Friday, September 23, 2011

Storied Laker piles up on Scatarie Island

1. As built, Maplecliffe Hall was a seaway max, gearless bulk carrier. Its distinctive wheelhouse forward was typical of lakers. Photo entering St.Lambert Lock, upbound.

2. Canadian Miner at Quebec City, not far from where it was assembled, upbound with a cargo of iron ore.

Among the parade of old lakers going to scrap in recent years, few found much notice except among aficionados. Yes they were old, had interesting careers, but they were generally towed successfully to Turkey. A few broke loose of their towing tugs, but were soon reconnected and met their appointed fate in the scrap yards in Aliaga.

Now one reluctant old grande dame has taken an unfortunate turn and run ashore in a Provincial Wildlife Management Area in Cape Breton.

Scatarie Island, one of those desolate places that pokes out into the ocean has seen its share of wrecks over the centuries, but has never seen a ship this big on its shores. It remains to be seen how long it will be there.

Efforts to refloat the ship at high tide tonight may determine its eventual fate.

That makes this ship stand out from the others is that it the last of the line in several respects.

It was built for the Hall Corporation (Halco) once a prominent name in the Canadian Great Lakes shipping business. In fact it is the last surviving Halco laker, and its passing marks the end of an era. [NOTE: from received comment there is one other Halco laker left: Mapleglen ex Montcliffe Hall- my mistake!]

The ship was built in two sections. The after end was built in 1965 in Montreal at the now defunct Canadian Vickers Shipyard. Only one more laker was ever built at that yard.

The bow section (including wheelhouse) was built at the George T. Davie & Sons yard (little Davie) in Lauzon, QC, which at the time was also owned by Canadian Vickers, and is also now defunct.

The two hull sections were joined in the Champlain Dry Dock (owned by the Federal Government) in Lauzon.

On completion in April 1966 the ship was named Maplecliffe Hall, following the "-cliffe Hall" naming style of Halco.

With the failure of Halco in 1988, the ship was sold to Canada Steamship Lines and renamed Lemoyne, the second ship to carry that name for CSL. The ship was operated under the Great Lakes Bulk Carriers consortium, but that was wound up in 1994, when CSL sold its gearless bulkers to concentrate on self-unloaders.
At that time the ship passed to its third owners, Upper Lakes Shipping (ULS Corp) and received the new name Canadian Miner. It operated in the Seaway Bulk Carriers consortium until December 2008 when it was laid up in Toronto.

Earlier this year Upper Lakes sold most of its ships to Algoma Central Corp, but this ship was not included in the deal, as it was intended to send it for scrap.

On August 20 the ship was towed out of Toronto and down the Seaway to Montreal. There it was picked up by the Greek tug Hellas and set out for Aliaga on September 16. On Monday September 19 it ran into the tail end of a storm and its tow line parted. Unable to reconnect due to sea conditions and high winds, the ship drifted into a cove on Scatarie Island.

It is hoped that the ship is not severely damaged, and that it can be towed off and repaired for the continuation of its trip.

The ship's Canadian registration was closed on June 11, 2011, and its name was altered to Miner for the transatlantic trip. [Sentence removed] CORRECTION: The ship is apparently now owned by the scrappers and they are responsible for the salvage.

More news to follow.

1 comment:

  1. Actually the last remaining HALCO is the CEDARGLEN, not the MAPLEGLEN.