john f cushing
John F Cushing
1928 - 2018+


A view of the John F Cushing taken from Busch-Sulzer advertising material.

The tug John F Cushing was built in 1928 by Manitowoc Ship Building Inc. of Manitowoc WI for the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Chicago IL. The low superstructure allowed the vessel to navigate the low bridges of the waterways in and around Chicago. When put into service this was the largest tug on the Great Lakes. Present at the launching included John F Cushing and his wife, Harriet.


A Busch-Sulzer Type C-17 two stroke diesel engine, 150-200rpm, six cylinders, 750 to 1500 shaft horsepower. An engine similar to this powered the Lake Ormoc from about 1928 to 1954.

During the great 'Armistice Day' storm of November 11th 1940 the John F Cushing played a small part in the aftermath of the storm. In Michigan the day started with calm conditions but during the early afternoon winds from the southwest struck with a vengence, with wind speeds reaching 75mph. Rain accompanied the winds, followed later by at least two feet of snow, drifting up to 20 feet in places. Damage across Mason County was significant with many telephone and power lines brought down, building damage including roofs blown off and brick walls toppled with many trees uprooted.

The carferry City of Flint 32 had attempted to reach Ludington harbour but ended up being driven into the shallows, becoming grounded about 300 yards from the shore, an action which no doubt saved the ship from sustaining serious damage. By November 14th with the storm over the John F Cushing and the Perre Marquette 21 attach lines to the City of Flint 32 and eventually pull her off the beach. The City of Flint 32 was eventually to the Manitowoc shipyard and was found to have sustained little damage. The storm would claim 66 lives and five vessels.

1966. On May 5th whilst en-route from Chicago to Rockland ME the Olive L. Moore holed herself after striking her tow and ran aground about 1/2 mile from shore between Muskegon and Ludington MI. After temporary repairs were completed, the tug was tied up at the William W. Stender yard at Bay City MI and offered for sale by the U.S. Marshal of Detroit on September 21st 1967.

1967/68: During the winter of 1967/68 the Olive L. Moore was rebuilt and repowered at the Stender yard. A Canadian built Fairbanks Morse 12-38D8-1/8 12-cylinder 2,000 b.h.p diesel engine was fitted. Ownership of the Olive L. Moore's has remained with VanEnkevort family or affiliated companies since 1968.

1972: Gale force winds and a snowstorm on Lake Superior on November 2nd may have contributed to the parting of the towline between the Olive L. Moore and the barge A.E. Nettleton about 17 miles west of the Keweenaw Peninsula. A Coast Guard helicopter transferred three of the barge's five man crew to the tug to assist in re-rigging the towline. At Lily Pond on the Keweenaw Waterway a 15 degree list which had developed during the storm was reduced by the trimming of the cargo.

Between 1979 & 1990 the Olive L. Moore was used as a conventional push/tow tug mated to the self-unloading (crane) barge Buckeye (2). During 1980 the tug underwent rebuilding and re-engined with two Alco 16V251 four stroke, 16 cylinder 2,915 bhp diesel engines.

In 1991 the Olive L. Moore was converted to an articulated tug at Menominee WI by All Purpose Marine Products (APMP) being fitted with a 'Hydraconn' connector and coupled to a similarly fitted self-unloading barge.

1998: On October 15th the Olive L. Moore and a barge ran aground in the Saginaw River whilst approaching the Bay Aggregates dock, Bay City MI. After transferring about 900 tons of cargo into another vessel the tug & barge were refloated the next day with no apparent damage.

With the arrival of the 21st century the tug saw long periods of inactivity.

2006: the Olive L. Moore returned to Escanaba MI to be modified for use with an articulated barge. This included adding a raised pilothouse to allow for visibility over the self-unloading equipment of the barge, with the tug ready for use during August 2006.

Currently (2017) the Olive L. Moore works primarily in the stone trade on the Great Lakes for Grand River Navigation.

Owner Summary
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company 1928 - 1965. (John F Cushing)
Chicago Marine Fueling Service Inc. 1965 - 1966 (James E Skelly)
Robert C. Fox of Deerfield IL 1966 (James E Skelly)
Socony Mobil Oil Coompany Inc. of New York NY 1966 - 1968 (Olive L Moore)
South Range Aggregates Co. of South Range, MI (a VanEnkevort family owned company) 1968 - present (2018) (Olive L Moore)

Built: Manitowoc Ship Building Inc, Manitowoc WI. Yard No.241.
Launched: April 26th 1928
Tonnage (new): 301 gross; 205 net
Tonnage (1967 - 1968): 297 gross; 202 net
Tonnage (2006 - ): 524 gross; 285 deadweight
Length: 120.16 feet
Breadth: 27.00 feet
Draught: 13.66 feet
Propulsion (1928 - 1968): One Busch-Sulzer model 6-CM-17 6 cyl 1,000 bhp diesel engine
Propulsion (1968 - 1980): Fairbanks Morse engines
Propulsion (1980 - present): Two Alco 16V251 engines
Screws: 2
US Official Number: 227740

Resources:
Great Lakes Vessels Online Index by Bowling Green State University.
Auke Vissers MOBIL Tankers & Tugs Site.
Busch-Sulzer Marine Diesel Engines brochure c1928 16 pages
Miscellaneous sources from a variety of websites - all of which featured parts of the service lives of this vessel.

Page added March 29th 2018

Return to Ship menu
Return to Picture menu
Return to Home page