Owned by McNally Construction Inc, the tug attends to the various dredging and marine construction projects around Atlantic Canada. Halifax has had its fair share of those projects over the years, and Mister Joe has been present for most of them.
Its latest assignment is to tend to the dredging at the Southend Container Terminal (Halterm) where the dredge Derrick No.3 is busy filling a pair of dump scows.
When a scow is fully loaded Mister Joe tows it (on the hip) the length of Halifax harbour to a disposal site in Bedford Basin. The scow S.11 is the former D.P.W.No.77, built in 1977 by McNamara in Whitby, ON.
The dump site, off Africville, is a cove formed by fill from various excavation sites around Halifax. The dredge spoil will eventually be covered with that excavated material, which is largely shale.
A recent subscription only news service referred to Mister Joe as "ancient". By that term I am sure they just meant "old" [OED: ancient: having existed, lived, long].
As one who has now entered the hallowed halls of seniordom, I attach a different slant to words related to age, and bristle at the implication that "ancient" somehow connotes decrepit, which certainly is not the case with Mister Joe. [ nor me, I hope. However I also take exception to its antonym, "spry"!]
There is no denying that Mister Joe was built by the esteemed tug builders Russel Brothers, in Owen Sound, ON in 1964. It was delivered to its owners, Rupertsland Trading Co (Hudson's Bay Co) for service in Moosonee, ON as Churchill River. It worked all around Hudson's Bay for close to thirty years and was fitted with a sort of turtle back cowl over its foredeck to protect against seas and icing.
When the Hibernia offshore development began, a construction facility for the gravity base was established at Bull Arm, NL and the tug was acquired by Churchill River Tug Ltd of Manuel's, NL and without change of name worked around the construction site until 1997.
Ownership was transferred to Beaver Marine Ltd in 1997 and when McNally took control in 2001 the tug was renamed Mister Joe after the company founder.
Its original pair of 342bhp Cummins engines lasted until 2002. [Russel Bros had the eastern Canada license to sell and service Cummins engines, through their company Russel-Hipwell Engines Ltd].
A pair of new GM engines giving 750 bhp were installed at Brenton Gray's boatyard in Sambro [now CME.]
Then in 2014, the tug was taken to McNally's repair yard in Ontario and had its wheelhouse replaced with a new structure, built to the original drawings from 1964, but with improved windows and fittings. At the same time its accommodation was also refitted.