McCleary's Spirit & William J. Moore - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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The tug and barge combination of William J. Moore and McCleary's Spirit are seen in this photograph while they were transiting upbound in the St. Clair River at Marine City, Michigan on July 15th, 2002. They were destined for Sarnia to discharge a cargo of gasoline from Quebec. This was the first time that they visited Sarnia and it ended up being their only visit for the 2002 shipping season. Photograph by Mark Shumaker.

The deep sea bulk barge Nieuwpoort was built in 1969/70 at the Boelwerf Shipyard in Temse, Belgium and she entered service under the Belgian flag with Zeebrugge as her home port. She was fitted with a stern notch that could accomodate large ocean tugs. Nieuwpoort measured 115.8 meters long and 19.30 meters wide with tonnages registered at 6,454-grt, 5,556-nrt and 13,360-dwt. She had 4 cargo holds that were strengthened for heavy cargos - the forward hold was the smallest. (16,031 m3 grain, 15,325 m3 bale).

Apparently three or four such barges were built and they were intended to haul cargoes of coal with the same number of tugs. It was evident though soon after the the project began that the barges were not a success and Nieuwpoort was renamed Seacat by the end of 1970. Under this name she also had a collision at Brunsbuttel, Germany with the German tug Bugsier 27. As a result of the accident the tug sank with three of her crew members. Then in 1978 she was renamed Gato Da Mar.

In 1984 she was converted into a self supporting salmon fish farm at the SIREN shipyard, Le Havre, France. She was subsequently renamed L' Isle Sous Le Vent and re-registered out of Saint Vincent. She then operated as fishfarm in French waters until becoming redundant. She was towed accross the English Channel by the tug Towing Witch and she arrived at Falmouth, England on March 26th, 1997. The following day she was laid up at the River Fal of Tolverne near Lamouth Creek. The name Nieuwpoort and the registration port were clearly visible as well as the number 690963 MX. (This number is still a mystery, but it might be some kind of a fishing number).

She remained at this location until September 15, 1999 and then she was towed to Falmouth dock and put along site the County Wharf. There attempts where made to remove the mass of accumulated marine growth. This was not a success though and she was subsequently moved into drydock 2 on October 3, 1999. There tonnes of marine crustations were removed in preparation for a tow across the Atlantic Ocean. In the growth had been left on the hull it would have slowed the tow down and possibly cause the tug to run out of fuel.

She left the drydock on October 6th and then the tug Ocean Wrestler took up the tow and left for Canada where they arrived November 15, 1999. The barge was laid up in Hamilton, Ontario at her new owner's yard under the name Le Vent. Beginning in 2001 McKeil crews began stripping the hull of much of her deck machinery and all of her accommodations. Through 2001 she was converted to a jet fuel tank barge and early in 2002 she re-entered service as McCleary's Spirit

This story will be updated in the near future with more detail and additional pictures.

The 1970-built tug William J. Moore, formerly Alice A is seen in this photograph as she was backing away from pier 15 in the harbour at Hamilton during the morning hours of May 4th, 2002. Reconstruction of the tug was complete at this point and she was heading out into the bay for trials. William J. Moore was rebuilt to push the converted jet fuel barge McCleary's Spirit, formerly Le Vent. Photograph by Roger Chapman.

Information courtesy Wim Kosten & Ralph Dazert, Holland
If you know more about this ship and would like to add to this story please Email me
Trade routes, cargoes, accidents, layups, drydockings, conversions etc.etc..

Posted: May 20, 2002       Last Revised: December 7, 2002
Photo by : Roger Chapman - Copyright © - 2002

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