Family Owned and Operated Since 1960
Marine Construction ● Towing ● Salvage ● Piling ● Dredging ● Docks ● Icebreaking


A Brief History of Malcolm Marine


    The company was founded by Keith Malcolm as a Marine Construction, Diving, and Salvage operation in 1960.  His first job was the recovery of a ships anchor in the St. Clair River.   Early jobs included vessel inspections, wheel and or rudder repairs, and marine construction.  As the equipment got larger the jobs eventually spread all over the Great Lakes.  In 1962 Keith almost became trapped in the M.V. “Montrose”, sunk under the Ambassador Bridge while recovering the Ships Log and Captains papers. 

    Keith’s wife, Barbara Ann Malcolm, assisted Keith in the business, handling the phones and paperwork end of the business, first out of their Marine City home and then in 1972, moving to their present St. Clair office location.

    During the winter of 1967 the cargo of the “Nordmeer” was salvaged.  This consisted of approx 1000 steel coils.  This job was completed through harsh winter conditions when other salvage companies said it could not be done at that time of year. 

    In June of 1967 Keith did diving on the salvage of the Stmr. “Sylvania” sunk at the Peerless Cement Dock in Port Huron.  And again in February 1969 another salvage of the sunken Great Lakes Tug Wyoming was completed in Conneaut, OH.

    During the summer of 1970 a new tug was acquired and sailed to the Lakes from the Panama Canal.  This was the first large tug for the company.  She was built in the canal and spent her whole life there up to that point.  The “Alhajuela“ was soon renamed the   “Barbara Ann “ .  She right away became the first tug in the company to tow on a ship (“Leadale” Oct 1971).  And to complete the first icebreaking job breaking out the “Mathew Andrews” and the “Henry Ford II” in Lower Lake  Huron on April 22, 1972.   

    A second larger tug was added in the fall of 1971.  The Tug “Taboga” also came from the Panama Canal.  At 143 feet in length and 2400 HP she was indeed a big tug. 

    From 1970 thru 1973 all the tugs and some of the barges were involved in the construction of the water intake structure for the City of Detroit in Lower Lake Huron.  The Barbara Ann was on the job when the intake tunnel explosion killed 22 men on December 11, 1971.  

    The Taboga stood by the sunken Sydney Smith in June 1972 as one-way traffic was initiated through the Port Huron rapids.  And in a very difficult and risky job the “Taboga” towed the 2 sections of the Smith across the river to Sarnia in the Fall of 1972.  Also in 1972 the Taboga towed the Huron Lightship into its present permanent mooring.  In 1974 she towed one of the last crane ships to the scrap yard, the “Clifford Hood” from Duluth to Pt Colborne.

    Through the decade of the 70’s Malcolm Tugs were contracted by Hannah Marine to move or help move their oil barges on trips around the Great Lakes.  Over the winter of 1976/1977 the tugs “Barbara Ann” and “James Hannah” ran everyday from Sarnia to Detroit.  This was accomplished through one of the worst winters in modern times with virtually no Coast Guard assistance.

    1973 saw the addition of a second generation of Malcolms’ joining the business, when Keith and Barb’s oldest son, David, joined the business full time upon graduation from high school.  Dave quickly developed a talent for the tug end of the business and earned his Captain’s license in short order.

    Dave’s younger brother, Don, soon followed in 1974, joining the company full-time.  Don’s mechanical aptitude served the company well.  He became an extremely capable tug engineer and also an excellent crane operator.

    In a rather difficult salvage job the oldest vessel on the Great Lakes, the car ferry barge “Huron” was raised from her slip in Windsor, Ontario in April 1976.

    With the sale of the Taboga in July 1976, Keith had his eye out for another large tug.  That opportunity came along in 1978 with the sinking of the Allegheny.  The company purchased the tug as is, where is and pumped her out and refit her as the “Tug Malcolm”.

    On the construction side of things in 1979 we ran a new 12 inch water main under the North Channel of the St Clair River to Harsens Island.  And in 1983 the Marine City Lighthouse was set in place with our 100 ton crane.

    In January 1979 the tug Barbara Ann began to make a name for herself with the saving of the Algoway.  The Algoway had been stuck in ice just inside the Goderich break wall for 12 days despite 2 attempts by the Canadian Icebreaker Griffon and help from an American icebreaker.  In 20 minutes at the scene the Barbara Ann had the Algoway moving and in 3 hours she was on her way. Later that year the Barbara Ann took part in the rescue of the abandoned Labradoc in Lake Erie.

    The Tug Malcolm completed her first tow, the Stmr. John A. Kling from Detroit to Toledo in April 1979.  In March she had assisted the S.T. Crapo on her “annual 1st ship of the season” trip up the St. Clair River.

    1979 also saw the addition of another family member, Keith and Barb’s daughter, Diane, joined the company in June and quickly set about helping her mother in the office and learning what she could about the family business.

    Over the summer of 1980 the tugs Tug Malcolm and Barbara Ann towed 6 old steel trust lakers from Duluth to Quebec City for overseas scrapping.  Two of the ships were also loaded with scrap in Milwaukee. 

    In December 1982 the Stmr. C.L. Austin was towed from Duluth, MN to Buffalo, NY with a load of storage grain.  Despite being turned down by other towing companies because of the time of year, the tow was completed in a timely manner with no problems.  In fact the Austin was taken on the hip thru the Portage canal by the  Tug Malcolm alone.

    Late October 1983 the Tug Malcolm and Barbara Ann were involved in towing the MV Algolake from Lake Superior to Nanticoke, Ontario to unload, and then to Pt Colborne.  The Algolake was loaded to a draft of 27 feet, and at times was hipped by the Tug Malcolm and Barbara Ann.

    During the early to Mid 1980’s the Barbara Ann was called into the Chenal Ecarte, Johnson Channel, and both East and North branches of the Sydenham River above Wallaceburg, Ontario to break up ice jams and relief flooding.  This was done through strong currents of 4 to 5 knots, passing through bridges that were not much wider than the tug.

    Both Malcolm tugs were very busy the month of April 1984 breaking ice and changing pilots for the saltys.  The Ice Jam of 1984 was a once in a lifetime occurrence for the St Clair River.  Due to an early thaw and then record low temperatures in March, Lake Huron was mostly covered with a thin cover of ice.  Then Northerly winds persisted for most of April.  This kept the ice coming down the river jamming it full of oatmeal like ice for its whole length.  The river was cleared of ice when the wind finally shifted to the south. 

    As a direct result of the Ice Jam of 84’ Malcolm Marine purchased a surplus ice breaking tug from the US Coast Guard. Over a period of 5 years she was rebuilt and repowered.  With the doubling of her horsepower, and an ice breaking hull the “Manitou” is proving to be a great icebreaker. 

    In late 1985 we transported a Paper Dryer from Cleveland to the Navigational Limits of the Black River in Port Huron with the barge Relief and tug Barbara Ann. 

    A large job for the Corps took place in the summer of 1986 with the removal of the pump out docks at the Dickinson Island CDF.

    In September 1986 the Tug Malcolm and Barbara Ann were called to Bay City to free the M.V. Joseph H. Frantz stuck sideways in the Independence Bridge.  She was stuck for 3 days until we arrived.

    A marina as part of a Condominium project was constructed in 1987 at Port Huron.  The Crosse Pointe project consisted of approximately 1000 ft of steel sheeting and 36 boat wells.   

    The Barbara Ann pushed the George Sloan off the bottom in Port Huron in May 1988.  She still sails the lakes today as the MV Mississagi.  In June, the Barbara Ann with our crane barge Relief salvaged a fish tug sunk in Lower Lake Huron.

    In January 1989 the Tug Malcolm was involved in the refloating of the Enerchem Catalyst at Round Island Passage, in the Straits of Mackinac.  And in an extended period of ice breaking she escorted the convoy of ST Crapo and EM Ford from Alpena through the Straits of Mackinac numerous times from March 10, 1989 through April 17, 1989.  She also broke ice for Medusa Challenger, Algoway, Agawa Canyon, Olive Moore/Buckeye, and saltys Falkness and Kanguk.  Tug Malcolm also broke out the harbors at Alpena, Charlevoix, Calcite, Stoneport, Port Dolomite, and Pt Inland that Spring of 89’.  

     The Tug Malcolm and Barbara Ann moved the Aquarama from Sarnia, Ontario to Windsor, Ontario in June of 1989.  Also in October 1989 tug Malcolm towed the Leon Fraser from Lorain, Ohio to Superior, Wisconsin where she was shortened and converted to the cement carrier Alpena. In December the Barbara Ann towed the Adam E. Cornelius from Toledo, Ohio to Cape Vincent, NY.  She was converted to a barge and still sails as the Sarah Spencer. 

    September 1990 had the Tug Malcolm towing the Crispin Oglebay from Lake Huron to Port Huron’s Bean Dock. The Oglebay’s steam engine had broken, a very rare thing.

    In the Fall of 1990 the Black River above 1-94 was dredged by crews from Malcolm Marine.

    The Steamer McKee Sons was towed from Toledo, Ohio to Marinette, Wisconsin by the Tug Malcolm in January 1991 to be converted to a barge.   Later that year Tug Malcolm also towed the MV Milanos from Detroit, Michigan to Montreal, Quebec.

    1992 saw several vessels aground at Port Huron.  The Tug Malcolm worked on the Reserve and H. Lee White in April, and the Kinsman Independent in December.  Also groundings worked by Tug Malcolm were the Algonorth in Toledo (November) and Winnipeg at Belle Isle in December. 

    The Tug Malcolm pulled the Tanker Stolt Titan off the bottom at Port Huron in March 1993.  During parts of May and June the Tug Malcolm and barge Relief moved 8 steel ladles from Detroit to Cleveland for LTV Steel.  The rest of the year brought a large job in Port Huron’s Black River Canal.  This job included widening, cleaning, blasting, and dredging to make the canal accessible to larger vessels.

    In 1994 a large environmental cleanup was completed in Lake St. Clair for Marine Pollution Control.  In July, the  Tug Malcolm worked on the grounded 1000 footer George A. Stinson off Marysville. The 60 foot fish tug Miss Stephanie II was salvaged from 40 feet of water in lower Lake Huron(August).  Mid-October saw the Tug Malcolm helping to free the Roger Blough aground in Detroit.

    May 1995 the Tug Malcolm picked up the MV Calcite II off Harbor Beach and towed her to Lake Huron Cut.  The Aquarama was moved again in August from Windsor, Ontario to Buffalo, NY with plans for her to be converted to a Casino vessel.  The Reserve was aground again in the St Clair River in December at Russell Island.

    Tug Malcolm spent March 17 through April 22, 1996 breaking ice in the Straits of Mackinac.  Mostly for the S T Crapo, but also helping out the Paul H Townsend, Alpena, Edgar B Speer, Philip R Clarke, John J Boland, David Z Norton, Charles E Wilson, Sam Laud, Burns Harbor, Buffalo, Algoway, and Tug Triton.  Tug Malcolm also spent the summer putting ice shields on the Light’s at 14 Foot Shoal, White Shoal, Lansing Shoal, and Martin Reef.  Late December had the Tug Malcolm and Manitou working the grounded JAW Iglehart in Saginaw Bay.

    The Manitou did her first extended ice breaking in the Straits of Mackinac from March 20 through April 16, 1997.  Vessels assisted included Mark Hannah, David Z Norton, Edwin H Gott, Burns Harbor, James R Barker, Stolt Aspiration, Paterson, Tug Olive Moore/McKee Sons, and Wolverine. 

    An interesting job was completed by the Tug Malcolm in May 1997.  She was the support vessel for an expedition to the wreck of Carl D Bradley in Northern Lake Michigan.  During the survey of the wreck with an ROV it was proven that the Bradley had indeed broken in half. 

    During the summer of 97’ our small tug and barge were contracted to do a seismographic survey in Saginaw Bay, looking for oil and gas.  Late September found the Manitou and Tug Malcolm  in Cleveland salvaging a barge and excavator for Peter Kiewit.  This job also required the 150 ton A frame, the barges Prac and Relief, and lifting bags.  

    In 1998 the company was busy building two Range Lights in Sandusky Bay for the US Coast Guard.  Also in Sandusky we removed the old Marina at Cedar Pt which included the pulling of more than 3000 piling. 

    The tug Manitou spent most of January 1999 breaking ice in the Straits of Mackinac and Alpena for the Lafarge boats, assisting the Paul H Townsend and Jacklyn M / Integrity.  During the summer we installed a new intake pipe and crib for East China Township in the St Clair River.  In November the tug Manitou towed the old car ferry Lansdowne from Buffalo, NY to Erie, PA.

    It was back to dredging in 2000.  In the spring we dug out the marinas at Gross Pt Shores, Gross Pt Municipal Pier, Crescent Yacht Club, and Neff Park in Lake St Clair.  The Manitou worked the salvage of American Mariner at Lt 7 in Lake Huron Cut in April.  In the fall we were dredging the Clinton River for the Corps of Engineers.

    In February 2001 the tug Manitou was breaking ice for the John Spence/McAsphalt 401 in Saginaw Bay.  And for the month of March she was ice breaking in the Straits of Mackinac for tug/barges Doug McKeil / Ocean Hauler and Evans McKeil / Salty Dog. We dredged 4500 yards from the DNR boat ramp Harrison Township, L St Clair in April.  In August the Manitou worked the Algoway aground behind Fawn Is, St Clair R.  November has the Manitou towing the MV Presque Isle off the bottom in Detroit. 

    The Manitou was back to Saginaw Bay in February 2002 pulling the Mark Hannah and barge E6301 back into the channel, after she was pushed out by ice.  In April the Manitou towed the MV St Clair up the St Clair River.  It is still the largest vessel at 770 foot long to be towed up the river.  At Marine City the Manitou assisted with the refloating of the Nanticoke in May.  Dredging of the CG Station at St Ignace, MI took the better part of June 2002.

    Mid January 2003 saw the Manitou breaking ice for the tug Olive L Moore and Carferry Viking from Pelee Pass to Port Huron.  And in early March the Manitou was breaking ice for the Stmr Alpena in Alpena.  In April the Manitou was setting the buoys at East Tawas which had become a regular job setting in the spring and pulling them in late fall.  Dredging the Alexander/Levon canal in St Clair Shores kept us busy through May and June.  In August the Manitou towed the old carferry Pere Marquette 10 to Toledo. 

    The month of September was spent dredging the CG Cutter Hollyhocks new moorings and installing an outfall in Lake Huron with Commercial Diving of Port Huron.  Commercial Diving was founded and is still run by Keith’s nephew Wayne Brusate.  From October 2003 till late December we were busy Dredging PCB contaminated spoils from a canal in St Clair Shores. 

    Due to a chemical spill in Sarnia, Ontario the tug Manitou was contracted to take water samples through the ice in the St Clair River and Lake St Clair during the month of February 2004.  The Manitou was the only commercial vessel able to perform this job in the area.  In May we dredged a marina at Selfridge Air Base on Lake St. Clair.  August had the Manitou assisting the grounded MV Halifax behind Fawn Island.  The month of September, the Manitou was contracted to push mud scows for TNT Dredging in the St Clair River.  In November, it was dredging again for the US Coast Guard at St Clair Shores.

    The tug Manitou was breaking ice for several vessels in the Lake Huron Cut in late March of 2005.  This included the Joe Thompson and Joe Jr. and Lee A. Tregurtha due to the Coast Guard being temporarily out of the area.  During the summer of 2005 we were rebuilding the dock at the CG Base Detroit for the Bristol Bay and her buoy barge.  In the fall it was dredging the Clinton River for the Army Corps of Engineers.  Mid-December and the Manitou was breaking ice in the Saginaw River for the American Republic and G L Ostrander / Integrity.  From early December until early February 2006 we were dredging in Lake St Clair at Gross Pte. Farms Pier Park Marina.

    Middle of March 2006 and the Manitou is towing a barge with 2 large cranes from Toledo, Ohio to Alpena, MI.  Later in April the Manitou picked up the MV Algoville South East of Alpena in Lake Huron and towed her to Goderich, Ont.  In May we dredged the marina at Gross Pte. Shores.  In July, we dredged the CG Station at Port Huron.  More dredging occurred in October for the US Coast Guard at the Belle Isle Station. In December we built a gabion basket wall for the CG in Port Huron.   Also in December the tug Manitou was assisting the tug Jane Ann IV / Sarah Spencer across Lake Erie.

    In late January 2007 the Manitou was in Alpena breaking ice for the Samuel D Champlain / Innovation.  At the end of March she was putting in the buoys at East Tawas for another season.  In April it was the salty Nogat aground at Russell Island in the St Clair River.  During November and December of 2007 we dredged approximately 10,000 cubic yards out of the marina at Gross Pte. Shores.  Also in December the Manitou broke ice in Saginaw for the tug Kurt Luedtke, 5 barges, and 500 feet of plastic pipe. 

    2007 turned out to be a sad time for the Malcolm family.  Keith was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June and passed away on August 17th.  Keith’s children continue to manage the business today in the same tradition as Keith and Barb started, with a combined 98 years experience between them.

    The MV Algosteel was towed from lower Lake Huron to Toledo, Ohio by the Manitou in late January of 2008.  Tug Manitou was contracted to go to Erie, PA in early March to break ice in the harbor and move barges out of the dry dock and tow a ship back into the dock through very heavy ice conditions.  The Manitou’s next job involved towing a barge through those same ice conditions from Cheboygan, MI to Manitowoc, WI and then to Montreal, Quebec.  In the Straits of Mackinac and the St Lawrence River she encountered ice up to 24” thick.


Recent Jobs

In Loving Memory