Monday, May 16, 2011

W.N.Twolan sails again

1. W.N.Twolan in Halifax, while under McKeil ownership.

2. Handling the barge Loveland "The Twolan" leaves pier 23. The littel "bird house" wheelhouse was removed when sold by McKeil.

An interesting tug has found new work on the Great Lakes and upper St.Lawrence River, far from its original sphere of operations.
Built in 1962 by Geo. T. Davie & Sons Ltd (little Davie) in Lauzon, now Lévis, QC, it was designed for service in the port of Churchill, MB for the National Harbours Board. It was a twin screw vessel with two 700 bhp Gebr. Stork engines, two firefighting monitors rated at 1400 gpm at 150 psi, and a towing winch. It was also capable of working in ice, and was built to Lloyds Ice class 2. Its work at Churchill was to act as a pilot boat, and ship berthing tug, and was expected to work clearing ice at berths and other general port work. To accommodate pilots it was fitted with 10 crew berths and four spares.
It has managed to keep its distinctive ever since, through at series of owners. W. N. Twolan was the superintendent of pilots and later general manager of the Port of Churchill, MB on Hudson Bay. He retired in 1955 and the tug was named in his honour.
It went to Churchill to work, then in 1965-66 it came back to Halifax to winter over and for drydocking and refit. It repeated this every few years (1971-72, 1975-76) then went to other ports for refit.
It was replaced at Churchill in 1986 when the new 3030 bhp tug H.M.Wilson was built for the port. 'The Twolan' came south again. McKeil Work Boats had bought the tug and it ran for them in barge service and icebreaking from late 1986 to late 1992. It was a caller in Halifax from time to time, once in 1991 (as pictured) with the barge Loveland, which it picked up in the US.
The next owners were St.Lawrence Tug Boats, a company established in Montreal by Construction A. Dufresne and Berthiaume Marine, which had acquired McAllister Towing & Salvage. The tug worked in the Montreal area, and was useful in the ice, but by then underpowered for ship berthing work. They did not see fit the change the tug's name.
In 1995 W.N.Twolan was acquired,along with the barge McAllister 132, by a numbered company in Thunder Bay, ON doing business as ABM Marine, The company was associated with Buchanan Forest Products. The barge was set up to carry timber and packaged lumber and fitted with a high control house to see over the mountainous deck loads and to control the tug, which usually pushed from the stern. The pair traded from Thunder Bay, ON to various Lakes ports including Duluth, and as far afield as Detroit, MI and Erie, PA.
With the closure of some of that company's operations the Twolan was laid up at the end of the 2008 season.
This spring the tug has been brought out again, and sailed down to Oshawa, ON where it picked up two inland river type grain barges. It then set out for Prescott, ON where it exchanged barges and headed for Trois-Rivieres, QC.
The grain barges were previously handled by Upper Lakes Group's Marinelink tug Commodore Strait and the chartered Radium Yellowknife. Marinelink has ceased operations and the charter of Radium Yellowknife appears to have ended. That tug had some ownership and mechanical issues last year and was latterly operated by the Great Lakes Feeder Lines.

Recent Photos on the Boatnerd web site show the W.N.Twolan still carrying the ABM funnel marking.
After many years in fresh water, W.N.Twolan’s life has no doubt been extended. And it may well see many more years of service.

A tug of the same basic design was built in 1961 by the Saint John Dry Dock as Kelligrews for the Minister of Public Works, for service with the dredging fleet in Newfoundland. It was an ice class 3 vessel. Sold in 1989 to Verreault Navigation of Les Méchins, QC it carried the name Verreault No.25 for a brief time but was renamed Keta V later in 1989.It became the company’s main towing vessel and towed dredging plant all over eastern Canada. On October 3, 2000 it struck a ledge and sank while entering Liverpool, NS and was a total loss. Plans to raise it were never carried out, although the wreck was sealed and its tanks pumped out.


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