Calcium chloride tanker - CAPT. RALPH TUCKER
Registry & flag - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
IMO Number - 6605773
Location - Upbound in the Welland Canal at St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Photograph Date - 10 December 2002
Keel laid - February 1965
(a) Imperial Acadia - Canada (1998)
Capt. Ralph Tucker was sold for scrap in June of 2004
Builder - Port Weller Drydocks Ltd.
Summer 1964 - Imperial Oil ordered the construction of a new tanker at Port Weller Drydocks. She was designed for service on Canada's east coast and she was also to be capable of service in the ice conditions of the Great Lakes.
Autumn 1964 - At Port Weller Drydocks, large prefabricated sections of hull #39 take shape and are prepared for assembly in the shallow dock (the shelf) early in 1965.
February 1965 - Keel laying ceremonies for Imperial Acadia took place at Port Weller. Construction and assembly of the hull began shortly thereafter. The ship was initially intended to enter service before the navigation season ended on the Great Lakes in 1965 but construction and fitout continued into the early months of 1966. She was built to haul up to 84,000 barrels of petroleum products in 19 cargo tanks that were the first in the Imperial Oil fleet to be coated with Hamble Rust-ban 191. This was a zinc silicate coating that was effective in preventing the corrosion of the cargo tank steel plates.
April 1966 - Imperial Acadia entered service replacing the Imperial Sarnia which had been operating on Canada's east coast since 1954. The 17-year old Imperial Sarnia returned to the Great Lakes during the summer of 1965 after being re-assigned to Sarnia from her former home port of Halifax.
20 January 1990 - While secured alongside the pier at the French island of Miquelon in the Gulf of St. Lawrence a fierce winter storm swept the area. Imperial Acadia was repeatedly pounded against the pier by the surging waves. Although subsequent inspections revealed serious damage to her hull plating, it was later decided to repair the 24-year old ship.
17 March 1990 - Imperial Acadia arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, aboard the submersible heavy lift vessel Mighty Servant 1. She was later repaired at Halifax and returned to service sometime during the late summer months of 1990
March 1998 - Algoma Tankers, the recently formed subsidiary of Algoma Central Corporation, purchased the Imperial Acadia, Imperial Bedford, Imperial St. Clair and the Imperial St. Lawrence from Esso and renamed them Algoscotia (1), Algofax, Algosar (1) and Algoeast
March 2001 - McKeil Marine in Hamilton, Ontario purchased Algoscotia and renamed her Ralph Tucker honouring one of their long time tug captains. By May of 2001 her name had been extended to Capt. Ralph Tucker
Service for McKeil Marine was to differ greatly from her many years of previous service. Up until 2001 she had carried petroleum products such as heating oil, diesel oil and bunker fuel for Imperial Oil, Esso and Algoma Tankers but for McKeil she carried calcium chloride and brine. Her age and the fact that she was only single hulled made her an unfavourable ship for hauling petroeum products.
21 June 2004 - Capt. Ralph Tucker sailed downbound through the Welland Canal for the last time and she laid up in Hamilton shortly thereafter. It was expected that her layup would be temporary but McKeil Marine decided to sell her for dismantling overseas.
At the time scrapyards along the Asian sub-continent were paying in excess of $300.00 / ldt which made Capt. Ralph Tucker worth over $1 million (US). McKeil Marine, a tug/barge operator, was paying much more in crew expenses to run the ship which had a smaller carrying capacity than their recently acquired calcium chloride barge Lambert's Spirit so the decision was made.
Prior to departing Montreal for Bangladesh under her own power her name was shortened to Ralph Tucker and her registry was changed to St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Information sources - Fairplay Internet Ship Register, Imperial Oil Fleet News & Marine News - The World Ship Society