Maritime History of the Great Lakes

Scanner, v. 25, no. 6 (March 1993), p. 4

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Marine News - cont'd. 4. ISLANDER III, which is the m a i n s t a y of the ferry crossing between DeTour Village and Drummond Island, Michigan. Problems with the ferry's mac h i n e r y began three days after her arrival on the river in 1989, and further repair work on the Cummins diesels has been deemed inappropriate. Late in December, EUPTA decided to scrap the Cummins equipment and to repower DRUMMOND ISLANDER III with a set of Caterpillar 3412 diesels, and it was anticipated that the new engines would have been delivered on F e b r u a r y 10th. The same Caterpillar 3412 equipment has been recomm e n d e d for the new Sugar Island ferry as well. Port Weller Dry Docks has been the recipient of major governmental funding in order to ensure the future of the St. Catharines shipyard and to help to preserve the jobs of shipyard workers. Port Weller r e p o r t e d l y is to receive a $ 9 . 1 mill i o n grant from the federal government, together wit h a $2. 4 m i l l i o n loan from the Province of Ontario. The m a j o r i t y of the funding will be spent on the yard's present project to separate the current drydock and graving dock by means of a permanent wall built between the two docks. Until the completion of this project, the shipyard has been unable to move ships on or off the graving dock "shelf" when other vessels were in the regular dry dock, as the two were fully connected. Meanwhile, Canadian S h i p b uilding and E ngineering Ltd. appears to begoing ahead with its plans to close the Portship shipyard at Thunder Bay by the end of June, 1993. While a machine shop and steel fabrication plant would remain at Thunder Bay, the company plans to move all marine work to Port Weller. If those plans proceed, it w ill mean that Port Weller will be the only major shipyard facility operating on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes above Quebec. In previous issues, we have been f o llowing the ongoing saga of the former Bob-Lo Island steam ferries COLUMBIA and STE. CLAIRE, which were retired at the end of the 1991 season and spent the summer of 1992 in idleness at Ecorse. An article appearing in the "Windsor Star" on February 6th quoted Steve Williamson, vice president of business operations for Capital Gaines Inc., of Fowlerville, Michigan, as saying that it was hoped that the purchase of the two steamers from the Detroit Economic Growth Society would shortly be concluded. (We have no idea how the latter org a n i z a t i o n came to have any o w nership interest in the vessels.) Capital Gaines spent considerable funds on repairs to the plating of COLUMBIA'S hull while she was on the N i c h o l s o n drydock at Ecorse in late fall and during the winter, and also was r e f u r bishing the steamer's upperworks and i nstalling a new fire sprinkler system. Man y former Bob-Lo crew members have ben hired for the new operation, and Capital Gaines still hopes to have C O L U M B I A back in the ex c ursion trade in the Detroit area by May 1st. She w o u l d dock alongside the former c a r ferry LANSDOWNE, home of the Baja Beach Club restaurant and nig h t c l u b w hich also is now operated by Capital Gaines. Company sources were quoted as saying that plans for STE. CLAIRE were yet to be confirmed, but that she p r o bably would be m oved to the Chicago area for further operation. * * * * * LAY-UP LISTINGS - W I N T E R 1992-1993 We find it gratifying, but at the same time difficult to believe, that not a single one of our members has writ t e n or called wit h any corrections or additions to the lay-up listings which appeared in our February issue. Does this mean that our listings were perfect? Or have all of our members left the area for winter vacations in warmer climes? The only c o r r e c t i o n w hich we have for you is one which, as noted in the Marine News section, we stumbled onto all by ourselves. It is as follows. H a m i l t o n : From previous listing, delete SILLERY (now ope r a t i n g off-lakes). in the April issue. If any other corrections are received, * * * they will appear * *

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