Tuesday 30 October 2018

Classic Straight-decker MANITOBA (Final Voyage)

Is there life after death? Well, I believe there is simply from an out of life experience that happened to me about 10 years ago and I'd be happy to tell you about it but this is a boat blog eh! However one thing I will say right now about that subject is for a ship that's currently about half way across the Atlantic Ocean on her way to Turkey for dismantling and had been technically sitting on "death-row" in Montreal since early 2016, the classic straight-decker MANITOBA certainly appeared to be full of life when I snapped her at Loyalist Park near the St. Lawrence River hamlet of Mariatown and at Iroquois Lock on May 19, 2013.

Sitting high in ballast and kicking up a nice wake as the advancing MANITOBA motored against a strong current which made her to appear to be eager to get back on up and into the Great Lakes to pick up another load of grain and then motoring her cargo back down to a lower St. Lawrence River grain elevator in Sorel, or Quebec City, an ongoing activity for the  gearless bulk carrier since going into service over 50 years ago.
When she was built in 1966 at Collingwood Shipyards in Collingwood, Ontario, her name was MANTADOC, and the second vessel to bear that name for owner N.M. Paterson & Sons of Thunder Bay, Ontario. With the exception of the company's next new-build, the 736.5' stern-ender PATERSON in 1985, and the 605' SENATOR OF CANADA, which also honoured the company founder who became a member of the Canadian Senate in 1940, the Paterson vessel's names all honoured various Canadian cities and provinces followed by the suffix "DOC" for "Dominion Of Canada". The MANTADOC honoured the province the Paterson family eventually settled in, Portage La Prairie, Manitoba and where N.M. Paterson grew his grain trading business. In the late 60's, she was just one of several straight-deck bulk carriers with her wheelhouse forward that plied the Great Lakes but the MANTADOC she was especially unique because with an overall length of just under 608', her size allowed her to manoeuvre windy rivers and service smaller port where the seaway-max'ers couldn't go.

When Canada Steamship Lines took over the Paterson fleet in 2002 her name was changed to TEAKGLEN, and then her name was changed again to MARITIME TRADER in 2005 when she was purchased by Voyager Maritime Trading. She joined the Lower Lakes Towing of Port Dover's fleet in 2011 and was named MANITOBA, which in the Ojibwa language, "manidoobaa" means the "straits of Manitou", - the Great Spirit".  

This wasn't the first time that the 607'11' bulk carrier sat idle at the Port of Montreal with an uncertain future. While named TEAKGLEN for CSL, she was laid up in Montreal for most of 2002 until finally in the fall she picked up a load of grain at Quebec City for Goderich. Her layup days technically continued while being used for grain storage for the Goderich Grain Elevator Ltd. for a few more years. In 2005 it looked like her sailing days were over for good when while being towed by the veteran tug EVANS McKEIL to the then IMS ship-boneyard in Port Maitland for dismantling, the scrap-tow's journey ended at Sarnia where she was hooked up to the Purvis Marine tug AVENGER II and taken to Thunder Bay. At Thunder Bay she was put  into dry dock for her 5 year inspection and after a fresh coat of blue paint was applied to her hull, the veteran bulk carrier returned to service as the MARITIME TRADER for new owner, Voyager Marine Trading of Ridgeville, Ontario..

Of course when I took these snaps, she was wearing the Lower Lakes Towing Company's colours, however the Voyager Maritime blue is very much visible in my close-ups above and below where the LLT's grey hull had been rubbed off from making contact with approach walls, a common occurrence for most ships while transiting Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway locks like Iroquois here.
And away she goes !!! https://youtu.be/KsydyuHaaD4

She seemed to be full of vigour eleven months later when I snapped the MANITOBA for the last time and also at Loyalist Park on April 19, 2014. Almost two years later to the day and after wintering in Hamilton, the classic grey lady again looked eager to get her new shipping season underway, when my ship-watching friend James Chapman, of Massena, NY captured the MANITOBA in this wonderful series of photos while approaching Eisenhower Lock near the Copeland Cut and further down below on the Wiley-Donero canal on April 17, 2016.
Photo by James Chapman

Photo by James Chapman

Photo by James Chapman

Photo by James Chapman

Photo by James Chapman

Photo by James Chapman

Photo by James Chapman
Photo by Joanne Crack - June 10, 2017
Photo by Joanne Crack - June 10, 2017
The MANITOBA arrived at Montreal later on April 17, 2016, but there was not a lot of information as to why she would start a long term layup near the Old Port's Section 26. Over the years it has not been uncommon to see a former hardworking laker, tie-off at that same dock and within days have her company identity and name painted over in preparation for a long scrap-tow journey to Turkey for dismantling. Such was not the case for the MANITOBA then or when Joanne Crack of the Facebook ship-watching group, The Prescott Anchor snapped her from the deck of the St. Lawrence Cruise Lines ship, CANADIAN EMPRESS over a year later on June 10, 2017, still sitting high and proud in name and Lower Lakes Towing's colours and emblem on her stack just above the tall and long span of the Jacques Cartier Bridge.
Photo by René Beauchamp - March 2018 
Moored behind the wide Algoma ocean-class self unloader ALGOMA INTEGRITY, (https://carlzboats.blogspot.com/2016/02/self-discharging-bulk-carrier-algoma.html) the MANITOBA looked like another winter layup and capable of getting underway when René Beauchamp photographed her this past March.  
Photo by Stéphane Marceau - July 15, 2018
Ditto that when Stéphane Marceau snapped her behind the CSL gearless sternender OAKGLEN which sat idle all summer waiting for the mad dash to commence to transport prairie grain down to St. Lawrence River elevators before the shipping season ended.
There appeared to be some hope for the MANITOBA when it was announced other veteran long term layup carriers were given a new lease on life like the wheelhouse forward self unloader CSL TADOUSSAC which just returned to service this shipping season after being laid up in Thunder Bay since January 2015. Even former American Steamship Company self unloader, ADAM E. CORNELIUS which after also being laid up since January 2015 at Huron, Ohio, has returned to service this season as the ALGOMA COMPASS when purchased by Algoma Central last winter.
Photo by René Beauchamp - August 3, 2018
However luck and time ran out for the MANITOBA and her proud Paterson fleet past, when her Canadian registry was officially closed on July 31st. Three days later, two Group Océan tugs towed her to the port's Section 56, the old Canadian Vickers Shipbuilding dry docks to prepare for her oversea journey to Turkey for dismantling.

Photo René Beauchamp - October 14, 2018

Photo René Beauchamp - October 14, 2018
Another classic laker makes her way to her end as René Beauchamp captured the scrap-tow NITO near Sorel-Tracy on October 14th with the tug OCEAN DELTA in the lead position and OCEAN ECHO II at her stern. Hats off to her Panamanian owner for simply whiting-out her former name at the bow and wheelhouse instead block it all out including her First Nation's peoples unique emblem on her stack with hideous black paint. Her departure leaves us with couple of "only ones" - "Only One" former Paterson fleetmate remaining, the CSL owned CEDARGLEN, and "Only One" gearless straight-decker remaining operational on the Great Lakes, her former fleetmate OJIBWAY. As time goes on, soon there will be none.

Photo René Beauchamp - October 14, 2018
My Tanner and the MANITOBA at Mariatown on March 29, 2013
- both gone but not forgotten.

Thank you James Chapman, Joanne Crack, Stéphane Marceau and René Beauchamp for allowing me to use your photos in this post. You're being there at the right time has been so helpful time and time again. 
We all know that the internet is great  resource for so many things but if you want real backgrounder information about ships sometimes it's a book that really tells you what you want to know and more. 
The Ships of the Paterson Fleet
By Gene Onchulenko and Skip Gillham is a treasure chest of information that was news to me like the MANITOBA's predecessor, the MANTADOC (1) was also laid up and used for grain storage in Goderich. There's also great snapshots by photographers that are still showing off their photographic skills today on many Facebook ship-watching groups like René Beauchamp, Marc Deese, and Ron Beaupre just to name a few. If you see a copy in a new or used book store, snap it up or to check out it's availability and price at Amazon, click here (https://www.amazon.ca/ships-Paterson-fleet-Gene-Onchulenko/dp/0969760647/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1540876343&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Ships+of+the+Paterson+FleetYou'll be glad you did c):-D  

Page Viewers Photo 👍📷 👍Gallery:

I fully understand Meghan Moran Swenson's love for this favourite ship of hers, which while named the MARITIME TRADER, is seen photo 📷 bombing 👋 her wedding picture taken beneath the Thousand Islands Bridge on Wellesley Island on August 12, 2006. I love 💖 it and also like Ol' Glory fluttering in background too in this wonderful photo and memory. Thanks again for sharing Meghan. 

....And thanks Nathan Attard for snapping the upbound MANITOBA at Port Colborne while making her way to Lake Erie and then probably on her way to Thunder Bay for another load of grain. Nice pics Nathan as always 👍📷👍!!  

Monday 1 October 2018


It’s something I can honestly say I have never heard of before, but you can see in these pics and videos taken by my wife Janice during her trip down to Toronto on September 19th, the 656’ FedNav “saltie” FEDERAL BARENTS is in fact unloading salt at the Port of Johnstown and having just celebrated our 44th Wedding Anniversary, I’d be a fool to doubt her, if you know what mean. 
What can I say, anytime I have snapped a vessel unloading salt at this busy upper St. Lawrence River terminal, it’s been done so by a self unloader, like the RADCLIFFE R. LATIMER (http://carlzboats.blogspot.com/2016/01/self-discharging-bulk-carrier-radcliffe_23.html) in April 2015 or BAIE COMEAU, last June. Both times their superstructures were barely visible behind high pyramids of the precious road de-icer on the river’s edge dock courtesy of their onboard conveyor systems that track along the bottom of her V-shaped holds and rolled on a belt to the full length of their extended unloading boom. After about six to eight hours of discharging and the big self unloaders are underway again perhaps heading back to Windsor or Goderich to pick up another load of road salt. Hey, budda-bing budda-boom!!
However the current situation is what it is because of a shortage of Canadian rock salt requiring salt suppliers to seek out overseas producers to ensure that Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec communities have enough salt available before old man winter makes his expected return.

FEDERAL BARENT is the third saltie to discharge her cargo of salt which originated in Chile, the third largest exporter of rock salt in the world which is mined on the Atacama Desert. The fourth largest salt exporter is Canada which is home to the largest salt mine in the world, Sifto Canada which is owned by Compass Minerals in Goderich, Ontario. That mine is as deep as the CN Tower is tall, 1800' under Lake Huron and produces over 7 million tons of salt annually which is distributed along with salt from Morton's mine in Windsor to Canadian and American ports west of Montreal to Duluth while the Seaway and Soo Locks are operating, and Lake Michigan cities like Chicago and Milwaukee until mid February. After all is said and done, there's usually piles of salt leftover to be used during premature winter events in November and early December, however with the continuation of snow and ice storms that occurred in early spring, surplus salt supplies got used up. YIKE!! 😁  And when you combine that with a 11 week strike at the Compass Mineral facility at Goderich that didn't end until mid July, distribution orders are running a bit behind schedule. Since municipalities are ordering more salt because of liability concerns due to another potentially warm winter coming our way that may result in more freezing rain and ice storms, they are given priority over private contractors. Many winter maintenance contractors have already been notified that little or no supplies of salt maybe available to them through normal sources and to consider looking at alternative ice melting products like beet juice, or mixing whatever salt with they get with sand or other materials. DOUBLE YIKES 😁😁 if you live in condo or townhouse complex this winter.

The FEDERAL BARENTS which was built in 2015 at Oshima Ship Building in Oshima Japan, is named after the Barents Sea which is part of the Arctic Ocean and is located off the coasts of Norway and Russia. While owned by Montreal-based  Fednav Limited, the well maintained laker-class dry bulk carrier flies the flag of the Marshall Islands. With six holds, her cargo capacity 34,654 metric tons and unlike the state of the arts CSL Trilliums or Algoma Equinox class of gearless bulk carriers that require unloading be done by dock equipment, the FEDERAL BARENTS is equipped with 4 cranes which allows her to self unload her cargo with her 35 metric ton clamshell shovels as you can see in Janice's pics and this youtube video: https://youtu.be/BYZjOXo02EQ. While it may take up to 3 days to unload, it is what it is and even though more salt laden salties are expected to visit the Port of Johnstown before the St. Lawrence Seaway closes for the season, it may be wise to play it safe and slowdown when out and about this winter. Picking up an extra bag of deicer or a drum 🛢of beet juice at Costco next time you're there maybe a good idea too. Like it's not like it'll go bad, eh 😳