Friday 18 April 2014

Self Unloader MAUMEE (Revisited)

Just 39 days before my father was born along the northshore of Lake Erie, the 605' self unloader MAUMEE was launched on the other side of the lake on June 22, 1929. Built at American Ship Building in Lorain, Ohio, her name then was WILLIAM G. CLYDE and she sailed for 32 years as a traditional 'straightdeck' ore carrier for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company and U.S. Steel Corp. until she was converted to a self unloader in 1961 and from a coal burning steam engine to diesel a few years later. At that time, her name was CALCITE II and according to my new boat-watching friend, David Mallette, who sailed for 44 years in the engine room of many vessels like the laker RESERVE and tankers like the ROCKET and the AMOCO ILLINOIS, the old girl had a very loud typhon air horn. WOW, I can only imagine her "Captain’s Salute". David, who currently lives in Fairfield, California, was born and raised in Detroit, and spent every chance he could get at the Detroit River watching the up, and downbound ships, and then the deep sea vessels when the Seaway was opened in 1959. I did exactly the same thing along the Welland Canal where my dad worked until retired in 1991. Yes, those were the days for sure David and again, nice chatting with you tonight.
Meanwhile, CALCITE II continued to haul limestone, stone and other aggregates for the U.S. Steel Great Lakes Fleet until she was sold to the Lower Lakes Towing Company of Port Dover, Ontario in 2001. With a new coat of paint in company colours and their unique 'First Nations' insignia on her stack, the newly named MAUMEE continued to be transport stone aggregates and coal until she was sold for scrap and towed to Port Colborne in December 2011.

When I snapped the laid up   MAUMEE in Port Colborne in May 2013, she not only looked worse for wear, she appeared exposed and running out of time. During an earlier visit to Port during the 2012 Canal Days there, the MAUMEE was almost totally hidden behind the former last steam-powered laker, the 656' JAMES NORRIS. For more snaps check out:

However when I snapped her in February 2013, the back end of the MAUMEE was tucked in behind the former well-travelled oil tanker PROVMAR TERMINAL II.  Check out her story at:

You don't need a picture to say a thousand words when looking at these last two snaps of the MAUMEE taken during my visit to Port Colborne on October 2013. Clearly, the writing and rust was on wall. Despite all of the MAUMEE's accomplishments and 80 years valued service, soon she'd be gone and her berth replaced with another "Legend of the Great Lakes"...
...the 730' straightdeck bulk carrier ALGOMA QUEBECOIS  (
Nice photo Nathan Attard!! To Be Continued.

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