The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Scanner, v. 7, n. 9 (Mid-Summer 1975)
Scanner (Toronto, ON), Aug 1975

Bascom, John N., Editor
Media Type:
Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Marine News; Ships Along The Seaway - Volume 2; World Discoverer Comes to the Lakes; Ship of the Month No. 50; Shell Canada Limited; Late Marine News
Date of Publication:
Aug 1975
Language of Item:
Copyright Statement:
Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rights holder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Toronto Marine Historical Society
WWW address
Full Text


Friday, October 3 - 8:00 p.m. at the Museum. Open slide night. Members are invited to bring a few slides each to illustrate their summer ship-watching activities.

The Editor's Notebook

This is our last issue for the 1974-75 season and we would like to extend a big vote of appreciation to all those who throughout the last year have kept us so well supplied with news items and articles for publication. We know that we can count on these stalwarts again during the coming season but we would like to hear from a few more members either with items for use in these pages or with comments or suggestions on how we might improve our service to our readers. Ourselves, we shall be working to improve the appearance of "Scanner" as we iron the wrinkles out of our new printing arrangements.

Membership Fees are now due for the 1975-76 society year which begins in October. Please note that the October issue will be the last one sent to those who have not remitted their fees by that time. Your only notice of fees due will be through these pages as we cannot afford the cost of mailing individual billings.

Unfortunately, we have some bad news as regards fees - it will cost you $10.00 to join the society for the coming year. We had hoped to avoid the necessity of increasing fees for a while longer, but increased printing costs, the probability of a considerable hike in postal rates, and the desire to bring you double photo-pages as often as possible have conspired to force an increase at this time. A check on the society's finances indicates that we ran into the red this year and we had the choice of either reducing the size and quality of our publication or else raising the fees to a level which should cover expenses for the foreseeable future. Your Executive Committee could not recommend a cutback in services and our motion for a fee increase was unanimously approved by the members present at the May meeting.

The increase is not so steep as to hurt any of us, and the new fee structure is in line with that of several other societies of a similar nature. We trust that you will all agree with our actions and will renew promptly. Remittances should be in Canadian Funds if possible (or else include an allowance for exchange and bank charges on U.S. cheques) and should be sent to the Treasurer, James M. Kidd, 83 Humberview Road, Toronto, Ontario, M6S 1W9. Thank you.

In the New Member Department, a hearty welcome goes out to Alan Sykes of Welland, to Fred Addis of Port Colborne, to Jack Boylan of Sarnia, to William Maher Howell of Erie, Pennsylvania, and to Capt. John P. Wellington of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the skipper of the tourboat LE VOYAGEUR.

Marine News

The date is April 23, 1975 as JAMES E. FERRIS is towed through the Homer Bridge by SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER. Photo by Bill Bruce.Yet another veteran laker has made the one-way voyage down the lakes to Quebec City on the first leg of the long journey to a European scrapyard. KINSMAN VOYAGER, which had earlier been towed from Toledo to Port Colborne, was brought down the Welland Canal by the tugs SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER on April 30th, finally clearing Port Weller on the morning of May 1st. She was scheduled to make the Atlantic crossing in tandem tow with JAMES E. FERRIS but we have yet to receive confirmation of their safe arrival on the other side.

On the same day that she started down the Welland with KINSMAN VOYAGER, April 30, the McAllister tug SALVAGE MONARCH arrived at Port Colborne with the BoCo self-unloader HENNEPIN in tow. The vessel, which had been brought from Toledo, was placed in the Marine Salvage Ltd. scrapping berth at Ramey's Bend where she will be broken up. Incidentally, we understand that her owners stripped out HENNEPIN before selling her to the scrappers. It seems that they were looking for marine artifacts to decorate their Buffalo offices and cleaned out the old steamer in the process.

KINSMAN VOYAGER had a short career in Steinbrenner colours. This view by Alan W. Sweigert shows her bound up Cleveland's Cuyahoga River.Marine Salvage crews have been busy lately. By Mid-May they had finished the job of stripping JACQUES GRAVEL down to the main deck in preparation for her planned use in connection with gas-drilling operations in Lake Erie and she was shifted back down the canal bank. TEXACO-BRAVE was then moved over to the inside position and scrapping operations on her began during the week of May 19th, the torches making quick work out of the old tanker. The BRAVE always looked quite large and business-like when we saw her in Toronto harbour, but she looked sickeningly small and forlorn sitting in Ramey's Bend once the scrappers started chopping her up. Ye Ed would like to hope that she is all gone by the time of our next visit to those parts as we don't think we could take another look at the decimated remains of our old friend.

Yet another steamer consigned to the scrapyard is RUTH HINDMAN. Idle since the close of the 1974 season, she has been sold to Western Metals Corp. of Thunder Bay and will be dismantled at the Lakehead. She passed up the Canadian Lock at the Soo on June 21 in tow of the tug W. J. IVAN PURVIS. RUTH HINDMAN was built in 1910 at Toledo and served the United States Transportation Company, the Great Lakes Steamship Company, and the Wilson Transit Company before being sold to the Hindman Transportation Company Ltd. in the early sixties. While under U.S. registry she carried the name NORWAY.

To switch from scrappings to new commissionings, we can report the entry into service of the newest unit of the fleet of N. M. Paterson and Sons Ltd., Thunder Bay. The motorship ONTADOC was enrolled at Collingwood on April 21 as C.346840. She measures 342 x 49 x 27, Gross 4488, Net 3168. She arrived at the Algoma Steel plant at the Canadian Soo on April 25 on her maiden voyage and there loaded steel for Duluth. It had been hoped that she could run down the Seaway right away but this was not possible as her deck winches were not ready and temporary installations were made so that she could begin service.

Meanwhile, the Paterson fleet is cutting back the number of canal bulk carriers in the fleet. At present, the only such unit in operation is TROISDOC, her sistership SARNIADOC and the similar LACHINEDOC being at the wall at Cardinal. The third sistership, CALGADOC, was sold this spring to Mexican buyers and cleared Cardinal on May 3rd under the name EL SALINERO.

A surprise visitor to Toronto on several occasions this summer has been CEMENTKARRIER which has not been seen in these parts since she laid up here over the winter of 1973-74. Since then she has been operating on the Canada Cement Lafarge service out of Montreal while ENGLISH RIVER has held down the Lake Ontario run. CEMENTKARRIER, long a familiar sight on the Toronton waterfront, has had her appearance altered slightly as the sides of her after cabin have been plated in, presumably as a result of the severe battering she took last year when caught in a major blow on the Gulf. We hope that the vessel will favour us with a few more visits as the year progresses.

Work continues on the rehabilitation of TRILLIUM at Humberstone. The hull work was completed in late spring and the contract was then let for the fitting of the new aluminum superstructure. Her new boiler was placed in her and the stack remounted. By mid-July the framing was up for the main deck cabin. It has been decided that the remainder of the work will be done at Ramey's Bend and the old ferry will not be returned to Toronto until the job is finished. Meanwhile, TRILLIUM's older (1906) sister BLUEBELL is in the news. Taken out of service after the 1954 summer season, she was cut down to a barge at the Metro Marine yard over the winter of 1955-56 as it was planned to use her to haul fill for the project of raising the level of the islands. She was only used in this capacity for a very short period of time since during 1956 she sank after taking on water through an unsealed hull opening. The bare hull has lain ever since in Lighthouse Pond back of Gibraltar Point, for many years lying alongside TRILLIUM but looking almost unrecognizable without her cabins and machinery. Now we hear that there are plans afoot to use BLUEBELL's hull as a dock facing at Ashbridge's Bay, a small harbour located east of the Toronto harbour area. Thus the future of the former flagship of the ferry service is as bleak as that of TRILLIUM is full of promise.

Most of the vessels of the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Company Ltd. are now sporting the line's new funnel colours, although it has taken a long time to get the job done and a few of the ships are still running around with varieties of the scheme. Basically, the design now adopted incorporates the green, white and blue bands which we described in an earlier issue, but to this design has been added a rather peculiar representation of an evergreen tree (stemless and otherwise leaving much to the imagination) in blue on the white band. For a while SHELTER BAY lost the lower green band and the whole bottom portion of the funnel was white, but this has now been changed and the green has reappeared.

Nothing further has developed regarding the future of the many idle U.S. Steel bulk carriers although we do know that a Canadian operator has been looking at W. F. WHITE. Rumour has it that ALVA C. DINKEY may be used as a barge at Cleveland to haul ore from the breakwater area up the Cuyahoga but we rather doubt that this plan will ever come to fruition.

In a move to combat the high cost of ship repairing, Hall Corporation Shipping Ltd. has acquired control of Shelburne Industries Ltd., a firm operating a shipyard at Shelburne, Nova Scotia. Hall contemplates using the Shelburne yard for maintenance work on its tankers, all but one of which will fit the drydock (the lone exception being BAFFIN TRANSPORT). As a further benefit to the Hall fleet, the Shelburne location has access to open water on a year-round basis.

The Mohawk Navigation Company's stemwinder SILVER ISLE got herself into a spot of trouble on June 1st when she ran hard aground in Lake Erie's Pelee Passage while downbound with a cargo of grain. She slid well up on the shoal and was resting at a particularly uncomfortable angle but it seems that no major structural damage was sustained. The vessel was freed about four days later after her cargo was lightered by the Columbia craneship BUCKEYE.

In the May issue, we commented upon the fact that Cogema (Compagnie de Gestion de Matane) was trying to back out of the deal with Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. for the purchase of the idle package freighter FRENCH RIVER which was to have been used as a carferry across the St. Lawrence. Much to our surprise, C.S.L. agreed to "buy back" the motorship and she thus never moved from her lay-up berth at Hamilton (except when C.S.L. pressed her into service briefly during the early part of July). It is interesting to note that this is the second deal which has fallen through for Cogema. Prior to getting involved in the FRENCH RIVER fiasco, Cogema had taken a purchase option on the long-idle Grand Trunk Lake Michigan carferry GRAND RAPIDS. They backed out of that one when they discovered the costs that would be involved in refitting the 48-year-old ferry for their intended operations.

GRAND RAPIDS has been in the news in yet another capacity recently. The Grand Trunk has, of course, filed for abandonment as have the Ann Arbor and Chesapeake & Ohio, all three companies seeking to discontinue their cross-lake ferry services. The Grand Trunk normally operates only one boat, usually MADISON, while CITY OF MILWAUKEE is held in reserve as spare boat (and, in fact, is presently operating under charter to Ann Arbor to replace the wounded ARTHUR K. ATKINSON). Grand Trunk would like to sell GRAND RAPIDS but in one of the moves planned to block the discontinuance of the rail ferries Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelley has filed suit in the U. S. District Court at Grand Rapids to prevent the railroad from disposing of the ship until the whole future of the Lake Michigan carferries has been decided.

An advertisement in the March 1975 issue of Boats and Harbors indicated that Harry Gamble of Port Dover, Ontario, was seeking to sell two oil tankers. One was readily identifiable as HUSKY 120 which he purchased several years ago from a group in the Canadian Soo but never operated, except on her delivery voyage down the lakes. The other ship was described as measuring 251 x 43 x 17, "built 1926 in U.S.A., Canadian registry", and observers for a while were wondering what vessel this might be. It is evident that the tanker to which the ad referred is INLAND TRANSPORT which is now in her third season of idleness at Sarnia and looking much the worse for the exploits of vandals. We had thought that this motorship had already been sold to United Metals for scrapping at Hamilton but either this is not the case or else she has since been resold to Gamble. In view of the condition of her hull, we doubt that anything but the cutting torch lies in wait for INLAND TRANSPORT.

Remember back a few months when ye Ed made a prognostication to the effect that 1975 would be the last year of the C.S.L. package freight service? Well, if we had placed any money on the bet, we would be feeling pretty good right now for it seems that our forecast may be right on the mark. Canada Steamships has become embroiled in a dispute with Canadian National and Canadian Pacific over the "dockage" rates that the railroads pay the shipping line for the loading and unloading of their cars at the company's lake terminals, the disagreement being so strong that the railroads have elected to cancel the entire pact. Accordingly, C.S.L. advised its employees at Thunder Bay, Windsor and Hamilton that operations would cease on or about June 22. Since then C.S.L. has softened its stand on the dispute, saying that it will keep the service operating "at least until the end of the year", apparently in the hope that the federal government will make things easier for the route economically. We still think that the package freight trade will soon reach its demise and this recent brouhaha provides C.S.L. with an excuse for dropping a run which it wanted to discontinue anyway. The company has even gone so far as to advertise for sale FORT HENRY which has lain idle at the Hamilton terminal this season.

The former Escanaba Towing Company tug LEE REUBEN is now being operated by Hannah Inland Waterways under the name MARY E. HANNAH. The latter company is also now running the Malcolm Marine tug TABOGA formerly of Port Huron. Another Hannah tug, MARGARET M. HANNAH, towed the former Roen pulpwood barge HILDA from Lamont to Joliet, Illinois, on the first section of her trip to salt water. We understand that Hilda will not now be going to the Mediterranean as was originally planned but will be operated in the New Orleans area.

The Kinsman steamer GEORGE D. GOBLE carried a rather strange cargo recently. She arrived at Lorain on July 21st with the prefabricated deckhouses for the two new Interlake Steamship self-unloaders being built there by the American Shipbuilding Company. The cabins were manufactured at South Chicago.

The Imperial Oil tanker IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR is not what you would call a regular visitor to lake ports as she spends most of her time on the east coast. She was, however, at Port Weller Drydocks for a refit during the month of May and in mid-June she made a rather interesting call at Toronto. Arriving on June 19, she unloaded at the Imperial dock in the ship channel and then moved up to the Texaco dock the next day. She loaded 104,000 bbls. of gasoline and cleared port via the Eastern Gap on June 21, her destination being Philadelphia.

Speaking of Toronto's Eastern Gap, this harbour entrance is once again open to vessel traffic after two years of reconstruction. In recent years the gap has only been used by small ships due to serious silting problems at the outer end. The construction of the eastern headland has redirected the longshore drift and continual dredging will no longer be required to keep the channel at a navigable depth. The eastern wall of the gap has been pushed back about two hundred feet and the outer ends of both walls have been chopped off, the channel being dredged to Seaway depth. It is now the main entrance and is being used by most of the ships calling here as it cuts considerable time off a passage either down or across the lake.

While the U.S. Corps of Engineers is busy studying the possibility of rebuilding either the Davis or Sabin Lock at the Soo to take 1000-foot-plus vessels, the Lake Carriers' Association has revived the idea of a canal through the central upper peninsula of Michigan. The canal, 38 miles in length, would start at Au Train Bay on Lake Superior west of Munising and would reach upper Lake Michigan via the Au Train River, Au Train Lake, Mud Lake, the water storage basin of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company, Whitefish River and Little Bay de Noc. Earlier studies of this particular routing had indicated that the proposal was not economically feasible.

A Port Stanley fisherman believes that he has located the sunken carferry MARQUETTE AND BESSEMER NO. 2 in Lake Erie. For many years the vessel has been the object of searches conducted with depth sounding equipment and other such gear but no positive results were ever obtained. Larry Jackson claims that his current find can be well documented and in particular he alleges that he brought a piece of railing from the ship to the surface in a gill net. MARQUETTE AND BESSEMER NO. 2 was lost in December 1909 under particularly tragic circumstances. Sailing from Conneaut in heavy weather, she was prevented from reaching the Canadian shore by the winds and ran for safety back to the south side of the lake. There she found her route to safety blocked by the freighter CLARENCE A. BLACK which had anchored across the harbour mouth to wait out the storm. The ferry turned again and tried to run on a northeasterly course to the lee of the north shore but she was overwhelmed by the huge seas and apparently sank with all hands after exposing her open stern to the fury of the gale.

The former Halco tanker RIVER TRANSPORT carried the name DON ERNESTO when she cleared Montreal for the Caribbean on April 22. The motorship is now registered in Nassau and owned by an Ecuadorian firm, Navipac S.A.

The tug DANA T. BOWEN has now been renamed W. J. IVAN PURVIS by J.W. Purvis Marine of the Canadian Soo. Originally the Abitibi Paper Company's tug MAGPIE, the vessel was later in the Hindman fleet (where she was given the name of the well-known lake author) and since her sale to the Purvis interests several years ago she has once again taken up residence at the Soo.

The Gaelic Tugboat Company of Grosse Ile, Michigan, has purchased the veteran steam tug WILLIAM A. WHITNEY from the Zenith Dredge Company of Duluth and during the month of June she was brought down the lakes in tow of Gaelic's tug DONEGAL. The WHITNEY, built in 1920, has been used only very occasionally over the last twenty years and we understand that her very poor condition is worrying her new owner.

In our May issue we reported that Canadian National Steamships would cease operating the Alaska cruise steamer PRINCE GEORGE at the close of the 1975 season. Little did we know at that time that she would not even start the season! It seems that during the month of April the vessel was severely damaged by a fire that gutted a good portion of the passenger accommodation, C.N. immediately announced that the entire cruise schedule was cancelled and placed the vessel for sale on an "as is" basis as she lay at Vancouver. Her future does not look good and we rather fear that the end of PRINCE GEORGE may also spell the end for the Alaska run of Canadian Pacific's beautiful PRINCESS PATRICIA. C.P. is well known for its apparent aversion to passenger trade of any kind (a trend which has developed over the last few years) and we get the impression that the company might well drop the "PAT" now that the domestic opposition is out of the way and there will be no loss of face.

On the other hand, however, we have heard a rumour to the effect that British Columbia Steamships, the company formed by the B.C. Government to operate the former C.P. steamer PRINCESS MARGUERITE on the Seattle to Victoria run (they apparently wanted her under different colours than the rest of the ferries since she is an "old-fashioned" side-loading steamboat), may take over C.P.'s remaining B.C. ferry operations (PRINCESS OF VANCOUVER) plus PRINCESS PATRICIA and are even considering assuming operation of PRINCE GEORGE. We have as yet heard nothing definite on this, but it would be a most pleasing development if it should occur.

There have been more developments in the continuing saga of the Straits of Mackinac steam carferry CHIEF WAWATAM which at present is making only one round trip per week. As recounted earlier, the Mackinac Transportation Company has petitioned the I.C.C. to be allowed to discontinue the service, but there has been a great hue and cry raised by the populace and a number of politicians who object to the shutting off of this rail route to Michigan's upper peninsula. The case is not expected to be decided for several years but in the meantime the City of St. Ignace (the ferry's northern terminus) has made it known that it wishes the opportunity of purchasing the 64-year-old steamer if and when she is withdrawn. Now just what do you suppose they could be planning to do with her? Not another tourist trap for an area already loaded to the gills with that ubiquitous animal, we hope ...

Staying with carferries for a moment, we understand that there is a possibility that the C&O Lake Michigan carferries may not be withdrawn as per the railroad's current plans. C&O employees are allegedly interested in taking over the service and running the boats on a co-operative basis with the blessing of the railroad which it is felt might agree to continue routing trains by water if it could be relieved of the chore of operating the vessels. We'll pin a "wait and see" tag on this one for a while.

It has been announced that Hull 715 which is due for 1976 delivery from Bay Shipbuilding to the Inland Steel Company will be named JOSEPH L. BLOCK in honour of the former company chairman who retired earlier this year. The ship will be a self-unloader and will measure 728 x 78.

The Inland Steel steamer WILFRED SYKES sailed from Fraser Shipyards on June 28th after her conversion to a self-unloader. Unfortunately, the unloading rig which has been installed does not in the most remote manner fit the original design of the vessel and what had to be the most handsome of the "modern" (she's 26 years old) lake carriers has now had her lines completely destroyed. She sports an aft-mounted boom hinged on a high and ugly structure forward of the after cabin (a la FRONTENAC) which completely hides the funnel from view. The boom itself does not rest at an angle compatible aesthetically with the sheer of the deck but rather hangs downward in a droopy fashion. A large raised hatch has been added aft. We are truly disappointed ...

Another vessel for which a similar conversion is in the works is the beautiful SCOTT MISENER which will in the near future have her appearance marred by an aft-mounted boom and high elevating device. Perhaps we could overlook this travesty if only Misener management would remove the monster (unused for several years) from the deck of their flagship RALPH MISENER!

The American Steamship Company is a company which, despite the current poor business conditions, has grabbed the bull by the horns and has embarked on a great fleet enlargement program. Four new hulls have already been built for the fleet (ROGER M. KYES, CHARLES E. WILSON, H. LEE WHITE and SAM LAUD) while no fewer than five more are on order from Bay Shipbuilding, the first two to be christened ST. CLAIR and BELLE RIVER. 1975 has not however been a particularly happy year for the company. The newest of its carriers, SAM LAUD, was only in service for a few weeks when on June 28 she struck bottom in the Sturgeon Bay Canal and ripped out about 600 feet of her plating. As a result, the vessel had to be returned to the shipyard at Sturgeon Bay and at the time of this writing it is not known how much of the season she will miss.

While on the subject of American Steamship, we should report that CONSUMERS POWER is presently laid up at Ecorse, allegedly with hull damage of some kind. It is expected that she will be returned to service when conditions improve. Two BoCo self-unloaders did not fit out at all this year, namely CHARLES C. WEST and FRED A. MANSKE. The latter, which previously sailed in the fleet of the Pioneer Steamship Company as J. S. ASHLEY, is reportedly close to being sold for scrap if, indeed, a sale has not already been concluded .

With the current economic recession adversely effecting sales of both grain and steel products, and with iron ore stockpiles high after a winter of late navigation, many lake operators on both sides of the border have been sending vessels to the wall during the summer months. As an example, Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. in June put GODERICH, JAMES NORRIS, GORDON C. LEITCH, WHEAT KING, SEAWAY QUEEN and NORTHERN VENTURE into layup at Toronto and these have since been joined by RED WING and CANADIAN MARINER. Misener laid up the flagship RALPH MISENER and the smallest ship of the fleet, ROYALTON, while C.S.L. has put a number of bulk carriers and even two self-unloaders into ordinary. Cleveland-Cliffs laid up PONTIAC and may put in more. Kinsman has taken three ships out of service and may pull in others as well, while U.S. Steel which started the year with a much reduced operating fleet has cut back even further by laying up B. F. AFFLECK and HORACE JOHNSON. Other fleets have been similarly effected but the most startling news was that Pickands Mather, which had already withdrawn CHARLES M. SCHWAB, ROBERT HOBSON, JOHN SHERWIN and CHARLES M. BEEGHLY, decided late in July to lay up the entire fleet for a period of several weeks. Shipwatching at our various familiar vantage points is not particularly rewarding at the moment!

The tanker TEXACO CHIEF arrived in Toronto on July 7th and has been lying since along the north side of the turning basin where she has been having her tanks cleaned and lined in the same manner as have IMPERIAL QUEBEC and GULF CANADA in recent years.

During the latter part of July there arrived in tow at Toronto a most strange vessel, the remains (and we use that word with good reason in view of her condition) of the McAllister steam tug SALVAGE PRINCE. This tug has lain for many years at Kingston in idleness and at one time it was hoped that she would become a museum exhibit at that port. But now she is lying on the north side of the slip at Villiers Street opposite the Cousins Terminal, facing outwards and rubbing sterns with the not-quite-as-decrepit CHRIS M. This latter fact would lead one to believe that the PRINCE has also been bought by Norman Rogers, although what he could ever consider doing with her is totally beyond us.

Ships Along The Seaway - Volume 2

Our members seem to be very prolific writers and they keep us busy producing reviews of their works for these pages. The latest item of marine interest to appear on the bookshelves is SHIPS ALONG THE SEAWAY - VOLUME 2, a follow up by member Skip Gillham of Vine land, Ontario, to his earlier SHIPS ALONG THE SEAWAY which appeared several years ago.

The new volume is a 60-page softcover containing twelve chapters, each dealing with a different type of vessel appearing on the waterway. A wide selection of ships is included, each with a photo and complete description but none of the ships illustrated are duplicated from the first volume. The quality of photo reproduction is greatly improved with volume two and the book should prove attractive not only to the dedicated shipwatcher but also to the many visitors to the Welland Canal area, the latter group comprising those individuals for whom the book is mainly intended.

Our congratulations go to Skip on the publication of this, his latest effort. The volume may be purchased at stores in the St. Catharines area or directly from the publishers, Stonehouse Publications Ltd., R.R. 1, Fonthill, Ontario, LOS 1E0.

World Discoverer Comes to the Lakes

We had earlier intended for these pages a fairly lengthy description of the passenger ship WORLD DISCOVERER which is being operated into the lakes this year but unfortunately space does not permit this and other publications have printed appropriate comments.

Suffice it to say that the ship, owned in Denmark and registered at Singapore, is proving very popular. She is very attractively furnished and the cabins are remarkably large and airy for such a small vessel. She has a surprisingly large number of public rooms, one of which, located directly over the pilothouse, contains duplicate navigational equipment for the enjoyment of the passengers. There is also a novel lookout high in the foremast for passenger use. The ship is actually owned by a consortium of 450 Danish doctors who have set up Discoverer Cruises Inc., Washington, to operate the vessel and promote her sailings. Reservations are handled by Midwest Cruises Inc., Indianapolis, the original charterer.

WORLD DISCOVERER encountered a number of problems in her first few weeks of service but has since settled down to her run and we have heard glowing reports from those who have sailed in her. We wish her operators every possible success in their enterprise.

Ship of the Month No. 50


It is sometimes quite surprising to take a look at the lives of some of the early iron lake package freighters, for many of them lasted for a considerably longer period of time than one would have imagined bearing in mind the fact that iron hull construction was in its infancy. Such a steamer was the vessel which was best known in her later days under Canadian registry as BICKERDIKE and MAPLEBROOK.

BICKERDIKE is downbound in Little Rapids Cut in this photo c. 1915 by A. E. Young.The most famous lake vessel operators of the 1870s and 1880s were the railways which developed large fleets of steamers to transport freight and passengers in connection with their rail services. Almost all the major railways of the northern states had their own vessels, and no exception was the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad which operated a lake shipping affiliate known as the Western Transportation Company, Buffalo.

In 1871 this concern let a contract to the Buffalo yard of Gibson and Craig for the construction of an iron-hulled package freighter. As built, she measured 221.8 feet in length, 34.5 feet in the beam and 14.2 feet in depth, these dimensions giving her tonnage of 1395 Gross and 1202 Net. The steamer was duly christened ARABIA and was assigned official number U.S. 105254. ARABIA was a typical package freighter for her time. She was built of iron up to the main deck, while the topsides forming the 'tween decks and cabins were of wood. She carried an octagonal pilothouse atop the texas forward, while her single funnel was mounted well aft. Her deck was cluttered with cabins in the norman package freighter style. She was not designed to carry any passengers.

ARABIA was a rather special vessel for her owners as she was the first iron-hulled steamer to be built for Western Transportation. Even so, it does not appear that she was commissioned until 1873 and it is not certain whether they just took their time in fitting her out or whether the poor economic conditions of the 1870s conspired to keep her at the wall.

No matter what the reason for the delay, ARABIA went into service in 1873 and served her original owners well for a decade. Then in 1883 she was transferred to the ownership of the Western Transit Company which had developed from the Western Transportation Company as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the New York Central. The earlier firm had in fact been owned in part by the officers and employees of the railway. ARABIA continued to operate in the railroad's service until 1906 at which time she became classified as excess tonnage due to the construction of new and modern all-steel package freighters for the line.

ARABIA was sold in 1906 to the Montreal and Great Lakes Steamship Company Ltd. of Ottawa and Montreal, G. E. Jaques and Company, managers. She was transferred to Canadian registry as (b) BICKERDIKE, (C.121784). Her name honoured the Bickerdike family who were long associated with shipping in Montreal and for whom an area at the western end of Montreal harbour was named. Placed in the Montreal to Fort William package freight service, BICKERDIKE operated in conjunction with the Merchants Montreal Line which was a consortium of Canadian vessel owners. About 1911 she was absorbed into the newly-formed Inland Lines Ltd. which itself became a subsidiary of the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company Ltd. shortly before R & O was merged into Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, in 1913.

C.S.L. continued to operate BICKERDIKE in the long-haul package freight service as had their predecessors. The company was beginning to give certain types of names to the various classes of vessels in the fleet and accordingly in 1920 BICKERDIKE was renamed (c) MAPLEBROOK, the "Maple" being a common fleet prefix and the "B" designating her as being a package freighter. MAPLEBROOK still looked much as she had in her New York Central days except that her "birdcage" pilothouse had been replaced with a somewhat more modern structure above which was located an open bridge.

In the late twenties, C.S.L. began to introduce to the Montreal - Fort William route new full-Welland-Canal-size steel package freighters. MAPLEBROOK was replaced on the run and in 1927 she was transferred to the Montreal - Windsor route for which she was given the name (d) CITY OF WINDSOR (I). She did not carry this name for long, however, because the line was building a new class of "City" express package freighters and when the Lauzon-built CITY OF WINDSOR (II) appeared in 1929, the older vessel was renamed (e) BELLEVILLE (II) in honour of the town located in Ontario's Prince Edward County.

BELLEVILLE was, however, on her last legs, her sixty years and her antiquated design rendering her increasingly less useful in her owner's service She was retired from service about 1931 and in 1932 she was sold to St. Lawrence Tankers Ltd., Quebec, an affiliate of the Canada Import Company which was owned by the Webster family of Montreal. It was intended that BELLEVILLE be converted to a tanker and to this end she was stripped of her wooden superstructure right to the main deck. It is thought that the deck was also cut off but whether this was the case or not, it seems unlikely that any further conversion work was done. In her stripped condition she lay idle for a good many years, first at Montreal and later at Quebec, until finally she was sold for scrapping. The shabby old hull was towed to Hamilton in 1942 and was cut up for scrap by International Metals Company at the premises of the Steel Company of Canada Ltd. into whose furnaces her last remains were fed.

Shell Canada Limited

A Short History and Fleet Listing

The Royal Dutch Shell organization is now and has for many years been one of the world's larger petroleum refiners. It is a huge international corporation and as might be expected has not ignored the market for petroleum products in North America, particularly in that area surrounding the Great Lakes. The firm today operates in Canada under the name Shell Canada Ltd. and in the United States as Shell Oil Company.

Shell began moving petroleum products on the lakes in 1932. A company styled Dominion Tankers Ltd., Toronto, was formed with the backing of industrialist John A. McDougald. Alfred R. Roberts was president of the new firm and Capt. J. H. Solery was its manager. Dominion carried Shell products under charter until about 1942 when Shell established its own lake shipping department, incorporated as Shell Canadian Tankers Ltd., Toronto, and took over ownership of the vessels.

In 1963 Shell acquired the Canadian Oil Companies Ltd. of Toronto, a concern which had operated under the familiar name of White Rose. The tankers obtained from White Rose were operated as a separate division of Shell for a short time but they were merged into the Shell fleet itself about 1964. It was around this time that the shipping department dropped the name of Shell Canadian Tankers Ltd. and since then the ships have been registered to the parent Canadian firm, Shell Canada Ltd.

The vessels of Dominion Tankers Ltd. had black hulls and their cabins were a dark buff colour. The stacks were the same buff with a wide black band at the top on which was superimposed a buff circle on which was a large black "R". When Shell Canadian Tankers Ltd. took over operations, the buff colour was lightened somewhat. The stacks remained buff with a black smokeband but on the lower section of the funnel appeared a raised scallop shell which was buff and outlined in black and on which appeared the word "SHELL" in red. BLUE CROSS was the first to carry this design but she differed from all her mates in that her cabins were white throughout her years of service with the fleet. As the years passed, Shell gradually lightened the buff on the cabins until by the early sixties they were almost a cream colour. When Shell Canada Ltd. assumed control in 1964 the cabins became a real white while the lower section of the funnel design became a bright red.

A listing of Shell lake vessels follows, the ships being listed under the first name while serving the company's lake fleet.

ARCTIC TRADER, (a) TYEE SHELL (69). (C.188392). Diesel tanker built 1958 at Collingwood by Collingwood Shipyards Division, Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd., Hull 167. 236.0 x 39.7 x 20.1, Gross 1599, Net 838. Built for west coast service in B.C. waters. Returned to Collingwood 1969 for lengthening, widening and deepening by substitution of new bow and midbody. 295.0 x 45.6 x 24.6, Gross 2701, Net 1834. Since the rebuild, has operated on Lakes and east coast.

BAYSHELL (I), (a) JUSTINE C. ALLEN (50). (U.S. 229240, C.169868). Twin screw diesel tanker built 1930 at Sparrows Point, Maryland, by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Hull 4271. 199.7 x 38.0 x 14.2, Gross 988, Net 590. Built for Lake Tankers Corp., New York, a firm affiliated with Cities Service Oil Co. Inc. Acquired by Shell for lake service 1948 and used much of the time as a bunkering ship at Montreal. Sold 1967 to Maronando Cia. Nav., Panama, for service in European waters. Left lakes as (c) STELLA.

BAYSHELL (II). (C.325745). Diesel bunkering tanker built 1967 at Collingwood by Collingwood Shipyards Div., Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd., Hull 190. 200.0 x 40.0 x 14.0, Gross 1072, Net 987. Built for bunkers use at Montreal. Powered by twin outboard units.

BLUE CROSS is seen downbound in the Detroit River passing Windsor, Ontario. In the background is carferry PERE MARQUETTE 14.BLUE CROSS (59), (a) RED HEAD (34), (c) LAKE TRANSPORT (I)(67), (d) CONGAR (I)(69), (e) ONG (70), (f) WINOC. (C.154909). Steel dry bulk cargo barge built 1930 at Montreal by Canadian Vickers Ltd., Hull 112. 254.7 x 43.5 x 19.0, Net 1524. Built for Red Barge Lines Ltd., Sorel, a subsidiary of North American Elevators Ltd. and affiliated with Sin-Mac Lines Ltd., Montreal. Sold early 1934 to Burdette Clark's Blue Line Motorships Ltd., Montreal, and rebuilt as a twin screw diesel bulk carrier at Port Dalhousie by Muir Bros. Dry Dock Ltd., 1934. Gross 1786, Net 1405. Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. Ltd., Toronto, became interested in Blue Line in autumn 1934 and bought out Clark's interest in 1935. Blue Line Motorships absorbed by Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence 1940. Converted to tanker 1940 by Muir Bros. at Port Dalhousie. Chartered to Shell 1940-42 and purchased by Shell 1942. Sold 1946 to Heathdale Agencies Ltd., Toronto, and operated under charter to British American Oil Co. Ltd., Toronto, in conjunction with Gayport Shipping Co. Ltd., Montreal. Sold 1959 to Hall Corporation of Canada Ltd. Operated 196l-63 under charter to Husky Oil Canada Ltd. After several years of idleness, sold 1966 to Johnstone Shipping Ltd., Toronto, and returned to service 1967. Sold November 1969 to Natomas of Canada Ltd., Hamilton, Ont., for service as an offshore bunkering tanker at Antigua.

PETER G. CAMPBELL is captured by the camera of Capt. William J. Taylor while downbound in Lake St. Clair.PETER G. CAMPBELL (50), (b) RIVERSHELL (I)(60), (c) GOOD HOPE (62), (d) B. A. SENTINEL (69), (e) GULF SENTINEL (74), (f) RIVERSHELL. (C.161572). Steel tank barge built 1933 at Wallsend-on-Tyne by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Hull 1485. First all-welded vessel built in a British Empire shipyard. 178.9 x 34.2 x 14.9. Arrived in Montreal from England May 26, 1933. Built for Dominion Tankers Ltd., Toronto. Converted to twin screw diesel tanker during winter 1934-35 at Montreal. Gross 884, Net 649. Pilothouse originally carried aft but relocated amidships 1946. Ownership transferred to Shell 1942. Sold 1960 to Arthur Hill, Burlington, Ont., but he did not operate her. Sold at public auction 1961 to Johnstone Shipping Ltd., Toronto, and chartered 1962-69 to the British American Oil Co. Ltd., Toronto, for use as a bunkering tanker in the Toronto and Hamilton areas. Charter taken over by Gulf Oil Canada Ltd., Toronto, when it absorbed B.A. Oil in 1969. Charter dropped at close of 1973 season. Chartered 1974 to Shell for use as bunkers ship at Sarnia but the venture was unsuccessful and charter not renewed in 1975.

FLORENCE. (C.88309). Wooden steam tug built 1885 at Levis, Quebec, by Maritime et Industrielle Cie. 91.0 x 19.8 x 9.0, Gross 113, Net 30. Originally owned by Jewell & Co. (Henry Jewell), Quebec City. Sold 1900 to T. Tremblay, Chicoutimi, Que. Sold 1903 to Hackett Towing & Wrecking Co., Amherstburg, Ont. Sold 1906 to Quebec Transportation & Forwarding Co. Ltd., Quebec. Sold 1914 to George Hall Coal Co., Montreal. Sold 1917 to the Essex Transit Co. Ltd., Ford City (Windsor), Ont. After a period of inactivity, sank at her dock at Windsor 1932. Purchased 1933 by Florence Transportation Co. Ltd., Toronto, a subsidiary of Dominion Tankers Ltd. Refitted to tow the tank barge PETER G. CAMPBELL. Foundered Nov. 14, 1933 off Timber Island in the False Ducks, Lake Ontario.

JENNY T. II, (a) ASHTABULA, (b) TIFFIN (69). (U.S. 212966, C.177562). Steel steam tug built 1915 at Cleveland by the Great Lakes Towing Co. for its own fleet. 73.3 x 17.0 x 9.8, Gross 66, Net 45. Sold 1947 to Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd. and used at various Canadian lake ports. Converted to diesel in mid-fifties and latterly operated in C.S.L. colours. Sold 1959 to Gravel & Lake Service Ltd., Port Arthur and used at Lakehead. Sold 1969 to Wakeham & Sons Ltd., Hamilton, for charter to Shell Canada Ltd. Used at Hamilton to tow bunkering barge S.M.T.B. NO. 7.

Fresh from a spring drydocking, EASTERN SHELL (I) is on Muir's Pond, Port Dalhousie, approaching Lock One. April 10, 1965 photo by J. H. Bascom.LAKESHELL (I)(33), (b) JOHN A. McDOUGALD (50), (c) EASTERN SHELL (I)(69), (d) FUEL MARKETER (I)(70), (e) WESTERN SHELL (II)(71). (C.161565). Steam canal tanker built 1932 at Newcastle-on-Tyne by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd., Hull 1426. 253.0 x 43.5 x 17.7, Gross 1876, Net 1073. Arrived at Toronto from Newcastle May 10, 1932. Originally built for Dominion Tankers Ltd., Toronto. Acquired by Shell 1942. Carried fuel oil for Shell subsidiary Canadian Fuel Marketers Ltd. 1969. Held in reserve at Toronto 1970. Sold 1971 to Big D Line of Marine City, Mich., and Chatham, Ont., for use as a tank barge on the St. Clair River towed by steam tug CHRIS M. Remained under Canadian registry and was unofficially renamed (f) ALFRED CYTAKI, the name being painted on the ship but never registered. The venture, plagued by union problems and an oil spill, was unsuccessful. Scrapped 1974 at Strathearne Terminals, Hamilton.

LAKESHELL (II) (69), (b) RIVERSHELL (II). (C.173192). Diesel canal tanker built 1940 at Sorel, Que., by Marine Industries Ltd., Hull 76. 252.3 x 43.9 x 20.3, Gross 2238, Net 1665. Built for Shell Canadian Tankers Ltd., Toronto. Retired at end of 1968 season and held in reserve at Toronto until sold Aug. 1969 to United Metals Ltd. Scrapped at Hamilton 1971.

LAKESHELL (III). (C.330048). Diesel tanker built 1969 at Sorel, Que., by Marine Industries Ltd., Hull 389. 375.0 x 60.9 x 29.9. Gross 5725, Net 4342. Built for Shell Canada Ltd. and still in service.

W. HAROLD REA (70), (b) EASTERN SHELL (II). (C.316681). Diesel tanker built 1962 at Collingwood by Collingwood Shipyards Div., Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd., Hull 176. 335.0 x 46.0 x 24.6, Gross 4009, Net 2961. Built for Canadian Oil Companies Ltd., Toronto, and acquired by Shell 1963. In service.

S.M.T.B. NO. 7. (C.330099). Steel non-propelled bunkering barge built 1969 at Port Weller by Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd., Hull 52. 150.0 x 33.0 x 14.0, Gross 607, Net 581. Built for Shell Canada Ltd. and used at Hamilton, Ont., towed by JENNY T. II. In service.

WHITE ROSE (70), (a) EGLINTON PARK (45), (b) JOHN IRWIN (II)(56), (c) WHITE ROSE (II)(57), (e) FUEL MARKETER (II). (C.175579). Diesel canal tanker built 1944 at Sorel, Que., by Marine Industries Ltd., Hull 142. 259.0 x 43.9 x 20.0, Gross 2404, Net 1699. Built for the Canadian government-owned Park Steamship Co. Ltd., Montreal, and managed during World War II by Imperial Oil Ltd., Toronto. Sold 1945 by the War Assets Corporation to Canadian Oil Companies Ltd., Toronto, whose fleet was then managed by John Irwin of Montreal. Acquired by Shell 1963. Still in service. Since 1970 has operated for Shell subsidiary Canadian Fuel Marketers Ltd.

The following vessels have been owned by Shell and used in coastal trades:

NORTHERN SHELL, (a) TIBETAN. (Br.199402). Diesel tanker built 1954 at Glasgow by C. Connell & Co. Ltd., Hull 476. 530.0 x 73.0 x 38.3, Gross 12608, Net 7200. Originally owned by Norwegian firm of Wm. Wilhelmson. Later purchased by Shell Canada Ltd. and registered at Hamilton, Bda. Used mainly on salt water but occasionally trades into Lake Ontario.

TYEE SHELL. See listing under ARCTIC TRADER among lake vessels.

WESTERN SHELL (I), (a) Y.O. 119. (C.178797). Steel diesel tanker built 1943 at Portland, Oregon, by Albina Engine & Machine Works for U.S. government. 164.5 x 32.2 x 15.0, Gross 682, Net 495. Acquired by Shell after World War II for use on B.C. coast. Out of Canadian register after 1961.

The following, while not owned by Shell Canada Ltd., have operated occasionally into the lakes under charter in the late sixties and seventies:

ACAVUS (Br.187830) and ACHATINA (Br.187831). Sister diesel tankers built 1957 at Vegesack, Germany, by Bremer Vulkan. 531.0 x 69.3 x 39.0, Gross 12326, Net 7477. Built for Tanker Finance Ltd., London, and long-term chartered to Shell.

Late Marine News

The two displaced Tobermory - South Bay Mouth ferries NORISLE and NORGOMA will be preserved although not in an operating capacity. NORISLE has been given to the North Channel town of Manitowaning where she will be used as a tourist facility and attraction. NORGOMA will go to the Canadian Soo for the same purpose. The ships have been transferred for the sum of $1 each.

The future of SOUTH AMERICAN is very much in doubt. Wm. S. Mellus has withdrawn his support and at the end of July the Mackinac Island Chamber of Commerce was desperately trying to gather enough funds to keep the ship from being reclaimed by the scrappers.

On May 16th, the Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company tug WILLIAM C. GAYNOR capsized off Rockaway Point, New York, while putting in time on the east coast. Four men trapped inside the overturned hull were rescued by divers. The GAYNOR formerly served on the lakes for many years.

The Soo River Company, the firm controlled by Robert Pierson Holdings Ltd. which earlier this year purchased Kinsman's steamer SILVER BAY and renamed her JUDITH M. PIERSON, has now acquired two further vessels. During July the company purchased A. T. LAWSON from S & E Shipping Corp. and CHARLES M. SCHWAB from the Interlake Steamship Company. It has not yet been announced when the ships will enter service or what their new names will be. Meanwhile, JUDITH M. PIERSON herself is riding at anchor at the Lakehead awaiting an improvement in the grain trade.

Look for more old lakers to be towed out for scrapping in the near future. The Interlake Steamship Company sold ROBERT HOBSON to Marine Salvage Ltd. late in July and on August 9 the G-tugs GEORGIA and OKLAHOMA brought her into Ramey's Bend where her bowthruster will be removed before she goes overseas. Three Kinsman boats will shortly find themselves at the end of a towline as well. We understand that PETER ROBERTSON, GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER and GEORGE E. SEEDHOUSE have all been sold for scrap and, although the buyer has not been identified, we presume it is Marine Salvage Ltd.

Powered by / Alimenté par VITA Toolkit

My favourites lets you save items you like, tag them and group them into collections for your own personal use. Viewing "My favourites" will open in a new tab. Login here or start a My favourites account.

Scanner, v. 7, n. 9 (Mid-Summer 1975)

Meetings; The Editor's Notebook; Marine News; Ships Along The Seaway - Volume 2; World Discoverer Comes to the Lakes; Ship of the Month No. 50; Shell Canada Limited; Late Marine News