The Mystery of A Ghost Ship That’s Abandoned On Ohio’s Black River
There is a ship that sits in a tributary of Lake Erie called the Black River, about 12 mi long, in northern Ohio which is a total mystery to those who live near it. The thing is, nobody really knows how the former ferry got docked along the shores, to begin with. The Upper Canada was apparently built in Owen Sound, Canada, by Russel Brothers Limited as an automobile and passenger ferry for a company called Restigouche Ferries.
She was originally named the Romeo and Annette and entered service in 1949 under command of Capt. Romeo Allard, who ran a ferry service between Bathurst, New Brunswick, and Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula. There are many news clippings over the years that detailed its historic life, but nothing on how the ghost ship eventually made its way to the Black River where it now sits. The Forgotten Ohio Facebook page recently gave a little more insight into the ships life:
In the 1970s, she was removed from service after being replaced by another ferry, the Wolfe Islander III, and was taken to Leamington, Ontario, to be used as a back up boat for the Pelee Islander. During the early 1990s, her route was once again changed when she was leased to the Beausoleil First Nation for Christian Island Service, where she served until the late 1990s. According to the Great Lakes Vessels Online Index, maintained by Bowling Green State University, a man named Al Johnson took ownership of the Upper Canada sometime in 1999.
City officials are unsure how or why a Canadian registered boat ran aground in Lorain, and with no way to contact the owner, there seems little that can be done at this point. Even the Coast Guard has no record of how or why it came to rest on the Black River. The Coast Guard inspected the ship to make sure that it did not pose an environmental hazard by leaking pollution. But beyond that, it doesn’t fall under their responsibility.