Friday, April 15, 2011
The McKee Sons
So I decided to go boatwatching because I thought there would be at least two ships going down the Detroit River at the time I would be down there. Well one I wasn't sure about because it had conflicting times on the listing on boatnerd but there would be at least one. It was a ship that I'd seen before. Well, technically a barge and tug but that's fine. The McKee Sons started life as a fast troop transport built in 1945. Her name was the Marine Angel. In 1954, she was taken over by another company and christened as the McKee Sons. Her middle pilothouse was moved to the front to give her a more classic lake freighter look. She was also made a self-unloader. She sailed the Great Lakes carrying various cargoes until she was laid up in 1979 in Toledo. The economy on the Lakes had taken a pretty severe downturn and many ships were laid up. In 1990, she got a new lease on life as the machinery portion was taken out and replaced with the tug. The front portion became a barge but retained the self-unloading capacity. The tug was named the Olive L. Moore. The conversion took 2 years to complete. She has an overall length of 579 feet and can carry roughly 19,000 tons of cargo. I'm still on the fence about these conversions. I'm glad they give ships new leases on life but I still think they are ugly. A shot of the ship against part of Detroit's skyline. A closeup of the ship against the Ambassador Bridge. A shot of the Ambassador Bridge.