Monday, November 14, 2011

Former Quebec and Montreal tug to the scrappers

1. Charlie S. (left) and Jerry G. off Quebec City in ice- the work for which they were designed.

2. In McAllister colours, Cathy McAllister berths the tanker Le Chêne No.1 in Montreal. The ship also had a full width bridge for winter conditions.

3. Cathy McAllister, again with Jerry G. at the McAllister dock in Montreal.

4. Now in Océan colours, at the same dock, and with Salvage Monarch.

In the early 1950s Davie Shipbuilding Ltd in Lauzon, QC was replacing its old steam tugs, which served the port of Quebec. In 1954 they built Charlie S. a modern tug for the time, with a few unique features. Chief among them was the full width enclosed bridge.

In recognition of the winter conditions that the tug would have to work in , the full width wheelhouse was a useful feature, but never repeated in any other tugs. The wheelhouse was also raised about a half deck above the deckhouse, giving better visibility to the master.

A single screw tug, it was powered by a 12 cylinder 1200 bhp GM, and was named for Charlie Sauvageau, a member of the management team at the yard.

Davie Shipbuilding got out of the tug business in 1974 and sold the tug to McAllister Towing of Montreal. They renamed the tug Cathy McAllister and transferred it to Montreal. The tug was repainted in the black hull and gold stripe, with red house and McAllister funnel.

On January 20, 1975 the tug sank in ice covered waters at a Montreal pier. It was not until February that the tug was refloated, and some rebuilding was no doubt required.

The McAllister family sold its business and the fleet was taken over by new owners, who adopted a new colour scheme of plain black hull, white house and red stripe. They kept the McAllister funnel and company name.

Groupe Océan then bought the McAllister operation and gradually integrated the tugs into its fleet, with their own colour scheme with blue paint on the upper part of the wheelhouse and Océan funnel. They did not rename the tug either.

In 2002 Océan sold both Cathy McAllister and Salvage Monarch to Heritage Harbour Marine Ltd of London, ON and on October 31 Salvage Monarch entered the Seaway towing Cathy McAllister for Goderich, ON. The trip was not without drama, when the tow had problems on Lake Ontario and CCGS Griffon took over. Once in Lake Erie the tug Miseford took over the tow and delivered it to Port Maitland. The tug eventually reached Goderich on November 14, 2002, where it was renamed Seven Sisters.

I am a little fuzzy on the tugs movements after that point, but it seems it was not used much, but did move around from time to time.

In 2005 it was towed to the Welland Canal where it was fitted out for assist work. This meant that the tug would be used as tail tug for other tows through the locks.

Later in the same year the tug was taken over by Distribution Grand Lacs/St-Laurent (Three Rivers Elevators) a member of the Great Lakes Group. They were developing a grain barge service from the Lakes to Trois-Rivières, and a variety of tugs have been used, but I am not sure Doc Morin saw much service.

Upper Lakes Group sold its ships this year, and placed the tugs on the sale market. This fall it was reported that Doc Morin had been sold for scrap, and was being broken up near St.Catharines, ON.


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