In the previous post in this series, I showed some of the ships and vessels that we passed on our way to Port Colbourne. In this blog post, I’ll show some of the ships and vessels that were tied up, or that passed us while we were tied up in Port Colbourne. Port Colbourne is the town at the southern extremity of the Welland Canal, at the north end of the Canadian side of Lake Erie. As such, a very large percentage of the traffic through the St Lawrence Seaway passes through Port Colbourne. Although traffic is *down* this year (related to COVID), there were still some very interesting vessels.
Here we have the Lynsey Lenore, which belongs to the Minor Fisheries Limited in Port Colbourne. This is an absolutely classic “Turtlebacker” fishing tug of the Lower Great Lakes- mostly on Lake Erie and Lake Huron, and they are the backbone of the commercial fishery on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. This one has a very interesting way of tying up when they bring in the fish- they run a single line off a winch aft and a block up high, and stay forward on the engines to keep the bow in.
This is the VAC, which is now owned by McKeil. She was originally built in 1942, and passed through several owners until she was purchased by Nadro, albeit after she was converted from a fishing tug to a ship-assist and project tug in 1981. Like several other vessels, she was highly modified by Nadro marine, and her original single screw was supplemented by two more engines and propellers, although the Mckeil website now lists dual-screw propulsion so it may have been further modified.
One of the lesser-known things about the Great Lakes is that vessels are required to carry a pilot who is an expert in local waters. In the Great Lakes, the responsibilities are shared between Canadian and American pilot organizations, and is divided into regions. For example, on Lake Ontario, salties pick up pilots at Cape Vincent, from a pilot station in New York. If they proceed upbound through the Welland, they drop the Lake Ontario pilot at Port Weller, near St Catharines, and receive the Canal pilot. Port Colbourne is the interchange between the Welland Canal zone and the Lake Erie zone. This is essentially identical to the pilot boat in Port Weller (run by the same company). As you can see from the stern, they are a jetboat design, and a have a rail on the foc’sle from which the pilot can reach the ladder/gangway to the ship.
One of the more exciting things (at least for nerds like myself) is the ship breaker’s yard at Port Colbourne. Apparently there are enough ships going to come out of service that the yard can stay open for 20 years with no problems. Here, the two closest are the former Paul H Townsend, a class US built laker, quite old. You can tell by the house forward, and the curvy hull lines- more modern lakers are straight and boxy, even if they have the house forward. The other ship there is the English River, which was built at Collingwood on Georgian Bay. She was built as a package freighter- and was essentially made obsolete by the building of the 400 series highways in Ontario (so that trucks could replace her and ships like her). After that, she as converted into a cement-carrying ship owned by Lafarge and was in service until July 2018.