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James Whalen tug partially sinks

The rear section of the historic boat, located at the Kam River Heritage Park, also appears to have sunk lower into the water.

THUNDER BAY – City officials are scrambling to figure out how to reattach the historic James Whalen Tug to its dock at the Kaminisitiquia River Heritage Park.

The rear of the 116-year-old boat has started sinking into the river.

Cory Halvorsen, manager of parks and open spaces for the City of Thunder Bay, said it’s clear the boat seems to be out of level and he’s in the beginning stages of figuring out how to right the situation and ensure the boat doesn’t further tear itself away from the dock.

“The connection anchoring system to the dock, it’s hard to see, some of it is underneath the water, but it’s definitely moved in position and the boat itself looks lower at the back end of it,” Halvorsen said.

“Obviously it’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Halvorsen called it a time-sensitive situation.

“We’re trying to get the appropriate resources here to be able to observe and assess and correct what we can in a timely manner,” Halvorsen said.

It’s too early to say exactly what those resources might be.

“It could be some pumping of water out of the actual vessel, if that’s what’s happening. It could be taking on water. Or it could be assessment of the actual anchoring and docking system. But definitely we want to do something to see what we can do to adjust the actual boat. It’s out of level right now.”

A passerby spotted the situation while walking with his wife, saying they had walked by on Tuesday and everything looked fine. A city parks supervisor was also at the park earlier on Wednesday and said nothing was amiss at that time.

The Whalen was built in 1905 for the Canadian Towing and Wrecking Company of Port Arthur and was named for company president James Whalen. It served for 50 years, was sent to southern Ontario in in the late 1950s and was returned Thunder Bay in 1992, refurbished and turned into a waterfront attraction, arriving at the Kam River Heritage Park six years later. 

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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