Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online
Discussion Boards
Please click to visit our sponsor
It is currently October 20, 2017, 9:30 am

FAQ | Instructions | Help
Search for:



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: 1972 Great Lakes Towing, Duluth
Unread postPosted: September 4, 2017, 2:36 pm 

Joined: March 13, 2010, 10:51 am
Posts: 959
Quote:
Bill, I had forgotten about the bar. I don't know when he finally sold it for good but I do know that he sold it on contract for deed on more than one occasion for a down cash down payment and would take it back when the purchaser would default. He and his brother also owned a sand sucker called the James B. Lyons.

He bought the bar in 1947 when he left the running of the White Swan and North Shore to his brother Richard who would later run the Mackinac Islander. Lyons bought the bar through a local real estate agent who specialized in bar and tavern properties, Thomas Lane, and was also the state representative of Michigan's 1st District at the time. Lane would become Lyons's partner in National Sand and Gravel Company, so I think I see where that down payment-default scheme worked. He sold the bar (well, Lane sold it, I'm sure) and Lyons went to work for T. J. McCarthy in 1956. He renamed the Beatrice Ottinger in 1963 after its lengthening to honor his father, Capt. James B. Lyons, one of the lakes' more notable masters who spent decades with Gilchrist and Interlake.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: 1972 Great Lakes Towing, Duluth
Unread postPosted: September 3, 2017, 12:45 pm 
Bill, I had forgotten about the bar. I don't know when he finally sold it for good but I do know that he sold it on contract for deed on more than one occasion for a down cash down payment and would take it back when the purchaser would default. He and his brother also owned a sand sucker called the James B. Lyons. Jack was a very good ship handler but when he made a mistake he was good for two ships and a few hundred feet of dock. I must say that in those early days of the Seaway, the pilots were mostly old captains who had retired or some younger ones that had lost their job due to too many cups of tea. I still stand in awe of the incredible ship handling abilities of this group. These were men who learned ship handling before bow thrusters and such and had been taught how to use the anchor. Those men could do more with an anchor than most men today who have tugs and a thruster. I don't think that they even teach cadets and mates how to use the anchor for docking, undocking, mooring, turning and many other uses.
I always enjoy your posts.
Jerry


Report this post
Top
  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: 1972 Great Lakes Towing, Duluth
Unread postPosted: September 1, 2017, 2:00 pm 

Joined: March 13, 2010, 10:51 am
Posts: 959
Quote:
Bill, I enjoyed your post but there is one correction needed. The pilots were started by Bob Baker and Ted Svenson in 1959 and the first pilot that they hired was Tony Rico.

Thanks for the information. I was going by what Lyons's obituary said in the Detroit Free Press. In 1959 Lyons (briefly) owned the saltie Theodoros A., a relic built in 1918 as the Governor John Lind by Hanlon at Oakland, California, but requisitioned on the ways by the Shipping Board. It had been seized by creditors at Detroit. Lyons toyed with the idea of putting it into Seaway service, and then converting it to a barge, but it ended up arriving at Italy for demolition almost a year later. He paid $21,500 for it. Lyons had a lot of irons in the fire. He owned the Rose Bar on West Vernor in Detroit in the '40s and '50s, which is how he got involved in a circuitous way with the Beatrice Ottinger (recently deceased) which I have been researching and which explains why had this recondite information about Lyons in the first place!


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: 1972 Great Lakes Towing, Duluth
Unread postPosted: September 1, 2017, 9:48 am 
Bill, I enjoyed your post but there is one correction needed. The pilots were started by Bob Baker and Ted Svenson in 1959 and the first pilot that they hired was Tony Rico. A few years later, the
Coast Guard, with the help of Rico, took over the pilots and Baker and Svenson received nothing for their efforts or expenses. The Upper Lakes Pilots was founded and led by Rico and he was guided by Jack Chestnut, a Minneapolis lawyer, who took the fall for the Humphrey Campaign when they got in trouble over some election fund raising issues. He went to jail for a lot of important people and because of this, he had the ability to do a lot of creative expansions and new companies that were owned and operated by the Pilots. This resulted in charges and fees that far exceeded the pilotage and as you stated, it got so bad that it finally came under investigation and the association was ended and a new group was started. Those early days of the Seaway were much like the old west. The rules had not been written and the opportunity for creation and expansion of businesses and operations, was unlimited. They were really exciting days and I am very glad to have been a part of it.


Report this post
Top
  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: 1972 Great Lakes Towing, Duluth
Unread postPosted: September 1, 2017, 8:54 am 
As I recall, the owners of the pilots association also owned the company that ran the pilot boats, the company that leased the pilots' radios, the companies that provided various shoreside services, and, eventually, North American Towing. There was considerable controversy over whether all these subsidiaries charged inflated prices to the pilots which were then passed along to the vessel operators.


Report this post
Top
  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: 1972 Great Lakes Towing, Duluth
Unread postPosted: August 31, 2017, 12:59 pm 

Joined: March 13, 2010, 10:51 am
Posts: 959
Quote:
If I recall correctly, the dispute was caused when the tugs refused to take a boat that was piloted by Captain Jack Lyons.

That sounds about right. Captain Lyons and the various pilotage organizations with which he was connected got into troubles over the years. The stoppage at Duluth involved thirteen vessels and began on 4 October 1973 and ended 7 October 1973 when Upper Great Lakes Pilots, Inc., and Local 444 of the ILA settled. Lyons would get into trouble in 1984 when Lyons and Upper Great Lakes Pilots, then operating on Lakes Superior, Huron, and Michigan and which he helped found in 1959, was investigated by the federal government for inflated pilotage billings that eventually sent money to the organization's for-profit subsidiaries. I don't know what became of that investigation. Captain Lyons died at Detroit in 1988, but Upper Great Lakes Pilots ran into mote trouble after that, incurring the wrath of the NLRB and the federal DoT, and the outfit was decertified by the government in 1992. The DoT audit of Upper Great Lakes that caused its downfall may have come out of the 1984 investigation.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: 1972 Great Lakes Towing, Duluth
Unread postPosted: August 31, 2017, 9:59 am 
If I recall correctly, the dispute was caused when the tugs refused to take a boat that was piloted by Captain Jack Lyons. This was a problem that had been brewing for a long time and was started by the tug crews opinion on the ship handling of Captain Lyons going into Farmers Union Elevator #2. They accused Captain Lyons of almost running over the tugs. Also, part of the problem was that Captain often used one tug going into this dock with smaller ships. The tug men thought that he should always use two tugs.. This dispute grew over time and the event happened when the Federal Schelde was to load at Farmers and the pilot of the ship was Captain Lyons. I don't recall the exact details of how the problem was resolved but it was resolved in short order. Both parties, however, never forgot the problem and I personally knew that Captain Lyons used as few tugs as possible from that day on.


Report this post
Top
  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: 1972 Great Lakes Towing, Duluth
Unread postPosted: August 30, 2017, 9:47 pm 
From V.6, N.2 of The Scanner, November 1973:

"A dispute in early October between crewmen of the Great Lakes Towing Company's tugs and the members of the Upper Great Lakes Pilots Inc. led to chaos at Duluth and Superior as salt water vessels began to back up and clog the harbour. The dispute allegedly started when tugmen refused to deal with the pilot assigned to the Belgian vessel FEDERAL SCHELDE and the pilots replied by refusing to handle any other vessels. At our last report things were still up in the air as relations between the groups remained strained."

Does anyone have details as to what the circumstances were?


Report this post
Top
  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 8 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping  
Copyright Boatnerd.com All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Use of this site is based on the Terms of Use
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group