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We’ll return to the 1921 ILI canal motor ships part D in a later post, but for now, the 1935 Kermic was one of seven diesel motor ships designed to maximize the size of the Champlain/Chambly International Waterway, with size restriction dictated not by the Barge Canal locks,  but even smaller, the Chambly locks.  As such, these seven vessels all had the dimensions of 106′ x 22′.  She was considered a coaster, or un caboteur.  More caboteurs along with their particulars, including this as IV No. 14, can be found here.

Their principal cargo was rolls of newsprint transported between the pulp mills in Quebec and the presses in New York City. With a crew of four, many from the Lotbinière area on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence upstream of Quebec City, they had an average transit time of 2.5 days with 225 tons of cargo, usually composed of 300 rolls of newsprint at 1500 pounds each.  Much more info on these newsprint carriers can be found here, an article that was informed in part by a tugster post from 2010 here.  As of November 2021, this vessel was still on the hard in Lotbinière after an ill-fated attempt to turn her into a restaurant.

For more on the pulp and paper trade between Canada and the US, here’s a great little reference.  The fact that the photo on the cover below is Chicago Tribune and others in the book have names like New York News and Washington Times says it all.

While we’re on Canadian commercial vessels in the New York canals, the photo below didn’t make sense until I started thinking about Quebec:  M. Robidoux is clearly French, and with a search I found she was earlier named Katchiwano, built in Peterborough ON in 1932, a wooden tug with dimensions of 50′ x 13.  A Peterborough-build means she accessed the NY canals via the Trent-Severn Waterway. 

She was M. Robidoux from 1951 to 1963, which nicely dates this photo.  I’m not sure of the location, but this too could be on the Champlain Canal.  Her last registry was in Cap Chat QC on the Saint Lawrence.  Better lighting on this photo would be desirable.  The ship’s bell configuration is unique.

This might be a good place to throw in this mystery vessel, for which I have no clues.

All photos used with permission from the Canal Society of New York. 

Thanks to Bob Mattsson for lightening the photo of M. Robidoux.

 

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