Sunday, January 9, 2011

More from the Archive: Beaver Lily

1. Beaver Lily in all its glory at pier 9C, May 23, 1989. Her bulwarks had been raised in 1988.

2. Timeless shot of Beaver Lily, May 2, 1985.

3. Beaver Lily working on the new Dartmouth ferry terminal, May 25, 1980.

4. Catalina, in burned condition at the French Cable Wharf in Dartmouth July 1977.

5. Catalina, laid up at the J.P.Porter yard in Dartmouth, May 23, 1977. The yard was just north of the Macdonald bridge.

One of the major marine construction firms in Atlantic Canada from the early days of the 20th century was J.P.Porter. As with many firms of this type, they possessed an incredible collection of relics. In the 1970s when the infamous Dredging Scandal resulted in McNamara, Porter and Richelieu, among others, going out of business, a lot of Porter's assets went for scrap. They had a number of tugs however, and most of these were sold off to other firms.

One such was Catalina, built in 1942 by Levingston Shipbuilding Co of Orange TX as ST-27 Jones for the US Army, it was one of the "327" type standard tugs built in large numbers to fulfil wartime needs.It had found its way to Newfoundland as part of a large US military presence, which continued well after the end of the war.
In the early 1950s J.P.Porter acquired the tug and named it Catalina -not after the island in California, but after the village near Cape Bonavista on the east coast of Newfoundland. (It was also pronounced Cat-a-LINE-a, not Cat-a-LEEN-a as it would be in California.)
When Porter went under the tug was laid up in Dartmouth, where it was eventually vandalized and the wheelhouse burned out. I enjoyed many stiff cups of tea with the watchman in Catalina's galley when I prowled through Porter's old equipment.

Beaver Marine bought the tug in 1977, towed it to Shelburne, NS where it was rebuilt and reconditioned. The old 400 bhp engine was replaced with two GM engines in line, totalling 800 bhp. Renamed Beaver Lily, it was put to work all around Atlantic Canada, towing barges and attending construction and dredging work.

In 1988 her bulwarks were raised for part of her length, then in 1992 she went south to Gaudeloupe, but in 1994 came back to Canada (on one engine) arriving in Saint John in May. Her engine was rebuilt on her way back south again and in 1997 she was sold to US interests. I have lost track of her since then.
Beaver Marine is now part of McNally Construction.

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