Patricia B. McAllister - Montreal, Quebec, Canada       Call sign -     IMO number - 7514309
Owner - McAllister Towing & Salvage Inc., Canada

Location - Downbound in the Welland Canal at St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada     Photograph Date - 28 May 1989
Photographer - Jim Sprunt     Added to archive - 2 Dec 2002     Last updated - 29 Apr 2003

SHIP'S HISTORY

  Ordered -
  Keel laid -
  Launched -
  Delivered - 1976
  Newbuild price -

  (a) Esso Santa Cruz - Netherlands (1987)
  (b) Santa Cruz - Netherlands (1989)
  (c) Patricia B. McAllister - Canada

  Patricia B. McAllister was lost on 22 April 1991 in the St. Lawrence River

PARTICULARS

  Ship type - Harbour/ship handling tug
  Gross tonnage - 439
  Net tonnage -
  Deadweight tonnage -
  L.O.A. - 36.61 meters
  L.B.P. - 32.92 meters
  Width overall - 11.29 meters
  Width moulded - 11.29 meters
  Draught - 4.738 meters
  Depth - 5.16 meters
  Winches - ?

CONSTRUCTION

  Builder - Atlantic Marine Inc.
  Country - Fort George Island, Florida, U.S.A.
  Hull number - 4161
  Engine builder - General Motors Corporation
  Country - La Grange, Illinois, U.S.A.
  Number of engines - 2
  Engine type - GM 16-645-E7 diesels
  Horsepower - 6,100 bhp or 4,500 kW
  Fuel - Diesel oil
  Propellers - 2
  Speed - 13 knots
  Bow thuster - ?
  Official # - C.810810

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION - This section is open for all viewers to contribute any information about this ship that is known such as former owners, managers, charterers, accidents, conversions, drydockings, cargoes, voyages, sightings or ports of call etc..


Story by Gerry Ouderkirk

In 1976 Lago Oil & Transportation Co. Ltd., of Oranjestad, had a large steel tug built for service in Aruba. The new tug was built by Atlantic Marine Inc., at Fort George Island (Jacksonville), Florida. Launched as Esso Santa Cruz, she was registered in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles. Her primary function was the handling of large oil tankers. Renamed Santa Cruz in 1987 for Naviera Carralvo S.A., she was registered at San Nicolas, Netherlands Antilles. The following year, however, she was acquired by McAllister Towing & Salvage Inc., of Montreal, and she was brought into Canadian registry [C.810810] and renamed Patricia B. McAllister. She was rated as the most powerful tug on the inland seas and this was so because her twin 16 cylinder General Motors diesel engines were capable of a maximum output of 6,100 horsepower. She measured 120’ x 37’ x 17’ with tonnage registered at 439 Gross.

She arrived at Montreal on July 17th, 1988 and underwent extensive modifications before entering service that fall. The new name was registered in September, and was painted on the tug on October 17th. Her first job for the new company was in November, when the large drydock General Georges P. Vannier was moved from its usual location at M.I.L. Vickers, Montreal, to the shipyard at Lauzon. The 560 foot long drydock which checked in at 17,309 gross tons, was no longer needed at Montreal with the former Vickers shipyard having gone out of the marine building and repair business.

She made her first trip up the Seaway in December 1988. On October 9, 1988 the tug Kristin Lee was towing the barge OLS-30 from Ludington to Bay City with a cargo of liquid calcium chloride. The barge began taking water whilst in Lake Huron north of Rogers City, and it was intentionally beached off 40 Mile Point, where it capsized, one end protruding from the water. There were obvious environmental concerns, and McAllister Towing was awarded the salvage contract. The wrecking barge McAllister 252 was sent to the scene, but it also grounded on December 3rd after breaking free from its anchor cables at the wreck site. McAllister 252 was freed on December 10th and was taken to Sturgeon Bay for repairs to her hull. As a result of unfavorably weather conditions, work on the OLS-30 wreck was suspended for the winter, her cargo supposedly having been sealed inside the hull.

Salvage efforts resumed in the spring. With the break up of the ice along the shore near Rogers City in March 1989, the wrecked barge began to move, and in less that a week it had traveled almost three miles. The Coast Guard kept an eye on the situation and reminded Hannah Marine Corp. that it bore the responsibility for arranging salvage. Malcolm Marine was retained to mark the moved wreck, and salvage efforts were to get underway as close to April 15th as possible, weather conditions permitting. Crews from McAllister and from Donjon Marine, of New Jersey, were back at the wreck site on May 1st with the tugs Patricia B. McAllister, Carl William Selvick [U.S.545312] and Venture [U.S. 222624], and the big salvage barge McAllister 252.

OLS-30 was eventually lifted and on May 14th was towed, upside down, into Calcite harbor. There, what little cargo still remained in the barge (most of it had leaked out during the winter) was pumped into the 1962-built barge Hannah 2901, which had been brought from Chicago by the tug Betty Gale [U.S.270690]. Pumping of the cargo began on May 16th; the barge was righted at 2:00 a.m. on the 23rd, and on the 24th she left in tow for repairs at Sturgeon Bay. The cost of salvaging OLS-30 was borne by Dow Chemical, the owner of the cargo. OLS-30 was later towed to New Orleans were Avondale’s Harvey Quick Repair Yard refurbished it. After complete structural and mechanical repairs, the barge returned to the lakes in July 1990, rechristened Hannah 2801.

Incidentally, on the return trip to Montreal, Patricia B. McAllister and McAllister 252 were involved in a collision near Detroit and minor damage was sustained by the tug.

Little else is know of her career, until the early morning of April 22, 1991 when Patricia B. McAllister suddenly sank off the Gaspé Peninsula while enroute from Montreal to the shipyard in Pictou, N.S. for a routine inspection and general repairs. Fourteen ships and six aircraft patrolled the area off Riviere-au-Renard, Quebec for several days as that was the tug’s last reported position. Pierre Niguet, the sole survivor, was located after he had drifted for 36 hours in one of only three onboard emergency escape craft. After he had been treated for hypothermia at a local hospital he was released otherwise unharmed. In a statement he said, "There was a large noise, a large bang" and shortly thereafter Patricia B. McAllister went down. Of the five missing crew members, four bodies were recovered. The fifth body was never recovered.

Sometime later, a chance sighting by a research ship revealed Patricia B. McAllister's sunken position. A length of blue towing rope which had been stowed on the aft deck of the tug and secured at one end to prevent it form washing overboard, unfurled as the tug sank and allowed the unbound end to float to the surface providing the searchers with a direct path to the wreck. Loran co-ordinates were taken, and later a remotely operated submersible was brought to the scene by the HMCS Cormorant.

Upon inspection it was found that a barely submerged ice floe, a "growler", had torn a 30 foot long gash in the ship’s hull immediately adjacent to the engineroom compartment on her starboard side. The tug’s main engine was visible through the gash. Patricia B. McAllister had filled with water rapidly and within minutes her stern had dipped below the surface. She went down stern first and struck the bottom in the same vertical manner, her bow pointing towards the surface. Since she sank in 320 feet of water, no salvage effort was ever attempted.

Information and story by Gerry Ouderkirk with thanks to Jay Bascom, Ron Beaupre, Jaap Bijl, Jeff Cameron, Colin Campbell
Jim Sprunt, the late Capt. Paul LeBlanc, Kent Malo and Auke Visser.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHS

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