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Port Huron

Rod Burdick

Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Canadian Trader

By George Wharton

On June 4th, 1968, the keel was laid at Davie Shipbuilding Ltd., Lauzon, QC for their hull #667 which turned out to be the last straight deck Great Lakes bulk carrier to be built with cabins and pilot house forward.  The new bulk carrier was launched December 12th, 1968 as the Ottercliffe Hall for the Hall Corporation of Canada Ltd., Montreal, QC becoming the fleet's flagship.  The Ottercliffe Hall had three namesakes as did many of Hall's ships at the time.  Firstly, the prefix "Otter" is for the aquatic animal of the weasel family that can be found throughout Canada.   The suffix "cliffe" was to honor the many of the towns in northeastern England incorporating the "cliffe" suffix in their names.  Mr. Albert Hutchinson, born in Ayecliffe, England in 1889, became secretary of the Hall Corporation of Canada in 1927, vice president in 1936, president in 1945, and chairman of the board in 1951. The “cliffe: suffix was a nostalgic reminder of Mr. Hutchison’s childhood days in England. The second word “Hall” also seen on many of Hall’s vessels was in honor of Hall Corporation’s founder Mr. George Hall of Ogdensburg, New York.  The Ottercliffe Hall cleared Lauzon, QC July 29th, 1969 on her maiden voyage.

The Ottercliffe Hall was powered by three Mirrlees Blackstone KMR6 four stroke cycle, single acting 6 cylinder 2,770 b.h.p. diesel engines built by Mirrlees Blackstone Ltd., Stockport, England.  These engines burned intermediate grade 60 fuel; the power going to a single controllable pitch propeller giving her a rated service speed of 16.4 m.p.h. The bulk carrier had 17 hatches servicing 6 holds where approximately 26,351 tons (26,774 tonnes) could be carried at maximum Seaway draft of 26' 03" (8.00m) and was capable of carrying 28,300 tons (28,755 tonnes) at a mid-summer draft of 27' 08" (8.43m)  To improve ice handling, the Ottercliffe Hall was built with an extended hull below the water line.  The bow could be considered similar to but not necessarily classified as a modern form of the Inman "ram" bow shape originally designed by Mr. Byron Bonaparte Inman in the late 1800's.  Modern versions of this hull design are incorporated into the bow designs of the Gordon C. Leitch (2), Algowood, Atlantic Huron and many others.

The Ottercliffe Hall set Great Lakes cargo records during her first season of sailing.  On September 17th, 1969, the bulker set a corn record by clearing Chicago with 1,001,326 bushels and, on October 18th, 1969, cleared Toledo with a soybean record cargo of 912,527 bushels.  Both loads were consigned to Baie Comeau, QC.  The vessel was capable of covering the 1,235 mile (1,987km) Montreal, QC to the "Lakehead" trip in 145 hours, or just slightly over 6 days.  The following year, on July 11th, 1970, the Ottercliffe Hall carried a rare cargo of coke and set a record for that cargo from Sault Ste. Marie, ON to Contracouer, QC.  On November 5th, 1982, the laker had contact with the lock wall at the Lower Beauharnois Lock in the St. Lawrence Seaway causing some port shell plating and internals damage.

In August of 1983, the Ottercliffe Hall was chartered to Misener Transportation Ltd., St. Catharines, ON  for a period of 18 months and was renamed Royalton (2). The Royalton sailed downbound through the Welland Canal for the first time under her new name on October 8th, 1983.  The bulker was used by Misener in the Seaway iron ore and grain trades. In December of 1984, the laker brought a load of sugar to Toronto after having had it unloaded into her holds from a saltie delayed in the St. Lawrence River.   With the termination of the charter, she was returned to Hall where she was given back her original name of Ottercliffe Hall.

After Hall Corp. was placed into receivership, the Royal Bank of Canada negotiated with Misener Shipping to acquire the vessel in early 1988 after which she was renamed Peter Misener. Also acquired in this transaction was her fleet mate Lawrencecliffe Hall (renamed David K. Gardiner).  The bulk carrier was named after Mr. Peter Misener who was president of Misener Holdings Ltd. when this vessel was acquired and had also been part of various other Misener family endeavors. Grain was the Misener fleet's key cargo with iron ore and some petroleum coke providing return trips.  On November 2nd, 1988, carrier received major bow damage after ramming a shoal in the Saguenay River while upbound with a cargo of coke for Port Alfred, QC. 

The Peter Misener, as with all the other vessels in the Misener fleet, became part of the bulker pooling arrangement called Great Lakes Bulk Carriers, Inc. from 1991 through 1994. Other fleets in the Great Lakes Bulk Carriers, Inc. pool included the bulkers from Canada Steamship Lines and Pioneer Shipping.  By late 1993, the general conclusion of Canadian ship owners was that there were too few cargoes for the number of carriers competing for these cargoes. For this reason and other corporate financial difficulties, the Misener fleet was surrendered to its major creditor, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Great Lakes Bulk Carriers was dissolved. On January 13th, 1994; the management of Algoma Central and Upper Lakes Group voted to acquire the Great Lakes Bulk Carrier fleet at a cost of $30.4 million (Canadian) split equally between the two companies.

The Peter Misener became part of the Upper Lakes fleet being renamed Canadian Trader in 1994 coming under the management of Seaway Bulk Carriers, Winnipeg, MB; a partnership pooling the bulkers of the Algoma Central and Upper Lakes Shipping fleets. The Canadian Trader then came under the management of Seaway Marine Transport, St Catharines, ON following the combining of the Seaway Bulk Carriers and Seaway Self Unloaders into one fleet in early 2000.  The laker, however, never sailed under the Seaway Marine Transport banner entering long term lay-up at Toronto on Dec. 23, 1999 seeing use as a sugar storage hull.

The vessel was reported to be sold for scrap and was towed from Toronto ending up in Montreal. Her trip to the overseas breakers never materialized and in September, 2001 the Canadian Trader departed Montreal for Trois-Rivieres, QC under tow of the tugs Duga and Avantage. She was tied up at Section 16, which was leased from the Port of Trois-Rivieres to Distribution Grands Lacs/St. Laurent Ltee., Trois-Rivieres, QC, her new owner and a subsidiary of Upper Lakes Shipping. The Canadian Trader had been used until 2004 as a grain storage barge with fleet mate Canadian Ranger.

On September 1st, 2004; the Canadian Trader left her Trois-Rivieres berth under tow of Le Groupe Ocean tugs Avantage and Andre H bound for the Les Escoumins, QC pilot station on the St. Lawrence River.  There the retired laker met up with fleet mate (and career mate!) Canadian Venture to be assembled in a tandem tow of the 7,200 b.h.p. ocean tug Strong Deliverer for a final 3.5 month (approximate) voyage to the ship breakers in Alang, India.  These two lakers careers have paralleled each other from their launch; each following the other from one owner to another.  Its only fate and probably coincidence that the two carriers make their final voyage together.

Pictures by: Yves Richard
Canadian Trader.
Canadian Ranger.
Wide view.

Overall Dimensions (metric)
Length  730' 00" (222,51m)
Beam  75' 00" (22.97m)
Depth  39' 08" (12.10m)
Capacity  28,300 tons (28,755 tonnes)
Power (diesel)  8,310 b.h.p.


As the Ottercliffe Hall.

As the Ottercliffe Hall in the early 1970's.  Roger LeLievre.

As the Peter Misener departing the Mac Lock at the Soo.  Roger LeLievre.

In the Welland Canal, 1997.  Roger LeLievre.

Seen from the Valley Camp's deck, Sault Ste. Marie 1998.  Roger LeLievre.

Upbound in Lock 7 of the Welland Canal on the first trip of her final season, 9/26/99.  Roger LeLievre.

The final season of sailing: 1999.

Bows of the Canadian Trader and Seaway Queen at Toronto.  Neil Schultheiss.

Sterns of the Canadian Trader and Seaway Queen at Toronto.  Neil Schultheiss.

The protruding bow.  Neil.

On deck looking forward.  Neil.

Leaving Toronto a final time.  Gerry Ouderkirk.

Another view.

At Trois-Rivieres.  Yves Richard.

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