IRVING S. OLDS


IRVING S. OLDS, US.242261, Lake Bulk Freighter built in 1942 by the American Ship Building Co., Lorain, OH as Hull #825. Launched May 22, 1942 as a) IRVING S. OLDS for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, OH. 639'6"loa, 623'3"lbp x 67'x 35'; 10,294 GRT, 6439 NRT, 18,260 dwt. Powered by a 4,400 shp double reduction geared, cross-compound steam turbine built by the Westinghouse Electric & Mfg. Co. and two Babcock & Wilcox coal-fired water tube boilers, with a total heating surface of 16,992 sq.ft. Engine and boilers built in 1942. The IRVING S. OLDS was launched on National Maritime Day, the tenth annual observance of this day, which was set aside by Congress to signify the 1819 departure of the steam powered sailing vessel CITY OF SAVANNAH. (The SAVANNAH was launched at New York City September 22, 1818 and departed Savannah, Ga. May, 22, 1819 for the 26 day crossing to Ireland. The CITY OF SAVANNAH was the first steam propelled vessel to cross the Atlantic Ocean, though it reportedly only ran on steam power for eighty hours due to her inability to carry the amount of coal required to supply steam for such a trip. The majority of her trip was under sail.) The launch of the OLDS was coordinated to coincide with that of her sister and fleetmate A.H. FERBERT (2) and numerous other ocean cargo vessels in yards around the United States to bolster the morale during World War II caused by the mounting losses incurred from German U-boats. The OLDS departed Lorain light on her maiden voyage October 6, 1942 bound for Lake Superior to load iron ore, thus becoming the last of the "Supers" to enter service. Her "Super" sisters, BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS, A.H. FERBERT (2), LEON FRASER and ENDERS M. VOORHEES all sailed earlier that year. These boats were sometimes referred to as "Super Dupers" as well as the "AA" class. On June 1, 1943 the IRVING S. OLDS collided with the 524 foot steamer CHARLES 0. JENKINS in heavy fog 28 miles northeast of Cleveland on Lake Erie and was holed eight feet above the water line. The OLDS was able to help the badly damaged JENKINS back to Cleveland by lashing the two vessels together. After a grueling seven hours the JENKINS was beached in the outer harbor to prevent her from sinking further. The OLDS was repaired in time to carry a then-record 17,817 gross tons of iron ore on June 13, 1943 from Lake Superior and transported a total of 736,800 short tons of various bulk cargoes the next year. The IRVING S. OLDS was transferred to the United States Steel Corp., Cleveland in 1952. She sustained an eight foot long crack across her spar deck and eight inches down one side in a storm on Lake Huron May 1, 1963. She was en route from Port Cartier, Que. bound for Gary, Ind. loaded with iron ore, but put into Detour, MI for temporary repairs. The OLDS was fitted with a new tank top, side tanks and an 800 hp Bird-Johnson bow thruster at the American Ship Building Co., Lorain over the winter of 1967-68. During the winter of 1974 while at Fraser Shipyard at Superior WI, the OLDS had her boilers automated and was converted to oil-fired burners as well as having her holds refurbished. She also received deck strapping to qualify for increased seasonal draft under the Load Line Act of 1972 resulting in an increase of her dwt capacity to 19,150 tons. Over the 1975-76 winter the OLDS was given an experimental hull paint which was formulated to reduce drag, improve speed and save on fuel. On April 29, 1977 while inbound at Lorain, the IRVING S. OLDS hit a bridge on the Black River which extensively damaged her bow, tying up traffic for several hours. She laid up for almost two months for repairs. Later that same year on June 21st while downbound at the Soo, she grounded near Mission Point which resulted in considerable bottom plate damage. Still later in the shipping season on January 4, 1978, the OLDS was involved in a collision with the steamer ARMCO while convoying in heavy ice in the Livingston Channel of the lower Detroit River. The OLDS hit a flow of heavy ice, came to a complete stop and the ARMCO, unable to stop, hit the OLDS' stern. The OLDS was taken to Lorain for repairs to her stern plating as well as her propeller, propeller shaft and rudder, while the ARMCO received repairs to her bow at Toledo, OH. The IRVING S. OLDS was laid up for the final time on December 3, 1981 at the Hallett Dock #5, Duluth, MN due to market conditions and her inability to compete with the 60,000 ton carrying capacity of the self-unloading thousand foot bulk freighters. The IRVING S. OLDS was sold to Marine Salvage of Port Colborne, Ont. in 1988 for scrap. She was towed out of Duluth on June 4, 1988 by the tug SALVAGE MONARCH and the G-tug NEW JERSEY and passed down the Soo assisted by the tug JOHN McLEAN on June 7th. The SALVAGE MONARCH was assisted by Gaelic Tug's SHANNON as the tow passed down the Lake Huron Cut June 9th, and handed the OLDS off at Port Colborne to the McAllister tugs HELEN M. McALLISTER and CATHY McALLISTER which completed the tow to Montreal on June 14th. The OLDS laid there until the SALVAGE MONARCH returned with the HELEN M. McALLISTER to tow her to Quebec City on July 2nd where she joined her sister-fleetmate BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS. Finally the tandem cleared Quebec City in tow of the Liberian flagged, German tug OSA RAVENSTURM on July 9, 1988. Traversing the Panama Canal, the tow arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan on November 8, 1988. There both bulkers were dismantled at the Sing Cheng Yung Iron & Steel Co. Ltd., commencing with the OLDS on November 24, 1988.

Image from the Photo Gallery:
Irving S. Olds being towed from her long time layup berth in Duluth, MN, bound for overseas shipbreakers in July, 1988.



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