Sarah Spencer
IMO 5002223

Laid up at the Frog Pond, Toledo, Oct. 26, 2015.
(Roger LeLievre)


The barge Sarah Spencer started its Great Lakes career as the powered steamer Adam E. Cornelius. It was built at Manitowoc, WI, as hull #424 in 1959, and was named for one of the two founding members of the American Steamship Co. who died in 1953.

In 1989, she was converted to a barge by Halifax Dartmouth Industries, Halifax, NS, for Great Lakes Transport of Halifax. She was and renamed Capt. Edward V. Smith in 1991 in honor of the owner's father, who had been a Great Lakes captain for Keystone Transports on canallers out of Kingston, ON, and later a traffic manager for Hall Corporation of Canada. Operating her as a non-powered vessel allowed the new owners to save on crew costs, shipping regulations and gave the vessel more flexibility in ice conditions. The engine room was gutted and a deep notch was created in the stern for a pusher tug.

Caterpillar diesel engines and generators were added to the barge in the remaining section of the old engine room along with air compressors and other necessary equipment. These compressors were used to operate her pneumatic controlled hopper doors in the unloading tunnel under the holds. The barge's forward cabins were retained as a lookout station and for storage space. A platform was installed over the tip of the bow to assist with anchor handling operations when the tug needed to break out of the notch and pick up the barge on a wire.

The barge traded across the Great Lakes and East Coast from 1989 to 1990 before being renamed Sea Barge One, a name she carried from 1991 until 1996. Her next name was Sarah Spencer, and until the 1999 season was pushed by the large, raised pilothouse tug Atlantic Hickory almost exclusively in the grain trade. At nearly 700 feet long with the tug in the notch, it became the largest vessel to pass the Ohio Street turn on the Buffalo River when it traveled up to the ADM Standard Elevator during the 1998 season.

The tug Atlantic Hickory was on charter from Atlantic Towing and was wired into the notch while pushing. This arrangement proved less than ideal, and the owners decided to buy the Brazilian work tug Jane Ann IV. The new tug and the old barge were converted to the Bark River Articulated Tug Barge Coupling System. This involved the installation of a set of hydraulically controlled pins in the tug and reception ladders in the barge's notch. The barge was also given a set of new skegs below the waterline to help improve seagoing performance. The coupling system allows the tug to move in pitch, but not in roll or yaw.

The tug and barge could operate as one vessel under almost all conditions. Control was been moved to the pilothouse of the barge section to reflect this change. The captain sat in a large plush chair at the center of the barge's bridge and his navigation commands were relayed back to the tug through a flexible control conduit hanging over the notch. During the late 2000 season, the captain frequently stopped the vessel, boarded the tug and left the notch to assist the Coast Guard in ice breaking operations. The new coupling system allowed for better control of the barge, reduced down time, and kept her a viable carrier for some time while blending the look of an old laker with modern technology.

In February 2005, while at winter lay-up at Goderich, ON, the Sarah Spencer and the Jane Ann IV were listed as for sale direct from the owners as a unit by ship brokers Marcon International, Inc. of Coupeville, WA. In 2006, the pair was sold to TGL Holdings of Plymouth, MI and Toronto, ON, but both tug and barge retained Canadian registry and management, and were given a refit. They finally laid up in Detroit in 2009, never to sail again. Jane Ann IV sank at least once (in 2013) and perhaps again.

Jane Ann IV arrived at the old ADM dock in Toledo May 1, 2014, under tow of the tugs Kimberly Anne and Andrew J. Sarah Spencer followed on May 6. They had been in lay-up at Detroit since November 2010 at the Nicholson Terminal dock. Tug and barge broke away from their moorings March 15, 2015, when strong current propelled large ice flows down the Maumee River. The tugs Mississippi and Nebraska went to the aid of the vessels. After that incident, both were moved to the Frog Pond for continued layup.

Jane Ann IV was hauled ashore and scrapped in 2018 at Calcite, MI, after the coupler system was removed for potential re-use in another tug. As of early 2019, Sarah Spencer remained at Toledo, awaiting final disposition.


Written by Brian Wroblewski.



Ship Particulars
Length 693' 10" (211.48m)
Beam 72' 00" (21.95m)
Depth 40' 00" (12.19m)
Midsummer Draft 27' 02" (8.28m)
Unloading Boom Conveyor Length 250' (76.2m)
Capacity 21,844 tons
Previous Names
Adam E. Cornelius (3) 1959 - 1989
Captain Edward V. Smith 1989 - 1991
Sea Barge One 1991 - 1996
Sarah Spencer 1996 - Today
Tugs paired with barge
Atlantic Hickory 1996 - 2000
Jane Ann IV 2000 - 2018

 


Previously named ships

The first Adam E. Cornelius passing under the Blue Water Bridge.
(Peter Worden collection)

Adam E. Cornelius (2).
Click on above picture for gallery.

     
Adam E. Cornelius (3) 1959 - 1989
(American Steamship Co.)

Getting some work done in Lorain with the Roger Blough under construction.
(unknown)

Loaded on the Detroit River.
(Peter Worden collection)

On Lake St. Clair.
(Peter Worden collection)

Passing Sarnia upbound for Lake Huron, Aug. 1974.
(Matt Miner collection)

Entering port.
(Peter Worden collection)

Laid up with the Sharon in Toledo for the winter.
(Jim Hoffman)

Downbound in Lock 8 in Port Colborne, Nov. 23, 1985.
(Jimmy Sprunt)

Adam E. Cornelius laid up in Toledo.
(Jim Hoffman)

   
Captain Edward V. Smith 1989 - 1991
Push by the tug Atlantic Hickory
(Great Lakes Transport)
         
Sea Barge One 1991 - 1996
Push by the tug Atlantic Hickory
(Great Lakes Transport)

The Atlantic Hickory as the Pacific Hickory, Nov. 4, 2016.
(Capt. Claude Marcil)

As the Sea Barge One.
(Rod Burdick)

Upbound in the St. Marys River, 1995.
(Roger LeLievre)

   
Sarah Spencer 1996 - 2000
Push by the tug Atlantic Hickory
(Great Lakes Transport)

Upbound in the St. Marys River, 1999.
(Roger LeLievre)

Close up of the notch, Nov. 14, 2000.
(Neil Schultheiss)

Arial view with the Atlantic Hickory.
(Don Coles)

Loading in Duluth.
(Glen Blaszkiewicz)

Unloading grain in Huron, Ohio.
(Franz VonRidel)

Sarah Spencer 2000 - 2009
Push by the tug Jane Ann IV
(Great Lakes Transport)

Arriving in Thunder Bay, Nov. 2001.
(Rob Farrow)

Tug out of the notch breaking ice.
(Rob Farrow)

Onboard looking aft while passing Montreal.
(Dave Yager)

View forward departing Rouge River.
(Dave Yager)

Looking aft.
(Dave Yager)

In the Welland Canal.
(Dave Yager)

Laid up for the winter at Robin Hood Elevator in Port Colborne, Feb. 9, 2003.
(Capt. Alain Gindroz)

Jane Ann IV in the Welland Canal, April 11, 2003.
(Mike Nicholls)

Departing Toledo, Nov. 4, 2003.
(Mike Nicholls)

Off Toledo Harbor Light.
(Mike Nicholls)

At Fraser Shipyard in Superior, Aug. 2, 2004.
(Glenn Blaskiewicz)

Roger Blough tied up down the channel.
(Glenn Blaskiewicz)

In the Burlington Ship Canal passing under the lift bridge, Aug. 10, 2004.
(Bill Lloyd)

Into Hamilton Harbor.
(Bill Lloyd)

Unloading grain at the ADM Dock in Windsor, Sept. 26, 2004.
(Mike Nicholls)

Another view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Winter lay-up at Goderich, Feb. 8, 2005.
(Grant Culbert)

Bow view.
(Grant Culbert)

Approaching Lock 4 on the Welland Canal, May 17, 2005.
(Bill Bird)

Stern view sliding the wall.
(Bill Bird)

Loading ore in Marquette, Jan. 1, 2006.
(Kris Rowe)

Close up of the name and pilothouse, June 3, 2006.
(Roger LeLievre)

Coming off Lake Huron at Sarnia, Sept. 16, 2006.
(George Wharton)

Laid up for the winter in Port Colborne, Feb. 17, 2007.
(Bob Dowson)

Approaching the dock in Stoneport, July 6, 2007.
(Ben & Chanda McClain)

Coming along side.
(Ben & Chanda McClain)

Unloading dolomite.
(Ben & Chanda McClain)

Bow on view.
(Ben & Chanda McClain)

Tied up for the winter in Thorold, Jan. 27, 2008.
(Bob Dowson)

Unloading stone in Toledo, April 8, 2008.
(Bob Vincent)

View of the unloading boom.
(Bob Vincent)

Upbound at Port Huron, Sept. 22, 2008.
(Matt Miner)

Stern veiw.
(Matt Miner)

 
Sarah Spencer 2008 - 2018
Push by the tug Jane Ann IV
(TGL Marine Holdings)

Bow view while at the McCoig Concrete dock in Detroit, Dec. 2, 2008.
(Chuck Wagner)

Laid up at Nicholsons Ecorse Dock, Oct. 12, 2013.
(Roger LeLievre)

Tied up in the Morterm Slip in Windsor next to the Pere Marquette 10, Aug. 6, 2011.
(Matt Miner)

Bow viewed across the Nicholsons Dock, Aug. 4, 2012.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

View of the notch.
(Matt Miner)

Bow view while tied up in Toledo, March 12, 2015.
(Roger LeLievre)

Laid up at the Frog Pond, Toledo, Oct. 26, 2015.
(Roger LeLievre)

Photo gallery on the Jane Ann IV.

 

 


More pictures from our archives

  Click here for
Adam E. Cornelius
  Click here for
Sarah Spencer
 

 


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