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 Post subject: Re: Was it the Fitz's final voyage of the season ?
Unread postPosted: November 10, 2017, 9:32 pm 
Richard A. Feldtz, hull supervisor of the Columbia Transportation division of Oglebay Norton, testified at the U. S. Coast Guard Board of Inquiry on 24 November 1975. He said he had inspected the Fitzgerald hull 15 times during 1975, including a spar deck inspection on 21 October 1975, just 11 days before the Fitzgerald was lost on Lake Superior. During the last inspection, the Coast Guard Marine Inspection Office and the American Bureau of Shipping had found four "minor irregularities. The defects were considered minor and the company was given until 1 April 1976 to repair them. [The "defects" were gaps of up to one inch between a couple of hatch coamings and the hatch covers.] At the same Inquiry, Feldtz said the Fitzgerald was to have made two more trips before the end of the shipping season and the defects were to be repaired during winter drydock. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Tuesday 25 November 1975.


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 Post subject: Re: Was it the Fitz's final voyage of the season ?
Unread postPosted: November 10, 2017, 1:12 pm 
I do not believe that the Fitzgerald was on her prescribed last trip of the season. I think this is a common mis-understanding carried over from the Carl D. Bradley tragedy. To further compound the confusion, I believe that Captain McSorley had planned to retire at the end of the 1975 season; he was 63 when the Fitzgerald sank. The Fitzgerald's season and events that transpired earlier in the season have been discussed at length in this forum. It's a fantastic read so take some time to go through it all.

http://newsearch.boatnerd.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=95545&hilit=Edmund+Fitzgerald+Propeller+Blade&start=30

http://newsearch.boatnerd.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=27419&hilit=Propeller+Blade+Storage&start=15


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 Post subject: Re: Was it the Fitz's final voyage of the season ?
Unread postPosted: November 10, 2017, 12:47 pm 
The claim is incorrect. According to an Oglebay Norton official who testified at the Coast Guard hearing regarding the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the Fitzgerald had at least two more trips scheduled before layup. If I have time later today, I'll try to look up the article that was published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.


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 Post subject: Re: Was it the Fitz's final voyage of the season ?
Unread postPosted: November 10, 2017, 9:18 am 
I have seen that claim also, but I would tend to doubt it due to the ship's last voyage beginning in early November and with ore shipments on the lakes for the 1975 season amounting to nearly 80 million gross tons, I would imagine there would have been enough demand to keep the Fitzgerald operating into December. By this point, the introduction of taconite had become a factor in allowing ships to operate later into the winter months compared to natural ores that had a tendency to freeze. On the other hand, I have heard of reports stating the Fitzgerald was to go into Frasers Shipyards for some steel replacement at the end of its season, so it is also possible that it was to layup early to get this work done.

On a related note, does anyone know what arrangements were made to replace the cargo lost in the wreck? I assume another of Columbia's ships made this delivery.


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 Post subject: Was it the Fitz's final voyage of the season ?
Unread postPosted: November 10, 2017, 8:41 am 
Was the Fitz on its final voyage of the 1975 season before layup ? That seems to be an often repeated claim I see when reading stories of the loss. TIA


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