Daniel J. Morrell
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Thumb Area Wreck Sites: |Commodore Foote| |Dunderberg| |Minnedosa| |Morrell|

Daniel J. Morrell
LOCATION: Lake Huron. ~16 mi [26 km] out off Grindstone City, MI, USA

DIVE CHARTER: Great Lakes Odyssey.

TYPE: Steel, Bulk Freighter

LIES: Upright on hard bottom.

CONDITION: Intact.

CARGO: Light

DIMENSIONS: 586' [179m] x 52' [16m] x 27' [8m]

BUILT: 1906, West Bay City, MI

LOST: November 30, 1966

LOSS DETAILS: The Morrell Departed Buffalo, NY for Taconite, Mn November 26, 1966, running in ballast. After waiting out the weather in the Detroit River the evening of November 27, she entered lake Huron late afternoon the next day proceeding upbound. While she was passing Harbor Beach, MI, some radio communications were made between the Morrell and her sister ship, the Edward Y. Townsend, traveling two hours astern. Both Captains were having difficultly holding course in the building seas. On a side note, the Townsend, which survived the storm, upon arrival at the Soo locks, had its certificate of inspection withdrawn by the coast guard due to structural damage. By midnight, the winds had increased to gale force. Sometime in the early hours of November 29, the Morrell disappeared beneath 25' [8m] waves, without sending a mayday. 28 of her 29 crewmen lost their lives. Sole survivor Dennis Hale indicateArtwork by Robert McGreevy: (www.mcgreevy.com). On display at the Point Aux Barques Lighthouse Museum. s that she broke in two. Stationed in the bow, he describes, the mystifying sight of the stern section steaming off into the night. Hale was among several surviving crew men to take to a lifeboat. After one and a half days adrift in the storm, they were Section of a lifeboat on display at the Point Aux Barques Lighthouse Museum. located the afternoon of November 30, by coast guard helicopter, aground in the shallows North of Port Hope, MI. With the exception of Hale, all aboard succumbed to exposure, their bodies clad in ice. A delirious Hale was immediately air evacuated to Harbor Beach Hospital.  The stern section was located by the coast guard in January 1967, sitting upright in 210' [64m] of water. The bow section, discovered over 20 years later by civilian wreck hunters,  is located 5 miles [8 km] from the bow section, sitting upright in 180' [55m] of water.

Lifejacket on display at the Point Aux Barques Lighthouse Museum. Lifering n display at the Point Aux Barques Lighthouse Museum. Photo by Jack PapesPhoto by Jack Papes

DEPTH: Stern 170-210 ft [52-64m]. Bow: 120-180ft [36-56m]

NOTES (Stern): The stern section sits perfectly upright. As does the stack with the Cambria Steamship Co. logo in place. Numerous items litter the decks of the stern structure. Stairways and ladders connect the decks. The doors along the causeways have painted labels above them, scraped clean by divers: "Galley", "Engine Room", etc. All of these doors are open. Lying on the bottom, roughly below the port davit is a lifeboat. From here, with good visibility, the view of the ship, towering above, is spectacular. The rudder is massive. Three of the four prop blades remain exposed. Simply an awesome site to explore.     

NOTES (Bow): The bow section also sits perfectly upright. The Cambria logo remains perched a top the foremast. Much of the rigging remains in place on the mast. As this section is shallower, impact of unscrupulous divers is more evident than on the stern section. Few loose artifacts remain on the exterior. The windows are missing from the wheelhouse, as is the wheel and much of the instrumentation. What remains is heavily coated in mussels. The bow structure contains several decks connected by stairs and ladders. As with the stern, all doorways are open with labels remaining. At the bow, two massive anchors remain in place. Immediately aft of the stern structure contains two deck winches. The hatch covers are missing from the forward few hatches. The immense size of the site is staggering.

See Photos:
August 30-31, 2008

Bibliography:
Historical Collections of the Great lakes. "Great Lakes Vessel Online Index". Bowling Green State University.
Point Aux Barques Lighthouse Museum: www.pointeauxbarqueslighthouse.org/
Schultz, Roland. "The Morrell Survey", Lakeland Boating Magazine
SS Daniel J. Morrell Wikipedia Entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Daniel_J._Morrell

Thumb Area Wreck Sites: |Commodore Foote| |Dunderberg| |Minnedosa| |Morrell|

This page was last updated 10/02/2010 .
Jack Papes. All Rights Reserved.