Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Prentiss Brown With Her Barge the St Marys Challenger

The next vessel was kind of bittersweet for me.  When I last saw her in 2013, she was the St. Marys Challenger and the oldest self powered freighter on the Lakes.  Little did I realize, that voyage was probably part of her swan song as it was revealed she was going to be converted to a barge at the end of that season.
 I was hoping that I would catch her as she was downbound since she is not a frequent visitor to this area.  I believe she was heading to Cleveland for some new cables.  She was probably also delivering cement.
 She was actually a beautiful ship in her day.  It was sad to learn that she was being converted to a barge.  I'm pretty sure that the company that owned her didn't want to do  that to her but they probably had no alternative.
 I'm sure her owners kept good care of her but there is alot that can happen in 107 years.  I'm going to guess that the plates supporting the engines were worn out and they couldn't replace her steam engines with diesels.
 I'm sure there were a few that wanted to see her converted into a museum but at least this way she is still providing jobs for people.  Based on the other tug/barges, she will probably be doing that for a long time.
 It's still a shame to see a one proud laker like this though.
 Her tug is named the Prentiss Brown.  She was built by Gulfport Shibuilding in Port Arthur, Texas in 1967.  At one time she was also known as the Betty Cullbreath.
 And she heads up to Lake Huron.  I believe she is on her way to Charlevoix.
 I guess she's not bad looking as tug/barges go.
 She's framed by the Blue Water Bridge.
I'm going to guess it will be a while when I see her again though.

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