Wednesday 3 October 2012

Self Unloader JOHN D. LEITCH

While driving home after nearly two weeks in Australia, we luckily were able to see the 730' self unloader JOHN D. LEITCH, making good speed upbound near Brockville ON. The first time I saw this ship, she was known as the CANADIAN CENTURY, a name to commemorate Canada's Centennial year, 1967 which was also the year the CENTURY was launched. I remember my dad saying that she had to be the ugliest ship on the Great Lakes, which after seeing her again after so many years, I still have to agree with him. Unlike most ships that appeared to be constructed with a sleek and slender design, the CENTURY, or rather today's LEITCH  appears to be as aerodynamic as a brick. Her bow is straight with no angle to help her slice through the water while her wheelhouse and forward superstructure looks like a high-rise jammed into her bow. Instead of a rounded stern like the SAGINAW which I posted on September 7, hers is flat and compact looking. Actually her unique square hull design offers an increase in tonnage, while reducing wasted space, important factors when hauling coal from Ohio to the Ontario Hydro plant in Nanticoke across Lake Erie or the steel making furnaces in Hamilton ON. Though some still may see her as an 'ugly ducking', after 45 years she's still working hard and is now the oldest Canadian ship operating on the Great Lakes since the JAMES NORRIS retired in 2011.

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