J. W. McGiffin

J. W. McGiffin – CSL Niagara

1972-Present

CSL Niagara on the St. Marys River, July 4, 2017. Photo by Roger LeLievre

Specs

Build Information

Stern Section [Original Hull]

Year Built: 1972

Builder: Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Collingwood Shipyards LTD., Collingwood, ON

Hull #197

Registry: CAN 331086

IMO #7128423

Laid Down: —

Launch Date: December 16, 1971

Commissioned: April 20, 1972

Forebody [Cargo Section & Forward]

Year Built: 1999

Builder: Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catharines, ON

Hull #77

Laid Down: —

Launch Date: June 15, 1999

Commissioned: July 26, 1999

Construction

The J. W. McGiffin was constructed as a self-unloading bulk carrier for Canada Steamship Lines. She was the first self-unloader with all accommodations aft constructed for CSL. She was designed with a rounded bow and a square stern to maximize efficiency and capacity. The J. W. McGiffin was also the first vessel on the Great Lakes to be fitted with a C-loop style self-unloading system. She originally featured a three-belt cargo hold layout.

The McGiffin was the first of five similar ships to be constructed during the 1970’s. The others being the H. M. Giffith [Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, 2000], Algolake, Louis R. Desmarais [CSL Laurentien, 2001], and the Jean Parisien [CSL Assiniboine, 2005].

The McGiffin was rebuilt in 1999, and her self-unloading equipment consists of a dual hold belt leading to an aft loop-belt system to a 246′ deck-mounted boom.

Modifications

  • Rebuilt with a new forebody by Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catharines, Ontario, 1999.
  • Repowered, 2013.

General Stats

As Constructed

Length Overall: 730′

Length Between Perpendiculars: 720’06”

Breadth: 75′

Depth: 46’06”

Loaded Draft: 30’03”

Capacity: 22,716 Gross Tons, 16,598 Net Tons

Vessel Type: Loop-Belt Self-Unloader

Self-Unloading Boom Length: Stern-mounted; 257′

Number of Cargo Holds: 5

Number of Hatches: 22

Primary Operations: Ore, Coal, Stone, Grain, Salt Trades

Propellers: 1 Controllable Pitch Propeller [In Kort Nozzle]

Rudders: 1

After Rebuild, 1999

Length Overall: 739’10”

Length Between Perpendiculars: 730’10”

Breadth: 78′

Depth: 48’05”

Loaded Draft: 31’04”

Capacity: 37,694 Tons

Vessel Type: Loop-Belt Self-Unloader

Self-Unloading Boom Length: Stern-mounted; 246′

Number of Cargo Holds: 5 [Hatch-Hold Arrangement: 4-5-5-5-5]

Number of Hatches: 24 [Dimensions: 54’x10’11”]

Primary Operations: Ore, Coal, Stone, Grain, Salt Trades

Propellers: 1 Controllable Pitch Propeller [In Kort Nozzle]

Rudders: 1


Engineering Equipment

Original

Engine

Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: Pielstick, Beloit, WI

Engine Model: 10PC2-2V-400

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 9000 BHP


Repower – 2013

Engine Type: Diesel Engines

Engine Manufacturer: MaK/Caterpillar, Kien, Germany

Engine Model: 6M32C

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 8060 BHP


History

Lineage

J. W. McGiffin – 1972-1999

Owner: Canada Steamship Lines, Montreal, QC

Operator: Canada Steamship Lines

Flag: Canada

Home Port: Collingwood, ON


CSL Niagara – 1999-Present

Owner: Canada Steamship Lines, Montreal, QC

Operator: Canada Steamship Lines

Flag: Canada

Home Port: St. Catharines, ON


Her Story

The J. W. McGiffin was constructed as a self-unloading bulk carrier for Canada Steamship Lines. She was their first self-unloader with all accommodations aft and the first self-unloader with a C-Loop style self-unloading system. The McGiffin entered service on April 20, 1972, heading to Sandusky, Ohio, to load coal. She then proceeded to transit the Welland Canal, where she set a new record coal record for the canal.

During her early years, the J. W. McGiffin spent most of her time in the Lake Erie coal trade, hauling from Ohio ports bound for power plants and steel mills in Ontario. The McGiffin opened the Welland Canal in 1973 and 1989. She grounded twice in the Welland Canal during the 1970’s and 1980’s. She also rescued sailors off of a sinking pleasure boat on Lake Erie in September 1991.

The crew of the J. W. McGiffin was a very generous bunch, and during the late 1990’s, donated several hundred dollars to help local Canadian charities in the Niagara Region.

The J. W. McGiffin laid up at Port Weller Dry Docks on December 24, 1998 for a rebuild. She was soon placed in drydock where her hull was cut just forward of the aft accommodations block. Her forebody was removed from drydock and later scrapped. A new forebody was built in the drydock and attached to the stern section. She emerged from drydock on June 15, 1999 as the CSL Niagara. She returned to service on July 26, 1999 as the first Canadian Ship built to the maximum allowable dimensions of the Seaway, being labeled as a “Seawaymax” Class vessel. Her new forebody featured a state-of-the-art self-unloading system with completely automated controls, as well as a completely automated engine room.

The CSL Niagara was repowered with new diesel engines in 2013. She remains in service today in the Seaway ore, coal, stone, grain, and salt trades.


Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on April 16, 2020


Gallery


Sources

Ahoy & Farewell II. Marine Historical Society of Detroit, 1996. Pp. 28.

Berry, Sterling P. “McGiffin, J. W.”. Great Lakes Vessel History: Vessel Histories of Sterling P. Berry. N.d. Accessed 16 April 2020. <https://www.greatlakesvesselhistory.com/histories-by-name/m/mcgiffin-j-w>

“CSL Niagara”. Canada Steamship Lines. N.d. Accessed 16 April, 2020. <https://www.cslships.com/sites/default/files/csl_niagara_-_new_version_2017.07_0.pdf>

Devendorf, John F. Great Lakes Bulk Carriers, 1869-1985. John F. Devendorf, 1996. Pp. 188.

Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 4.9.

Wharton, George. “CSL Niagara”. Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online. N.d. Accessed 16 April 2020. <http://boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/cslniagara.htm>