Stephen B. Roman
IMO 6514900

Clear of Lock 2 downbound on the Welland Canal, Sept. 18, 2011.
(Matt Miner)


Built for the thriving package freight business on the Great Lakes in the 1960s and 1970s by Davie Shipbuilding & Repair Ltd. of Lauzon, QC, (Davie hull #652); this vessel was launched as the package freighter Fort William for Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) of Montreal, QC, on April 24, 1965 with delivery to CSL on May 21.

The Fort William was the last package freighter designed for Great Lakes trading. She was also the last package freighter built for Canada Steamship Lines and the largest in the Fort Class of Great Lakes freighters. The christening of the Fort William after the city of Fort William, Ont., followed a Canada Steamship Lines pattern of naming these package freighters after various forts of significance in the development of Canada. On January 1, 1970, the city of Fort William joined its sister city of Port Arthur to become the city of Thunder Bay, Ont. Fleet mates of the Fort William in CSLís package freight fleet included Fort Chambly, Fort Henry, Fort St. Louis, Fort York, English River and the French River.

As originally constructed, the Fort William was capable of carrying 7,400 tons (7,519 mt) of packaged and/or palletized freight at her mid summer draft of 21í 06" (6.55m); the cargo being contained in one hold accessed by four side ports on either port or starboard side. The vessel was powered by two Fairbanks Morse 10 cylinder horizontally opposed 10-38D8-1/8 diesel engines producing 3,330 b.h.p. (2,450 kW) and 2 Fairbanks Morse 8 cylinder horizontally opposed 8-38-D8-1/8 diesel engines producing 2,664 b.h.p. (1,960 kW) for a total of 5,994 b.h.p. (4,410 kW).

Those engines were Canadian built and burned marine diesel oil. The power was fed through a single reduction gear box feeding a single KaMeWa controllable pitch propeller giving the ship a speed of up to 18.4 m.p.h. As constructed, engine numbers 1 and 2 were designated as lead engines necessitating that at least one of the two be operating in line with any combination of the others. This meant that these two engines would have almost double the hours of service as compared to the other two. Newer technology later gave the ability for any one of the four engines to be designated as the lead engine thus allowing for the equalization of running hours for each engine. That, in turn, allowed for increased fuel savings as well as reduced maintenance levels.

Shortly after entering service, early on September 14, 1965, the Fort William capsized and exploded while unloading at the companyís dock in Montreal killing 5 sailors with 16 escaping. The capsizing occurred as cargo was being moved to the upper deck at the same time as ballast was being pumped making the vessel unstable. The explosion following the roll over was the result of 300 tons of powdered calcium chloride cargo mixing with the water forming an explosive gas. A salvage contract was awarded to Foundation Maritime Co. on September 30. The freighter was refloated on November 22, 1965 and taken to Davie Shipbuilding for repairs, returning to service in May of 1966.

On August 10, 1967, the Fort William was in a head-on collision with Kinsmanís Paul L. Tietjen in lower Lake Huron near the Huron Lightship. The Tietjen was holed in the bow, with the Fort William receiving only slight damage. Other incidents followed. On December 17, 1977, the vessel went aground in Maumee Bay at Toledo, Ohio, in fog. She was freed with the assistance of local tugs. Also in fog, the freighter hit the Detroit River Light while downbound early on October 1, 1979. Her bow was pushed in by the stone base, but not holed. She proceeded to the Port Arthur Shipyards at Thunder Bay for repair. The Detroit River Light, however, sustained an estimated $100,000 in damages.

Cargoes for the package fleet included lumber, steel, paper products, vehicles and manufactured or canned goods. With improved road transportation and more specifically, direct railroad competition, the package freight division of CSL could not compete and terminated its service, resulting in the Fort William laying up in Hamilton, Ont., in December 1981.

Fort William sailed until December 1981, when CSL ended package freight service. She laid up at Hamilton. In 1982 she was bought by Lake Ontario Cement Company (now Essroc Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Lehigh Hanson Materials Ltd.). She was towed to Collingwood and converted to a cement carrier that was capable of carrying 7,600 tons of products She started her new career on June 30, 1983 as Stephen B. Roman.

The Roman was operated until the end of the 1998 season by CSL. She spent most of her time on Lake Ontario, with stops at Toronto, Picton, Oswego and Rochester. On occasion she would visit Cleveland and Windsor. Upper Lakes Group and Seaway Marine Transport (Algoma) also operated her for a time before McKeil Marine took over in 2017. In 2011 and 2012 she also made trips to Essexville, Michigan, traveling up Lake Huron to Saginaw Bay.

Stephen B. Romanís last full season was 2017. The Roman made five trips early in 2018 before being laid up in late March at Toronto, ending a career of more than half a century. McKeil Spirit, a former saltwater general cargo vessel converted to a cement carrier, would take over her routes. In October 2018 the Roman was re-registered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in preparation for her scrap trip. On November 14, 2018, Stephen B. Romanís left Toronto for the last time under her own power, bound for Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling. She arrived there December 15, 2018. Scrapping got underway immediately.


Written by George Wharton.



Ship Particulars
Length 488' 09" (148.97m)
Beam 56' 00" (17.07m)
Depth 35' 06" (10.82m)
Midsummer Draft 22' 06" (9.14m)
Capacity 7,600 tons
Engine Power 5,994 bhp diesel
Previous Names
Stephen B. Roman 1983 - Today
Fort William 1965 - 1983

 


As the Fort William.
(Jim Hoffman)

Fort William on the Detroit River, July 20, 1974.
(James E. Morris)

Fort William.
(G. Kingsford Collection)

   

Welland Canal.
(Rod Burdick)

Detroit River, May 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Detroit River, Oct. 9, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Pilot house, April 5, 2002.
(Michael Melich)

Unloading in Rochester.
(Michael Melich)

Along side the cement barge Metis in Toronto, May 2002.
(Gerry O.)

Upbound on the Detroit River, Aug. 17, 2002.
(Mike Nicholls)

In Cleveland, Oct. 2, 2002.
(TZ)

Inbound at Rochester with a partial load of cement for the Essroc cement dock on the Genesee River, May 4, 2003.
(Jason LaDue)

Another bow view.
(Jason LaDue)

Bow.
(Jason LaDue)

Close up of cabins.
(Jason LaDue)

Stack marking.
(Jason LaDue)

Stern view.
(Jason LaDue)

Pouring on the power.
(Jason LaDue)

Heaving line out.
(Jason LaDue)

At Essroc, Windsor, Sept. 11, 2004.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Tied up below Welland Canal's Lock 1, Oct. 15, 2004.
(Lee Rowe)

At Essroc, Windsor, May 2, 2005.
(Wade P. Streeter)

Detroit River stern view, July 2005.
(Mike Nicholls)

At Essroc in Windsor, August 2005.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Outbound from Rochester, Sept. 22, 2005.
(Michael Melich)

Wheelhouse.
(Michael Melich)

Stern view.
(Michael Melich)

At Essroc's dock, Toronto, Apr. 19, 2006.
(Jim Gallacher)

Clearing Welland Canal's Lock 3, June 2006.
(Bill Bird)

Stern view.
(Bill Bird)

Leaving Rochester, Oct. 2, 2006.
(Tom Brewer)

Stern view.
(Tom Brewer)

Passing the Spirit of Ontario in Rochester.
(Tom Brewer)

In ice with tug Vac above Lock 7, Welland Canal, Dec. 2005.
(Paul Beesley)

Close up.
(Alex Howard)

Lining up for the Glendale Br on the Welland Canal, Sept. 18, 2011.
(Matt Miner)

Close up of bow.
(Matt Miner)

Close up of stern.
(Matt Miner)

Going into full reverse.
(Matt Miner)

Clear of Lock 2, Sept. 18, 2011.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

       

 

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