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  Entering the Hamilton, ON harbor, July 8, 2007.

John McCreery

Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Spruceglen

By George Wharton

The first of three sister ships to be constructed for Misener Transportation Ltd., St. Catharines, ON; this Great Lakes and ocean gearless bulk carrier was built as hull # 256 by Govan Shipbuilders Ltd., Govan, Scotland. The new bulk carrier was launched January 28, 1983 and christened as the Selkirk Settler on April 15, 1983. The Selkirk Settler cleared Scotland on April 25, 1983 on her maiden voyage to Canada arriving at the Welland Canal on May 5th. This bulker and her two sister ships were built to give Misener Transportation (as well as the Misener managed and crewed Pioneer Shipping Ltd.) the capability of operating year round. The plan was to operate these vessels on Great Lakes trades during the navigation season, then ocean trades during the winter months. The other two sister ships were the Canada Marquis sailing under the Misener banner and the Saskatchewan Pioneer sailing under the Pioneer Shipping banner. Of note; the Canada Marquis now sails as the Birchglen owned by Canada Steamship Lines, Montreal, QC and the Saskatchewan Pioneer as the Voyageur Pioneer owned by Voyageur Marine Transport Ltd., Ridgeville, ON.

The Selkirk Settler was built with private air-conditioned rooms. The vessel is powered by a single Sulzer model 4RLB76 two stroke cycle, single acting 4 cylinder 10,880 b.h.p. (8,098 kW) diesel engine burning intermediate grade fuel oil; the power being fed to a single controllable pitch propeller in a Kort nozzle giving the vessel a rated service speed of 13.8 m.p.h. She is equipped with a 1,240 h.p. (923 kW) KaMeWa bow thruster. Seven hatches equipped with McGregor hydraulic hatch covers with automated cleating service 7 holds where the vessel is capable of carrying 33,824 tons (34,367 mt) at her maximum draft of 32’ 08” (9.962m) and 25,875 tons (26,291 mt) at the Seaway draft of 26’06” (8.08m). Cubic hold capacities include 39,500 net tons of coal (standard measurement for coal, equivalent to 35,268 tons or 35,834 mt)*, 35,195 (35,760 mt)* of wheat, 33,203 tons (33,736 mt) of corn or rye, 29,125 tons (29,593 mt) of barley and 26,776 tons (27,206 mt) of oats.  Other capacities include 1,363 tons (1,383.5 mt) of intermediate fuel oil and 124 tons (126 mt) of diesel oil. The vessel’s hull was built to Lloyd’s 100 A1, Ice Class 3 classifications and strengthened for heavy cargoes (with holds 2, 4, & 6 or 1, 4, & 7 remaining empty).

Much of the Selkirk Settler’s first season was spent in the grain trade from Thunder Bay, ON. The vessel’s first overseas trip was a cargo of grain clearing Duluth, MN on December 8, 1983 for Limassol, Cyprus. She then returned to Baie Comeau, QC on February 17, 1984 where she loaded for Tilbury, England; returning to the Seaway and Great Lakes trading on April 2, 1984. Her second winter saw the Selkirk Settler load at Milwaukee, WI in December of 1984 bound for Leningrad arriving January 9, 1985. She then later ran European grain from Hamburg to Leningrad. Other ports and countries visited in the late ‘eighties included Casablanca, Baltimore, Philadelphia, France, and Belgium. From 1987 until 1991, the Selkirk Settler sailed under the flag of the Isle of Man reflecting a change away from her original Canadian registration.

In 1991, ownership of the Selkirk Settler was transferred to Federal Navigation, Detroit (division of Fednav Ltd., Montreal, QC); then to Ubem S.A., Antwerp, Belgium (managed by Fednav Ship Management Ltd., London, England; also a division of Fednav Ltd., Montreal, QC). For 1991, the vessel was renamed Federal St. Louis sailing under the flag of the Bahamas marking the beginning of a new phase in her career; that of an ocean trader. The bulker was renamed Federal Fraser in 1992 flying the flag of the Philippines. Ownership of the vessel changed several times in 1994, first passing to Primera Ship Management (managed by Nuk Maritime Corp), then Crimson Line of Japan, and finally Koyo Line also of Japan; all the while remaining under long term charter to Fednav. Ownership changed again in 1995 passing to Prominent Star Ltd., Hong Kong (managed by Univan Ship Management Ltd.) with the vessel’s registration changing to Hong Kong. M & N Shipping Corp. of Japan acquired the vessel in 1998 changing the vessel’s registration to Panama; then changing the bulker’s name to Fraser in 2001. From 1998 onward, the vessel was chartered to Fednav International Ltd. (division of Fednav Ltd.), Montreal, QC.

Throughout this tenure as an ocean trader, the vessel continued to be a regular visitor to the Great Lakes. On August 28, 2002; the Fraser grounded while attempting to leave Duluth, MN in heavy fog and laden with grain for overseas. The vessel was freed late on August 29th with no apparent damage as the Fraser had grounded in silt.

On October 25, 2002; Canada Steamship Lines Inc., Montreal, QC announced the acquisition of the Fraser from Fednav Ltd., Montreal; who, in turn, had acquired the vessel from M & N Shipping with the expressed purpose of selling the vessel to Canada Steamship Lines. The Fraser was reflagged Canadian and departed Antwerp, Belgium in late November bound for Belledune, NB. From Belledune, the Fraser proceeded to Quebec City arriving December 10th. The vessel’s name was officially changed to Spruceglen (2) and registered Canadian on December 11, 2002. The Spruceglen arrived in Toronto, ON with a load of sugar from Quebec City for Redpath in Toronto on December 18. The vessel spent her first winter lay up in Toronto where various repairs were completed including the painting of stack to CSL colors. The hull color remained black in keeping with CSL’s color scheme of black hulls for the bulkers and red for the self unloaders. The Spruceglen departed Toronto on April 1, 2003 in ballast to Duluth to load grain.  Her trade routes are now predominately on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River with some ocean trading done during the winter months after the seasonal closing of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Of note; the first Spruceglen was launched in 1924 as the William K. Field and was the flagship of the Reiss Steamship fleet at the time. The vessel held several names including Reiss Brothers, George D. Goble, and Robert S. Pierson before being named Spruceglen (1) in 1982 after being acquired by P & H Shipping. Because of her poor condition, the vessel was sold for scrap in 1985 and was the last Canadian coal-fired bulker.

The Spruceglen (2) follows Canada Steamship Line’s naming pattern for its bulker fleet. The ‘tree’ motif reflects back on the 1937 CSL acquisition of Tree Line Navigation Co. and the ‘glen’ suffix from the 1926 acquisition of Great Lakes Shipping Company whose vessels included names such as Gleneagles and Glenelg.

*Note: Exceeds vessel's fresh water load line capacity of 33,824 tons

Overall Dimensions (metric)
 Length  730' 01" (222.54m)
 Beam  75' 09" (23.08m)
 Depth  48' 00" (14.63m)
 Capacity (mid-summer)  33,824 tons (34,167 mt)
 at a draft of 32' 08" (9.962m)
 Power (diesel)  10,880 b.h.p. (8,098 kW)

Upbound the St. Lawrence Seaway near
Montreal, QC, May 24, 2008. Kent Malo

Downbound the St. Clair River at Port Huron, MI,
Sept. 21, 2008. John McCreery

Entering the St. Clair River at Point Edward, ON,
Nov. 5, 2008. Marc Dease

St. Lawrence River, Aug. 20, 2007.
Fritz Hager

Upbound the St. Clair River at Port Huron,
Oct. 5, 2007. Bruce Hurd

Coming off of Lake Huron at Point Edward, ON,
Oct. 9, 2007, Marc Dease

Welland Canal, May 26, 2007.
Al Howard

Stern view. Al Howard

Stern view, Hamilton harbor, July 8, 2007.
John McCreery

Welland Canal, April 24, 2006. Alex Howard

Unloading at Marinette, WI, Nov. 23, 2006.
Dick Lund

Bow view with craneship William H. Donner,
Nov. 23, 2006. Dick Lund

Sarnia, ON, Nov. 19, 2004. Bill Bird

Drydock at Thunder Bay, ON,
Dec.16, 2004. Rob Farrow

Downbound at the Soo bound for China,
Dec. 24, 2004. Roger LeLievre

In the MacArthur Lock at the Soo, Aug. 13, 2004.
Randall Styx

Wheelhouse & accommodations.
Randall Styx

Looking forward. Randall Styx

Loading in Windsor. Mike Nicholls

Bow Profile. David Bull

Loading in Windsor. Mike Nicholls

Another view. Al Miller

Loading in Windsor. Mike Nicholls

Stern view. N. Schultheiss
The storm pictures below were taken during a North Atlantic storm February, 13, 1987 on an eastbound passage from Tampa, Florida to Ghent, Belgium with a load of phosphates. The pictures were taken by Capt. George Ianiev, who was the ship's Second Mate at the time. The big blue wave was the largest wave the ship encountered during the storm; seeing it hit the ship made the vessel's master question whether they would survive the storm.

As the Selkirk Settler. Roger LeLievre, from the Tom Manse Collection

As the Selkirk Settler at Port Colborne, ON,
Nov. 26, 1988. John McCreery

Selkirk Settler. Scott Misener Collection

Upbound the Welland Canal, May 19, 2007.
Eric Holmes

Welland Canal, Dec. 13, 2003. David Bull

Stern view. David Bull

Detroit River, June 9, 2003.
Mike Nicholls

Stern view, June 9, 2003. Mike Nicholls

First trip as Spruceglen, St. Lawrence River. Marc Piche

As the Federal Fraser, St. Clair River, 1988.
 John Meyland

As the Fraser at Detroit, June 30, 2002.
Mike Nicholls

Spruceglen stern view. Marc Piche

Loading in Thunder Bay, 2003. Rob Farrow

Downbound in the Rock Cut. Scott Spencer

Welland Canal. Alex Howard

inbound the Welland Canal. Paul Beesley

St. Marys River. Scott Spencer

Passing traffic.  Marc Piche

Detroit River Anchorage. Mike Nicholls

Aground in Duluth. Frantz VonRiedel

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