Friday 18 January 2019

Veteran Tug SEAHOUND

Though I was at Toronto's Port Lands between Christmas and New Years, I just didn't have enough time to get any close up snaps of the MCKEIL SPIRIT which is a unique vessel that was built as a gearless bulk carrier and then converted into a self unloading cement carrier. Now there's an interesting story to tell about her and I'll get into it in an upcoming blogpost but on a very cold last Sunday  morning while trying to get a full length pic of her from a high berm that was covered in scrubs along Unwin Avenue and beyond mountains of road salt and concrete rumble, I was especially surprised to see tied off to the SPIRIT was the cute little toot, the 65' veteran tug SEAHOUND.

Most other times when I snapped the SEAHOUND, she'd also be laying in wait but more often tied off above the pilot master's shack and boat J.W. COOPER along West Street in Port Colborne like in these shots on November 19, 2015.

I saw on MarineTraffic that the 1000 hp twin screw SEAHOUND was active last winter  working with other McKeil tugs and barges on the wind turbine project on Amherst Island across from Bath on Lake Ontario, but any other winter when I was in Port Colborne to visit my mother, I would see her, (the tug that is)  at the same spot and ready to conduct icebreaking duties when required.

Built at Equitable Equipment in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1941, the then named MAJOR WM. E. WARNER was one of 600  ST's (Small Tugs) that were built at shipyards all over America including the Great Lakes to support the U.S.Army's  transportation services. While I could not find out where the MAJOR WM. E. WARNER was based, some ST's were involved or destroyed in WWII battle theatres like Normandy, and during the Korean and Viet Nam conflicts. She became flagged Canadian and started a new lease on life on the Great Lakes working in marine construction and dredging when she was sold to McNamara Construction Equipment of Whitby in 1957 while named "SEA HOUND" and then as CAROLYN JO when she was acquired by Pitt Engineering Construction of Toronto in 1980. Her name was returned to SEAHOUND a year after she was sold to Nadro Marine of Port Dover, Ontario, a subsidiary of McKeil Marine in 1999.
In her proud Canadian red with white trim Nadro colours and company logo displayed on her black stack with a white and red banner, the twin screw, 1000 horsepower SEAHOUND has been captured by more than just my camera lens during her work and rest breaks on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and Seaway, and Welland Canal.
Michel Gosselin of St. Catharines caught the SEAHOUND assisting fleetmate LAC MANITOBA on the Welland Canal while delivering the former RCN Oberon-class submarine HMCS OJIBWA to her final home and duty as a museum at Port Burwell on Lake Erie. - November 18, 2012   
After a work project went terribly wrong in a swift hydro canal in Cornwall, Ontario, SEAHOUND was also there to bring the LAC MANITOBA home along with the McKeil tug SHARON M 1 as caught in this sad photo taken by Prescott's Helen Mott at Iroquois Lock on October 6, 2015.      
Joanne Crack, the administrator for the Facebook group, The Prescott Anchor, snapped the SEAHOUND on October 2, 2015 when moored in Prescott for supplies.
Lots of action in this photo taken December 31, 2017 by Michel Gosselin as the SEAHOUND clears a path through an unusually ice covered basin above Lock 1 in preparation for the arrival of Lower Lakes self unloader CUYAHOGA which would winter at Port Weller Dry Dock for an inspection and repairs    

Like in Michel's photo, all that remained of the Nadro Marine identity was their initials on her stack, that's barely visible  above the scrap tow, AMERICAN VICTORY's rudder as the SEAHOUND wedged herself beneath the stern and the lower Beauharnois lock wall in this pic to the right on June 27, 2018.

Regardless of her new McKeil Marine strips and colour scheme, her unique size and ten tonne bollard pull were the qualities that were needed most when tasked to assist this other former World War Two veteran,  the 730' AMERICAN VICTORY to Montreal during her last voyage out of the Great Lakes  early last summer. Such is true for any job the SEAHOUND has done in her 78 years in service and proof positive that just because you're getting old it doesn't mean you don't have what it takes to get the job done. Rest when you can and give it your all when called upon. If it can work for this little pooch, it can work for us all too.
Oh YAAA!! c):-D

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