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 Upbound Port Huron

Rod Burdick 

-- Comeaudoc --
By George Wharton

Having the distinction as being the first “730-footer” (Canadian or American) built meeting the new length allowances of the Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway; the keel for this Great Lakes gearless bulk carrier (“straight decker”) was laid January 21, 1959 at Collingwood Shipyards, Collingwood, ON as hull #164. The vessel was launched September 17, 1959 being christened Murray Bay (2) for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, PQ; entering service April 9, 1960 in the grain, iron ore, and coal trades. Power was originally obtained from a steam turbine engine rated at 8,500 s.h.p. with two “D” type Foster Wheeler boilers. Her 21 hatches fed 6 holds where she could carry approximately 26,002 tons at Seaway draft of 26’03” and was capable of carrying 26,750 tons at mid summer draft of 27’00”. The vessel weighed in (displaced) 7,730 tons lightweight and carried a crew of 32.

The Murray Bay solely held the “Queen of the Lakes” title for the longest ship on the Great Lakes from her launch date through until November 7, 1959 when the 730 foot American flagged Arthur B. Homer was launched. She continued to share the title with several other American and Canadian flagged vessels until December 7, 1962 when the title passed to the Frankcliffe Hall which was 730’02” (now sailing as CSL’s Halifax). The first Murray Bay was a 265’ combination package and passenger steamer launched in 1877 as the Carolina (1). The vessel was given the name Murray Bay (1) in 1905 being renamed again Cape Diamond in 1920 and was part of the early Canada Steamship Lines fleet.

As part of the Canada Steamship Lines fleet, the Murray Bay (2) only had one recordable incident when she ran aground September 15, 1960 off Ogden Island on the St. Lawrence River receiving no damage. The vessel broke a variety of existing records including the carrying of 27.082 tons of iron ore to Ashtabula, OH and 900,000 bushels of grain from Duluth, MN to Quebec City. She established both of these records in 1961.

On June 15, 1963; N. M. Paterson & Sons acquired the Murray Bay from Canada Steamship Lines renaming the vessel Comeaudoc. The Comeaudoc instantly became the largest vessel in Paterson’s Great Lakes fleet as well as being their first full Seaway sized “730-footer”. Her cargoes remained essentially similar the cargoes carried in the 3 years with CSL; those being grain products and iron ore. In the early 1980’s, the Comeaudoc also had the distinction of being commanded by the first Canadian lady Captain: Captain Lillian Kluka. Captain Kluka was the subject of the folk song “Lady of the Lakes” written about this pioneering Canadian Captain on the Great Lakes. She has since left the Paterson fleet becoming a Marine Pilot.

The 1985/86 winter lay up saw the Comeaudoc return to Collingwood Shipyards for the replacement of her steam turbine engine with a new Krupp M.a.K. 6MU601AK inline 6 cylinder, 4 stroke, single acting 8,160 b.h.p. diesel engine. The engine burns intermediate grade 180 fuel with the power being fed to a single fixed pitch Canadian Stone Marine propeller. This engine was ordered at the same time and is the same model as was installed in Paterson’s newly built Paterson (2) (now sailing as CSL’s Pineglen (2)). The only major difference between the two engines is that since the Comeaudoc had a fixed pitch propeller, her engine is reversible; whereas the Paterson’s engine, with her controllable pitch propeller, is non-reversing. Installation of the Comeaudoc’s engine was one of Collingwood Shipyard’s last major projects before the closing of the yard.

As the Comeaudoc, there have been only a couple of recordable incidents. On June 1, 1987; the vessel ran aground on the St. Lawrence River near Valleyfield, PQ, not being released until June 8, 1987. On July 8, 1992; she lost power at Port Huron, MI striking the seawall at Sarnia.

The Comeaudoc laid up for a final time at Montreal December 4, 1996. On March 21, 2002; N. M. Paterson & Sons closed out their Marine Division selling their 3 remaining operating vessels to Canada Steamship Lines. As previously mentioned, the Paterson (2) now sails as the Pineglen (2), the Cartierdoc (2) being renamed Cedarglen (2), and the Mantadoc (2) becoming the Teakglen. In May of 2002, Paterson sold the Comeaudoc for scrapping at International Marine Salvage, Port Colborne, ON with her diesel engine being bought by Lower Lakes Towing to replace the original steam turbine engine in their vessel Saginaw.

The Comeaudoc’s scarp tow departed Montreal August 19, 2002 bound for Port Colborne with McKeil’s tug Bonnie B III in the lead and tugs Progress and Lac Vancouver taking up the stern. The tow arrived at the Welland Canal’s Lake Ontario entrance the morning of August 24. Her final proud voyage through the Welland Canal was handled McKeil’s tug Progress and Nadro Marine’s tugs Vac and Seahound. The Comeaudoc arrived at its final destination port of Port Colborne early on Sunday, August 25, 2002.


Overall dimensions
Length 730'00"
Beam 75'06"
Depth 37'09"
Capacity (tons) 26,750
Diesel engine horsepower 8,160

Comeaudoc in 2002. Pictures by Kent Malo

At Superior, Sept. 1981.
Dick Wicklund

Loading grain in Thunder Bay 1992. Richard Jenkins

On the Maumee River. Jim Hoffman

Lay-up in Montreal. Kent Malo

Deck view. Kent Malo

St. Marys River 1964. Roger LeLievre

Scrap tow arriving at the Welland Canal. Dave Wobser

Departing Lock 2. Dave Wobser

In Lock 1 Brian Harrison

Stern view at Wharf 16. Dave Wobser

Waiting for the torch, August 2002. Bill Bird

Named used in the filming of a movie. Brian Harrison

Tow from Montreal. Kent Malo

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