The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
British Whig (Kingston, ON), 27 Aug 1898

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The houseboat Duchess, Capt. Holmes, Napanee, is in port.

The schooner Acacia was expected from Oswego this afternoon.

A number of vessels engaged in local trade are windbound at Oswego.

Three pinflats loaded corn at Richardson's elevator today for Montreal.

The tug Bronson reached port last night with five barges, light, from Montreal.

The tug Active arrived last evening with two light barges from Montreal.

The steamer Alexandria, Montreal to Charlotte, touching at Craig & Co.'s wharf last night.

The tug Walker, at Charlotte with two coal-laden barges, was unable to cross the lake yesterday.

The steamer Columbian is booked for excursions until September 12th, and has also been engaged for October 1st.

The S.S. Rosemount and consorts Melrose and Selkirk left last night for Port Huron to load coal for Fort William.

Called at James Swift & Co.'s wharf - steamer Spartan, Toronto to Montreal; steamer Algerian, Montreal to Toronto; steamer Arundell, Alexandria Bay to Charlotte; steamer James Swift, from Ottawa.

The R. & O. navigation company's boats on the Saguenay route are using cots to give sleeping accommodation for passenger, something unknown before during the regular tourist season. This is an evidence of the extent of travel this year.

The steamer Iron Duke and consort Iron City, from Chicago with corn, reached here yesterday. The steamer proceeded to Prescott to discharge. The Iron City unloaded 40,000 bushels at the M.T. company's elevator, and today the two sailed for Oswego to load coal.

Pair Of Wheels Ordered - While in the city yesterday Capt. Gilbert Johnston, mechanical superintendent of the R. & O. navigation company, instructed Thomas Carroll, the veteran machinest, to cast two additional brass propellers for the steamer Columbian. They will cost upwards of $500 each and will be made ready at once. Mr. Carrell made the wheels at present in use on the Columbian.



New Scheme of the American Vessel Owners.

American vessel ownes are talking up a scheme for mutual insurance on vessels, and this is causing some comment in marine circles. The idea originated in the attempt of foreign underwriters, with American representatives, to let repairs of total losses to the lowest bidders, then to turn the repaired vessels back to the original owners, if the repair bill could be flattened down to something less than the fifty per cent that brands constructive total losses. In other words, it means that the owners of wrecked vessels, instead of receiving insurance are handed back their boats cheaply repaired by contract.

An American vessel owner in commenting on the subject said: "It is impossible for a dry dock company to repair a vessel by the job and do it well, if any profit is to be made at all. Suppose the insurance syndicates finally succeed in foisting their peculiar repair methods on the lake interests and builders fall into the custom of bidding on repair jobs, then there will in time be the same keen competition that has for years been the case in building vessels. This will compel lowest bidders to take the jobs at extremely low prices, and to make money at these prices, or to come out even, they cannot possibly rebuild the boat in the proper way. A heavily damaged vessel cannot be too strongly repaired. The job cannot be too well done, if the strain to which she has been subjected on the rocks, or in a collision is to be equalized. And besides this there is her age to be considered. The damage will be all the greater according to her age and general condition. That is why I say every repair job should be first class, and to guarantee it the repairer should be given carte blanche to put in only the very best materials and workmanship. Otherwise the country will be treated to the spectacle of a lot of half repaired vessels floating about the lakes ready to leak, and founder and go ashore where they should instead be entirely seaworthy. The owners will then be the losers for the sake of enriching the insurance men who live in London." "The American vessel owners' stand is very well taken in some respects," said a local owner last evening. "No man can tell the extent of a boat's damage until she is opened, and to bid for her repairs is merely putting in a blind estimate. Hence a company bidding for the work has either to put in a high tender, which is likely to lose him the job, or to put in a low tender and do his work to suit the price. When the insurance companies repair a wreck by contract there is an injustice to the owners. But this is not carried on very extensively. As a rule the insurance companies endeavor to repair losses to the satisfaction of their customers. In doing so they recognize their own welfare, for they continue the risks on the boats after repairs, and it is to their advantage to place those vessels in good condition. The insurance companies do not afford all the grievance, for I know cases where the owners were given full insurance, when the wreck was not a constructive total loss. Again when owners are given the privilege of repairing their damaged boats, they have been known to completely overhaul their vessels and charge the expense to the companies. I do not think the scheme of mutual insurance will be introduced as the insurance companies would rather drop giving work by contract if they find it an injustice to owners."

Welland Canal Tolls.

The Buffalo Courier contained the following paragraph in a recent issue: "There's no probability that the Welland canal tolls will be removed," said a lake captain yesterday. "The Canadians are just about keeping the canal running by the tax imposed. Just think of it, 22 1/2 cents a ton on coal, and it must be paid in gold or Canadian paper money before entering the canal. Were the tolls abolished the increased traffic wouldn't make up the loss, for vesselmen are not partial to these canals anyway. They don't just like the treatment up there. The slightest damage done by a vessel is assessed heavily and a boat don't get out of a lock until the demand is paid, no matter how exhorbitant it may be. I knew one captain who paid $95 damages that his vessel was not at all responsible for. There was no redress without going to Ottawa and that he could not very well do. Actually it costs the fleet, to which my vessel belongs, from $200 to $400 every time it makes a round trip through the canal. Most of the captains take their medicine, and although its pretty bitter, they swallow it without a murmur, until they get out of hearing of the Canadian authorities." Local marine men believe that freedom from tolls through the canal would result in a benefit to Canadian trade, but cannot see why American vesselmen should make such a howl. The Canadian government has expended piles of money on the canals, and are even now supporting them at a loss with the tolls enforced. Then why should these tolls be abolished to satisfy the Americans. They do not reciprocate in any way, although they attach much importance to the free travel through the Sault Ste. Marie canal, which the Canadians do not use, as the Canadian Soo is the better canal. Every toll through New York state has its tolls. It is nothing but just that boats should be held for damages, until they are paid, or bonds produced, for much of the damage is done through carelessness. Local men are inclined to the belief that the American commissioners will not succeed in having the tolls abolished from the Welland canal.

p.8 Late Afternoon Events - The steamer Centurion, upbound, when near Recor's point was struck a glancing blow on the port quarter by the steamer J.D. Marshall, making a large dent. The Marshall was badly stove in forward and is now full of water near Marine City. She is owned by J.C. Peyne, Chicago, and was laden with lumber. The steamer is a wooden boat of 428 net tonnage, and is heavily damaged.

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27 Aug 1898
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  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.22976 Longitude: -76.48098
Rick Neilson
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pd [more details]
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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British Whig (Kingston, ON), 27 Aug 1898