Late in Season Part III

Part I featured Sedna, and Part II showcased AAA classics Arthur and Kaye. As the horizons in those two posts would indicate, I had a fourth boat coming before this busy afternoon rush would come to its end.

The 400′ barge PML 9000 is on her way to some Lower Lakes port to unload her cargo of steel coils. She is being pushed by the 1948-built tug Wilfred M. Cohen, and she is not a very fast tug. In fact, when the day began, she was ahead of Sedna, Arthur and Kaye. Sedna passed her in lower Lake Huron in the morning, while the Anderson and Barker overtook her on Lake St. Clair.

But she started trucking it upon entering the river, and the Cohen‘s F-M OP engines continued to belch smoke.

Barges such as PML 9000 are sometimes ignored as being legitimate vessels, but even though she is small, she still carries cargo for revenue and she can even unload herself using the mobile crane on deck. She has somewhat of a history as well, operating as the train-carrying barge Palmer on the west coast before coming to the lakes in 2000.

Nowadays she works almost entirely in the steel coil trade out of Sault Ste. Maire, Ontario with her partner-in-crime PML Ironmaster. Both barges are owned by Purvis Marine Limited and are usually moved by the tugs Anglian Lady and the aforementioned Cohen. The big tugs Reliance and Avenger IV have not been used as frequently this year as in years previous, while Purvis has been mainly using the Anglian Lady and Cohen to move not only PML Ironmaster and 9000, but also the tank barge PML 2501.

In fact, as I was standing here taking the photos you see in this post, Anglian Lady was creeping down the St. Clair River at under 10 knots. She most likely has the barge PML 2501, which can cause a tug to move very slowly when loaded deep.

One look at the Cohen and it is plainly obvious that she and Anglian Lady certainly have their differences.

Before I go into more detail on the tug I need a bow shot of the barge… that should be good.

So, about the good-looking Wilfred M. Cohen… she was built in 1948 in Newport News, Virginia as A.T. Lowmaster for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. In 1975 she was sold Canadian and came to the Lakes, and was also rebuilt to her current look that year. She took on the name Wilfred M. Cohen in ’75 as well, and in 1994 was acquired by Purvis in their buyout of A.B. McLean Ltd. I believe the upper wheelhouse was added between 2011 and 2012, and it looks like it may have come off a crane of some sort.

Here’s a wide view of the tug/barge as they chug by.

Note the wall around the bow… it is meant to protect the deck during rough seas, it can even be seen on a number of ocean-going ships that visit the lakes.

Because Purvis keeps their tugs and barges easily interchangeable, they use the old school rope connection system rather than articulated tugs and deep notches. They usually only use the push setup in rivers and adjust to a tow on the open lake, Lake St. Clair often being the exception because of its small size.

I was not sure about the destination of this steel coil cargo, but I assumed it was going to Detroit or Windsor since that’s where Purvis usually delivers coils. However, they went right out into Lake Erie so I’m not sure where they are headed at this point.

But it makes no difference to me… Wilfred wasn’t too slow this time and she conveniently closed out my boatwatching for the weekend.

So until next weekend!

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One thought on “Late in Season Part III

  1. Pingback: Really Random Tugs 16 | tugster: a waterblog

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