Saturday 11 August 2012

The Steamship JAMES NORRIS

The end of the line and more outstanding, the end of an era. Named after the co-owner of the once great Upper Lakes Shipping, the steamship JAMES NORRIS went into service in May 1952 as a straight-deck and was the largest and first new-built bulk carrier of the Upper Lakes fleet. Not knowing what the exact maximum length would be for the yet to be completed St. Lawrence Seaway locks, her length was 656'. When the Seaway was was opened in 1959, the maximum length for its locks was 730' and despite its smaller size compared to most other new lakers, the NORRIS held her own while plying the upper lakes servicing the coal, grain and iron ore trades. She was converted into a self-unloader in 1981 and spent much of her time on Lake Ontario carrying limestone from Colborne on the east of the lake to Clarkson at the other end for St. Lawrence Cement. Prior to being sold to Algoma Central Corporation in 2011, the JAMES NORRIS was the oldest of the Upper Lakes fleet and the last registered steam powered lake boat still in service. However, for what seems to be out of respect of the former owner and shipping company that existed for over 80 years, Algoma allowed the JAMES NORRIS to retain her name, and continue to sail with the previous owner's banner on the self-unlaoding boom and familiar logo on her stack. 
Today the JAMES NORRIS is moored next to another doomed self-unloader, the MAUMEE at International Marine Salvage's wharf at the entrance to Port Colborne harbour and the Welland Canal. Both patiently lay waiting for the end, positioned like sentinels from the past as newer fleets pass them by, doing business as usual until someone decides they can do so no more. 

No comments:

Post a Comment