Thunder Bay to assess historic James Whalen tug found listing, taking on water –

The City of Thunder Bay says it will assess any damage to the historic James Whalen tugboat after it was found listing and taking on water this week.

The northwestern Ontario city was notified about possible problems with the 115-year-old tugboat – which has been moored at Kam River Heritage Park for decades – on Wednesday, said Cory Halvorsen, manager of parks and open spaces.

“We went down immediately to confirm, and did confirm, that the stern had sunken down a bit, and it was listing,” said Halvorsen. “We quickly mobilized who we needed … to make some observations.

“And we did confirm that it had taken on a considerable amount of water inside.”

Halvorsen said the city arranged to have as much water pumped out as it could, and the Whalen had stabilized by about 10 p.m. ET.

Halvorsen was back at the site Thursday morning, and said the vessel remained stable overnight.

Damage cost to be determined

Exactly what caused the Whalen to take on the water remains unknown. Some water remains in the lowest parts of the tug, and that will need to be removed before a full assessment can be made, said Halvorsen.

We’re in a position where we can monitor it closely, make sure there’s no change,” he said. “We will just need to finalize a plan to remove any remaining water, and fully assess damages and repairs.

“That would be going on over the next few days to a week, I would expect.”

Halverson said repairs may need to be approved by council, depending on cost.

While the James Whalen tug is occasionally opened to the public, it’s currently locked and inaccessible, Halverson said.

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