Friday, November 1 - 8:00 p.m., at the Marine Museum, Member Hal Jackson of Dearborn, Michigan, will present a program on the subject of tugs.
Friday, December 6 - 8:00 p.m., at the Marine Museum. Program to be announced.
The Editor's Notebook
With this issue we kick off Volume VII of our little publication and we hope that we will be able to count on the continued support of all those who keep us supplied with news items and information for articles.
At this time we must remind readers that membership fees for the T.M.H.S. are now due. New members of the last few months excepted, this is the last issue which will be mailed to those who have not renewed. To make sure that you don't miss any of our great issues, please forward $7.00 payable, in Canadian Funds directly to our Treasurer, Mr. James M. Kidd, 83 Humberview Road, Toronto, Ontario M6S 1W9.
Out-of-town members are reminded that they are most welcome to attend any of our regular meetings should they be in the Toronto area. We'd like to see you! One other request - if you have any ideas for programs for our meetings, please let us know. We have many of our dates planned for this year, but a few are still open and we are open to suggestions.
In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to James A. Bartke of Chicago, Robert B. Campbell of Lansing, Michigan, and Wes Harkins of Duluth. Mr. Harkins is Public Relations Chief for Fraser Shipyards Inc.
The accident of August 25th, 1974, involving the bridge at Port Robinson (described in detail elsewhere in this issue) was the most serious accident ever to occur on the Welland Canal and by the time the waterway was reopened to traffic some two weeks later, long lines of anchored salt water vessels were awaiting passage at either end of the canal. No sooner was traffic moving, however, than a further stoppage occurred, the result of the refusal of pilots to handle upbound vessels. The pilots were withholding their services in protest to a decision by American pilotage authorities not to allow Canadian pilots to handle any of the salties passing through the St. Clair River. More than forty salties were anchored awaiting passage when the pilots returned to their jobs on September 19.
The canal closure and the pilots' strike have played havoc with the schedule of the Greek cruise liner STELLA MARIS II this summer. After the canal accident, she was trapped above the Welland and, to make up for not being able to proceed east of Port Colborne she made several trips out of Chicago running as far up the lakes as Sault Ste, Marie. Just nicely back on schedule, she proceeded down to Montreal and by September 17th was back in Toronto, upbound. She cleared port early on the morning of the following day and went to Port Weller where she was tied up in the harbour to allow passengers the opportunity of taking a sidetrip to Niagara Falls. She was, however denied passage up the canal and returned the same day to Toronto where she remained until able to go up the canal on September 19. The uncertainties of lake ship operation may possibly be sufficient to persuade the operators of STELLA MARIS II to forego the lake service next year. Meanwhile, over the winter months, the ship will be kept busy running from Washington to the Gulf of Mexico.
Two lake tankers have been sold for operation in foreign waters. Hall Corporation's steamer LAKE TRANSPORT, (a) CYCLO WARRIOR (b) TEXACO-WARRIOR, has been sold to unidentified Spanish buyers for use in a bunkering service. She is to be taken across the Atlantic under her own power and her fit-out crew was to report to the ship at Sorel on September 16th. One of our members will be aboard for the trip and in a future issue he will give us a description of the crossing. Meanwhile, the Marine Industries (Branch Lines Ltd.) tanker SPRUCEBRANCH, idle at Sorel since the close of the 1973 season, has been sold for operation in the Mediterranean. SPRUCEBRANCH was built in 1944 as (a) OTTERBURN PARK and was purchased by Branch Lines in 1946. She was originally a canaller but was lengthened and deepened in 1960. She cleared Sorel for Vigo, Spain, on September 6th.
The Amoco Oil Company is apparently attempting to upgrade its fleet by way of fitting automated boiler controls in its vessels. AMOCO WISCONSIN (1930) was at the shipyard at Sturgeon Bay in August for the work to be done and AMOCO INDIANA (1937) is to get the same treatment this winter. It is not known whether the last ship in the fleet, AMOCO ILLINOIS (1918) will be similarly converted.
The list of lakers scheduled for lengthening seems to be growing longer month by month. Latest to join the parade back to the shipyard is U. S. Steel's self-unloader JOHN G. MUNSON. A 666-footer built in 1952 at Manitowoc, the MUNSON will be taken in hand by Fraser Shipyards for stretching during the winter of 1975-76. She will receive an additional 102 feet in length during the course of the job and at the same time she will receive a new deck complete with one-piece hatches.
Two of the Hall Corporation bulk carriers sold last year for operation in Caribbean waters have been renamed. EAGLESCLIFFE HALL, the first to go, now carries the name EAGLESCLIFF, while WESTCLIFFE HALL, which tried to make it out of the lakes last fall and was unsuccessful, passed down the Seaway on July 24 under the name WESTCLIFF.
The Algonquin Corporation canal tanker CARDINAL, severely damaged in a collision on Lake Erie on May 23rd and idle at Toronto ever since, was towed from Toronto to Hamilton on August 19th. She now lies at Strathearne Terminals in the scrapping berth and has been stripped of much equipment. We presume that scrapping will get under way during the autumn.
A September arrival at the Strathearne Terminals scrapping berth is the big steam tug CHRIS M. Readers will recall that after many years of service at the Lakehead, she was used for a brief period of time to tow the tank barge ALFRED CYTACKI three years ago. The CYTACKI herself was broken up at the same yard early this year.
The bulk canal motorship JEAN-TALON, (a) FRANQUELIN (I), (b) PRINCE UNGAVA, which has operated the last few years for Desgagnes Navigation Ltd., has been sold Panamanian and renamed SOVEREIGN OPAL. The 1936-built vessel has operated mainly in the St. Lawrence carrying pulpwood during recent times, but on occasion she has strayed up into the lakes. She spent the past winter at Sorel.
Another former lake canal tanker has bitten the dust, NONNA VALERIA, (a) BRITAMOCO, (b) GULF TRANSPORT, was sold early in 1974 by Cabotaggio Cisterniero S.p.A of Italy to Italian breakers, C.N.Santa Maria. Scrapping operations apparently began at La Spezia on January 30th.
The Quebec town of Louiseville has been figuring in the shipping news recently and here we report some not so new news. Over the 1973-74 winter, the former Montreal-based National Harbours Board tug SIR HUGH ALLAN was scrapped at Louiseville. The retired Quebec-Levis steam ferry LOUIS JOLLIET is being used there as a floating warehouse, while the tanker GOLDEN SABLE is serving as a floating dock.
We have, since our last issue, learned more of the circumstances surrounding the retirement and sale for scrapping of the tanker ROCKET earlier this year, It seems that she was becoming a bit "ripe" and her liquid cargo was weeping around the rivets in her plating, thus escaping into the lake. The condition meant that she was in violation of environmental protection standards and, as the cost of repairs was excessively high considering her age and carrying capacity, she was sold for breaking up.
Unfortunately, we have more scrappings to report this month as the parade of old lakers across the Atlantic to European scrapyards continues, CITY OF GREEN BAY, the Ann Arbor Railroad carferry, passed down the Welland on July 5-6 in tow of SALVAGE MONARCH and CATHY McALLISTER. Next to go were the Canadian Dredge & Dock Company's breakwater hulls LACKAWANNA and KINSMAN VENTURE which had been lying idle at Toronto since the completion earlier this year of the RIDGETOWN breakwater project at Port Credit. Canadian Dredge & Dock arranged to sell the two vessels to Marine Salvage Ltd. who in turn sold them to Eckhardt & Co., K.G., West Germany. The sales were approved by U. S. MarAd. on July 24. The day previous to this, the 23rd, LACKAWANNA had cleared Toronto in tow of SALVAGE MONARCH and G. W. ROGERS, and KINSMAN VENTURE followed behind the same tugs on July 28th. The last of the present string to go is COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS which had operated earlier in the year for the Interlake Steamship Company, having been just refurbished after several years of idleness. She developed boiler troubles, however, and ran foul of air pollution control authorities, notably at Buffalo. She went to the shipyard at Bay City in late June for repairs, but it was apparently decided that the ship was not worth any major work and accordingly she was sold to Marine Salvage Ltd. for scrapping. She arrived at Cleveland for the last time with a cargo of iron ore on July 17 and shortly thereafter was sent round to Ashtabula for stripping. She passed down the canal during the night of September 17-18 in tow of SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER.
For those who keep records of such things, we have the dates of departure for all the scrap tows which have left the St. Lawrence so far this year. They are as follows:
April 19 JOE S. MORROW and HENRY LALIBERTE from Quebec, tug JANTAR.
April 29 OUTARDE alone from Montreal, tug FAIRPLAY X.
May 8 BEN W. CALVIN and JACK WIRT from Quebec, tug KORAL.
May 24 CRISPIN OGLEBAY and BETHLEHEM from Quebec, tug JANTAR.
June 19 HARRIS N. SNYDER and CLIFFORD F. HOOD from Quebec, tug FAIRPLAY X.
June 30 KINSMAN INDEPENDENT and JAMES DAVIDSON from Quebec, tug JANTAR.
July 8 ROCKET and CITY OF GREEN BAY from Quebec, tug KORAL.
August 3 LACKAWANNA and KINSMAN VENTURE from Quebec, tug JANTAR.
The only arrival date which we have as yet is May 8 for JOE S. MORROW and HENRY LALIBERTE at Santander, Spain.
The new Algoma Central self-unloading bulk carrier ALGOSOO was launched at Collingwood Shipyards on July 24th. An article appearing in the Sault Daily Star at the time of the launching gave details of the vessel but, more important, it stated that vessels of her type are being given a life-expectancy of only 20 to 30 years, this being the first time to our knowledge that a statement of this type has appeared in the press. It thus seems that the fears of observers have been correct - that there is virtually no chance of any of the newer vessels surviving as long as the old steamers we are now seeing sold for scrap after as many as 60 or 70 years of lake service.
The new Manitoulin Island ferry, CHI-CHEEMAUN, which has been under construction at Collingwood Shipyards, headed out into Georgian Bay for her trials on September 5th. She was in service at the time of this writing but her completion is far behind the scheduled delivery date. We have heard that the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, new owners of the ferry service, may be considering invoking a rather heavy penalty clause which was contained in the construction contract.
The Can-Am Hover Express which operates the hovercraft service between Toronto and Niagara-on-the-Lake seems to be having a successful opening season. The run was started early in the summer with just one boat, the TORYOUNG 1, registered in Canada. As the season moved along, however, a second boat was added and she was christened (yeah, you guessed it!) TORYOUNG 2. The newer vessel is registered in the U.S. Each boat carries about sixty people and many Torontonians have found the hovercraft, which makes the crossing in just over an hour, to be a handy way of travelling to the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The line, however, escaped by the skin of its teeth when on Monday, September 16 it almost lost TORYOUNG 2. The boat had arrived in Toronto early in the evening and loaded up for the return crossing to Niagara. There were only four passengers for the trip, however they noticed what appeared to be a large tear in the fibreglass hull aft on the starboard side. The fears of the travellers were apparently allayed by the crew and the boat set out, leaving the harbour by the Western Gap. A short distance off Gibraltar Point, the passengers suddenly became aware of water entering the cabin and at about the same time, the vessel lost power, presumably due to the rising water. By this time, the lake was kicking up a bit of a swell and things started to get a bit sticky. The harbour police and Canadian and American Coast Guards all dispatched rescue craft and in due course the hovercraft was found and towed to Toronto, its passengers and crew being rescued safely, although a bit damp. The hovercraft itself was taken to the seawall at the Island Airport where it was supported by the cable of the harbour commission derrick. Were it not for this, the vessel would have sunk completely - as it was, the water was about half way up the sides of the cabin windows. Once the boat was raised, it was noted that there was a huge gash down the starboard side aft and the press reported that the passengers had thought that the boat might have hit something in the harbour. Nevertheless, some further digging has turned up the fact that the boat, when arriving from Niagara the trip before, had used the Eastern Gap which is at present closed to traffic due to the dredging operations going on there. It looks now as though the hovercraft may have struck one of the pontoons supporting the pipeline attached to the big suction dredge CANADIAN and that this collision may have caused the tear in the boat's hull. An inquiry will be held and the officers of the hovercraft may have a bit of explaining to do
From Lake Log Chips comes a report that the former lake barge MANILA was observed off Tampa, Florida, on June 10. It is reported that the barge looks just as she did when in lake service except for the loss of her aft pilothouse and the fitting of a notch in her stern for pushing. MANILA was originally built for the Minnesota Steamship Company and last saw lake service in 1956 when she was owned by the Pioneer Steamship Company (Hutchinson & Company).
On June 20, the Detroit Metropolitan Water Services began filling its water intake located in Lake Huron off Sarnia. The bottom of the lake will eventually be dredged in the area of the intake and a wooden crib is to be constructed around the intake tunnel. The construction of the tunnel has been one of the most difficult marine construction jobs ever undertaken in these parts.
A minor grounding incident occurred at Detroit on August 4th when JOHN J. BOLAND found the bottom off Renaissance Centre. She had been attempting to get close to shore to unload a cargo of stone but found there was not sufficient water. She was released without damage seventeen hours later, part of her cargo having been transferred to NICOLET.
The Toronto steam sidewheel ferry TRILLIUM, or rather what is left of her, was returned to Toronto from Whitby in tow on August 6. During her stay at the small port east of Toronto, her hull was examined and repaired where necessary and the rotten wooden upperworks were removed, nothing much remaining above the main deck except the stack housing, funnel and paddleboxes. The contract for the rebuilding of the cabins to the original plans has been let to Herb Fraser & Associates and we understand that the hull will soon be towed to Port Colborne for the necessary work to be completed over the winter. We have further heard that when she reappears she will be officially classed as a new vessel and her carrying capacity will be reduced from earlier limits of 2000 (and later 1600) to a measly 1050 in regular ferry service and 500 in excursion service. It seems that the Parks Department will use her only when really needed on the Island service (a new dock will have to be built for her at Centre Island) and the rest of the time, including weekdays, she will run from Ontario Place and also from the planned Aquatic Park at the tip of the Eastern Headland, as well as in the charter trade.
It was announced in July that two 1000-foot self-unloaders on order for the American Steamship Company at the Bay Shipbuilding Company, Sturgeon Bay, have been sold (before construction has even begun) to the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. There are rumours making the rounds to the effect that Bethlehem in turn may peddle one of the ships to United States Steel, but we have nothing firm on this yet, BoCo has made it quite clear that the transfer of the two orders does not mean that the company is giving up its plans for fleet expansion. The reason for the move is a delay in the Detroit Edison funding of the development of new coal sources, and since the two ships were to operate solely for Detroit Edison coal movement, there would have been a possibility of the ships sitting unused for several years on completion.
Meanwhile, Litton Industries have closed its shipyard, Erie Marine, located at Erie, Pennsylvania. There were no plans for further construction except for a possible order for Bethlehem Steel, but nothing was forthcoming from this source because of the considerable friction which had arisen between Erie and Bethlehem over the cost of the projected vessel. There is a possibility that the yard may be sold to another shipbuilding firm.
While on the subject of shipbuilding, we should report that Hull 202 at the Toledo yard of American Shipbuilding has been cancelled. We have as yet heard no explanation for this move.
Still on shipbuilding and such matters, late news comes to us of yet another lengthening project. Fraser Shipyards Inc. has apparently won a contract to lengthen Bethlehem Steel's bulk carrier ARTHUR B. HOMER in October 1975. How Fraser is ever going to keep itself straight and on schedule with the multitude of lengthening jobs it has planned for the next several years, we do not know, but at least the lengthening of each ship will be done well, as has been illustrated by CASON J. CALLAWAY and ARMCO.
National Steel has been in dire straits ever since the strike on the Canadian side of the lakes began in August. A serious shortage of ore has resulted from the inactivity of Hanna's Canadian boats (Carryore and Nipigon Transports) and thus Hanna has been running the larger U.S. carriers down the Seaway for ore. The real monkeywrench went into the works when GEORGE M. HUMPHREY and LEON FALK JR, got trapped in Lake Ontario during the Welland closing. It seems highly likely that Hanna will continue to operate the big U. S. boats down the Seaway for the remainder of the season in an effort to build up their dwindling ore stockpiles for the winter.
Contrary to other reports which have appeared recently, we can (with a good big sigh of relief) relay the word that there are no plans for the retirement of the craneship W. C. RICHARDSON. The aging steamer, a unit of the Columbia Transportation Division fleet, will continue to operate - barring, of course, any major accident.
One casualty of the month of September is the Cleveland-Cliffs motorship RAYMOND H. REISS which, early in the month, had to be towed in from Lake Huron for the replacement of her engine bed, a major operation! She was taken to Nicholson's Dock at Ecorse where repairs are being rushed through on a round-the-clock basis in an attempt to have the ship ready to go back in service by November 1st.
The Bultema Dock & Dredge Company is presently using the former Roen cranebarges HILDA and MAITLAND NO. 1 to carry steel from the Sault Ste. Marie plant of the Algoma Steel Company. In this trade, they are assisting the Canadian motorship YANKCANUCK.
As usual for this time of year, the American vessel operators are letting it be known that vessels will be operating into the winter months this season. The following is the breakdown as we have it now, although this is obviously only a preliminary guesstimate.
Interlake will operate three or four.
Inland Steel will operate WILFRED SYKES and EDWARD L. EMERSON.
Cleveland-Cliffs will operate seven.
U. S. Steel will operate the usual group plus PHILIP R. CLARKE which will be back from lengthening.
Ford will operate four, presumably BREECH, DYKSTRA, WILLIAM CLAY and HENRY II.
Columbia will operate three.
Hanna will run all vessels except MILLSOP.
Bethlehem will operate HOMER, SPARROWS POINT and JOHNSTOWN.
Changes are occurring in the fleet of the Hindman Transportation Company Ltd. The aging coal-burner (your scribe thinks she's the last one on the Canadian side of the lakes) RUTH HINDMAN has been sold to Marine Salvage Ltd. and will be scrapped, although she may run out the season. It seems that she has come due for inspection again and the chances of her coming out of this would be extremely remote indeed. We will miss her, but the Hindman fleet probably won't for the company could be negotiating for the purchase of another ship. If a sale is completed, we wonder whether there will then be a BLANCHE HINDMAN (III) sailing the lakes. ...... (Keep guessing, brothers!)
Were it not for the fact that the bottom seems to have fallen out of the scrap market recently, you would probably have two more scrap tows to watch for. Marine Salvage Ltd. has been negotiating for the purchase of the idle U. S. Steel steamers HENRY H. ROGERS and GEORGE G. CRAWFORD, but it looks as though the deal may not go through as Marine Salvage would apparently have difficulty peddling the hulls across the Atlantic.
Work has been progressing during the summer on the salvaging of the cargo of copper ingots from the wreck of the passenger and freight propeller PEWABIC which lies in 180 feet of water, six miles southeast of Thunder Bay Island in Lake Huron. The PEWABIC, which was sunk by collision one hundred and nine years ago (August 9, 1865), has resisted several earlier salvage efforts but this time a young man named Gregory Busch has managed to bring up a good portion of the ingots which have a very high value on today's market. The ship also had some iron ore in her at the time of the accident and this may also be brought to the surface. Debunked for all time are the old chestnuts about the fortune in gold and/or cash in the steamer's safe. The safe was found and there was next to nothing of value inside,
A very serious fire occurred aboard the Cunard cruise ship CUNARD AMBASSADOR on September 12th while the ship was on the Gulf of Mexico enroute from Port Everglades to New Orleans. Fortunately, the ship was running without passengers at the time, being between cruises, and so there was no loss of life, although damage to ship will be heavy. The fire apparently began in the engineroom but soon spread out of control through the upper decks. Firefighting operations were hampered by the failure of the ship's generators and the men had to be pulled off the ship at night. The fire was finally brought under control the next day.
The magnificent passenger liner FRANCE is now officially retired and efforts are underway to sell the ship. As reported earlier, the French government has refused to continue to subsidize the Compagnie Generale Transatlantique for her operation and it had been announced that she would be retired late in the year. In mid-September, however, on completion of an eastward Atlantic Ferry run, the crew seized control of the ship to protest the retirement of FRANCE and the loss of seamen's jobs. The passengers, most of whom were in agreement with the crew's cause, stayed aboard for a few days and then went ashore in the tender at Le Havre, well-equipped with restorative spirits handed out from the bar by the rebellious crew. Other men of the French merchant marine supported the crew's stand but the government stood fast and so did the C.G.T. It was announced that the last four scheduled trips by FRANCE were to be cancelled, two transatlantic crossings and two cruises. For FRANCE, the future looks bleak and we can only hope that she will find a good buyer who will value her for what she is and will use her for what she does best, carrying unhurried travellers in an atmosphere of grace, style and elegance.
Early in the morning of September 10, the Detroit excursion vessel CITY OF WYANDOTTE (the newest acquisition of the Bob-Lo fleet) broke away from her moorings at the company's Detroit dock and began to run downstream with the current. There was nobody aboard at the time. The vessel was finally brought back to the. dock after she was snagged by anxious police, and she was returned to her dock. It is assumed that vandals slipped her mooring lines. No damage was occasioned in the incident.
George M. Steinbrenner III, chairman of the board of American Shipbuilding, pleaded guilty to two charges in connection with illegal contributions to the Nixon re-election cause when he appeared in Federal Court in Cleveland on August 30. He leaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one of instructing his employees to lie to the F.B.I. during the investigation, While Steinbrenner did not exactly come out of this thing smelling of roses, he did manage to avoid spending the text few years wearing stripes, for Watergate Prosecutor Leon Jaworski dropped 13 other charges and the judge steered away from sentencing Steinbrenner to a jail term, instead fining him a grand (?) total of $15,000 on both counts. It is obvious that interest in the prosecution of this case waned once the Nixon era ended and Steinbrenner, who had earlier been made out to be a whipping boy for the administration, got out of this whole thing very easily in the end.
Meanwhile, there are all kinds of news about the Kinsman Marine Transit Company's fleet. Two vessels have been sold, namely J. BURTON AYERS and Hull 903 currently under construction at Lorain, the buyer in each case being the Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton & Company. Hull 903 was christened on September 21, being given the name WOLVERINE, a good choice in our opinion. She will enter service in mid-October, while AYERS is already out and running in Columbia colours. Several operators are making efforts to purchase Kinsman's newest vessels, the year-old self-unloaders WILLIAM R. ROESCH and PAUL THAYER. Negotiations are currently underway with the bank that actually owns the vessels and apparently there will be some news on this shortly. The steamers KINSMAN VOYAGER and JAMES E. FERRIS (we all knew it had to come eventually) will both be disposed of, probably for scrapping, as they are claimed to be uneconomical for operation. Bull! Besides, with FERRIS gone, what will they ever find to carry grain to Montana Mills in Cleveland? We thought that FERRIS was the only American upper laker small enough to get to the elevator. CHICAGO TRADER, SILVER BAY and PETER ROBERTSON are apparently being sought by the black shipping group from Cleveland who have been eyeballing boats for two years but never coughing up the money to pay for them. They had looked at KINSMAN INDEPENDENT earlier in the year, but we all know what came of that. The entire remaining Kinsman fleet is very much up in the air. Boats may be sold to just about any fleet (take your pick from the rumours) and the possibility must be borne in mind that Kinsman may decide not to sell them at all and keep on running the fleet as it is. We will simply have to curb our curiosity and wait to see what happens,,
The newest Marine Industries-built tanker for Branch Lines Ltd. will be christened LEON SIMARD. We understand that she is currently nearing completion at Sorel and is expected to enter service during the autumn.
Another of the old Goderich grain storage hulls has been sold for scrap. On August 20, the tug THUNDER CAPE towed D. B. WELDON up the St. Mary's River enroute to Thunder Bay where she will be broken up at a yard on the Kaministiquia River. The 412-foot WELDON, latterly owned by the Goderich Elevator and Transit Company Ltd., was built in 1896 for the Minnesota Steamship Company as MARICOPA, She later bore the names JOHN P. GEISTMAN and E. E. JOHNSON (I) but was perhaps best known as ALTADOC when sailing for N. M. Paterson & Sons Ltd. in the forties and fifties. She last ran about 1960 and after being purchased by Goderich Elevator she was stripped of both forward and after cabins. She was preceded to the scrapyard by the barges K. A. POWELL and F. H. DUNSFORD which had also served the Paterson fleet and which were towed from Goderich to the Kam for breaking up in 1973.
Scrapping operations are proceeding at Duluth on O.S. McFARLAND, the former Columbia craneship and Escanaba Towing Company barge, which was purchased for demolition by the Hyman-Michaels Company. At the same yard, the remains of SULTANA have now disappeared and the former Mohawk Navigation barge ALFRED KRUPP is as yet untouched.
One of the vessels delayed by the Welland Canal closing was the new Cleveland Tankers motorship SATURN, the first of two new tankers built for the firm on salt water. The vessel was waiting in line at anchor off Port Weller for a good part of the duration of the strike and passed up the canal on the day it reopened, September 9th.
A couple of months ago, your Editor was wondering what had become of the hull of WYCHEM 105, the former steamer SAMUEL F. B. MORSE, which for almost two decades lay in the Roen boneyard at Sturgeon Bay. We now learn that the hull of the vessel is presently being broken up at Sturgeon Bay and the job is nearing completion.
In a follow-up to the item on the scrapping of D. B. WELDON, we have had several reports to the effect that another Goderich storage hull, the former Reoch steamer ELMDALE, has been renamed K. A. POWELL. We have, however, yet to obtain complete verification of the reports.
One of the U. S. Steel ships laid up this year is JAMES A. FARRELL which was reposing at the American Lakehead, apparently in need of some work in her holds. In late July, she was taken round to the Fraser Shipyards drydock at Superior and a month later she was in the drydock for repairs and inspection. It is our understanding that she has not returned to service since her drydocking but is rather in reserve.
A taconite shiploading facility is to be built at Allouez Bay, an installation similar to the one already operating at Taconite Harbour. The unit will be specially landscaped and will offer considerable protection from noxious dust, features designed to gain the favour of local residents.
The Ford Motor Company motorship HENRY FORD II was back in service late in August after completion of her conversion to a self-unloader. We have not as yet had a chance to see her in her new role, but we understand that she looks quite smart, a happy result bearing in mind the aesthetic deterioration of some vessels which have had similar conversions recently.
Whaddya Mean, I Have to Wait for the Green Light?
- or -How to Wipe Out a Lift Bridge in One Easy Lesson
The (Toronto) Globe, October 4, 1886:
The steambarge D. D. CALVIN, timber laden bound from Au Train, Michigan, to Garden Island, arrived down yesterday. About 11 o'clock last night, she started to pass some vessels to get near the lock (at Port Colborne) so as to get an early start. When near the swing bridge, the engineer mistook the backup whistle and went ahead and the steamer crashed into the bridge, knocking it off the pivot and damaging it badly. The steamer sustained no damage. The wrecked bridge is lying across both entrances to the canal and blocks navigation. They expect to have navigation clear this evening. The following vessels are detained in consequence of the break: Bound down schooners - OLIVER MOWAT, J. H. BECK, AMERICAN, B. BARWICK, PRUSSIA; Steambarges - CALVIN, GLENGARRY and consorts; Steamship - J. PUDGEON JR.; Bound up schooner - CITY OF SHEBOYGAN.
(Later) - Port Colborne, October 4, 1886:
The wrecked bridge was pulled out of the way this afternoon and vessels started ahead this evening.
The above clippings, provided for our use through the courtesy of member Lorne Joyce, illustrate just one of the many incidents wherein Welland Canal bridges have had altercations with passing steamers over the years. Such incidents involving the canal's swing and jack-knife bridges are unfortunately rather frequent, and a check back in history will produce reports of numerous such occurrences.
Accidents involving the canal's eleven (now just six with the opening of the Welland bypass channel) vertical lift bridges, however, are very rare and never up to 1974 has there been any incident causing serious damage to any of these structures. Indeed, when one stands on the pier under one of these, it seems hard to imagine any harm coming to the massive lift span or to the seemingly skyscraping towers at either end of the bridge. Maybe the apparent strength and solidity of the bridges has lured us into a false sense of security.
In this photo by the Editor taken only a few hours after the August 25 accident, the damaged STEELTON can be seen over the wreckage of Welland Canal Bridge 12. Note the fllen east bridge tower at left of photo.If so, we were shocked back to our senses by the events of August 25th, 1974. on that morning, shipping enthusiasts awoke to the news that Welland Canal Bridge 12 at Port Robinson lay in ruins in the canal after having been struck by a freighter.
Slowly, the details of the accident became known. It had been shortly after 4 o'clock on the morning of the 25th that the Bethlehem Steel Corp. steamer STEELTON had been downbound light in the canal above Port Robinson. Bethlehem steamers, although normally not regular canal visitors, had been seen in the canal frequently throughout the summer as they had been carrying iron ore to Lackawanna from Picton and Contrecoeur. At the time of the accident, STEELTON was heading back down to Contrecoeur for another load.
As STEELTON approached Port Robinson in the early morning darkness, the vertical lift bridge carrying the town's main street over the canal began to rise to let the freighter pass. But before the bridge could open fully, STEELTON was right upon it, and although the steamer tried to back off, her pilothouse came into contact with the edge of the sidewalk which overhung the roadway on the south side of the bridge. The bridge was actually about half way up at the time. A vertical lift bridge runs up and down along heavy tracks or rails which extend up the inner side of each tower and thus when STEELTON made contact with the lift span, it could not move with the pressure exerted on it. The whole structure was pushed to the north and the west tower buckled at the spot where the span was when hit. The upper half of the nearly 200-foot tower fell over into the canal amidst a tangle of fallen cables and pulley wheels, while the massive 300-ton concrete counterweight plunged down through the tower, smashing through the roadway on the bridge approach and landing on the pier below. The east tower of the bridge did not break off, but rather was pushed over sideways, the entire structure coming to rest lying on its side in the canal. The east approach span was completely uprooted as the tower fell over and came to a ninety degree angle with the rest of the roadway.
But right in the middle of the twisting, breaking mass of metal was the bridge-master who had been at his controls in the cabin atop the bridge lift span. As the towers fell and the counterweights broke away from their restraining cables, the lift span began to plunge toward the canal. The bridgemaster, although only slightly injured, must have thought his last moment had come. The west end of the span came down hard on the west pier, but the east side had swung to the north and fell into the canal, coming to rest on the muddy bottom. The bridge control cabin wound up scant inches from the surface of the canal and it was not until twenty minutes later that the bridgemaster was rescued by local firemen using a rowboat.
Thousands of sightseers descended on the area after sunrise to view the wreckage, but by then STEELTON had been backed away from the bridge and was moored several hundred feet back along the west shore. The entire front of her pilothouse had been pushed in by the impact and there was also damage to the rail atop the texas. Her steering pole, of course, was demolished and the forward end of the forecastle was ripped open as if by a can opener when the bridge fell down across it. The day after the accident, STEELTON was taken back up the canal to Port Colborne where she was moored along the West Street wharf. There repairs were put in hand by Herb Fraser & Associates, the steamer being back in shape in about ten days.
Meanwhile, the Seaway Authority was faced with the task of clearing the debris from the channel so that the canal could be reopened to traffic as soon as possible. The seaway heavy-lift derrick HERCULES was brought up from the St. Lawrence section, arriving some four days after the accident. In addition, the McAllister tugs SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER arrived with the Marine Industries salvage barge M. I. L. BALSAM (ex BALSAMBRANCH). In little more than a week from the time of her arrival, HERCULES floated clear the last section of the fallen span and crews then set about clearing underwater debris. The lift span itself was eventually floated down the canal and on the morning of September 14 was moved into Port Weller Dry Docks where it is to be broken up.
The canal was closed until September 9th, resulting in a considerable backup of vessels awaiting passage at either end of the waterway. The lineup was not as bad as it might have been, however, since a strike of Canadian engineers and deck officers at the time had most of the Canadian lake freighters laid up. One of the most humourous parts of the whole affair (although not the slightest bit humourous for Bethlehem Steel) was the fact that five of their six vessels were trapped by the accident. STEELTON, of course, was in the canal itself, while LEHIGH, JOHNSTOWN, SPARROWS POINT and ARTHUR B. HOMER were caught in Lake Ontario, As a result, Bethlehem brought STEWART J. CORT, their one remaining ship, into Lake Erie with ore, the first time she has brought a cargo into that lake in her two years of operation.
Observers have been wondering how such an accident could possibly occur. Vertical lift bridges on the Welland are equipped with traffic control lights; a red light shows when the bridge is down, a flashing light while the bridge is going up or down, and a green light when the span is fully raised. Seaway regulations provide that a ship may approach a bridge no closer than the Limit of Approach sign (a considerable distance back up the canal) until such time as the green light shows on the bridge. In addition, if a bridge has not begun to rise when a ship passes an even more distant "Whistle" sign on the shore, then the ship is to sound her whistle or establish radio contact to ensure that the bridge will open. A recent press release from the Seaway Authority has indicated that there did not appear to be any mechanical fault with the bridge, but that STEELTON appears to have disregarded both the Whistle and Limit of Approach warnings.
Undoubtedly the entire matter will become a nasty legal tangle. The demolished bridge had been built in 1931 at a cost of $803,000 and it is estimated that replacement cost today would approximate $10-million. At the time of writing, no decision had been made on replacement and, as a result, the village of Port Robinson (pop. 300) can look forward to being cut neatly in half for some considerable period of time to come. Eventual replacement may be by means of a tunnel and not by a bridge at all.
And so STEELTON (which, by the way, was involved in an argument with the Homer Bridge on the canal earlier in the season) has taught us a lesson. No matter what precautions are taken to prevent accidents, human error can result in tragic consequences. We shall await the outcome of the inevitable litigation with great interest.
Strike Ties Up Canadian Lake Fleet
American vessel operators have been lucky in 1974. They have escaped at the eleventh hour from a threatened strike of marine engineers which would have tied up virtually the entire fleet. Then too, there have been problems in the northern mines, but this has not produced insurmountable problems.
The Canadian shipping firms, however, have really taken it on the chin. On Thursday, August 8th, unions representing marine engineers and deck officers pulled their men out on strike. Vessels proceeded to their destinations or to the handiest nearby ports and there they have stayed ever since. Only a handful of tankers remain in operation, these including ships of the Imperial Oil, Johnstone Shipping and Liquilassie Shipping fleets.
Fortunately, the strike had the effect of lessening the impact of the forced closing of the Welland Canal due to the STEELTON accident, but that is surely the only beneficial result. Many of the smaller shipping companies are casting nervous glances at their balance sheets and wondering how they will come through the loss of such a large portion of their operating year.
As of mid-September, the union representing the deck officers had reached a tentative agreement with the companies, a rather hefty wage hike being included in the package, but at the time of this writing (Sept. 23) ratification had not been obtained from the membership. In addition, the engineers seem to be far from settling their dispute, and so the vessels could well be tied up for quite some time to come barring government involvement in the dispute.
The following is a listing of the vessels tied up at two lower lake ports:
BAFFIN TRANSPORT COVE TRANSPORT METIS
BEAVERCLIFFE HALL ENGLISH RIVER PIC RIVER
CANADIAN CENTURY LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL ARTHUR SIMARD
CAPE TRANSPORT TEXACO-CHIEF
AVONDALE LEADALE MURRAY BAY*
BAIE ST. PAUL * GORDON C. LEITCH NORTHERN VENTURE
CANADIAN LEADER JOHN O. McKELLAR * NORDALE
ESKIMO T. R. McLAGAN * POINTE NOIRE
FRONTENAC * J. N. McWATTERS * SAGUENAY*
GLENEAGLES MENIHEL LAKE * SEAWAY QUEEN
HOCHELAGA * RALPH MISENER * SILVER ISLE*
LAKE MANITOBA * MONTREALAIS SIMCOE*
*At anchor in Hamilton Bay
(Ed. Notes As we go to press with this issue, we learn that certain fleets are now back in operation as a result of the deck officers accepting the new wage agreement. These fleets, however, are only those whose engineers are not members of the striking engineers' union, among them being Upper Lakes Shipping and Texaco, both of which had their ships ready to go on September 26th).
Ship of the Month No. 42
One of the most popular vessels ever operated to the Niagara area from Toronto was the steamer LAKESIDE which served the Toronto to Port Dalhousie route for more than two decades and proved to be a great favourite amongst Torontonians.
The handsome little LAKESIDE leaves Port Dalhousie harbour enroute to Toronto. Directly behind the steamer is Lakeside Park. Photo c.1909 by Rowley W. Murphy.LAKESIDE was a wooden propeller built in 1888 at Windsor by Lane from a design by Capt. A. M. Kirby. She was built to the order of the Lakeside Navigation Company of Walkerville, Ontario. Launched on Tuesday, April 10, 1888, she measured 121.0 feet in length, 26.0 feet in the beam and 9.3 feet in depth. LAKESIDE was given official number C. 90778 and her tonnage was registered as 348 Gross, 220 Net. She was fitted with a fore-and-aft compound engine measuring 19" and 32" x 26" stroke, this machinery having been built by Kerr Brothers of Walkerville.
Intended for the service from Windsor and Detroit to Leamington and Pelee Island, she entered service in 1888 under the command of Capt. N. J. Wigle. She did not last long on Lake Erie, however, for later the same year Capt. Wigle brought her down the Welland Canal to Toronto. The Lakeside Navigation Company entered into direct competition with A. W. Hepburn's Niagara Falls Line when they placed LAKESIDE on the Toronto-Port Dalhousie run. The opposition line was operating the wooden sidewheeler EMPRESS OF INDIA (see Ship of the Month No. 19) on the route at the time and competition became fierce between the two steamers as the companies fought for the patronage of the crowds seeking relief from the summer heat of the city.
But if competition was fierce when only two ships were involved, it became deadly in 1892 when the newly-formed St. Catharines, Grimsby and Toronto Navigation Company placed its new steel-hulled sidewheeler GARDEN CITY on the Port Dalhousie route. During the course of the year, the S.G. & T. also chartered LAKESIDE for their service. In 1893, however, peace came to the route as the Niagara Falls Line and the S. G. & T. agreed to bury the hatchet and merge their operations, thus bringing to an end the cut-throat competition. A. W. Hepburn and Capt. Wigle shared the management of the pooled vessels, although in due course the actual ownership of LAKESIDE and GARDEN CITY passed to the Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Navigation Company Ltd., a subsidiary of McKenzie and Mann's Niagara, St, Catharines and Toronto Railway Company.
Hepburn withdrew his EMPRESS OF INDIA from the pooled service at the close of the 1898 season and from then the two U.S. & T. steamers carried on alone. LAKESIDE not only served the regular Toronto-Port Dalhousie run but on a number of occasions she carried excursions direct from Port Dalhousie to Toronto's Island Park. LAKESIDE was a very handsome little steamer with a square pilothouse and a raked funnel and, as our photo page shows, she proved to be very photogenic.
Around the turn of the century, there sprang up at Port Dalhousie an amusement park and bathing beach area located on the lake shore to the west of the piers. The park was the brainchild of the N. S. & T. railway and its local electric cars operated to it. The development was named Lakeside Park (a name its rather feeble successor still carries) and it is highly probable that it took its name not only from its location but also from the steamer that was operated by its owners and which served to bring pleasure-seekers to it. In the very early years, LAKESIDE had docked above Lock One at Port Dalhousie, but by the time the park was operating her dock had been moved to a wharf on the lower harbour's west pier immediately adjacent to the park and its rail connection. Passengers arriving at Port Dalhousie by steamer could board the electric cars and ride on into St. Catharines or over to Niagara Falls.
LAKESIDE and GARDEN CITY continued together on the route through the first decade of the new century and they proved very profitable for their owners. Not only did they have a great following amongst excursionists, but they also pulled in a goodly number of persons seeking a quick and easy route to St. Catharines in a day of poor roads and primitive road vehicles.
At the opening of the century's second decade, the N.S. & T. steamers had more passengers than they could handle and so the company ordered from the Collingwood Shipbuilding Company Ltd. a new steel screw day-steamer. The newcomer, 199.8 feet in length and christened DALHOUSIE CITY, made her appearance in 1911 and when she went into operation, LAKESIDE was retired from active service. She spent a short period of time in lay-up in Muir's Pond above Lock One at Port Dalhousie but mercifully she escaped the fate of so many wooden hulls for which the pond proved a final resting place.
In July 1911, LAKESIDE was sold to M. J. Hogan, a Port Colborne contractor, and she was used to carry supplies to various construction sites. It is not known how she appeared during these years, but it seems evident that she was not cut down and was probably used complete with her passenger cabins intact.
LAKESIDE was acquired in July 1920 by the famous John E. Russell of Toronto and he rebuilt her as a tug with dimensions of 118.4 in length, 25.9 in breadth and 9.0 in depth. The conversion job was done at Toronto in the Keating Channel at the yard of the Toronto Dry Dock Company in which John E. Russell had an interest. Fore and aft, she was cut down to the main deck, but amidships the main and promenade deck cabins remained, minus, of course, the sun shade which had covered the promenade. The pilothouse was moved down a deck from its former location on the hurricane deck. The steamer emerged with a tonnage of 200 Gross and 77 Net, and she was rechristened (b) JOSEPH L. RUSSELL in honour of her owner's father, a Toronto brick manufacturer.
This very rare photo, taken by a member of the Russell family and provided through the courtesy of Capt. John Leonard,shows JOSEPH L. RUSSELL at Oswego in the mid-Twenties. At left is the Erie Canal steam barge "M. G. PHELPS".JOSEPH L. RUSSELL was a particularly handsome double-deck tug. She had a black hull, red cabins, and a white weathercloth around the open bridge atop the pilothouse. Her distinctively raked funnel was black and carried a yellow diamond with a black "R" on it. She looked even better in warm weather, for then her cabin doors would be open and the green paint on the insides of the doors provided a vivid contrast with the bright red deckhouses. JOSEPH L. RUSSELL was fitted with a heavy kingpost and boom aft and with the aid of this equipment she served as a wrecking tug. In addition, she also towed Russell's cargo barges and as such was often seen towing such famous vessels as STUART H. DUNN, RICKARTON, SENLIM, COLPET and ISABEL REED.
In May 1929, Sinmac Lines Ltd. of Montreal was formed by the merger of Sincennes McNaughton Line, Montreal, the Donnelly Salvage & Wrecking Company, Kingston, John E. Russell Towing Company, Toronto, the Reid Towing & Wrecking Company, Sarnia, and the Dominion Towing & Salvage Company, Port Arthur. The officers of the new firm were James Playfair, President, John E. Russell, Vice President and Managing Director, Frank M. Ross, Vice President, and Capt. J. T. Reid in charge of wrecking activities. Directors of Sinmac Lines Ltd. were Senator Donat Raymond, Noah Timmins, Joseph Simard, Frank M. Ross, and J. C. Newman, all prominent Canadian businessmen. The fleet of tugs and salvage equipment formed by this merger was the largest such operation on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. JOSEPH L. RUSSELL became a Sinmac unit in the merger and she was given the new company's colours - a brown hull, dark red cabins with white trim, and a black stack with red and white bands.
By this time forty-one years old, a ripe old age for a wooden hull, JOSEPH L. RUSSELL was taken in hand by the Toronto Dry Dock Company during the summer of 1929 and was given a complete refit. She returned to service in the autumn of the year but she was not to last out the season.
On November 15, 1929, under the command of Capt. Harry Finn, a rather well-known skipper who had been her master during most of her years under Russell ownership, JOSEPH L. RUSSELL was bound up Lake Ontario en route from Montreal to Toronto. In tow she had the barge AUGUSTUS, laden with lumber from British Columbia. Once out on the open lake, she encountered heavy weather and off Point Petre she began to take in water. Her pumps were unable to handle the inflow of lake water and she soon foundered. Her crew left the sinking tug in the lifeboat and managed to row ashore safely at Cobourg. Meanwhile AUGUSTUS, adrift on the lake, was picked up by the Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. canal package-freight steamer CALGARIAN and was brought safely to Toronto.
And so LAKESIDE ended her days on the storm-swept waters of the lake on which she had operated for almost her entire life. It was a fitting end for a steamer that had served so well.
Late Marine News
Elsewhere in this issue we reported the possible sale of a vessel to the Hindman Transportation Company Ltd. We can now confirm that the ship involved is the Hanna Mining Company's steamer MATTHEW ANDREWS and her sale has been approved by U. S. MarAd. It is believed that when she enters service for her new owners she will be rechristened BLANCHE HINDMAN, The MATTHEW ANDREWS is a 595-footer built in 1924 by the Great Lakes Engineering Works at River Rouge. She originally sailed as EDWARD J. BERWIND.
The newest acquisition of the Hall Corporation, the tanker JON RAMSOY, will be renamed DOAN TRANSPORT. She is presently being refitted at Sorel and soon will be in regular service. The vessel was purchased specially to carry for Dow Chemical.
The steam sidewheel ferry TRILLIUM was towed out of Toronto on the morning of October 2nd by the Canadian Dredge & Dock tug G. W. ROGERS. She had lain in Toronto's Keating Channel since August 6th when she was returned from drydock at Whitby by the tug SOULANGES. The ROGERS and her rather odd-looking charge (minus her cabins) passed up the Welland Canal the same day they left Toronto and the ferry is now moored along the West Street wharf in Port Colborne where her restoration will be completed by Herb Fraser & Associates. It will be most interesting to watch the step-by-step rebirth of the one-time queen of this city's ferry fleet.
An interesting visitor to Toronto Harbour during the Welland Canal closing was the United States Coast Guard icebreaker WESTWIND which arrived in port on September 1st and tied up at the foot of Yonge Street. She remained until September 9th and passed up the canal on the following day. WESTWIND was bound for Milwaukee where she will be stationed for winter icebreaking service.
The strike affecting Canadian lake vessels finally came to an end at the beginning of October when agreement was reached between the Canadian Lake Carriers Association and the union representing engineers. The first vessel to leave Toronto subsequent to the settlement was ENGLISH RIVER which cleared on October 2nd.
The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (Owen Sound Transportation Company) has advertised for tenders for its steamer NORISLE which is now surplus as a result of the commissioning of the new ferry CHI-CHEEMAUN, Closing date for tenders on NORISLE is October 15 and it will be extremely interesting to see whether any other operators are interested in using the hand-fired coal-burning steamer. CHI-CHEEMAUN, incidentally, entered service on Sunday, September 29th.