Mail By The Pail

Bruce Carson
7th July 2005, 03:35
For over a hundred years the J. W. Westcott Co. has been delivering mail to ships in the Detroit River. The current mailboat. the J. W. Wescott II, is a floating post office with its own unique zip code (48222). Mail is delivered and picked up by bucket--literally "mail by the pail".
She was built in 1949, is diesel powered, 46' in length and her and has a normal speed aproaching 15 knots.
On October 23, 2001, shortly after these pictures were taken. she capsized and sank with the loss of her Captain and a deckhand. She was raised, rebuilt and is now once again on her lawfully appointed duties.
The upbound self unloading bulk freighter is the Fred R. White Jr., built in 1978 for the Columbia Transportation Division of Ogleby Norton Co. She measures 8,105GT, 636' x 68' and her single screw is powered by a GM diesel. She is capable of lifting 24,000 tons of ore.
The bridge is the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit, MI and Windsor, Ont. The Canadian shore is in the background.

7th July 2005, 04:14
Good one Bruce it's good to see people looking after old vessels that have served them well. Do you know the reason she capsized with such disastrous results?

Bruce Carson
7th July 2005, 04:53
Hello Derek:
The reason appears to be a misjudgement on the part of the Wescott's captain when attempting to come alongside the freighter. She may have misjudged the speed of the ship and of the Wescott and came alongside too far aft.
The full USCG report may be found at the following URL (It's a PDF file, which requires Adobe Acrobat).
Bruce C.