Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Today in Great Lakes History

January 31
MANZZUTTI was launched January 31, 1903, as a.) J S KEEFE (Hull#203) at Buffalo, New York by the Buffalo Dry Dock Co..

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

January 30
ELMDALE was launched in 1909 as a.) CLIFFORD F MOLL (Hull#56) at Ecorse, Michigan by the Great Lakes Engineering Works.

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, Michigan on her maiden voyage.

On 30 January 1881, ST ALBANS (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 135 foot, 435 tons, built in 1869 at Cleveland, Ohio) 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.

January 29
The BUCKEYE (2) was launched January 29, 1910, as the straight decker a.) LEONARD B MILLER (Hull#447) at Cleveland, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co..

JOHN P REISS (Hull#377) was also launched this date in 1910, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. .

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 foot, 10,606 gross tons) was launched in Bay City, Michigan 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.

January 28
SELKIRK SETTLER (Hull#256) was launched January 28, 1983, at Govan, Scotland by Govan Shipbuilding Ltd.

At 4:00 a.m. 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 installed. 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.

January 27
In 1912, the Great Lakes Engineering Works' Ecorse yard launched the steel bulk freighter WILLIAM P SNYDER JR (Hull#83), for the Shenango Furnace Co..

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, Michigan from the weight of accumulated ice. She was recovered but required and expensive rebuild and was sold and renamed TUG 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: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Brian Bernard, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Tregurtha's Late Trip Prompts Ice Jam Warning

U.S. Coast Guard officials warned residents of Sugar Island, located downstream from the Soo Locks, that ferry service to the island might be interrupted Friday because moving ice from Sault Harbor could hinder passage of the ferry Sugar Islander II.

The ice movement would be caused by an unusual late-January trip to Sault Ste. Marie by the 1,013-foot motor vessel Paul R. Tregurtha. The Tregurtha, carrying approximately 43,000 tons of coal, arrived in Sault Harbor Friday afternoon. The cargo is being offloaded at the Carbide Dock on the Sault, Mich. side of the river and will later be trucked to across the International Bridge to Algoma Steel Corp. in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

The cargo was loaded earlier in the week at Conneaut, Ohio. After the Tregurtha finishes unloading, she will head for winter layup at Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

According to a report in Friday's Sault Ste. Marie Evening News, the Coast Guard advised anyone on Sugar Island to plan around a possible ice jam at the Mission Point ferry crossing starting as early as late afternoon on Friday but more likely from 8 p.m. to midnight.

After passing upbound at Mission Point, the Tregurtha was turned around in the harbor to approach the dock stern first. Harbor tugs, including the Great Lakes Towing Co. tug Missouri, were used to assist Tregurtha in making the unusual turn. Prior to the vessel's arrival, Coast Guard icebreaking tugs carved a large turning area in the harbor ice, then sliced the large chunks of ice into smaller pieces to promote flow downriver. Icebreakers were also dispatched to enlarge the open reaches of Lake Nicolet downriver of Mission Point to accommodate the large mass of broken ice expected to flow down the river.

Since this mid-winter maneuver has never been attempted in Sault Harbor with a ship of Tregurtha's size, Coast Guard officials were not sure a temporary ice jam at the Sugar Island ferry dock area could be avoided.

The Tregurtha was assisted by the U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers Mackinaw, Katmai Bay and Biscyane Bay.

Meanwhile, the  Katmai Bay escorted the  tanker Gemini upriver to Sault Ste. Marie on Thursday. Gemini will be unloading fuel at Government Dock through Saturday afternoon.

Reported by Jerry Masson, Soo Evening News

6:35 PM Update
Paul R Tregurtha arrived Carbide Dock at 6:35 PM.  The ship will unload 43,000 tons of coal for approx 12 hours then depart downbound.  Once the Tregurtha was secured, the tanker Gemini departed the Government Dock in Soo Harbor downbound for Nanticoke.

Reported by Jerry Masson


Launch of Mackinaw is delayed

The launch date for the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw has been delayed two weeks and will now take place on April 2, a Coast Guard official confirmed Wednesday.

"That has changed," stated Public Affairs Officer Ryan Barone, of the Coast Guard's 9th District Office in Cleveland. "That's really all I know is that the date has been moved. There was some talk about the March 19 date being close to Easter week or maybe to accommodate Rep. Hastert's schedule, but it is now April 2."

Mrs. Jean Hastert, the sponsor for the new icebreaker, will christen the vessel at the launch ceremony. Mrs. Hastert is the wife of Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, R-Batavia, Ill.

Lt. Erik Skow, who works onsite for the Coast Guard's contracting office in Marinette, Wis., where the vessel is being built, verified the change.

"The change is official," he said. "It is my understanding that the movement of the launch date is not due to any problems or delays in the construction process but to facilitate the scheduling of dignitaries who will be attending. The word came down to us from Washington, D.C."

Skow stressed that delaying the launch by two weeks would not in any way affect the sea trials, yard inspections or delivery of the boat to Cheboygan in October.

"Two weeks isn't going to matter in the ship's overall schedule," he indicated. "They will keep the Mackinaw inside for two more weeks, though. It will give the crews two more weeks for inside detail work but it won't be a negative factor at all."

The Mackinaw is being constructed inside a mammoth facility at the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard on the Menominee River. The building measures more than 350 feet long and 250 feet wide, with a ceiling that is 60 feet high.

Ed Pyrzynski of Cheboygan served on the original Mackinaw and is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw Association as well as the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum, Inc. committee. The volunteer group is working to keep the older icebreaker in town after it is decommissioned in 2006 and the new ship is on the job. He said he has been keeping tabs on the new vessel's progress and has spoken to Coast Guard officials in Marinette.

"There are many specifications that go into building a ship that costs $110 million," Pyrzynski said. "If something doesn't meet the Coast Guard's specifications, then it is done over again. I'm sure the extra time will benefit everyone."

Following the launch, builder ship trials are scheduled for June 21 with a dry-dock session set for June 24 to correct problems and conduct more tests. Post-acceptance trials are slated for Aug. 31 and the crew ramp-up is due for early October.

Reported by Mike Fornes, Cheboygan Tribune (with thanks to Kevin Griffith)


ommercial vessel traffic returns to Sanitary and Ship Canal past sunken oil barge

1/26 Update
The Coast Guard Captain of the Port has opened the section of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) between the Cicero Avenue Bridge and the Chicago Belt Railway Railroad Bridge to commercial barge traffic.  Vessels are permitted to transit this section of the CSSC under the following restrictions:

1.  Routine vessel traffic will be allowed to transit this area between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
2.  Tow size past the sunken barge is limited to a single, loaded 35 foot wide dry cargo barge, or two end-to-end 35 foot wide empty dry cargo barges.
3.  Vessel drafts may not exceed nine feet.
4.  All tows require a bow assist boat.
5.  All traffic wishing to transit the area must contact the motor vessel David E on channel 19 prior to reaching the Cicero or Belt Railway Bridge for further instruction.

6.  This section remains closed to noncommercial vessel traffic.


Seventeen barges safely transited past the sunken barge overnight and into this morning.


The Coast Guard, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers will continue to closely oversee all salvage and recovery operations until the threat of pollution has been eliminated and the barge has been removed from the channel.


Reported by the U.S. Coast Guard


U.S. Steel posts record 4th quarter

United States Steel Corp. recorded a record net income of $462 million for the fourth quarter of 2004 and a full-year net income of $1.08 billion, a result of demand, acquisitions and cost-reduction efforts, the company announced Monday. "Favorable global steel markets coupled with our acquisitions and ongoing cost-reduction efforts resulted in record income for U.S. Steel for both the fourth quarter and full year," John P. Surma, president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

A year ago the company posted a net  loss of $22 million in the fourth quarter, and full-year net loss of $463 million for 2003.

U.S. Steel owns and operates Minntac Mine in Mountain Iron and Keewatin Taconite in Keewatin. Those mines ship much of their taconite pellets aboard Great Lakes vessels loading in Superior, Duluth and Two Harbors. Iron ore production for the company was 5.7 million tons in the fourth quarter of 2004 compared with 5.5 million tons during the same period last year. For all of 2004, iron ore production was 22.8 million tons compared with 18.6 million tons in 2003.

Reported by Al Miller


Region's Disappearing Resource: Riverbed gouging takes Great Lakes down a foot

Lakes Michigan and Huron have permanently lost a foot of water because of erosion in the St. Clair River caused by dredging and other man-made meddling, according to a study released Monday.

The decline will continue for the foreseeable future, it warns, battering boaters, marinas, property owners and the shipping industry struggling with water levels at the bottom of historical cycles.

The low water was troublesome, but temporary, experts had assured those struggling with dried-out boat canals.

Now, they're not so sure.

The reason: Erosion created gouges in the river bottom up to 19 feet deep between 1970 and 2000, enlarging the bottleneck at the bottom of Lake Huron where water drains into the lower Great Lakes and Niagara Falls.

"It's like a drain hole at the bottom of a bathtub," said Rob Nairn, a principal with W.F. Baird & Associates Coastal Engineers of Toronto, which conducted the study for the Georgian Bay Association, a civic organization representing about 4,200 Canadian families who live on Georgian Bay islands and shores. "The drain hole is getting bigger, and the water is going out faster. It's something very alarming that no one has talked about or reported until now."

Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers' Association that represents domestic shipping companies, said he had not seen the report Monday, but that a solution must protect both commerce and the environment: "Any loss of Great Lakes water is of concern for us. Each additional inch allows between 250 and 270 tons of cargo" on a larger freighter, he said.

Experts agree that dredging to deepen the St. Clair River for commercial ships reduced the volume of water in Huron and Michigan. Three such projects, the last one completed in 1962, account for a 19-inch reduction in lake levels, Nairn said.

That was believed to be a one-time drop. Until now.

Monday's report found Lakes Michigan and Huron -- considered one body of water because they are connected at the Straits of Mackinac -- have lost an additional 12 inches since 1970 because of erosion that has gone undetected since the 1962 dredging.

All told, the dredging and erosion has accounted for a water loss from the lakes equivalent to 28 Lake St. Clairs, according to the Baird report.

Because the extra water moves so quickly through Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and Lake Erie on its way over Niagara Falls, it has not raised the levels of those waters appreciably, Nairn said.

A modest resurgence in Great Lakes water levels during the past two years is part of a natural cycle, but doesn't mask the fact that the Huron/Michigan waters are still a foot below where they would be without the erosion, Nairn said.

And the problem can't be explained by natural forces, he said. Geologists say erosion in the St. Clair River basin stopped between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago. But it began again in the 1900s because of man-made factors including:
Dredging of the channel to 27 feet deep to accommodate ships.
Erosion at the sites of sand mining that took place in the river in early part of the 1900s.
Erosion control structures protecting beaches on lower Lake Huron that deprive the St. Clair River of sediment that normally would have washed into it and filled holes in the river bottom.

The lakes' water loss went unnoticed because it was masked by high water levels of the 1970s and 1980s, the report suggests. But when Lake Huron receded in the 1990s and early 2000s, residents of the archipelago of Canadian islands in Georgian Bay suspected more than just the usual 30-year, high-to-low water levels cycles were in play.

"In recent years, we have had a significant number of wetlands dry up on Georgian Bay, and the aquatic life forced out onto steep granite shorelines," said Mary Muter, the Georgian Bay keeper who monitors the area's natural resources.

The residents commissioned the study at a cost of about $163,000 to find out.

The results have alarmed scientists and policy makers across the region.

"We take it very seriously," said Dennis Schornack, U.S. chair of the International Joint Commission, which oversees boundary waters linking the United States and Canada. "It's definitely of concern and the kind of thing that is supposed to be part of an Upper Great Lakes study that has not been funded yet by Congress."

Schornack said the potential for dredging-related trouble was apparent as early as 1921, when a deepening of the St. Clair River was approved by the IJC, with one condition: that weirs -- underwater barriers -- be installed to slow the velocity of water that would be increased by the channel deepening.

Those barriers were never built, said Schornack.

Underwater barriers or other methods to combat the erosion need to be considered quickly, Nairn and a coalition of environmental groups said Monday. The report did not suggest solutions.

The data also must be part of an ongoing bi-national study of the future of commercial navigation on the Great Lakes, said the environmental groups.

"The Great Lakes are more than simply a navigation corridor, and the time has come for the management of the lakes to reflect that," said Jennifer Nalbone, habitat and biodiversity coordinator for Great Lakes United, a bi-national lakes advocacy group.

* * *

Water is permanently being sucked from Lakes Huron and Michigan because of ongoing erosion caused by dredging and other human activities in the St. Clair River -- the drain that funnels water out of the lakes -- according to a study released Monday.

If the data is accurate, the lakes may have already  lost 12 inches of water  in addition to natural lake level fluctuations. The data  would also help explain the  low water levels that have plagued boaters and beachfront landowners during the last few years.

Policy makers may need to explore ways to slow the outflow to  protect the environment as well as Great Lakes shipping interests that depend on deep river channels.

Reported by Hugh McDiarmid Jr., Staff Writer, Detroit Free Press & J. Meyland


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Today in Great Lakes History - January 26

The keel for the CLIFFS VICTORY, a). NOTRE DAME VICTORY Hull#1229) was laid on January 26, 1945, at Portland, Oregon by Oregon Shipbuilding Corp.

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

J F SCHOELLKOPF JR was launched January 26, 1907, as a.) HUGH KENNEDY (Hull#349) at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co. .

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

ST LAWRENCE NAVIGATOR was launched in 1967, as a.) DEMETERTON (Hull#619) at South Shields, United Kingdom by John Readhead & Sons, Ltd..

On 26 January 1898, the CITY OF DULUTH (wooden passenger/package freight vessel, 202 foot, 1310 gross tons, built in 1874, at Marine City, Michigan as a passenger vessel) was carrying passengers, corn, flour and general merchandise from Chicago to St. Joseph, Michigan 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: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Brian Bernard, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


River Dredging is Draining Upper Lakes, Group Says

A 1962 dredging of the St. Clair River resulted in an expanding "hole" that has lowered Lake Michigan's level by a about a foot, according to a report released Jan. 24 by the conservation group Georgian Bay Association.

  According to the report, in 1962 the navigation channel in the St. Clair River was dredged to a depth of 30 feet. The Army Corps of Engineers estimated that the project, combined with previous dredging, resulted in a “one-time” approximately 16-inch drop in the long-term average level of Lakes Michigan and Huron.

  But the study released Monday argues that Lakes Michigan and Huron’s long-term average level has continued to drop, likely because the dredging created a faster-flowing St. Clair River, which is now carving a deeper and deeper channel on its own.

The Army Corps of Engineers has “effectively opened a bigger drain hole in the Great Lakes,” said John Pepperell, president of Georgian Bay Association, a Canadian organization that coordinated the six-month, $200,000 study by the Canadian engineering firm W.F. Baird and Associates.

The goal was to create a shipping channel about 30 feet deep. Today, the study says, the St. Clair channel has eroded to depths exceeding 60 feet in places.

Army Corps officials don’t deny there might be a problem, but said Monday that more studies are needed.

“There definitely seems to be a change in the way water moves . . . from Lakes Huron to Erie,” said Scott Thieme, chief of the Army Corps’ Great Lakes office for hydraulics and hydrology. “We do think there is an issue here that we have been watching and looking at for a while, (but) I think it is more complex than what this report tends to address.”

Conservationists want the Canadian and U.S. governments to dig into the dredging issue and find a solution. They know that the erosion is occurring, but said Monday that there could be factors beyond the river digging a deeper channel for itself. Another factor could be a reduction in river-plugging silt due to shoreline protection and development projects on Lakes Michigan and Huron.

Jim Weakley, president of the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers Association, said he could not comment on the study because he hadn’t seen it. But he said lake levels are a concern to his association, which represents 15 U.S. shipping companies.

Weakley explained that even a one-inch drop in lake levels means a 1,000 foot ship typically can carry about 250 fewer tons.

“Obviously, we’re very concerned with water levels,” Weakley said.


Great Lakes Waters On the Rise

The Great Lakes are up to 16 inches deeper than they were last winter, a trend that bodes well for the upcoming shipping season, according to a story in Monday's Detroit Free Press.

Lakes Erie, St. Clair and Ontario all are above long-term averages for the first time in several years according to federal data. Lakes below their averages ­ Huron, Michigan and Superior ­ could reach or exceed that mark this summer for the first time in seven years. That's good news for shippers. shipping industry, where higher water means more cargo and bigger profits. A single inch of water allows a 1,000-foot freighter to carry 270 additional tons of goods, according to the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers' Association.

The lakes began inching up after 2001, when they dropped to the lowest levels in nearly 30 years.

Reported by the Detroit Free Press, Jason Leslie


Coast Guard Day Slowly Takes Shape

Port Huron city and maritime leaders spent Monday morning trying to figure out how best to say thanks to the local units of the U.S. Coast Guard.

About 20 officials gathered to plan the city's first Coast Guard appreciation day, tentatively scheduled for August. The goal is to recognize the 28-member Port Huron station, the 50-member cutter Hollyhock and local retired Coast Guard members.

Many said explaining how the servicemen and women work is just as important as honoring their accomplishments. "To educate the area on what the Coast Guard does ... A lot of people don't know all of the duties of the Coast Guard," said Chris Frazier, a Port Huron police community service officer.

The group discussed tours of the station along Lake Huron and tours of the Hollyhock and vessels at the Seaway Terminal on the city's south side. Other highlights could include visits from the Coast Guard Band, local high school bands, ceremonies and informational presentations. Port Huron station chief Jeffery Egelston said the event also would give Coast Guard members a chance to relate with residents. "We need to get out there and reach out to the community," Egelston said.

The committee plans to loosely pattern this event on the 10-day Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival on Michigan's west side. The next planning meeting is scheduled for mid-February.

Reported by Chris Sebastian, Times Herald and Frank Frisk


Tougher Rule Urged for Freighter Ballast - Most Ships Exempted From Inspection

It's hardly been a secret: One of the gravest threats to the Great Lakes region's $4.5 billion fishery is the invasion by zebra mussels and other destructive freshwater exotics that have made their way to North America, trapped in the ballast water of foreign ships.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, formally known as the General Accounting Office, has said so. Countless government, industry, nonprofit and university scientists have said so.

Yet the New York state attorney general's office and others say the U.S. Coast Guard is not inspecting 80 to 90 percent of foreign ships entering the lakes for the foreign invaders. The ships have gotten around the required inspections by declaring they are so loaded down by cargo that they have virtually no ballast on board, officials said.

Bob McCann, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality press secretary, said the exemption rate is "probably outside of the intent of the law." "The Coast Guard obviously believes it would be difficult, if not impossible, to check every boat," he said.

The Coast Guard's ballast water inspections are the government's primary detection method to see if ships have taken the time and expense to exchange their ballast water at sea. It's a costly task to kill off freshwater species from other continents that have been drawn into ballast tanks before transoceanic voyages. The purpose of the exchange is to have salt water kill off any freshwater species or microscopic larvae in the ship tanks, before water from the bottom of the vessels is released into the lakes.

The intent of the National Invasive Species Act that former U.S. Sen. John Glenn (D., Ohio) sponsored in 1990 was to limit the chances that other foreign species would plague the lakes.

At stake is a recreational and commercial fishing industry that together supports 81,000 jobs and infuses the region's tourism industry with cash by generating revenue for motels, restaurants, and bait shops. Monroe, Toledo and Port Clinton are among the benefactors, because western Lake Erie's prized walleye and yellow perch are a huge draw.

Great Lakes United and the National Wildlife Federation officials say they're stunned by the rate of inspection exemptions, which they view as a gaping loophole.

Jennifer Nalbone, Great Lakes United spokesperson, said she believes the public has been led to believe the inspection rate was much higher than 10 or 20 percent. If nothing else, allowing the majority of ships to be exempt doesn't live up to the spirit of the National Invasive Species Act, she said.

The Coast Guard said it is handcuffed by regulations but hopes to get support to either be more aggressive or pursue other options. Those options include anything from chemical to thermal to ultraviolet treatment of ballast water, said Jolie Shifflet, spokesperson for Coast Guard headquarters in Washington.

Jeff Hall, spokesperson for the Coast Guard's Great Lakes office in Cleveland, said it's "basic knowledge that ships try to load up as much as they can before they come here." Efficiency in moving cargo is the primary motive, not circumventing ballast water inspections, he said. Foreign vessel operators claim it's nearly impossible to pump out all residue in their ballast, he said.

The Coast Guard has scheduled a set of public meetings in Cleveland to discuss options. The meetings, on May 9, are to be at the Anthony J. Celebreeze Federal Building, 1240 East 9th St., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m..

"If we need to change something, it will be based on scientific evidence," Ms. Shifflet said.

Concerns about exempted vessels prompted seven of the Great Lakes states, including Michigan and Ohio, to jointly petition the Coast Guard for improvements last July. "The federal government can and must be more aggressive in combating this problem, which each year costs Great Lakes communities billions of dollars in damages," New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. T.H. Gilmour responded in September, saying his agency has been working with others on plans for improvements since 1999.

Michele Hoffer, assistant to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' director for special projects, said officials are encouraged by the Coast Guard's cooperative response to the July petition. "They share our concerns," she said. She said the process that it is taking to gain federal support is "a step in the right direction."

"They're following through on some of the requests of the petition," Ms. Hoffer said. "It is the major priority at this time."

Reported by Tom Henry, Toledo Blade


Barge Fire on Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal

An explosion onboard the EMC423 tank barge on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Wednesday evening (Jan. 20) has resulted in the presumed death of a crewmember and the closure of the waterway.  

The tank barge that exploded was carrying approximately 588 thousand gallons of Clarified Slurry Oil.  This cargo is a byproduct of the oil refining process and is used to make fuel oils.  It was loaded onto the barge at the Exxon Mobile Plant in Joilet, Ill., and was destined for the Ameropan Oil Corporation facility in Cicero, IL.  

  The tank barge involved in the explosion is owned and operated by the Egan Marine Corporation.  Egan Marine operates a small fleet of barges and towboats in Lemont, Ill.  

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port has closed the Chicago Sanitary and Ship canal between South Harlem Avenue Bridge and the South Pulaski Road Bridge to all vessel traffic.  The canal will be reopened as soon as it has been determined that it is safe for vessel traffic and that opening the waterway will not adversely affect the ongoing clean up and salvage operation.

Heritage Environmental Corporation has been contracted by Egan Marine to clean up the spill.  The Coast Guard is working closely with Heritage Environmental, Egan Marine, and state and local agencies to mitigate any environmental impacts and ensure that the spill is contained and cleaned up efficiently.  

Marine Safety Office Chicago has initiated an investigation to determine the cause of this accident.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) is assisting the Coast Guard with this investigation and is providing significant technical and investigative expertise.

 Jan. 22 Update:
Cleanup and salvage operations continue on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) today despite the inclement weather.  The Coast Guard is continuing to work closely with the Army Corps of Engineers and Egan Marine to mitigate pollution, salvage the sunken barge, and reopen the canal to vessel traffic.

The Army Corps of Engineers will conduct another hydro survey of the Sanitary and Ship Canal today to assist the Coast Guard in determining if and when the canal can be reopened to vessel traffic.  The results of the previous survey conducted on Thursday were determined to be too inconclusive to make the decision to safely open the canal to vessel traffic.  The Coast Guard expects to receive the data from this latest survey tomorrow.

The Coast Guard has mobilized a Salvage Engineering Response Team (SERT) to assist the Captain of the Port Chicago with safely removing the sunken barge from the Sanitary and Ship canal.  The SERT is a highly specialized group of 8-10 staff engineers who are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide immediate salvage engineering support to the Coast Guard Captains of the Port (COTP) and Federal On-Scene Coordinators (FOSC) in response to marine casualties.

Jan. 24 Update:
After carefully examining the hydrographic survey data provided by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard has verified that the previously closed section of the Sanitary and Ship Canal below the Cicero Avenue Bridge is safe for navigation.  Therefore, this portion of the canal is now open up to vessel traffic.  Mariners are being advised to transit this area with caution due to the presence of oil containment boom positioned on the left descending bank.  The canal remains closed between the Cicero Avenue Bridge and the Belt Railway of Chicago Railway Bridge until a safe channel has been verified.  The hydrographic survey conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers of this section of the waterway indicates that barge transits may be possible.  Verification tests of this section of the waterway will be conducted tonight.

Egan Marine Corporation has submitted a salvage proposal to the Coast Guard.  Marine Safety Office Chicago and the Coast Guard Salvage and Response Team (SERT) are carefully reviewing this proposal to ensure safe and efficient recovery operations of the oil from the sunken barge.  The Coast Guard, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers will closely oversee all salvage and recovery operations until the threat of pollution has been eliminated and the barge has been removed from the channel.

Reported by U.S. Coast Guard


Neebish Dispute Averted by Re-routing Coal Ship

After some discussion of a very late coal delivery to the Carbide Dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Coast Guard officials on Wednesday opted to close the W. Neebish (or downbound) ship channel at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Lt.Cdr. Andy Connor, operations officer at Group Sault, said the Saturday channel closure will almost certainly retain the growing ice bridge over that channel. He explained that shipping officials had pressed to keep the West Neebish open for the delayed passage of the Paul R. Tregurtha.

However, he said, Tregurtha's planned return from a coal delivery trip to Sault Ste. Marie late this week will not occur until Sunday or Monday (now later). The ship will be directed through the Middle Neebish and Munuscong Channels, avoiding the fast ice in the West Neebish.

The timing of the Tregurtha trip, five days after the Soo Locks closed, raised the potential for another ice bridge dispute at Neebish Island. While Connor's announcement appeared to resolve a budding controversy amicably, the Coast Guard officer clearly charted Group Sault's priorities in dealing with the winter ice crossing from Neebish.

"There is open water for the Neebish Island ferry to operate," he said. "Our priority is (retaining) ferry service, not the ice bridge," Connor stated flatly. He acknowledged the shipping industry's continued attempts to lengthen winter shipping on the St. Marys, just as he recognized some Neebish Islanders' preference for access to the mainland by snowmobile to avoid ferry fares.

The announced closure of the W. Neebish Channel appears to meet the concerns of both sides, even though vessel masters would prefer to use the downbound channel for downbound passages.

Concurrent with the Coast Guard announcement, Capt. Mary Schallip of the ferry Neebish Islander II, announced early today that the ferry will continue to run past Saturday. Schallip said a pressure ridge developed in the ice cover and re-opened a portion of channel used by snowmobilers to cross from the island.

Schallip said she will announce planned layup of the ferry three days in advance of the seasonal shutdown, once firmer ice forms over the passage.

With the last boat for Neebish now set at 5 p.m. Saturday, the ferry will remain in lay-up until some time in mid-March or later, when it can make the normally icebound crossing.

To further clarify the Coast Guard's position on the sometimes noisy debate over the winter ice crossing at Neebish, Connor said the tanker Gemini will also follow the upbound channel on her upcoming downbound passage. Gemini was in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Wednesday, unloading fuels on her regular winter shuttle from Sarnia.

Connor said Gemini's captain and Coast Guard officials agreed to the diversion, even though the West Neebish Channel does not officially close until Saturday. That channel is among a handful of area shipping channels closed by Group Sault's Captain of the Port each winter to assure as sound an ice cover as possible over ice crossing routes to inhabited area islands.

Meanwhile, upriver from Neebish, the crane vessel Yankcanuck was hove-to in the ice near Six Mile Point last Wednesday afternoon. The ship was reportedly using its on-board crane to punch out ice around the hull to hold position.

Connor said Yankcanuck set herself in the channel ice purposely to await departure of Gemini from Government Dock. He said the small crane ship preferred to await a clear dock face to allow Yankcanuck a wide turn into her lay-up berth alongside Government Dock for the winter.

Yankcanuck typically backs into her berth for lay-up with the balance of the Purvis Marine Ltd. fleet at Sault, Ont.

Reported by Jack Storey, The Evening News (dated Jan. 20)


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Today in Great Lakes History

January 25
On January 25, 1988, the tanker 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, Ontario on January 25, 1988.

The JOSHUA A HATFIELD (Hull#782) was launched January 25, 1923, at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co..

The W C RICHARDSON (2) was launched January 25, 1908, as the a.) WAINWRIGHT (Hull#175) at Wyandotte, Michigan by the Detroit Ship Building Co. .

On 25 January 1890, ALEX NIMICK (wooden propeller, 298 foot, 1968 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. She was built by J. Davidson (Hull # 30).

January 24
The JOHNSTOWN (2) (Hull#4504) was launched January 24, 1952, at Sparrows Point, Maryland by Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard.

SPRUCEGLEN was launched January 24, 1924, as a) WILLIAM K FIELD (Hull#176) at Toledo, Ohio by the Toledo Ship Building Co..

The steel barge MADEIRA (Hull#38) was launched on January 24, 1900, at Chicago, Illinois by the Chicago Ship Building Co.

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.

January 23
The CELTIC (wooden schooner-barge, 190 foot, 716 gross tons, built 1890, at W. Bay City, Michigan) broke away from the steamer H E RUNNELS during a fierce gale on Lake Huron on 29 November 1902, and was lost with all hands.  No wreckage was found until 23 January 1903, when a yawl and the captain’s desk with the ship’s papers was found on Boom Point, southeast of Cockburn Island.

The GEORGE A STINSON struck a wall of the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan 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, Ohio.

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

January 22
The c.) WOODLAND, b.) JENSEN STAR) was sold to International Capital Equipment of Canada and cleared off the 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, Ontario, mgr.)

January 22, 1913 - The SAINTE MARIE (2) (Hull#127) was launched at Toledo, Ohio by Craig Shipbuilding Co.

January 21
On this day on 1959, gale force winds and ice at Buffalo, New York 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 foot, 1123 gross tons, built in 1892 at Detroit, Michigan) 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, Michigan 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, Minnesota caught fire and collapsed onto the deck of the steamer 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.

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 foot, 4626 gross tons) 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. Renamed b.) EDWIN L BOOTH in 1914, c.) G N WILSON in 1921, d.) THOMAS BRITT in 1928, and e.) BUCKEYE in 1943.  She lasted until 1969, when she was scrapped in Spain.

January 19, 1927 - The Grand Trunk car ferry 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, Dave Swayze, Brian Bernard, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Port Reports

Straits of Mackinac
Reported by Jon Paul Michaels
Wednesday morning found the Edwin H. Gott only as far as Round Island Passage in the Straits of Mackinac after locking down as the last ship of the season at the Soo Sunday night. Also in the Straits waiting for the Gott was fleet mate Phillip R. Clark west bound in the South Passage. After a brief radio conversation between the two, the Gott took the lead westbound breaking a path through the heavy ice that now completely fills the straits area. Following right behind the Clark was the Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder coming from Round Island along with it's fleet mate Herbert C. Jackson. Strong Northwest winds slowed the convoy after passing under the Mackinaw Bridge and later the Herbert C. Jackson stopped 3 miles west of the bridge presumably to wait for better conditions before entering  the open part of Lake Michigan.

Goderich, ON
Reported by Dale Baechler
The Canadian Progress was struggling all Wednesday afternoon to make the Sifto Salt dock. The strong southerly winds Tuesday night filled the outer harbour with ice making the turn difficult. The Macdonald Marine tugs were assisting and it is unknown if and when she'll begin loading.

Marquette, MI
Though the Soo Locks closed last Saturday, shipping continues in and out of Marquette.  Last Saturday, the Mississagi and the John Munson both arrived at the ore dock in the upper harbor.  The next day, the Michipicoten arrived.  By Monday, all three vessels were loaded and departed for Algoma Steel in Soo, Ont.  At that point, ore dock officials thought the season was over except for the James Barker which was scheduled to arrive Wednesday from Superior to unload coal for Wisconsin Electric.  However, during the evening, the John Munson arrived back into Marquette to
take on another load of ore for Algoma Steel.  Also, on the schedule is the Michipicoten which is scheduled to arrive around 1 p.m. Wednseday.  The James Barker's arrival time was not known at the time of this report.  Ore dock officials are not sure at this time whether additional vessels are due in.  Ship crews on Lake Superior will have to deal with very rough weather which is forecasted through the weekend.  This includes very strong  winds, frigid temperatures, and snow.  Winds Tuesday were gusting well over 30 miles an hour out of the south creating white out condition throughout the region.  Wednesday morning, winds turned to the north and gusted over 15 miles an hour with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees but expected to drop near zero Wednesday evening. 


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Port Reports

The Soo
Reported by Jerry Masson:
With tugs busting ice in the slip, Atlantic Huron departed Algoma Monday morning upbound for Thunder Bay after finally unloading its frozen cargo of coal. The CSL ship arrived at Algoma Jan 18th but was unable to discharge the load due to sub zero temps at the Soo. The ice breaker Samuel Risley will assist the ship into Thunder Bay for lay-up. (The Lower Lakes Mississagi was seen warming up her engines this morning at Algoma. No word on either a dock change at Algoma or possibly getting underway).

Goderich, ON
Reported by Dale Baechler:
The Algosteel entered the Goderich harbour late Monday night under heavy ice conditions for a load at Sifto Salt.The MacDonald Marine tugs and the CCGS Griffon provided some much needed assistance for this late season entry into port.

Buffalo, NY
Reported by Brian Wroblewski:
A representative for the owners of the Buffalo resident passenger steamer MARINE STAR, formerly the cruise ship AQUARAMA was quoted in the Buffalo News as saying that the redevelopment of the ship is still on track despite a 10 year lay up at a lakefront pier. James A Everatt claimed that a decision will be made within the next few months on whether to complete the $40 million renovation of the ship into an entertainment and cruise ship or sell her for scrap. He said that the owners are Empire Cruise Lines of Delaware and that they were currently paying roughly $60,000 a year in maintenance, dockage fees, and insurance. Mr Everatt stated that the plans for the ship included stripping the upper works and replacing them with glassed in viewing areas. Much of the interior has already been gutted and not much of the 1950's decor remains intact at this time. Any modernization of the ship would require a major repowering job since the original 1940's steam plant is highly inefficient and out of date. The MARINE STAR was originally designed as a C-4 class WW2 troop ship and does not lend herself to delicate handling in the restricted waters of the Great Lakes. She had a reputation while sailing as the AQUARAMA for creating a large bow wave that sank pleasure craft and left a trail of destroyed boat docks in her wake.

Sarnia / St. Clair River
Reported by Barry Hiscocks:
Frontenac arrived at the south end of the North Slip at about 9:00 this morning with assistance of the tug Menasha. Frontenac had fueled at Shell Oil in Corunna prior to proceeding for lay up.  Menasha also reported to Sarnia Traffic, that they will breaking a path for the Richard Reiss later today. The Reiss will tie up astern  and east of the Cuyahoga, at the Cargill Dock.  Hopefully she'll come in bow facing east. CCGS Griffon was downbound in the river at about 8:00 this morning from Goderich piers. She'll be working below Algonac and down through the cut to assist the upbound Reiss.  M/T Algoeast will also depart from Sun Oil in Sarnia tomorrow morning for Nanticoke. She's now making arrangements for an escort and ice breaking assist below Algonac and into Lake St. Clair. ETD is scheduled for 5:00 AM currently.


Algoma to Purchase new Tanker, Gemini to join Fleet

Algoma Tankers has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to purchase the M.T. Aggersborg, a 1998 built double-hulled petroleum products tanker, from Borg Tankers II Limited, Bermuda and operated by Dannebrog Rederi AS of Copenhagen, Denmark. The expected delivered cost to Canada is approximately $42 million. The transaction is expected to close late in the 1st quarter or early in the 2nd quarter of 2005. The vessel is currently trading in the Arabian Gulf/Indian Ocean area and will be repositioned to the East Coast of Canada to join the Algoma Tanker fleet once the transaction is completed.

In addition, the Gemini will also be joining the Algoma Tanker fleet shortly. The U.S. flagged Gemini is owned by Cleveland Tankers (1991) Inc. of which Algoma has a 25% ownership interest. The 100% wholly-owned subsidiary, Algoma Tankers (USA) Inc., employs the vessel under a long-term time charter arrangement and also has an option to purchase the vessel. This purchase option has been exercised and the vessel will be purchased and transferred to Canadian flag in the 1st quarter of 2005 under ownership of Algoma Tankers Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Corporation.

Algoma Tankers, a division of Algoma Central Corporation, located in St. Catharines, Ontario, manages the commercial and technical operations of the tanker fleet, which, once these two transactions are completed will consist of four modern double-hulled tankers and a smaller single-hulled tanker. Algoma Tankers' core business is the transportation of refinery production including heavy fuel oil, gasoline and other petroleum distillates throughout the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Waterway and Atlantic Canada region.

Algoma Central Corporation owns and operates the largest Canadian marine transportation fleet. The Algoma Central fleet includes 14 self-unloaders and five bulk carriers, all of which are managed by the Seaway Marine Transport partnership, and five petroleum product tankers. In addition, the Corporation owns one ocean-going self-unloader directly and five others jointly through its 50% interest in Marbulk Canada Inc. The above fleet composition reflects the sale of a 1968 built bulk carrier and a 1974 built single hull tanker to offshore interest in early January 2005 for total proceeds of $2,600,000.

The Corporation, through a subsidiary, Algoma Central Properties Inc., also owns and manages commercial real estate in Sault Ste. Marie, St. Catharines and Waterloo, Ontario.

Aggersborg information


Eleven Lakers at Duluth-Superior This Winter

Eleven ships plan to tie up in the Twin Ports this winter, according to a story in the Duluth News Tribune.

"That's on the low-side of average for our port," said Jim Sharrow, facilities manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. The Twin Ports typically welcomes 11 to 13 vessels during the winter lay-up.

By his estimate, each ship that spends its off-season here injects between $500,000 and $800,000 into the local economy. That figure assumes only
standard maintenance for a ship, not major mechanical overhauls or upgrades.

Gene Walroos, general superintendent of Fraser Shipyards Inc. in Superior, is bracing for a busy winter. He expects to have about 120 people on the company payroll, tending to the needs of ships in port and making sure the vessels are ready for action in late March, when a new season begins.

The shipyard's winter business fluctuates not only with the number of lakers that tie up in the Twin Ports, Walroos said, but with the financial health of carriers. By most accounts, the shipping season now drawing to a close was much more auspicious than the previous one.

"We don't have our year-end numbers yet, but obviously, we saw quite an improvement" from 2003, said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers' Association, a Cleveland-based organization that represents operators of U.S.-flagged fleets on the Great Lakes.

The continued recovery of the U.S. steel industry has much to do with what Nekvasil characterized as the "revival" of Great Lakes shipping during 2004. He said the overall increase in iron ore shipments is expected to be in the 20 percent range.


Two Ships Battle Heavy Weather On Locks Final Day

Two 1,000-foot ships slogged through heavy seas, freezing spray and near-zero temperatures on the open waters of Lake Superior late Saturday in a race to make the Soo Locks ahead of the scheduled midnight closing.

By late Saturday afternoon, a Coast Guard official said only the 1,000-foot Stewart J. Cort and Edwin H. Gott were expected at the Locks before the midnight closing deadline. Through the day, Cort was reportedly about 90 minutes ahead of Gott, the apparent last vessel to pass through the Locks in the waning shipping season.

The two ships faced far less than ideal conditions on the open lake as the two headed across Lake Superior Friday and Saturday. With west and northwest winds whistling into gale range on the downbound passage, the two loaded vessels were confronted with seas of up to 20 feet in conditions where airborne spray freezes instantly when it lands aboard late-running ships.

As a brittle-cold Saturday afternoon wore down to evening, Gott - the apparent last vessel of the season at the Locks - was expected to make Whitefish Point about 8:30 p.m., in time to make the midnight deadline. Cort was expected about 90 minutes ahead of Gott.

The final two vessels of the season finished off an unusually busy last day of the season at the Locks. Earlier on Saturday, the Canadian motor vessel Mississagi moved into Lake Superior upbound, the last ship in that direction.

Among downbounders, the steamers Herbert C. Jackson and Kaye E. Barker preceded the Canadian motor vessel Frontenac in an early-afternoon flurry of shipping activity at the Locks.

Reported by Jack Storey/Soo Evening News


The Big Boats are Back: Great Lakes Shipping Rebound Buoys Freighter Fans

Ship-watcher Peter Vanderlinden's observations of the St. Clair River can be a good barometer for the 2004 Great Lakes shipping season.  For Vanderlinden and the shipping industry, it was a great year.  "It was because I recorded 3,800 ships sighted," said Vanderlinden, 75, of Marysville.  "The year before it was 2,900."

The Lake Carriers' Association, representing 15 shipping companies on the Great Lakes, reported 102 million tons of cargo shipped by the end of November, a 19% increase from a year ago.  Two main factors rise to the surface to explain the good shipping year: higher water levels and a growing construction industry.  "2004 was a year of noticed improvement," said Glen Nekvasil, association spokesman.  "But one does have to be very frank: 2003 was a very bad year.  We had a number of vessels that didn't sail or sailed short seasons."

Only a few freighters stop in the Blue Water Area each year. But the ships play another important role for the city -- feeding tourism.  Some ship-watchers travel from across the Midwest to watch the massive vessels glide past, and a good shipping season can mean great viewing for visitors and the dollars they spend locally.

The low Great Lakes water levels that in recent years have plagued recreational boaters have a larger, and costlier, impact on the shipping industry.  While powerboaters and sailboaters have to worry about access to their favorite fishing spots and harbors, water levels determine how much cargo a freighter can load.  "Water levels were a factor (in 2004).  They were up, so we were carrying more," Nekvasil said.

Because the cost is relatively the same for a company to send a boat between two ports, larger loads help both shipper and customer.  St. Clair Aggregates in Marine City had freighters unload concrete and construction materials 64 times to its location on the St. Clair River.  For manager Larry Beaker, more capacity meant fewer trips to pay for.  "It would cost the same amount of money to move the boat. It could possibly lower the cost (for his business)," he said.

Marine Transport Services, which manages ship movements for Upper Lakes Group Inc. and Algoma Central Corp., had a more successful year because a strengthening economy means more building materials to haul.  "The steel industry ... had a very strong year, and that really pulled the demand up on the U.S. fleet and for the Canadian side," said Wayne Smith, Marine Transport vice president.

Because of foreign competition, American steel companies in the late 1990s saw business dwindle.  In turn, the ships that haul steel's building blocks -- iron ore -- also idled.

By the end of the shipping season this month, Nekvasil estimates the total cargo shipped to end up between 110 million and 112 million tons. By contrast, the same vessels in the highly successful 1997 season hauled 125,000 tons.

Tourism cargo

Even though only a handful of freighters stop near Port Huron each year, the city caters to thousands of ship fans each shipping season.  Because ships are so close to shore through the St. Clair River, maritime enthusiasts such as Ronald LaDue, 58, of Hamlin, N.Y., travel to Port Huron several times a year to see the ships.  Ladue has watched ships for more than 50 years and considers Port Huron the best viewing spot.  "My wife and I spent our honeymoon up there at the Thomas Edison Inn," he said.  "We didn't sleep much; we were always down watching the ships go by.  I'd rather go to Port Huron than any other place in the world."

Ship-watching is a pivotal element for Desmond Landing, the riverfront redevelopment in southern Port Huron by Acheson Ventures. The development company has solicited opinions from ship-watchers through Boatnerd as to what type of building or other elements would best serve the hobbyists.

John Burde, 58, of Carbondale, Ill., grew up in Burtchville Township and remembers watching the freighters go by his home.  "It was always something that I loved," Burde said. "We used to sit in Pine Grove Park all day sometimes ... you'd see one every 20 minutes or so."

Jim and Jerry Clary operate a Web camera pointed at the river, and they say people from across the world watch ships live every day online.  "It's really encouraging," said Jerry Clary. "They say, Ô, we watch it every day.' It's catching on."

Reported by Chris Sebastian, Port Huron Times Herald


CSL Tadoussac Wins Welland Canal Christmas Contest

The CSL Tadoussac was chosen Best Dressed Ship in a recent Christmas decoration contest sponsored by Thorold Tourism. The price, a silver fruit cup that came off the scrapped laker Marlhill and a plaque will be presented at the Annual Shipmaster's Dinner, February 19 at Club Capri in St. Catharines.

Reported by Terry Dow


Former Passenger Ship Blocks Traffic in Detroit

The former passenger ship turned scrap barge Alabama broke partially loose from its moorings in the Rouge River in Detroit Sunday morning. The vessel's stern swung out into the channel and blocked traffic in the river. It covered part of the draw of the N&S Bridge.

About 10:30 a.m. The Cuyahoga had finished unloading at the Morton Salt dock and was preparing to back out of the River. She was delayed for about 45 minutes but was able to pass.

The Coast Guard was on scene with the dock owners assessing the situation.

The Alabama was used as a scrap barge and has been docked, unused, at the Harradon Dock in the Rouge for many years.

Reported by Mike Jackson

Today was a busy day for traffic in the Rouge River.  The Cuyahoga was unloading a cargo of salt at Morton Salt, The Karen Andrie with her barge A-397 was loading at Marathon, and the Tug Holly Ann with barge were waiting for the Cuyahoga to clear to enter the Rouge.  After the Karen Andrie passed the Cuyahoga she had to stop and wait for the NS Bridge.  After she cleared the bridge it was noticed by the Cuyahoga that the barge Alabama, a longtime fixture in the Rouge, had broken loose and hanging out into the river blocking it.  She was secured at the bow, but the stern had broken loose.  After some tense moments and very skillful maneuvering by the Cuyahoga, the Alabama was flushed back into the dock and temporarily secured and the traffic resumed back to normal in the Rouge.

Reported by J.D. Graham


Port Reports

Toledo, OH
Reported by Jim Hoffman:
The Cedarglen tried leaving Toledo this morning with the assistance of two "G" tugs Idaho and Illinois with no success. The strong currents along the Maumee River are still ongoing yet. The Cedarglen will try again on Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. they are supposed to be headed for Windsor, Ontario for lay-up. Late last week there was serious flooding of a number of communities located along the Maumee River system due to heavy rains that saturated the area and the melting of all the snow at the same time, with all of that water all at once its no wonder all the rivers were in flood stage for several days. These rivers are now receding back to more normal levels. This is the reason for the strong river currents.

Marquette and Escanaba, MI
Reported by Lee Rowe (Marquette also by Chad Michael):
Although the Soo Locks are closed, Marquette is still shipping out ore.  The Mississagi loaded on Sunday while the John G. Munson waited.  The Michipicoten arrived and anchored out in the harbor to await her turn.  The James R. Barker may arrive later with a load of coal, as well.

Escanaba continues to be busy.  The Mesabi Miner is due in Sunday night, then the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. on Monday, the  Tregurtha also on Monday, and the Great Lakes Trader very late Monday.
Monday update: Ice and cold weather are hampering the ore shipments out of Escanaba.  The Mesabi Miner had her load interrupted for a while on Monday because of mechanical problems at the dock.  The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. got stuck in the ice on Minneapolis Shoal on her way into the harbor and was freed with the assistance of the tug Erika Kobasic.  The Lee A. Tregurtha, because of the delays, cancelled her trip to Escanaba and went to Sturgeon Bay.   Weather permitting, the Great Lakes Trader/Joyce VanEnkevort and Joseph L. Block are still expected this week.

Soo Traffic
Reported by Jerry Masson:
Downbound Mississagi arrived at Algoma Steel today. The Captain advises after unloading, his company will make a decision on tying up until April or pull the anchor.  Soo traffic reports the John G Munson will be downbound Tuesday or Wednesday for Algoma.

Duluth - Superior
Reported by Al Miller:
Arthur M. Anderson arrived over the weekend and entered the big drydock at Fraser Shipyards for winter lay-up.  The John G. Munson also is scheduled to lay-up in the shipyard, tying up across the entrance to the drydock.  (This keeps ice from pushing against the drydock gate, and come spring, the Munson can be pulled back, leaving an ice-free area around the gate.)  The Reserve also is in the shipyard.

DeTour's Final Passages
Reported by Cathy Kohring
Sunday morning around 11:00 a.m. the Cutter Mackinaw escorted the Stewart J Cort and the Edwin Gott down past DeTour and out of the St. Marys river system for their final trip of the season.  It was interesting to listen to the scanner as each freighter called the Mackinaw and thanked her for her assistance and wished her a good winter season and they all looked forward to seeing each other again in the spring.  A beautiful, sunny and cold(-12) finish to the shipping season on the St. Marys River. 


William G. Mather Museum Takes a Road Trip

Attached are two press releases on the MATHER's outreach programs for Winter 2005.  Even though the boat is closed for the season, the MATHER's crew is still spreading the word about the history of Great Lakes shipping as well as "The Ship That Built Cleveland!"

Potential Restoration & Maintenance Volunteers can visit the MATHER's booth at the Cleveland Boat Show (Jan. 14-23) to see some very interesting and very BIG "tools of the trade", as well as to see and hear the whistle from the CITY OF BUFFALO.  If you'd like to volunteer with your plumbing, electrical, welding, carpentry, painting, or general maintenance skills, talk to the friendliest Museum Crew on the Lakes about how to get onboard!

"What’s That Cargo?" Game Returns to Cleveland’s 2005 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 14-23, 2005 Mid-America Sail and Power Boat Show. For younger visitors, there is an 8-foot long teaching model of the Mather and "What’s That Cargo?" game. "What’s That Cargo?" will give visitors a chance to discover different types of cargo by touching samples of what the Mather hauled for 55 years – iron ore pellets (taconite), limestone, coal, grain and even cars! Visitors who play "What’s That Cargo?" can win a special prize from the Treasure Chest and a discount admission coupon to visit the Mather Museum when it opens on April 30, 2005.

"Land Lubber" Programs

The Steamship William G. Mather Museum proudly offers its third season of "LandLubber" programs to promote Great Lakes history and culture at an inland location.  CanalWay Center in Cuyahoga Heights will again host these FREE programs on Wednesday evenings, 7-8 p.m.  This year's exciting schedule includes:

Feb. 9, "Shipwrecks of Lake Erie – Fire, Storm, Collision" presented by Georgann and Mike Wachter, authors of the "Erie Wrecks" Series on Lake Erie Shipwrecks.

March 16, "Black Friday" presented by Carrie Sowden, Director of the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center and archaeologist for the Great Lakes Historical Society.

April 20, "Hulett Unloaders" presented by John A. Burke, Trustee of the Great Lakes Historical Society.

Visit for more information.


Lay-up List - News Photo Gallery Updated

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Please send any updates, corrections or new information to

News Photo Gallery updated


News Page & Photo Gallery Announcement

With the 2004 navigation season drawing to a close, these pages will be updated weekly until the beginning of the 2005 season.  News breaking stories and articles will continue to be updated in this news page promptly as warranted.  The next photo gallery is scheduled to be released for Tuesday, January 25th.

The lay-up list will continue to updated daily as information becomes available.

Note: Today's photo gallery is large meaning photos submitted after noon on the 17th could not be included.  They'll be included in the next gallery.


Today in Great Lakes History - January 18

On 18 January 2004, the Great Lakes Fleet’s 1000 footer EDGAR B SPEER became stuck in the ice in the Rock Cut in the St. Mary’s River.  Over the next two days, the U.S.C.G.C. MACKINAW tried to free her, but unsuccessfully.  On 21 January, the tugs RELIANCE, MISSOURI, JOSEPH H THOMPSON JR and JOYCE L VAN ENKEVORT all coordinated their efforts under the direction of Wellington Maritime’s Captain John Wellington and got the SPEER free.

The CABOT 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. CORAH ANN was scrapped in 2003.

The 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 foot, 257 gross tons, built in 1874 at Marine City, Michigan) on 18 January 1888, to Comstock Brothers and L. & H. D. Churchill of Alpena, Michigan.

 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 (Hull#789) was launched at Lorain, Ohio, by the American Ship Building in 1925.

Tanker GREAT LAKES was launched in 1963, as the a.) SINCLAIR GREAT LAKES (Hull#1577) at Decatur, Alabama by Ingalls Iron Works Co..

JOHN E F MISENER (2) was float launched in 1951, as a.) SCOTT MISENER (2) (Hull#11) at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks, Ltd..

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, Michigan 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 foot, 237 gross tons, built in 1875 at Marine City, Michigan) 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.

Today in Great Lakes History - January 16

The COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS (Hull#791) was launched in 1926, at ;Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co..

In 1987, the DETROIT EDISON (2) was at Brownsville, Texas 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 foot, 839 gross tons, 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, Dave Swayze, Brian Bernard, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Welland Canal Program

For Ontario boatnerds and those that might be able to receive this on satellite, TVOntario (TVO) is broadcasting a program at 10PM EST tonight (Monday) entitled "Conquering Niagara: The Story of the Welland Canal".  It is scheduled to be rebroadcast on Tuesday Jan. 18 at 1:30AM.  Please check your local listings for specific channel and time details.
Thanks to James Gardiner for bringing this program to our attention.

Check back later today for further news updates.



Coast Guard Implements New Regulated Navigation Area On The Chicago Sanitary And Ship Canal

A regulated navigation area (RNA) has been implemented by the Coast Guard for all vessels operating in the vicinity of the aquatic nuisance species demonstration electrical dispersal barrier. This RNA has been established by the Coast Guard Ninth District Commander in response to a recent test conducted by the Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers on the effects of the electrical barrier on passing barge traffic. The Coast Guard has worked closely with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop new safety regulations to ensure the safety of all vessels transiting through the electrical dispersal barrier.

The RNA requires that the following measures be taken by all traffic prior to crossing the fish barrier:

1. All vessels are prohibited from loitering in the vicinity of the electrical dispersal barrier.

2. Vessels may enter this section of the waterway only with the sole purpose of transiting to the other side, and must maintain headway throughout the transit.

3. All personnel on open decks must wear a Coast Guard approved Type I personal flotation device while in the area.

4. Vessels may not moor or lay up on the right or left descending banks, and towboats may not make or break tows.

5. Vessels may not pass in the vicinity of the electrical dispersal barrier, and must make a SECURITE call when approaching the barrier to announce intentions and to work out any passing arrangements on either side.

6. Commercial tows transiting the electrical dispersal barrier must be made up with wire rope to ensure electrical connectivity between all segments of the tow. 

The demonstration electrical dispersal barrier was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers to prevent aquatic nuisance species like the Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes from the Illinois River system. It is located on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in Romeoville, IL.

U.S. Coast Guard


Hoax Caller Pleads Guilty: Faces Fines, Imprisonment

A Detroit-area man accused of making false distress calls to the Coast Guard has plead guilty in the U.S. District Court in Detroit.

Bradley Taylor, 28, of Rochester Hills, admitted to calling Coast Guard Station Belle Isle the night of June 1, 2003 and falsely reporting that his vessel was taking on water in Lake St. Clair.  

“False distress calls not only cost taxpayers money and place U.S. Coast Guard members at increased personal risk, but more importantly, they divert limited resources from mariners who are in actual distress,” stated Captain Paul Preusse, Chief of Operations for the Ninth Coast Guard District.  There were four suspected hoax cases in the Western New York area alone in 2004, costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

While Mr. Taylor was sitting on a boat safely moored at a Detroit area marina, boats from Belle Isle, Station St. Clair Shores and a helicopter from Air Station Detroit raced to his rescue.  Taylor had told the communications watchstander at Belle Isle over VHF channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, that he was sinking and expected his radio to fail imminently.  The estimated cost to the taxpayer as a result of this hoax call is at least $10,718.

As part of his plea agreement, Mr. Taylor faces a maximum term of six months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.  Additionally, he will be required to reimburse the Coast Guard for the expenses incurred for the search and rescue effort.

U.S. Coast Guard


Green Bay Has Busiest Season Since '79

Despite fewer visiting ships, the port of Green Bay had its biggest year handling cargo since 1979, port officials said this week.

The port received 2,231,744 metric tons of cargo during the 2004 season which ended Jan. 6. That's a 15 percent increase compared to 2003, and the most domestic inbound tonnage since 1979.

The increase came despite the lower number of arrivals, 211 compared to 228 in 2003. The increased tonnage in fewer arrivals is because of rising water levels, allowing ships to carry more cargo, and the loss of small barged exports of granite that made up some of 2003's total.

The largest increases in domestic tonnage were in coal (22 percent), cement (8 percent) and limestone (4 percent). Much of the increase came from a 638 percent increase in foreign lumber and wood pulp as a result of the first full year of operations at the K & K Warehousing dock. Also increasing were foreign salt and cement.

There was a 57 percent decrease in domestic liquid asphalt and a 24 percent decrease in foreign pig iron.

Reported by Green Bay News-Chronicle, Rick Mason


Port Reports

Buffalo, NY
Reported by Brian Wroblewski:
The Niagara Frontier Transit Authority has picked it's development team for the Buffalo Outer Harbor project. The so called "Lakefront Group" won out over two other competitors for their plans submitted late last year. The team includes three out of town firms including  Opus Group, VOA Associates, Urban Retail Properties, and the two local firms, Unilad Development, and BIDCO Marine Services. Their ambitious plan calls for a convention center, hotel, sports complex, festival pavilion, aquarium, office space, and marina. The land to be developed runs between the Seaway Piers to the North and the Buffalo Port Terminal to the South. This area recently passed environmental testing and is mostly open ground with a few buildings scattered across the site including the old bell hovercraft hanger now used as a marina and the Pier restaurant building. The plan has a huge price tag of $750 million with a combination of public and private investment. No funding has been sought at this time since the project is still in the very early stages but the companies involved have a successful track record with large development all across the country.

Green Bay, WI
Reported by Dick Smith:
The U.S. Coast Guard will begin clearing an ice track in the shipping lane on lower Green Bay and the mouth of the Fox River on Sunday.

Ice-breaking operations are being conducted to assist with the arrival of a ship delivering coal.

Persons are reminded that ice-breaking operations make ice recreation especially hazardous.

All shanties should be removed from areas in the vicinity of the shipping channel before Sunday and all fisherman, snowmobilers and other interested parties should stay clear of the shipping channel while ice breaking is taking place.

Marquette & Escanaba, MI
Reported by Lee Rowe:
Loading continues in Marquette in very frigid weather.  The Michipicoten was loaded on Friday while the CSL Tadoussac waited at the dock.  The Kaye E.  Barker loaded and anchored in the harbor because of strong winds and high waves on the lake.  If weather permits, the Mississagi and John J. Munson will come in for loads before the locks close.

The Frontenac completed her load at Marquette on Thursday while the Kaye E. Barker waited at the dock.  The Michipicoten anchored in the harbor waiting for the Frontenac to leave.  The Kaye E. Barker was expected to depart on Friday morning.  Weather permitting, the CSL Tadoussac is expected to come in for a load, and the Michipicoten plans to make a return trip.

Escanaba is also busy with an average of a boat a day through the 23rd. The Mesabi Miner loaded and left on Friday (31 hrs to load); the Wilfred Sykes loaded Friday also, and the Charles M. Beeghly waited.  The Joseph H. Block is due on Saturday, the Mesabi Miner is expected to return Sunday, and the McCarthy and Great Lakes Trader are due Monday.

The Cason Calloway went in to Gladstone with a load of coal on Friday.

Sturgeon Bay, WI
Reported by Vic DeLarwelle:
Ships that have arrived at Bay ship this past week are,  The Adam E. Cornelius 1/12/05 and was placed at berth #9.

The Indiana Harbor arrived this morning (1/14)and was placed in the 1000' graving dock for her 5 year survey, and once that is completed, it will be removed from the graving dock and placed at berth #15 for the winter.

Soo Locks
Reported by Jerry Masson
With one more day to go before winter Navigation closes at the Soo Locks, the downbound Paul R Tregurtha locked through Friday for the lower lakes. The John G Munson locked through upbound but was unable to make the turn into the Canadian channel due to ice.  The 768 foot Munson followed the ice edge up to light 26 for the turn down river to Algoma Steel.


Lay-up List - News Photo Gallery Updated

Click to visit the 11th Annual Lay-Up List
Please send any updates, corrections or new information to

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 15

In 1978, the upbound MC KEE 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 U.S.C.G. icebreaker NORTHWIND and the U.S.C.G. MARIPOSA.

FORT YORK (Hull#160) was launched January 15, 1958, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd..

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 foot keel, 145 foot overall, 26 foot2 inches beam and 11 foot 6 inch depth.

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

 Today in Great Lakes History - January 14

On 14 January 1945, the W. Butler Shipyard built C1-M-AV1 ship LEBANON (Hull#40) was the last vessel through the Soo Locks.  Ice was a serious problem.  The newly commissioned ice breaker U.S.C.G.C. MACKINAW escorted the LEBANON to Lake Huron.  The Locks had never before been open this late in January.  They were kept open to allow newly built cargo vessels to sail from Superior, Wisconsin to the Atlantic Ocean where they were needed for the war effort.

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

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

In 1977, the CANADIAN 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: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Brian Bernard, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Cleveland-Cliffs Diversifies to Satisfy Demand In China

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., the biggest North American maker of iron ore pellets, has agreed to buy Australia's Portman Ltd. for $465 million in cash to increase sales to Chinese steelmakers.

Buying Portman would help the Cleveland, Ohio-based miner diversify outside North America, where it sells 95 percent of its pellets. Portman exports three quarters of its ore to China and is expanding its biggest mine by 60 percent, betting Chinese demand will boost prices to a record this year.

"The bid reflects, among other things, the scarcity of good iron ore companies and if Asia is where the growth is coming from it makes sense for them to invest here," said Neil Boyd-Clark, who helps manage more than $350 million of equities at ABN Amro Asset Management Australia Ltd. "The iron ore market at the moment is extremely tight."

Reported by Ken Boerman


Lawsuit Possible Over Spirit of Ontario Refunds

The New York state Attorney General's Office threatened Tuesday to sue Rochester's high-speed ferry company, saying the firm has failed to provide refunds for hundreds of disgruntled customers.

Canadian American Transportation Systems shut down the Spirit of Ontario ferry to Toronto in September with no warning, leaving many people with useless tickets and gift certificates for future voyages. Some even complained that the company accepted reservations the same day it ended the service.

CATS says it is trying its best to address the claims, but the attorney general is turning up the heat. "It is against the law of the state of New York to receive cash for a service and not provide the service and refuse to return the money,"  Bobby Colon, an assistant attorney general in Rochester, told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle recently.

If the attorney general doesn't hear back from CATS in five days, it will file the suit in state Supreme Court, "alleging that CATS has engaged in deceptive business practices, fraud and violations of other consumer protection laws enacted to protect the traveling public." The suit would seek about $100,000 in refunds and more in potential penalties. CATS owes refunds to about 600 people.

A federal magistrate judge has ordered the vessel to be sold at a Feb. 28 foreclosure auction to pay creditors. The minimum bid has been set at $22.5 million. The city of Rochester is expected to be among the bidders.

Reported by Jason Leslie, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle


Easy Going for Late-Season Shipping

With only days left in the Lake Superior shipping season, the first half of the ice season will likely go down as easy going for cargo vessels and icebreakers alike, Jack Storey reported in The Evening News newspaper from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Bitterly cold weather expected this week may tighten up iced channels before Saturday's closing of the Soo Locks, but a Coast Guard official said he does not expect the last week of shipping to be anything like last year's struggle.

The '03 season ended a few days after Jan. 15, 2004
, when the 1,000-foot Edgar B. Speer lodged herself in heavy ice in the W. Neebish Channel. A small fleet of tugs and icebreakers spent the better part of three days moving the huge ship, after which further trips were canceled in the extended shipping season.

This January, the same stretch of water through the Neebish Rock Cut is ice free, as are all area channels except the middle portion of the lower
St. Marys River.

Lt. Cdr. Andy Connor, operations officer at Group Sault, said despite fast ice on the Munuscong Bay portion of the river, ships still operating are moving well through the river and the largely open waters of Whitefish Bay.

Connor said two of the four Coast Guard icebreakers initially dispatched to Eastern Upper Peninsula waters have since been released for other duties. He confirmed that with the mid-river exception, this year's ice crop has been late in arriving on area channels.

He said Group Sault's most persistent ice trouble comes from Duluth Harbor, where the new tender USCGC Alder has reportedly held its own with harbor ice.

He said a sharp drop in temperatures to single-digit daytime highs predicted for Friday and Saturday may tighten up river ice in places. He does not expect cargo vessels to encounter ice difficulty on final passages before the Soo Locks close Saturday, however.

With vessels laying up at several southern ports as well as at the lakehead in Duluth-Superior, layup traffic can be expected in either direction as the season winds down.

Once the Locks do close, Connor said a handful of vessels are expected in Sault Harbor as midwinter arrives. He said the Canadian tender-breaker Samuel Risley will be passed through the Locks for the lower lakes sometime next week. Fuel deliveries to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. will continue through the winter and he said an unusual coal cargo is scheduled for off-loading at the Carbide Dock on the Michigan side after the Locks close.

Another unusual aspect of this late shipping season has been reasonably active Canadian-flag traffic through the Locks into January. As a consequence, the Corps of Engineers kept the MacArthur Lock open through the Jan. 15 closing date to handle the extra traffic.

Normally, shipping traffic continues for a time into Escanaba on Lake Michigan for iron ore cargoes after the Soo Locks close.


Asian Carp Barrier May be in Jeopardy

A new, more powerful barrier to keep Asian carp from swimming into the Great Lakes is almost finished, but concerns about how it could affect shipping and recreational boating could keep it turned off, at least for now.

Prompted by complaints from the shipping industry, federal and state officials have been meeting to determine if boats can safely pass through the electrical current designed to keep the ravenous fish out of freshwater.

A temporary series of electrical cables strung across the bottom of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in 2002 became an issue with shippers last spring when a string of barges drifted into the fish barrier and crew members spotted an arc flashing between two of the floating platforms.

The incident raised concerns that the fish barrier could prove to be a hazard for barges carrying petroleum, chemicals and other flammable commodities through the canal, which links the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. "We don't want anybody to blow up," Coast Guard Cmdr. David Fish told the Chicago Tribune Tuesday.

Reported by Steve Jackson, Chicago Tribune


Port Reports

Marquette, MI
Reported by Lee Rowe
Wednesday saw more ships waiting to dock in Marquette.  The Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann loaded while the Frontenac waited on the other side of the dock.  The Herbert C. Jackson and Kaye E. Barker waited in the harbor.  The Jackson left without getting a load.  Because of the heavy demand for ore, ships are loaded as the trains pull in.  The chutes are down, and the trains are emptied into the pockets/chutes while the ships remain tied in one position.

The Marquette harbor was a busy place on Tuesday.  The Arthur M. Anderson was completing her load when the Michipicoten and Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann IV arrived.   The Michipicoten arrived first and tied up at the dock. The Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann backed in to the dock on the same side and tied up there waiting her turn at the dock for a load.  Later in the day the Frontenac arrived and waited out in the harbor.

Saginaw River
Reported by Todd Shorkey
On Wednesday afternoon, the tug Donald C. Hannah and her tank barge tried to make the Saginaw River.  The pair became stuck in the ice around Light 8 of the Entrance Channel, but were eventually able to free themselves.  The barge then became stuck in the ice near Light 12.  The Donald Hannah uncoupled from the barge to break up the ice around it and was finally able to free it.  By 7:30 Wednesday night, the pair made the open water of the Saginaw River and tied up for the night at the Consumers Energy dock.  Extremely heavy fog blanketed the area during this time.  They are expected to depart in the morning to go upriver and unload.

Alpena, MI
Reported by Chanda McClain
The steamer Alpena arrived in port around 10am on Wednesday.  It took on cement at Lafarge and departed by late afternoon.  Warmer temperatures brought dense fog and rain to the area which made visibility poor by the evening.  The Alpena is headed to Cleveland and should enter lay-up soon.  The G.L. Ostrander with barge Integrity was in port earlier this week to take on cargo.  The Ostrander delivered to Milwaukee and is headed to Muskegon next.  On Monday, a CSL vessel, possibly the Frontenac was anchored out in the bay to probably wait out the strong winds.

Buffalo, NY
Reported by Brian Wroblewski
NRG Energy has settled a three year old lawsuit filed by the State of New York. NRG agreed to make improvements totaling over $70 million to their Tonawanda Huntly Plant and the Dunkirk Steam Station. These measures are required to lower the emissions released by the two facilities which have been sited as one of the top polluters in the area. High sulfur content in the low grade coal being burnt at the two plants may be responsible for the acid rain affecting upper New York State lakes and forests. Abatement equipment and low sulfur coal will reduce harmful emissions by roughly 80%. Some of the older generating units at the Huntly Plant will be shut down as well. This action will reduce the plant's output capacity from 780 megawatts to 400 megawatts. The older units have not been in full service recently and are only being used when demand increases. Effects on vessel traffic to the two plants after the switch to the low grade coal is unknown at this time. Grand River Navigation Co. has the current contract to NRG's local plants with coal coming out of Conneautte, Ohio. Their M/V CALUMET is running into Dunkirk this winter since the lake is currently free of ice cover.

Residents of the Gull Landing Condominium along Buffalo's Downtown waterfront have started a lawsuit over improvements being made to the Erie Basin Marina. Court papers have been filed requesting that ongoing operations be suspended until a state required study is completed.  The residents want a review of the project to determine  possible adverse affects on the area if the marina dockage is expanded. The new docks are expected to reach within 200 feet of the Gull Landing hi rise and condo owners say that they were never notified about the project. City officials state that notice was given to the advisory group that represents all waterfront residents and that no objections were heard at that time.

Goderich, ON
Reported by Dale Baechler

The Canadian progress entered the Goderich harbour Wednesday morning with the assistance of the MacDonald Marine tugs, for a load of salt. The harbour is completely ice free with the stiff overnight easterly wind.

Halifax, NS
Reported by Mac Mackay
GENESIS EXPLORER. the former Algosar, Imperial St. Clair, sailed from Halifax today for Quebec City to load a ballast cargo.  Now registered in the Comoros Islands, she is carrying a few members of her former crew for training purposes, but her new crew is African.

Soo Traffic
Reported by Jerry Masson
Arthur M. Anderson is unloading at Algoma Steel this afternoon, departing at 5 pm, proceeding upbound in ballast to Superior WI for lay up.  Michipicoten arrived Soo Harbor (5pm) to unload at Algoma.  The downbound Joseph L Block was delayed at the Locks today with an electrical problem.  Upbound traffic: Mackinaw, American Mariner; downbound the Yankcanuck, Arthur M Anderson, Gemini, Oglebay Norton, and Michipicoten.


Picture Request

A local artist is in need of a picture of the Mississagi Strait Light on Manitoulin Island. The view needed is from the water. If you have such a picture please e-mail to


Lay-up List - News Photo Gallery Updated

Click to visit the 11th Annual Lay-Up List
Please send any updates, corrections or new information to

News Photo Gallery updated



Willard Kauppi, Copper Harbor's last active commercial fisherman, passed way on January 6, 2005.  Some will remember his old boat, COPPER QUEEN, but more will probably recall the vessel as the original wooden hulled VOYAGEUR built in 1937 and currently being restored on the waterfront in Superior.

The Houghton Daily Mining Gazette of January 11th carried the following article on him:

2005 M01 11 Houghton Daily Mining Gazette:
Longtime Copper Harbor businessman dies at 87
By BRAD SALMEN, Gazette Writer

COPPER HARBOR - If there was one man who personified what Tom Brokaw called "The Greatest Generation," friends said it would be Willard "Sully" Kauppi. Kauppi, a longtime Copper Harbor businessman and decorated World War II veteran, died Thursday at Portage Health System in Hancock. He was 87. His legacy is well-known throughout the Copper Country, but especially so in the tiny northern Keweenaw hamlet of Copper Harbor, where he and his wife Shirley owned and operated the Pilot House Resort and King Copper Motel.

As Capt. Donald Kilpela, Jr. said, "Sully was one of a kind." "He was a tremendous man," Kilpela said. "No other person I've ever met is more emblematic of the Greatest Generation than Kauppi." Indeed, Kauppi spent five years in the Army, including participation in the second wave of troops landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day during World War II. Serving under Gen. George Patton, he earned the Bronze Star for heroism. When he returned, he spent the better portion of the next 50 years as a commercial fisherman, retiring in the early 1990s. He also operated the Copper Queen and Isle Royale Queen from Copper Harbor and was a partner in the Keweenaw Inn North, now operating as the Mariner North and owned by his son, Don.

Don Kauppi said his father's death was rather sudden, although a recent bad fall had strained his health. He described his father as a "hard-driving" man, an adjective Kilpela was quick to corroborate. Kilpela got to know Kauppi through the Isle Royale Ferry Service, which Kauppi's father Charlie started. While Kilpela said Kauppi often refused to be formally interviewed - "he was a very modest man" - he would often regale his friends with tales from the war or from his years as a fisherman. He would tell about the times he had to navigate Isle Royale during its frequent summer fogs without radar or any modern equipment, relying on the smell of the land or a certain landmark tree. He also told of the times on a boat in November or December, when the fishermen would put a pot of boiling water on the stove to stick their fingers into every 15 or 20 seconds as they pulled lines from the water.


Today in Great Lakes History - January 13

On 13 January 1918, the Goodrich Line’s ALABAMA and the Grand Trunk ferries MILWAUKEE and GRAND HAVEN all became stuck in the ice off Grand Haven, Michigan.  The vessels remained imprisoned in the ice for the next two weeks.  When the wind changed, they were freed but Grand Haven’s harbor was still inaccessible.  The ALABAMA sailed for Muskegon and stalled in the 18” thick ice on Muskegon Lake.

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 U.S.C.G. 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 degree 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 Coast Guard 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.

 Today in Great Lakes History - January 12

The CHI-CHEEMAUN (Hull#205) was launched January 12, 1974, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd..

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

MENIHEK LAKE (Hull#163) was launched January 12, 1959, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd.

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

On 12 January 1956, ANABEL II (probably a fish tug, 62 tons, built in 1928) was destroyed by fire at her winter lay-up at the Roen Steamship Co. dock at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

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 foot, 364 gross tons) 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, Wisconsin in 1979, for final fit out at Milwaukee.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Brian Bernard, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Captain Carl D. Brekke, 75, of Duluth and Tamarack, Minn., died  Jan. 8, 2005, in St. Luke's Hospice Care in Duluth. Captain Brekke spent 42 years with Interlake Steamship Co. He began as a deck hand and worked his way up to Captain. Captain Brekke's crews considered him one of the safest masters on the Great Lakes. He was instrumental in steering his vessel to safety on the night the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost. Captain Brekke retired in 1991 with great respect, and admiration from his co-captains, crew, and the Interlake Steamship Co.


Lighthouse preservation gets help from experts


MARQUETTE - Preservation groups and private citizens across the state are purchasing Michigan lighthouses as quickly as the U.S. Coast Guard gives up ownership.

Some lights continue to be maintained, but others stand on the brink of destruction.

"If a private owner hadn't come in and bought the Granite Island lighthouse, because of the extreme deterioration, I think we would have eventually just had a stone foundation out there," said Ken Czapski, 52, of Marquette, a lighthouse restoration expert at U.P. Engineers and Architects based in Marquette.

The 2-acre Granite Island, five miles offshore of Powell Township in Lake Superior, was purchased in 1999 by Scott Holman of Big Bay. Holman said UPEA helped design the lighthouse restoration plans. The firm does everything but the actual construction, from grant assistance to developing preliminary restoration plans, condition assessments, preparing final plans, bidding and overseeing construction.

"They were key in the beginning to help us develop a plan to submit to the state Historical Preservation Office. It was difficult to get any drawings that existed to restore it," Holman said. "We went to the National Archives and found drawings that were somewhat helpful. It was a challenge, dealing with the issues of code as well as issues of keeping with the historic integrity."

Throughout his career Czapski has worked on historic structures, designing renovations to the 100-year-old Wayne County Jail and blending new structures in historic districts such as matching a seven-level parking deck to adjacent Greektown buildings in Detroit.

But here in the Upper Peninsula he's become the lighthouse guy. UPEA and Czapski first started, appropriately, at Whitefish Point in Chippewa County, which was one of the first lighthouse locations in the U.P, built in 1849.

Restoring Michigan lighthouses is a daunting task, just by sheer numbers. One small U.S. Coast Guard crew based in Dollar Bay is responsible for 84 aids to navigation - including 11 lighthouses - between Marquette and Isle Royale. Lake Superior has 45 lighthouses.

"They take a lot of beating from the roughest weather in the harshest environment our area has to offer, but they were built to last," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Greg Tournour of Station Portage, who heads up lighthouse maintenance in the central U.P. "It's very problematic in that we don't have the resources to fully restore the buildings. We do repair and maintain the structures, but we can't spend an entire year on one light."

The U.S. Coast Guard prefers preservation groups when selling lighthouses because the government would like to keep them open to the public. The Gull Rock and Manitou Island lights on the tip of the Keweenaw were sold in 2004 to the Gull Rock Lightkeepers and the Keweenaw Land Trust. Upcoming work on both of these lights would require Czapski to be out on a very small strip of land in a sometimes hostile lake.

"Weather's a tremendous factor. It can be a beautiful day and turn instantly. Every time we went out to Detour Rock we had provisions in case we got stranded," Czapksi said.

Being that even most small ships have global positioning system (GPS) equipment, many federal officials have been wondering whether the Coast Guard should maintain lights at all. GPS is a worldwide system that processes satellite signals to compute position.

"GPS is based on computers. Something (a mishap) could happen, so I'm sure we still need the aids to navigation," Tournour said. "It's a lot like a car. It's nice to see the white lines that keep you on the road, but it's also nice to see the road signs."

Reported by Pete Mackin, Journal Staff Writer,
The Mining Journal


Port Report

Soo Report
Reported by Jerry Masson
Ice in the river system is keeping the icebreakers busy this week as the tracks close in during the nite.  Today Mackinaw, Biscayne Bay and Katmai Bay are again widening the tracks for the convoy of downbounds.  Soo traffic downbound - Charles M Beeghly, James R Barker, Indiana Harbor, Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin, Sam Laud, Wolverine; upbound Frontenac, Roger Blough, Gemini, Herbert C Jackson, Stewart J Cort.
* tug Susan E departed Carbide Dock to MCM Marine in Soo harbor for winter berth.  

Duluth/Superior Report
Reported by Al Miller
Vessels are beginning to arrive in the Twin Ports for layup as the docks load their final vessels of the season. 

On Monday, Jan. 10, the Reserve entered Fraser Shipyards and American Spirit tied up at the old Lakehead Pipeline dock, both in Superior.

On Tuesday morning the Edwin H. Gott remained docked at the Duluth port terminal waiting for BNSF ore dock, which reportedly is suffering some conveyor belt problems that are slowing loading. The Gott arrived overnight Sunday and spent all day Monday at the port terminal. It was expected to reach BNSF on Tuesday.

Honors for last load of the season apparently will go to the James R. Barker, which is due to load coal at Midwest Energy Terminal on Saturday, Jan. 15., destined for Presque Isle near Marquette. The Barker will then return to Midwest Energy Terminal on Jan. 18 to lay up.

The Duluth DMIR ore dock loaded its last vessel of the season -- Paul R. Tregurtha -- on Monday. The Two Harbors dock was due to load H. Lee White on Tuesday and conclude with a partial ballast load for Presque Isle on Friday. Presque Isle will then proceed to Duluth to lay up. Also due in to lay up in Duluth is Edgar B. Speer on Jan. 14, and Roger Blough on Jan. 12.

Sturgeon Bay, WI Report
Reported by Wendell Wilke
(as of am 1/11) EDWARD L. RYERSON was moved from Bay SB'ing's main yard to the ole Peterson Bdlrs (now city property) dock for Winter storage. This will be the last year the yard is able to use that facility since a condo development is taking over the ole sight. The RYERSON will lay to the outside of the MESABI MINER which is proposed to be tied the dock also once she arrives later in the month. (??)

Gladstone, MI Report
Reported by Scott Best:
Friday the Cason J Callaway made a very rare late season delivery to the coal dock in Gladstone, MI. The Callaway had a load of coal from Ashtabula, Ohio. The ice on Little Bay De Noc was very heavy, 18 inches in some places and the big tug Erika Kobasic broke ice for the Callaway coming in and departing. The Callaway is expected to make another trip back to Gladstone in a few days. Also on Friday the Joseph H Thompson was loading ore in Escanaba. Temperatures on Friday in Gladstone were in the single digits all day.
(photos in the photo gallery)

Marquette, MI Report
Reported by Lee Rowe
The Arthur M. Anderson and Great Lakes Trader/Joyce VanEnkevort both arrived in Marquette on Monday and waited to take on ore.  The
Michipicoten is next due at the dock.

1/11 AM Update:  The backlog of boats waiting to load at Marquette is causing some diversion of shipping to Escanaba.  The Lee Tregurtha will arrive at Escanaba this morning; the Mesabi Miner is due Wednesday the Sykes also on Wednesday. Also, a return of the Sykes, and the Great Lakes Trader and Block this coming weekend.


Picture Request

A local artist is in need of a picture of the Mississagi Strait Light on Manitoulin Island. The view needed is from the water. If you have such a picture please e-mail to


Lay-up List - News Photo Gallery Updated

Click to visit the 11th Annual Lay-Up List
Please send any updates, corrections or new information to

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 11

The steamer ROBERT S MC NAMARA, 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 Mackinac.

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 in Frankfort, Michigan 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."


 Today in Great Lakes History - January 10

ONTADOC (2) (Hull#207) was launched January 10, 1975, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd. For N.M. Paterson & Sons.  Renamed b.) MELISSA DESGAGNES in 1990.

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,m the tanker JUPITER became stuck in 3 to 5-foor ridged ice off Erie, Pennsylvania The U.S.C.G. tug OJIBWA is sent from Buffalo, New York 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, Ohio, Isaac Lincoln of Dakota, and Capt. Peter Ekhert of Port Huron, Michigan. 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. Hodge 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: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Brian Bernard, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Gemini Headed for Canadian Flag

The tanker Gemini passed upbound Saturday morning on a trip from Nanticoke, Ontario to Sarnia, Ontario. The tanker has been cleared for sale from the U.S. fleet. At the end of the season the Gemini is expected to lay-up in Sarnia and have the registry changed to Canadian.

Reported by: Mark Walls

Most security funding going to coastal ports

Only 2.6 percent of the federal money earmarked for port security has gone to Great Lakes ports, forcing some ports to spend money on fencing, lighting and cameras that otherwise would have gone to improvements like dredging, port officials said.

The volume of imported cargo moving through U.S. ports is expected to double by 2020, according to the U.S. Customs Service.

"How are we going to handle that and meet these security requirements?" said Steve Pfeiffer, maritime director for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

The U.S. Coast Guard has estimated that it will cost more than $1.5 billion for the first year and $7.3 billion over 10 years for the nation's ports to complete security changes established after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since 2002, the Homeland Security Department has handed out nearly $490 million to help ports, vessels and private companies upgrade security. Nearly $13 million has gone to pay for 43 projects in eight states that border the five lakes.

"The Great Lakes were in a Catch-22. We were required to do the same thing, but the grant program was steered more toward larger ocean ports," said Steve Fisher, executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association.

Homeland Security spokesman Marc Short said the grants are competitive and go to ports with the highest number of passengers and amount of cargo and hazardous material shipments.

"There is not going to be an infinite amount of resources available," Short said. "So just because a port doesn't receive funds doesn't mean we don't believe there isn't a need there, it just means it's a relative determination in relation to other ports."

The new rules are intended to keep terrorists from smuggling anything into the United States through the ports or taking control of a vessel and using it to launch a chemical attack or disrupt operations at a nuclear facility on the waterfront.

Reported by: Kevin Glen

Rochester officials may try to rescue ferry

Rochester city councilors earlier this week voted to attempt to rescue the failed crosslake ferry Spirit of Ontario, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported.

Councilors gave their approval Tuesday to creating a nonprofit corporation to try to buy the ship at an upcoming foreclosure auction.

The Export Finance and Insurance Corp., an arm of the Australian government, has offered to loan the city up to $40 million to keep the ferry in Rochester, meaning no public money would be needed initially to restart the service. But the city must guarantee the loan.

The highly anticipated service to Toronto began in June but was suspended less than three months later when the private ferry company, Canadian American Transportation Systems, said it had run out of money. In the short time that it operated, the ferry carried more than 133,000 passengers and proved, according to city officials, that it was a viable business venture.

Since the shutdown, the $42.5 million Australian-built ferry has been idle at the Port of Rochester as efforts to restore service — including trying to find private investors — have failed.

Reported by: Steve Miller

Port Report

Twin Ports Report
Reported by Al Miller
The end of the season is seeing some unusual boat activities.

John G. Munson was scheduled to make a rare call Jan. 6 at the Algoma Steel Mill at the Canadian Soo. Arthur M. Anderson was scheduled to follow with a load of pellets from Marquette.

In Duluth, the Hon. Paul Martin cleared the DMIR ore dock with pellets on late Thursday but tied up at the port terminal. The Martin was waiting for Atlantic Huron to arrive Friday afternoon so the Martin could transfer its load of pellets to Atlantic Huron. That will enable Atlantic Huron to make a faster getaway so it can unload at Nanticoke and get to its layup berth in Thunder Bay before the Soo Locks close. Once empty, the Martin will get back in line to load at the DMIR again.

It's slow going at the other end of the harbor, too. Edgar B. Speer arrived in Duluth on Wednesday evening and tied up at the port terminal to wait for a berth at the BNSF ore dock. The vessel was still waiting on Friday morning but was expected to get the dock later in the day. CSL Laurentien was still anchored on the lake, waiting for the Speer to clear before it can load. Edwin H. Gott is due off Superior on Saturday to get in line for BNSF.

Last vessel currently scheduled at the Two Harbors ore dock in Presque Isle on Jan. 13. Last vessel scheduled for the DMIR in Duluth is James R. Barker on Jan. 10, although the Paul Martin's second load may change that.

The season also is nearly finished at Midwest Energy Terminal. Canadian Olympic was due there Friday. Paul R. Tregurtha is scheduled to load next Thursday, followed by Mesabi Miner. The Miner will unload at Presque Isle near Marquette, then return to the coal dock to lay up.

Also expected to lay up in Duluth this winter is Roger Blough, which is due at the port terminal on Jan. 12.

Reported by Lee Rowe
The Lee A. Tregurtha brought coal to Marquette's WE Power Plant on a very chilly Friday, then remained to take on ore. The Arthur M. Anderson came in for a load of ore for Algoma and is expected to make a return trip. The Mississagi is due Saturday morning. The John G. Munson is also expected to make a couple trips before the close of the season. Algoma's need for ore is bringing some rare visitors to the Marquette dock.

The Presque Isle passed by hugging the south shore of the lake.

Marquette will be having an unusual array of ships to close the season. The Sarah Spencer was in Thursday, the Michipicoten and Lee A. Tregurtha are expected early Friday followed by the Arthur A. Anderson. The Mississagi is expected to arrive Saturday, the Anderson will make a return trip, and the John J. Munson is anticipated next week. Algoma appears to be in need of ore, and some ports are freezing up.

Algoma Steel
Reported by Jerry Masson
Three ships were unloading Thursday at Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie. The line up included the tug Invincible & McKee Sons, John G. Munson and Michipicoten.

Straits of Mackinac
Reported by Jon Paul Michaels
On Friday a strong West Southwest wind along with worsening ice were playing havoc in the Straits of Mackinac west of the bridge. The Southdown Challenger was anchored in Moran Bay just east of St. Ignace and the tanker barge Michigan and tug Great lakes was anchored south east Mackinaw City awaiting better conditions.

Reported by Scott Best
Wednesday evening the Arthur M Anderson was upbound off Menominee having departed Green Bay earlier in the afternoon, and is heading to Marquette MI to load ore for the Algoma Steel plant in Sault, Ont. The Anderson was originally scheduled to layup in Superior at Fraser Ship Yard after unloading in Green Bay.

The Anderson may make a few trips from Marquette to Algoma, a run normally handled by the Lower Lakes Towing fleet. The John G Munson is also heading to Algoma Steel with a load of coal from Conneaut, Ohio.

Amherstburg Update - January 6
Reported by Tim Theriault
The CCGS Griffon has been at the Canadian Coast Guard Base Amherstburg since Monday night. She arrived to unload some buoys. She is expected to depart within the next few days.

Reiss in Cleveland
Reported by Bill Kloss
Richard Reiss loaded salt at Cargill in Cleveland, she departed Friday night with a reported destination of Burns Harbor.

Reported by Mac Mackay
Algosar, the former Imperial St. Clair received a new name and port of registry on Friday January 7. She is now the Genesis Explorer, and is registered in Moroni, (the capital city of the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros), a chain of islands between Madagascar and Mozambique on the east coast of Africa.

Mather Museum Presents 2005 “LandLubber Series”

The Steamship William G. Mather Museum proudly offers its third season of “LandLubber” programs to promote Great Lakes history and culture at an inland location.  CanalWay Center in Cuyahoga Heights will again host these FREE programs on Wednesday evenings, 7-8 p.m.  This year's exciting schedule includes:
· Feb. 9, “Shipwrecks of Lake Erie – Fire, Storm, Collision” presented by Georgann and Mike Wachter, authors of the “Erie Wrecks” Series on Lake Erie Shipwrecks.
· March 16, "Black Friday" presented by Carrie Sowden, Director of the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center and archaeologist for the Great Lakes Historical Society.
· April 20, "Hulett Unloaders" presented by John A. Burke, Trustee of the Great Lakes Historical Society.

And be sure to visit the Steamship William G. Mather Museum (May-October) at Cleveland's North Coast Harbor, 1001 East Ninth St. Pier.  As the Mather celebrates its 80th year afloat, come aboard to experience the Great Lakes on "The Ship That Built Cleveland!"  For more information, visit or call the Mather Museum’s 24-hour info-line at (216) 574-6262. CanalWay Center is located at 4524 E. 49th St. in Cuyahoga Heights in the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation. Ph: (216) 206-1000

Reported by: Rob Catalano

Picture Request

A local artist is in need of a picture of the Mississagi Strait Light on Manitoulin Island. The view needed is from the water. If you have such a picture please e-mail to

Lay-up List - News Photo Gallery Updated

Click to visit the 11th Annual Lay-Up List
Please send any updates, corrections or new information to

News Photo Gallery updated

Today in Great Lakes History -January 9

BAIE COMEAU II was laid up on January 9, 1983, at Sorel, Quebec 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 in Western Lake Erie, running aground.

Data from: Max Hanley, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Today in Great Lakes History - January 8

On 08 January 2004, Mc Keil Marine’s CAPT RALPH TUCKER was the first vessel of 2004, to arrive at the port of Manistee, Michigan. Once docked at the General Chemical facilities, Captain Bill Sullivan and Chief Engineer Otto Cooper were each presented with hand carved Hackberry canes. This was a notable way for the vessel to start her last year of operation. Later that year she was sold for scrap.

JOHN HULST (Hull#286) was launched in 1938, at River Rouge, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

On 8 January 1877, the tug KATE FELCHER burned at East Saginaw, Michigan. 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.

Today in Great Lakes History - January 7

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: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Brian Bernard, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Reiss Downbound

The Richard Reiss passed Port Huron Wednesday afternoon on its first trip sporting her new paint job. The Reiss' destination is now reported as Fairport, Ohio. Normal transit times would place her in Fairport on Thursday morning, this may change due to weather and ice conditions.

Please send pictures to

Reported by: Dan McCreery

St. Lawrence Seaway Closes

The St. Lawrence Seaway officially closed for the season on December 30, 2004, with the passage of the McKeil Marine integrated tug and barge, McCleary’s Spirit, through the St. Lambert Lock at 5:51 a.m. in the Montreal/Lake Ontario section. The Seaway opened its 46th shipping season on March 25 and remained open for 281 days in 2004.

The Welland Canal section closed at 5:19 p.m. on December 31, with the transit of the Canada Steamship Lines vessel CSL Niagara.

“We are pleased to report excellent traffic results, with an overall estimated 5.3% increase in tonnage this year,” said Richard Corfe, President of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. “The growth in traffic shows across the board, with higher numbers for both lakers and ocean vessels, and greater tonnage in bulk and in general cargo. I think this attests to a strong economic recovery that will continue to bring vessels to the Seaway next year as well.”

The Seaway has benefited from the strength of the steel industry at home and the need for imported steel from abroad. Labour disputes in the iron ore industry and supply problems in the coal industry created low inventory levels, and a half million-tonne shortfall in shipments on the Seaway through the summer. Once these issues were settled, continued Corfe, “we agreed to stay open longer, to accommodate our clients who were trying to make up for lost ground. Water levels in the Lakes remained sufficient to ensure that navigation could continue at full draft throughout most of December.”

This year, substantial gains were made in the movement of general cargo, principally iron and steel, driven by high prices for these goods. Coupled with modest gains in other bulk, such as coke and stone, and a near-doubling of scrap metal shipments, overall volumes are estimated to have increased over last year by 5.5% in the Montreal/Lake Ontario section (totaling 30.49 million tonnes) and 6.5% in the Welland Canal section (totaling 33.94 million tonnes).

“We aren’t relying solely on economic growth to power the turnaround in Seaway traffic,” Mr. Corfe pointed out. “HWY H2O, our public awareness campaign, was a success. It has now evolved into a ‘branding’ project for the overall Great Lakes / St. Lawrence System, linking the St. Lawrence River ports, the Seaway ports and the Great Lakes ports into one marine highway, with 20 partners already signed on.”

“We are now seeing some early results from our initiative to grow our business. We have recaptured the movement of aluminum ingots from Sept-Iles to Toledo from rail; we have seen some Ontario grain moved by barge, as opposed to truck, from Prescott to Sorel; and we have determined the conditions necessary for attracting container movements to the system. We also expect to benefit indirectly from the booming China trade, which is now saturating West Coast ports. The East Coast is getting some of the overflow business, and we will be working to get a fair proportion of that through the Seaway next year.”

In the meantime, the Seaway is now closed for the winter to accommodate the annual maintenance program on its 13 Canadian locks and connecting channels. This year’s winter works program is again a substantial one, amounting to $5 million in the Montreal/Lake Ontario section and $20 million on the Welland Canal. Work will include improvements to bridges, locks, communications and power facilities, roads, weirs, and walls. The Seaway is expected to re-open in late March 2005.

Reported by: Mike Jackson

NOAA scientist urges Welland closure to combat invaders

A scientist for the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration says the Welland Canal should be closed to block more exotic species from invading the Great Lakes, according to a recent story in the Muskegon Chronicle.

"It's time to close the Welland Canal," Gary Fahnenstiel, director of NOAA's Lake Michigan Field Station in Muskegon, told the newspaper. "This a simple problem with a simple solution. We have a natural choke point and we can shut off the flow of exotics into the Great Lakes."

A study set to be released next year will show that 20 years of efforts to keep exotic species from entering the lakes have failed. Fahnenstiel, who worked on the study, said dramatic action is needed now to stop the non-indigenous species of fish, mussels and microorganisms entering the Great Lakes.

The Welland Canal enables ships traveling through Lake Ontario to bypass Niagara Falls and reach lakes Erie, Huron, Superior and Michigan. Since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened, ballast water from seagoing ships has accounted for 77 percent of new exotic species in the lakes, according to a Cornell University study. At least 160 exotic species have entered the Great Lakes since 1800.

While ships' ballast water is the primary source of exotic species entering the lakes, industry officials said banning foreign ships would devastate the region's economy by increasing the cost of transporting steel, grain and other bulk materials.

"It's somewhat of a simple response to say we need to close off the Great Lakes to oceangoing vessels. What economic impact are you going to have by closing off the Great Lakes to oceangoing vessels?" Jim Weakly, president of the Lake Carriers' Association, told the newspaper.

Fahnenstiel's study, a draft of which was obtained by The Chronicle, found several exotic species of algae living in foreign ships with empty ballast tanks. Some of these species thrived when put in fresh water.

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, said it's time for lawmakers to debate whether bold action -- such as closing the Welland Canal -- is needed to stop the flow of exotics into the Great Lakes. He said the U.S., Canadian and international shipping industries have been the main obstacles to changes that would keep more exotics from colonizing the lakes.

Fahnenstiel isn't the first prominent scientist to suggest closing the Great Lakes to oceangoing freighters.

In 2002, a scientist for the regulatory agency Environment Canada suggested stopping all salties in Montreal, where canals allow ships to bypass rapids that were a natural barrier between the Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean ecosystems. That proposal was ridiculed by industry and went nowhere, said Ralph Smith, a biology professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

Reported by: Muskegon Chronicle

Port Report

Twin Ports Report
Reported by Al Miller
Twin Ports boatwatchers Tuesday were greeted by the sight of five ships anchored on Lake Superior off Duluth and Superior. Among those at anchored were the Hon. Paul Martin, CSL Laurentien, CSL Tadoussac and two other vessels that couldn't be readily identified. The Laurentien and Tadoussac were waiting for the BNSF ore dock. There was no word on the reason for the backup, but it's reasonable to assume that recent weather -- several hours of freezing rain on Thursday, nine inches of snow Saturday night and below-zero temperatures Sunday night -- weren't helping matters at the ore docks.

No vessels have yet arrived for layup in the Twin Ports, but all the docks are nearing the end of their seasons. The Duluth DMIR ore dock is scheduled to operate unusually late compared to recent years. The Hon. Paul Martin is the last scheduled vessel, currently due to load Jan. 11. Over at Midwest Energy Terminal, Mesabi Miner is scheduled to load Jan. 13 with coal for Presque Isle in Marquette.

Reported by Lee Rowe
The Michipicoten came to Marquette for another load of ore on a snowy Wednesday. The Herbert C. Jackson arrived later in the day at the Shiras Dock with a load of coal for the city's steam plant. The Jackson will move to the upper harbor for a load of ore before leaving early Thursday.

There was some difficulty loading the Michipicoten on Monday. A crane was used to help loosen the ore in the pockets.

St. Marys River
Reported by Jerry Masson
Winter navigation has closed the north east channel at Pipe Island. Vessel traffic will now use the west channel for both up and downbound passage. With temperatures dropping, river ice is building fast adding another icebreaker in the St. Marys River. The Cutter Mackinaw and Katmai Bay are working the lower river with the Bristol Bay. Upbound Wednesday morning was the Jane Ann IV, downbound was the Charles M. Beeghly and Gemini.

Green Bay Update
Reported by Jason Leno
The 2004 season continued as the Arthur M. Anderson arrived in Green Bay Wednesday morning. The Anderson arrived around 10:30 a.m. with a load of 15,482 tons of stoker coal from Sandusky, OH. for the Fox River dock. This is the third vessel this year that had brought coal to the Fox River dock, the others being the Philip R. Clarke and John G. Munson on the first of the year.

The Arthur M. Anderson is reportedly not the last ship for the season as the John G. Munson is expected to load yet another load of coal for the Fox River Dock and return to Green Bay in the next couple of weeks. This is the longest the season has ever carried into the new year for the Port of Green Bay.

Alpena News
Reported by Ben & Chanda McClain
The G.L Ostrander /barge Integrity arrived in port early Wednesday morning. It took on cargo bound for South Chicago. The Steamer Alpena made its way back to Lafarge around 4 p.m. on Wednesday, after delivering to ports on Lake Superior. The bay has some ice closer to shore, but the channel into Lafarge is clear.

Both vessels should be ending their seasons possibly by next week. The Alpena will likely lay-up in Cleveland and the Ostrander/ Integrity in Milwaukee.

The Richard Reiss loaded at Stoneport on Tuesday. On Wednesday the Kaye E. Barker took on the last load at Stoneport for the season. No other vessels were on the schedule.

Buffalo Update
Reported by Brian Wroblewski
The Firetug Cotter made an icebreaking trip halfway up the Buffalo River on the morning of December 29. She was unable to pass through the CSX Main Line River Bridge due to an electrical problem and had to return to her dock without making it all the way up to South Park Ave. Heavy ice jamming occurred the next day when a snap thaw caused back ups along Cazenovia creek throughout South Buffalo. Sightseers came from miles around to look at the situation developing above the Stevenson St. Bridge where ice was spilling over the banks. No major flooding was reported due to the relatively light condition of the ice itself since it melted quickly in the warm temperatures that weekend.

Ice breaker at Cote Ste. Catherine
Reported by Dave Lucas
During the last few days of December, the light ice breaker CCGS Martha L. Black was working the canal at Cote Ste. Catherine.

Reported by Mac Mackay
The first week of the new year was a busy one for ships with Lakes connections in Halifax. On December 30 ALGOSAR moved to her layup berth after discharging slops from her last trip. She is the last of the three former Imperial tankers to be sold, and is expected to go overseas in January.

ATLANTIC ERIE arrived January 1 with grain. After unloading she will go to Little Narrows, NS for a load of gypsum. SPRUCEGLEN arrived for bunkers January 3 and sailed for Wilmington, NC with her load of grain. A surprising arrival on January 4 was the ALGONOVA. Although she was repainted in Algoma colors here in 1998, she has not been back since. She will be loading for Sydney, NS.

Restoration & Maintenance Volunteers

Part of the success of the Steamship William G. Mather Museum can be attributed to the variety of dedicated people who are inspired to volunteer their time for the love of the 618-foot retired ore freighter. What is needed right now during the “off-season,” before the 15th public season resumes in May, are volunteer restoration workers. Expertise in plumbing and electrical work is particularly needed, though there are many projects for all ability levels onboard “The Ship That Built Cleveland.”

The City of Cleveland is considering moving the museum to Dock 32, north of the Great Lakes Science Center, 800 feet west of the Mather’s current position. Such a move would bring considerations of new utility connections, room for front and rear gangways, and whatever else is needed for public access. There are only four floating freighter museums on the Great Lakes and this move creates potential for the Mather to be the best, let alone one of Cleveland’s most unique facilities. This includes huge unused cargo holds that can finally be developed for museum use.

It’s a very exciting time to get involved and get onboard. For more information, call 216-574-9053 or e-mail

Reported by: Rob Catalano

Lay-up List - News Photo Gallery Updated

Click to visit the 11th Annual Lay-Up List
Please send any updates, corrections or new information to

News Photo Gallery updated

Today in Great Lakes History - January 6

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, Michigan 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, Michigan after departing that port.

Today in Great Lakes History - January 5
The keel was laid January 5, 1972, for the ALGOWAY (2) (Hull#200) at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd..

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.

On January 5, 1976, Halco’s tanker CHEMICAL TRANSPORT cleared Thunder Bay, Ontario closing that port for the season.

Data from: Joe Barr, Brian Bernard, Brian Bernard, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Reiss Departs

The Richard Reiss departed Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin Monday at 11:15 a.m. The Reiss headed northbound and was expected to load at Stoneport for Cleveland.

Reported by: Wendell Wilke

Canadian Provider in Winter Lay-up

The Canadian Provider has entered lay-up in Toronto Harbor. The vessel has damage to her bow area that has been temporarily patched. It is unknown how the vessel was damaged but it may have struck the harbor wall in front of Redpath Sugar.
Pictures in News Gallery linked below

Reported by: Tony Wells

New Mackinaw

Launching day for the new USCG icebreaker Mackinaw may not be until March, but one of its designers is already proud of the vessel he helped create.

Jim Mackie, chief naval architect at Marinette Marine, the Wisconsin firm that is the Mackinaw's builder, told the Sault Ste. Marie Evening News for a recent story that the new vessel will rival her storied namesake. "She'll do fine," Mackie said of the new icebreaker's capability.

Shorter and narrower than the current Mackinaw, the new vessel will carry nearly the same overall horsepower rating, and will serve as a buoy tender when she's not breaking ice.

The new vessel is currently being assembled from modules built separately and later joined. Citing a Finnish influence in the ship's design and construction, Mackie noted the twin pilothouse layout included in the final layout for the vessel. With one wheelhouse facing ahead like other vessels, Mackinaw will have a second bridge deck one deck down and facing astern. The two bridges will have the same control capability and separate assigned crews to man them.. Mackie said the new Mackinaw will break ice as well or better heading astern than she will moving ahead. In the ice, vessel command can be switched back and forth between the two separated bridges seamlessly.

"The stern is specially designed for thick brash (or broken) ice," he said. "This will be as capable an icebreaker as (the old) Mackinaw," Mackie said with but one exception. Because of her narrower width, "she won't break as wide a path (as the current Mackinaw).

Part of the reason for Mackie's confident claims lies in the electric "pod" drive selected for the ship's principal power source. A diesel-electric like most U.S. icebreakers, Mackinaw will be the first in the U.S. Coast Guard fleet to use rotating, submerged electric motors, called "Azipods" to power the ship. Like other "Azipod" ships, including several Baltic icebreakers and a number of the new behemoths among cruise ships, the pods on Mackinaw will utilize pulling propellers - or propellers facing in the direction of travel - in place of the conventional pusher wheels. Using the pod drive system, the new breaker will have no rudders or shafts exposed to the ice, only the twin pods, each weighing 95 tons, built by the world leader in Azipod power, ABB in Helsinki.

The pods are not the only signs of Finnish expertise incorporated into the new Mackinaw. Dead plumb down nearly to the load waterline, Mackinaw's stern under water has a very different aspect.

The one and one-quarter inch-thick steel plate over heavy frames spaced at 20 inches are "wrinkled" in a peculiar manner suggested by successful Finnish icebreakers. Technically, the underwater aspect might be described as two sponsons separated by a partial tunnel, a configuration found in no other U.S. icebreaker.

The new Mackinaw will carry a crew of 50 - 23 fewer than the current Mackinaw.

More information on the new Mackinaw

Reported by: Soo Evening News/Jack Storey

Lay-up List - News Photo Gallery Updated

Click to visit the 11th Annual Lay-Up List
Please send any updates, corrections or new information to

News Photo Gallery updated

Today in Great Lakes History - January 4

On January 4, 1978, the IRVING S OLDS was involved in a collision with the steamer ARMCO while convoying in heavy ice in the Livingstone 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 car ferry SPARTAN (Hull#369) was launched at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Christy Corp. Data from: Max Hanley, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Welland Canal Closes

The Welland Canal officially closed on December 31. The last upbound saltie was the Flintersky on December 21, making a quick trip to Cleveland before heading off lakes. The last upbound laker was CSL Laurentien on December 30.

Last downbound saltie was Diamond Star on December 26. The last downbound laker of the season was the CSL Niagara on December 30.

At shipyard for winter are the Peter R. Cresswell, Pineglen and CSL Niagara.

Reported by: Jimmy Sprunt

Late Season Traffic Carries into New Year

The 2004 season carried over into the New Year in Green Bay bringing in two vessels Saturday morning. The Philip R. Clarke was the last vessel to visit Green Bay in 2004 and was the first to arrive in 2005.

The Clarke brought in a load of 12,600 tons of coal from Ashtabula, Ohio for the Fox River Dock. Fleet mate John G. Munson arrived just 30 minutes after the Clarke with a load of 17,900 tons of coal also for the Fox River Dock.

Both vessels battled ice 10 to 12 inches thick in places from Peshtigo, WI to Green Bay. The Philip R. Clarke finished unloading in the slip Saturday evening and waited on the John G. Munson which was unloading on the dock face. Both vessels departed Green Bay together in a mix of freezing rain and snow.

The 2004 season should end this week with the arrival of the Arthur M. Anderson which is due to load coal in Sandusky, OH this week for the Fox River Dock. This is the first time in several years that the shipping season has gone into the New Year.

Reported by: Jason Leino

Great Lakes Captains Association to Host 2005 Industry Days Conference

The Great Lakes Captains Association will host Industry Days 2005 edition, January 19th through the 22nd, 2005, at the Holiday Inn, and the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Traverse City, MI. The Great Lakes Science Association will also be in session during this time and will be joining us for Industry Days.

This year’s agenda includes “hands on” seminars, for Troubleshooting Electric Motors, Lubrication and Pumps & Valves. All three sessions will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at the Academy, from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Cost for all three sessions is $40.00, including lunch. Thursday starts off with a seminar on System Security awareness for Passenger Vessel Personnel. This will also be held at the academy.

Room rates are very reasonable at $55.00 per night. The phone number, for reservations only, at the Holiday Inn is (800) 888-8020. Be sure to identify yourselves as attendees of GLCA Industry Days. The cost to attend all four days is $100.00. Industry Days only is $60.00.

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

Lay-up List - News Photo Gallery Updated

Click to visit the 11th Annual Lay-Up List

News Photo Gallery updated

Today in Great Lakes History -January 3

Today in Great Lakes History - January 03 In 1939, the CHIEF WAWATAM ran aground on the shoals of the north shore near St. Ignace, Michigan.

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, Ontario 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, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Clarke comes back into shipping

Clarke Inc of Toronto, successors to the Clarke Steamship Co Ltd and Clarke Transport Canada Inc, comes back into the shipping business in 2005 with a new subsidiary called Clarke Shipping Inc. Clarke has purchased the container ship SHAMROCK, which left Halifax on December 28, 2004, and is due at Port Everglades on January 3, 2005.

The 430 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) SHAMROCK has dimensions of 394 by 59 feet and was built in Romania in 2001. She had been operated by SPM RoRo of St Pierre and Miquelon between those islands off Newfoundland and Halifax and Portland, Me. Clarke purchased the ship on December 7 at public auction after her previous owners had fallen short on their finance payments.

The last cargo ships to be owned by Clarke were the CABOT and CHIMO, sold to Upper Lakes in 1981, whose stern power sections are now sailing the lakes as CANADIAN TRANSFER and CANADIAN RANGER.

Reported by: Kevin Griffin

Port Report

Reported by Chad Michaels and Lee Rowe
The Charles M. Beeghly and Kaye E. Barker arrived the afternoon of January 1 at the LS&I ore dock. The Barker was to take on a cargo of Taconite and the Beeghly was delivering a load of coal and will then shift to load taconite.

Soo Traffic
Reported by Jerry Masson
River traffic on New Years Day at the Soo included upbound: Middletown, Joseph L. Block, Burns Harbor, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, CSL Laurentien, Herbert C. Jackson, St Clair, CSL Tadoussac and Reserve. Downbound included Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Mesabi Miner, Edwin H. Gott, Canadian Transport, American Mariner, Jane Ann IV, Michipicoten, John B. Aird, Wolverine and Halifax. Also working in the river was the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw. The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin required a tug while locking through due to a bow thruster not working.

Sturgeon Bay
Reported by Wendell Wilke
The thousand foot James R. Barker was being dry docked at Bay Shipbuilding on the morning of January 1. She is in for unknown repairs.

The Richard Reiss remained at Bay ship and was expected to depart Saturday evening. The Reiss will lay-up in Sarnia but is expected to load at Stoneport for Cleveland followed by a trip to load at Conneaut for the Soo before lay-up.

Saginaw River
Reported by Todd Shorkey and G. Garris
The CSL Tadoussac was inbound for the Essroc Terminal in Essexville Friday afternoon. Assisted through the ice by the tug Gregory J. Busch, she made the dock with no problems and unloaded until early Saturday morning.

The Busch then assisted the Tadoussac with backing into the Bay Aggregates slip across the river from Essroc, and turning her bow so she could depart for the lake.

This is an unusual move for the Tadoussac as she normally departs the river stern first, backing out to Light 12 to turn around, but due to the ice conditions, she used this maneuver to turn in the river.

Reported by Jamie Kerwin
The Algowood has entered lay-up at the Sarnia Government Docks and is to receive steel work in the tank top and hold area this winter. The vessel arrived on December 31. She is still missing the port side anchor and several feet of chain.

Hamilton Report
Reported by Eric Holmes
On the evening of December 31 the CSL Niagara arrived heading to Stelco with coal. She was expected to be the last ship to unload in Hamilton. The Niagara was expected to depart on January 1 for the Port Weller Dry Docks.

Today in Great Lakes History - January 2

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 & Mac Farlane in Oswego, New York. Her owners were Mrs. Goble & Mac Farlane, Daniel Lyons and E. Caulfield. Her dimensions were 142 foot 6 inches X 25 foot 2 inches X 11 foot 6 inches, 325 tons and she cost $28,000.

January 2, 1925 - The ANN ARBOR NO 7 (Hull#214) was launched at Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Corp. She was sponsored by Jane Reynolds, daughter of R.H. Reynolds, marine superintendent of the railroad. Renamed b.) VIKING in 1983.

Today in Great Lakes History - January 1

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, Wisconsin. 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 foot, 43 gross tons, built in 1894, at Grand Haven, Michigan) foundered eight miles off Michigan City, Indiana. 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 foot. 165 gross tons, built in 1911, at Camden, New Jersey as a yacht) was siphoning gasoline off the stranded tanker J OSWALD BOYD (244 foot, 1806 gross tons , 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, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


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