Monday, 30 January 2017

Tug Boat CHARLIE E.


Along West Street's Port Promenade - November 19, 2015
Along West Street's Port Promenade - July 2, 2016
Hey, we just got back from Cuba where it was hot☀️, Hot🌞, HOT 😎 unlike here in the Great White North where it's not🌬, Not🌨, NOT anywhere near hot especially this morning waking up to -17 Celsius with a chill 💨 factor of -24. Brrrr😬. When not playing with my grandsons, I was busy getting the laundry done, and shovelling SNOW ❄️😳❄️. It is what it is. So since I haven't published a boat story in a while, here's short post about a cute little boat that has caught my eye more than once when visiting Port Colborne, and a quick background about her interesting names or lack there of.
When she was built in 1943, she was given the name KOLBE, after her owner, W.F Kolbe of Port Dover, Ontario. Along with shipbuilding, W. F. Kolbe and Company which had expanded to Port Dover from Erie, Pennsylvania near the turn of the 20th century had a large fish and poultry processing plant located on the banks of the Lynn River and was the community's largest employer from 1908 to 1992. The 63' KOLBE was one of 11 fish tugs in the W.F. Kolbe fleet, which was one of largest on the Great Lakes during its day. According to the SOS-'Save Ontario Shipwrecks' Spring 1995 newsletter, one of Fred Kolbe's sons, Robert, was very inventive and was issued a patent for freezing equipment which was wildely used in the Great Lakes commercial fishing industry. Cool 😁 eh!! The KOLBE continued to fish for the family business until 1951 when she was sold to Bill Siddall of Port Maitland. Apparently she was a pretty noisy boat according to an article written by Bill Warnick in The Dunnville Chronicle on October 10, 2001, where Bill says that when her engine was started at 5:30 a.m., "it seemed to rattle every weld in her and signalled that it was time for the residents of Port (Maitland) to awaken". Bill went on to say that in 1984 "the KOLBE was traded-in to John Van Halteren (owner of Dovercraft Marine in Port Dover) in partial payment to have John build the G.W. SIDDALL. Like the former fish tug EDITH GAULTIER (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2015/11/mystery-boat-edith-gauthier.html) the KOLBE became a tender for a Toronto dive school and renamed LOIS T. Soon after she was sold to Nadro Marine, also of Port Dover and converted into a tugboat.      
Tied of to former CCGS VERENDRYE and harbour tug TECHNO ST. LAURENT in this series of photos
- October 9, 2013
Her name was changed to CHARLIE E. when she was sold to International Marine Salvage Inc. in 2002 and ever since, the small tug is used to berth or move various obsolete vessels  at their recycling facility at the southern entrance to the Welland Canal in Port Colborne and their previous location at Port Maitland. Though always looking well maintained in any of the pics I've taken of her over the years, for whatever reason her owner has decided to the keep this beauty's identity virtually unknown. While most all other commercial and sometimes pleasure boats that I've snapped proudly has the vessel's name boldly displayed at the bow or at least above the port of registry at her stern, the only place I saw CHARLIE E.'s name was on a small plate above the hatchway door to the her wheelhouse. While naming a ship is required for identifying and communicating with other ships while in transit, I've seen nothing written in stone or in marine paint for that matter that indicates where the ship's name should be displayed on a boat. Why the low profile identity for this environmental-friendly "green" hulled workhorse with a such a prestigious past is beyond me. Like I'm sure most boat watcher's would agree, it truly is odd looking but I guess it simply is what it is.

If any of my Great Lakes Fish Tug group friends has additional info about the nameless CHARLIE E. or photos of her when she was the KOLBE or LOIS T., please pass them my way so that I can update this post. I'll credit you, of course. And, if you're getting tired of counting snowflakes or laying rock salt on your laneways this winter, here's a couple links to some interesting articles that I found while researching CHARLIE E.
Capt. Gerry Ouderkirk's article about Robert Kolbe's fish tug, the ROBERT K. http://www.saveontarioshipwrecks.ca/sites/default/files/NLMar95.pdf
And, Bill Warnick's piece and other articles in the Winter 2014 issue of The Grand Dispatch: http://www.port-maitland.ca/dispatch/Vol%202-A%20Number%201%20Winter%202014%20.pdf
Enjoy!! 😊

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