107-year-old St. Marys Challenger’s future in doubt

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A 107 year-old ship that’s been a common sight on the Chicago area’s waterways may be nearing its end.

The St. Marys Challenger arrived at port in the city on Monday, and will soon undergo an inspection.

The ship’s owner said the exam will determine if it needs to have a new diesel engine installed.

A new engine may cost $15 to 20 million.

The inspection will mean either it returns to Lake Michigan as a freighter or is turned into a barge. The owners will know what the plan is next month.

The St. Marys Challenger is older than the Titanic.

It was once called the Medusa Challenger.

The 562-foot vessel was the longest ship to use the Chicago River, and travelling through downtown was usually a problem.

The Tribune reported at least 20 instances of bridges malfunctioning while the vessel was nearby from 1968 through 1979.

The freighter earned the nickname as Chicago’s “jinx ship.”


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