SS William G Mather - A Bulk Carrier. Photography and Text by Keith R Wahl
Great Lakes and Great Ships
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The Great Lakes while holding the appellation of 'lakes', are vast. They are so vast in fact that some reference them as 'inland oceans'. In fact, from a mariner's perspective, ocean licensing is normal on the Great Lakes.
And great waters such as the Great Lakes sustain great ships. An example preserved as a museum ship on Lake Erie in Cleaveland, Ohio is the SS William G Mather.
The SS William G Mather is a freighter, a bulk carrier. A bulk carrier. A bulk carrier is a merchant marine vessel which transports unpackaged bulk cargo (grains, coal, ore, steel oils, cement). The Mather holds the characteristic of a forward pilothouse and superstructure. This design characteristic helps in negotiating canal locks.
The ship photographed is 618 feet LOA (Length Overall) with a 62-foot beam (width) with an 8,662 GRT (Gross Weight Tonnage - a measure of vessel internal volume) and registered a draft (depth) of 32 feet 10 inches. The freighter was capable of hauling 14,000 tons of bulk cargo.
The SS William G Mather operated from the year 1925 until 1980 with a single change of the power plant. Originally, the vessel was coal fired triple expansion steam until 1954, and then was repowered with an oil-fired steam turbine capable of 5,000 shp (shaft horsepower to the propellor). This signifies another characteristic of Great Lakes ships: longevity. The fact that they operate in fresh water means that they are less susceptible to the corrosive quality of salt water.
Learn more about the SS William G Mather at their website: William G. Mather Steamship | Great Lakes Science Center (greatscience.com)
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Keywords: Bulk Carrier, Cleveland, Ohio, Freighter, Keith R Wahl, Lake Erie, Made From RI Gallery, Maritime, Museum Ship, Nautical, Photography, Ship, SS William G Mather, storytelling
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