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S.O. & Co. #85 – 1913 S.T. Co. No. 85 – 1916,  SCOCONY 85 – 1918, GOTHAM 85 – 1930

The Cleveco lies upside down in Lake Erie's mud and silt bottom, in 78 feet of water, approximately 14 miles north of Euclid, Ohio. The Cleveco's hull rises up and out of the bottom to a height of approximately 13-15 feet. Sealed valves along her keel are visible from efforts to salvage the oil from her tanks
  • Barge/Tanker
  • 78ffw 25m
  • 250ft Length
  • Cleveland, Ohio, Lake Erie
  • 41 47.468 N 81 36.006 W

The tanker barge Cleveco was in tow by the tug Admiral from Toledo to Cleveland with approximately one million gallons of fuel oil when a violent storm, with blinding snow and gale force winds, bore down upon the two vessels. Waves during this storm were reported to be as high as 18 feet. 

In the early morning hours, the crew of the Cleveco noticed the tow line from the Admiral was angled down into the lake. Fearing the Admiral had sunk, Captain Smith radioed for help to Lorain, but apparently not indicating his proper position. Although help was sent immediately, the Cleveco could not be located until a civilian air patrol plane spotted the vessel offshore of Cleveland, where the Coast Guard cutter Ossipee made contact with her. The crew of the Cleveco at first declined assistance and thought their condition would improve; this turned out to be a fatal error in judgment. Once their situation became dire and they radioed for help, the cutter was not able to locate them in the storm, and eventually, radio contact with the Cleveco ceased. All 18 hands aboard the Cleveco were lost in this disaster. (For a continued and more detailed account of the disaster, please see the shipwreck Admiral.)

David Swayze Shipwreck File #

  • Type at loss    :  barge, steel, tanker
  • Build info       :  1913, American Shipbuilding, Lorain, OH
  • Specs              :  250x43x25,  2,441g  2,042n
  • Date of loss    :  1942, Dec 2
  • Place of loss   :  9 mi off Cleveland
  • Lake                : Erie
  • Type of loss    :  storm
  • Loss of life      :  18 [all]
  • Carrying         :  oil [880,000 gal]
  • Detail              : Tow of the steel tug ADMIRAL(qv), she was struck by an extremely violent gale. During the struggle she found herself still attached to tug after the latter had sunk.  She fought with the gale for hours while the Coast Guard Cutter  OSSIPEE  came to her aid.  The cutter stood by for some time after CLEVECO’s crew declined assistance.  Later when they wanted to be taken off, OSSIPEE, which had pulled back for fear of a collision, could not relocate her visually. CLEVECO finally went off radio contact and  sank with all hands.
  • The wreck, which was moved in 1962, lies in 71 feet of water,  16.8 mi, 10.5 deg from Cleve E entrance light.
  • Listed in 1934 and earlier Merchant Vessels as a schooner-barge.
  • Included on lists of U. S. World War II war losses

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