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To Be Scrapped: The SS Norisle

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The Scuba News Canada covered the SS Norisle in October 2018. At that point, the legal process to “Bring History Home” had been initiated by the Tobermory Maritime Association. Before entering the Fathom Five National Marine Park, the S.S. Norisle was to be brought back to Tobermory, where she had previously served. The Township of Assiginack (TMA) then resumed its efforts to sink the SS Norisle in Tobermory as a dive site after the lawsuit between the SS Norisle Steamship Society and the Township of Assiginack was finally settled. A Facebook page was created to support this venture. The S.S. Norisle Society was attempting to restore the ship and convert it into a Great Lakes tour ship. However, the estimated costs, which were in the tens of millions of dollars, were too high.

The best-laid plans were altered September 1, 2023. The council of the Township of Assiginack recently decided to approve a proposal from Marine Recycling Corporation to scrap the S.S. Norisle. More than $743,000 will be spent by local tax payer’s money in the township to achieve this feat. Since the township bought the Norisle in 1975, it was moored in Manitowaning on Manitoulin Island. It was once a tourist destination and floating museum, but due to deterioration, both safety and the environment are now at risk.

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SS Norisle
Photo via Facebook

About the SS Norisle

Along with her sister ships, the MS Norgoma and the MS Normac, which are owned by the Owen Sound Transportation Company Limited, the SS Norisle was a steam-powered automobile ferry that ran between Tobermory and South-Baymouth Manitoulin Island in Canada.

The words “Nor” and “Isle,” which refer to Manitoulin Island and the Northern Region of Lake Huron, respectively, are combined to form the name Norisle.

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The ship has a length of 215 feet. The first steamship to be constructed in Canada following World War II was Norisle, which was constructed at the Collingwood shipyards in 1946. Her engines were created and built to power a Royal Canadian Navy corvette, but after the war, Norisle received them. They are currently the only engines of their kind still in use. During her time as a ferry, the ship had two doors on the starboard side, each of which had a ramp for vehicles to drive up and down. She operated until 1974, when the much bigger and more advanced MS Chi-Cheemaun, which could carry a much greater number of passengers, replaced her and her sister ship, Norgoma.

Approximately 90% of the Norisle is expected to be able to be recycled into metal that can be used in other ships.



About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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