November 12, 2008
Aging Michigan freighter being sold for scrap
CARROLLTON TWP. - History buffs had hoped to turn the E.M. Ford into a floating museum. But the 428-foot-long cement hauler, one of the oldest freighters on the Great Lakes, is being sold for scrap.
Built in 1898, the Ford was a bulk iron ore carrier before its conversion to a self-unloading cement powder carrier for the LaFarge North America Cement Plant. It has been tied up at the plant's docks in Carrollton Township for 12 years.
A tug was scheduled to haul it Tuesday to Sault Ste. Marie, where it will be cut apart.
"This is an extremely tragic loss," Don Morin, vice president of the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society, told the Bay City Times.
The society had wanted to buy the Ford and convert it to a museum, but found out too late that LaFarge had sold it to a scrapper.
"You know the old saying, 'You're a day late and a dollar short?' Well, that's what happened to us," Don Comtois, president of the society, told WJRT-TV.
The ship has not hauled cement for a long time, and "with the economy down they don't need it anymore and it becomes a liability instead of an asset for a company," he said.
LaFarge said it looked unsuccessfully for a historical group to take the Ford.
But Morin said his organization didn't get the word until two weeks before the deadline.