Joseph H. Thompson Jr.
IMO 5175745

In the Rouge River, Aug. 31, 2007.
(Mike Nicholls)


In 1985 Escanaba Michigan's Upper Lakes Towing Co. purchased the steamer Joseph H. Thompson and announced their plans to convert her to a self-unloading barge. ULT had successfully converted the smaller Self-Unloader/Crain Ship Buckeye and planed a similar conversion for the Thompson. Shortly after ULT bought the Thompson, its conversion was started at Menominee, Bay Shipyards, and Escanaba. The aft and fore cabins were removed and the hull was shortened to create a notch for her push vessel. A stern mounted bucket style self-unloading system was also added. Her push tug, the 146' 06"/38'/35' Joseph H. Thompson, Jr., was constructed in 1990 from the left over steel from the larger ship's hull. The tug is powered by three G.M. diesel engines delivering 7,500 bhp.

In 1991 the conversion was completed. A year later her C-4 sister McKee Sons also entered service as a self-unloading barge for the same managers, making the Thompson and the McKee Sons the last two C-4's operating on the lakes. The Thompson was now 706' 06" long with the same beam and depth as before and with a capacity of 21,200 tons. Operating as a self-unloader she can engage in more trades to more ports than in her steamer days.


Written by Brian Ferguson.



Tug Particulars
Length 146' 06" (215.34m)
Beam 38' 00" (21.79m)
Depth 30' 00" (11.73m)
Engine Power 7,500 bhp diesel

 


Stern being converted into a tug and notch, Sept. 1985.
(Robert F. Hale)

Another angle.
(Robert F. Hale)

Aerial view underway.
(Don Coles)

Aerial view underway, May 5, 2001.
(Don Coles)

Backing into Lorain, Sept. 4, 2001.
(TZ)

Stern view, Sept. 4, 2001.
(TZ)

Escanaba, May 18, 2002.
(Lee Rowe)

Rouge River, Sept. 25, 2002.
(Mike Nicholls)

Tug out of notch, March 18, 2003.
(Lee Rowe)

Unloading, April 21, 2003.
(Todd Shorkey)

Rouge River, July 8, 2003.
(Mike Nicholls)

Detroit River, Sept. 6, 2003.
(Mike Nicholls)

Detroit River, Sept. 6, 2003.
(Mike Nicholls)

Approaching the Waterfron Petroleum Dock in the Rouge River, Aug. 31, 2007.
(Mike Nicholls)

Tied up and refueling.
(Mike Nicholls)

Returning to the barge.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

At the Brennan Street Dock in the Rouge River, April 27, 2008.
(Mike Nicholls)

Tug out of the notch.
(Mike Nicholls)

Outbound the Rouge River, Oct. 31, 2008.
(Mike Nicholls)

Unloading stone in Fairport, June 5, 2010.
(Rob Hunter)

Stern view with the unloading boom out.
(Rob Hunter)

Close up of the tug & barge.
(Rob Hunter)

Loading at Port Dolomite in Cedarville, July 31, 2012.
(Chuck Wagner)

Dead on view of the stern.
(Chuck Wagner)


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