The 100-year-old tug James Whalen is set to pull out of the river after sinking earlier this year

Lifting work on the submerged tug James Whalen from the Kaministiquia River is scheduled to begin later this week.

The century-old tug, which the city owns and has moored along the river for nearly 30 years, took on water and then sank earlier this year.

The city had issued a request for proposals to refloat the vessel, with a contract worth nearly $800,000 awarded last month to carry out the work.

Cory Halvorsen, director of parks and open spaces for the city, said the rigging was put in place last week to prepare the tug to be hoisted by cranes.

But he said those cranes, which are brought to Thunder Bay by barge, were delayed by high winds this weekend on their journey across the Great Lakes.

The barge was due to arrive on Tuesday, but is now expected to arrive late Wednesday.

Halvorsen said the timelines would now have the barge anchored and positioned on Thursday, with lifting taking place on Friday. Once brought to the surface, the tug will be pumped so it can float again, he added.

“At this point the plan is to ferry the tug up the Kam River to the Paterson wharf, where it will be temporarily stored,” Halvorsen said.

The tugboat James Whalen was found submerged in the Kaministiquia River in May and has remained in the same location ever since. (Logan Turner/CBC)

The city has the option of storing the tubgoat there for one to two years, Halvorsen added.

Prior to the sinking of the tug, the Lakehead Transportation Museum Society had lobbied the city to move the vessel to its shore site where the Alexander Henry, a decommissioned icebreaker, is located.


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