Maritime History of the Great Lakes

Scanner, v. 29, no. 1 (October 1996), p. 2

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MARINE NEWS 2. When the Essroc Canada Inc. cement carrier METIS was cut down to a barge in 1991, her pilothouse and texas cabin were obtained by the Toronto Harbour Commission for possible display on the waterfront. Since then, the structure has been lying forlornly at the far east end of the Harbour Commission yard on the Keating Channel north of Villiers Street. The cabins had deteriorated badly in the interim and looked as if they never would see any use whatever, but in late spring this year they were moved to a position near the Outer Harbour Marina on the Leslie Street Headland. There they now look out over the lake in a southwesterly direction toward the Eastern Gap, through which METIS passed so frequently when she ran in the cement trade under her own power. METIS herself has been serving as a cement storage barge at Green Bay, Wisconsin, since August of 1993. The end of the line has finally come for one of the oldest freighters on the Great Lakes. We reported in the Mid-Summer issue that the unloading boom and related hydraulics had been removed in June from the American Steamship Company's motorship NICOLET, (a) WILLIAM G. MATHER (I)(25), (b) J. H. SHEADLE (II) (55), (c) H. L. GOBEILLE (65), in preparation for a sale for scrapping. The sale was not long in coming and, on August 30th, the McKeil Marine Ltd. tug OTIS WACK brought NICOLET into Port Maitland, Ontario, where she will be dismantled. NICOLET was built in 1905 as Hull 9 of the Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, Michigan, and spent the first 60 years of her life in the service of the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company. After se veral years of idleness, she was acquired in 1964 by the Gartland Steamship Company, and she was converted to a self-unloader in 1965. The American Steamship Company took over the management of Gartland in 1969 and formally took over ownership of NICOLET in 1985. Her original triple expansion steam engine was removed in 1974 and was replaced by a 2, 680 b. h. p., 16-cylinder General Motors diesel. NICOLET last operated in 1990, and has been laid up at Toledo since December 27th of that year. A Canada Steamship Lines self-unloader, which had been operating on salt water under Bahamas registry, was returned to the Canadian flag in late Au gust, with a new home port of Halifax. The 1985 Collingwood-built ATLANTIC ERIE, (a) HON. PAUL MARTIN (88), arrived at Halifax on August 22 and, after reflagging and repairs, she cleared for Little Narrows, Nova Scotia, where she loaded a cargo of gypsum for Montreal. She then entered the lakes for the first time in the better part of a decade, and was upbound in the Welland Canal on August 31st. She loaded a cargo of coal at Ashtabula and on September 2nd was downbound in the Welland, bound for the east coast. ATLANTIC ERIE's return to Canadian registry was prompted by the strong demand for the company's self-unloaders in domestic trades, and it was said that MELVIN H. BAKER II, (a) PRAIRIE HARVEST (89), (b) ATLANTIC HURON (II) (94), built in 1984 at Collingwood, probably would follow her fleetmate into Canadian registry. In the Mid-Summer issue, we reported the renaming of the former Pioneer Shipping Ltd. ocean-laker SASKATCHEWAN PIONEER, which now is sailing in FedNav colours under the name (b) LADY HAMILTON, registered at Hong Kong. The August issue of the World Ship Society's "Marine News" reports that the new owner of the ship is Pacific Queen Ltd., of Hong Kong. The Cleveland museum ship WILLIAM G. MATHER (II), owned since 1995 by Harbor Heritage Inc., has given up her old Cleveland-Cliffs livery and has been painted in rather shocking hew colours recently. She still has her black hull and the red 'C ' on her black stack, but gone is the Cliffs green on her superstructure. Her cabins are now painted white, and her hull sports a broad red band (with narrow white trim at its top) which angles "Coast Guard style" down the bow and then turns and runs aft along the ship's side. The new colours reportedly are intended to appeal to the public visiting the ship and various attractions that are to be developed aboard her.

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