Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Grand River Navigation Welcomes Reiss into Fleet

Grand River Navigation Company is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Richard Reiss from Oglebay Norton Company. The Reiss will become the fourth vessel to serve in the Grand River fleet. We are excited to grow the fleet through the addition of the Reiss, which will enhance our ability to better serve our customers for many years to come.

Originally built in 1943, the Reiss was converted to a self-unloader in 1964 and repowered in 1976. She is 620 feet in length overall with a carrying capacity rated at 15,173 gross tons at mid-summer draft."

The Reiss is expected to be renamed but no name has been chosen at this time. Fitout will be completed in Erie and the company hopes to have the new ship sailing sometime in late March.

History and pictures of the Richard Reiss.

Reported by: Grand River Navigation Company

Risley Raises Plane Wreckage

The fuselage of a plane that crashed into Lake Erie, killing all 10 people aboard, was raised from the frigid water Friday.

The plane, with the bodies of the victims inside, was transported to Windsor on Friday night, where the bodies were to be removed under the direction of coroner Dr. Tom Wilson. Earlier this week, the plane was dragged closer to the Risley. A massive hole was then cut in the ice through which the fuselage was raised.

The Cessna Caravan 208 crashed in western Lake Erie Jan. 17 shortly after taking off from Pelee Island.

Eight of the passengers aboard Georgian Express Flight 126 were returning from a hunting trip.

The hunters, all from Ontario, were identified as: Fred Freitas, 39, and Larry Janik, 49, both of Kingsville; Ted Reeve, 54, Tom Reeve, 50, and Robert Brisco, 47, all of Chatham; Ronald Spencler, 54, and Walter Sadowski, 49, both of Windsor, and Jim Allen, 52, of Mitchell's Bay. Also recovered were two hunting dogs.

The ninth passenger, Jamie Levine, 28, of Los Angeles, was a friend of pilot Wayne Price, 33, of Richmond Hill.

A memorial service was held Friday at the crash site and a bell was rung 10 times, once for each victim. An iron cross and wreath were then dropped into the water.

The Risley arrive at the Morterm Dock in Windsor Friday night.

Reported by: Frank Frisk and Bob Vincent

Saginaw Heads for Sarnia

The Saginaw's long trip from Nanticoke, Ontario to the lay-up dock in Sarnia continued Friday with assistance to from the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon.

The pair spent much of the day Friday battling ice in northern Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River. The Saginaw has difficulty in heavy ice and the Griffon's crew spent the day working in close quarters with the vessel helping it move north bound for Sarnia.

Late Friday night the pair were working in the lower St. Clair River at the north end of Harsens Island.

Reported by: Frank Jackson

Today in Great Lakes History - January 31

MANZZUTTI was launched January 31, 1903 as a) J.S. KEEFE.

January 31, 1930 - While the Grand Trunk carferry MADISON was leading the way across Lake Michigan to Grand Haven, she was struck from behind by her sister ship GRAND RAPIDS.

Data from: Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Barker Enters Lay-up

The James R. Barker arrived in Sturgeon Bay early Thursday morning moving through heavy ice on Green Bay. The USCG Cutter Mobil Bay broke a track down the bay and into Sturgeon Bay as far as the Sherwood Point Light.

From the light the tug Jimmy L. was breaking to the inner bay, at Michigan Street Bridge and the PBI/City dock. A number of other tugs from Selvick Marine were near the dock working to free the Edward L. Ryerson from the dock.

The James R. Barker entered the bay and moved to within 500 yards of the Michigan Street Bridge where she stopped in the ice. While the Barker waited the tug crews were busy flushing ice from the dock and preparing to move the Ryerson into the ship channel.

With the Ryerson out of the way the James R. Barker called for a bridge opening. And then moved to the dock face with the aid of bow and stern thrusters and a collection of tugs. Many residents from Sturgeon Bay were on hand despite sub-zero temperatures to watch the final 1,000 footer come in for the winter.

Pictures by: Vic DeLarwelle
In bound Green Bay
Off Sherwood point light
Waiting in Ice by Michigan St. Bridge
Wide view from west side of bay
Ryerson being pulled away from dock
Ryerson In ship channel

Pictures by Jason Leino
Edward L. Ryerson in the channel
Wide view of the James R. Barker and the Edward L. Ryerson
Tugs breaking ice and pushing on the Barker
Jimmy L. breaks ice for the James R. Barker
Still working their way in
Approaching the dock
James R. Barker, almost docked
Edward L. Ryerson at sunset
USCG Mobile Bay at its dock
Tugs Susan L and Carla Ann along with tour boat Fred Busse
View of the shipyard

Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle, Jason Leino and Markus Ritter

Griffon Departs Lay-up

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon departed her winter lay-up dock in Amherstburg Thursday. She headed downbound across Lake Erie to assist the Saginaw in her trip upbound to Sarnia.

The Griffon was brought out of lay-up to assist in icebreaking on Lake Erie. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley normally is available for icebreaking but this year is tied up with recover operations at the site of a recent plane crash on Lake Erie.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Stelco Granted Bankruptcy Protection

Stelco Inc., Canada's biggest steelmaker, was granted protection from creditors on Thursday as it joined other Canadian steelmakers that have succumbed to weak industry conditions.

The company said it was forced to make the move by its deteriorating cash position and a high cost structure that has made it unable to compete effectively. Although Stelco still produces the most steel among Canadian companies, it has fallen behind rival Dofasco Inc in revenue terms.

An Ontario court granted Stelco bankruptcy protection under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, the equivalent of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States. Stelco can keep operating while it tries to file a restructuring plan.

"Recent increases in steel prices have not been, and are not expected to be, sufficient to offset the even more significant past and projected escalation in our costs," Courtney Pratt, Stelco's chief executive, said in a release.

"While we have begun to implement a number of cost control measures, we do not and will not have the liquidity we need without the legal protection and other benefits provided by a Court-supervised restructuring process."

Stelco's major steelworks are located in Hamilton, Ontario, making various semi-finished, hot-rolled, cold-rolled and coated sheet steel products, plus bars and rods; has 4,829 employees in Hamilton. Customers in automotive, appliance, energy, construction and other sectors. The steelworks receive bulk material by Great Lakes freighters.

Stelco Lake Erie produces hot-rolled sheet products and employees 1,382 in Nanticoke, Ont. Customers include the auto sector, plus pipe and tube products makers.

The United Steelworkers union said it was prepared to play a leading role in the company's restructuring but warned a key issue will be protecting the pensions of retirees.

Shares of Stelco plummeted C$1.14, or 66 percent, to 59 Canadian cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange before recovering slightly to 90 Canadian cents. With more than 13 million shares changing hands, the stock was trading well above its average trading volume.

The decision to seek protection under the courts did not surprise many industry analysts, who had been expecting the decision for months. Some said Stelco would run out of cash before the end of 2004.

The company, which lost C$168 million ($126 million) in the first three quarters of 2003, is scheduled to report results for its fourth quarter on Feb. 17.

Although details of the restructuring process are limited, analysts say Stelco should survive and escape as a company with significantly lower costs.

"We still have to see how the restructuring goes through and what emerges from it," said Paul D'Amico, an analyst with National Bank Financial. "But if they are able to attract capital and make investments then they should be okay."

Stelco is the third Canadian steel producer to enter bankruptcy protection in the past eight months, joining Slater Steel and Ivaco Inc.

Reported by: Frank Frisk

Today in Great Lakes History - January 30

ELMDALE was launched in 1909 as a) CLIFFORD F. MOLL.

The CHIEF WAWATAM was held up in the ice for a period of three weeks. On January 30, 1927, she went aground at North Graham Shoal in the Straits. She was later dry-docked at Great Lakes Engineering Works in Detroit where her forward propeller and after port wheel were replaced.

January 30, 1911 - The PERE MARQUETTE 18 (II) arrived Ludington on her maiden voyage.

On 30 January 1881, ST. ALBANS (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 135', 435 t, built in 1869 at Cleveland) was carrying general merchandise, flour, cattle and 22 passengers in Lake Michigan. She rammed a cake of ice that filled the hole it made in her hull. She rushed for shore, but as the ice melted, the vessel filled with water. She sank 8 miles from Milwaukee. The crew and passengers made it to safety in the lifeboats. Her loss was valued at $35,000.

On 30 January 2000 crew began the removal of the four Hulett Ore Unloaders on Whiskey Island in Cleveland.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Mackinaw Downbound

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw was downbound on Lake St. Clair late Wednesday night heading for Lake Erie.

The passage was well suited for the big icebreaker as no vessels have transited the rivers for several days and many points are frozen solid making passage difficult for a normal vessel. At many points in the Detroit River the ice cover stretches from the U.S. to Canadian shore.

With the St. Marys River closed the Mackinaw is heading south to assist with icebreaking on Lake Erie. Most vessels have entered lay-up but several remain working the late season coal trade between Ohio ports and Nanticoke, Ontario.

Her first assignment is expected to be escort of the Saginaw from Long Point upbound to Sarnia where the Saginaw will lay-up.

It is unknown how long the Mackinaw will work the lower lakes as she is often needed to help keep open the Straights of Mackinac.

Reported by: Steve Wilson

Beeghly Arrives

The Charles M. Beeghly arrived off the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal early Wednesday morning and waited until dawn before entering the ship canal. With the ice in the canal heavy, the Beeghly was slowed to a stop several times, requiring the Jimmy L. from Selvick Marine to turn around and break her free.

Once the Beeghly cleared the Bay View Bridge she steamed down to the bow of the Ryerson where a dog leg turn is required to make the final line up on the Michigan Street Bridge. In the dog leg turn, the Beeghly could not swing its stern enough to make the heading for the Bridge approach.

To the delight of commuters, the Beeghly called the bridge and asked the bridge tender to close the bridge allowing auto traffic to move again. About a half hour later the Beeghly cleared the bridge and headed for Bay Ship to be rafted to the Lee Tregurtha for winter lay-up.

coming out of the canal at day break
Jimmy L. breaking Ice at the approach to Michigan street bridge
Beegly stopped in ice
Thru the Michigan St. Bridge
Sliding in next to the Tregurtha

Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle

Season Ends in Manistee

Ice on the Great Lakes has finally become too much for Manistee Harbor. Ironically, this year it isn't the ice in Manistee, but the ice in northern Lake Michigan and Huron that has stopped the flow of brine out of the port.

McKeil was prepared for Manistee's thick ice, by placing the tug Evans McKeil in the harbor to conduct regular icebreaking details. However, the Straits of Mackinac have become clogged. The tug Tony Mackay and barge KTC 115 has yet to arrive in Amherstburg after departing Manistee nearly a week ago. Heavy ice has stopped the tug and barge, causing very slow progress. Tug and barge units have great difficulty in ice, and this duo is no exception.

The Capt. Ralph Tucker encountered engine problems in northern Lake Michigan, near Lansing Shoal on Tuesday, requiring the McKeil tug Salvor to come from Sarnia and tow the Tucker back down to Sarnia. Once engine repairs are finalized, the vessel will conduct the Courtright-Amherstburg shuttles. This is the second year in a row that Manistee has not seen year-round shipping. Locals are hopefully that the brine tankers will be back servicing the port as soon as ice conditions allow.

Reported by: Jeff McKenzie

Homeland security official appeals for help from Great Lakes shippers

Government anti-terrorism efforts and private industry can mutually benefit from sharing information, a special assistant to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told Great Lakes shippers Wednesday. "I think it will be very, very positive for you," Al Martinez-Fonts said at the Coast Guard's annual Marine Community Day for Great Lakes shipping interests. "It's a two-way exchange."

He said information provided by the government can add to efficiency and productivity. He used as an example government analysis to detect patterns in cyberterrorism threats to private industry.

Martinez-Fonts said private industry should look at security expenses as an investment and encouraged shipping trade organizations to share information specific to their industry.

Reported by: John Wisse

Today in Great Lakes History - January 29

The BUCKEYE (2) was launched January 29, 1910 as the straight decker a) LEONARD B. MILLER.

JOHN P. REISS was also launched this date in 1910 .

January 29, 1987 - The BADGER almost capsized at her dock due to a broken water intake pipe.

On 29 January 1953, RICHARD M. MARSHALL (steel propeller freighter, 643', 10,606 gt) was launched in Bay City, MI at Defoe's shipyard (hull #424). Later she was named JOSEPH S. WOOD (1957), JOHN DYKSTRA (1966), and BENSON FORD (2) (1983). She was scrapped in 1987 at Recife, Brazil.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Mackinaw Heads for Lake Erie

The U.S. Coast Guard's big icebreaker Mackinaw was downbound on Lake Huron Tuesday heading for Lake Erie. With the St. Marys River closed the Mackinaw is heading south to assist with icebreaking on Lake Erie. Most vessels have entered lay-up but several remain working the late season coal trade between Ohio ports and Nanticoke, Ontario.

The Mackinaw is expected pass downbound at Port Huron Wenesday afternoon and transit the rivers straight through to Lake Erie. It is unknown how long the Mackinaw will work the lower lakes as she is often needed to help keep open the Straights of Mackinac.

Reported by: Steve Wilson

Griffon to Take Up Ice Duty on Lake Erie

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Griffon is being brought out of lay-up and will be available to assist any tug/barge movements and also the Coal run in Lake Erie.

The move is being made because the cutter Samuel Risley is tied up with recover operations at the site of a recent plane crash on Lake Erie. It is not known whether the Risley will continue with the recovery operations or whether the Griffon will take over and free up the Risley for icebreaking.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Saginaw River Recap

Despite a slow economy, shipping activity remained strong on the Saginaw River during 2003, with nearly 350 visits by commercial vessels. More than 40 different vessels represented 18 Great Lakes fleets on the river during the season.

Continuing a trend which began in 2002, smaller fleets carried the bulk of the trade on the river, with the vessels of some larger operators becoming less visible.

Lower Lakes Towing and its U.S. counterpart, Lower Lakes Transportation, was once again the predominate fleet. Six of LLT's seven vessels called during the season for a total of 71 visits. The Maumee, one of the oldest vessels still operating on the Great Lakes, entered the river 29 times and was the most frequent visitor to the river.

Seven vessels of American Steamship Company called a total of 39 times. This number was up slightly from the 30 visits in 2002, but well below prior years, when ASC vessels normally called about 75 times. The 1000-foot Walter J. McCarthy Jr. led the fleet, with 10 trips to deliver coal to the Consumers Energy plant.

The majority of the 2003 visits by ASC were to either the Consumers plant or the new Bay Aggregates dock near the mouth of the river, making the fleet's vessels a relatively rare sight further upstream.

It was even more unusual to see an Oglebay Norton Marine vessel on the Saginaw River during 2003. Only two of that fleet's ships called during the season--the Fred R. White Jr. and the Wolverine, each with only two trips. Prior to 2002, Oglebay Norton ships entered the river as many as 75 times during a typical season.

Algoma Central Marine maintained its share of the business, however, with a combined total of 30 visits by the Algoway, Algorail and Agawa Canyon. Many of those trips were late-season deliveries of salt from Goderich, Ontario. The Joyce L. VanEnkevort-Great Lakes Trader has continued to be a frequent visitor, with 24 trips into the river in 2003. Dorothy Ann-Pathfinder called 20 times, and the classic Wilfred Sykes made 19 visits during the season. More unusual visitors included the Joseph H. Frantz, which arrived two times for its new operator, Great Lakes Associates. The Frantz was a common sight in the river in past years as part of the Oglebay Norton fleet. The James Norris paid its first visit in five years in late November, and the Capt. Ralph Tucker called for the first time in December.

In the cement trade, the Alpena, J.A.W. Iglehart, Paul H. Townsend and Jacklyn M.-Integrity delivered a total of 26 loads from the Lafarge plant in Alpena to the company's terminal in Saginaw. The CSL Tadoussac delivered cement clinkers 17 times to the Essroc plant in Essexville, with the Frontenac also making a delivery.

The tug Rebecca Lynn called 16 times with a tank barge at the new Bit-Mat facility near the mouth of the river. Other tug-barges from the Andrie and Hannah fleets visited terminals in Essexville a total of 30 times during the season.

While the shipping season on the Saginaw River normally lasts from early April until mid-December, tankers and tug-barges occasionally call during the winter months. The 2003 season lasted virtually a full calendar year, with a tug-barge calling in January 2003, and freighters continuing to arrive for the first few days of January 2004.

With 29 trips, Maumee was the most frequent visitor to the Saginaw River during 2003.
Joseph H. Thompson outbound on an overcast May morning.
Naval Reserve training vessel Grey Fox carries a group of passengers on July 2.
Algoway visited 14 times for Algoma Central Marine in 2003.
Dorothy Ann-Pathfinder passes the E.M. Ford and Alpena on September 13.
Wilfred Sykes continued to be a regular visitor in 2003.
Joseph Frantz called twice for its new operator, Great Lakes Associates.
James Norris paid its first visit in five years on a rainy, foggy day in late November.
Capt. Ralph Tucker on its first ever visit, December 18.
E.M Ford is a permanent fixture on the Saginaw River.

Reported by: Stephen Hause

Beeghly’s Last Trip

The Charles M. Beeghly made her last trip of season last week delivering taconite to Rouge Steel. Below are images from her visit.

Beeghly inbound at the Rouge Short Cut Bridge.
At Jefferson.
Patricia Hoey breaking ice.
Unloading on deck looking forward.
Looking aft.
Rouge Steel Ore Bridge.
Gaelic Tugboat refueling barge along side.
Patricia Hoey.
Wheelhouse on a clear winter's night. (note constellation Orion is visible at the top of the image)
Name board.
Steering pole.
Detroit fire boat Curtis Randolph in lay-up at Rouge Steel.

Today in Great Lakes History - January 28

SELKIRK SETTLER was launched January 28, 1983

At 4:00 am on 28 January 1879, the ferry SARNIA was discovered to be on fire while lying at Fitzgerald's yard in Port Huron. All of the cabins were destroyed although the fire department had the fire out within an hour. About $3,000 damage was done. She was in the shipyard to be remodeled and to have a stern wheel put in. Arson was suspected.

On 28 January 1889, the Port Huron Times announced that the Toledo & Saginaw Transportation Company went out of business and sold all of its vessel and its shipyard. The shipyard went to Curtis & Brainard along with the PAWNEE and MIAMI. The BUFFALO, TEMPEST, BRAINARD and ORTON went to Thomas Lester. The C. F. CURTIS, FASSET, REED and HOLLAND went to R. C. Holland. The DAYTON went to J. A. Ward and M. P. Lester. The TROY and EDWARDS were sold, but the new owners were not listed.

Data from: Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Lake Erie Coal Trade Stopped by Ice

Two freighters became stuck in heavy ice near the coal docks in the Ashtabula Harbor early Sunday afternoon. The John D. Leitch, arriving to load coal, became stuck off harbor where ice is reported to be piled to the bottom of the channel. The Leitch has become stuck a second time farther out in the lake.

The Canadian Olympic also became stuck in the ice on Sunday. The U.S. Coast Guard sent the 140-foot ice breaking tug Neah Bay to free the vessels Sunday evening. Thanks to the effort of the Neah Bay both vessel were able to enter port and load.

The Leitch and Canadian Olympic are participating on the late season coal trade carrying coal from Ohio ports to the Ontario Power Generating Station at Nanticoke, Ontario on eastern Lake Erie.

In Conneaut on Sunday the CSL Laurentian was loading coal, while Canadian Transport was waiting.

Pictures by Dave Merchant
CSL Laurentien loading.
Canadian Transport waiting.

Reported by: Dave Merchant and Steve Williams

More ice on the lakes this year

With a colder winter this year, the Great Lakes are seeing more ice coverage than in recent years, but the levels are actually about normal, according to Great Lakes Radio Consortium's Lester Graham.

"Ice cover extent is similar to the 30-year median ice cover. So, it's really not that unusual," said Ray Assel, a physical scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab. "I think what makes people think it may be unusual is because of the five winters previous to this last winter, we've had below-normal ice cover."

Reported by: Kevin Alven

Full House at Escanaba

The ore dock was full at Escanaba on Monday, with the barge Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort, the tug and barge Joseph Thompson/Jr. and the Joseph L. Block.

Traffic expected over the next few days includes: the Wilfred Sykes on Tuesday, the Barker late Wednesday, and a return of the Thompson on Thursday.

Great Lakes Trader at Escanaba dock, Joseph Thompson in background
Ice on the Great Lakes Trader
Great Lakes Trader on one side of the dock, Joe Block on the other
Joseph Block
Joseph Thompson/Jr.

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Queen Mary 2 arrives in Port Everglades

The new Queen Mary 2 arrived in Port Everglades, Florida Monday morning at the end of her maiden voyage from Southampton, England. Fifteen helicopters were sighted above and six tugboats displayed their water cannons for the event.

Queen Mary 2 inbound from sea.
The ship is greeted with tugboats and water cannons.
Sun rises on the Queen Mary 2.
Stern view.
QM2 at pier 20

Reported by: Bill Hoey

Today in Great Lakes History - January 27

In 1912, the Great Lakes Engineering Works' Ecorse yard launched the steel bulk freighter WILLIAM P. SNYDER, JR.

The LEON FALK, JR. closed the 1974 season at Superior by loading 17,542 tons of ore bound for Detroit.

January 27, 1985 - The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 had to return to port (Ludington) after heavy seas caused a 30-ton crane to fall off a truck on her car deck.

On 27 January 1978, ALLEGHENY, the training vessel of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy (built in 1944 at Orange, Texas as a sea-going naval tug) capsized at her winter dock at Traverse City, MI from the weight of accumulated ice. She was recovered but required and expensive rebuild and was sold and renamed MALCOLM in 1979.

On 27 January 1893, Charles Lonsby and Louis Wolf purchased the 161 foot wooden steam barge THOMAS D. STIMSON for $28,000. The vessel was built in 1881 by W. J. Daley & Sons at Mt. Clemens, Michigan as a schooner and was originally named VIRGINIUS. She was converted to a steamship in 1887.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

Shifting Ice Traps Saginaw on Lake Erie

The steamer Saginaw, making her last trip of the season and bound for Nanticoke with taconite from Duluth, was stuck in the heavy ice on Western Lake Erie Sunday about five miles southeast of Colchester Reef Light. The U.S. Coast Guard was called when the vessel became caught in shifting ice fields pushed by strong winds and actually began moving backwards. Even with anchors down and engine running she was unable to hold position.

Due to the threat of grounding, the cutter Bristol Bay immediately departed her slip at Detroit sailing downbound to assist the Saginaw. Bristol Bay arrived on scene late Sunday night and began the task of breaking the steamer out. About 11:40 p.m. the Bristol Bay was leading the Saginaw eastbound as the pair made steady progress through the ice.

It was unknown how far the cutter will escort the vessel.

Weeks of below freezing temperatures have made for a busy season for the Bristol Bay. The 140-foot cutter normally works with the icebreaking giants Mackinaw and Samuel Risley. This season the Mackinaw has been busy in the St. Marys River and Straights of Mackinaw while the Risley has been tasked recovering a downed passenger plane in Lake Erie. This has left the very capable Bristol Bay working over time to keep commercial traffic in the area moving.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

More Ice Trouble

Cuyahoga departed Detroit upbound Saturday for her lay-up dock in Sarnia. She became stuck in ice in northern Lake St. Clair and remained stuck until late Sunday morning when the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay arrived on scene to free her. The Charles M. Beeghly, departing Rough Steel, helped by passing her and creating a track for the Cuyahoga to follow.

The Beeghly headed north through the ice on the St. Clair river past Edison toward the open water end of the river at around 5:40 Sunday evening. She is headed for layup at Sturgeon Bay. Cuyahoga finally passed Edison at 6:20 p.m. As she passed Marine City noise from the ice crashing against its bow, along with the cracking of the ice as it passed made for a spectacle of sight and sound.

Meanwhile, Algoeast also had trouble Sunday. At daybreak, she was positioned just north of Marine City, and by 3 p.m. still had not reached the Algonac State Park, a distance of about 10 miles. Once again the stout Bristol Bay arrived on scene and freed her from the heavy ice in the lower St. Clair River.

Downbound at Salt Dock Light - slow against ice
Less than one mile downbound from Salt Dock - stuck fast against ice
Stopped in ice.
Bristol Bay to the Rescue
Close up
Beeghly upbound
Cuyahoga upbound

Reported by: George Barna, Glen Terbush, Duane Upton, Mike Nault and Don Detloff

Vessels Stacked to Load at Escanaba

Traffic may be done for the winter on Lake Superior but Escanaba is still shipping ore at a brisk pace. The James R. Barker was loading on Sunday, and will be followed by Great Lakes Trader, Joseph H. Thompson, Joseph L. Block and Wilfred Sykes.

The Block was reported upbound on Lake Michigan Sunday night at reduced speed due to the vessels ahead of them.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Sturgeon Bay Update

After a busy day in Sturgeon Bay Saturday with the arrival of four ships for lay-up. The Lee A. Tregurtha, Mesabi Miner, Philip R. Clark and Arthur M. Anderson arrived resulting in a Bay full of ships from the Michigan Street Bridge to the graving dock.

Work on getting ships into lay-up at Bayship continued through the night and into Sunday morning. Selvick tugs helped the Lee A. Tregurtha tie up at the steel face dock. Then the Mesabi Miner was brought into the drydock. Next to tie up was the Philip R. Clarke which is now docked between the St. Clair and the Herbert C. Jackson. The Arthur M. Anderson was the last ship to find a home Sunday morning next to the Sam Laud.

The four ships that are still due to arrive in Sturgeon Bay for lay-up include the Charles M. Beeghly, James R. Barker, Joseph H. Block, and the Wilfred Sykes.

Tugs from the Selvick Marine fleet and the tug Bayship stood by all evening Saturday waiting for first light of morning, taking a short break from working all day and half the night. The tug crews were changed out several times during the day, leaving all crews cold and tired before shutting down for the night for safety reasons.

Pictures by Vic DeLarwelle
Mobile Bay Back at her berth
Messabi Miner in graving dock early morning
Wide View
Close up as Anderson moves through the steam of the Tregurtha
Clear of steam, preparing to back into Berth 11
Wide view of steam from all ships at Bayship
Pictures by Jason Leino
Oglebay Norton and George A. Stinson
Steam rises from the from the recently docked vessels
Lee A. Tregurtha at the steel face dock
Wide view as the Arthur M. Anderson backs in
Stern view of the Miner, Stinson, and Norton
Stern view from left to right: St. Clair, Philip R. Clarke, Herbert C. Jackson, Sam Laud, Arthur M. Anderson
Close up of the St. Clair, Philip R. Clarke, and Herbert C. Jackson
Edward L. Ryerson in the ice
Bow View
USCG Mobile Bay at its dock in Sturgeon Bay

Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle and Jason Leino

Speer Arrives

The crew of the Edgar B. Speer gave the citizens of Milwaukee an excellent demonstration of boat handling skills as they turned the Edgar B. Speer outside the Milwaukee break wall and then backed the Speer into the Port of Milwaukee's inner mooring basin Saturday afternoon.

Tricky winds and ice in the harbor made the task even more difficult. Once inside they had to bring the Speer alongside the Burns Harbor with a minimum of ice left between the boats.

Speer backs under the Hoan bridge
A tight fit as the Speer backs alongside the Integrity
Coming along side the Burns Harbor.
Another view
Flushing ice at the stern
Home for the winter

Reported by: Andy LaBorde

Late Night Visitor to Erie

The Presque Isle, escorted by the USCG Neah Bay, arrived in Erie harbor for winter lay-up at approximately 2 a.m. on Sunday. The Neah Bay entered Erie Channel at 11:30 p.m. Saturday and broke a path to the Mounfort Terminal, then awaited the arrival of the Presque Isle. The Presque Isle made slow progress into the channel and finally tied up after 3 a.m.

Reported by: Jeffrey Hausmann

Today in Great Lakes History - January 26

The keel for the CLIFFS VICTORY (a. NOTRE DAME VICTORY) was laid on January 26, 1945.

THOMAS F. COLE was launched January 26, 1907 by the Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, MI. as Hull #27.

J.F. SCHOELLKOPF, JR. was launched January 26, 1907 as a) HUGH KENNEDY.

The THALASSA DESGAGNES entered service for Le Groupe Desgagnes on January 26, 1994.

ST. LAWRENCE NAVIGATOR was launched in 1967 as a) DEMETERTON.

On 26 January 1898, the CITY OF DULUTH (wooden passenger/package freight vessel, 202', 1310 gt, built in 1874 at Marine City, MI as a passenger vessel) was carrying passengers, corn, flour and general merchandise from Chicago to St. Joseph, MI during a late season run when she struck an uncharted bar in a storm inbound to St. Joseph. She was heavily damaged and driven ashore 350 feet west of the north pier where she broke up. The Lifesaving Service rescued all 24 passengers and 17 crew members using breeches' buoy.

Data from: Steve Haverty, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

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Ice puts an end to the salt season at Goderich

The last ship due in to Goderich on Friday was unable to enter port due to ice build up off the harbor piers.

The Algosteel was due to load salt for Detroit but was delayed Friday due to the ice conditions. At 4 p.m. she was off the piers and was waiting for the USCG Bristol Bay to break a path into the harbor.

With the icebreaker assistance and MacDonald Marine tugs working to keep the inner harbor clear, she was still waiting off the harbor late Friday night. Saturday morning the efforts were abandoned and the Steel headed to Sarnia for lay-up. Ice windrows off the piers were reported to be from 12 to 14 feet thick.

Reported by: Lisa Stuparyk

Michipicoten at Algoma

The Michipicoten arrived at the Soo Saturday from Marquette with a load of taconite for Algoma Steel. Under sunny skies and sub zero temperatures, the cutter Katmai Bay escorted her to the steel mill. This will be Michipicoten's last load of the season and she will winter at Algoma.

The upbound Algonova was expected in the Soo harbor by late Saturday afternoon. The Katmai Bay was seen around the Purvis Dock that afternoon indicating Algonova might be docking there.

Reported by: Jerry Masson

Callaway Unloads

Cason J. Callaway arrived in Duluth on Saturday and proceeded to the DMIR ore dock to unload pellets that it lightered from the ships in the St. Marys River. Once empty, the Callaway was expected to proceed to Fraser Shipyards for winter layup.

At DM&IR Dock 6 in Duluth unloading pellets from the lightered ships from the Soo. They were unloading into the bin normally reserved for limestone unloading and then piled it up on land. Kent Rengo

Reported by: Al Miller and Kent Rengo

Railroad Bridge Halts Tucker

The Capt. Ralph Tucker arrived off of Manistee around 8 a.m. Friday expecting to proceed upriver to General Chemical for a load of brine. The CSX Railroad Bridge over the Manistee River had other ideas.

The Tucker proceeded inbound, under the escort of fellow McKeil tug Evans McKeil when it was learned that the railroad bridge would not open. When the Tucker was abeam of Johnson's Funeral home her forward progress was safely stopped, and she kept station in the river without anchoring until 3 P.M. The bridge problem was described as electrical, and technicians from Grand Rapids, Michigan had completed the repairs in the early afternoon allowing the Tucker to pass.

The Tucker loaded and departed Manistee Saturday morning bound for Amherstburg. The tug/barge duo Tony Mackay / KTC 115 is expected back into Manistee the middle of the coming week.

The tugboat Evans McKeil has shifted her moorings from the General Chemical dock to the downtown area near the Elks. The vessel continues to conduct track maintenance in the Manistee area, keeping a path open through the ice.

Reported by: Chris Franckowiak

More Arrivals for lay-up in Sturgeon Bay

Saturday was a busy day for tugs, ships, and Boatnerds in Sturgeon Bay.

Selvick tugs pulled the Oglebay Norton out of the graving dock and rafted her next to the George A. Stinson. The Lee A. Tregurtha arrived Saturday morning and was stuck in ice as she waiting tug assistance after they were done moving the Oglebay Norton.

Shortly after noon the Mesabi Miner arrived off Lake Michigan and proceeded into the ship canal and stopped behind the stuck Lee A. Tregurtha. By late afternoon the Oglebay Norton was nearly in place and the Jimmy L. came to break ice in the ship canal around the Lee A. Tregurtha. Once free the Lee A. Tregurtha made her way through the Bayview bridge and towards Michigan Street with assistance from the Jimmy L.

The Mesabi Miner moved forward in the canal and also became stuck in ice near the spot the Lee A. Tregurtha was stuck. At 5 p.m. the Lee A. Tregurtha was approaching the Michigan Street Bridge, the Mesabi Miner was midway in the ship canal stuck in ice.

The Philip R. Clarke was out in Lake Michigan approaching Sturgeon Bay as was the Arthur M. Anderson. It was unsure at the time whether they would come into the ship canal or go to anchor in Lake Michigan.

Pictures by: Jason Leino
Jimmy L and William C pull the Oglebay Norton from the dry-dock
Close up of tugs and Oglebay Norton
Bows of the George A. Stinson and Oglebay Norton
Stuck in Ice
Lee A. stern shot underway in ship canal
Name board and battle ribbons
Jimmy L and Lee A. Tregurtha
Jimmy L arrives to break up ice in the ship canal
Mesabi Miner turning in Lake Michigan
Wide view on approach
Approaching the lighthouse
Entering the harbor
Stern view entering the ship canal
Mesabi Miner and Lee A. Tregurtha in the ship canal
Ice coated bow
Bow view of the Mesabi Miner in the ship canal
Philip R. Clarke and Arthur M. Anderson on Lake Michigan bound for Sturgeon Bay

Pictures by: Carl Grota
Lee Tregurtha in the canal just after being freed from the ice
Proceding through the Michigan Street Bridge at sundown
Mesabi Miner in the canal following the Lee Tregurtha
Philip Clarke on the horizon
Arthur M. Anderson awaiting transit through the ship canal

Reported by: Jason Leino, Carl Grota and Scott Best

Milwaukee Lay-up

The Stewart J. Cort arrived in Milwaukee for lay up on Saturday morning under sunny skies, but with a temperature of just 1 above zero.

Captain Dave Mathie skillfully brought the Cort into Milwaukee's heavy Lift dock so that only a minimum of ice flushing was required. The Port of Milwaukee's tug the Harbor Seagull made one pass down the side of the Cort to clear out any remaining ice and the Cort was home for the winter.

The Edgar B. Speer arrived that afternoon entering lay-up along side the Burns Harbor.

Pictures by Andy LaBorde
Cort arrives
Another view
Ice cover
Seagull flushing ice from the dock.
Another view
Pulling lines
Onboard the Cort showing Rebecca Lynn
Integrity in the background
Pictures by Dave Borzymowski
Speer arrives.
Fishing tug passes.
Backing in.

Reported by: Andy LaBorde

Undaunted visits Marinette

The tug Undaunted and her barge Pere Marquette 41 paid a very rare late season visit to Marinette Fuel & Dock in Marinette, WI last Sunday. The Undaunted was assisted and escorted through the heavy ice of Green Bay by the powerful tug Erika Kobasic.

The pair arrived off Menominee about 11PM Saturday evening and finally docked at Fuel & Dock at 2AM Sunday morning. About 9AM Sunday the Erika Kobasic took the small tug Escort up to Marinette Marine where it will remain until the launch of the USCG Alder on February 7.

Ice in the Menominee River was 6-8 inches thick last weekend and a week of below zero temps is thickening the ice very quickly. The Undaunted unloaded it cargo of pig iron and departed Marinette around 2PM Sunday afternoon again escorted by the Erika Kobasic. Ice was reported to be very heavy as far north as Cedar River then open water as far as Minneapolis Shoal. The Undaunted is a common visitor to Marinette with cargoes of pig iron and stone.

Arriving at MF&D with assistance from the Kobasic.
Docked with the Erika at Fuel & Dock.
Close up unloading pig iron
Departing Marinette
Erika Kobasic towing the Undaunted out of Marinette. (This was done so that the Undaunted did not have to move her rudder and risk damaging it in the heavy ice)
Wide view with Menominee Lighthouse
Erika turns on the power to make it through a windrow of ice at the mouth of the river
Erika Kobasic heading up the Menominee River to Marinette Marine.
Escort is towed by the Kobasic through heavy ice.
Another view heading up river
Stern view towing the Escort
Preparing to tow the Undaunted out of Marinette.
Pulling the Undaunted away from the dock.

Reported by: Scott Best

Lake Erie Report

The American republic entered layup Saturday in Cleveland at the G&W dock next to the Carter Road bridge.

The Gemini was outbound headed east that morning. She followed a track left by the Neah Bay who was escorting the Presque Isle to Erie.

Reported by: Rex Cassidy

Today in Great Lakes History - January 25

On January 25, 1988 L’ORME NO.1 was involved in an accident at Ultramar Refinery near Quebec City when attempting to tie up during foggy weather. She struck the dock and the impact started a fire that extensively damaged the wharf and the forward section of the ship.

Scrapping on the E. J. BLOCK began at Port Colborne on January 25, 1988.

The JOSHUA A. HATFIELD was launched January 25, 1923.

The W.C. RICHARDSON (2) was launched January 25, 1908 as the a) WAINWRIGHT.

On 25 January 1890, ALEX NIMICK (wooden propeller, 298', 1968 gt) was launched at W. Bay City, MI. She was built by J. Davidson (hull # 30).

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

Saginaw Likely Last Vessel at the Locks

For all intents and purposes, the commercial shipping season at the Soo Locks ended Friday with the early afternoon downbound passage of the steamer Saginaw. The vessel was stuck in the ice off Gros Cap earlier Friday and was assisted by the Coast Guard cutter Katmai Bay.

Saginaw was the only commercial vessel reported moving on the St. Marys River Friday. Due to ice conditions, Coast Guard and Soo Locks officials say it is unlikely any more traffic will request passage before the locks officially close at midnight Sunday.

The Saginaw followed the icebreaker Mackinaw through the frozen St. Marys River to the thickest ice area reported near Stribling Point, around the turn to Green point. She was in the lower river at Point Au Frennes by late afternoon. The Cutter Mackinaw was outbound at Detour about 5:20 p.m.

The Saginaw's arrival was delayed by strong northwest gales that swept the upper Great Lakes on Thursday. The upbound Cason J. Callaway cleared the locks on Thursday and later went to anchor to ride out the storm. She continued her trip to Duluth early Friday.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard is expected to close the West Neebish Channel (Rock Cut) so that an ice bridge may form, allowing residents of Neebish Island passage to the mainland. The ferry Neebish Islander II has been unable to run for almost a week due to broken ice blocking the channel and is now effectively laid-up for the winter.

Once they close officially on Sunday, the Soo Locks do not reopen until March 25. The locks were kept open an extra 10 days this winter to accommodate late-season demand for raw materials. However fast developing ice the past two weeks put a serious crimp in efforts by shippers to run right up to the closing bell.

Pictures by B. Barnes
Saginaw passing in -5 degree F weather, the low early Friday morning was -20 .
Close up of bow.
Katmai Bay.

Reported by: B. Barnes, Roger LeLievre, Jerry Masson and the Soo Evening News

Last Load at Marquette

The Michipicoten was the last ship of the season to arrive in Marquette for a load of ore. She arrived in the early afternoon on Friday, with several boatwatchers out to see her.

Michipicoten arriving in the harbor
Powering up
Coming in
First man over
Tying up on a snowy dock

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Minnesota mines have reserves but need resources

Minnesota's mining industry has enough taconite to mine for another 50 to 100 years if stakeholders can develop long-term policies to economically extract and process the low-grade ore.

An eight-member advisory committee, along with four state commissioners and appointees of Sen. Norm Coleman and Rep. Jim Oberstar, is charged with advising and making recommendations on the taconite industry's future to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

About 5 billion tons of iron ore reserves remain on the Iron Range. That compares with Michigan's reserves of less than 1 billion tons.

But the industry has obstacles to overcome, according to a report on mining issued Thursday.

The Fraser Institute, an independent economic, social and educational firm based in Vancouver, ranked Minnesota 44th out of 53 states, provinces and countries for its overall mining attractiveness.

The institute's policy potential index surveys mining companies and measures government policies, environmental laws, taxation, land and labor issues, and geological databases. Nevada was rated No. 1, followed by Chile, South Australia and Tasmania.

The committee plans to closely examine the competitiveness of Iron Range taconite producers in the national and international marketplace, the future of the domestic steel industry, taconite industry regulations, land use, taxation and royalties, research projects and public perception.

Reported by: Frank Frisk

Twin Ports Report

Edwin H. Gott arrived in Duluth mid-morning on Jan. 23. It eased through the ice into the port terminal berth 1 for winter lay up. A wheeled crane was already on site to begin winter work. A short time later, Kaye E. Barker arrived in port and proceeded into Fraser Shipyards with assistance of two tugs from Great Lakes Towing to break ice and help her into the drydock.

Reported by: Al Miller

Today in Great Lakes History - January 24

The JOHNSTOWN (2) was launched January 24, 1952.

SPRUCEGLEN was launched January 24, 1924 as a) WILLIAM K. FIELD.

The steel barge MADEIRA was launched on January 24, 1900.

In 1988, while under tow of tug EVEREST, the ENDERS M. VOORHEES encountered force 9 winds, parted her towline and went aground and subsequently broke in two at Profitis Elais, Kythnos Island (Thermia) in the Cyclades between the Mirto and Aegean Seas. She was on her way to Turkey for scrapping at the time.

Data from: Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

Bristol Bay Keeps Traffic Moving

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bristol Bay, the only icebreaker on the scene Thursday in the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair, was busy helping a variety of vessels.

Among those requiring assistance were the tugs Keewatin (towing) and Jerry G (pushing) with the barge NT 1803 bound for the Courtright Brine Dock.

Bristol Bay also helped out the Cuyahoga, stuck in ice near Algonac but bound eventually for Ojibway salt in Windsor. Cuyahoga is expected to load salt for delivery to Nicholson's dock across the Detroit River in Ecorse, Michigan. The Philip R. Clarke was downbound Thursday headed for the National Steel ore dock on Zug Island in Detroit. When she is done in Detroit, she will head to Sturgeon Bay for layup, as will the Arthur M. Anderson, which was also downbound in the river Thursday.

Other downbounders later in the day included CSL Laurentien (bound for Nanticoke with taconite), Canadian Transport (headed for Ashtabula) and the Canadian Progress. Presque Isle, also headed for Zug Island, was reported making slow progress between the Salt Dock and Light 23.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre and Mark Jackson

Recovery Efforts Suspended at Lake Erie Crash Site

Efforts to recover the wreckage of a small plane that crashed into Lake Erie were temporarily suspended Thursday due to bad weather. The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Samuel Risley, which is leading the recovery operation, returned to port to restock supplies and bring in additional equipment. The Risley departed downbound Thursday evening from the Morterm dock in Windsor heading back to the crash site.

Ontario Provincial Police divers have spent all week trying to pinpoint the wreckage of the downed Cessna which crashed Sunday en route from Pelee Island to nearby Windsor killing all 10 people aboard. Police say they're determined to quickly recover the bodies to allow their families some closure.

The Risley must proceed slowly to avoid disturbing the wreckage or becoming stuck on the shallow lake bottom. The water is 24 feet deep and the Risley is drawing 22 feet. A remote-controlled camera scouting the lake bottom ahead of the Risley is aiding in the search effort. The ship was also trying to avoid churning up silt at the lake bottom where the wreckage is sitting.

Part of the plane's ignition system and bits of the left wing were among the wreckage recovered from the surface of the lake. The thin, fractured ice on the water near the crash site is hampering efforts, said the Ontario Provincial Police officer in charge of dive operations.

"No ice at all is a good condition, and really thick, stable ice is a good condition to work on," said Sgt. Wayne MacPherson. "Unfortunately, we're halfway in between."

Reported by: Frank Frisk

Jackson Arrives for Lay-up

The Herbert C. Jackson arrived off Lake Michigan Wednesday evening. Tugs from Selvick Marine broke a track from the canal to Berth 9 at Bayship Building where the ship will remain for winter lay-up.

Pictures by Vic DeLarwelle
Wide view of bow and Bayship.
Stern view.

Pictures by Wendell Wilke
St. Clair arriving Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal.
George A. Stinson at her lay-up dock.

Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle

Twin Ports Report

Freed from the ice in the St. Marys River, the remaining active vessels of Great Lakes Fleet are proceeding to their final unloading ports and then going on to winter layup -- and twp boats will go to roost in some unexpected ports.

Here's the lineup:
--Edgar B. Speer is expected to arrive in Gary today, weather permitting, and then proceed to Milwaukee for layup. It originally was expected to spend the winter in Duluth.
--Edwin H. Gott is due at Duluth's port terminal at noon.
--Presque Isle was due at Detroit late Thursday. Once unloaded it will proceed to Erie, Penn., for layup.
--Arthur M. Anderson was due at Detroit late Thursday. It's due at Sturgeon Bay at 1 p.m. Saturday.
--Cason J. Callaway, which lightered three vessels in the river, was reported at anchor in Whitefish Bay waiting for weather. It will layup in the Twin Ports.
--Philip R. Clarke was due at Detroit on Thursday. It's due at Sturgeon Bay at noon Saturday.

The Twin Ports shipping season actually ended Wednesday when the steamer Saginaw departed the BNSF ore dock at 7:45 a.m.

As expected, the Paul R. Tregurtha has tied up for the winter at Midwest Energy Terminal. The vessel arrived in port Wednesday.

Because of the delay caused by ice problems at the Soo, the Edgar B. Speer and the Presque Isle reportedly have abandoned plans to lay up in Duluth.

The loss of the Speer and the Presque Isle to the Twin Ports layup fleet will be felt in the local economy. With the anticipated arrival of the Callaway and Kaye E. Barker, the Twin Ports winter fleet will total 10 vessels -- well below last year's 15.

On average, each laker contributes an estimated $500,000 to the local economy through repairs, maintenance, services and fitting out for a new season, Jim Sharrow, facilities manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, told the Duluth News Tribune. Thus, the five-ship decline could come at a cost of about $2.5 million for the Twin Ports' maritime community.

Even though ice conditions brought the season to an end several days sooner than anticipated, taconite industry officials said keeping the Soo Locks open beyond their scheduled closing date was beneficial to industry.

"Obviously, the extension was important first and foremost for steelmakers going into the non-shipping season," Frank Ongaro Jr., president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, told the Duluth News Tribune. "But the other big direct beneficiaries were taconite producers. These final shipments helped their cash flow.

"When pellets are sitting on the ground, no one is sending money to Minnesota," he said. "It's only when pellets are moving that money flows to us."

This year's Twin Ports winter fleet will be:
American Mariner - Hallett Dock, Duluth
Paul R. Tregurtha - Midwest Energy Terminal, Superior
Indiana Harbor - Seaway C (near the port terminal), Duluth
Roger Blough - Port Terminal, Duluth
Edwin H. Gott - Port Terminal (anticipated), Duluth
John J. Boland - Fraser Shipyards, Superior
John G. Munson - Fraser Shipyards, Superior
Cason J. Callaway - Fraser Shipyards (anticipated), Superior
Kaye E. Barker - Fraser Shipyards drydock (anticipated), Superior
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. - Lakehead Pipeline Dock (near Elevator M), Superior

Reported by: Al Miller

Marquette Pellet Figures Reflect Disappointing Season

When the steamer Michipicoten takes on the last load of iron ore pellets is scheduled to leave the Lake Superior & Ishpeming Railroad ore dock in Marquette's Upper Harbor at noon Friday, she'll be wrapping up a disappointing season in Marquette and elsewhere on the Great Lakes.

Iron ore tonnage shipped off the LS&I ore dock dropped from 7.8 million in 2002 to 7.1 million last year, said to Dale Hemmila, spokesman for Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc., which manages and has ownership interests in both the Tilden Mine and the Empire Mine in Palmer.

In 2003, the number of ships loaded at the Upper Harbor ore dock was 315, compared to the 321 loaded in 2002. In a story in the Marquette Mining Journal, Hemmila attributed the decline in tonnage to a low demand for pellets early last year plus the mid-May flooding in Marquette County which stopped shipments off the Upper Harbor ore dock.

Elsewhere on the Great Lakes, it was much the same story, said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications of the Lake Carriers Association. "I can say that we finished on a strong note. So that was positive," he told the newspaper. "But overall, it was an off year on the lakes. We had some ships that never sailed."

According to information compiled by the LCA, all U.S.-flagged ships carried 92.5 million tons of cargo on the Great Lakes in 2003. That's down from 101.5 million tons from the previous year, Nekvasil said.

On specific cargo, 42.2 million tons of iron ore pellets were carried by U.S.-flagged vessels in 2003, down from 48.2 million tons in 2002. About 23 million tons of fluxstone, a type of limestone used as a purifying agent in steel production, was carried in 2003, down from 26.5 million tons the previous year. Nekvasil blamed the overall decrease in tonnage on the failure of the U.S. steel industry to rebound

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Difficult Ice Conditions Slow Shipping Activities

The sub zero temperatures over the past weeks and a winter storm over the weekend has put pressure on Icebreaking operations and shipping around Quebec City.

Movements of ships have been slow and on Tuesday the containership Cast Prospect required the assistance of the big Canadian Coast Guard Ice Breaker Des Groseilliers. Both ships had to wait for the flood tide to proceed safely under the two bridges west of Quebec City.

Coast-Guard officials stated that ice coverage was 10/10 on the St. Lawrence River in the area with brash ice from 2 to 4 meters thick. From St-Nicolas to the Bridges, a six miles distance, there was no ice movement observed although it was the ebb tide.

Daily helicopter flights along with cameras and radar set up on bridges monitor the ice conditions in the area near the bridges.

The ferries operating between Levis and Quebec City have also been experiencing at times many delays while ferrying the ice congested channel.

Last week end, with a strong North-eastern winter storm prevailing, the pilots boats operating at Les Escoumins Pilot Station ( 130 miles east of Quebec City) were unable to proceed with embarkment and disembarkment of pilots due to the ice congested north shoreline. With such adverse conditions, Pilots are handled by the ports of Baie Comeau or Sept-Iles.

Ice breaker Des Groseilliers docking in St-Charles River Quebec Harbor.
Departing St. Charles River for patrol.
Underway abeam Quebec City for the bridges.
Pierre Radisson docked in Quebec City.
Ferry Alphonse Desjardin in sub-zero temperatures.
Ferry Felix Antoine Savard in winter snow storm.
Winter pilot boat Ocean Charlie heading for Quebec Pilot Station.

Reported by: Frederick Frechette

Today in Great Lakes History - January 23

The GEORGE A. STINSON struck a wall of the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, MI on January 23, 1979. The damage was estimated at $200,000.

The rail car ferry GRAND HAVEN sailed on her first trip as a roll on/roll off carrier from Port Burwell on January 23, 1965 loaded with 125 tons of coiled steel bound for Cleveland and Walton Hills, OH.

January 23, 1980 - Protesting the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, workers refused to unload the Russian freighter KHUDOZHNKI PAKHOMOV docked at Dow Chemical in Ludington.

Data from: Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Ice Blockade Ends With Release of Speer

After three days of Herculean effort, the 1,000-footer Edgar B. Speer was finally freed from the ice at the Rock Cut Wednesday afternoon, thanks to the help of the tugs Reliance, Joyce L. VanEnkevort, Missouri and Joseph H. Thompson Jr.

That was welcome news for a flotilla of nine downbound vessels waiting behind the Speer. Stopped vessels included Arthur M. Anderson, Stewart J. Cort, CSL Laurentien, Presque Isle, Philip R. Clarke, Joseph H Thompson, Canadian Transfer, Canadian Progress and James R Barker, all of which immediately resumed their delayed trips to the lower lakes Wednesday afternoon.

The Speer became lodged in the ice Sunday, wedged into the narrow channel that runs between Neebish Island and the mainland, about 15 miles downstream from the Soo Locks. Previous efforts – including towing the Speer through the ice – by the USCS icebreaker Mackinaw – were unsuccessful Monday and Tuesday.

In was not clear from reports whether the loaded Speer was hung up on a mass of ice on the channel bottom, another large ice mass alongside, or both. Heavily loaded vessels leave very little clearance between the bottom of the ship and channel bottom.

The Rock Cut is a narrow, man-made channel that carries downbound vessels past the west side of Neebish Island (upbound vessels use the Middle Neebish channel on the island’s east side). The Rock Cut can easily fill to the bottom with broken ice, a problem that worsens with each passing vessel.

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced that the Rock Cut is now closed for the season, and all vessels will use the upbound channel. Three vessels loaded too deeply for the shallower upbound channel (Presque Isle, CSL Laurentien and Stewart J. Cort) offloaded a part of their cargos Wednesday into the Cason J. Callaway to raise their drafts by about a foot each.

Wednesday night the James R. Barker was the last of the downbound vessels to clear the backlog of ships in the lower river . The Joseph H Thompson Jr and Cason J Calloway will remain in the Soo over night as heavy snowfall reduced visibility in the area. The Thompson will also off load cargo into the Callaway to make the downbound trip.

Once clear of the Soo, the Callaway will sail upbound for Duluth and lay-up with the cargoes onboard.

While the tugs were working on the Speer, the icebreakers Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay were working the upbound track in order to ease the passage of the downbound vessels.

In order to help the Speer, the tug Joseph H. Thompson Jr. dropped its barge, Joseph H. Thompson, at the Sault’s Carbide Dock and headed downriver Tuesday night. Joyce L. VanEnkevort left its barge, Great Lakes Trader, at anchor near Watson’s Reef.

No cargo was taken off the Speer during the operation.

Meanwhile, Neebish Island remains isolated from the mainland, thanks to the broken ice clogging the channel preventing the ferry Neebish Islander II from making its run.

Reported by: Jerry Masson, Roger LeLievre and B. Barnes

Photos by B. Barnes
Canadian Progress, downbound.
Close up of bow.
Barge Joseph H. Thompson at the Carbide Dock. The tug left the barge and went to assist with freeing the Speer.
Stewart Cort unloading into the Callaway.
Joseph H Thompson Jr. headed back to the Soo passes by the Cort.
Great Lakes Towing tug Missouri.
Tug Joseph Thompson Jr. passes the Sugar Island Ferry.
Stern view.
Tug coming around the barge to join up with the barge.
Rejoined and waiting to offload.
USCG aerial view showing the Mackinaw working with the Speer.

Twin Ports Report

Although the Edgar B. Speer was finally moving again late Wednesday, it's not out of the woods - or rather, the ice - just yet. Great Lakes Fleet reported the Speer downbound late Wednesday afternoon but said the vessel likely would anchor off Mackinac Island since winds had closed the ice track through the Straits of Mackinac.

High winds forecast for Lake Superior overnight Wednesday were expected to prompt the Edwin H. Gott to anchor behind the Keweenaw Peninsula. The vessel had no eta for Duluth.

Among the other GLF boats:
-- Presque Isle was reported waiting in the St. Mary's River on Wednesday afternoon with no eta for Detroit.
--Arthur M. Anderson was reported moving downbound with an eta for Detroit of sometime today, weather and ice permitting.
--Philip R. Clarke was in the convoy of downbound vessels behind the Anderson, also with an eta of today for Detroit.

The Cason J. Callaway was reported as "lightering vessels in the St. Marys River" with no eta for Duluth.

In the Twin Ports, Paul R. Tregurtha arrived for layup on the afternoon of Jan. 21. As darkness fell about 5 p.m., the vessel was backing through thick ice in the turning basin off the Duluth port terminal, apparently bound for the Midwest Energy Terminal dock for layup.

Reported by: Al Miller

Final Load

The Kaye E. Barker brought a final load of coal for the season to the WE Presque Isle Power Plant on Wednesday. The windows on her forward cabins were already covered, ready for lay-up.

If weather permits, the Michipicoten will make one more trip for a load of ore for Algoma Steel.

Kaye Barker unloading coal.
Icy bow.
Windows on forward cabins covered.

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Steamship Mather Museum Seeks Restoration and Maintenance Volunteers

The Steamship William G. Mather Museum is about to undergo some intriguing changes over the next several years, so they are preparing now to increase their Volunteer Restoration and Maintenance Crew. Whether you know how to weld or know how to hold a brush, they will train you based on your interests and abilities to maintain and/or restore their floating 618-foot, flagship freighter now permanently moored as a maritime museum at Cleveland’s East Ninth Street Pier.

Restoration and Maintenance Volunteers come from all walks of life and have many different levels of abilities. If you have an interest in any of these areas (painting, plumbing, electrical, welding, carpentry, restoration, general maintenance) and are willing to learn and/or share your area of expertise with other Mather crew, then they welcome you to contact them about available volunteer opportunities.

Restoration and Maintenance Volunteers come aboard on Saturdays all year-long, with some working on long-term projects and others doing what is needed that day. Based on mutual needs, other scheduling arrangements can be made. They also serve a hearty “steamboat dinner” to the volunteer crew every Saturday at lunch-time, which gives new volunteers a chance to get to know some veteran volunteers who have been coming aboard for over a decade.

Interested individuals should contact the Mather’s Operations Manager and Shipkeeper, Bill Mc Donald, at 216-574-9053 or You can also visit their website at for more information.

Reported by: Rex Cassidy

Today in Great Lakes History - January 22

The c) WOODLAND (b. JENSEN STAR) was sold to International Capital Equipment of Canada and cleared off Lakes from Montreal January 22, 1991 under the Bahamian flag with the modified name to d) WOODLANDS .

The GOLDEN HIND was sold on January 22, 1973 to Trico Enterprises Ltd., Hamilton, Bermuda (Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. Ltd., Thorold, Ont., mgr.)

January 22, 1913 - The SAINTE MARIE (2) was launched.

Data from: Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

Speer Freed from Rock Cut

01/21 2:40 p.m. Update

After spending several days stuck in the Rock Cut the Edgar B Speer reported in downbound at Junction Buoy in the lower St Marys River Wednesday afternoon. After a brief stop to drop off ship personnel, the Speer will resume its trip downbound. The tug Joseph H. Thompson Jr. will return to the Carbide Dock to retrieve  her barge. The tug Joyce L Van Enkevort departed rock cut and is now downbound.  Check back tomorrow for more details.

Original Report

The Edgar B. Speer remains frozen fast in the ice at the Rock Cut where she has been for three days. The Purvis tug Reliance from Sault, Ont., was called in on Tuesday, and reports late Tuesday indicate the tug Joseph H. Thompson Jr. may be enroute to the scene to assist as well. Thompson left her barge at the Carbide Dock in the Sault Tuesday and proceeded downriver  solo.  Attempts the day before by the USCG icebreaker Mackinaw to tow the Speer through the ice were unsuccessful.

Behind the Speer, a fleet of 10 downbound vessels wait to continue their trips to the lower lakes and winter lay-up. Other stopped vessels included Arthur M. Anderson, Stewart J. Cort, CSL Laurentien, Presque Isle, Philip R. Clarke, Joseph H Thompson Jr., Canadian Transfer, Canadian Progress, Roger Blough and James R Barker.

According to a story Tuesday in the Sault Evening News, the Speer’s officers reported a huge mass of ice effectively “welded” to the Speer’s hull above water. Below water, Coast Guard officials suspect the ship was also lodged on a frozen mount of ice attached to the channel bottom.

In addition to the Speer’s predicament, the heavy ice jamming the Rock Cut is preventing the ferry Neebish Islander II from making her regular run across the channel.

Coast Guard officials were reportedly considering diverting the downbound vessels behind Speer around Neebish Island via the normal upbound channel to the east of Neebish Island, however at least two of the downbound vessels were loaded too deep for the shallow upbound route.

Reported by: B. Barnes

Stewart J.Cort
Cort (stern view at Six Mile Point)
Cort (broadside)
Arthur M. Anderson
Anderson (another view)
CSL Laurentien


Season Ends at Twin Ports


With ice causing major problems in the St. Marys River, the last five vessels scheduled to load at the BNSF ore dock in Supeior have been cancelled, marking an end to the 2003-2004 shipping season in the Twin Ports.

BNSF finished loading the Saginaw on Tuesday but loads have been cancelled for Cason J. Callaway, John G. Munson, Stewart J. Cort, Burns Harbor and Paul R. Tregurtha. The only vessel still expected to load at the head of the lakes is the Presque Isle, which will take on its usual partial cargo in Two Harbors before laying up for the winter in Duluth.

The Twin Ports winter fleet grew quickly Tuesday with the arrival during the morning of Indiana Harbor, which laid up at the Seaway (Garfield) C dock in Duluth. She was followed about 11 a.m. by Roger Blough, which took on fuel before laying up at the port terminal. About noon the John G. Munson arrived and proceeded into Fraser Shipyards for layup. Paul R. Tregurtha was expected later in the day to lay up at Midwest Energy Terminal and American Mariner arrived for layup Tuesday at the Hallett Dock.

The vessels from Great Lakes Fleet that haven't laid up were last reported battling ice in the St. Marys River or waiting for traffic to resume there. Edgar B. Speer was still beset in the river at the lower end of Rock Cut; Edwin H. Gott was upbound at Detour bound for layup in Duluth; Presque Isle and Arthur M. Anderson were waiting in the St. Marys River for traffic to resume; Cason J. Callaway was upbound in the river ahead of the Gott bound for layup at Fraser Shipyards; and Philip R. Clarke was stopped above the Soo waiting for traffic to resume.

In other layup news, Kaye E. Barker reportedly was upbound in the St. Marys River. The Barker is expected to go into drydock at Fraser Shipyards.

Reported by: Al Miller


Heavy Ice in St. Clair River


Sheet ice began piling up in the St Clair River between Marine City and Algonac Tuesday making passage difficult. The U.S. Coast Guard was called into assist Tug Barge combinations make way. Ice build up seemed especially heavy around the Algonac State Park area.

Reported by: Glenn Terbush
Neah Bay at dusk.
Tug Keewatin and barge
Tug and barge working in the ice


Port Roundup


The Atlantic Erie berthed at PASCOL Engineering for winter lay-up on Jan.19, the last vessel to arrive for the season.

Reported by: Tom Stewart

The extended season saw the Michipicoten loading at Marquette on Tuesday. Because of the cold weather she is being loaded from the trains.  She is expected to return, weather permitting, for one more load. The Kaye E. Barker is also due with a load of coal.

Reported by: Lee Rowe
Michipicoten’s icy bow
Wider view at the dock with ore dust flying.
Chutes down. 

The George A. Stinson and  St. Clair are now safely in layup at Sturgeon Bay. The Tug Jimmy L. broke ice in the canal and bay for several hours  prior to arrival of the Stinson and St. Clair. The ice is about 1 foot thick, crystal clear blue ice, with about 3" of snow  on top of the Ice, which makes the Ice very hard. and hard to get through.

Reported by: Vic Delarwelle and Jason Leino

Photos by Vic Delarwelle
Stinson in Sturgeon Bay ship canal.
Stinson wears an ice moustache.

Photos by Jason Leino
Bayship layup fleet at night.
George A. Stinson at night.
Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann arrvive for layup.
Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder
Oglebay Norton and tug Bayship.
Tug Jimmy L breaking ice.
Selvick tugs hard at work.
Oglebay Norton eases toward the graving dock


Winter Work at Welland Canal


The Welland Canal is getting $16 million (Can) worth of repairs this winter, reports the Welland Tribune.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation has begun an Asset Renewal Program on the canal with projects including improvements to locks, communications facilities, power systems and entrance walls.  In addition, major maintenance and upgrades on a number of bridges which cross the canal is planned or already underway.

Bridge renovations and upgrades include:

The Clarence Street, Port Colborne: The bridge will be completely upgraded this winter but remain open to traffic except for today and Wednesday when it will close for the removal and installation of equipment. To commission the bridge a three-day closure will be needed in March.

The new control system will greatly improve the operation of the bridge and further enhance public safety with new lighting and cameras.

Other projects include The Jackknife Bridge, (Bridge 19) Port Colborne: The bridge will remain open during the winter but Bridge 19A will be closed until January 31 to facilitate the construction of new stop log slots at the south end of Lock 8. The upper set of the mitre gates in Lock 8 will also be painted this winter, completing the 10-year $15 million gate interior painting program.

The Homer Bridge will receive a fresh coat of paint to ensure that its steel structure will be protected from corrosion. The bridge will be closed from January 9-March 12.

The Carlton Street Bridge has undergone electrical and mechanical upgrades.

The The Glendale Bridge will see replacement of the drive machinery to complete the mechanical rehabilitation of the bridge.

The Allanburg Bridge will reopen next week following the installation of safety railings on the bridge counterweight. The approach roads to the bridge were also repaired at the same time.

Reported by: Bill Bird


Canadian Ferries Moving Without Trouble


As winter closes its icy grip on eastern Lake Ontario, the MTO car ferries are reporting no problems. The Quinte Loyalist at Glenora is moving freely in her track as is the Frontenac II to Amherst Island. The Wolfe Islander III has moved to her winter dock at Dawson Point on Wolfe Island, departing Marysville on Friday night at 1:20 a.m.

"It took us about an hour to break our way down to the point from Kingston," reported Captain Bob Woodman. "We touched the fenders at Dawson Point at 3:05 a.m." All five air compressors are up and running, supplying air bubbles for the three mile ferry track to Wolfe Island.

The ferry to Simcoe Island from Wolfe Island has tied up for the season due to ice conditions. Residents of Simcoe Island will walk or drive the 1/4 mile across the channel.

The Frontenac County Ferry to Howe Island has a clear track and also reports no problems.

Reported by: Brian Johnson


Ex-Roger Stahl Busy at Key West


The tug Capt. Diane was spotted in Key West, FL on January 12. Now  owned by Florida Keys Harbor Services. The tug was better known on  the lakes as the Roger Stahl. The Capt. Diane keeps busy in the Keys  assisting cruise ships and has already done two salvage and rescue  jobs in the area. The trip from Detroit to the Keys took a total of 38  days last year. Only 19 days were actual sailing days due to  weather delays.

Also located in Key West is the world's only operating WWII PT boat. Seven other PT boats are located in various museums, but PT-728 is the only one that still makes daily runs. The 3 original Merlin aircraft engines that propelled these fighting machines at 60+ mph are long gone, but PT-728 can still make 21 mph today.

Palmer Johnson's last yacht, the Milk & Honey, was spotted at a marina on the New River in Ft. Lauderdale Jan. 11.

Reported by: Andy LaBorde
Capt. Diane
Capt. Diane (stern view)
Milk & Honey


Today in Great Lakes History - January 21

On this day on 1959 gale force winds and ice at Buffalo, NY caused the steamer Mac GILVRAY SHIRAS to break lose from its moorings and on the way down the Buffalo River collided with the MICHAEL K. TEWKSBURY and severed her moorings. Both vessels crashed into the Michigan Avenue Bridge causing millions of dollars in damages.

On 21 January 1895, CHICORA (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 199', 1123 gt, built in 1892 at Detroit) was bound from Milwaukee for St. Joseph on a mid-winter run. She foundered with little trace. All 25 on board were lost. The ship's dog was found wandering on the beach by St. Joseph, MI a few days later. A well organized search for the wreck continued until mid-June. Many small pieces of wreckage were washed ashore in the Spring.

On January 21, 1978 the Multifood Elevator #4 at Duluth, MN caught fire and collapsed onto the deck of the HARRY L. ALLEN which was laid up beneath the elevator. Her pilothouse was destroyed by fire. Severe warping and cracking of her plating occurred when cold water was poured onto her red-hot deck.

Data from: Brian Wroblewski, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Speer Blocks Channel, Soo Shipping at a Standstill


Ice has locked the St. Marys River down right. Downbound traffic was at a standstill Monday. Edgar B Speer has not moved after two days of battling ice in the lower river at the Rock Cut, which in turn has stopped all traffic. The U.S. Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw and Katmai Bay have been working, trying to get the 1,000-footer moving. A special tow rope was attached to Mackinaw, but the ice held its winter grip. The two icebreakers have stopped for the nite and will resume in the morning. Behind the Speer are 10 downbounders hove to and anchored in the lower and upper river. Downbound traffic consists of Edgar B. Speer, Arthur M. Anderson, Stewart J. Cort, CSL Laurentien, Presque Isle, Philip R. Clarke, Joseph H Thompson Jr., Canadian Transfer, Canadian Progress, Roger Blough and James R Barker.

There were two upbounds in the system Monday: Kaye E. Barker and Edwin H. Gott. The Barker was stuck twice in the lower river needing icebreaker assistance and a third time in the upper river. Although she was able to break out, she was reported stuck again at 10:15 p.m.

Reported by Jerry Masson

Photos by Paul Hoffmeyer

 Katmai Bay clearing brash ice below the Mackinaw and Speer at the Neebish Island downbound Rock Cut channel.
Workers on the bow of the Speer with a rope looking down at the Mackinaw while attemping to attach a cable between the two.
Another view attaching the cable.
The ice breaker Mackinaw backing to the Speer.
Arthur M. Anderson downbound above the Soo Locks Sunday.
Stewart J. Cort locking through at the Soo Sunday.
Close-up of ice on the deck of the Cort.


Twin Ports Report


With ice in the St. Marys River holding up several of its vessels, Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet apparently is sending it boats into winter lay up several days earlier than anticipated.

Last weekend several GLF boats were still listed on the schedules of the ore docks in Two Harbors or Superior. But by Monday, several of those trips apparently had been canceled, with Presque Isle remaining as the only vessel scheduled to load in Two Harbors, with an arrival date of Friday.

According to the fleet, Roger Blough is due to arrive in Duluth today to fuel and then lay up at the port terminal. John G. Munson also is scheduled to arrive today at Fraser Shipyards in Superior for layup. Edwin H. Gott is due at the port terminal on Thursday to lay up. Cason J. Callaway was listed as due at Sturgeon Bay on Wednesday to lay up.

The fleet's other vessels were all battling the ice in the St. Marys River on Monday. Edgar B. Speer was stopped in the St. Marys River due to ice. Presque Isle was stopped in the St. Marys River due to ice, with no ETA for Detroit. Arthur M. Anderson also was stopped in the ice with no ETA for Gary. The downbound Philip R. Clarke, loaded with pellets for Gary, was stopped in Whitefish Bay waiting for traffic in the rivers to clear.

In the Twin Ports, Midwest Energy Terminal ended the season Sunday when the Canadian Transport departed. The only active dock is BNSF ore dock. James R. Barker and Burns Harbor were expected there, but that is likely in question now due to the ice situation at the Soo. Cason J. Callaway had been scheduled to be the last boat of the season at BNSF, but, as mentioned earlier, it was instead ordered into layup. The only other traffic now will be boats coming in for winter layup. Among them, Paul R. Tregurtha is expected today, most likely to lay up at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Reported by: Al Miller

Photos by: Glenn Blaskiewicz
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. at Superior Sunday, with crews working on its starboard prop.
Lee A. Tregurtha loading at Two Harbors Sunday.


Southdown Challenger In for the Winter


Southdown Challenger arrived at her lay-up dock in Milwaukee on the 14th of January. The deck dept. went home on the 15th and the engine room and galley crew will get off on the 30th of January. An early fit out date is expected, rumor has it possibly March 1.

Reported by: John Cull


No Hope of Survivors From Plane Crash


The search was called off Sunday for survivors of a commuter plane that crashed into the Lake Erie Saturday eevening, leaving 10 people presumed dead, eight of whom were men returning from a hunting trip.

 “No survivors were found at the site, and it is now believed that all 10 people on board the plane are deceased,” the Transportation Safety Board of Canada said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

 The pilot of the Georgian Express plane, a regularly scheduled commuter flight, issued a distress call shortly after takeoff en route to Windsor. A U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker, the Neah Bay, reached the wreckage late Saturday. The plane is in about 24 feet of water. The Canadian Coast Guard Cutter Samuel Risley passed through the St. Clair and Detroit rivers headed for the scene on Sunday afternoon.

 Reported by: Al Miller


Port Roundup


Atlantic Huron arrived in Goderich Sunday for layup. Cuyahoga is bound for Goderich to load another cargo of salt.

Wilfred Sykes arrived at the entrance to the Rouge River at 8 p.m. Sunday, headed for Rouge Steel with taconite from Marquette. When she departs, her next port of call will be Escanaba.

 Kaye E. Barker was  bound for Marquette Sunday with coal and then on the Superior, Wisc., for winter layup. H. Lee White was downbound in the Detroit River Sunday  evening, headed to layup at Toledo.

 Reported by: Grant Culbert, Frank Frisk

Sykes, Risely photos by: Don Detloff
Wilfred Sykes at Algonac (broadside). Note the spiffy new paint job.
Sykes, another view
Sykes, bow
Sykes, stern
Samuel Risley at Algonac.

Atlantic Huron photos by: Grant Culbert
Atlantic Huron arriving at Goderich for layup.
View shows grain storage hulls Willowglen and Teakglen (left) and Atlantic Huron.
Atlantic Huron close up.


Sunday at the Soo


Today’s river traffic was light Sunday with four downbounds and two upbounds in the lower river. American Mariner went through earlier while Michipicoten was slowed at Johnsons Point and finally stopped .Backing down a few times she finally broke out and with the help of an icebreaker widening the track was freed. Michipicoten was bound for Algoma Steel. Saginaw will depart Algoma for Duluth, but go to anchor in Whitefish Bay with American Mariner ,Canadian Transport, Indiana Harbor and Roger Blough. Downbound in the lower river was Edgar B. Speer, Arthur M. Anderson,.CSL Laurentian and Stewart J Cort.

Reported by: Jerry Masson


Today in Great Lakes History - January 19

On 19 January 1824, the Welland Canal Company was incorporated to build the first Welland Canal.

The DAVID M. WHITNEY (steel propeller freighter, 412', 4626 gt) was launched on 19 January 1901 by the Detroit Ship Building Company (hull #138) in Wyandotte, Michigan for the Gilchrist Transportation Company of Cleveland, Ohio. She lasted until 1969 when she was scrapped in Spain when she was named BUCKEYE.

January 19, 1927 - The Grand Trunk carferry MADISON was christened with a bottle of Wisconsin milk. She entered service in March of 1927.

CLARENCE B. RANDALL (2) was towed to Windsor on January 19, 1987 for scrapping.

Data from: Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Ten Missing in Lake Erie Plane Crash


U.S. Coast Guard helicopters and the cutter Neah Bay rushed to the waters off Pelee Island on Saturday evening to search for 10 people believed to have been aboard a private plane that crashed shortly after take-off on a flight from Peele Island to Windsor, Ont.

A Coast Guard helicopter was at the scene of the crash half a mile west of Pelee Island. Two more helicopters and the Neah Bay were on their way to the crash site to assist.

Early reports stated that no survivors had been located. The area was covered with ice, and water temperature was 32 degrees.

Canadian authorities told the U.S. Coast Guard that the pilot of the Georgia Express charter plane made a frantic call for help shortly before contact was lost. Soon after, a Canadian man called Canadian authorities to say he thought he saw a plane crash into the ice-covered waters of the lake.

Reported by: Al Miller


Sarnia, St. Clair River Roundup


The Gordon Marine tug Menasha departed the Government Dock in Sarnia this morning to once again break ice out of the North Slip in preparation for the arrival of the Nanticoke which was bound for winter lay up. Nanticoke is at the south east end of the North Slip astern of the Maumee. The Calumet is rafted to the port side of the Maumee.
The Menasha received a call for assistance from the USCGS Bristol Bay in the upper St. Clair River. Apparently the Bristol Bay experienced problems with one engine and called on Capt. Don Gordon and the Menasha to assist them in docking in Port Huron until repairs could be completed. The Menasha then returned to the North Slip to break up ice where the Nanticoke was to dock. While the Menasha flushed the ice away, the Nanticoke used her winches and engines to slowly position herself at the dock for lay up.
At the Government Dock, the Northern Transportation tug Keewatin was preparing to sail. The Keewatin, which has been in lay up since December 19, was expected to depart Sarnia downbound for Windsor late Saturday afternoon. The Keewatin which has been pushing the barge Stone Merchant, will take over the duties of tug Jerry G. pushing the barge NT1803 on the brine run for General Chemical between Amherstburg and the brine loading barge/dock Erie West located in the St.Clair River at Courtright. The Keewatin, which is powered by three engines, should have a much easier time working through the heavy ice in the St. Clair and Detroit rivers and Lake St. Clair. The Jerry G. remains on standby status in the lower Detroit River. Keewatin will sail light tug from Sarnia to the Morterm Terminal in Windsor to pick up her barge and then turn upbound to load in Courtright.
With heavy snow, poor visibility and increasing amounts of ice from lower Lake Huron and south, Saturday was an arduous day for navigation. The upbound George A. Stinson experienced heavy ice conditions north of the Blue Water bridges after fueling at Shell Oil in Corunna, on Friday evening, and the St. Clair made a very slow transit upbound from Detroit, requiring the assistance of the tug Manitou above the Blue Water Bridge.

Just before 21:00, the Michipicoten proceeded up under the Blue Water Bridge but had problems just north of there when it hit heavy packed ice. She had a difficult time turning at buoys 1 and 2, going full power to do so. She proceeded up to buoys 11 and 12 where she had to stop for a short time to allow the water intakes to be cleared of ice.

Other traffic late Saturday included the upbound Mesabi Miner and Atlantic Huron. The Cuyahoga was expected to pass downbound with salt from Goderich shortly after midnight.

Reported by: Barry Hiscocks, Jamie Kerwin


Twin Ports Report


Walter J. McCarthy Jr. arrived in Superior early Saturday to lay up at the old Lakehead Pipeline Co. dock, just east of Elevator M. By late morning, an excavator and a wheeled crane were working near the vessel's stern, apparently burying its anchor. The McCarthy has laid up in the Twin Ports often over the past 20 years, but generally at Midwest Energy Terminal or the port terminal. This is the first time in at least 20 years, if not ever, that the vessel has laid up at the seldom-used Lakehead dock. The Lakehead dock, which is a grass-covered strip of land now, once was used to load Canadian tankers before Lakehead Pipeline was extended to Chicago.
Canadian Progress arrived in Duluth about 10 a.m. after plowing through loose, wind-blown ice off shore. This is the first lake ice to appear off Duluth and it apparently had blown in from somewhere down the lake. The Canadian Progress proceeded through the harbor to load at Midwest Energy Terminal, followed a couple hours later by the Paul R. Tregurtha. Canadian
Progress finished and departed the dock after 5 p.m., cautiously using her spotlight to illuminate the corner of the port terminal as the vessel plowed through ice in the turning basin near the Blatnik Bridge. Also occupying the turning basin was the Tregurtha, which was already in position to back up St. Louis Bay into the coal dock berth as soon as the Canadian Progress cleared. Also approaching the turning basin from the Front Channel was a tug, apparently the Joseph H. Thompson Jr.
Midwest Energy is expected to end the season today when it loads Canadian Transport with coal for Nanticoke.
Reported by: Al Miller


Soo Traffic


Upbound vessels on Saturday included the John G. Munson, H. Lee White (she later turned around and headed back downbound for layup in Toledo), Atlantic Erie, Roger Blough, Canadian Transport, Saginaw and Indiana Harbor. Downbound in convoy on Saturday, after spending the night awaiting icebreaker assistance, were Edwin H. Gott, David Z. Norton, Algonova, Mississagi, Middletown, Canadian Olympic, Wilfred Sykes and H Lee White. Still above locks late Saturday evening awaiting passage were Great Lakes Trader, Edgar B. Speer, CSL Laurentian, Presque Isle, Stewart J. Cort and Arthur M Anderson. The cutter Samuel Risley, originally called to help out on the St. Marys River, has been detoured to Lake Erie to help in the search for survivors of a Saturday night plane crash..

Reported by: Jerry Masson


Great Lakes Captains to Host Annual Industry Day Conference


The Great Lakes Captains Association will host Industry Days 2004 edition, January 22, 23 and 24 at the Holiday Inn, Traverse City, MIich.  Room rates are $55 per night.  The phone number for the Holiday Inn is (800) 888-8020. Be sure and identify yourselves as attendees of Industry Days.  s it has been for the last several years, the cost to attend all three days is $60.

For registration and Conference information, please contact Jack Cork at; 906-632-3891, Fax: 906-632-0615, or, or Charlie Lampman at 906-635-0624, or

Reported by Charlie Lampman


Today in Great Lakes History - January 18

TheCABOT was refloated on January 18, 1967. On December 16, 1966 while loading at Montreal, the CABOT rolled over on her side and sank. The Cabot's stern section, used in the interim as the stern section of the b) Canadian Explorer, now sails as the stern section of c) Canadian Transfer.

The MONDOC (3) had her Canadian registry closed on January 18, 1979. The vessel had been renamed b) CORAH ANN and sold to Jamaican company.

National Steamship Co. was incorporated January 18, 1906.

L. P. Mason and Company of E. Saginaw, Michigan sold the steam barge PORTER CHAMBERLAIN (wooden steam barge, 134', 257 gt, built in 1874 at Marine City, MI) on 18 January 1888 to Comstock Brothers and L. & H. D. Churchill of Alpena, Michigan.

Data from: Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


St. Clair River Ice Causing Problems


Saturday morning traffic on the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair included the downbound Cason J. Callaway and Capt. Ralph Tucker and the upbound St. Clair and American Mariner. Vessels were reporting difficulty with heavy  ice between the St. Clair Crib light and Light 32 in Lake St. Clair. Around 10:30 a.m., St. Clair hove to in ice to allow the Tucker and the Callaway to pass her position before continuing upbound.

After fueling at Sterling in Windsor, Michipicoten is expected to head upbound around noon.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre


Samuel Risley to Join Ice Battle at Soo


At 1600 Friday, Cason J. Callaway made it out of the Rock Cut and finally checked out at DeTour.  The Burns Harbor was beset at Six Mile Point. The Edwin H. Gott was frozen in around Nine Mile Point and the Katmai Bay was heading there to find hard ice to wait out the night (it shouldn't be hard with temperatures somewhere between -14 and -21 overnight).

A downbound convoy waiting above the locks was ready to go after the final upbound lockage late Friday afternoon. It was a busy day at the locks for the first convoy of upbounds with escort Biscayne Bay. Downbound traffic was hove to in the ice waiting most of the day to lock into the lower river. Vessels included Mississagi, Burns Harbor, Middletown, Canadian Olympic, Wilfred Sykes and Great Lakes Trader.

Once the convoy is locked down, vessels will remain until morning for icebreaker assistance. Meanwhile,, the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Samuel Risley is expected on scene shortly to help out shipping on the St. Marys.
Reported by: Jerry Masson, Linda Stoetzer, James Carrick

Photos taken Thursday at DeTour by Cathy Kohring
Philip R. Clarke upbound near DeTour
Roger Blough (-19 degrees below, solid ice all the way over to Canada in the background.)
Atlantic Erie coming around Gaffney Point just at sunrise enveloped in sea-smoke.
Atlantic Erie upbound and soon to be stopped up at Lime Island right behind the Blough.


Port Roundup


Marquette saw both the Lee A. Tregurtha and James R. Barker loading on a cold Friday.  The harbor has begun icing over, something that hasn't happened this early in the year in a while.

A broken reclaimer at the Escanaba ore dock caused a nearly five-day delay for the Herbert C. Jackson. She finally finished her load and got underway Friday. Next in line was the Joseph L. Block, loading taconite for Indiana Harbor.

In Cleveland Friday, the Mesabi Miner unloaded ore at the Cleveland Bulk Terminal. The American Republic was loading ore for the ISG shuttle.

The Columbia Star was stuck in ice in Western Lake Erie as of Saturday morning. USCG Neah Bay was dispatched to assist. Columbia Star is headed to the World Terminal for lay-up. She will join  fleetmates Fred R. White Jr. and Reserve which arrived there earlier in the week. H. Lee White is due to layup in Toledo Tuesday.

Reported by: Lee Rowe, Munroe W. Copper, Roger LeLievre

Photos by Lee Rowe
Lee A. Tregurtha at Marquette.
James R. Barker

Photos by Munroe W. Copper
Mesabi Miner stirs up ice, gulls at Cleveland.
American Republic loading for ISG.


Today in Great Lakes History - January 17

NORTHERN VENTURE closed the Welland Canal for the season as she passed downbound for Hamilton with coal in 1975.

In 1978 the CLIFFS VICTORY, JOSEPH H. FRANTZ, WILLIAM G. MATHER, ROBERT C. NORTON, CRISPIN OGLEBAY and J. BURTON AYERS formed a convoy in the Detroit river bound for Cleveland.

The PHILIP D. BLOCK was launched at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building in 1925.

Tanker GREAT LAKES was launched in 1963 as the a) SINCLAIR GREAT LAKES.

JOHN E.F. MISENER (2) was float launched in 1951 as a) SCOTT MISENER (2).

January 17, 1902 - The PERE MARQUETTE 2 ran aground at Ludington.

PERE MARQUETTE 19 grounded in limited visibility on January 17, 1916 two miles south of Big Point Sable, MI 600 feet off shore. The captain made three unsuccessful attempts to find the Ludington Harbor entrance and on the turn around for the fourth attempt she grounded.

On 17 January 1899, the GERMANIA (wooden propeller freighter, 136', 237 gt, built in 1875 at Marine City, MI) caught fire and burned to the water's edge at Ecorse, Michigan. The previous day, Norman Reno of Ecorse did some painting inside the cabin and it was presumed that the stove used to heat the cabin may have caused the blaze. The vessel was in winter lay-up at the rear of the home of Mr. W. G. Smith, her owner.

Data from: Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Soo Traffic Moving Slowly


After working most of Thursday, the Cason J. Callaway and Katmai Bay spent the night in the Rock Cut ice and are still trying to make some headway. The Biscayne Bay, Edwin H. Gott, and David Z. Norton are waiting around 9 Mile Point. 

The Middletown is above the Locks anxiously awaiting its turn as it does well in ice  The Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay are also working the lower river. The Roger Blough and Atlantic Erie are trying to make it up the Middle Neebish channel.  The upbounders from Thursday (Walter J. McCarthy, Paul R Tregurtha, Canadian Progress, Algonova, Joe Thompson, Jr.) cleared the Locks early this morning.

Reported by: James Carrick


Quebec Harbor Update


The extreme cold weather since the beginning of January has created difficult winter conditions for shipping and flood prevention on the St-Lawrence River.

The CCGS icebreaker Des Groseillers has been busy assisting shipping in the area and sailing everyday of the week to ascertain the shipping channel remains free from ice jams. Two locations are particularly problematic in the area. The funnelling effect of the St-Lawrence River under the two side­by-side bridges west of Quebec City is a constant concern. The Icebreaker based in Quebec City has the responsibility to prevent the formation of ice
jams in the vicinity of the bridges and control flooding especially at the beginning of the ebb tide as this becomes more crucial when strong eastern winds prevail. The second problem area is located at the eastern entrance of the Quebec Harbour off the western tip of the Island of Orleans where the St. Lawrence River separates into two channels. Commercial shipping
navigates the south channel and the effect of tides, direction of winds and ice floes can create problems in the bend leading to the south channel. Icebreaker intervention is frequent.

Other CCGS icebreakers are on duty and on call in the St-Lawrence. The Martha L Black is on flood prevention and patrol in the area around Trois-Rivières. The  Pierre Radisson is on duty in the Lower St.Lawrence near Matane QC assisting mainly the north/south shore ferries. The George R. Pearkes is stationed in the Saguenay River area to assist shipping.

The first deep-sea ship to dock in Quebec Harbour in 2004 was the tanker Saamis Adventurer (Panama) under the command of Capt Cedomir Bacic. The tanker arrived on January 3 with a cargo of 31,000 tons of methanol from Bayonne NJ. The traditional Gold Cane, a tradition dating back to 1835 was presented the next day to the owner's representative.

Three ships of the Desgagnés fleet are wintering in Quebec Harbour at the Anses-aux-Foulons Terminal. Amelia Desgagnés, Catherine Desgagnés and Mélissa Desgagnés.

Catherine Desgagnés
Mélissa Desgagnés
Bulk carrier Crescendo (Panama) loading grain for China.
Crescendo (stern view)

Reported by: Frederick Frechette


Saginaw Visits Fairport


The Saginaw was in Fairport on Wednesday, unloading stone at the turning basin on the Grand
River side. The mooring lines were pulled in around 2:30 and she backed all of the way out, bound for Ashtabula.

Saginaw and lighthousem.
Getting underway.
Backing out into the harbor.

Reported by: Michael Roe


Steamy Morning at Hamilton, Ice Sculpture at the Soo


The recent cold snap has lead to some great water/air temperature differentials, which often leads to fog, as well as some interesting ice formations on vessel superstructures.

Hamilton, Ont., with Algosoo. Photo by Peter Stevens
Presque Isle's foremast resembles an ice angel at the Soo. Photo by B. Barnes


St. Clair River Passages Thursday


American Mariner at Marysville
Capt. Ralph Tucker at Marysville
Atlantic Erie
Atlantic Erie and Tucker pass
Ice coming down under bridges
Mesabi Miner
Mesabi Miner's bow, showing ice buildup

Reported by: Andrew Severson


Boland First Layup at Twin Ports


Traffic is winding down in the Twin Ports, John J. Boland entered Fraser Shipyards overnight Thursday, becoming the first vessel to layup in the Twin Ports this season.

CSL Laurentien was in port at sunrise Thursday fueling at the Murphy Oil dock.

Today, Stewart J. Cort is expected at BNSF ore dock and Canadian Progress is due at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Several Interlake vessels are now scheduled for late-season runs from the Head of the Lakes. James R. Barker is due at Midwest Energy Terminal on Jan. 17, Lee A. Tregurtha is due at DMIR in Two Harbors on Jan. 16 and Mesabi Miner is due at DMIR in Two Harbors on Jan. 19.

It looks like Midwest Energy Terminal will end the season Saturday when it loads Canadian Transfer. No other boats are on the dock's schedule, and the coal dock's loading berth usually serves as a layup berth for a 1,000-footer each winter.

An article in the Duluth News Tribune noted that 12 vessels are expected to lay up in the Twin Ports this winter, slightly below the typical 13 and last season's high of 15. Each vessel amounts to about $500,000 worth of spending in the local economy, so the decline will be noticeable. No word yet on which vessels will winter here, although the last few years have seen most mvof Great Lakes Fleet's boats in the harbor.

Reported by: Al Miller


Sarnia Report


The Cuyahoga was upbound Thursday evening bound for the Cargill Elevator in Sarnia with corn from Toledo. She was expected to lay up at Cargill after unloading was completed, however a change in orders means she will head to Goderich next to load salt. The tug Menasha was breaking out Sarnia harbour late in the evening in preparation for the arrival of the Cuyahoga as well as the Calumet, which was enroute in ballast from Detroit. The Calumet will most likely winter in the North Slip in Sarnia possibly rafted to the Maumee.
The Columbia Star was downbound in the St. Clair River Thursday afternoon for Zug. Island in Detroit. After unloading is completed, the vessel will head to Toledo for winter lay up sometime on 16 January.
The St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair are both quickly becoming ice covered. The McKeil tug Jerry G. and her barge NT1803 which were originally scheduled for the brine dock in Courtright, ON. were forced to turn back for Windsor on Thursday afternoon above Belle Isle after becoming stuck in the ice several times. While larger vessels are still able to transit this area, it's becoming increasingly difficult for the smaller tug/barge combinations.

The USCGS Bristol Bay escorted the Jerry G. back to Windsor before continuing south in the Detroit River.
Reported by: Barry Hiscocks


Fast Ferry Even Faster Than Planned


Spirit of Ontario 1, the new fast ferry, scheduled to run between Toronto and Rochester, N.Y., beginning this spring, reached a top speed of 47.2 knots, or nearly 55 mph, during sea trials in Australia, making it the fastest vessel ever built by Austal Ltd.

Canadian American Transportation Systems officials originally had projected the ship would motor along at 50 mph.

On May 1, the ship will begin making the two-hour and 10-minute trip between Rochester and Toronto several times a day. The massive ferry, which is 284 feet long and nearly five stories high, will be able to carry about 750 passengers and about 220 vehicles. One-way fares are $25 per walk-on passenger and $40 per vehicle, with an additional $20 per passenger, according to a story in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

The ship will set sail from Australia for Rochester in mid-February, with the trip taking about 35 days.

Reported by: Josh Kasperski


Today in Great Lakes History - January 16

The COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS was launched in 1926.

In 1987 the DETROIT EDISON (2) was at Brownsville, Tex. for scrapping, she was raised after being scuttled by vandals.

On her way to the cutters torch, the dead ship ASHLAND was anchored off Bermuda in 1988 when she dragged her anchors and was swept onto rocks. She suffered massive bottom damage but the tow continued.

On 16 January 1909, TECUMSEH (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 200', 839 gt, built in 1873 at Chatham, Ontario) burned to a total loss at her winter berth at Goderich, Ontario.

In 1978 the CANADIAN CENTURY and NORTHERN VENTURE departed Toronto for Hamilton with coal after laying up at that port due to the bridge tenders strike which closed the Burlington Lift Bridge to navigation.

On 16 January 1875, the Port Huron Times printed the following list of vessels that were total losses in 1874: Tug IDA H. LEE by collision in Milwaukee.
Tug TAWAS by explosion off Sand Beach.
Steamer W. H. BARNUM by collision in the Pelee Passage.
Steamer TOLEDO by partially burning at Manistee.
Tug WAVE by burning on Saginaw Bay.
Tug DOUGLAS by burning on the Detroit River
Steamer BROOKLYN by explosion on the Detroit River
Steamer LOTTA BERNARD by foundering on Lake Superior.

Data from: Joe Barr, Brian Bernard, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Vessels Convoy at Soo, Cold Weather Overnight


Vessel traffic was still moving through the ice tracks provided by the steady work of three icebreakers working in the lower river Wednesday.

Problem areas were in the turns, near Moon Island, Johnsons Point and Stribling Point. Transiting the river without an icebreaker is almost impossible due to strong winds and deep-freeze temperatures. Upbound traffic Wednesday included Middletown, John J. Boland, Presque Isle, James R. Barker, Wilfred Sykes, Stewart J. Cort and Arthur M Anderson. Downbounders included Indiana Harbor, Atlantic Huron, Michipicoten, Charles M Beeghly, Columbia Star, St Clair, American Mariner and Mesabi Miner. All in all, eight upbounds and 10 downbounds transited on Wednesday, with icebreakers working continuously to keep the traffic moving.

It's worth nothing that this number of passages would be considered an outstanding boatwatching day during the height of summer. Summer it is not, however. The weather forecast calls for -20 to -25 overnight in Sault Ste. Marie, with a high today of -6,  and a wind chill of -42 F.

Reported by: Jerry Masson, B. Barnes

Photos by B. Barnes

James R. Barker with Stewart J. Cort in the background.
Katmai Bay leads the Barker to Mission Point.
Katmai Bay
St. Clair and Barker pass.
Wilfred Sykes and Katmai Bay near Six Mile.


Cleveland Images


On Monday, the Calumet loaded at the Halite salt dock, while Earl W. Oglebay was anchored off Ontario Stone. In addition, the steamer Alpena was laid-up at the LaFarge dock.

Photos by Munroe C. Copper

Alpena laid up.
G tugs Tennessee and Alabama.
Earl W. Oglebay laid up for the winter
Calumet and tug Iowa.
Calumet pours on the power.
A moustache of ice for the Calumet.
Tug Iowa


Port Stanley Images

Tug Salvor and barge McAshpalt 401 remain in Port Stanley due to bad
Salvor, view forward from pilothouse.
Chief Engineer Shawn Zuccato, from Vancouver Island, (left) and assistant Owen Chabot, from Hamilton, plan the next thing to fix.
The miserable day saw one fish tug, Feroclad, coming in out of the blizzard.

Reported by: Ted Coombs


Marquette Report


The David Z. Norton made a rare appearance in Marquette on a blustery Wednesday.

David Norton bow view
Wide view

Reported by: Lee Rowe


Escanaba Port Development in Planning Stages


   In mid December, plans were announced for a  major port development project in Escanaba, Mich. State Rep. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) along with local city leaders are looking into developing "The Port of Escanaba." The plans include a steel processing plant as well as warehousing space and a possible ship-building business. In June, the Army Corps of Engineers began a feasibility study for making Escanaba a deep-water port, with goods and raw materials processed and redistributed to international centers.

Close to 500 jobs could be brother to the area as a result of the project, according to a recent report in the Escanaba Daily Press..

 The current plans call for the development to be between the C. Reiss Coal Co. and the Canadian National Ore Dock, with three large piers jutting out into Lake Michigan.

 Financing for the marine terminal would be provided thought a combination of grants, loans, and fees developed by the users of the terminal.  According to city leaders, within the next two months, plans will be solidified with groups that have been identified as major transportation providers in the Upper Peninsula. The Escanaba Electric Advisory Board is pondering how to meet the potential electrical needs of the new marine development in Escanaba.  Estimates say the port may need as much as 10-12 megawatts of electricity with a steel  processing plant having "some serious power needs" according  to the board.  The board will study several options  for providing the needed power, including building a new 25 megawatt coal fired plant in 2008 and a second 25 megawatt coal unit in 2018.

Reported by: Scott Best


Today in Great Lakes History - January 15

In 1978 the upbound McKEE SONS, LEON FALK Jr, WILLIAM P. SNYDER Jr, A. H. FERBERT and CHAMPLAIN became stuck in heavy ice outside Cleveland Harbor. Eventually they were freed with the help of the USCG icebreaker NORTHWIND and the USCG tug MARIPOSA.

FORT YORK was launched January 15, 1958.

In 1917 the ANN ARBOR NO. 6 left Ecorse for Frankfort on her maiden voyage.

On 15 January 1873, A. Muir began building a wooden 3-mast schooner ("full sized canaler") at his shipyard in Port Huron. Fourteen men were employed to work on her, including master builder James Perry. The schooner was to be the exact counterpart of the GROTON, the first vessel built at that yard. The vessel's dimensions were 138' keel, 145' overall, 26'2" beam and 11'6" depth.

On 15 January 1886, the tug KITTIE HAIGHT was sold to Mr. Fisken of Toronto for $3,900.

Data from: Joe Barr, Brian Bernard, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Twin Ports Report


John J. Boland is an interesting late addition to the schedule at Midwest Energy Terminal. The Boland is tentatively scheduled to arrive at the dock Thursday to load coal for delivery across St. Louis Bay to Hallett Dock. The rest of the terminal's schedule is changing only slightly, with Canadian Olympic due today; Canadian Progress and Paul R. Tregurtha on Jan. 16; and Canadian Transport closing out the season Jan. 17.

Duluth's DMIR dock presently has only one vessel scheduled -- Mississagi today. Ice in St. Louis Bay was reported to be about 8 inches thick last week, and a lot of cold weather has undoubtedly made it thicker.

Vessels from Great Lakes Fleet are putting on a late-season push for pellets for Detroit. Edwin H. Gott is due at Detroit on Jan. 16; Arthur M. Anderson is scheduled to load at BNSF in Superior on Jan. 15 for Detroit; Presque Isle is scheduled to load at Two Harbors on Jan. 15 for Detroit; and John G. Munson is scheduled to load at BNSF on Jan. 17.

Reported by: Al Miller


Stinson has Difficult Lockage


George A. Stinson arrived at the Soo Locks Tuesday just before 9 a.m., but did not complete her passage until mid-afternoon due to ice conditions. Below zero temperatures nightly are hastening the formation of ice on the upper Great Lakes.

The Stinson is one of many ships battling ice which is jamming the west approach to the locks. Vessels have to back and then ram forward to make progress, with one ore two pre-lockages of ice often required before the vessel can move into the lock chamber.

Reported by: Jerry Masson


Sam Laud Arrives for Lay Up


The Sam Laud arrived at Sturgeon Bay through the ship canal off Lake Michigan, headed for Bay Ship and winter layup at berth 8 on Tuesday. The Selvick tug Jimmy L.broke a track from the canal to Bay Ship and assisted in placing the ship at berth.

Sam Laud coming out of the canal

Reported by: Vic Delarwelle


Marquette Report


The American Mariner loaded ore on Sunday, but remained tied up at the dock because of weather on the lake. Charles M. Beeghly loaded on Monday.

Beeghly at the dock
Another view
American Mariner

Reported by: Lee Rowe


Today in Great Lakes History - January 14

Scrapping began on the CHICAGO TRIBUNE January 14, 1989 by International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne, Ont.

January 14, 1920 - The Grand Trunk carferry GRAND HAVEN was fast in the ice three miles out of Grand Haven.

In 1977 the CANDIAN MARINER laid up at the Consol Fuel dock in Windsor after her attempt to reach Port Colborne was thwarted by heavy ice off Long Point.

On Jan 14, 1978 the JAMES R. BARKER departed the Soo Line ore dock in Ashland, Wisconsin, where she had been laid-up since August 7, 1977 due to the Iron ore miners strike.

Data from: Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Ice Clogging Soo and Lower Lakes

Vessels continued to struggle with ice Monday and Monday night in the St. Marys River, the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair.

There are also severe ice conditions from Saginaw Bay to Lake Erie. Tug and barge units now must report transit plans to the Coast Guard eight hours prior to transit. Tug and barges have the most difficulty in heavy ice as a barge's square bow does not cut through ice and causes the ice to pile up as it is pushed ahead of the barge.

On Monday, the tug James Hannah and her barge were stuck in the lower Livingston Channel between lights 20 and 22. Behind her at the mouth of the Livingston, the John J Boland waited for the Hannah to clear, while the James R. Barker waited it out near the Colchester Light. Meanwhile, Arthur M. Anderson was downbound Monday evening with a load consigned to Detroit's Zug Island.

Ice conditions are also building on Lake St. Clair. Sunday night the upbound tug Jerry G., pushing an unloaded barge, became stuck near the middle of Lake St. Clair below the Crib Light. Ice conditions on the southern portion of the lake were reported to be light but quickly built as the tug and barge continued north. The tug remained stuck as the upbound CSL Laurentien approached. The Laurentien arranged to pass the Jerry G., this area of the lake is difficult for two vessels to pass. The Laurentien's crew skillfully guided the 740-foot ship around the tug and barge and then backed down to allow the Jerry G. to follow in her track. After about a half hour of trying to assist the Jerry G. conditions became too difficult for the tug and the Laurentien decided to continued on.

David Z. Norton was next upbound behind the Laurentien, gaining distance as the Laurentien worked with the tug and barge. Showing equal skill, the Norton passed on the opposite side of the tug about midnight and took the lead. The Laurentien fell in behind the Norton and the Jerry G. was again able to make headway and followed the Laurentien upbound.

The Norton and Laurentien had spent Sunday afternoon battling the ice in western Lake Erie. Ice conditions were reported to be 8-10 " in western Lake Erie, the heaviest from Colchester west. The ice field starts about 11 miles east of South East Shoal.

Fred R. White Jr., heading to Toledo for winter lay-up from Cleveland, found difficult conditions in western Lake Erie. She was battling the ice in the channel that leads into Toledo and was heard inquiring about ice breaking assistance.

At the Soo, Operation Taconite continues with the aid of three icebreakers - Mackinaw, Biscayne Bay and Katmai Bay Upbound traffic Monday included American Mariner, Cason J. Callaway, Mississagi, Frontenac, Edgar B. Speer, David Z. Norton, CSL Laurentien and Anglian Lady. Downbound vessels included Walter J. McCarthy, Adam E. Cornelius, H. Lee White, Roger Blough, Joseph H. Thompson and Paul R. Tregurtha.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports a good ice track above locks from beyond Big Point down to the locks with solid pack ice inside the piers.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre and Jerry Masson

Midwest Energy resumes expansion effort

Midwest Energy Terminal -- the Twin Ports' busiest dock -- will take its plans for expansion before the public tonight in a public hearing.

Terminal officials want to expand its coal-handling ability to boost capacity from 18 million tons a year to 25. 5 million tons. The 41-percent increase in coal-handling volume would not require a physical expansion of the facility but it would mean additional rail and ship traffic.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was set to approve the expansion last year, but that stalled when a neighboring landowner appealed on the grounds that coal dust from the terminal harmed the value of his property.

The plan to be reviewed tonight includes environmental improvements to reduce dust. The changes have won DNR approval of the project.

Midwest Energy Terminal receives coal by rail from western states, stores it in open piles, then transfers it to ships for transport to power plants around the Great Lakes. It is a subsidiary of Detroit Edison.

Reported by: Doug Roberts

Integrity Loads

The tug Jacklyn M and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge around 8 p.m. on Monday to take on cement. The tug Manitou assisted the Integrity into port by leading the way and breaking a path in the ice. The Manitou was tied up in the river at the Alpena Oil Dock earlier in the day and left before dark to clear the slip at Lafarge of any ice before the Integrity came in.

The Alpena went to lay-up in Cleveland on Jan. 8 and is expected to return to service sometime in March.

Integrity in St Joseph, Michigan on Saturday Picture by Dave Witham

Reported by: Ben & Chanda McClain

Twin Ports Report

Michipicoten arrived in Duluth about sunrise Monday to fuel at the Murphy Oil dock and then proceed to the DMIR ore dock to load. Down the harbor, Columbia Star and Edwin H. Gott were scheduled to load at BNSF ore dock in Superior.

Despite the extended season for the Soo Locks, it appears Midwest Energy Terminal will end its season Saturday. As of Monday, the dock was scheduled to load Canadian Olympic today, Paul R. Tregurtha on Friday and Canadian Progress and Canadian Transport on Saturday. The Canadian boats are bound for Nanticoke; the Tregurtha is bound for Taconite Harbor.

Reported by: Al Miller

Marquette Update

Saginaw at the dock Friday night.
American Mariner arriving Monday.
Wide view.

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Rouge Traffic

Gaelic tug Patricia Hoey approaching the barge 950 after loading at the Michigan Marine Terminal in the Rouge River.

Reported by: Mike Nicholls

Cleveland Update

Alpena has entered layup status at Lafarge in Cleveland. Fred R. White has been on the ISG shuttle, and was met by David Z. Norton at Cleveland Bulk Terminal Saturday.

Alpena in layup at Lafarge.
Another view.
Cleveland sunset.
David Z. Norton arrives to wait for Fred R. White to depart on the ISG shuttle.
Fred R. White passing Columbus Rd. bridge upbound to ISG Friday evening.

Reported by: Dave Merchant

Tug Salvor in Port Stanley

The McKeil tug Salvor arrived in Port Stanley last Thursday night pushing the McAsphalt barge 401.

During the weekend they unloaded carbon black for winter storage. The McAsphalt barge 401 is usually pushed by the John Spence which is in Sarnia receiving engine repairs.

While waiting to leave Monday night Tim Cornfield on the left from St. John New Brunswick and Gary Sheperd from St. John's New Foundland become ships carpenters.

Crewmembers working

Reported by: Ted Coombs

Algocen's 2003 Season

Algocen is a bulk carrier in the Algoma Central fleet and plies the grain/iron ore routes between the lake head and St. Lawrence. Algocen sailed for a full season in 2003 without a mid-season lay-up. Her season began on April 4 when she set sail from Montreal with a winter storage load of iron ore pellets bound for the Dofasco steel mill in Hamilton. She then continued on to load 30 more cargoes including 3 cargoes of cement clinker, 13 cargoes of grain, 13 cargoes of iron ore pellets and a split load of iron ore and black sand.

The three cement clinker cargoes were all loaded at Clarkson and unloaded at Duluth. Four of the iron ore cargoes were loaded at Point Noire and nine at Port Cartier. The split cargo of iron ore and black sand was also loaded at Port Cartier. All were unloaded at the Dofasco steel mill in Hamilton. Twelve of the thirteen grain cargoes were loaded in Thunder Bay with the remaining cargo loaded in Sarnia. Algocen experienced one mishap during the season when high winds drove her into the dock at Sarnia causing damage to the bow. Repairs were made immediately.

The 269 day season ended on December 28 when she entered winter lay-up at Section 56 in Montreal.

Reported by: Rodney Aitchison

South Have museum buys own tall ship

The Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven has hired a New York boatyard to build a replica of Friends Good Will, a 19th-century sloop used by both the American and British navies during the War of 1812.

Scarano Boatbuilding Inc., of Albany, N.Y., is constructing the vessel, which will be by the museum as an educational tool and tourist attraction.

The original Friends Good Will was built in Detroit in 1811. It carried cargo chiefly on Lake Erie between Detroit and Buffalo, N.Y., but also sailed Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. The ship was captured by the Royal Navy, but later was recaptured by the Americans. When it ran aground in Buffalo, it was burned to the waterline to make the ship useless to the British if it fell into their hands again.

The museum has raised $1.2 million of the ship's $2 million cost.

The 56-foot sloop will be docked in front of the museum, where it will be used for educational programs in navigation, knot-tying and sailing. It also will be licensed to carry a crew of four and 28 passengers on day trips.

Friends Good Will is expected to arrive in South Haven about Sept. 3. Volunteers are welcome to join the Ship's Co., from which a volunteer crew will be selected.

Reported by: Steve Jackson

Onboard the Algoport

Pictures taken this fall.

Algosteel loading in Quebec City after her transfer into us
Views of salty anchored just below Quebec City, opposite the shipyard
Another view
Another view
Algocen upbound above Cap Brule
another view of the Algocen
approaching the dock at Charlottetown , PEI
loading trucks from the hopper, one at a time
view of the boom unloading
Gervais on the boom

Reported by: Ken Hamilton

Great Lakes Captains Association to Host Annual Industry Days Conference

The Great Lakes Captains Association will host Industry Days 2004 edition on January 22, 23 and 24. Industry Days is held at the Holiday Inn, Traverse City, MI.

This year, the Board of Directors voted a $500.00 scholarship to be awarded to a third-year cadet at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. We will make the presentation at our noon luncheon on Friday. Also at the noon luncheon we have several of our speakers that have been with us since the beginning of Industry Days in the early 1990’s. We will also honor one of our own with a Maritime Achievement Award, to be presented to someone who has made significant contributions to the maritime industry.

To help fund the scholarship, we will be having a silent auction of several items that have been donated for this event. If you have any items you would like to donate for this cause, please bring them to Industry Days, of if you just want to donate to the scholarship fund let us know. Our goal is to provide a larger scholarship, and possibly more than one scholarship could be provided.

As in the past, if you have hats, jackets, etc. you would like to donate for the Casino Night, bring the items with you. Also, we do have a brochure table so you can showcase your business, attraction or products.

The program begins at 1300 hours Thursday, January 22 with Chuck Kakuska discussing licensing issues at 1400. The Coast Guard will be covering a wide range of topics including security, both vessel and facilities, AIS, also the SIP program, tug issues, and onboard drug testing. Coast Guard speakers will be coming from Washington, Cleveland, Sault Ste. Marie, as well as other areas.

There will be an open house at the new Academy facilities, from 5:30 -7:30 p.m. This is a great facility. Everything is up and running and we will be able to use the radar and simulators as well as inspect the new engine facilities.

Friday, January 23 will begin with a continental breakfast at 0700. The program begins at 0800 with Angie Bowen speaking on the problems of the invasive species that are destroying fish habitat on the Great Lakes. Bob Dunn is returning and talking about “effective dispute resolution in the Maritime Industry”. I just read an article in the paper about this very subject and I will quote, “mediation works, it is a method that invites solutions not conflict and it is thankfully a growing staple in our legal system.” Also on our morning program are Pete Lauridsen and Rick Brown discussing AIS and security. Roger Gauthier, Great Lakes Commission, will be speaking on water levels. Michigan State Police will have a talk and demonstration with a drug and weapon dog. Lunch with program will be from noon to 1330. At 1330 the Coast Guard Air Station will have a speaker, also a rescue swimmer who has been featured on the Weather Channel “Storm Stories” being involved in actual rescues showing equipment used, etc. Also on the afternoon program will be a lawyer discussing safety and the need for taking reasonable measures to reduce the frequency and likelihood of injury and the taking of reasonable measures once an accident occurs to reduce the likelihood of litigation or to increase the likelihood of a favorable resolution. The Engineering Department at GLMA, Cummins, Detroit Diesel and Cat will be discussing lubricants, batteries, coolants, electrical systems, etc.

Friday night is our vendors' reception and our very popular Casino Night with as usual, great prizes, food and kegs, 1830 to ? Saturday’s program begins with our Annual drug seminar; also crew training and vessel preparation. A great program on paint will feature Sherwin Williams and the use of latex paint. This is very interesting as we at the Famous Boat Tours in the Soo used latex on one boat to see how it worked, including using it as a nonskid on our decks and stairs, and it outperformed other oil-based paints. They will also be a vendor. Bob Mason will be talking about the new electronics for our pilot houses. Also attitudes and customer relations will be addressed as we want to keep the customers happy. Our program will conclude at noon so everyone can get home at a reasonable time.

Held 22, 23, 24 January, Holiday Inn, Traverse City. For registration and Conference information, please contact Jack Cork at; (906)632-3891, Fax: (906)635-0615, or Jack Cork

Reported by: Charlie Lampman

John J. Norris

Retired Chief Engineer John J. (Jack) Norris passed away on January 8. He was 88.

The 'Chief' as he came to be called, started his career aboard the Penetang as a deckhand and coal passer departing from Kingston in 1932. Later, he served aboard the Acadian, Lennox, Lanark, Winnipeg and Selkirk. By 1938 he was 2nd Engineer on the Canadian. In 1947, he was relieved for a trip from the ill-fated Emperor which met her end on a calm June day, hitting hard on the Canoe Rocks in Lake Superior. The after end sank immediately, taking the engineers with it.

For his wartime services in the Merchant Marine, Jack held the Atlantic Star, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with clasp, the 1939 - 45 Star and The War Medal 1939 - 45.

In 1960 he was Chief Engineer aboard the tanker Emerillon, trading between Maine and Venezuela. Retiring in 1970 from deep sea, the Chief went to work for his brother in law Hal McCarney at Gananoque Boat Line, touring the Thousand Islands. He remained there as Chief Engineer of the fleet until he was almost 80 years old.

The Chief is survived by his wife of 64 years Jean Kettle. Loving father of Father David Norris SJ, Jim, and Mary McDonald. He was predeceased by two sons Wayne and Ronald.

Reported by: Brian Johnson

John O. Greenwood

John O. Greenwood, President of Freshwater Press, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio and former Executive Vice President of Interlake Steamship Co, Richfield, Ohio, died at his home in Shaker Heights of cancer Sunday January 11, 2004. He was sixty-eight.

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1935, Mr. Greenwood always had an intense interest in the Great Lakes. Following high school, he worked on Great Lakes freighters until he received his undergraduate degree in 1957 from Valparaiso University. After graduating from Northwestern University with a Masters of Business Administration in 1958, he began his career in the Great Lakes shipping industry with Cargill Inc., as a vessel cargo broker.

In 1970, Mr. Greenwood was selected for inclusion in “Outstanding Young Men of America” and in 2003 was elected “Great Lakes Historian of the Year by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

Mr. Greenwood was a member of all major United States and Canadian historical societies dealing with Great Lakes maritime interests. He also held membership in the Society of Naval Architects & Marine Engineers, American Bureau of Shipping, Traffic Club of Pittsburgh, the American Merchant Marine Museum of Kings Point, New York and the Kitchi Gammi Club of Duluth, Minnesota. Mr. Greenwood was also a long- standing member of Shaker Heights Country Club and an avid model railroader.

Mr. Greenwood, with over twenty titles currently in publication, was also an accomplished author whose specialty was Great Lakes commerce and history. His works include the “Greenwood’s Guide To Great Lakes Shipping which is considered throughout the world as the “industry standard” for Great Lakes shipping reference. Mr. Greenwood also is the author of the Namesakes and Fleet Histories series.

Mr. Greenwood is survived by Jane, his wife of over forty years; daughter Holly G. Montanari of Wexford, Pennsylvania; son-in-law David; and grandchildren Taylor, Matthew, Nicholas and MaryJane.

The family will receive friends between 5 and 7pm Friday January 16th at Brown-Forward Funeral Home, 17022 Chagrin Blvd., Shaker Heights, Ohio. Funeral services will be held at 10:00am Saturday January 17th at St. John Lutheran Church, 4386 Mayfield Road, South Euclid, Ohio 44121 . In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. John Lutheran Church.

John Greenwood.

Reported by: Rex Cassidy

Today in Great Lakes History - January 13

After lightering 3,000 tons of coal, the BENSON FORD was refloated in 1974 and proceeded to the Toledo Overseas Terminal to be reloaded.

In 1979 the USCG tug ARUNDEL is beset by windrowed ice at Minneapolis Shoal in Green Bay. Strong winds piled the ice on her stern and soon she had a 25 deg. list. The crew feared that she may sink and abandoned the tug, walking across the ice with the help of a spotlight onboard the ACACIA which also became beset by the heavy ice. The MACKINAW, SUNDEW and a USCG helicopter were dispatched to the scene, but northwest winds relieved the ice pressure and the crew was able to reboard the ARUNDEL.

On January 13, 1970 the lower engine room and holds of the SEWELL AVERY accidentally flooded sinking her to the bottom of Duluth Harbor causing minimal damage other than an immense cleanup effort.

January 13, 1909 - The PERE MARQUETTE 17 was freed after her grounding the previous December.

Data from: Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Old Man Winter Slowly Turning Key at Soo Locks

Ice - which went from being almost nonexistent to a significant obstacle to shipping in almost a week's time - continues to stall traffic at the Soo Locks and on the St. Marys River.

Just last week the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a 10-day extension of the season at the Soo Locks to help meet late season demand. The locks are scheduled to close Jan. 25, but with temperatures forecast to fall below zero every night this week at the Soo it remains to be seen if vessels can continue to operate until that date. Already some vessels that might have run longer had warm weather continued are now headed for layup, including the Reserve at Toledo, and Oglebay Norton at Sturgeon Bay.

At the Soo, the U.S. Coast Guard cutters Biscayne Bay and Katmai Bay have been pressed into service in the lower St. Marys River after vessels began having trouble late last week in several turns. On the upper river, heavy ice was reportedly forming rapidly from Pt. Louise down to the Soo Locks. Whitefish Bay was still open water as of late Saturday afternoon, according to a weekend report in the Soo Evening News.

Saturday morning saw the ice breakers Katmai Bay and Biscayne Bay assisting a variety of vessels stuck in the ice. The upbound H. Lee White was hung up overnight in the Middle Neebish channel. Other upbound vessels included Pineglen, George A. Stinson, Atlantic Huron ,Adam E Cornelius, John G Munson and Indiana Harbor. The worst areas of the river are the turns at Sawmill Point, Moon Island, Johnsons Point and Stribling Point in the lower St. Marys.

Downbound Saturday were Canadian Progress, John J. Boland, Joseph L. Block and Earl W. Oglebay. Due to heavy ice flows, a double lockage is required at times to flush enough ice away from the upper lock gates so they can open or close properly.

Friday's downbound ships included the Edgar B. Speer, Burns Harbor, American Republic and Herbert C. Jackson. The Burns Harbor's passage was especially difficult as ice following the ship into the lock approached jammed the lock gates so they would not swing open. Work crews were called and the lock tug was dispatched to break ice in the approach area. Once cleared the Burns Harbor entered the lock, however the next downbound, the Speer was stuck fast in the ice. Backing and pushing, the 1,000-footer broke free. Once locked through, the more powerful Speer took the lead as a convoy of vessels made its way downriver.

The Saginaw departed Algoma Steel around 11 p.m. Saturday night but could not make the turn downbound to the locks. They planned to back down the channel into Algoma and wait for the Columbia Star to pass, open a track.

Shifting masses of "plate" ice are the main concern, as it is nearly impossible to cut a reliable vessel track through ice that doesn't stay put for very long. The colder weather will mean the formation of solid ice and and make it easier for the Coast Guard to maintain a reliable track. Conditions are such in the Straits of Mackinac that relatively full ice coverage is expected by early in the week. The big U.S. Coast icebreaker Mackinaw has been assigned to the Straits area.

With more than one million tons of iron ore and coal to move in the late season, an unusual number of U.S. and Canadian ships remain in service.

Picture by Lee Rowe
American Republic downbound at Mission Point
Ice on the bow
Worker on the American Republic. Ice covering the ship.
Looking across the St. Mary's river at Soo, Ontario
Burns Harbor waiting for the Speer early Friday morning, from Soo Locks Park.
Burns Harbor waiting.
Ojibway supply boat waiting for the Speer.
Ojibway meeting Speer, Burns Harbor in background
Ojibway loading supplies
Burns Harbor at Mission Point
Herbert Jackson making her way below the locks
Supply boat Ojibway meeting the Jackson
First view of the Blough coming out of the icy mist on the river.
Roger Blough
Forward cabins.

Picture by Linda Stoetzer
Burns Harbor is taken from the Neebish Island ferry dock.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre and Jerry Masson

53 U.S.-Flag Lakers Sailing On January 1

The active U.S.-flag Lakes fleet totaled 53 vessels on January 1, 2004, an increase of 11 hulls compared to a year ago and the highest January 1 total in a number of years. The large number of vessels still in service reflects the surge in demand for iron ore that necessitated extending the closing date for the Soo Locks to January 25.

Reported by: Lake Carriers' Association

Maumee Enters Lay-up

The Maumee arrived for winter lay-up Saturday afternoon. She docked at the north end of the North Slip in Sarnia.

The Griffon was at the Cargil Elevators Dock, before tying up she had broken a track into the North Slip The ice appears to be 4 to 5 inches thick.

Lay-up pictures by Philip Nash
The Tug Keewatin at the Government Dock.
Agawa Canyon tied up at the Government Dock.
A bow shot of the Agawa Canyon behind the Tug John Spence.
The Algorail at the Sydney Smith dock for lay-up.
Tug John Spence at the Government dock.
Side shot of the John Spence.
Tug Menasha along with the Keewatin and the Fishing Tug Mar-Vel-Ann.
Damage to Sarnia Elevator dock when the Algocen hit it in December.

Reported by: Jamie Kerwin and Barry Hiscocks

First Arrivals at Bay Ship

Sunday morning was a busy time in Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. with the arrival of the Oglebay Norton and the tug Dorothy and Pathfinder.

Early that morning the USCG Mobile Bay departed to help tugs from Selvick Marine break a path out to Sherwood Point where the Oglebay Norton was preparing to turn and make a stern approach to the graving dock at Bay Ship.

After making a high speed pass off the port side, the Mobile Bay turned and headed upbound on Green Bay to assist the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder into Bay Ship.

The Oglebay Norton entered the graving dock were it will undergo a 5 year survey. After the survey is complete, the Norton will move to Berth 15 for the winter. She was assisted down the channel by Selvick tug's Mary Page Hannah and Jimmy L. At the yard she was assisted by tug William C. Selvick and tug Bayship.

The Pathfinder slipped into its winter home at Berth 11 and the Dorothy Ann at Berth 11 &1/2.

Pictures by: Vic DeLarwelle
Tug Jimmy L. clears stern
Wide shot from Bull head point (west side of bay)
View of aft deck house
Bow shot
USCG Mobile Bay and Dorothy Ann coming in out of fog and snow

Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle, Carl Grota and Wendell Wilke

U.S. lake fleets begin security training

Operators of U.S.-flag Great Lakes ships are now training employees about security procedures to comply with the Maritime Transportation Security Act, according to the Toledo Blade.

Details of the training are not being disclosed, but areas of concern include inspecting cargo holds before and during loading and unloading of cargo and screening people other than crew members who board vessels.

The Lake Carriers' Association in Cleveland announced this week that the crew training has begun well ahead of the federally mandated July 1 deadline.

"The Lake Carriers’ Association and its members take homeland security very seriously," James H.I. Weakley, the association’s president, said in a statement. "Within days of the Sept. 11, [2001], attacks on the United States, LCA issued security guidelines that its members voluntarily implemented to heighten security aboard ship. This new program will further enhance the security of domestic Lakes shipping."

U.S.-flag lakers primarily haul coal, iron ore, salt, stone, and other dry-bulk materials, so the potential for terrorism involving hazardous ship cargoes is minimal, Weakley said. Security measures are aimed primarily toward potential acts against a ship intended to disrupt shipping and thus cause economic harm.

Reported by: Chris Flint

USCGC Sundew to be decommissioned in May

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sundew, a veteran of 60 years of service, will be decommissioned in late May in Duluth, the Coast Guard announced.

A date for the decommissioning ceremony will be announced later. All present and former crewmembers, family and friends of the Sundew are encouraged to attend the ceremony. 

The Sundew, WLB 404, is one of two 180-foot Iris Class seagoing buoy tenders built in 1944 that are still in service. The Marine Iron & Shipbuilding Company in Duluth built Sundew and, along with Duluth-based Zenith Dredge Company, constructed 37 other 180-foot seagoing buoy tenders between 1942 and1944. Sundew was launched Feb. 8, 1944 and commissioned Aug. 24, 1944. The original cost of her hull and machinery was $861,586.

  The Sundew is to be replaced by the 225-foot cutter Alder, which will be launched Feb. 7.

Reported by: Andy Roper

Erie Ice Delays

Sunday afternoon the Great Lakes Trader entered Huron, Ohio. She had a hard time trying to break through the ice and get into her slip next to Con-agra. The tug worked for more than two hours breaking ice.

On the north shore of western Lake Erie the Wolverine reported that from the Detroit River Light to East Outer Channel ice conditions were plate ice 4 to 6 inches thick. Strong winds from the south west were shifting the ice and building windrows. They reported at full power they were only making about 6 mph.

Pictures by: Doug Kishman
Great Lakes Trader inbound
Close up
Stern view

Reported by: Doug Kishman and Joe Provost

Year's first ships at Montréal and the last one out for 2003

The first oceangoing vessel of 2004 to arrive in Montréal was the Canada Maritime container ship Canmar Triumph which passed the Port limits at Tracy at 7:36AM on January 1 to win to coveted Gold headed cane.

Tanker Rosa Tomasos was the last ship departing Montréal in 2003 on December 31. She was delivered in 2003 by Hyundai to Concord International Corporation under Tomasos Brothers management and she flies the Bahamas flag.
Canmar Triumph bow view off Verchères
Broadside view shows the Triumph approaching Cap St. Michel (Varennes) some 20 minutes later. There was no drifting ice in the main shipping channel mainly due to mild temperatures experienced during preceding days.
The Gold headed cane ceremony took place in the Port of Montréal administration building (Cité du Havre) on January 5. Capt. Branimir Franic received the cane from Port of Montréal director Dominic Taddeo (far left) and he is flanked by the two river pilots who brought his ship from Trois-Rivières to Montréal, Michel Simard (2nd from left) and Jean Hébert (far right). Lake Eva , the former Jakov Sverdlov, (renamed in the Great Lakes last December 10) is shown upbound off Verchères for Montréal berth 106 on January 8.
Lake Eva shown in much colder temperatures (-24C) while downbound from Montréal in ballast on January 8.
Agios Nikolaos shown downbound off Verchères from Montréal berth 54 with a partial load of grain on January 10. She'll top off at Baie Comeau and will then head for Turkey.

Reported by: Marc Piché

Soo Scrappings

Below are recent images of the Quedoc Scrapping and the Harriman awaiting its fate.

Quedoc being scrapped in Soo, ON.
Close-up of the stern section.
Lewis G Harriman. Bow
Lewis G Harriman. Stern

Reported by: Mike Nicholls

Weekly Updates

The weekly updates have been uploaded.
Click here to view

Today in Great Lakes History - January 12

The CHI-CHEEMAUN was launched January 12, 1974.

The GRAND HAVEN was gutted by fire on January 12, 1970 during scrapping operations at the United Steel & Refining Co. Ltd. dock at Hamilton, Ont.

MENIHEK LAKE was launched January 12, 1959

On January 12, 1973, the VENUS (2) had an engine room explosion shortly after unloading at Kipling, MI, (near Gladstone, MI) on Little Bay De Noc causing one loss of life.

On 12 January 1956, ANABEL II (probably a fish tug, 62 t, built 1928) was destroyed by fire at her winter lay-up at Roon S.S. Co. dock at Sturgeon Bay, WI.

January 12, 1911 - The ANN ARBOR NO. 5 hit the rocks close to the south breakwater when entering Manistique harbor, tearing off her starboard shaft and wheel.

The wooden steam barge O. O. CARPENTER (127.5', 364 gt) was sold by the Jenks Shipbuilding Company on 12 January 1892 to Mr. H. E. Runnels and Capt. Sinclair for $26,000. The vessel had been launched at Jenks yard on 13 May 1891.

The new EDWIN H. GOTT departed Sturgeon Bay in 1979 for final fit out at Milwaukee.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Brian Bernard, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Superior Lay-up

Atlantic Superior tied up at pier 26 in Halifax late Friday, January 9. She had been expected for several days, and other ships moved away from the pier to make room for her. By Saturday morning she has "hurricane" lines out, a combination of wires and ropes, signifying a lengthy stay.

Reported by: Mac Mackay

Cuyahoga Makes Rare Visit

Cuyahoga made a rare visit to the Twin Ports Friday to take on a load of taconite pellets from DM&IR Dock 6.

Cuyahoga inbound.

Reported by: Kent Rengo

Katmai Bay Works the River

Friday the USCGC Katmai Bay was upbound in the St. Marys River. These were both taken up from Six Mile Point. The Katmai Bay was following the tug and barge Joseph H Thompson.

Upbound at Six Mile Point.
Another view.
Katmai Bay reaches the open waters near the Sugar Island Ferry at Rotary Park.
A beautiful, but cold day (-15 degree F, plus a nice breeze bringing in a wind chill factor).
Ojibway returns to her dock after servicing the Thompson.
Joseph H. Thompson passes.

Reported by: B. Barnes

Algomarine Enters Lay-up

The Algomarine passed through pack ice and fog on Owen Sound Bay Saturday morning. She was moored on the east wall north of the cement silos by 8:50 a.m. Fraser Shipbuilding crews were on scene that afternoon preparing for lay up work.

Pictures by Ed Saliwonchyk
Entering Owen Sound through the fog.
Backing past the Coast Guard station at the very north end of the east wall.
Stern view at her winter dock.

Reported by: Ed Saliwonchyk, Willis Thomas, David Shearman

Lakes Visitor in Belgium

The Orna is seen on the cold morning of the January 4. in the Port of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. She came in port on the December 29 and is awaiting orders.

Tied up to the buoys in the Caland Canal.
Another view
Close up
Stern view

Reported by: Chris Rombouts

Today in Great Lakes History - January 11

The steamer ROBERT S. McNAMARA, under tow reached her intended destination of Santander, Spain on January 11, 1974.

In 1970 the IRVING S. OLDS was the last ship of the season at the Soo Locks as she followed the PHILIP R. CLARKE downbound.

In 1973 the ROGER BLOUGH collided with the PHILIP R. CLARKE after the CLARKE encountered an ice pressure ridge and came to a stop in the Straits of Mackinaw.

On 11 January 1962, ARCTURUS, formerly JAMES B. WOOD, was under tow of the Portuguese tug PRAIA GRANDE on the way to Norway to be scrapped when she foundered off the Azores at position 46.10N x 8.50W.

January 11, 1911 - The ANN ARBOR NO. 5 arrived Frankfort on her maiden voyage.

On 11 January 1883, the Port Huron Times reported that a citizens' committee met to help Port Huron businesses. "A. N. Moffat decried the taxation of vessel property. High taxation of vessel property had driven much of it away from Port Huron. He cited the case of Capt. David Lester of Marine City who came to Port Huron a few years ago to live and would have brought here one of the largest fleets on the Great Lakes, but when he found what taxes would be, returned to Marine City."

Data from: Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Coast Guard begins icebreaking for Operation Taconite

The Coast Guard on Friday began Operation Taconite -- its largest domestic icebreaking effort -- to ensure ships on the Great Lakes can deliver iron ore pellets to the nation's steel mills.

The Coast Guard said it launched Operation Taconite because colder -than-normal temperatures continue to increase ice formation in the northern Great Lakes. Operation Taconite encompasses Lake Superior, the St. Marys River and the Straits of Mackinac.

As a result of the operation, the Captain of the Port may close or open channels as ice conditions require after giving due consideration to the protection of the marine environment, waterway improvements, aids to navigation, the need for cross-channel traffic, the availability of icebreakers, and the safety of the island residents; who in the course of their daily business use naturally formed ice bridges for transportation to and from the mainland. 

Currently there are no channel closures; however, the implementation of Operation Taconite will place some additional measures on shipping through the St. Marys River and Straits such as restricting tanker transits to daylight only with escorts, reducing speeds by 2 mph in various parts of the river, and placing additional reporting points throughout the operation’s area. 

The Coast Guard warned recreational ice users that there are no channel closures at this time, and to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels. Recreational users and island residents are urged to use their local news media to learn the status of channel closures.

Reported by: Linda Stoetzer

St. Marys River Closes

Ice conditions and temperatures well below zero at the locks and on the St. Marys River slowed or stopped navigation Thursday and Friday.

Friday night the river was closed as the downbound Wolverine became stuck in ice in the lower river, blocking river traffic.

The upbound Roger Blough and Joseph H Thompson were stopped in the ice overnight in the upper river and were broken out at daylight with assistance from KatmaiBay. Paul R Tregurtha followed in the ships track up to the Soo. The Roger Blough was held in by ice near Neebish Island Friday morning and had to have the help of the Katmai Bay to free her. The Burns Harbor got through the locks but had problems with vibrations going through the ice, so she waited for the Speer to come through and lead the way downbound. The Speer had problems exiting the locks, but managed to work her way out. The American Republic and Herbert Jackson locked through downbound after the Speer.

The extremely cold temperatures were causing problems with the lock gates and booms, as well as causing ice to pile up in the locks.

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Today in Great Lakes History - January 10

ONTADOC (2) was launched January 10, 1975 (b MELISSA DESGAGNES)

On January 10, 1977 the CHESTER A. POLLING (b MOBIL ALBANY) broke in two and sank off the coast of Massachusetts.

January 10, 1998 - Glen Bowden, former co-owner of the Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Company (MWT) died. In 1974 the W.C. RICHARDSON was towed from her winter berth in Toledo to assist in lightering the grounded BENSON FORD.

On Jan 10, 1978 the tanker JUPITER became stuck in 3 to 5-foor ridged ice off Erie, Penn. The USCG tug OJIBWA is sent from Buffalo to free her, but she too became beset in the ice 3 miles from the JUPITER’s position.

On 10 January 1898, Alexander Anderson of Marine City was awarded a contract to build a wooden steamer for A. F. Price of Freemont, OH, Isaac Lincoln of Dakota, and Capt. Peter Ekhert of Port Huron, MI. The vessel was to be named ISAAC LINCOLN and was to be 130 feet long and capable of carrying 400,000 feet of lumber. The contract price was $28,000. Her engine and boiler were to be built by Samuel F. Hodges of Detroit. The vessel was launched on 10 May 1898 and her cost had increased to $40,000. She lasted until 1931 when she was abandoned.

Data from: Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Tucker Receives 2004 Cane

The Capt Ralph Tucker became the first vessel to arrive in Manistee, Mich. for the 2004 year on Thursday. She arrived approximately 10 a.m. and waited off the piers as the tug Tony Mackay and barge KTC 115 departed from the General Chemical dock outbound for Lake Michigan.

The tug and barge had difficulty off of the Seng #1 dock making the turn to the Memorial St. Bridge, due to the light ice conditions in Manistee Lake and the lack of a bow thruster. It was decided to let the Tucker come in first, to hopefully break open a track for the Mackay and barge.

Unbroken ice in the Manistee River was around five inches thick and hardly slowed the Tucker's progress. She made it through the bridges successfully and freed the tug/barge, allowing them to depart for Amherstburg to unload their cargo of brine.

Once the vessel docked, its Captain, Bill Sullivan and Chief Engineer Otto Cooper were presented with hand-carved Hackberry Canes honoring the vessel as the first of the year. These canes were beautifully carved by local resident Ken Jilbert. City Harbormaster/Police Chief David Bachman, City Manager Mitch Diesch, and Manistee County Historical Museum Director Steve Harold also assisted in presenting mementos to the Captain and Chief Engineer.

The Tucker was expected to depart around 11 p.m. Thursday heading for Amherstburg, Ontario to unload. The tugboat Evans McKeil is en route to Manistee to perform icebreaking duties in the Manistee area for the winter

Reported by: Chris Franckowiak

2003 Lakes Stone Total Lowest Since 1994

Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 33.1 million net tons in 2003, the lowest total the trade has recorded since 1994. The 2003 total also represents a decrease of 8.6 percent compared to 2002 and a drop of 8.4 percent compared to the trade's 5-year average.

A number of factors combined to produce the depressed total. The severe cold of last winter hampered the resumption of stone shipments in March and April. Reduced demand for fluxstone from steelmakers and spotty demand for aggregate from the construction industry further impacted the trade.

There was some upturn in demand toward the end of 2003. As a result, some quarries will continue to ship as weather permits in January.

Reported by: Lake Carriers' Association

Ludington Dock Changes

The City of Ludington will be holding a public hearing on February 2nd to discuss possible changes of where foreign ships dock in the port. According to the Ludington Daily News, Towns Brothers Construction Company will be requesting a special use permit to use the Great Lakes Materials dock to unload 6 to 8 shiploads of magnesite per year. For the past 20 or so years this material was unloaded at the Dow Chemical docks, but the agreement to use Dow's docks has been terminated. Towns Brothers now proposes to use the Great Lakes Materials dock, which is just east of the Lake Michigan Carferry docks. If approved, dredging and an extension of the dock face may be necessary.

The magnesite is unloaded from foreign ships and stockpiled in Ludington. It is trucked as needed to the North American Refractories Company (NARCO) refractory in White Cloud where it is used in the production of fire brick and other refractory products for use in the steel making industry.

Reported by: Tom Hynes

Twin Ports Report

This should be a good weekend for Twin Ports area boatwatchers. Cuyahoga is due at DMIR in Duluth on Jan. 9; Arthur M. Anderson is due at BNSF in Superior on Jan. 9; Roger Blough is due at DMIR in Two Harbors on Jan. 10; and on Jan. 11, Michipicoten is due at DMIR Duluth and Indiana Harbor and John G. Munson are expected at DMIR in Two Harbors.

DMIR in Two Harbors has a solid lineup for the next few days: Joe Block was there Thursday, Roger Blough is due Jan. 10, Indiana Harbor and John G. Munson are due Jan. 11, Philip R. Clarke and St. Clair are expected Jan. 12.

DMIR in Duluth has four boats currently scheduled: Cuyahoga today, Michipicoten, Jan. 11, Atlantic Huron Jan. 11, and Mississagi on Jan. 13.

Several boats from Great Lakes Fleet are becoming regulars on the Superior-to-Detroit pellet run. Edwin H. Gott is due at BNSF on Jan. 12 and Arthur M. Anderson is due there today. Presque Isle was on the schedule as loading at Two Harbors today with pellets destined for Detroit.

Reported by: Al Miller

Barge Departs

The tug Rebecca Lynn departed Bay Ship after picking up barge A-410, which had been in drydock for several days for hull repair.

After joining with the A-410, the Rebecca Lynn departed through the Michigan St. Bridge heading for Lake Michigan and home to Muskegon, Mich.

Iced up Rebecca Lynn standing off waiting for Barge A-410
Moving in to recouple
Bay Ship crew on barge and tug crew getting ready to pass lines over
Passing through Michigan St. Bridge
Off stern of Ryerson out bound

Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle

St. Clair River Traffic

Gaelic Barge LSC 236 & tug Shannon upbound in the St. Clair River
Another view
Paul R Tregurtha unloading at St. Clair Edison.

Reported by: Mike Nicholls

Toronto Update

Thursday was a busy day at Toronto Drydock. The firetug Wm. Lyon Mackenzie, which has been on the drydock since Nov. 18 being repowered, was refloated. The water taxi Robert W. broke a channel through the thin ice in the Turning Basin to the drydock, and it was followed later by the water taxi Brenda C. After the Mackenzie was refloated the water taxis towed the firetug to its harbor station for completion of the engine controls. The firetug will return to service shortly.

After the firetug departed the drydock, the tour boat Island Princes VI was dry docked. It will likely remain on the dock until spring thaw.

Just to the west of Toronto Drydock, McNally Construction Co. have been busy for the past few days preparing their tugs and barges for a move to Pickering, Ontario, where they will be constructing a new ice boom for the electrical generating station.

Reported by: Art Church

Today in Great Lakes History - January 09

BAIE COMEAU II was laid up on January 9, 1983 at Sorel, Que. and was sold the following April to Progress Overseas Co. S.A., Panama.

January 9, 1977 - The last survivor of the PERE MARQUETTE 18 disaster, Mike Bucholtz, died.

In 1974 a combination of wind and ice forced the Benson Ford from the shipping channel, running aground.

Data from: Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Sykes to Returns

Wednesday the classic Steamer Wilfred Sykes arrived at Rouge Steel in Dearborn, Mich. after a cold trip down the lake from Marquette, Mich.

While unloading taconite pellets she received fuel from the tug Carolyn Hoey and barge Marysville. After unloading she departed downbound on a very rare trip to Sandusky to load coal for Milwaukee.

After completing the Milwaukee trip she is expected back on the Rouge ore shuttle, either from Marquette or Escanaba until the weather prohibits. The late season trips are due to an increased demand for taconite.

Sykes unloading
Stern view
Carolyn Hoey
View on deck
Anchor windlass
Name on pilothouse

Reported by: Justin Kriemes

Aerial Views

Pilot and photographer Don Coles was flying over Lake Erie Monday and sent in the pictures below. All photographs are available for purchase. Don's company, Great Lakes Aerial Photos, is available for hire for any aerial photography need.

Wilfred Sykes in the Rouge River
Another view
Passing the Gaelic tug yard
Another view
Another view
George A. Stinson at Zug Island
Another view
H. Lee White
Another view
New Cemex Cement Silo above the Rouge River.

Reported by: Don Coles

Detroit Traffic

Karen Andrie
Karen Andrie & barge A397
Wilfred Sykes passing through the Fort Street Bridge.
H Lee White unloading at Zug Island.
Tug Princess near the Gaelic Dock.

Reported by: Mike Nicholls

Marquette Update

Icy conditions on the ore dock in Marquette delayed the loading of the Herbert C. Jackson and Lee A. Tregurtha on Wednesday.

Herbert Jackson.
Lee A. Tregurtha bow view with H. Jackson bow visible through the dock
Lee A Tregurtha wide view
Lee A. cabins/ribbons

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Soo Traffic

Below are images from the icy St. Marys River taken Wednesday.

Arthur M. Anderson approaching Soo locks.
Cuyahoga approaching Soo Locks.
Mesabi Miner downbound south of Six Mile Point.
Mesabi Miner.

Reported by: B. Barnes

Today in Great Lakes History - January 08

JOHN HULST was launched in 1938 for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

On 8 January 1877, the tug KATE FELCHER burned at East Saginaw. Her loss was valued at $3,000, but she was insured for only $2,000. She was named after the wife of her owner, the well known Capt. James Felcher of E. Saginaw.

In 1939 several tugs helped release the grounded CHIEF WAWATAM, which had been aground since January 3.

In 1974 the Benson Ford became beset by ice in Western Lake Erie.

Jan 8, 1976 the Leon Falk Jr. closed the season at Superior, Wisconsin after she departed the Burlington-Northern ore docks.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Brian Bernard, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

Lakers Head for Alang

Two veteran lakers continue their long journey to the scrapper torch in Alang, India. The Seaway Queen and the Oakglen are continuing up the east coast of Africa heading north, the tow has been uneventful to date. The tow is due to arrive at Alang on February 6 according to the company towing the freighters.

Reported by: Kent Malo

Algorail Enters Lay-up

Tuesday morning the Algorail finishing unloading at the Mueller Dock in Sarnia and headed upbound for winter lay-up in Sarnia. She arrived early afternoon and docked at the Sidney E. Smith Dock.

Also in port was the Neah Bay at the Cargill Elevator Dock.

Reported by: Barry Hiscocks, Rich Kelly and Stephen R. Peck

Twin Ports Report

Despite the lateness of the season, the two big docks on St. Louis Bay -- Midwest Energy Terminal on the Wisconsin side and DMIR ore dock on the Minnesota side -- are seeing an increase in scheduled last-minute calls.

Midwest Energy Terminal finished loading Oglebay Norton on Tuesday and then loaded Canadian Progress. The lineup there now includes Canadian Transport on Jan. 8, Paul R. Tregurtha on Jan.10, Canadian Olympic on Jan. 13, Canadian Transport on Jan. 15, and Paul R. Tregurtha on Jan. 16.

At the DMIR, James R. Barker was finishing up its load there Tuesday. Cuyahoga is now scheduled for Jan. 9, Atlantic Huron was added to the list for Jan. 11, and Mississagi and Michipicoten are both due Jan. 12.

Temperatures remain near or below zero Monday night and Tuesday, making ice rapidly in the harbor. By 730 a.m. Tuesday, the path that Oglebay Norton had cut through the ice on its way to Midwest Energy Terminal appeared to have frozen over. Temperatures are expected to moderate beginning today, and climb back to the plus-20s by the weekend.

Reported by: Al Miller

“Logos of the Lakes” Game to Debut at Cleveland’s 2004 Mid-America Sail and Power Boat Show

The Steamship William G. Mather Museum will have something for all visitors who visit its booth at the January 16-25, 2004 Mid-America Sail and Power Boat Show. For younger visitors, there is an 8-foot long teaching model of the Mather and “Logos of the Lakes” game. “Logos of the Lakes” will give visitors a chance to discover the colorful and unique smokestacks that have identified fleets on the Lakes for over 100 years. Visitors who play “Logos of the Lakes” can win a special prize from the Treasure Chest and a discount admission coupon to visit the Mather Museum when it opens in May 2004.

By popular demand, the Mather Museum’s booth will once again offer “Lifeboat Theater.” This year’s feature is our new orientation video “Welcome Aboard,” which gives visitors a brief overview of what to expect from a trip onboard. It also features newly discovered film footage shot a by a guest onboard the Mather in 1953. Visitors who give us their feedback on the video will be entered into a raffle for a free family membership to the museum.

In addition to “Logos of the Lakes” and Lifeboat theater, the Mather Museum’s booth will display information about the Museum, its programs and membership/volunteer opportunities. Dedicated Mather volunteers will once again be present to answer questions about the Mather and give visitors a first-hand account of life aboard our Great Lakes.

All in all, there’s something for everybody at the Mather Museum’s booth at the 2004 Boat Show. Be sure to put it on your Port O’ Call list!

Reported by: Rex Cassidy

Chicago Maritime Festival is Feb. 28

Ship and shipwreck fans should mark their calendars for Feb. 28, the date of this year's Chicago Maritime Festival. The event, which takes place at the Chicago Historical Society building, Clark Street at North Avenue in Chicago, includes seminars, workshops, films, mini-concerts, exhibits on maritime history, shipwreck diving, knot-tying, boating safety, navigation, model ships, kids' activities and more. Representatives of the Underwater Archaeological Society, U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Weather Service and the International Shipmasters Association are also expected to attend.
Visit for details.

Today in Great Lakes History - January 07

On January 7, 1970 the e) ONG., former CONGAR (1) had her Canadian registry closed. The tanker had been sold for use as a water tender at Antigua in the Lesser Antilles.

Data from: Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Twin Ports Report

The DMIR's Duluth ore dock was busy Monday as it loaded Michipicoten and James R. Barker back to back. The Michipicoten was fueling at the Murphy Oil dock at dawn when the temperature was about minus 9 degrees. It then moved on to the DMIR shiploader, departing about 330 p.m. while the temperature remained near zero. The Barker then moved into the dock. The masters of both vessels spent time discussing ice conditions in the harbor, which have changed considerably as temperatures in recent days have fallen from the plus 30s to minus single and double digits. The Michipicoten's master reported little trouble in the turning basin and ore dock slip. The Barker's master said he probably would turn off the end of the port terminal and back up St. Louis Bay and into the DMIR slip rather than attempting to turn off the end of the ore docks.

Also in port Monday, Canadian Olympic finished loading coal in the morning at Midwest Energy Terminal, with Paul R. Tregurtha and Oglebay Norton arriving to wait their turn to load there. Herbert C. Jackson arrived about 3 p.m. to load after the Tregurtha with coal bound for Marquette. The Oglebay Norton had been listed on the DMIR's schedule to load in Two Harbors on Monday, so its appearance in Superior seems to have been a late change of orders.

As the sun set, Michipicoten was outbound at the Duluth port terminal, passing an impressive array of vessels Herbert C. Jackson tied up at the port terminal; James R. Barker, tied up behind the Jackson at the Murphy Oil terminal and getting ready to depart as soon as the Michipicoten passed; and Oglebay Norton, stopped in the channel astern and to port of the Barker.

Down the harbor, Indiana Harbor was loading at BNSF ore dock in Superior.

As the sun set, Michipicoten was outbound at the Duluth port terminal, passing an impressive array of vessels Herbert C. Jackson tied up at the port terminal; James R. Barker, tied up behind the Jackson at the Murphy Oil terminal and getting ready to depart as soon as the Michipicoten passed; and Oglebay Norton, stopped in the channel astern and to port of the Barker.

In other news
Despite the extension of the season at the Soo, Midwest Energy Terminal still lists the Tregurtha's interlake shipment to Taconite Harbor as its final load of the season on Jan. 16.

As of Monday, the DMIR's Duluth dock was scheduled to remain busy, with Nanticoke due today, Cuyahoga on Jan. 8 and Mississagi on Jan. 10. With temperatures expected to remain near or below zero until Thursday, the ice situation around the harbor will continue to worsen.

The DMIR's Two Harbors dock also is busy, with Edgar B. Speer due today, Joe Block on Jan. 7, Presque Isle and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. expected Jan. 8, and Roger Blough back on Jan. 9. After many years of largely carrying coal, the McCarthy has been handling many taconite cargoes this fall.

Vessels from Great Lakes Fleet are becoming regular callers at the BNSF ore dock in Superior. Edwin H. Gott is due there Jan. 9, Arthur M. Anderson is scheduled for Jan. 8 and Cason J. Callaway is due there Jan. 11.

Reported by: Al Miller

Marquette Update

After unloading coal, the Wilfred Sykes took on a load of ore. She was joined at the dock by the Reserve on a chilly Monday

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Picture Updates

I've had a busy few days and am behind on picture updates. I should be caught up Tuesday night.

Today in Great Lakes History - January 06

While under tow heading for scrap, the HARRY R. JONES went aground at Androsan, Scotland on January 6, 1961 and it wasn't until February 15, that she arrived at her final port of Troon, Scotland.

January 6, 1999 - The Dow Chemical plant in Ludington announced a plan to close their lime plant, eliminating the need for Great Lakes freighter to deliver limestone.

In 1973 the JOSEPH H. THOMPSON ran aground at Escanaba after departing that port.

Data from: Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Agawa Canyon Enters Lay-up

The Agawa Canyon arrived at the Government Dock in Sarnia Sunday evening for winter lay-up. She delivered a partial cargo of stone to Marine City Saturday evening and then finished unloading at Marysville Sunday morning before going out into the lake for clean up.

Reported by: Barry Hiscocks

Republic Visits Alpena

The American Republic made a late season visit to Alpena on Sunday morning. It came into the river and unloaded a much needed cargo of coal for the Louisiana Pacific plant. The Republic departed by 1:30 p.m. and slowly backed out to turn around in the bay.

The Steamer Alpena is expected to be in port Monday morning to load cement at Lafarge. The tug Jacklyn M. and barge Integrity is heading to Milwaukee.

Reported by: Ben & Chanda McClain

Marquette Update

Sunday was another busy day in Marquette's harbor. The Herbert C. Jackson brought a load of coal to the Shiras Steam Plant in the lower harbor while the Saginaw and Adam Cornelius loaded ore in the upper harbor. The Wilfred Sykes arrived, but had to wait out in the harbor for the Cornelius to finish her load. The Sykes was bringing coal, and will take on ore on Monday.

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Stellamare Crewmember Located

Crews at the Port of Albany, New York found the body of the final missing crewman aboard the Stellamare Sunday. His body was discovered in the forward part of the cargo area.

The body has been located in the midst of the salvage operation. The Stellamare is now completely stabilized, and all of the water inside the ship has been pumped out.

The Stellamare tipped over in the Hudson River on Dec. 9 as crews were loading GE generators on board. Fifteen crew members were pulled to safety. The bodies of two other Russian sailors have been recovered by divers.

The vessel, owned by Jumbo Shipping Co. and built in 1982, has been in the Seaway system in the past, although not in recent years.

Reported by: Steve Jackson and Chris Milian

Time is Running Out for Trip Raffle with Great Odds

The International Ship Masters' Association North East Michigan Lodge is offering the chance to win one of two trips aboard an Oglebay Norton vessel. Cash prizes are also available. Unique to this raffle is the lodge is only selling 500 tickets increasing the odds of winning.

Grand Prize is a trip for four with a second prize of a trip for two. Cash prizes are also offered.

Time is running out as the drawing will take place Feb. 6 at 8:30 p.m. during the annual International Shipmasters Association convention in Alpena. Winners need not be present at drawing to win.

Click here for more information.

Limited Quantity Specials from Force 5

Specials through January 10
FINAL Inventory sale. Items that are in stock now.
Prices will then be at 2004 rates.
Boatnerd tees $5.00 each
Boatnerd Denims $14.00 each
Boatnerd caps $7.50 each
Interlake caps $7.50 each
Interlake Polos $15.00 each
Interlake Denims 14.00 each
Interlake silk screened tees $7.00 each
Greatlaker Caps $7.50 each
XL GreatLaker Denim $12.00
Little Laker Bibs $2.00 each
Final Burns Harbor tees $10.00 each- we have 2- XL black E-mail Veronica Petron to order or for more details.

Weekly Updates

The weekly updates have been uploaded.
Click here to view

News Pictures

Pictures for Sunday & Monday's news will be added Monday night.

Today in Great Lakes History - January 05

The keel was laid January 5, 1972 for the ALGOWAY (2).

The wooden tug A. J. WRIGHT caught fire on 5 January 1893 while laid up at Grand Haven, Michigan. She burned to the water's edge. Her loss was valued at $20,000. She was owned by C. D. Thompson.

In 1970 the PETER REISS broke her tailshaft while backing in heavy ice at the mouth of the Detroit River.

1976 CHEMICAL TRANSPORT cleared Thunder Bay, closing that port for the season.

Data from: Joe Barr, Brian Bernard Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

Frantz Enters Lay-up

The Joseph H. Frantz arrived at the old Interlake Iron Company Dock Saturday for winter lay-up after working on the ISG shuttle run in Cleveland. This dock is north of the Shipyard and she is docked in front of the Armco.

Frantz is the first active vessel to enter winter lay-up this season in Toledo.

In other port news, the Algomarine was unloading grain at Andersons "K" Elevator. The tug Salvor with her barge was unloading cargo at the B-P Dock. There are no vessels at the shipyard at this time.

Reported by: Jim Hoffman

Birchglen in Halifax

CSL's Birchglen anchored in Halifax on New Year's day to take bunkers from the Imperial Dartmouth. Some radio fine tuning was required, so the ship had to remain in port until early Jan 3 before sailing south to Brazil. This is her second call to Halifax this season, she was there in May for steering adjustments on a trip from Sydney, Nova Scotia to Venezuela.

The Birchglen will spend the winter trading off the lakes rather than laying up.

Reported by: Mac Mackay

Winds Stop Traffic at the Soo

Gale force winds near the Soo Saturday night sent most lakers to anchor. Four 1000 footers were at anchor in Superior at the Keweenaw and another five in the lower St Marys River. The Samuel Risley was at the Soo. James R Barker, Atlantic Erie, St Clair and Philip R Clarke were anchored in the lower river. Downbound was the John J. Boland, Middletown and Michipicoten. The lower pool water level at the Soo was minus 17 and the upper pool was at plus 19.

Reported by: Chris Jackson

Saginaw River News

Mild weather has kept the Saginaw River clear of ice, and commercial vessels are continuing to make late-season deliveries to docks along the waterway. During the past week, four vessels of Lower Lakes' U.S. and Canadian fleets have visited the river a total of five times.

The Calumet called at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee on Saturday. The vessel had arrived early in the morning and was backing out the river though Bay City during the afternoon.

On Friday afternoon, the Maumee delivered cargo to the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City. The vessel was outbound Friday evening. The Maumee had also visited the river two days earlier, on New Year's Eve.

Other visitors from the fleet during the week were the Cuyahoga on New Year's Day and the Mississagi on Monday.

Reported by: Stephen Hause, Lon Morgan and Todd Shorkey

John D. Leitch in Conneaut

John D. Leitch arrived in Conneaut Saturday night to load coal. She turned inside the outer breakwall to back in to the loaders. She initially set up to use both loaders, but the dock reported that the south loader wasn't able to handle the western coal, so Leitch repositioned to only use the north loader.

Reported by: Dave Merchant

Sykes in Chicago

The Wilfred Sykes was in south Chicago on New Years Day as she transferred from Inland Harbor to the KCBX coal dock to pick up a cargo of coal for Marquette, MI. After unloading, the Sykes will load ore for Zug Island.

Reported by: Jay Williams

Site work to begin soon for mooring of historic car ferry

Regulatory agencies, including the Michigan DEQ, have verbally approved final mooring and site development plans at the Moonlite Motel & Marina for the National Historic Landmark S.S. City of Milwaukee. The work remains on hold until final written permits are received from the Michigan DEQ and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Luedtke Engineering¹s Derrick Boat #12 and tug Chris E. Luedtke have tied up at the Moonlite Marina for the winter. It is anticipated that this vintage barge mounted steam crane will be contracted for the site work once permits are in hand and as weather allows.

Mike Brougham, Executive Director with the National Historic Landmark Corporation indicated the "final permit agreements work well to insure that a safe and environmentally sound plan is implemented." If everything is able to proceed as planned, the ship will be open at the Moonlite Motel & Marina location in May of 2004. Operations will include the 25-room motel, 35 rooms aboard the ship, 56 marina slips, RV campground, museum, ship tours, and private rentals. Brougham commented, "Improvements at the new site have to be completed before the ship can be moved in place, so given typical ice conditions, the ship will likely not be moved to the new site until April."

Nearly five hundred thousand dollars will be spent all told to develop the site and ship, with nearly all of the funds going directly into the area economy. In addition to a great deal of contact labor, the project presently employs a staff of seven. When "boatel" and special event operations begin in June, many new jobs positions will be created filled. Internship positions are also available for persons studying in the travel & tourism, hospitality, education and museum fields.

Reported by: S.S. City of Milwaukee

Today in Great Lakes History - January 04

On January 4, 1978, the IRVING S. OLDS was involved in a collision with the steamer ARMCO while convoying in heavy ice in the Livingston Channel of the lower Detroit River. The OLDS hit a flow of heavy ice, came to a complete stop and the ARMCO, unable to stop, hit the OLDS' stern.

In 1952 the carferry SPARTAN was launched.

Data from: Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Partially submerged ship to be floating again soon

Salvage crews righted a Dutch cargo ship Thursday about a month after it tipped over in the Hudson River, killing at least two sailors, authorities said. Although once cranes right the 289-foot Stellamare, it is still partially submerged because of about 4,000 tons of water trapped inside the ship, U.S. Coast Guard officials said. Salvagers will pump water from the vessel and cranes will continue lifting the ship until it floats.

Reported by: Bill Edwards

Tug Move

The Milwaukee Great Lakes Towing tugs Arkansas and Virginia were shifted to their lay up dock on the Menomonee River Friday morning. The location provides better winter protection then the tug's dock on Jones Island.

The Milwaukee River has gone through quite a transition in the past five years. Once heavily traveled by commercial vessels, pleasure craft now glide by the new condo and loft construction taking place along the river.

In the early 1950's Milwaukee was the largest coal receiving port on the Great Lakes. Tonnage of coal exceeded 5 millions tons a year delivered from as many as 600 lake vessels. The Menomonee River valley was the largest open air concentration of coal in the world. Great Lakes Towing tugs worked around the clock, seven days a week to move the boats in and out of the valley and harbor. Where once 15 companies transshipped coal in the river valley now stands a large casino and soccer fields.

Departing the Jones Island tug dock
Approaching the old C&NW swing bridge at the mouth of the Milwaukee River.
Passing the former location of the Great Lakes Towing dock on the Milwaukee River, now the site of the River Front Condominiums.
Tug Virginia waits for the Plankington RR bridge. In the background an old warehouse is being converted to condos. This is the site where the passenger ship Christopher Columbus was caught in swift currents and forced into a water tower in the 1930's.
The Plankington swing bridge at the entrance to the Menomonee River. In the background is Milwaukee's main Post Office.
Passing the 1892 built tug Islay. Tug ISLAY was built by Alexander McDougall and named for his daughter, and she in turn, named for McDougall's birthplace in Scotland.
Captain Lyle Osell from Green Bay piloted the Virginia.
Wisconsin DNR vessel Barney Devine in temporary lay up for the holiday's.
Arriving at the winter dock.
Engineer Dave Daniels demonstrates the proper way to check the shore power cable.
Tied up for the winter.

Reported by: Andy LaBorde

Twin Ports Report

This season's fall and early winter months have been relatively mild, but a storm warning was in effect Friday on western Lake Superior, with winds up to 55 mph waves to 20 feet forecast for late Friday night and early Saturday.

There was no word Friday on how boats might be affected by the storm, but vessels in the area included Cason J. Callaway, bound for Two Harbors; Arthur M. Anderson, scheduled to depart Two Harbors; and John G. Munson, scheduled to depart Two Harbors.

Vessels using the Twin Ports and other ports on western Lake Superior have benefited from mild weather in recent weeks, but that ends this weekend with an onslaught of bitterly cold air. Monday's forecast high temperature is minus 4 degrees, and most overnight low temperatures for next week are expected to be well below zero. That is certain to cause a rapid re-freezing of open water in the harbor and likely bring a return of typically troublesome ice conditions.

In the Twin Ports Friday, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Joe Thompson were expected to arrive at BNSF ore dock in Superior, and Herbert C. Jackson was expected to arrive near midnight at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Vessel traffic is picking up at the DMIR's Duluth dock as pellets from United Taconite arrive for shipment. Michipicoten and James R. Barker are now due there Jan. 5, Nanticoke on Jan. 6, and Cuyahoga on Jan. 8.

The DMIR's Two Harbors dock is hosting a variety of vessels in the coming week: Cason J. Callaway and Columbia Star were due today; Indiana Harbor and St. Clair are due Sunday; Oglebay Norton is scheduled for Jan. 5, Edgar B. Speer is expected Jan. 6 and Presque Isle is due Jan. 7.

Vessels from Great Lakes Fleet are becoming a frequent sight at the BNSF ore dock in Superior. Presque Isle just loaded there and is due in Detroit on Jan. 4; Edwin H. Gott is due at BNSF on Jan. 8; and Philip R. Clarke is scheduled for Jan. 5.

Reported by: Al Miller

Green Bay Update

The tug Dorothy Ann and her barge Pathfinder was the first vessel to visit the port of Green Bay in 2004. The brought in a load of 14,000 tons of coal for the Fox River Dock Friday morning at 5:30 a.m. and was expected to depart around noon Friday. Due to an unseasonably warm winter the 2003 shipping season has run into the new year.

The Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder is the last scheduled boat for the season, however if the temperatures remain above normal and the lakes and rivers remain ice free the Fox River Dock may get another shipment of coal around January 22. If this load does arrive it will be the latest in a season a ship has ever arrived in Green Bay in port history.

Unloading coal at the Fox River Dock
Another View
Coal pile steams as it's unloaded on a crisp Green Bay morning
The tug Dorothy Ann

Reported by: Jason Leino

Cleveland Update

Gemini at the Shell Fuel dock
Stern view
The barge St. Marys Cement at dock minus the Sea Eagle 2
Celebrezzy on maneuvers in the Cleve. Flats
The Buffalo unloading taconite at ISG Steel.
Barge Spud Scow #138
Columbia Star waiting to unload at CBT
Joseph H. Frantz loading taconite for ISG delivery later that night
Michael Lee taking depth readings at the Frantz
Tugs William C. Gaynor and Mohawk at the MCM Yards

Reported by: Munroe Copper

Hamilton and Port Colborne Lay-Ups

Canadian Miner at Dofasco dock in Hamilton.
Canadian Navigator on outer facing of Dofasco dock.
Canadian Leader
James Norris
Norris bow thruster
Norris name

In Port Colborne
Canadian Prospector on the east wall below Lock 8
CSL Niagara on east wall above Lock 8-arrived New Year's night after unloading coal in Nanticoke.

Reported by: Bill Bird

Lakes Visitors in Belgium

A number of lakes visitors were spotted in Antwerp, Belgium recently. The Blue Wing was being unloaded at an elevator, Flinterzee came in to the Zandvliet Lock and the Island Gem was at the docks as well.

Blue Wing.
Looking up.
Blue Wing stern.
Island Gem.

Reported by: Chris Rombouts

Port Everglades, Florida

The port was very active during New Years. Along with the commercial shipping activities, many large yachts were on the move. Boatnerds in the area are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Queen Mary 2, due into Port Everglades at the end of her maiden voyage in late January.

Tanker King George departs Port Everglades.
The 180 foot tanker Carl Phillip, an ex WWII U.S. Navy YO departs for sea with a cargo of tallow. You can hear her sixty year old Union Diesel chugging along.
Casino boat CunCruz V inbound from a three mile voyage to sea.
The Cat outbound for her daily trip to Freeport Bahamas.
Stern view of The Cat.
The 1954 built Regal Empress departing for Nassau Bahamas.
Sun Princess bound for Sea.
Carnival Legend follows the Sun Princess to Sea.
Circle Line ship St. Tropez boarding passengers for its three mile trip to sea.
Dixcovery Sun returning from her daily trip to Freeport Bahamas.

Reported by: Bill Hoey

Today in Great Lakes History - January 03

In 1939 the CHIEF WAWATAM ran aground on the shoals of the north shore near St. Ignace.

Jan 3, 1971 BEN W. CALVIN ran aground at the mouth of the Detroit River after becoming caught in a moving ice field.

In 1972 the TADOUSSAC clears Thunder Bay for Hamilton with 24,085 tons of iron ore, closing that port for the season.

Data from: Joe Barr, Brian Bernard , Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Soo extension may mean 1 million more tons of pellets for steelmakers

Keeping the Poe Lock open another 10 days may enable Great Lakes fleets to move an additional 1 million tons of taconite pellets and 120,000 tons of coal to steel mills and power plants on the lower lakes, according to industry officials.

The Poe Lock and the MacArthur Lock were scheduled to close Jan. 15, but a decision announced Wednesday by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers means the Poe Lock will remain open to shipping until Jan. 25.

Barring the onset of severe winter weather, shippers estimate considerable tonnage may be moved through the lock.

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., which operates three iron ore mines in Minnesota and one in Michigan, was a key player in seeking the extension. Without additional shipping time, some domestic steel producers may run out of iron ore before spring, Cleveland-Cliffs officials said.

"With the increased demand for steel, this is going to allow our customers the needed raw materials to get through the winter," Dana Byrne, a Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. spokesman, told the Duluth News Tribune. "It helps all of our operations in Michigan and Minnesota."

"It's really good to see these accommodations being made," Adolph Ojard, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director, told the newspaper. "It's really important to be able to use our water resource, which is efficient and environmentally safe."

About 600,000 tons of iron ore pellets are stockpiled at Two Harbors with other stockpiles in Duluth and Superior. Keeping the lock open an additional 10 days will allow for more shipments of pellets produced at Iron Range mines and help postpone seasonal layoffs at ore docks in Duluth, Superior and Two Harbors, he said.

The decision to keep the locks open isn't unprecedented. In the 1970s, year-round transportation was allowed through the locks, said Stan Jasek, area engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the locks.

Concerns about potential damage to a St. Marys River fishery and the upheaval of frozen vegetation along the shore of the river from wave action were raised in the 1980s, Jasek said. But studies paid for by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found no significant economic impact, he said.

The fixed closing date of Jan. 15 was in the 1990s by the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Coast Guard.

Mild weather in recent months has kept the river and locks area from freezing, Jasek said. "It's the type of season where if you are going to extend it, it's a good one," he said.

Neither employment nor seasonal repairs to the locks will be affected by the extension.

About 83 million tons of cargo is moved through the locks annually. Of that, about 50 million tons is iron ore.

Reported by: Frank Frisk

Marquette Update

New Years Day brought a "flurry" of ships to Marquette. The H. Lee White and Michipicoten loaded ore while the Charles M. Beeghly waited in the harbor. After the Michipicoten left, the Beeghly took her place at the dock.

The Herbert Jackson arrived with a load of coal and had to wait until the H. L. White finished loading. The Jackson finally was able to arrive with her load. She will not take on ore but will return to Superior for a load of coal for the lower harbor.

Michipicoten bow with the C. Beeghly visible in the distance.
Michipicoten wide view at the dock.
H. Lee White at the dock.
H. Lee White bow view
Backing away from the dock
White leaving, Jackson arriving.
Charles M. Beeghly waiting in the harbor
Bow view
Wide view at the dock
Herbert Jackson inside harbor light.
Jackson approaching dock

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Busy New Years Traffic at the Soo

Gales warnings are in effect for the area Friday and Saturday, with below zero nighttime temperatures next week expected to bring ice-free shipping to a rapid close.

Water levels at the Soo changed dramatically on New Years Day showing upper pool readings of minus 14, lower pool minus 2 and rock cut leveling off at plus 4 by days end.

Thursday's upbound traffic included - Middletown, John G. Munson, Lee A. Tregurtha, Jane Ann IV, Roger Blough, CSL Laurentian and Atlantic Huron. Downbound was the Oglebay Norton, Nanticoke, Philip R. Clarke, Canadian Transport, Saginaw, Wolverine, Algomarine, Earl W. Oglebay, American Mariner, Edgar B. Speer, Algowood Michipicoten and Sam Laud.

Algomarine, downbound at the Rock Cut.
Wolverine, downbound at Mission Point.
Wolverine meets upbound Roger Blough and Sarah Spencer below Mission Point.
Roger Blough
Roger Blough (another view)
Sarah Spencer at Mission Point

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Saginaw River News

The 2003 shipping season on the Saginaw River extended into the New Year with the arrival Thursday of the Cuyahoga.

The vessel entered the river about 5 a.m. and delivered cargo during the day at the General Motors dock and Saginaw Rock Products in Saginaw. The Cuyahoga was outbound from Saginaw at 5:20 p.m.

On Wednesday, the Maumee called at the Wirt Stone Dock in Saginaw. The vessel had entered the river in the morning and encountered strong winds and low water levels during its upbound transit. The wind abated during the afternoon and the Maumee was outbound from Saginaw on New Year's Eve.

Pictures by Todd Shorkey
Cuyahoga heading into the Sixth Street Turning Basin
Downbound at the Lafarge Dock
Cuyahoga passing the E.M. Ford
E.M. Ford at Lafarge

Reported by: Stephen Hause, Lon Morgan and Todd Shorkey

Injured Lithuanian sailor spends New Year's in Duluth

Although the salties have all left the lakes, one Lithuanian sailor remains in Duluth while his leg mends from injuries suffered on Lake Michigan.

Jurji Tichomirov fell into the hold of the saltie Kapitonas Stulpinas on Nov. 25 while the ship was upbound on Lake Michigan en route to Duluth to load grain for Finland. After four pain-filled days in bed aboard his ship, he was hospitalized in Duluth, where he underwent surgery to repair his hip and leg.

Tichomirov was left behind when his ship left port. He is convalescing in a local nursing home, where he will remain for a couple more weeks until his employer, the Lithuanian Shipping Co., flies him home.

Since he doesn’t speak Enlish, Tichomirov has been aided during his recovery by Tom and Julie Morgan of Duluth. Tom Morgan, a Russian teacher, volunteered to serve as the sailor’s interpreter

"Medically, he is doing very well," Tom Morgan told the Duluth News Tribune. "It's his morale or spiritual needs that needed looking after. Those medical people don't have time to shoot the bull with him, which really is all I do."

To ease Tichomirov’s isolation, Morgan brings him Russian books and newspapers. Tichomirov said being able to speak in his language has brightened his mood considerably and, he believes, helped his recovery.

"I was worried at first because the ship left me behind, and I don't have any money," he told the newspaper.

In 32 years of sailing, this was his first accident and the first time he’s been able to meet ordinary Americans. Tichomirov said he grew up under Soviet rule and was told only negative things about Americans. "But so many people have been so warm and kind to me," he said. "I never expected this."

Reported by: Rob Cuttingham

Today in Great Lakes History - January 02

While on the North Atlantic under tow for scrapping, the ASHLAND parted her towline but was tracked by U.S. Coast Guard aircraft and was retrieved by her tug on January 2nd, 1988 some 300 miles off course.

The 3-mast wooden schooner M. J. CUMMINGS was launched at the shipyard of Goble & MacFarlane in Oswego, NY. Her owners were Mrs. Goble & MacFarlane, Daniel Lyons and E. Caulfield. Her dimensions were 142'6´x 25'2" x 11'6", 325 tons and she cost $28,000.

January 2, 1925 - The ANN ARBOR NO. 7 was launched. She was sponsored by Jane Reynolds, daughter of R.H. Reynolds, marine superintendent of the railroad.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

Sykes Departs Ship Yard

Tuesday evening the Wilfred Sykes departed Bay Ship after under going her 5 Year Survey. The Sykes departed early enough to run in front of a storm system bringing high winds at 35 to 40 Knots. The Sykes was heading to load in at Escanaba for Detroit. The Sykes will finish out the season on the Detroit run and then return to Sturgeon Bay for winter Lay-up.

Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle

Iglehart Arrives

The steamer J. A. W. Iglehart arrived at the Detroit dock around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday for winter lay-up. She made only the single trip to lay-up after leaving her temporary lay-up dock in Muskegon. The steamer Alpena was due to load in Alpena Wednesday evening, she is then bound for South Chicago, St Joseph and Milwaukee.

Reported by: Her Phillips

Low Water at the Soo

Strong winds at the Rock Cut dropped water levels to a record minus 19 inches Wednesday, stopping all downbound traffic. James R Barker was in the lower river that afternoon at slow speed waiting for more water with plans to anchor . Weather reports indicated winds would diminish later that night which should allow levels to return to normal.

Reported by: Dan Thomas

Marquette Update

The Saginaw arrived in Marquette on a very windy Wednesday. She took on a load of taconite and prepared to leave. If the weather allows, New Years' Day will be a busy one at the dock with the possible arrivals of the H. Lee White, the Michipicoten, the Charles Beeghly and the John J. Boland.

Saginaw, bow view
Wider view along the dock
Train engines on top of the dock.

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Saginaw River News

Another late season cargo arrived on the Saginaw River as the Maumee was inbound early Wednesday morning, passing the Front Range around 8 a.m. She headed upriver to the Wirt Stone Dock in Saginaw to unload. She reported to the bridges that she should be back outbound in around eight hours.

Pictures by Todd Shorkey
Maumee upbound for Saginaw Wirt clear of the Airport Turning Basin
Another view
Bow close up
Stern view

Reported by: Stephen Hause, Lon Morgan and Todd Shorkey

Twin Ports Report

Pellets continue to flow through the DMIR's Duluth dock since the opening of United Taconite. Michipicoten is scheduled to load there Jan. 4 and Nanticoke is expected Jan. 6. The return of cold temperatures may complicate shipping from this dock.

DMIR's Two Harbors dock has a steady stream of boats scheduled for the first week of the new year. Closing out 2003 were Fred R. White on Dec. 30 and Edgar B. Speer and Joe Block on Dec. 31. Scheduled to start 2004 are Edwin H. Gott and Arthur M. Anderson today, Roger Blough Jan. 2, Cason J. Callaway Jan. 3 and St. Clair Jan. 4.

No word yet on how the extended season for the Poe Lock might affect Midwest Energy Terminal. Algowood was there Dec. 31 -- the 358th vessel to load there in 2003. By the time the Algowood depart, the dock will have shipped a little more than 17.8 million tons of coal by vessel in 2003. (The dock measures tonnage and vessel loadings by calendar year.)

Herbert C. Jackson is scheduled to be Midwest Energy Terminal's first boat for 2004, loading 18,500 tons on Friday for the Shiras plant in Marquette. The weekend promises to be a busy one, with Canadian Olympic, Paul R. Tregurtha, Herbert C. Jackson and Canadian Progress all scheduled for Sunday.

Reported by: Al Miller

St. Lawrence River Traffic at Verchères

Spar Ruby downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Dec.27.
Pétrolia Desgagnés downbound off Verchères from Montréal to Tracy, Dec.27.
Sichem Holger upbound off Verchères for Montréal berth 32, Dec.27.
Spruceglen bound for Québec City and then to Brazil, Dec.29.
Stern view.
Bulker Seven Ocean downbound off Verchères from Montréal with a load of grain, Dec.29.
Atmospheric view of bulker Agios Nektarios upbound off Varennes for the Pointe-aux-Trembles anchorage to clean her holds before loading grain at Montréal berth 54. Prior to this photo, she had unloaded a cargo of coal at Sorel-Tracy, Dec.29.
The big OOCL container ship OOCL Montreal downbound off Verchères from Montréal to Thamesport, Dec.31.
Cabot's unaltered sister Cicero downbound off Verchères from Montréal berth B-8 for Newfoundland. Dec.31.
Polsteam's Isolda shown downbound off Verchères from Montréal berth 54 with a load of grain bound for Rotterdam, Dec.31
Canmar Endurance shown while upbound off Verchères for Montréal berth 62 after a trans-Atlantic crossing from Fos sur Mer, France, Dec.31.
Stern view.
Agios Nektarios.
Pols Robsons.
Stern view.

Reported by: Marc Piché

Happy New Year

Today in Great Lakes History - January 01

On January 1, 1973, the Paul H. Carnahan became the last vessel of the 1972 shipping season to load at the Burlington Northern (now Burlington Northern Santa Fe) ore docks in Superior. Interestingly, the Carnahan also opened the Superior docks for the season in the spring of 1972.

On 1 January 1930, HELEN TAYLOR (wooden propeller steam barge, 56', 43 gt, built in 1894 at Grand haven, MI) foundered eight miles off Michigan City, IN. She was nicknamed "Pumpkin Seed" due to her odd shape.

January 1, 1900 - The Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad merged with the Chicago & West Michigan and the Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western Railroads to form the Pere Marquette Railway Co.

On 1 January 1937, MAROLD II (steel propeller, 129'. 165 gt, built in 1911 at Camden, New Jersey as a yacht) was siphoning gasoline off the stranded tanker J. OSWALD BOYD (244', 1806 gt, built in 1913 in Scotland) which was loaded with 900,000 gallons of gasoline and was stranded on Simmons Reef on the north side of Beaver Island. A tremendous explosion occurred which totally destroyed MAROLD II and all five of her crew. Only pieces of MAROLD II were found. Her captain's body washed ashore in Green Bay the next year. At time of loss, she was the local Beaver Island boat. The remains of the BOYD were removed to Sault Ste. Marie in June 1937.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

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