Russel Brothers Limited   OWEN SOUND, ONTARIO   Steelcraft Boat Builders
R. C. L. Tug 12

Steel diesel tug R. C. L. Tug 12 [C.311380] built in 1958 at Owen Sound by Russel-Hipwell Steel Boats Co. Ltd.; 56' x 16 x 6 10; 43 g.t; 29 n.t.; built for Balfour, Beatty & Co. Ltd., managed by Russel Construction Co. Ltd. Foundered off Toronto on October 22, 1961. The three man crew was rescued from a leaking lifeboat. Loss set at $100,000. Still on Canadian List of Shipping 1970: See Toronto / Shipwrecks folder for vessel file and clipping file for pics.

RCL 12 is still out there on the bottom somewhere. In the August 1961 CNE tugboat race she was rammed by another tug, shortly before her skipper died at the wheel of a heart attack. Despite this, she still managed third place. Two months later she sank mysteriously leaving her crew frantically bailing a leaky lifeboat.

Clipping courtesy Gerry Ouderkirk.   Note the comment about "a heart-stopping moment" !!!

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Clippings courtesy Gerry Ouderkirk.
  Skipper's Death Casts a Pall Over Tug Race Globe and Mail, 08/20/61
The death of a skipper threw a pall over the semi-comic race of wallowing tugboats at the Canadian National Exhibition last night. Capt. Willian Hatton, 51, of Port Credit was taking the Russell Construction Ltd.'s RCL 12 around the first turn when he slumped over the wheel...

Lake Tug In Leaky Lifeboat Globe and Mail, 10/23/61
Captain loses second ship, first day out for deckhand. Three seamen were rescued from a lifeboat on Lake Ontario after their tug sank for no apparent reason six miles south of Toronto Sunday. Two of the crew claimed the lifeboat was leaking so badly they were forced to bail for their lives...

Tug Sinks, 3 Rescued Near Toronto Source unknown
The 48 ton, 65 foot tug, built at Owen Sound in 1958, is believed down in water at least 200 feet deep. The sinking occured in 5 foot waves while the tug was en route to assist a sister tug in towing dredging equipment through the Welland Canal toward Toronto...

Tug Sinking Still Mystery Toronto Star, 10/23/61
Crew of "Jinx" Claims Lifeboat Leaky. A "jinxed" tugboat sank mysteriously in broad daylight six miles off Toronto yesterday two months after her skipper dropped dead at the wheel in the CNE tugboat race...

Jinx Tug Sinks, 3 Bail Lifeboat Toronto Telegram, 10/23/61
Former Skipper Died
The crew of the ill-fated RCL 12, owned by Russell Construction Ltd., were Capt. Benjamin Hillyer, 52, of McRoberts St., deckhand Arthur Jackson, 28, of Palmerston Sq., and engineer Gene Hesch, 26, of Owen Sound...


Although not confirmed, there is a good chance this photo shows both RCL 11 (foreground) and RCL 12 (middle) at the Canadian Dredge & Dock Inc. wharf in Kingston, in 1959 or 1960. Photo courtesy Rene Beauchamp.

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For more Russel exhibits visit Owen Sound Marine & Rail Museum 1165 1st Ave West, Owen Sound, ON N4K 4K8
(519) 371-3333