Evans' riveting story

Evans McKeil
We are just wrapping up cargo operations in Hamilton, the cargo is of wheat, lightered off the grounded Orsula, off Cape Vincent in late December. The ship made it to Montreal albeit with some damage to her propeller, but the "salvaged" cargo has been a long experience on its own, challenged by numerous weather, and "administrative" fronts.

My workplace, and home, for this particular adventure has been the tug Evans McKeil. Would you believe it, this tug was built in 1936 !

Well of course you believe it, it’s a Canadian boat. Yup, this is by far the oldest vessel I’ve worked on in my career, the second oldest being my first ship, the 1947 built, Anscomb. While the Anscomb is now resting at the bottom of Kootenay Lake in BC, the Evans McKeil continues to chug along the Great Lakes.

...from the original drawings
The Evans McKeil, was originally built as the Alhajuela, for the Panama Canal Mechanical Division in Balboa, Canal Zone. She had a sister, the Arraijan; both were named after cities in Panama. Despite her age, she only bore three names in her life. 

...is that the inside of a boiler?
Nah, just the steering flat.
In 1970, the tug was brought up to the Great Lakes by Malcolm Marine, and renamed Barbara Ann, after the company's matriarch. She entered the Canadian register in 1991, since then she’s been known as the Evans McKeil, named after the founder of the Hamilton based family company.

The 110 foot long, single screw tug, has a beam of just over 25 foot, with a draft of 10 foot. The hull is riveted and she has a tonnage of 433 tons. These tugs must have been quite the showpiece, when they were first launched in Panama!
Evans McKeil: a riveting story!

Because of the simplicity of the design, the engine room is actually pretty nice, big, bright, open, airy, probably no good for water ingress, but nice to work in. However, despite her size, she does not carry a whole lot of fuel.

The tug originally had twin Ingersoll Rand, 6 cylinder, 900 hp, engines, each driving 350 kW generators at 250VDC. The propeller was powered by the single, 750 hp DC electrical motor, turning to a maximum 135 rpm.

So nice, not to bang
your head everywhere
In 1965 she was re-powered with a single GM 16-278 Diesel engine producing 1700 hp, at 750 rpm, into Western Gear reduction gearbox. Sometime later, she was again re powered, this time, by an EMD 16V645, blower engine putting out 2,150 hp, to give her a speed of 10 knots.

Having just completed an inspection the other day, the main engine is in excellent shape. As strange as it may sound, I’d say there is a good chance this boat should be around for it’s one hundredth anniversary. 

You can read more about the Evans' history from its previous owner, Malcolm Marine. Here are some pictures, more here.  

A good broadside of the Evans McKeil. ...from the interwebs

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