Freighters headed to the scrapyardWritten by Don Lee | | email@example.com
A veteran American freighter that sat idle for years at the mouth of the Maumee is headed for scrap, while another China-built laker is headed for Great Lakes service under the Canadian flag.
American Fortitude, which sat idle in Toledo since 2009, was towed out of her dock at the mouth of the Maumee River early in the morning of Nov. 25. As of Wednesday, then procession of Fortitude and two tugs was headed down the St. Lawrence River past Montreal.
At some point, an ocean-going tug will take over the tow and take Fortitude to Brownsville, Texas for scrapping.
Fortitude was built in 1953 in Lorain and launched as the Ernest T. Weir for the National Steel Corporation, named for the company’s founder.
Weir was sold to the Oglebay Norton fleet in 1978 and renamed Courtney Burton the following year, named after an Oglebay Norton director. In 1980, the ship received a conveyor system that allowed it to unload its own cargo, but soon after began a series of layups because of a lack of cargoes, according to the shipwatchers’ website, Boatnerd.com.
In 2006, Burton and five other Oglesby boats were sold to American Steamship Co. And all received new names; Burton became American Fortitude and sailed for three years before entering her final layup in Toledo as the older steam-powered ships were put aside in favor of newer, cheaper-to-operate diesel-powered ships.
Fortitude’s departure leaves behind fleetmate American Valor in the next slip over waiting for her fate.
Meanwhile, the third of a planned eight “Equinox-class” freighters built for Canadian service is making its way across the ocean from China.
CWB Marquis was launched in November from the Mingde Heavy Industries shipyard in Nantong, China.
Marquis, named after a variety of Canadian wheat, will be one of two Equinox boats owned by the Canadian Wheat Board and operated by the Algoma fleet. Algoma owns or will own the other six Equinox boats. Algoma Equinox and Algoma Harvester have already begun Lakes and Seaway service.
On the company web site, algonet.com, Algoma bills the Equinox freighters as efficient and environmentally friendly.
With the end of a Canadian tariff against foreign shipyards, Algoma is one of two Canadian Lakes fleets that went overseas for new ships. Canada Steamship Lines contracted with another Chinese shipyard for its four Trillium-class freighters which entered service beginning in 2012. Two of the Trillium boats have visited Toledo: Whitefish Bay and Baie Comeau.