Menominee, MI, Feb. 9, 2011.

Scott Best

Olive L. Moore

(John F. Cushing 1928 - 1966, James E. Skelly 1966 - 1966)

by George Wharton

Originally designed and built with a low superstructure for passage beneath the low bridges of the waterways in and around Chicago, this large tugboat was built in 1928 as hull # 241 by Manitowoc Ship Building Inc. of Manitowoc, WI.  The tug was launched April 16, 1928 as the John F. Cushing for the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. of Chicago, IL.  She was powered by a 1928 built Busch-Sulzer model 6-CM-17 6-cylinder 1,000 b.h.p. (745 kw) diesel engine.

The John F. Cushing remained with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock until 1965 when the tug was acquired by the Chicago Marine Fueling Service, Inc. and renamed James E. Scully.  Her tenure with this company was short as she was acquired by a Robert C. Fox of Deerfield, IL in 1966.  That same year, the ownership of the tug passed to the Socony Mobil Oil Co., Inc. of New York, NY who renamed her Olive L. Moore.  As the Olive L. Moore, on May 5, 1966, the tug ran aground about 1/2 mile (.8 k) from shore between Muskegon and Ludington, MI after striking her tow and holing herself.  The tug and barge were in transit from Chicago to Rockland, ME.  After temporary repairs were completed, the tug was tied up at the William W. Stender yard at Bay city, MI and was offered for sale by the U.S. Marshal of Detroit on September 21, 1967. 

The tug was purchased by South Range Aggregates Co. of South Range, MI in 1968 (a VanEnkevort family owned company) after being rebuilt and repowered at the Stender yard during the winter of 1967/68.  The tug was repowered with a Fairbanks Morse 12-38D8-1/8 12-cylinder 2,000 b.h.p (1,490 kw) diesel engine built by Fairbanks Morse (Canada) Ltd., Kingston, ON.  The Olive L. Moore's ownership has remained with VanEnkevort family owned or affiliated companies since 1968.  On November 2, 1972, the towline between the Olive L. Moore and the barge A.E. Nettleton parted during a snowstorm with gale force winds 17 miles (27.36 k) west of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior.  The barge developed a 15 degree list as its grain cargo shifted.  Three of the barge's 5 man crew were airlifted by U.S.C.G. helicopter to the tug to help re-rig the towline.  The barge was towed to the Lily Pond on the Keweenaw Waterway to trim its cargo.  Of note, the A.E. Nettleton had been converted to a push barge after being chartered by Escanaba Towing Co. of Escanaba, MI in 1971.  Escanaba Towing was also the owner of the Olive L. Moore at the time of the occurrence. 

From 1979 to 1990, the Olive L. Moore had been used as a conventional push/tow tug mated to the self-unloading (crane) barge Buckeye (2).  The former steamer Buckeye (2) had been purchased from Oglebay Norton by family owned Lake Transportation Co. of Toledo, OH in 1979.  The tug was rebuilt and repowered again in 1980 with 2 Alco 16V251 four stroke cycle, v-16 cylinder 2,915 b.h.p. (2,174 kw) diesel engines.  In 1991, the Olive L. Moore was converted to an articulated tug at Menominee, WI by All Purpose Marine Products (APMP) with the installation of an APMP designed "Hydraconn" connector and was mated to the similarly converted chartered self-unloading barge McKee Sons.  APMP is a VanEnkevort family owned business.

On October 15, 1998, the Olive L. Moore pushing the McKee Sons ran aground in the Saginaw River while inbound to the Bay Aggregates dock, Bay City, MI.  The pair were freed the next day with no apparent damage after lightering 900 tons (914 mt) into the Joseph H. Frantz.  After seeing only limited use in 2000, the McKee Sons was chartered to Grand River Navigation Co. with the Olive L. Moore returning to Escanaba, MI to tie up.  The tug saw very little service until January of 2003 when she towed the old vehicle ferry Viking I from Erie, PA to Menominee, MI.  The tow departed Erie on January 14 arriving at Menominee on January 19.

After another period of relative inactivity, the tug towed the former Oglebay Norton self-unloader Buckeye (3) from Toledo, OH to Erie, PA arriving there on December 4, 2005.  The Buckeye had been purchased by Buckeye Holdings, LLC of Menominee, MI to be converted to an articulated barge at Erie, PA.  As the assigned tug for the new barge, the Olive L. Moore returned to Escanaba, MI for the necessary modifications.  Included in these modifications was a raised pilothouse to allow for proper sight-of-eye over the self-unloading equipment of the barge.  Now also owned by Buckeye Holdings, LLC, the Olive L. Moore returned to Erie to be paired with the newly named self-unloading articulated barge Lewis J. Kuber in August of 2006. 

In February 2011 Rand Logisitcs acquired the two self-unloading tug barges, Lewis J. Kuber and James L. Kuber, from KK Integrated Shipping for $35.5 million in cash as well as more than 1.3 million shares of its common stock. The vessels are operated by Grand River Navigation.


Overall Dimensions (metric)
 Length  125' 00" (38.10m)
 Beam  39' 02 1/2" (11.95m)
 Depth  13' 09" (4.19m)
 Gross Tonnage  524 tons
 Power (diesel)  5,830 b.h.p. (4,348 kw)


Menominee, MI, Apr. 2, 2007. Dick Lund

Stern view at Menominee, Apr. 17, 2008. Dick Lund

Leaving Menominee in the notch of barge
Lewis J. Kuber, Apr. 17, 2008. Dick Lund

Rebuilding at Escanaba, MI June 3, 2006.
Joey Reaume

New aluminum pilothouse June 4, 2006.
Joey Reaume

Bow view, July 18, 2006. Joey Reaume

Escanaba, MI July 26, 2006. Mike Nicholls

Bow view, Erie, PA Aug, 21, 2006.
Mike Nicholls

Another view, Aug. 21, 2006.
Mike Nicholls

At Stoneport, MI Sept. 19, 2006.
Ben & Chanda McClain

Another view. Ben & Chanda McClain

Saginaw River, Sept. 21, 2006. Joe Martin

Arriving at Menominee, MI, Apr. 2, 2007.
Dick Lund

Stern view. Dick Lund

Into the notch of the Lewis J. Kuber, Apr. 2, 2007.
Dick Lund

Defoe Shipbuilding, Bay City, MI in 1966.
Sid B. Ferris photo, courtesy of
Wade P. Streeter

Another view. Sid B. Ferris photo
courtesy of Wade P. Streeter

In ice, 1973. Wendell Wilke

1976. Dick Wicklund

St. Clair River near Marine City, MI in the 1980s.
Rudi Rabe

With barge Buckeye (2) at Zug Island in the 1980's. Rudi Rabe

Docked in Escanaba, MI 2001.
Scott Best

Upbound the Detroit River, Jan. 15, 2003.
Mike Nicholls

Arriving in Menominee, WI, Jan. 18, 2003.
Dick Lund

Escanaba, MI, June 2005. Lee Rowe

Passing downtown Detroit Aug. 19, 2006.
A. Williams

Saginaw River Sept. 21, 2006 in the notch of barge Lewis J. Kuber. Todd Shorkey

Another view. Gordy Garris

Erie, PA, Aug. 21, 2006. Mike Nicholls

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