It’s a ‘booming’ business (literally) at Sarnia harbour

The Saginaw, a ship owned by Lower Lakes Towing, was in Thunder Bay on January 1 when a cable holding its loading/unloading boom snapped, sending the structure over the side of the ship and into the water.

Now docked at Sarnia harbour, Central Machine and Marine is repairing the equipment, a job that's one of the local company's largest for the repair season.

Ken McCormick, a foreman on the job, said the value of the contract is in the neighbourhood of $1 million.

Next week, the boom will be laid out on the dock as workers begin the job of welding it back into its original condition.

The Saginaw was launched on May 9, 1953 as the John J. Boland, built by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, for the American Steamship Co.

In 1999 it was purchased by its current owners, refitted (in Sarnia), and renamed the Saginaw. 

Of note, this latest incident involving the unloading boom is the second in the history of the vessel, a similar cable snapping having occurred on Dec. 16, 1973. The discharge boom fell onto the dock at the Pulliam Power Plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and was completely destroyed. The boom was replaced by Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, in March 1974.

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