|The general cargo vessel J.A.Z. Desgagnes is seen in this photograph while she was transiting upbound in the Welland Canal on April 18th, 1988. At the time it was taken she was sailing southbound in the canal departing lock 2 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada|
|J.A.Z. DESGAGNES was one of two former pulpwood carriers to join the
Desgagnes fleet in 1974. Both were converted to general cargo
carriers. This vessel was built by Zaanlandse Schps Maats at Zaanland, Holland,
and launched as LIEVRE CONSOL in 1959. The 63.70 metre (209 foot) long
by 10.97 metre (36 foot) wide freighter was powered by a pair of 600
horsepower diesel engines and crossed the Atlantic to join Anticosti
LIEVRE CONSOL, renamed VISON CONSUL in 1962, carried pulpwood on the St. Lawrence. She usually loaded on Anticosti Island and delivered the cargoes to Port Alfred or Trois Rivieres. Grab cranes were used to unload the wood and occasionally the ship obtained a downbound cargo, often machinery, to deliver enroute back to Anticosti.
Desgagnes purchased this ship in July 1974 and she was rebuilt as J.A.Z. DESGAGNES and converted for general cargo work under Rail and Water Terminals (Quebec) Inc. She was equipped with rolling hatch covers and able to handle heavy deck loads including containers. Shortly after the rebuild, J.A.Z. DESGAGNES began Great Lakes visits on charter to Reynolds Aluminum and carried pitch from Detroit to Baie Comeau. She returned to the Great Lakes other years as cargo demands warranted.
There were a few accidents over the years including at collision on the St. Lawrence with the HAVRE ST. PIERRE on September 29, 1974, another departing Montreal on May 16, 1975, with the ARISTEE as well as a fire at Pointe au Pic, PQ on August 12, 1978.
Service often concentrated on St. Lawrence routes but in 1976 she travelled to Halifax and later Pictou, NS to load rail cars for Port Cartier, PQ. J.A.Z. DESGAGNES was also valuable in the north and spent time in the Arctic lightering larger vessels. She even wintered there in 1986/87.
As business conditions changed in the 1990's, the vessel saw less and less service. She was sold in 1997 and, following a refit at Montreal, headed out to sea and a new career. She reportedly sold to Madagascar interests but was registered in Belize to Sea Land International Ltd. and delivered via the Suez Canal as SLIL. Canadian registry was closed on May 28, 1997, and the ship is reportedly trading between Madagascar and the Mediterranean.
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