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 Burlington Ship Canal, Aug. 17, 2008.

John McCreery

-- Halifax --
(Frankcliffe Hall (2) 1962 - 1988)

by George Wharton

The keel was laid on March 3, 1962 for this large straight deck bulk carrier at Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon, QC as their hull # 638.  The laker was launched December. 17, 1962 as the Frankcliffe Hall (2) and completed in 1963 for the Hall Corporation of Canada, Montreal, QC (later Halco Inc.). The company dated back to 1927 with roots in the inland transportation network dating back to 1876.  Following a fleet naming policy for all their bulkers, the first word is suffixed by 'cliffe' followed by the second word 'Hall' honoring the fleet's founder Mr. George Hall of Ogdensburg, NY.  The Frankcliffe Hall's namesake is Mr. Frank Augsbury, Sr. born at Plessis, NY in 1865.  After being involved with the moving of pulpwood on the St. Lawrence River from the province of Quebec in the early 1900's, his interests for a time were consolidated with the George Hall Corporation.  In 1923, he entered the transportation business on his own founding the Hall Corporation of Canada becoming its president and chief operation officer.  Mr. Augsbury remained involved with his company until his death in 1964 at age 89. 

The first Frankcliffe Hall was a small 'canaller' built by Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal, QC and launched as the Frankcliffe Hall on April 28, 1952 for the Hall Corporation of Canada.  Her overall dimensions as built were 259' 00" (78.94m) loa x 43' 08" (13.31m) beam x 20' 09" (6.32m) depth, 3,760 tons (3,820 mt) capacity.  The canaller was renamed Northcliffe Hall (2) in 1962 to free the Frankcliffe Hall name for the corporation's new large bulk carrier.  Under the name Roland Desgagnes, the small bulker sank in the St. Lawrence River in 1982 with no loss of life after grounding near Pointe au Pic, QC and being freed by high tide.

Although considered a 730-footer, the Frankcliffe Hall held the 'Queen of the Lakes' title for the longest vessel on the Great Lakes by 2" (5.08cm) at 730' 02" (222.56m) from her launch through to April 14, 1965 when the title was passed on to fleetmate Lawrencecliffe Hall.  The Lawrencecliffe Hall was longer by another 2" at 730' 04" (222.61m).  The Frankcliffe Hall  was the last steam-powered vessel to hold this honor and was the only steam-powered bulker of the 5 large lakers built for the Hall Corp. of Canada.  Though slightly longer, she was considered a sister ship to the Canada Steamship Lines straight-decker Baie St. Paul which was launched at the Davie shipyard on November 23, 1962 (scrapped in India, 1996).

The Frankcliffe Hall was powered by a single John Inglis Co. 10,000 s.h.p. (7,460 kw) cross-compound steam turbine engine with 2 water-tube boilers burning heavy fuel oil (HFO).  The power was fed through double reduction gears to a single variable-pitch propeller that could drive the laker at speeds up to 19.6 m.p.h.  The vessel was also fitted with a bow thruster.  As built, the Frankcliffe Hall's overall dimensions were 730' 02" (222.56m) loa x 75' 00" (22.86m) beam x 39' 03" (11.96m) depth.  Her 17 hatches serviced 6 holds where she could carry 27,300 tons (27,739 mt) at a mid-summer draft of 27' 05.5" (8.37m) or 25,300 tons (25,706 mt) at the early Seaway draft of 26' 00" (7.92m).  Water ballast capacity was 11,049.5 tons (11,227 mt) and fuel capacity was 625 tons (635 mt).. 

After commissioning on May 25, 1963, the Frankcliffe Hall departed the next day on her maiden voyage in ballast to Duluth, MN arriving on May 29 for a load of export grain for delivery to a Canadian St. Lawrence River / Gulf of St. Lawrence port.  As a straight-decker, Hall Corp. kept the vessel busy in the iron ore and grain trades.  In 1964, the laker set a Seaway record for oats at 11,493 tons (11,678 mt).  Later that year, she closed the navigation season on December 14 for the port of Fort William/Port Arthur, ON (now Thunder Bay). 

The Frankcliffe Hall brushed the 10,350 dwt British salty Gloxinia on July 13, 1966 after swerving to miss another salty in heavy rain on the St. Lawrence River near Montreal, QC.  The Frankcliffe Hall then grounded near a private yacht club.  There was no noted damage resulting from this incident.  On June 6, 1967, the laker ran aground in heavy fog 2 miles (3.2 km) off Thunder Cape by Hare Island in Lake Superior while loaded with 800,000 bushels of wheat.  The vessel was pulled free June 10 after lightering.  The resulting damage to 60 bottom plates was repaired at Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon, QC.  Another grounding occurred below the St. Lawrence Seaway's Snell Lock on May 20, 1973.  She was released the next day with no noted damage.

Hall Corporation had the Frankcliffe Hall converted to a coastal (Nova Scotia) class self-unloader with her hull being ice-strengthened including the deepening of the laker's hull to 45' 02" (13.75m) by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co., Thunder Bay, ON during the winter and early spring of 1979/1980.  The self-unloading equipment consisted of 6 hopper-type cargo holds gravity feeding product through a series of hydraulically operated cargo gates onto 2 continuous loop-belt conveyors feeding stern-mounted elevators.  These elevators fed a 263' 00" (80.16m) stern-mounted discharge boom that could be swung 90 to port or starboard and unload iron ore at a rate of up to 5,413 tons (5,500 mt) per hour or coal up to 3,937 tons (4,000 mt) per hour.  The Frankcliffe Hall's modifications reduced the number of hatches to 16 and increased her capacity to 29,283 tons (29,752 mt) at a new mid-summer draft of 30' 02" (9.19m).  The new sel-unloader's coal capacity was 25,650 net tons (standard measurement of coal equivalent to 22,902 tons or 23,270 mt).  The Lloyd's Register Classification detail read as follows: "Great Lakes and River St. Lawrence service, also Gulf of St. Lawrence, Strait of Belle Isle West of Long. 56W and North of a line joining Baccaro Point, N.S. and Cape Pine, Newfoundland, also between June and September each year coasting service to Saint John N.B. and between July and September each year, coast service to Canada Bay Newfoundland via the Strait of Belle Isle." (from Register of Ships 1985-86, vol. A - G, Lloyd's Register of Shipping)  Of note, it appears that the Lloyd's Classification for this vessel reverted back to the standard notation for Canadian lakers of "Great Lakes and River St. Lawrence service" prior to 1999.

In July of 1980, the Frankcliffe Hall returned to service with her first cargo consisting of a load of potash from Thunder Bay to Montreal.  The stack was raised during the winter of 1980/1981 to avoid downdraft problems resulting from the conversion.  While unloading iron ore at Bethlehem Steel, Lackawanna, NY on August 5, 1982, a crewman was injured when he got caught in the unloading conveyors and had to be freed by firefighters called to the scene.  On November 19, 1986, the self-unloader was struck by a salty while tied up below the St. Lawrence Seaway's St. Lambert Lock causing some damage and closing the canal for 6 hours.

From 1986, the Frankcliffe Hall was operated and managed by Navican Management Canada, Inc., Montreal, QC, owned by Halco c/o the Royal Bank of Canada.  On April 18, 1987; the Frankcliffe Hall sailed under charter to Canada Steamship Lines, departing Thunder Bay, ON with her first CSL cargo consisting of corn for Halifax, NS and returning to the lakes with a load of gypsum.  Then in early 1988, Hall Corporation (Halco) ceased operating.  The existing fleet was then divided between the Canada Steamship Lines, Misener and Paterson fleets.  In early April 1988, CSL purchased the Frankcliffe Hall as well as the straight-deckers Maplecliffe Hall and Cartiercliffe Hall from the receivers as their part of the transaction. The Frankcliffe Hall was renamed Halifax after the city of the same name, capitol of Canada's province of Nova Scotia.  The other 2 vessels were renamed Lemoyne (2) and Winnipeg (2) respectively.

A case of being at the right place at the right time, on July 24, 1988 the Halifax rescued 4 people from a capsized catamaran in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  The Halifax was rocked by an explosion and fire in the tunnel under # 1 hold on April 6, 1993 while upbound in the St. Marys River. The vessel diverted to Sault Ste. Marie, ON for fire-fighting assistance but the fire was extinguished by the crew prior to arrival.  Repairs to the unloading system were near completion by 3 tunnelmen  and the hydraulics were being tested when a fire broke out in the center tunnel below the cargo holds.  The incident resulted in the death of the head tunnelman and caused major internal damage.  The Halifax proceeded to Thunder Bay, ON for repairs.  She returned to service on May 1, 1993.  On December 25, 1999, a loss of power caused by a failure of the fuel system resulted in the grounding of the Halifax near Johnson' Point while upbound in the St. Marys River.  The vessel was refloated by her own means without assistance, the resulting damage being an indent in the # 1 ballast tank.

While downbound the Welland Canal on May 31, 2000, the Halifax was in collision with the Netherlands flagged 6,142 grt salty Kroonborg owned and operated by Wagenborg Shipping, Delfzijl, Netherlands resulting in minor damage only.  On February 27, 2002, Thunder Bay, ON firefighters and contract workers were quick to extinguish a fire that broke out in a storage room of the Halifax while wintering at the Keefer Terminal.  Paint was accidentally ignited as workers were welding.  Damage was minimal and no injuries were noted.  Loaded with a cargo of stone, the Halifax grounded south of Sombra, ON by Fawn Island on the St. Clair River while attempting to dock at Sombra Pyramids on August 6, 2004.  'G' tug Wyoming freed the stranded vessel late the same day after an earlier attempt by tugs Wyoming and Manitou failed.  After discharging the stone, the self-unloader proceeded upbound to Sarnia, ON for inspection and necessary repairs.  She returned to service on August 8 upbound into Lake Huron for Calcite, MI.  Later that year, on October 13, 2004, the Halifax allided with a bridge while negotiating the Calumet River in S. Chicago, IL with 2 tug assisting.  She received severe damage to her poop deck which had to be repaired prior to departure.  On September 19, 2007, the Halifax struck the arrestor cable of the Welland Canal's Lock 7 and sheared the arrestor cable pin.  Seven ships were delayed about 6 hours until repairs were completed.   

The Halifax, the last surviving steamship of the Canada Steamship Lines fleet after the scrapping of the Tarantau in 1999, laid up for a final time at Montreal, QC on December 28, 2008.  After remaining idle through the 2009 and 2010 navigation seasons, the retired laker was stripped down in the spring of 2011 in preparation for a scrap tow to Aliaga, Turkey.  From the April 2011 edition of CSL World: "The Halifax was prepared for decommissioning under CSL's Ship Recycling Policy, a strict set of guidelines ensuring that ships that have reached the end of their useful lives are recycled in a safe and environmentally friendly manner."  The Halifax's Canadian registry was officially closed on April 21, 2011.  On May 23, 2011, the International Transport Contractors (ITC) Panamian registered ocean tug Sirocco arrived at Montreal to take the Halifax in tow.  After final preparations, the former Halifax, now registered out of Liberia, left Montreal early on May 25, 2011 under tow of the Sirocco being assisted by the tug Florence M controlling the stern of the retired laker while transiting the St. Lawrence River.  The Sirocco with the Halifax in tow arrived at Aliaga on June 22, 2011.


Overall Dimensions (metric)
 Length  730' 02" (222.56m)
 Beam  75' 00" (22.86m)
 Depth  45' 02" (13.75m)
 Capacity - mid summer  29,283 tons (29,752 mt)
 at a draft of 30' 02" (9.19m)
               - Seaway  24,195 tons (24,582 mt)
 at a draft of 26' 06" (8.08m)
 Power (steam turbine)  10,000 s.h.p. (7,460 kw)

Scrap tow to and scrapping at
Aliaga, Turkey
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Progress as if July 13, 2011.
Selim San courtesy of Kent Malo
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Another view. Selim San courtesy of Kent Malo
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The cutting has started, June 29, 2011.
Selim San courtesy of Kent Malo
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Another view. Selim San courtesy of Kent Malo
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July 6, 2011. Selim San courtesy of Kent Malo
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Arriving at Aliaga, June 22, 2011.
Selim San courtesy of Kent Malo
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Being beached.
Selim San courtesy of Kent Malo
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On the beach.
Selim San courtesy of Kent Malo
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Downbound the St. Lawrence River for the Atlantic Ocean, May 25, 2011. Rene Beauchamp
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June 7, 2011 from the Sirocco, position is 38 39 N 026 05 W East of the Azores and North of Punta Delgado, Atlantic Ocean on the former Halifax's final tow to Aliaga, Turkey. Courtesy of Kent Malo
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Another view. Courtesy of Kent Malo
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The tow passing Sorel-Tracy. QC.
Rene Beauchamp
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Ocean tug Sirocco. Rene Beauchamp
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Stern control tug Florence M required for the
St. Lawrence River transit. Rene Beauchamp
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Ocean tug Sirocco preparing for the scrap tow departure, May 25, 2011. Kent Malo
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Sirocco, the former Halifax and stern tug
Florence M leaving Montreal with the assistance of tug Ocean Georgie Bains. Kent Malo
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Scrap tow passing Trois-Rivieres, QC. Kent Malo

Laid up with the Sauniere, Oct. 12, 2009.
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In Montreal preparing for an overseas scrap tow,
Apr. 14, 2010. Rene Beauchamp
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Bow view. Rene Beauchamp
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Laid up at Montreal's Old Port, Jan. 12, 2009.
Laurent Cote
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Side view. Laurent Cote
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Stern. Laurent Cote

Approaching the Burlington Ship Canal followed by the Hamilton Energy, Aug. 17, 2008.
John McCreery

Stern view into Hamilton Harbour.
John McCreery

Downbound St. Clair River at Port Huron, MI,
Aug. 24, 2008. Bruce Hurd

St. Clair River at Port Huron, MI, May 18, 2008.
Roger LeLievre

Departing the Welland Canal's Lock 2 upbound in ballast, May 15, 2008. Bill Bird
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Six mile point on the St. Marys River,
Aug. 11, 2008. Herm Phillips

Winter lay-up at Goderich with the Canadian Transfer, Feb. 3, 2008. Wayne Brown

Preparing to leave winter lay-up at Goderich, ON,
Mar.16, 2008. Wayne Brown

Loading coal at Toledo, OH, Apr. 23, 2008.
Bob Vincent

Upbound the Welland Canal passing under the Glendale Bridge, Sept. 16, 2007. BoatNerd Staff

Into Lock 4. Richard Jenkins

Downbound St. Lawrence Seaway's Iroquois Lock, Dec. 15, 2007. Murray Blancher

Downbound the Welland Canal at Port Colborne, ON, Sept. 15, 2007. John McCreery

Leaving Lock 7, Sept. 15, 2007.
Richard Jenkins

Passing the BBC Elbe in Lock 6.
Richard Jenkings

Downbound waiting in the ice for her turn to transit the Soo Locks, Mar. 26, 2007. Jonathan Larson

Loading coal at Lackawanna, NY, Apr. 15, 2007.
Rob Wolcott

Pelee Island Passage, Lake Erie with the James Norris in background, photo taken from the
Edward L. Ryerson, Aug. 7, 2007.
Roger LeLievre

Wintering, Pascol Engineering, Thunder Bay, ON,
Jan. 21, 2006. Rob Farrow

Leaving Welland Canal's Lock 3, Apr. 2006.
Jay van der Doe
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Meeting the downbound Algolake in the
Welland Canal, June 15, 2006. Paul Beesley

Loading at Zug Island, June 26, 2005.
Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls
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St. Marys River, July 25, 2005.
Jeff & Greg Barber

Downbound the Detroit River at Grassy Island,
June 11, 2005. Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Passing the Maumee. Mike Nicholls

Unloading at Zug Island, Sept. 10, 2004.
Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Lake Erie, Amherstburg Channel, June 2005.
Mark Veum

Welland Canal, July, 2003. Bill Bird

Welland Canal, July 14, 2003. Bill Bird

Forward cabins. Bill Bird

Halifax in Sarnia's North Slip, Mar. 16 2003.
N. Schultheiss

View from the west side of the North Slip.
N. Schultheiss

Stern view from the East side of the North Slip.
N. Schultheiss

At Sarnia's North Slip, Feb. 8, 2003.
George Wharton

Bow profile. George Wharton

View from the deck of the Algolake.
George Wharton


Frankcliffe Hall, St. Marys River, Apr. 16, 1971.
Roger LeLievre

Stern view. Roger LeLievre

St. Marys River, Dec. 1971. Roger LeLievre

St. Marys River, 1974. Roger LeLievre

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Prior to 1980, before self-unloader conversion.
Jon Paul Michaels

After conversion. Roger LeLievre

As the Frankcliffe Hall. Jim Hoffman
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Downbound St. Clair River from the Bluewater Bridge, Oct. 13, 1987.
Jeff & Greg Barber

Downbound St. Marys River at the
Pound Island light, Aug. 1996.
Mark Peabody

Stern view. Roger LeLievre

Rouge River. John Belliveau

St. Marys River, 1998. Roger LeLievre

Welland Canal, June 19, 2000.
Roger LeLievre

Upbound the Welland Canal, Oct. 7, 2000.
George Wharton

Stern view approaching Lock 2.
George Wharton

Welland Canal, Oct. 27, 2000.
N. Schultheiss

Detroit River, May 29, 2001. Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Unloading, Rouge River, June 17, 2001.
Mike Nicholls

Detroit River, July 14, 2001. Mike Nicholls

Stern view into Rouge River. Mike Nicholls

Downbound the Welland Canal at
Port Colborne, ON, July 21, 2001.
George Wharton

Stern view approaching Lock 8.
George Wharton

Downbound after exiting Lock 8.
George Wharton

Detroit River, Sept. 9, 2001.
Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Aerial view underway, Sept. 2, 2001.
Don Coles

In Duluth, Sept. 25, 2001. Kent Rengo

Unloading in snow, Rouge River,
Dec. 24, 2001. Mike Nicholls

Downbound Detroit River by Grassy Island,
Apr. 11, 2002. Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Detroit River, Sept. 12, 2002. Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

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