question period on the merits of the design of several vessels. Our thanks go to the Program Committee who did such a fine job on this event.
The Editor's Notebook
Ever since its formation in 1968, T.M.H.S. has had but one President, Fred Sankoff, who was the guiding light behind the beginnings of our group. An avid photographer and shipping fan, Fred served for a year as the first Editor of this newsletter and has written for us several articles on salt water vessels. Over the past few months, however, Fred has been troubled by ill health and for this reason he has decided to take up residence in the Vancouver area. We are sorry to see Fred go, but we wish for Fred and his wife Diana all the best in their new surroundings. We will think of them often, watching all the vessels out in English Bay right from their apartment!
We are very sorry to report the illness of friend and fellow member Capt. James Fryer of Toronto. Jim was taken ill a few days after our May meeting and, at the time of this writing, was recuperating in Toronto East General Hospital. He has for many years been skipper of the Toronto Island ferries. We send along from all our members best wishes for a speedy recovery.
We think we have some good articles for you in this issue. Not only do we have a story on the exploits of the canaller GRAINMOTOR on salt water, but we also have, straight from her Master, the account of the southward passage of BATTLEFORD which joined GRAINMOTOR in the Bahamas. Quite a combination.
Our next issue will be the mid-Summer number which will appear, we hope, sometime during the month of August.
In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to John Marsh of Port Colborne and Michel Vezina of Ste. Rosalie, Quebec.
EDWARD S. KENDRICK is being towed downbound in the Welland Canal north of Allanburg in this April 17, 1973 photo by Bill Bruce.The parade of old lakers to overseas scrapyards has commenced again in earnest after several years of relatively few such sales. Eight lakers are due to make the one-way trip down the Seaway before the end of June, same to include EDWARD S. KENDRICK, B. F. JONES, R.E. WEBSTER, CITY OF SAGINAW 31, UNITED STATES GYPSUM, HENRY G. DALTON, JOHN P. REISS and OTTO M. REISS. As of the time of writing, the following had passed down the Welland Canal: B. F. JONES (with SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER) on April 12-13, KENDRICK (with G. W. ROGERS and SALVAGE MONARCH) on April 17, DALTON (with SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER) on April 28-30, and UNITED STATES GYPSUM (with G. W. ROGERS and SALVAGE MONARCH) on May 8-9. In addition, your Editor observed the tugs HELEN M. McALLISTER and PRESCOTONT tow CITY OF SAGINAW 31 down the St. Clair River past Sarnia in the late evening hours of June 1st. Still showing signs of extensive fire damage, the veteran Lake Michigan carferry is due to remain at Port Colborne while she is made fast for the sea voyage. The WEBSTER is currently lying at Toledo, while the Reiss steamers are at Hamilton. The GYPSUM lay at the West Street wharf in Port Colborne for about a month while she was sealed up for the trip overseas, but it seems that these efforts were to no avail, as she has since become a casualty. JONES and KENDRICK cleared Quebec in tow of the tug KORAL on April 24 bound for a Spanish port while DALTON and GYPSUM cleared on May 12 in tow of FAIRPLAY X headed for Italy. This tow was not, however, very successful, since the GYPSUM foundered at 2:00 a.m. on May 21st near Sydney, Nova Scotia. We presume that she took on water through her scantily-repaired starboard bow which was damaged in a collision last autumn.
Over the last few issues, we have mentioned the fact that the Hindman Transportation Company of Owen Sound was looking for another ship. We had known that Hindman was negotiating for the purchase of Hanna's bulk carrier GEORGE R. FINK and it seems that the deal for this steamer had reached fairly advanced stages when, towards the end of March, it became known that Canada Steamship Lines were looking for a buyer for their 1950-built, 623-foot, Unaflow-powered bulk carrier COVERDALE. Hindman immediately dropped the deal for the hand-fired coal-burning FINK and bought the COVERDALE, taking delivery of the ship on April 16, 1973, while she was en route to Hamilton with a cargo of St. Lawrence ore for Stelco. COVERDALE has since been renamed GEORGE HINDMAN (IV) in honour of the founder of the fleet. This purchase will not only give Hindman a far superior vessel than the one they had originally sought to purchase, but will avoid the cost of registering a foreign-built ship.
A change of colours has meant that phptographers will have to chase all the Huron Cement boats in 1973. The vessels of the fleet, while keeping the ugly cream hulls which succeeded the former handsome dark green in 1966, have lost the "cement bag" insignia on the bow together with the name of the National Gypsum Company. The lower case letter "h" now appears on the forecastle in green and the words "Huron Cement" are seen down the sides of the ships in green instead of red, the letters being shaded in black. While all Huron vessels operated in the early spring, many are now laid up as a result of labour troubles at the company's Alpena plant. In addition, rumours persist to the effect that this will be the last year for J. B. FORD and E. M. FORD.
The Algonquin Corporation's steam canal tanker CARDINAL is now in service and is already a frequent visitor to Toronto. She still carries the Imperial black hull and red cabins, but the blue band on her funnel has been painted white to produce a very wide white band on the otherwise black funnel, an easy adaptation of IOCO colours.
The Interlake Steamship Company's bulk carrier JOHN SHERWIN passed down the Soo locks on April 19th on her first trip after being lengthened at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wisconsin. We understand that she looks every bit as good as CHARLES M. BEEGHLY which got the treatment over the winter of 1971-72.
The familiar "red tomatoes" of the lakes, CHARLES M. WHTIE, THOMAS F. PATTON and TOM M. GIRDLER, so called because of their large funnels painted in the colours of the Republic Steel Company, have appeared this year in the colours of their new operators, the Cleveland Cliffs Steamship Company. We hear that their appearance is much improved. The vessels were managed last year by Cliffs after the latter company won the Republic ore contract from the now-defunct Wilson Marine Transit Company, but they remained in Republic colours during 1972. We hope that Cliffs will not remove the splendid chime whistle installed several years ago on the PATTON after the demise of the whistle's former owner, the steamer J. E. UPSON.
In our April issue, we neglected to mention the launch on Saturday, March 10th, at the Bay Shipbuilding Corp., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, of the self-unloading bulk carrier CHARLES L. WILSON. The vessel, building for the American Steamship Company (Boland & Cornelius), was launched with no ceremony as the official christening is to be held on completion of the ship, hopefully this Autumn.
Speaking of American Steamship, we learn that agreement in principle has been reached in the negotiations for the purchase of American by the General American Transportation Company of Chicago. The fleet is presently owned by the Oswego Shipping Company of New York. Sale price is said to be $53.1 million.
It was announced on April 9, 1973, that the carferry SUGAR ISLANDER has been sold by the Wellington Transportation Company to Poirier Marine Inc., officers of the latter firm being currently involved in a large development on the Soo's Sugar Island which is served by the ferry. Society members need not fear, however, that Jim and John Wellington, genial operators of the ferry, will disappear from the scene. They will remain to operate the vessel under its new ownership and as such will be able to concentrate their efforts on the running of the ferry rather than on the constant and continuous disputes with the "concerned citizens" of Sugar Island who, it seems, are forever on the warpath over fares, schedules, or both. The sale of the ship must be approved by the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners and by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, both of which bodies were closely involved in the operation.
The veteran Muskoka Lakes passenger steamer SEGWUN may yet ply again the waters of the lakes she served so long. SEGWUN, an iron hulled ship dating back to 1887, last operated in 1958 and has since lain at Gravenhust, most recently as a floating marine museum. She is the last of the Muskoka steamboats which were once so numerous. The mighty deed of restoring the ship has been undertaken by the Ontario Roadbuilders Association, a group of highway contractors who, it seems, have been troubled by an attack of conscience, since their efforts in building roadways have been primarily responsible for the decline and, in fact, disappearance, of the major North American inland water passenger steamers. A fund-raising campaign amongst the Association's members is expected to raise sufficient funds for the project.
Another steamboat restoration project has also gotten underway, this one right here in Toronto. In April's issue, we commented on the hopes that the veteran sidewheel ferry TRILLIUM would some day sail the waters of Toronto Bay as she did for forty-six years before her retirement in 1956. The project is well underway since the powers that be in the Metropolitan council have approved the expenditure of $1500 for an examination of the vessel. Under the direction of the Toronto Historical Board, a surveyor has been retained and, judging by his enthusiasm for the job, it is obvious that the old girl will get a good going over. At the present time, it is estimated that the cost of stripping off the old upperworks and restoring the vessel to her 1910 condition, as well as refitting her machinery, will approximate half a million dollars. Municipal representatives seem keen on the project and it is hoped that they will eventually approve the expenditure.
Thanks to the digging of Skip Gilham, we have managed to learn a bit more about the incident at Goderich harbour on the weekend of March 17-18. It seems that, as usual, a number of vessels wintering at the port (including some of the units of the storage fleet) were tied up bow on to the wall near the salt works. The gale winds screaming in off Lake Huron tore loose almost all of the ships and they were swept towards the inner end of the small harbour, piling up against PATERSON which had remained secure. The PATERSON sustained considerable damage to her stern, the majority of it being inflicted by the Paterson motorship MONDOC. Among the ships swinging free was AGAWA CANYON. Eventually the mess was cleaned up and the shipss returned to their berths. Shades of Buffalo Creek and the MacGILVRAY SHIRAS!
Speaking of the Goderich storage fleet, we understand that the Goderich Elevator and Transit Company is considering disposing of several of its units, namely the former Paterson barges, for scrapping. We have heard that they may be looking at ELMDALE as a replacement.
The Hall Corporation's tanker CABATERN has made her first appearance in the lakes this spring dressed in full Halco livery and carrying the name BAFFIN TRANSPORT on her bows. Her appearance is much improved.
Speaking of Halco, we understand that the fleet has now sold for scrap the motor tanker INLAND TRANSPORT and the bulk canal steamers SHIERCLIFFE HALL and STERNECLIFFE HALL. The former vessel wintered at Sarnia after her grounding incident in the North Channel last November 4th, an incident which, although minor in itself, led to serious repercussions due to a nasty oil spillage allegedly caused by the deteriorated condition of her plating. The two steamers have been idle in Toronto's turning basin now for a number of years and are beginning to look rather sad. In recent weeks they have been stripped by Ship Repair & Supply Ltd. of their navigational equipment. It is believed that the three ships will be taken across the Atlantic in one tow and, if this materializes, it will be the first triple tow of old lakers bound for European scrapyards. Your Editor would not bet on their chances of making it across ....
A continuing labour dispute and accompanying violence has forced the Davie Shipbuilding Ltd. yard to close down for "an indefinite period". Accusations have been flying from both sides of the dispute and so far there is no indication of an early settlement. It is reported that the closure has caught one of the maximum-sized Canada Steamship lines bulk carriers in the drydock and it is quite obvious that C.S.L. is not exactly pleased with the prospect of one of its larger carriers being stuck in the drydock for the summer. The trapped ship is believed to be BAIE ST. PAUL.
The bow section of SIDNEY E. SMITH JR. was placed off the Sarnia waterfront on May 1st, 1973, where she will form part of a breakwater for a landfill project. And so the story of the SMITH escapade now draws to a close, the only aspect of the accident still remaining unfinished being the upcoming hearing into the collision. For those who may be interested the Master of the SMITH at the time of the accident, Capt. A. Kristensen is sailing JACK WIRT of the Erie Sand fleet this year, while Capt. Clyde Davis of the PARKER EVANS has moved over into RUTH HINDMAN for 1973.
While Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. goes ahead with its contract to build the new ferry for the Tobermory-South Bay Mouth service, arguments are still raging over the suitability of the design of the new vessel and over the selection of the site for the new dock which some observers feel will ruin the character of Tobermory harbour. Fans who want to enjoy the crossing on the old ferries, NORGOMA and NORISLE, had better get moving as time for the pair is running short. It appears that NORISLE will be retained as standby ferry for the crossing due to her ability to carry campers and trucks. There are, however, rumours circulating to the effect that NORGOMA may go back into the cruise service. If so, it will have to be somewhere other than up the North Channel to the Soo, since that route is now blocked by a new low-level bridge at Richard's Landing.
On April 27th, Toronto Harbour temporarily lost a landmark. The lighthouse at the end of the east pier of Toronto's Eastern Gap was removed by the Harbour Commission's floating derrick and taken to the Cherry Street container terminal where it will be stored until completion of the planned offshore aquatic park to be situated at the end of Leslie Street headland. The familiar lighthouse, with its mournful foghorn, had guarded the Eastern entrance since 1895 but had to be removed due to the planned realignment of the east pier to fit the reconstruction of the Eastern Gap as the new main harbour entrance. Also removed was the small lighthouse marking the inner end of the same pier. Both will be restored as historical landmarks once the new gap and protective headland are completed.
May 22 was a bad day for the Welland Canal as two of its bridges were put out of commission, both, oddly enough, through collision with German vessels. At 6:42 a.m. Bridge 19, the bascule road bridge over Lock 8 at Humberstone was struck by the HELENE ROTH. Damage was not too severe and the bridge was put back into road service on May 26. However, just before noon on the 22nd, BUNTENSTEIN struck the much-battered Bridge 1 at Port Weller and damaged it to such an extent that it was still out of operation at the time of this writing, pedestrians being directed over the upper lock, gate and cars being sent south to cross at the Carleton Street bridge over Lock 2.
It seems that American Shipbuilding is in the midst of discussions aimed at disposing of its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Great Lakes Towing Company. We have no indication of the identity of the prospective buyers. No formal complaint had been lodged against AmShip for its purchase of Great Lakes Towing several years ago, so we can only assume that AmShip was talked into the sale by the U.S. Government, which has taken a dim view of the company's numerous moves for expansion.
The units of the fleet of the Escanaba Towing Company are gradually being sold subsequent to the cessation of operations by the problem-plagued firm. As readers will recall, the barges WILTRANCO and A. E. NETTLETON were involved in a series of bizarre and costly accidents during 1972 and it is no wonder that Escanaba has gone put of business. At a U.S. Marshal's sale at Escanaba on May 17, the tug OLIVE L. MOORE was sold to the First National Bank of Escanaba for $32,000 while the WILTRANCO went to the Industrial Fuel and Asphalt Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, for $61,000. The NETTLETON was never owned by Escanaba, rather being chartered from the Wilson Marine Transit Company. She has since passed by sale to the Kinsman Marine Transit Company and it was obvious that Steinbrenner would never agree to the same charter. It is expected that she will be scrapped shortly and we assume that WILTRANCO will also wind up in scrappers' hands eventually.
The Ann Arbor railroad, surprisingly, was recently involved in a news item which had nothing to do with the abandonment of carferry operations! It seems that on April 30 the Ann Arbor's VIKING arrived at Sturgeon Bay for drydocking. The Grand Trunk's idle GRAND RAPIDS was chartered as a replacement but she damaged a crankshaft and made the trip to Chicago on one engine. The Ann Arbor then hauled VIKING back out of the shipyard on May 2 without her repair work being completed. She is scheduled to return later for her drydocking.
It seems that the Chesapeake & Ohio has once again mentioned plans to cut the steam powered river carferry PERE MARQUETTE 10 down to a carfloat a la ST. CLAIR etc. Similar plans were mentioned several years ago but were apparently shelved so that at the present time, the number 10 is the last steam-powered river carferry on the Great Lakes. The vessel, built in 1945, is not the most handsome thing afloat being a typical hump-backed railferry with pilothouse atop a tower, but she does make an interesting sight as she shuttles back and forth across the St. Clair River between Sarnia and Port Huron belching forth great clouds of black smoke. For those who might wish to photograph the ship while she is still operating under her own steam, we would advise that she is totally inaccessible while at the Sarnia dock. However, her Port Huron dock is easily accessible and a good photo may be obtained right from the foot of Griswold Street as she prepares to enter the dock on the U.S. side. We might warn you, however, that her sailing schedule is somewhat erratic and you should be prepared to wait some considerable length of time to get a picture.
The Canadian Coast Guard tug GLENADA is currently lying at Sarnia having been purchased by Sandrin Bros., who formerly kept A-BURG there under charter. GLENADA, a 73-footer built in 1943, is currently being "blistered" on both sides, so apparently she was not quite wide enough to suit her new owners.
As part of the Kingston Tercentenary celebrations this summer, the Kingston Whig-Standard, the local newspaper, has organised a steamboat race to be held on Navy Bay July 6 through 8. Numerous steam-powered launches, of which there has been considerable revival on Ontario waters during the last few years, are expected to participate. Your Editor received an Entry Form in the mail, and only wishes that he had a suitable boat to enter in the race. Anybody got a steam tug they don't want?
The Upper Lakes Shipping bulk carrier THORNHILL suffered some bad luck at the start of the season. On her first trip to the Canadian Lakehead, she grounded in the Kaministiquia River on April 4 and, in trying to pull herself off the sandbar, she burnt out a bearing in her main engine. She was taken to Port Arthur Shipyards for repairs and started out on her downbound voyage twice, only to have to return each time for further work. She finally got away on May 1st.
More Digging Into Point Anne Quarries
All joking aside (and we'll admit we had to reach for the title), we are very pleased that this month we can give you a bit more information about the obscure fleet of Point Anne Quarries Ltd. whose operations we described in our last issue. To be quite honest, we were surprised that we found as much detail as we did since never before have we seen anything in print about this company's vessel operations, except for a few references in old "Schooner Days" columns.
We thought we had listed all the Point Anne vessels, but we have now discovered two more and, unless we miss our guess, it seems likely that we may eventually learn of even more vessels that may have been connected with Haney and Miller and the Quarries. Who can help us?
So, to our April listing, add the following:
ANTELOPE (C. 7563l). Wooden two-masted schooner built 1873 at Port Dalhousie by Muir Bros. for operation by their own fleet in the timber trade. 138.6 x 26.3 x 11.4. Net 334. Later cut down to a tow-barge, she was again schooner rigged in the late 1890's and ran the coal trade into Toronto. In the early 1900's she was laid to rest in Muir's Pond above Lock 1 at Port Dalhousie. Some years later she was resurrected by Haney & Miller and in 1914 was owned by Point Anne Quarries' Ltd., being operated as a barge on their stone run to Toronto. Out of documentation by 1918. It is believed that her bones lie somewhere in the Port Credit area.
A. MUIR (C. 72714). Wooden two-masted schooner built 1874 at Port Dalhousie by Muir Bros. for operation by their own fleet in the timber trade. 138.4 x 23.9 x 11.4. Net 330. Very little is known about her early years but by the early 1900's she also had joined the other disused hulls in Muir's Pond at Port Dalhousie. Later brought out by Haney & Miller for use as a barge in the Point Anne Quarries Ltd. stone trade. Still in documentation in 1918, she may have ended her days in the Bay of Quinte.
In 1925 the firm of Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd. built at Wallsend-on-Tyne the bulk canal Steamer GLENROSS. She measured 248.1 x 43.7 x 22.9 and her Gross Tonnage was 2309. GLENROSS was built for one Frank Ross with her intended operator being James Playfair's Great Lakes Transportation Co. Ltd., Midland.
The date is November 12, 1955 as BATTLEFORD heads for Lock 2 in the Welland Canal. J. H. Bascom photo.She operated for the Hall fleet for a very brief period in 1925 and over the following winter was lengthened to 343 feet by Playfair at Collingwood, her new tonnage being 3218. In 1926 she was sold by the original builders (Swan, Hunter) to Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. With the added length, her speed was so unsatisfactory that she was laid up in 1928 and did not operate again until 1939 when she was returned to Collingwood, shortened to her original dimensions, and converted to a package freighter, her 'tween decks being fitted at Lauzon. The vessel was renamed BATTLEFORD in 1941.
She remained in service until 1964 and was sold in 1966 for use in the Caribbean area. She was purchased by Bahamas Shipowners Ltd., Nassau, and soon transferred to Bahamas Package Carriers Ltd., being renamed REAL GOLD. In 1971 she was sold to Antilles Lines Ltd.
There follows the story of her voyage to the Caribbean under her own power. It is told by her master for the trip, Capt. Denis Conway of Kingston, a member of T.M.H.S. We thank him for the use of his reminiscences.
After lying idle for a short period, the BATTLEFORD was being fitted out at Kingston (Ontario) drydock to run under her own power. At first, as I understood it at the time, her new owner, a Mr. Nevill Roberts of the Bahamas Package Carriers Ltd., had arranged to buy the tug TRIDENT STAR which was also under refit in Kingston to tow the BATTLEFORD down to Nassau, her new port of registry. But the tug was not bought by Mr. Roberts for some reason and the decision was made to sail BATTLEFORD south under her own steam.
None of my sea time was logged under C.S.L. colours and I first learned of the BATTLEFORD's impending voyage south from Capt. Lyle Dougan, owner of the boat service which carried pilots from Kingston to Wolfe Island. I was a Lake Ontario pilot at the time. I will be forever indebted to Lyle Dougan for his part in arranging the opportunity for my first command. It had always rankled me that I had been in a condition: "ready, willing and able" since the age of 24 in 1958 to use my Master Inland certificates, but there were just no ships available or no opportunities of being in the right place at the right time.
The First Mate, Vince Cartwright, Second Mate whose name I've forgotten, and six Bahamian crewmen were flown up to Kingston sometime in the second half of November 1966. I see from my discharge book that we all signed on board on November 24th and I remember that the shipping master was Mr. Martyn who still holds the post in Kingston.
A quantity of crushed stone, 1200 tons, was loaded and flattened out by bulldozer to form excellent ballast. In the 'tween decks we carried 35 pieces of dust collecting equipment, the type one would see in the loft of a grain elevator. Also in the 'tween deck were two artillery pieces, World War II cannon, destined to decorate the owner's front lawn in Nassau, I think. I had the wild thought of placing one cannon on the forecastle head and the second on the poop and challenging the Royal Navy in Nassau Harbour.
The engine room crew were all Canadian, and though the Chief didn't have a marine ticket, he worked long hours to keep the old girl from falling apart as far as Halifax where he requested relief. We sailed from Kingston the 28th or 29th of November and headed for Clayton, N.Y., for 700 tons of bunker coal, 200 tons in the coal bunker and the remainder in the 'tween deck forward where a bin was built of old hatch covers. The coal, our final dead weight, made our departure draught 13 feet, trimmed a foot by the stern. At this point in the voyage it was the opinion of some optimists ashore that we would make Nassau non-stop on one bunker of coal. This estimate was based on a fictitious rate of fuel consumption and allowed no stops for repairs. Our first unscheduled stop became necessary before Iroquois Lock as the v.h.f. radiotelephone quit, so I slid BATTLEFORD in behind the Prescott elevator and made fast to the C.S.L. dock. A Marconi technician came up from Montreal in the forenoon to correct this fault.
At this point, may I say that for two years prior to this voyage I had been piloting foreign ships in and out of Toronto, Hamilton, and all the Lake Ontario harbours. As a pilot, one stands out on the wing of the bridge and issues helm and engine orders in a rather impersonal way. Conning a vintage coal-burning, triple expansion canaller, turning your own wheel and grinding your own telegraph, with a wheelhouse just the right size to allow you two or three steps and you're at the sidelight looking aft to observe as the old girl skids gently alongside on a full back-up, is an altogether different and satisfying feeling.
Our second stop was at Montreal for engine repairs with the help of some shore labour, to hire three additional firemen at the Chief's request, and to obtain some charts and sea stores. A letter of caution was given to me before we sailed by Mr. G. L. Hayes, our underwriters' representative. I signed off two Kingston Shipyards hands that we had borrowed to assist with canal work. Our agent was Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. who were very cooperative.
The weather during this first part of the voyage had been quite nice so it was noticeable when temperatures dropped to about ten above for two days rounding the Gaspe, freezing our deck lines. During the daylight hours steaming tranquilly down through the Northumberland Strait, however, the temperature rose to the forties and didn't dip much into the frost range thereafter. We made a late night passage through the Canso Lock in continuing fair weather with most of our navigation gear in working order. That must have been the 4th or 5th of December. I can remember coasting down the Eastern shore between Canso and Halifax in fog and snow, running from one sea buoy to the next until east of Egg Island when we were in range of Camperdown shore radar who verified our position, as our radar had "packed it in."
At Halifax there was no coal available so our agent arranged for the use of a rented mobile clam to scoop some 200 tons of coal from our 'tween decks, dump it on the dock and, with the ship moved forward, load it in the bunker. Even though it was our coal, I think the cost of the transfer amounted to quite a few dollars per ton. More repairs to the engines, replacement of two "performing" Bahamian crewmen by two good Maritimers, and a new and very competent Chief Engineer and Second Engineer were arranged.
I can remember telling someone that it took nine days to Halifax and nine days to Nassau, so we'll say that we sailed from Halifax about the 8th or 9th of December, coasting until the southern tip of Nova Scotia, then across to Nantucket Light, the weather rolling us uncomfortably in a beam sea. We didn't see Nantucket Light, but got a reasonable departure by D.F. (direction finder) which had been calibrated in Bedford Basin at Halifax. From Nantucket I shaped a course across to Cape Hatteras.
About a day out of Halifax, the Chief Engineer informed me that he had discovered the reason or the cause of contamination of our fresh water supply for the boilers, which was stored in the double bottom tanks. Chief called me down to the engine room to have a look at the inside of the condenser, from which he had removed the end plate. About ten percent of the tube ends were plugged with wooden plugs fashioned from broomstick handles to stop them from mixing the cooling sea water with the fresh water condensed from steam. After a brief discussion, the Chief agreed that he could keep the ship going, using brackish water in the boilers, provided that he could "blow down" the boilers daily entailing a half-hour or so running at dead slow speed. This we did for the remainder of the voyage.
I had a used chart of "Halifax to Hispaniola" which I mounted on the dining saloon bulkhead and showed our daily noon position to the engineers and to anyone else interested. The morale of the crew was good. We all seemed to be working toward the same end, that of getting the ship delivered to her owner within a reasonable time. The boys were cheerful, especially after the weather slowly improved south of Cape Hatteras as we steered straight for the Bahamas via the North East Providence Channel. It was indeed comforting and reassuring to see the U. S. Coast Guard daily in the form of a ship or aircraft.
After sighting the big, candy-stripe lighthouse, on Great Abaco Island, we were home free. None too soon either. We arrived at Clifton, New Providence, with a very empty coal bunker. Clifton was the owners' port of operation, located on the western tip of New Providence Island. Their port captain came out to meet us in a launch. He offered to take the BATTLEFORD alongside, but I politely declined. The final docking was a text book job, a joy. Nevill Roberts was at the foot of the ladder to greet me with a handshake and "Welcome to the Bahamas."
The Chief blew down one boiler immediately, Soon after her arrival, BATTLEFORD was to be converted to on oil burner. She was going on the Miami to Nassau run, carrying stone, sand and cement for construction. The Canadian engineers and crew were asked to stay on if they wished. I am very curious to know how many stayed and would enjoy very much talking to anyone who knows anything about them or the BATTLEFORD.
We are especially pleased to present Capt. Conway's story since it ties in so well with our Ship of the Month, GRAINMOTOR, another C.S.L. vessel which sailed south under her own power.
Welland Canal Bridges
With the bridges of the Welland Canal figuring in the news frequently in recent months, both through being damaged by ships and being rendered unnecessary by the Welland bypass channel, we thought our readers might enjoy seeing a full listing of all original bridges on the fourth canal together with their numbers, type, location and disposition if no longer in use. It should be noted that no additional bridges have been built as the Welland bypass channel was designed to avoid such bottlenecks of vessel and road traffic.
Lakeshore Road, Lock 1, Port Weller
Bascule, road and railroad. In use.
Church Road, between Locks 1 and 2, St. Catharines.
Vertical lift, road. Bridge never built and abutments removed several years ago.
Carleton Street, Lock 2, St. Catharines
Bascule, road. In use.
Double leaf bascule, road In use.
Glendale Ave., Merritton
Vertical lift, road. In use.
Lock 4, Thorold
Twin bascule railroad bridges. C.N.R. In use.
Lock 7, Thorold
Bascule, road. Removed on completion of Thorold tunnel.
Above Lock 7, Thorold.
Swing, N.S. & T. Railroad, Removed mid-1960's.
Guard Gate, Thorold South
Bascule, road. Removed on completion of Thorold tunnel.
Vertical lift, railroad, C.N.R. In use.
Hwy 3A, Allanburg.
Vertical lift, road. In use.
Main Street, Port Robinson.
Vertical lift, road. In use.
Main Street, Welland.
Vertical lift, road. Out of use, December 1972.
Water Street, Welland.
Vertical lift, road. Out of use, December 1972.
Swing, railroad, N.Y.C. Out of use, December 1972.
Ontario Road, Welland
Vertical lift, road. Out of use, December 1972.
Vertical lift, railroad, C.N.R. Out of use, December 1972.
Forks Road, Dain City.
Vertical lift, road. Out of use, December 1972.
Hwy 3, Humberstone
Bascule, road. In use.
Vertical lift, railroad,. C.N.R. In use.
Clarence St., Port Colborne.
Vertical lift, road. In use.
Ship of the Month No. 31
by Skip Gillham
When the Montreal to Lake Ontario section of the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, most of the small ships built for the locks of the old canal were rendered obsolete. The bulk of those canallers have since been sold for scrap and cut up. A few, however, gained a reprieve through lengthening, conversion to a specialized lake trade, or sale to foreign owners. Those that traded their freshwater careers for new opportunities on salt water have met with varying degrees of success. Some are still active, some have had to be scrapped, while still others have been the victims of misfortune be it shipwreck or financial problems. The efforts to maintain the former Canada Steamship canaller GRAINMOTOR as a profitable carrier on salt water have not been overly successful as she has been beset by numerous management and navigational problems that have left her idle at anchor more often than at sea.
GRAINMOTOR enters Port Weller Harbour, October 28, 1961. J. H. Bascom photo.The story of the GRAINMOTOR begins in 1929 at the yard of the Davie Shipbuilding Company at Lauzon, Quebec. She was their Hull 503 and was launched in April of that year, being delivered to C.S.L. soon afterward. Given official number C. 154473, she was a standard steel bulk canaller measuring 251.9 in length, 43.1 feet in the beam, and 18.3 feet in depth. GRAINMOTOR was registered at 1829 Gross tons, 1093 Net, and her carrying capacity was 3200 tons deadweight or 108,000 bu. of grain.
This vessel was unique among C.S.L. canallers as she was their first motor vessel. All of the company's other canallers of this era were powered by triple expansion steam engines. GRAINMOTOR was propelled by a 930 h.p. 8-cylinder. Bessemer diesel having cylinders measuring 16" x 20" each. No other canal motorship served the C.S.L. fleet until the advent of IROQUOIS and METIS in 1955 and 1956 respectively. In fact, GRAINMOTOR was something of an experiment. It had been hoped to build a number of similar ships if she turned out to be a success. Although GRAINMOTOR herself was an asset to the fleet, the other vessels were never built and plans for a fleet of motorships were abandoned as the Depression set in.
GRAINMOTOR spent most of her freshwater career transporting various bulk cargoes from lake ports to the St. Lawrence River harbours. With a good, portion of her sailing time being, spent in canals, it is not unusual that she should have been involved in a number of minor accidents occurring in narrow canal waters. Restricted channels, unpredictable currents and a good portion of mechanical failures were part of the lot of a canaller's Master.
On July 30, 1948, GRAINMOTOR was transiting the Welland Canal enroute to Montreal. Between 12 and 11 (Port Robinson and Allanburg), her engines failed and the ship veered towards the west bank of the canal. The starboard anchor was dropped to try to prevent a grounding but this measure did not prove successful and the ship, striking the west bank, bounced back towards the opposite side of the narrow channel. The port anchor was then let go but the ship glanced off the east bank and her stern smacked the west side. The ship had now swung completely around and was headed upstream when she was finally brought to a halt. Eventually GRAINMOTOR got underway and she proceeded to Kingston where temporary repairs were effected, enabling her to complete the season. The major work was performed at Montreal during the winter lay-up.
Bridges often presented problems. The railroad bridge above Lock 2 of the Lachine Canal jammed part way open on April 25, 1949 as GRAINMOTOR approached. Despite a "Full Astern," the ship rammed the abutment, denting two plates on the port bow and bending the frames. Kingston was again the site of her repair.
Another foul-up occurred on July 26, 1949. An engineer forgot to turn on the steering power after GRAINMOTOR had pulled from the Imperial Oil fuel dock on the Lachine Canal. More bent frames and plates resulted. A minor collision with the JOHN B. RICHARDS took place in the Soulanges Canal on August 17, 1952. The latter steamer was upbound and as she passed the downbound GRAINMOTOR, their port bows brushed pushing the coal laden motorship into the bank. Examination revealed a four-inch open seam and she was welded up at Kingston.
A further accident took place near Cornwall on November 9, 1952, while the vessel was upbound with 2,182 tons of sulphur. Tricky currents caused her to strike the bank forcibly and damage this time included a leak in the Number Two bilge. Repair at Kingston followed during the winter at a cost of $11,361.
GRAINMOTOR outlived most of the C.S.L. canallers trading on the Great Lakes. In 1961, after most of the steam canallers had been retired, she was deepened by five feet by her builders at Lauzon and this increased her cargo-carrying capacity to 3,800 tons. Her tonnage was now shown as 2252 gross, 1351 net. Strangely enough, her length increased by 7/10 of a foot at this time but this might have been caused by straightening of the stem or some other such minor operation. When she finally laid up at Kingston at the end of the 1964 season, she was the last pre-war bulk canaller to be operated by C.S.L.
In June of 1966, GRAINMOTOR was sold to Bahamas Shipowners Ltd. and was soon transferred to Bahamas Package Carriers Ltd. (the same firm that bought BATTLEFORD) for operation by the Gold Line. She underwent an extensive refit at Kingston and emerged sporting a gray hull. Her first trip was to Port Colborne where she loaded grain on June 28th. She cleared the Seaway shortly afterwards, still bearing her original name.
Soon after entering salt water service, the vessel was renamed (b) BULK GOLD. She sailed in the West Indies cement trade as well as the general cargo service between Miami and Nassau. On January 10, 1968, she was laid up at anchor at Montagu Bay in the Bahamas and was listed for sale with an asking price of $245,000. There were no takers and she apparently remained at anchor until January 1971.
BULK GOLD was finally sold to Michael Zapatos of Miami, no doubt for substantially less than the asking price since three years at anchor had taken their toll and had left the ship in deteriorating condition. The tug DIANE towed the old canaller to Charleston, S.C., in January 1971, her destination being the Detyens Shipyard where she was to undergo an undisclosed "conversion." The contract was never accepted, however, and the crewless BULK GOLD went to anchor once more, this time in Charleston Harbour. She was later berthed at the Salmons Dredging Company yard during the ensuing dispute over the payment of the towing bill.
BULK GOLD reappeared in the news during December 1971 at which time she was spotted at Miami Beach, presumably having arrived under tow. Her owners were listed as the Antilles lines (again a parallel with the other C.S.L. canaller BATTLEFORD) and they financed a complete refit to return the ship to service, a refit reportedly costing as much as $100,000. It appeared that the veteran laker was finally ready to resume operation, but it was not to last for long.
Upon her arrival at Tampa, Florida, in March 1972, BULK GOLD was loaded with approximately 3,500 tons of phosphate and set out for Houston, Texas. After taking on a cargo of potash, apparently at Houston, she sailed once more only to break down in the Gulf of Mexico. She was towed to New Orleans where the cargo was lightered and the mechanical problems repaired. Her activities in the ensuing weeks are vague. It is known that she broke down again near the entrance to Tampa Bay and was towed into that port in July 1972 after receiving damage during Hurricane Agnes. Repairs were again attempted but there was difficulty in obtaining proper parts and once more she went to anchorage.
Her owners had planned to operate BULK GOLD to Colombia and Ecuador carrying phosphate and potash and when she went to anchor she carried a phosphate cargo worth about $42,000. There were plans to tow her to Ecuador in the fall of 1972, but these evaporated when the company doing her refit filed suit for nonpayment and the ship was seized until the debt could be paid. She remained, at Tampa with Capt. O. P. Criollo and a small crew aboard, the owners believed to be the Cia. Frutena Chikena Ecuatoriana of Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Then, in late 1972, her anchorage was declared off-limits by the U. S. Coast Guard and the Corps of Engineers. The ship was removed to Block's Terminal located in an area leased to the Gulf-Tampa Drydock Company, her cargo still intact. Her owners, still anxious to operate her, tried to have her re-engined to avoid further costly breakdown. They located a suitable engine in northern Florida and had it trucked to Tampa where it was installed.
In early 1973, the owners of the ship posted a $100,000. bond against the earlier notice of seizure issued over the repair bill. As such, the ship was permitted to sail and she departed Tampa on Friday, May 4th, 1973, bound for Guayaquil where she has since delivered the cargo which had been in her hold for a year and two months. Six members of the original crew had stayed with the ship during her long lay-up and sailed with her for Ecuador.
Thus the story of GRAINMOTOR has not yet reached the end which seemed so close only a few months ago. We wish her many years of smooth sailing after all her problems. Who knows but that someday she may load a cargo for delivery in the Great Lakes she knew so well.
(The author would like to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of the following in tracing the distant activities of GRAINMOTOR: The Gold Line, E. Dawson Roberts & Co., Brent Michaels, Paul Michaels, Stewart R. King of the "Charleston News and Courier," Bob Zeleznik,. Thomas J. O'Connor of the Tampa Port Authority, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Dave Glick, Nels Wilson, and John. N. Bascom.)
Late Marine News
The parade of scrap vessels down the Welland Canal continues. On June 7, the tugs SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER brought PETER REISS to the scrapyard at Humberstone where she will be cut up as soon as the last remains of ALPENA are removed. Then on June 9, the same tugs towed down the Kinsman steamer R.E.WEBSTER. The MONARCH then returned to Lake Erie where she picked up A.E.NETTLETON at Buffalo. She brought the NETTLETON into Port Colborne on June 10 aided by G.W.ROGERS and they subsequently proceeded down the canal.
The passenger and auto ferry ST. JOSEPH ISLAND, formerly, operated across the St.Joseph Channel, near Richards Landing, passed down the Welland Canal on June 8th in tow of the tug DANA T. BOWEN. Recently displaced by a new bridge the ferry is, we understand, to be operated in the Kingston area. She is owned by the Ontario Government.
The new Norwegian America Line flagship VISTAFJORD made her maiden cruise recently, departing New York on June 7 bound for Bermuda. The vessel, a product of Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Ltd. was built at Newcastle. She made one transatlantic crossing from Norway with a small load of Very Important Persons and then started into the cruising trade for which she was built. She will operate mainly on the North Cape route to the fjords of Norway. Your editor was aboard for the Bermuda trip and can report that VISTAFJORD is one of the most beautifully appointed vessels built in recent times. She is a bit of a throwback to earlier ships in that much of her passenger accommodation is finished in wood. VISTAFJORD is heartily recommended.