William J. DeLancey

William J. DeLancey – Paul R. Tregurtha


Paul R. Tregurtha on the Detroit River, June 25, 2016. Photo by Isaac Pennock


Build Information

Year Built: 1981

Builder: American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, OH

Hull #909

Registry: U.S. 631668

IMO #7729057

Laid Down: July 12, 1979

Launch Date: February 2, 1981

Commissioned: May 10, 1981


The William J. DeLancey was constructed as a self-unloading bulk carrier for the Interlake Steamship Company. She was the final 1,000-Footer constructed, and the second to last to enter service. The DeLancey was the final ship built by American Shipbuilding Company, and was built under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970 at a cost of nearly $60 Million.

The DeLancey‘s hull was constructed at American Shipbuilding’s Lorain and Toledo, Ohio yards. She featured elegant quarters for both her guests and crew, and earned the nickname “Fancy DeLancey” in her early years.

She was the second of four similar sister ships constructed by American Shipbuilding, the others being the James R. Barker, Mesabi Miner, and George A. Stinson [American Spirit, 2004;]. The main difference between the DeLancey and her near-sisters was that she was 7’06” longer and had a greater cargo capacity by about 5,000 tons.

Her self-unloading equipment consists of a single hold belt system leading to an aft loop-belt system to a 260′ deck-mounted boom.


  • Bridge Wings removed, 2002.
  • Repowered, Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, WI, 2010.
  • Diesel Exhaust Scrubbers installed, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, WI, 2018.

General Stats

Length Overall: 1,013’06”

Length Between Perpendiculars: 1,000′

Breadth: 105′

Depth: 56′

Loaded Draft: 30’01”

Capacity: 68,000 Tons

Vessel Type: Loop-Belt Self-Unloader

Self-Unloading Boom Length: Aft-Mounted; 260′

Number of Cargo Holds: 5 [Hatch-Hold Arrangement: 4-8-8-8-8]

Number of Hatches: 36 [Dimensions: 65’x11′]

Primary Operations: Ore, Coal Trades

Propellers: 2 Controllable Pitch Propellers

Rudders: 2

Engineering Equipment



Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: Pielstick, Beloit, WI

Engine Model: 16PC2-3V-400

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 17,120 BHP

Repower – 2010

Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: MaK, Kien, Germany

Engine Model: 6M43C; 6 Cylinder;

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 16,080 BHP



William J. DeLancey – 1981-1987

Owner: Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland, OH [Pickands Mather & Co.]

Operator: Interlake Steamship Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE

William J. DeLancey – 1987-1990

Owner: Interlake Steamship Co., Middleburg Heights, OH

Operator: Interlake Steamship Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE

Paul R. Tregurtha – 1990-Present

Owner: Interlake Steamship Co., Middleburg Heights, OH

Operator: Interlake Steamship Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE

Her Story

In February 1978, officials from Interlake Steamship Company signed a major ore hauling contract with the LTV Steel. The new contract required more tonnage, and Interlake contract American Shipbuilding Company of Lorain, Ohio for the construction of a third 1,000′ vessel. The new ship would be 7’06” longer than the previous ships constructed, but would share a similar outward appearance, and would boast elegant cabins for both guests and crew members.

The keel for the new ship was laid on July 12, 1979. The hull was built between American Shipbuilding’s two Ohio shipyards, with a portion of the bow section being constructed at their Toledo shipyard and the stern and remainder of the hull being built in drydock at the Lorain yard. The sections were put together in drydock, being launched on February 4, 1981. On April 25, 1981, officials from Interlake Steamship, LTV Steel, and American Shipbuilding gathered at the Lorain shipyard, where the new vessel was christened William J. DeLancey, after the president of LTV Steel. She entered service on May 10, 1981, departing Lorain for Silver Bay, Minnesota, to load taconite pellets for delivery to Lorain, Ohio.

The DeLancey set two iron ore records during the 1982 season, loading 62,701 tons on July 30, 1982, and 63,007 tons on August 7, 1982, with both cargoes being loaded at Escanaba, Michigan, bound for Indiana Harbor, Indiana.

Interlake Steamship signed another major hauling contract with Detroit Edison, to deliver western coal to their power plants in St. Clair and Monroe, Michigan in 1984. Soon after the signing of this contract, the DeLancey began to carry more coal cargoes aside from her usual ore runs.

On October 27, 1986, the DeLancey‘s fleetmate James R. Barker suffered an engine room fire while inbound near the mouth of the St. Clair River in southern Lake Huron. The fire was extinguished quickly, and the ship lost power. The William J. DeLancey arrived shortly after, and towed her in a side-by-side fashion to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, arriving on November 2, 1986 for repairs.

In April 1988, the William J. DeLancey delivered the first load of western coal to Consumers Energy’s B.C. Cobb power facility at Muskegon, Michigan. Interlake ships would call on this location for years to come until her fleetmate James R. Barker delivered the last load of coal to the Cobb plant on November 8, 2015.

The William J. DeLancey was rechristened Paul R. Tregurtha on May 23, 1990, in honor of the Vice Chairman of Interlake Steamship Company. She continued to serve the Detroit Edison coal run primarily, with occasional loads of iron ore in between.

On January 28, 2005, the Paul R. Tregurtha unloaded an unusual late season cargo of coal at the Carbide Dock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The cargo was loaded in Conneaut, Ohio. She laid up for the winter at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, a few days later.

The Paul R. Tregurtha laid up early for the winter on November 9, 2009, at Bay Shipbuilding Corporation’s Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin yard. Over the winter, she was repowered with two new MaK diesel engines, and returned to service in April of 2010.

The Tregurtha ran aground just above the Rock Cut on the St. Marys River in the morning of August 15, 2012. She was freed a little over a day later, requiring repairs at Bay Shipbuilding.

The Paul R. Tregurtha was outfitted with special diesel exhaust scrubbers as part of Interlake’s fleet improvement program. The work was completed by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in early 2018.

The Paul R. Tregurtha continues to be an active member of the Interlake Steamship fleet, serving the iron ore and coal trades.

Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on June 4, 2020



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