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Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Mathilda Desgagnes

By George Wharton

This smaller lake and ocean general cargo carrier was built by Davie Shipbuilding Co., Lauzon, PQ and was launched April 27, 1959 as the Eskimo for Canada Steamship Lines, Montreal, PQ. Her power plant consists of a 3200 horsepower diesel engine. She has 4 hatches on each of her 2 decks feeding 2 holds where she is capable of carrying 6920 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 24 feet 2 inches. The main job of the Eskimo was to carry supplies to Canadian Arctic bases; a function for which she was designed and built. With the removal of her deck cranes in 1964, the Eskimo was converted to a package freighter with the installation of side doors in her hull. In addition to runs to the Arctic, she has visited ports in Florida, Texas, New York, Portugal, and Nigeria.

After being idle in Collingwood, ON in 1979; the Eskimo was sold to Transport Desgagnes, Inc., Quebec City, PQ in 1980. After a refit at Davie Shipbuilding and the installation of deck cranes, the vessel resumed trading as the Mathilda Desgagnes with her activity remaining focused on the Arctic runs with the odd venture into the Great Lakes.

For well over 40 years, the Mathilda Desgagnes provided reliable sailings to the north, an essential service to communities in the Arctic.  The small vessel remained laid up for most of 2006 only making a couple of trips to the north as a back-up for the Camilla Desgagnes.  In January of 2007 while laid up at Montreal, QC, the Mathilda Desgagnes was acquired by Transcomar Shipping AS, Port au Prince, Haiti and renamed Gisela, registered Panamanian.  Her Canadian registry was closed on December 28, 2006

Overall dimensions
Length  360' 00"
Beam  51' 00"
Depth  30' 02"
Capacity (tons)  6,920

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