Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Cliffs Victory

Mardy Howe posted three photos with the comment:
The NOTRE DAME VICTORY was floated from the dry dock on March 21, 1951, three months and two days after she entered the dock, and was rechristened b.) CLIFFS VICTORY.
The Cliffs Victory was a cargo vessel, originally built as a Victory ship, during World War II, as the Notre Dame Victory, and subsequently lengthened and converted to a lake freighter for the Cleveland-Cliffs Inc
 The ship was built in 1945 by Oregon Shipbuilding Company in Portland, Oregon as hull # 1229. She had been mothballed, following her brief World War II service, and, when the Korean War required more vessels on the Great Lakes, she was purchased by Cleveland Cliffs, who planned to adapt her for service on the Lakes. According to Mark Thompson, author of Queen of the Lakes, these plans triggered skepticism. But the conversion took only 90 days. Floated from dry-dock on  March 21, 1951.
Built as the "Victory" ship NOTRE DAME VICTORY for the U.S. Maritime Commission. Dimensions: 455' loa x 62' beam x 38' depth, 10,750 DWT. Powered by a 9,350 s.h.p. double reduction geared, cross-compound steam turbine engine with 2 oil-fired water tube boilers.
Purchased by Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Co. in Dec. of 1950. The hull was lengthened to 619' loa, capacity increased to 14,500 DWT at Baltimore, MD. Renamed CLIFFS VICTORY on Mar. 21, 1951. Towed up the Mississippi River to S. Chicago, arriving there May 9, 1951, to complete the lake boat conversion at American Ship Building's yard. Entered service on June 4, 1951. She was known for her distinctive profile and high-speed runs, given the informal title "Speed Queen of the Lakes". [Some consider the Charles M. White to be faster.] Lengthened in 1957 to 716' 03" loa at S. Chicago with a new capacity of 17,600 DWT. Bow thruster added in early 1964. Laid up at end of the 1981 season at S.Chicago. 
21 December 1971: Large machinery damage discovered; estimated cost of $100,000.
20 April 1975: Collided with the SS Benson Ford [actually, it is MV instead of SS] while attempting to break the latter vessel free from ice; Went into Fraser Shipyards for port bow repairs and was returned to service on April 24.
9 December 1976: Ran aground near Johnson Point in the St. Marys River while downbound in heavy ice conditions. Freed December 11. The incident later became known as the "worst traffic jam in the river in fifty years", with about seventy vessels delayed by the incident. The assistance of three tugs and a Coast Guard icebreaker required to free victory. During the inspection, it was discovered that the rudder had been lost in the incident.
Sold Oct. 12, 1985, for scrap for $235,000. Reflagged Panamanian and renamed SAVIC by painting out the letters CLIFF and ORY and adding an A in the middle. Left S. Chicago Dec. 17, 1985, under own power and, after many delays, arrived at Masan, S. Korea on Dec. 22, 1986. Dismantled 1987.
Mike Harlan shared
Darcy Passmore: Different for sure , was it common for liberty ships being converted to have the midship house after conversion and appears to have cargo holds after the house four / five hatches.
Gary Schweitzer: Darcy Passmore she was actually a Victory class ship. Hence the name Cliffs Victory. Liberty ships were slow and small. None were converted for Lakes use. Victory ships came later in the war with turbine engines.
Don Lee: The engines and boilers were under the house. Differs from the Middletown/American Victory in that that boat was a tanker with the engines and boilers already in the stern.


Pierre Hamon shared
Jeff Bransky Here’s the story behind that ship which had just been refitted in Chicago and was heading for service on the Great Lakes.
Actually, it was on its way to the shipyard to finish the conversion from a 455' cargo freighter to a 620' ore carrier. Most of the conversion had already been done in Baltimore, MD. Significant work was done by that shipyard on this ship more than once. For example, it was made longer again in 1957 to 716' 3" and a bow thruster was added in 1964.

Howard Kay posted eight photos.
Ken Giorno
 Cliffs Victory was too long going through Chicago’s canal [Cal Sag?] and they had a few nail biting moments when they had to open both ends of the lock at the same time to get her into Lake Michigan.
I'm guessing the tugs were doing all the maneuvering in those tight quarters...
That would be my guess as well since the prop and rudder were in cargo holds.

Dennis DeBruler shared with the comment:
These photos of the Cliffs Victory on the Chicago River have some new views of the Metropolitan "L" Bridge. Another railroad connection is that the RR swing bridges along the Sanitary and Ship Canal would have been opened for this ship to pass. The bridges opened several times during WWII so that submarines and mine sweepers could go down to the Gulf of Mexico. I believe machinery was installed during the war but taken out after. During the early 1950s, tugs with ropes were used to open and close the bridges. When the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, ocean going ships quit using the Illinois Waterway.
The ship was one of the 500 victory ships built during WWII. In 1951, the 455' cargo freighter was converted to a 620' ore carrier in Baltimore, MD. They then cut off the smokestack, pilothouse and other tall structures to achieve a maximum height of 51' 8". The parts cut off were placed in the cargo holds. They added 120' steel pontoons to the stern to achieve just a 9' draft. The height and draft restrictions were so that it could go up the Illinois Waterway after it went up the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico. After it passed through the Lockport Lock, the ship was lowered to a 16' draft to pass a couple of road bridges. Then the draft was changed to 12' forward and 14' aft for more stability while going up the Chicago River. The ship was too long to fit into the Chicago Harbor Lock, so they opened both sets of gates and let the water flow with a 16" head until the ship cleared the stern gates.







Mike Harlan posted
Cliffs Victory , Paul Weining Photo
Paul Mathews: Back in the 70's she blew through the St Claire River washing up a few small boats. Cost Cliffs a little money and a fine by Coast Guard to the Captain.
Comments on Mike's post

(new window)  A slide show of it in operation. In 1985 it was sent to South Korea for scrapping. But it could use the St. Lawrence Seaway for that trip.

safe_image for danfergusdesign

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Mike Delaney posted
Calumet River Chicago.  Cliffs Victory on the left and some foreign rusted out crapcan on the right at Rail to Water.  This was during a brief iron miners strike so the Victory was layed up wet.  Lots of opinions on the Calumet, Rouge and Cuyahoga rivers as far as pollution goes.  We kicked up a dead body in this river with the bow thruster on the Grace heading for Interlake Iron farther up the river.  Didn't get to see it myself.  Did the same thing in the Cuyahoga on the Snyder Jr. backing into the turning basin coming from Republic Steel with the prop.  I did get to see that one.  The deceased was wearing a brown suite covered with crabs.  The Coast Guard came and picked up the body put him in a bodybag with his feet sticking out layed him on the rear platform on the outside back of the boat and down the river they went with several pleasure boats following taking pics.  Couple years later on the Ayers I was being lowered to the J&L steel dock on the Cuyahoga river, they lowered me too soon, too fast and I ended up in the water up to my chest and was between the boat and the dock in between two giant earthmover tires hanging from the dock as the boat came in.  took four guys to pull me back up and out enough to climb onto the tire.  Everybody was heaving the blocks over and bedlam was going on the deck as man overboard was called.  I got back on board wearing about 20lbs of Cuyahoga river.  mate says you OK, I said great time for a swim.  Says go take a shower and wash your clothes your done for the night.  I would rather have swam in the Rouge.
[That is the 100th Street Bridge in the foreground.]

Bill Kloss posted
From the Chuck Drumm folder, an undated photo of Cliffs Victory under the Huletts in Huron, OH.

Bill Kloss posted a couple of photos with the comment: "A couple of undated Chuck Drumm photos of Cliffs Victory at the C&P dock in Cleveland."


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