Purnell, Frank 1

1943                                   Frank Purnell     1                        1981 (20                 

Steel Great Lakes bulk freighter

Built at River Rouge MI by Great Lakes Engineering Works, Hull 293
Keel laid Sept 24, 1942, launched May 8, 1943

Built for U. S. Maritime Commission, Class L6-S-B1 under its World War II vessel construction program.  Launched as McIntyre.  Renamed Frank Purnell and delivered at commissioning to Interlake Steamship Co., taking in trade two (for this vessel and for strs. Frank Armstrong and E. G. Grace) seven older vessels of the fleet for part of the purchase price

620’6” LOA, 604’ LBP, 60’ beam, 35’ depth
1 deck, arch cargo hold construction, 18 hatches @ 24’, coal-fired boilers, triple expansion engine, 2500 IHP

Enrolled at
603.8 x 60.2 x 30.2, 9057 GT, 6793 NT     US 243587     to:
Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland OH, Pickands Mather & Co., Mgr. (home port Wilmington DE)

Entered service Aug 1943

Traded late 1965 to Bethlehem Transportation Corporation, Cleveland OH for sister vessel str. Steelton  (3) and renamed Steelton  (4)
(This vessel had a new cargo hold but Interlake wished to convert a Maritime vessel to self-unloader, which would have wasted her new cargo hold)

Boilers converted to oil firing 1971 at Manitowoc WI by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Corporation
Remeasured to 9032 GT, 5760 NT

Collided Aug 25, 1974 with Bridge 12 Welland Canal (automobile lift bridge at Port Robinson ON), destroying bridge and closing the Welland Canal to all vessel traffic for 15 days.  Repaired at Port Colborne ON by Herb Fraser and returned to service.

Sold 1978 to Medusa Portland Cement Co. and renamed Hull No. 3.  Conversion to self-unloader announced but work never done.

Chartered July 1979 to Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Co., Cleveland OH and renamed Pioneer  (3)

Laid up at the end of the 1979 season at Toledo OH and did not operate again

Towed to Sturgeon Bay WI Nov 1981, where cement handling equipment was installed  over the winter of 1981-1982.  Towed to South Chicago IL for use as a dockside cement transfer facility.

Renamed C. T. C. No. 1 1982

Sold 2011 to Grand River Navigation Co., Avon Lake OH, a subsidiary of Lower Lakes Towing Ltd.

IMO 5120013

At South Chicago IL 2011 as a cement storage vessel






2 thoughts on “Purnell, Frank 1

  1. I am trying to do some research on this vessel. My grandfather, Byron G. Stewart, was a Captain on the Great Lakes and we believe he once captained this ship. Is there any information you could provide me either confirming or denying this to be true. Any help will be appreciated. The name of the vessel is the Frank Purnell. Thank you.

    • I’ve done as little checking and this is what I find:

      In the late winter each year the fleets usually release the names of captain and chief engineer assignments for the coming season. I find that Byron Stewart was assigned as captain of the str. Neptune for 1925, Vega for 1926 thru 1931, (Apparently assignments not announced by Interlake Steamship Co. for 1932-1935 — also for 1938 and 1939), Harry W. Croft for 1936 and 1937, Amasa Stone for 1940 thru 1943 and Frank Purnell for 1944 thru 1949. I also note that in the mid-1920s W. G. Stewart was listed as fleet captain and starting in the 1920s a C. C. Stewart was another Interlake captain. This is just in case these fellows were related to Byron and, if so, you might want to add these people to your family history research.

      Sterling Berry

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