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 St. Marys  River. July, 2002

Roger LeLievre

Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Oakglen (2)

By George Wharton

This traditional styled straight-decker was launched November 7, 1953 as the T. R. McLagan for Canada Steamship Lines, Montreal, PQ (CSL). She was the last vessel built by Midland Shipyards Div., Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., Midland, ON (a CSL subsidiary company). The shipyard ceased operations shortly after the T. R. McLagan's launch. The vessel's power is derived from a Westinghouse Electric Co. 8,500 s.h.p. steam turbine fed by two Foster Wheeler water tube boilers burning heavy fuel oil giving her a maximum service speed of 17.3 m.p.h. She is equipped with a bow thruster. Her 21 hatches feed 6 holds where she can carry 22,250 tons at maximum Seaway draft of 26 feet and is capable of carrying 22,950 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 26 feet 7 inches.

The vessel was named after Mr. T. R. (Rodgie) McLagan who had come from Canadian Vickers in late 1951 to become the new President of CSL. The T. R. McLagan departed on her maiden voyage in the spring of 1954 when she sailed light to Superior, WI to load 18,609 tons of iron ore on April 25th for Hamilton, ON. Her cargoes would primarily consist of grain products from various Great Lakes ports destine for St. Lawrence River ports with return loads of iron ore.

Sailing on behalf of CSL, the T. R. McLagan set several cargo records in her time. These records include 22,257 tons of coal from Ashtabula, OH to Hamilton on August 1, 1954; and a corn record of 22,256 tons from Duluth, MN to Montreal set early in the Seaway era. Her ownership was transferred to Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Co., Collingwood, ON in 1968; and again in 1976 when it was transferred to Pipe Line Tankers Ltd., Montreal, PQ. In both cases, Canada Steamship Lines remained as managers.

The T. R. McLagan was retired by CSL on November 3, 1984 at Kingston, ON. She was then towed to Toronto, ON in October, 1987 to store soybeans. After a refit at Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catharines, ON in 1988, the T. R. McLagan returned to service under charter to P. & H. Shipping Ltd., Mississauga, ON, a division of Parrish and Heimbecker; a company well established in the grain business. P. & H. Shipping was established in 1982 following the bankruptcy of Soo River Company (Pierson Steamships Ltd.) on August 6, 1982. Soo River had been engaged by Parrish and Heimbecker in carrying their grain cargoes for a number of years.

Following the charter, P. & H. purchased the vessel renaming her Oakglen(2) while she was laid up at Goderich, ON during the winter of 1989-90. The Oakglen(2)'s namesake is the hardy "oak" tree with the common fleet suffix "glen". The first vessel in this fleet to carry the Oakglen name was purchased from the assets of the Soo River Company in September 1983 as the J. F. Vaughn; being renamed Oakglen(1) in October of that year. This vessel was built by the American Ship Building Co., Lorain, OH and launched April 21, 1923 as the a) William H. Warner for Panda Steamship Co., Cleveland, OH (G. A. Tomlinson, mgr.). Her dimensions were 600' loa x 60' beam x 32' depth; 13,600 dwt, and powered by a 2,200 horsepower triple expansion steam engine fed by 3 coal-fired Scotch boilers. The vessel also bore the names b) The International 1934-1977, c) Maxine 1977-1981, d) J. F. Vaughn 1981-1983, and e) Oakglen(1) 1983 until her scrapping in Turkey in 1989.

The Oakglen(2) continued to sail for P. & H. Shipping serving the parent company's grain elevators in ports such as Owen Sound, ON and Goderich, ON with voyages to St. Lawrence River ports with iron ore return loads until July 9, 2001. At this point in her career, the Oakglen was the oldest former CSL bulk steamer plying the Great Lakes; her record on the lakes being unscathed by any serious reportable incidents.

On July 9, 2001; the Oakglen "returned to her roots". The Oakglen and her fleet mate Mapleglen were purchased with their contracts from P. & H. Shipping by Canada Steamship Lines. This purchase gave CSL additional grain-carrying capacity without having to commit their self-unloaders to these loads. The Oakglen retained her black hull but carried the CSL colors on her stack.  The acquisition marked the end of an era in Great Lakes marine history and the renewing of an old one as CSL returns to the bulker business.  Oakglen continued hauling seasonal cargoes of grain until entering lay-up in Montreal on December 20, 2002. She remained in lay-up and in 2003 was sold for scrapping.

On October 17, 2003, the Oakglen was towed from Montreal by the tugs Seaways 5 and Lac Vancouver heading for scrapping in Alang, India. The Oakglen was paired with the Seaway Queen at Quebec City, where the two tows were joined as one pulled by the tug Seaways 5 for their trip to the scrap yard.  The tow took a Southerly route rounding the Cape of Good Hope to escape the rough weather the North Atlantic dishes out that time of year. The tug Seaways 2 with the Mapleglen in tow reportedly took a severe beating in October transiting the North Atlantic. A towing company spokesperson reported it is more economical going this route with the two vessels in tow, the Suez Canal will only allow one vessel per transit.  The scrap tow of the Oakglen and Seaway Queen ended February 11, 2004 with the safe arrival in Alang, India.

The trip was not with out incident. The Seaway Queen experienced flooding after rounding Cape Town, South Africa. Her rivets started to pop and faced the threat of sinking. The  salvage tug pulling the vessels carried heavy duty salvage pumps. These pumps kept the Seaway Queen afloat until her arrival in Alang.   The trip from Dubai to Montreal to Alang took 165 days.


Overall dimensions
Length 714'06"
Beam 70'03"
Depth 37'03"
Capacity (tons) 22,950



Loading in Thunder Bay. Rob Farrow

Downbound at the Soo. Bill Bird

At the Soo. Jon LaFontaine

Oakglen at Thunder Bay. Dec. 12, 1983. Gene Onchulenko

Winter view. Andy LaBorde

Welland Canal. Jason LaDue

Underway. Rob Farrow

Welland Canal Dan Sweeley

St. Lawrence River. Marc Piché

Loading in Windsor. Mike Nicholls

Welland Canal. Alex Howard

Docked. Mike Nicholls

Stern view Windsor. Mike Nicholls

Port Huron. Rod Burdick

St. Marys River. Dick Lund

Welland Canal. Todd Davidson

Toledo. Jim Hoffman

Welland Canal. Todd Davidson

Rock Cut. Todd Davidson

Soo Locks. Rob Farrow

Brockville. Peter Cater

Welland Canal. John Belliveau

Close up of pilot house. John Belliveau

Soo Locks. Rob Farrow

T.R. McLagan downbound on the Welland Canal. Rod Burdick

At the Soo.

T.R. McLagan on the Welland Canal, 1954. Wesley R. Harkins

On Lake St. Clair, July 4, 1991.
Skip Meier

Loading at Harvest States #1 at Superior, WI. Glenn Blaszkiewicz

Oakglen downbound the St. Marys River. Fr. Peter Van der Linden

Oakglen loading in Thunder Bay. Rob Farrow

Oakglen passing Montreal in August, 2001. René Beauchamp

Welland Canal. August, 2001. Roger LeLievre

Stern view on the Seaway. Peter Carter

Loading at Harvest States. Gordon A. Williams

Thunder Bay. Rob Farrow

Welland Canal. Dan Sweeley

Welland Canal. Dave Wobser

Aerial view. Don Coles

Underway. Todd Davidson

Oakglen (1) In Toledo. Jim Hoffman

Loading. Capt. Metz

December 1986 Brian Bernard

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