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Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Paterson

By George Wharton
The largest ever Great Lakes carrier built for N.M. Paterson & Sons Ltd., Thunder Bay, ON; the lake bulk freighter Paterson(2) was built by Collingwood Shipyards, Collingwood, ON and was launched April 18, 1985. She has the distinction of being the last lake built freighter built at the Collingwood Shipyards before they terminated operations Sept.12, 1986. The Paterson was also the last straight deck bulk freighter built on the Great Lakes. She is powered by an M.A.K. model 6M601 6 cylinder 8160 horsepower diesel engine driving a 18.7 foot diameter controllable pitch propeller giving her a rated service speed of 13.5 knots. She is equipped with a 1,000 horsepower bow thruster. The Paterson's 18 hatches feed into 4 holds where she can carry 28,500 tons at maximum Seaway draft of 26 feet and is capable of carrying 32,600 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 29 feet 1/2 inch. Her life saving equipment includes 1 12-person lifeboat, 3 25-person inflatable life rafts, and 1 6-person inflatable life raft.

The Paterson departed on her maiden voyage June 27, 1985; which, ironically, was the day before her predecessor's [Paterson(1)] dismantling was completed. The focus of the Paterson's activity is the grain and iron ore trades. Her grain loads from Great Lakes ports travel to St. Lawrence River ports such as Sorel, Quebec City, Baie Comeau, and Port Cartier, PQ with much of her return load iron ore traffic going to Burns Harbor, IN.

The Paterson holds several cargo records carrying grain, barley, and wheat. She established a Seaway draft iron ore record on Nov.17, 1990 by managing 29,574 metric tonnes from Pointe Noire, PQ to Cleveland, OH. The 1999 navigation season saw the Paterson a victim of a couple of early season groundings. Any resulting damage was quickly repaired and the vessel returned to active service.

A great example of a modern straight-decker, boatwatchers can expect to see the Paterson plying the waters of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway for many years to come.


Overall dimensions
Length 736'06"
Beam 75'10"
Depth 42'00"
Capacity (tons) 32,600


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