|By Skip Gillham - from his book - Branch Lines and Socanav Tankers of the Great Lakes.
Completion of the tanker ARSENE SIMARD brought the first Canadian built vessel classed for benzene and naptha into the Branch Lines fleet. The vessel was christened at the Marine Industries shipyard at Sorel on May 27, 1972 and she sailed a few days later. ARSENE SIMARD was fully welded, carried an Ive Class III rating and had an electric bow thruster. The 131.9 meter (432’9”) long by 18.29 meter (60’) wide ship was registered at 5,844 gross tons and was able to carry up to 66,000 barrels of cargo per trip. Power was supplied by an M.A.N. Diesel engine of 4,390 horsepower and she had a crew of 21..
Service included the usual Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Riger runs but each summer this was extended north into the Canadian Arctic. After only 6 years of trading in Bramch Lines colours she was sold to the Hall Corporation on December 15, 1978 and delivered to Sorel three days later. Renamed GASPÉ TRANSPORT she sailed for Halco until their tanker fleet was disbanded. The vessel moved to Enerchem Transports Ltd. late in 1986 and became ENERCHEM AVANCE early the next year..
A seven hour grounding in the St. Marys River below Sault Ste. Marie on April 18, 1989 left only slight damage. ENERCHEM AVANCE was the last of the season up the Welland Canal on December 23, 1989. In January 1991 the ship was re-registered in the Bahamas for deep sea trading that included at least one trip to Nigeria. She returned to Canadian registry on July 11, 1991..
ENERCHEM AVANCE tied up at Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 21, 1992 and remained there until April 24, 1993. She departed Canada for the last time as LEONA II under the management of Limber Maritime Inc. She was originally under the flag of Liberia but was transferred to Nigerian registry by subsequent “unspecified” owners..
In 1999 the vessel was again sold. Integrated Oil & Gas Ltd. of Nigeria renamed the ship and operated her as ERINGA for Alpha Maritime Services of Guinea. By 23 December 2010 it was recorded that she had been scrapped however information on her final disposition are unknown..