Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Cape May Light Sailing Delayed

1/31 - The coastal cruise boats, Cape May Light and Cape Hope Light, that were purchased by Hornblower Marine Services in 2005, will not sail until 2008.

The two 224-passenger, 300-foot vessels have been tied up in Green Cove Springs, Florida since the 2001 bankruptcy of the former owner American Classic Voyages, Inc., the former parent of Delta Queen Steamboat.

Finalization of financing appears to be the reason behind the delay. The sale was originally expected to be completed by the end of 2006.

The vessels were designed to sail in coastal waters during the year, and in the Great Lakes during the summer. Cape May Light did operate in the Great Lakes in 2001.

From Work Boat magazine


Captain Donald Bert MacAdam Dies

1/31 - Goderich - On Tuesday, January 30, 2007, the Marine Industry lost a respected friend when Captain Donald Bert MacAdam of Goderich, Ontario passed away peacefully.

Donald Bert (DB), was well know as the Goderich Port Master, Lighthouse Keeper and the owner of MacDonald Marine Tug Service. He was also a long service member of the Goderich Volunteer Fire Department.

Visitation is at the McCallum and Palla Funeral Home,11 Cambria Rd, N in Goderich from 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm on Wednesday, January 31, 2007.

Funeral service will be held at 2 pm on Thursday, February 1, 2007 at Victoria Street United Church. There will be a one hour visitation at the church prior to the service.

Donations to the Diabetes Society, Victoria Street United Church or the charity of your choice.

Reported by Dale Baechler


Port Report - January 31

Montreal - Kent Malo
The Mathilda Desgagnes has been sold to a shipping firm in Haiti, Transcomar Shipping bought the 48-year old vessel, built at Davie Shipbuilding Lauzon Quebec 1959 as a bulk freighter "Eskimo" for Canada Steamship Lines for transporting supplies to the lower Arctic communities. She was converted to a package freighter in 1964. Converted to a crane equipped package freighter in 1985, and given her present name, the vessel sits at Section 56 in the Port of Montreal with no name on her hull.


Updates - January 31

News Photo Gallery updated

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Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 31

The 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 carferry MADISON was leading the way across Lake Michigan to Grand Haven, she was struck from behind by her sister ship GRAND RAPIDS.

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

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


Tug Sinks at the Port of Milwaukee

1/30 - Milwaukee - A 37-foot tug boat sank in the municipal inner mooring basin at the Port of Milwaukee early this morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The Andrea J. was tied off to another vessel at a pier located within the mooring basin when it sank in 25 feet of water about 8:30 a.m., according to a statement from the Coast Guard.

According to the statement no one was onboard the vessel, which is owned by the Edward E. Gillen Company.

About 100 gallons of diesel fuel was onboard the vessel and the company broke surrounding ice and deployed an oil containment boom in place as a precaution while the boat was raised, the Coast Guard said.

Reported by Jim Zeirke from the Milwaukee Journal Gazette


Plans to Update Toledo Shipyard Unravel
Jobs, work go elsewhere as millions in funding are lost

1/30 - Toledo - Soon after a Bedford Township company took over operation of the publicly owned Toledo Shipyard 11 months ago, demolition of the facility’s decrepit buildings began, with a new machine and fabrication shop slated to rise in their place.

The demolition went as planned, but since then the building site — located along the Maumee River off the 2200 block of Front Street near the Nabisco flour mill — has remained barren.

Construction of a new ship repair building has been put on hold by what is being described as an administrative foul-up that cost the project a $4 million federal grant arranged through U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), and by Mayor Carty Finkbeiner’s withholding of $1.5 million in city funds that former Mayor Jack Ford had pledged in 2003.

The result, according to Tony LaMantia, president of Ironhead Marine, is the loss of at least 20, if not 40, seasonal jobs at the shipyard because vessel owners have sent their ships elsewhere for drydock inspections or repair work. “We’ve had three customers tell us that because we didn’t have a facility here, they were reluctant to bring us lakers,” Mr. LaMantia said, referring to commercial cargo vessels that ply the Great Lakes.

Ironhead is still doing fabrication and machining in a rented building at the Port of Toledo general cargo dock several miles away, he said, but ship owners have balked because of the inefficiency inherent in transporting components back and forth between the two locations. Instead, the 20 or so workers at the rented building are primarily involved in building pollution-control equipment for another Ironhead customer.

Despite the setback, some winter work is occurring at the shipyard, which has been owned by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority since 1985. Surveys and repairs to several barges are keeping a work force of about 30 people busy there, Mr. LaMantia said.

A $1.5 million appropriation last month by the port authority’s board of directors will fund construction of a scaled-down shop building later this year that will be designed to allow expansion once more money becomes available, he said. But predictions that the yard would employ 70 full-time workers by this winter, and later hundreds more if Ironhead could land contracts to build new vessels, have been laid low by the construction delay. “You can’t even pursue that work without having a shop [right next to the water],” Mr. LaMantia said.

Development of plans to modernize the shipyard for new-vessel construction began in 2000 and appeared to be gaining steam in late 2003, when Miss Kaptur announced a $3.5 million federal grant to help pay for new cranes and construction of a new “high-bay” facility. The latter is an enclosed building in which sections of new ships can be constructed before assembly is completed in one of the dry docks at the shipyard. Along with the city’s $1.5 million, Lucas County pledged $1 million toward the project, and Miss Kaptur later announced she had secured an additional $4 million in federal funds.

Work put off
But Manitowoc Marine Group, then the shipyard’s operator, put off starting work on the $12 million project. In February, 2005, the firm told local officials it would limit Toledo operations to repair and maintenance work because of labor problems. Subsequent campaigning to revive the company’s interest in the “high-bay” project was met instead by a Sept. 14, 2005, letter announcing Manitowoc’s plan to opt out of its lease as shipyard operator.
Ironhead, which already had an industrial fabrication shop in Bedford Township, replaced Manitowoc on an interim basis and was formally named the new shipyard operator in February, 2006. During a news conference announcing Ironhead’s new status, Bob Reinbolt, chief of staff to Mayor Finkbeiner, reiterated the city’s $1.5 million commitment to the shipyard project.

But less than two months later, the city advised the port authority that no funds would be available in 2006 and possibly not in the future. An Aug. 11, 2006, letter characterized the city’s funds as a loan that would not be provided “until the port authority and Ironhead identify private money standing behind this project” and “collateral protecting” the loan.

Meanwhile, the final $4 million that Miss Kaptur had arranged was unraveling. Federal officials determined that Congress had placed the money in an account that could only be spent on shipyards owned or operated by the U.S. Navy. “That became an insurmountable stumbling block,” said Steve Fought, a spokesman for Miss Kaptur.

“We ran out of time to get [the money] into a different account,” Mr. Fought said, noting that Miss Kaptur was working with then-U.S. Sen. Mike De­Wine (R, Ohio). “We’re not blaming anybody, but we have to go back and take another shot at it.”
Brian Schwartz, a spokesman for Mr. Finkbeiner, said city officials now are working with the port authority to identify a project at Toledo Express Airport “where we can invest $1.5 million,” which would effectively reimburse the port authority for its own appropriation last month. The Ford administration had been willing to simply place money in the airport reserve fund, Mr. Schwartz said, but it “really can’t be done that way — we have to have a project.”

Money for machines
As for Ironhead’s stake in the shipyard project, Mr. Schwartz said, “the mayor remains concerned, but as the project progresses, hopefully we’ll see progress in that area.” Mr. LaMantia said he has committed to spending $500,000 for machines and other equipment for the new facility and expects annual capital expenses of “a couple hundred thousand a year for the next 20 years, at a minimum.”

While expressing sympathy for the city’s financial straits, Mr. LaMantia said the administration has offered no direct help in finding alternative funding if city dollars aren’t available. “I don’t own the facility — it’s a publicly owned facility,” he reminded.

Fred Keith, business manager for Boilermakers Local 85, said it’s difficult to assess how much his membership has been affected by the delay in the construction of a new shipyard building, but added that there was no doubt the “very outdated” facilities that were demolished needed replacement. “We all wish it could be faster, because that would give [Ironhead] some new opportunities, and give the Boilermakers some new opportunities,” Mr. Keith said. “Because that building didn’t get put up as quickly as anticipated, that definitely hurt,” he said.

Mr. LaMantia said he and his employees will do the best they can with the work they have this winter, so as to establish a positive reputation within the Great Lakes shipping industry. “We’ll make our bones with these barges, and then get the facility built,” he said.

From the Toledo Blade


Toledo's King bridge Closure Starts Today

1/20 - Toledo - A 16-day closing of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge will start as planned at 7:00 a.m. today, but don't expect to see the first of four replacement draw span sections installed at the bridge until later this week, a city official said yesterday.

The most time-sensitive work to be done during the bridge closing is reshaping the King's counterweight vaults so that the replacement draw spans will fit in them and raise and lower properly, Bill Franklin, the city's director of public service, said. A two-day postponement of the first draw span section's installation does not affect either today's closing of the bridge to motorists nor should it delay the bridge's reopening, scheduled for Feb. 16, Mr. Franklin said.

When announcing the closing on Friday, officials said the first of four new bridge sections would be loaded yesterday onto a barge from a storage yard near the Port of Toledo and floated into position today. But Mr. Franklin said yesterday that the loading operation was being extended to ensure proper rigging and balance.

While the King is closed, traffic will be detoured via the I-280 Craig Memorial Bridge between Summit and Front Streets. The detour will require closing the southbound right lane on I-280 approaching Summit because the entrance ramp from northbound Summit has inadequate merging distance. Motorists who can use the Anthony Wayne (High Level) or Michael DiSalle (I-75) bridges to cross the Maumee during the King closing should consider those alternatives.

Original plans for the draw span replacement called for traffic shutdowns no longer than four days. But after starting work early this month, contractor National Engineering quickly discovered that reshaping the counterweight vaults took much longer than expected.

National advised city officials that if done in phases to keep the bridge open to traffic most of the time, the work could not be finished in time to meet a March 15 deadline to reopen the Maumee River to shipping traffic.

Subfreezing cold is expected in the Toledo area for at least the next week. One potential obstacle to reopening the King bridge on time, Mr. Franklin said yesterday, is if thickening ice on the Maumee interferes with barge operations.

From the Toledo Blade


Maritime Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston Property Lease Renewal

1/30 - Kingston, Ont. - At their 23 January 2007 meeting, the Council of the City of Kingston passed a resolution supporting in principle the Marine Museum’s application for a lease renewal of the Kingston Shipyards and Drydocks site, which the Museum has occupied since 1977. The lease on this property is due to expire in November of 2007 and has been declared surplus by its owner, Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Achieving formal support of Kingston’s Council marks Round One in the Museum’s campaign to remain in its current location. The Marine Museum’s Board of Trustees must now take their request for a long term lease extension or property transfer to Senator Michael Fortier, Public Works and Government Services.

If you wish to help further, please consider adding your voice to those of the many individuals and groups who have written or called their Member of Parliament in support of a lease extension for the Marine Museum.

For further information about the Marine Museum, or for regular updates on the lease renewal, please visit the Museum’s website at


Port Report - January 30

Windsor - Kevin Sprague
The Canadian Coast Guard ice breakers Griffon and Samuel Risley are tied up Windsor. The Griffon left the Amherstburg Coast Guard base yesterday and headed out into the western basin of Lake Erie before returning back to the base. Ice is increasingly building up day by day. The Detroit River and extrem western basin of Lake Erie has substantial ice cover now. Vessels transiting this area will likely require ice breaker assistance in the very near future.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation departed Alpena Monday morning and ended the shipping season. The Innovation is headed to Milwaukee for lay-up.


Updates - January 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 30

The 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 second PERE MARQUETTE 18 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.

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

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


Port Reports - January 29

Escanaba - Lee Rowe
The Joseph L. Block loaded at Escanaba Sunday while the Great Lakes Trader waited.  The Joseph H. Thompson remains tied up at the dock undergoing work.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tugboat Manitou arrived in port on Saturday and tied up in the river. The Manitou is breaking ice in the area so the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation will have no problem going into Lafarge. The Champlain is expected during the early morning hours on Monday.


Kenneth N. Black, “Mr. Lighthouse,” Is Lost

1/29 - Rockport, ME - With his family and close friends around him, the man known around the world as “Mr. Lighthouse,” and founder of the Maine Lighthouse Museum, CWO Kenneth Black, (USCG Retired) passed away peacefully at the Penobscot Bay Medical Center Hospital in Rockport, Maine, on Sunday, January 28 at the age of 82.

Black is largely credited as being one of the principle founders of the lighthouse preservation movement in the United States, and the first person to have a national newsletter about lighthouses, which always ended with his personal comments and the statement, “Be neighborly,” a philosophy that he was known to live by.

Born on June 29, 1923, Black was a Coast Guard veteran of World War II and he saw action at the invasion of Okinawa. After the war served throughout New England and the Great Lakes in various capacities including, being OIC at the Point Allerton, Massachusetts Life Boat Station; Commanding Officer of a lightship; Group Commander of the Quoddy Head Coast Guard Station in Lubec, Maine; Commander of the Coast Guard Cutter OJIBWA and he finished his over 32-year Coast Guard career as Commanding Officer of the Rockland, Maine, Coast Guard Station.

His interest is saving lighthouse artifacts began when he realized that many items were being discarded as automation changed the way lighthouses had been operating since the late 1700’s. He first created an exhibit at the base of Boston Lighthouse in the 1960’s, an exhibit that is still there to this day. As well as being the first Coast Guardsman to decorate a lighthouse at Christmastime, he stared the First Marine Exhibit at the Rockland Coast Guard Station, which evolved into the largest collection of lighthouse lenses and equipment in America. By the time he had retired from the Coast Guard in 1973 he was the official curator of the First Coast Guard District.

When the collection at the Rockland Coast Guard base outgrew its quarters, it moved to the Shore Village Museum building on Limerock Street in Rockland, Maine and Black spent the next 30 years traveling all over New England searching out artifacts. While doing so, many people heard what he was doing and stepped forward to help and donated other artifacts. Some artifacts were easy to get to the museum, while others such as priceless Fresnel lenses or fog bells and foghorns weighing thousands of pounds were more difficult.

Two years ago the gigantic collection, through the help of civic-minded community leaders, moved to its new headquarters on the Rockland waterfront in a recently renovated building where it was renamed the Maine Lighthouse Museum. Although Ken slowed down a bit in recent months, he was still active in many community events and the ongoing development of the new Maine Lighthouse Museum. He was present just a few weeks ago for the press conference announcing the consolidation of the collection of the American Lighthouse Foundation’s Museum of Lighthouse History. That merger will now create the largest lighthouse museum in the United States as well as being a Mecca for lighthouse buffs and an important Maine tourist attraction.

Black made famous the phrase that he coined, “Lighthouses are like people, they come in many different sizes, shapes and colors,” which was also the title of his popular slide presentation that he proudly presented an estimated thousand times, while always promoting the importance of lighthouse preservation.

Although retired for many years, Ken spent many long hours every week in the last thirty-five years volunteering his services to the lighthouse community and other worthwhile causes such as the Salvation Army, Rotary, Shriners and the American Lighthouse Foundation. He received countless awards such as the Coast Guard ‘Public Service Commendation,’ the Harbour Lights ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award, the Lighthouse Digest, ‘Beacon of Light’ award, and the American Lighthouse Foundation’s ‘Keeper of the Light’ Award, to name a few. Even a book about life after retirement included a full chapter about Ken Black.

When the United States Coast Guard wanted to honor him at the dedication last year of the CWO Kenneth Black Exhibition Hall at the Maine Lighthouse Museum, they couldn’t find an award to honor him with because he had already been honored over the years with every award or honor the Coast Guard has to offer. But not to let that stop them, the Guard arranged for a special honor to be given to him by the Foundation for Coast Guard History for his saving of hundreds of artifacts that might otherwise have been lost forever.

At that time he was also honored with special commendations from The Maine State Legislature, the Maine State Senate, the Governor of Maine, The City of Rockland, Lighthouse Digest Magazine, various Coast Guard units, the United States Congress and the one that he loved the best was the special personal recognition from the President of the United States, George W. Bush.

Black was also proud of the fact that his wife Dot serves as President of the Friends of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation and he loved it when friends would call his wife, “Mrs. Lighthouse.”

Tim Harrison, president of the American Lighthouse Foundation, said that Black knew more about the mechanics of vintage lighthouse equipment than anyone, anywhere. Fortunately, for the sake of future generations, Black recorded on film a number of tapes where he explained what each artifact in the collection was used for and why it was used.

Black leaves behind a wife Dorothy (Dot), stepson Joe and his wife Wanda, stepson Jim, and his wife Franny, and his grandsons Keegan, Travis and Christopher. The funeral service will held at the Maine Lighthouse Museum in Rockland on Thursday, February 1 at 11:00am.

In lieu of flowers the family has asked that donations be made to the One Hundred Million Dollar Club of the Shriners or to the Maine Lighthouse Museum, P.O. Box F, Rockland, ME 04841.


Updates - January 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 29

The BUCKEYE 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 in 1957, JOHN DYKSTRA in 1966, and BENSON FORD in 1983. She was scrapped in 1987 at Recife, Brazil.

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

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


Pascol May Stay Afloat

1/28 - Thunder Bay, Ont. - There’s an interested buyer for Pascol Engineering, but it could take until April before the future of the Thunder Bay ship repair facility is known.

The court-appointed monitor for Pascol’s bankrupt parent company Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Inc. has applied for a two-month extension of CSE’s bankruptcy protection order — to March 30 — to allow it to complete the sale of CSE’s subsidiaries.

“I can’t comment on anything that’s going on,” Pascol general manager Steve Allen said Thursday. “It’s all in the hands of the receivers and the monitors. “Hopefully I will be able to talk to everybody come April of this year.”

According to court documents, bankruptcy monitor RSM Richter Inc. has received several purchase bids and investor offers for CSE subsidiaries Pascol and Port Weller Dry Docks before a Jan. 15 deadline.

The Port Weller facility ceased operations in November, with all but a handful of staff terminated. Pascol’s dry dock has continued to operate throughout the bankruptcy process, with 70 to 100 full-time and seasonal workers conducting repairs on three ships, the Algosoo, Algoway and Algowood, over the course of this winter.

Union representative Herb Daniher said word of an interested buyer should be good news for members of United Steelworkers Local 5055. “This is a positive development,” Daniher said Thursday. “We all felt that this portion of the company is a viable entity.”

Daniher said Pascol has an efficient workforce of welders, machinists and fabricators who carry out specialized work for the marine industry, along with mining and forestry companies. Because of that, he said, the 97-year-old company has a “niche market” that can allow it to expand under new ownership. “Under the right circumstances, we’re hoping somebody will come in and take us over and we can continue to succeed and grow,” he said.

The extension application filed in Superior Court on Tuesday by RSM Richter indicates Pascol continues to turn a profit, helping provide the necessary revenues to keep CSE solvent during the extended proceedings. “The estate account, together with the projected positive cash flow from Pascol’s operation, should be sufficient to fund (CSE’s) operations until a transaction for one or both of the (Port Weller) and/or Pascol divisions can be completed,” the court documents state.

Robert Kofman, the monitor for RSM Richter, did not return calls Thursday.

Financial reports state that CSE has about $8 million owing to its creditors, the largest of which is a $1.24-million claim by the Bank of Nova Scotia. Upper Lakes Group Inc. claims it is owed $1.15 million. RSM Richter’s application to extend CSE’s bankruptcy protection is expected to be heard in a Toronto court on Monday. Upper Lakes has agreed to the extension.

Reported by Tom Stewart from the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal


Trip Raffle to Benefit BoatNerd

Through the generosity of the Interlake Steamship Co., BoatNerd is offering the chance to win a four-six-day trip for four to take place during the 2007 sailing season (between the months of June and September) on the winner's choice of the classic Lee. A. Tregurtha or the Queen of the Lakes Paul R. Tregurtha.

The trip is the Grand Prize of BoatNerd¹s first ever raffle and fundraising event. Other prizes will also be given away.

All proceeds from this raffle will benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)(3) corporation. Funds raised will be used to upgrade our equipment, expand our services and pay monthly Internet connection charges.

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 2, 2007 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron, Mich.
Donation: $10 per ticket, 3 for $25, 6 for $50 or 12 for $100.

Click here to order, or for more information. Tickets are also available by mail, or in person at BoatNerd World Headquarters in Port Huron.


Port Reports - January 28

Halifax - Mac Mackay
Pacifico Trader sailed from Halifax Saturday morning, January 27, bound for Cartagena, Columbia where she will become a bunkering tanker. She is now flying the Panamanian flag. Her Fairbanks Morse engines sounded quite healthy as she headed out to sea, but she was making a lot of smoke.
The ferry Spirit of Ontario 1 left the Novadock floating drydock on Thursday, and returned to pier 6 at Halifax Shipyard. The fast ferry has been in Halifax since December 26 awaiting developments in a tentative sale to European owners.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker/buoy tender was off Kingsville Ontario Saturday presumably checking the ice line after last nights wind storm.


Updates - January 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - 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.

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

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


Fire crews feel way through smoke in ship

1/27 - Hamilton, Ont. - Thick black smoke belched from a lake freighter that caught fire in Hamilton harbour while crews were working on it Thursday morning. No one was hurt as firefighters struggled to douse the blaze below decks in the ship.

District fire chief Brian Stark said the fire broke out at 10:45 a.m. inside the Algoville while workers replacing its engine were cutting steel with a torch.

To reach the fire, Stark said, 21 firefighters had to feel their way through the heavy smoke -- the result of oil and lubricant that caught fire. They needed a map so they could locate the site of the blaze two storeys below decks.

Firefighters mixed a chemical with water to extinguish the blazing oil.

There was no damage to the ship and 12 people working inside at the time were safe.

Linda McDonald of the Hamilton Port Authority said the fire didn't affect operations because vessels are laid up for the winter in the port.

The vessel, owned by Algoma Steel, is 40 years old and usually carries grain and iron.

From the Hamilton Spectator


Purchase of land keeps Iron Range project alive
Steel Dynamics of Indiana bought the site for the proposed Mesabi Nugget plant but didn't say whether it would pay to build the factory.

1/27 - Duluth - The $200 million Mesabi Nugget project may become a reality after all. Indiana-based Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI) on Wednesday helped secure land and construction permits for the iron nugget plant in Hoyt Lakes. Two months ago, former partner Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. pulled its support for the proposed plant, putting the entire project in doubt.

The intervention by Steel Dynamics -- the company purchased 3,000 of the 4,500 acres needed for the factory from Cleveland-Cliffs -- will allow for some preliminary construction to begin this weekend. That step allows previously granted environmental permits to remain valid. The permits were otherwise set to expire Monday.

For Larry Lehtinen, Mesabi president and founder, Wednesday's events marked a welcome reprieve. "I have been laboring 24/7 since Nov. 17. It was kind of like everybody else went to the funeral and left for the coffee and cookies afterwards. I was the only one in there with my head in the casket still trying to give CPR," Lehtinen said. Steel Dynamics, which makes structural and flat-rolled steel, has not said yet whether it intends to kick in the $200 million still needed to build the factory.

Nevertheless, state and Iron Range officials celebrated the initial victory in keeping alive the promise of next-generation mining technology for the Range. While Minnesota makes taconite pellets, no one in the state makes iron nuggets that can be fed directly into electric arc furnaces, as Mesabi Nugget has planned.

Mesabi Nugget would bring 100 permanent jobs to the Iron Range and employ a Japanese-designed airtight furnace to transform taconite into iron nuggets. Taconite, a mainstay of Iron Range plants, is only 65 percent iron. Mesabi Nuggets would be 97 percent iron -- pure enough to be fed directly into the electric arc furnaces that dot the Great Lakes. The process also is about 33 percent more energy-efficient than current taconite-to-steel processes.

State legislators and economic development officials initially invested $16 million into the venture and recently committed $20 million more in the hope that the venture would mark another step in reviving the Iron Range, where nearly 2,000 workers lost their jobs after EVTAC and LTV Mining went bankrupt in recent years. But in November, Mesabi Nugget's partnership fell apart because two of the five partners -- Cleveland-Cliffs and Steel Dynamics -- could not agree on terms. "Mesabi Nugget is very important to northeastern Minnesota. We are very pleased to see that the project appears to be back on track. ... But the question remains, who will finance the project in its entirety?" Iron Range Commissioner Sandy Layman said.

"This project is not just 100 jobs. It's the advancement of the next-generation technology. It opens up a new market to Minnesota that is represented by companies like SDI who will also be the customer for the product. It [owns] the [steel] mini mills and the electric arc furnaces that we are not capable of feeding right now."

Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said he's hopeful that SDI will be able "to pull this off and that we can get this thing going. This is one of the projects that we worked really really hard on. ... This is too good to let die on the vine."
In the future, Cleveland-Cliffs could remain just a supplier of taconite powder to the plant, if it is built. The state of Minnesota probably will no longer be a small equity partner but keep its loan agreements intact, Lehtinen said. Kobe Steel in Japan, currently an investing partner, may provide only the unique technology needed to run the plant.

From the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune


Port Board gives OK to move on terminal
Hartung can sign for work in East Toledo

1/27 - Toledo - The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board of directors yesterday directed the agency's president, James Hartung, to sign contracts with the low bidders to build a marine passenger terminal in East Toledo as long as the project's budget isn't exceeded. Bids for five contracts - for general construction, plumbing, electrical, fire protection, and climate control - are to be opened Tuesday.

But with the port board not scheduled to meet again until Feb. 22, its new-project development committee recommended Mr. Hartung be given authority to approve the construction bids to keep the project on schedule. The engineer's estimate for the terminal construction is $2.7 million, of which $2.4 million is to be paid with federal funds administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The federal funds are from a program for ferry-related projects, and port officials hope the terminal will help attract ferry service between Toledo and Windsor, Ont., or other Lake Erie ports. The terminal has been designed to accommodate Great Lakes cruise ships as well.

In related action, the port board agreed to pay Poggemeyer Design Group Inc. of Toledo up to $30,000 for services related to the contract bidding and for redesigning parts of the terminal plans to accommodate changes requested by the Marina District Design Committee and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Eighty percent of the Poggemeyer work also will be paid from the grant for the terminal, which totals $2,445,125.

From the Toledo Blade


Today in Great Lakes History - January 27

In 1912, the Great Lakes Engineering Works' Ecorse yard launched the steel bulk freighter WILLIAM P SNYDER JR (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: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Cutting Torch Sparks Algoville Fire

1/26 - Hamilton - A freighter caught fire in Hamilton harbour Thursday morning as crews were making repairs. No one was hurt, but firefighters struggled to douse the blaze below decks in the ship.

District Fire chief Brian Stark said the blaze broke out at 10:45 a.m. deep in the hull of the Algoville as workers were cutting steel with a torch. The heavy black smoke coming out of the ship was a result of oil and lubricant that caught fire.

He says 21 firefighters had to feel their way through heavy smoke to reach the fire.

They required a map so they could locate the fire two stories below deck. They mixed a chemical with water to extinguish the oil that caught on fire.

There was no damage to the ship and 12 people were working inside of it when the fire occurred.

From The Hamilton Spectator


Acushnet to be Crowned Queen of USCG Fleet

1/26 - Alameda, CA - With the de-commissioning of the Coast Guard cutter Storis on Feb. 8, 2007, the Coast Guard cutter Acushnet will be crowned the next Coast Guard "Queen of the Fleet".

The title "Queen of the Fleet" is a distinction given to the oldest commissioned cutter in the fleet. Acushnet will celebrate its 63rd birthday Feb. 5, 2007.

Acushnet was originally commissioned as a Diver Class Fleet Rescue and Salvage Vessel, USS SHACKLE (ARS 9) for the U.S. Navy Feb. 5, 1944. On August 23, 1946, Acushnet was commissioned as an Auxiliary Tug (WAT) in the US Coast Guard. That same year, two other U.S. Navy Diver Class vessels: the Escape (ex-ARS 6) and Yocona (ex-SEIZE ARS 26) also joined the Coast Guard fleet as Auxiliary Tugs (WAT).

Unlike any other ship in the Coast Guard, Acushnet has served in the Navy and Coast Guard as a Fleet Rescue and Salvage Vessel (ARS), an Auxiliary Tug (WAT), an oceanographic vessel (WAGO), and a medium endurance cutter (WMEC). It is the second Coast Guard cutter to bear the name Acushnet and will be the oldest medium endurance cutter still in operation after the Storis.

While both sister ships, Yocona and Escape, have been decommissioned, Acushnet continues to serve as a medium endurance cutter in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. Acushnet's operational history as USS Shackle includes participation in the salvage efforts at Pearl Harbor, Midway Island, Eniwetok, Guam, Saipan, and Japan. The salvage ship also played active roles in the battles over Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During WWII it earned three battle stars.

Acushnet's first homeport as a Coast Guard tug was Portland, Maine, where its crew earned a valiant reputation as a dependable friend to fishermen and boaters in distress. From 1968 to 1978,

Acushnet supported the National Data Buoy Project while designated as an oceanographic vessel primarily in San Diego (1968-1971) and then in Gulfport, Miss. In 1978, Acushnet was reclassified as a medium endurance cutter primarily to enforce maritime laws in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Acushnet crews also executed other duties, such as environmental protection, boating safety, search and rescue, and participated in the largest immigration crisis in the history of the Coast Guard, the Mariel Boat lift from Cuba.

In 1990, Acushnet changed homeports to Eureka, Calif., and patrolled the West Coast from the southern waters of California to the northern waters of the Bering Sea. Acushnet changed homeport to Ketchikan, Alaska in 1998 from where it now patrols primarily the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea.

Nicknamed "The 'A' Team in Alaskan Fisheries," Acushnet is credited with handling the Alaskan environment more effectively than most other cutters even though it lacks a flight deck and modern weapons systems. Its current missions consist of homeland defense, search and rescue, and law enforcement.

During the course of 60 years of service, Acushnet crews have received the following awards for exemplary service: World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal, 2 Coast Guard Unit Commendations, 5 Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations, 7 Coast Guard "E" Ribbons, Navy Occupation Service Medal, 3 National Defense Service Medals, 2 Humanitarian Service Medals, and 2 Coast Guard Special Operation Ribbons.



Diggers hope to retrieve warship
200-year-old General Hunter sits beside barge

1/26 - Southhampton, Ont. - Archeologists will dig up a 140-year-old barge from beneath the sands of the South-hampton public beach this spring.

They will also test the feasibility of retrieving the 200-year-old British warship buried beside the barge. The archeologists are especially excited about the warship.

Built in 1806, the brig HMS General Hunter was captured by the Americans in the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813. In August 1816, the ship was sailing as an American merchant vessel, under the shortened name of Hunter, when it was washed ashore during a violent storm on Lake Huron. "The General Hunter is both an historically invaluable discovery and an unique archeological find on the Upper Great Lakes," marine archeologist Ken Cassavoy said.

The wooden, flat-bottom barge covers part of the Hunter so must be raised first. The barge was used between 1871 and 1877 in the construction of the long dock connecting Southampton to nearby Chantry Island, said Cassavoy, who is in charge of the shipwreck project.

Starting in April, work will begin to retrieve the barge, an operation that will cost $90,000 to $100,000. Cassavoy hopes the money will be raised through donations of equipment and supplies. As in previous digs, archeologists will be volunteering their time. After the barge is raised, the plan is to sink it in the lake, where it will be used as a dive site, he said.

With the Hunter, archeologists will be taking wood core samples to test the strength of the ship's timbers. This would be the first step in determining whether it is feasible to retrieve and display the warship at the Bruce County museum in Southampton. The Hunter project could cost $3 million and take seven years to complete, Cassavoy said.

This shipwreck story dates back to the Easter weekend of 2001, when a Southampton resident strolling along the beach between Morpeth and Palmerston streets, discovered the ribs of a ship poking out of the sand. An exceptionally harsh winter had gouged sections of the beach like the movement of a glacier.

After an exploratory dig, it was thought the wreck was the Kaloolah, a Great Lakes side-wheel steamer. But a subsequent dig uncovered the bones of two vessels almost touching each other. A further dig in October 2002 turned up a small signal cannon, strengthening a theory that the 15-metre vessel dates back to the late 1790s, since lake ships weren't allowed to carry cannons after 1817.

A dig in the summer of 2004 uncovered more than 30 British and American military buttons, as well as four large cannon balls, numerous musket balls, two gun flints and a musket bayonet. Some of these artifacts are now on display at the museum in Southampton. No one died when the Hunter blew ashore 200 years, and her crew managed to save some objects on board. After each excavation, the shipwreck was returned to the sands that protected it for the last 200 years.

The barge dig is slated to run from April 16 to May 27.

From the Kitchener Record


Noted Naval Architect Dies

1/26 - Cleveland - Naval Architect Richard H. Suehrstedt, 78, passed away on January 15, 2007 at a local hospital near his home in Berea, Ohio.

Mr. Suehrstedt was President of Marine Consultants and Designers for a number of years and contributed substantially to the design of many of the current vessels operating on the Great Lakes. He was highly respected and in demand as an expert witness and supervisor of large vessel repair jobs requiring design improvement and modification.

Richard is survived by his wife Arlene and three sons. A memorial service was held on January 21, 2007 at 2:30pm at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 33 Seminary Street, Berea, Ohio 44017 to which the family suggests memorials contributions to its Cornerstone Fund.


Port Report - January 2

Escanaba - Rod Burdick
On Thursday, fleet mates Joseph L. Block and Wilfred Sykes were at the ore dock. Block was loading taconite on the north side of the dock, while Sykes was backed in and waiting on the south side. Dock officials say that ore shipments could continue all winter.
Tugs Victory and Olive L. Moore remain stern to stern at the North Reiss Dock.


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 for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co..

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, 1,310 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: Steve Haverty, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Ice-breaker will open Green Bay channel
Coast Guard warns ice will be unsafe

1/25 - Green Bay, WI - The U.S. Coast Guard warned that an ice-breaker will slice a path through the bay of Green Bay on Friday and Saturday.

The ice-breaking means snowmobiles, skiers and fishermen should keep away from the shipping channel in the middle of the bay.

"We try our best to get the word out. This will create unsafe conditions out there for a while," said Rick Burch, vessel traffic specialist with the Coast Guard in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay will provide the ice-breaking for the commercial tank vessel Algosar into and out of the port of Green Bay.

Dean Haen, port director for Brown County, said the Algosar is carrying fuel oil from Canada to a Green Bay dock. He said fuel oil has been priced low this year because of low demand, and some companies may be choosing to stock up.

From the Green Bay Gazette


Port Reports - January 25

Halifax - Mac Mackay
The ferry Spirit of Ontario 1 is scheduled to leave the Novadock floating drydock today and head to sea. No destination has been given yet.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
On Sunday, the tug Susan W. Hannah and barge St. Mary's Conquest came in from Charlevoix with a load of cement for the St. Mary's Terminal in Ferrysburg.
The Wilfred Sykes came in from Indiana Harbor on Wednesday with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg.


Marine Pilotage Examination - Great Lakes Region

1/25 - Great Lakes Pilotage Authority will hold pilotage examinations during winter 2007 for the following Districts.
-Cornwall District (Saint-Lambert to Snell lock) -Lake Ontario District -District No. 2& 3 (Port Weller to Port Huron) and (all waters above Port Huron).

Applications must be sent to the Authority on or before February 2, 2007. P.O. Box 95 Cornwall, Ontario K6H 5R9.

The qualifications of applicants are available on the Authority's web site under Great Lakes Pilotage Regulations.

Reported by Daniel Trottier


Updates - January 25

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Public Photo Gallery updated


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 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, 1,968 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. She was built by J. Davidson (Hull # 30).

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


Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Peril

1/24 - Kingston, Ont. - the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, in Kingston Ontario, is reported to be in peril.

The Museum sits on a site which is leased from the Federal Government. The City of Kingston acts as their property manager. The site is leased to the museum for a nominal fee. However, the museum's lease is up for renewal in November of this year. The Federal Government wants the City of Kingston to take over some properties but has offered only a package deal involving a local lift bridge and more. The City does not want the package offered.

If the lease is not renewed, the museum has had to set up an exit strategy.

This is the last Canadian Marine Museum dedicated to the Great Lakes Shipping Industry. Their collection of artifacts, photographs, blueprints etc. is invaluable. The site is of historical significance as well. The shipyard was opened in the 1890's by Sir John A. MacDonald ,our first Prime Minister.

Marine enthusiasts on both sides of the border can sign the petition which can be accessed at the marine museum web site,  The full story is listed there.

Reported by Ron Walsh


Ludington may own ($1) lighthouse soon

1/24 - Ludington - A dollar doesn’t buy much anymore. Unless it’s a lighthouse.

The Ludington North Breakwater Light — aka, the Ludington lighthouse — may soon belong to the city. Pending the city council’s approval and signing of a quitclaim deed from the U.S. General Services Administration, the city will acquire ownership of the lighthouse for the sum total of a dollar.

A dedication will be planned for later this spring. The Big Sable Lighthouse Association will partner with the city to run the lighthouse, while the U.S. Coast Guard will maintain the actual light. Public hours for the lighthouse are planned.

According to a memo from City Manager John Shay to Mayor John Henderson, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality wants the city to enter into a bottomlands agreement though the DEQ has not expressed that directly to the city. Instead the state has expressed its concerns to the federal GSA which maintains the city does not have to enter into such an agreement since the city will be taking ownership of only the lighthouse itself, not the breakwater underneath it.

Shay noted he is awaiting word from the GSA to see if it would object to the city entering into such an agreement with the DEQ after the city receives the lighthouse.

From the Ludington Daily News


Port Report - January 24

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Paul Erspamer
Burns Harbor backed into Milwaukee's inner harbor at about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, laying up at the Bulk Cargo dock on Jones Island, a short distance south of laid-up cement carrier Integrity. Burns Harbor has spent the winter at the same location in previous years.


Marine Pilotage, opportunity for an exciting career as marine pilot on the St. Lawrence River

1/24 - The Laurentian Pilotage Authority will be recruiting several apprentice pilots in 2007. These apprentice pilots could be called on to exercise the profession of marine pilot on the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to Les Escoumins.

The candidate must:
-Be a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status;
-Be able to effectively perform its duties both in English and in French;
-Have a college diploma in navigation issued by a marine school in Canada;
-Hold a certificate of competency as Master;
-Have served as master or deck watch officer on board commercial vessels for 24 months in the last 5 years

See our web site for further information on requirements.
Interested candidates who do not fully meet these requirements are also invited to apply.

Applications must be sent to the Authority on or before February 28, 2007
For information, documentation or to submit an application, please contact the Laurentian Pilotage Authority, 555 René-Lévesque Boulevard West, suite 1501, Montreal, Quebec, H2Z 1B1.
Email address: Website:


Two Boatnerd Gatherings Posted

1/24 - Details of two more Boatnerd Gatherings for 2007 have been posted on the Gathering Page.

The popular cruise on the Huron Lady II will take place on June 2, will take place at 4:00pm following the Port Huron Marine Mart and the Boatnerd Freighter Trip Raffle Drawing.

July 14 - Annual St. Clair River Gathering aboard the Hammond Bay will leave Sombra, Ontario at 11:00am, on Saturday, July 14, for a 3-hour tour of the St. Clair River.

Reservations for both of these events should be made as soon as possible.

Check the Gatherings Page for details.


Updates - January 24

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - More prizes added.

Calendar of Events updated

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 24

The JOHNSTOWN (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 German tug EVEREST of 1960, the ENDERS M VOORHEES encountered force 9 winds, parted her towline and went aground and subsequently broke in two at Profitis Elais, Kythnos Island (Thermia) in the Cyclades between the Mirto and Aegean Seas. She was on her way to Turkey for scrapping at the time.

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


Port Report - January 23

Halifax - Mac Mackay
The name Pacifico Trader has appeared on the bow and stern of the former Algonova. The port of registry is too small to be visible from my vantage point.


Historians searching for answers of the mighty sailing ship Chippewa

1/23- Syracuse, NY - "What we're looking for is the debris that was left over from the shipbuilding project, over 400 carpenters, joiners, cordwainers, blacksmiths were engaged on this project, and those people must have left an awful lot of garbage for us to find. And so what we're really looking for is all that garbage that they left behind for us to find.

And that gives us a lot of ideas about a lot of different things, like how the workmen lived, it also gives us ideas about the kind of technology that was being put into these warships. They would have been the largest warships in the world, they would have been larger than anything the British had built on the ocean, they would have been larger than anything the United States would build until 1821.

Sackets Harbor built and launched more warships than any other American port in the War of 1812. They built and launched eight warships, the largest of which was the 58-gun U.S.S. Superior. Had these been launched, they would have been nine, ten and eleven. And it's also true that Sackets had the largest deployed fleet of any port on the U.S. coast, and it was probably also the largest American squadron in deployment during the War of 1812. It was basically the only thing keeping Great Britain from being able to invade the United States over Lake Ontario.

The war on Lake Ontario has been characterized by more than one person, as a war of carpenters, and it was essentially the carpenters that were winning the war. They actually began pulling ships off from the ocean, and began putting them in "ordinary" or mothball, pulling their guns off, pulling their crews off and shipping those men and crews and guns up to Sackets Harbor for use on those new ships being built there, because it was actually a more important theatre than the oceans.

It was the only theatre in which the U.S. Navy had any impact,” said Dr. Ben Abel, Jefferson County Historical Society Director.

Doctor Abel will be directing the project again this summer when the team returns to the dig site to search for more artifacts from our country's colorful past. And of course it is only five years away from the Bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812.

From News 10 Now, Syracuse


Veteran USNPS Ranger III Sailor Passes

1/23 - Isle Royal - Gerry P. Sterk (1944 - 2007) of Ahmeek (Keweenaw County), Michigan, passed away at Marquette General Hospital in Marquette, Michigan on Saturday, January 20th following a brief illness.

Gerry was born in Ahmeek in 1944 and attended schools in Calumet, MI. Gerry sailed as an AB Seaman with the Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co. and for the last twenty years, as an AB Seaman with the U.S. National Park Service onboard the USNPS RANGER III at Isle Royale National Park.

Gerry will be remembered by his co-workers as a hard working, quiet and generous gentleman. He often cooked large full meals, taking all day to prepare, for the boat crew and other park employees. He will be missed by all that knew and worked with him.

Reported by Capt. Wm. Hanrahan, USNPS Ranger III


Updates - January 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - More prizes added.

Calendar of Events updated

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 23

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 docked at Dow Chemical in Ludington.

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

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


Port Reports - January 22

Halifax - Mac Mackay
Algonova's name no longer appears on her bow. Fresh blue paint covers the name and bear logo, although her funnel still carries the Algoma colours and symbol. A new name will likely appear soon, but extreme cold weather may delay that for a few days. It is understood that the tanker has been sold, but no new name has been announced yet.

Algonova is tied up in the Halifax Shipyard, and directly in front of her is Spirit of Ontario 1 in the Novadock floating drydock. The Spirit of Ontario 1 still carried her original name.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
The Wilfred Sykes completed unloading at St. Mary's Cement in the inner harbor early Sunday and departed.

Escanaba - Lee Rowe
The Wilfred Sykes loaded ore in Escanaba on a snowy Sunday while a ghostly Joseph L. Block waited in the harbor. The Joseph Thompson/ Jr. were tied up on the opposite side of the dock with workers visible on the boat. Tug Olive Moore was tied up at the power plant behind the tug Victory.


Noted Marine Historian Hospitalized

1/22 - Port Huron, MI - Well-known marine historian and photographer, Fr. Peter J. Vander Linden, suffered a mishap this past weekend. While outside his home at the Herrington in Port Huron, he slipped and fell on some ice. He was taken to Port Huron Mercy Hospital where tests revealed that he had broken his left hip and would require surgery of repair the damage.

Surgery was at 8:00 Sunday morning and was successful. However upon returning to his room, he developed serious respiratory complications and had to be rushed to the intensive care unit. At this time, he is stable and that is all the staff is able to report. His immediate family had been contacted and informed of the situation.

We will post updates with any significant changes to his condition.

Reported by David Michelson


Updates - January 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - More prizes added.

Calendar of Events updated

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 22

The c.) WOODLAND, a.) FRENCH RIVER) 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 (Hull#127) was launched at Toledo, Ohio by Craig Shipbuilding Co.

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

Buffalo Flashback - 1959
An event on the night of January 21st, 1959 was one of the strangest stories in Buffalo maritime history.
The freighter McGilvary Shiras broken free from her moorings at the Concrete Central Elevator due to a quick thaw, and heavy ice flow on the Buffalo River. She floated downriver, navigated 3 right angle turns, and then collided with the Michael K. Tewksbury at the Standard Elevator, breaking her loose from the dock.

The Ohio St. Bridge was lifted out of their way and both ships were able to make the 45-degree bend through the bridge before careening down the river and plowing into the Michigan St. Bridge. The bridge's center span collapsed into the river and the East lift tower crashed into the Firetug engine house building, trapping the Buffalo Fireboat Edward M Cotter inside the slip.

The West side tower collapsed a few days later during a wind storm, adding to the large amount of steel debris and wreckage on the ship's sterns, in the water, and on shore.

The resulting clean up, bridge replacement, and lawsuits took many years and multi-millions of dollars to settle. Court battles ensued over lack of ice breaking on the Buffalo River, poor mooring practices by the shipping companies, deteriorated dock fixtures that were not properly maintained by the elevator owners, and even the failure by the City of Buffalo to lift the Michigan St. Bridge.

From Brian Wroblewski


Edward L. Ryerson arrives for lay up

1/21 - Sturgeon Bay, WI - Saturday about 1:15 p.m. the Edward L. Ryerson entered the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal heading for Bay Shipbuilding and lay up. It was a brisk sunny afternoon day and as they transited the canal and there were many salutes.

Reported by Wendell Wilke


Coast Guard's plan to get out of lighthouse business makes waves across Michigan

1/21 - Traverse City -- Like candles blown out by an ill wind, the lighthouses of Michigan are going dark, one by one.
The blinking beacons, rendered obsolete by technology, are slowly crumbling into the Great Lakes, say preservationists and government officials. Politicians and residents are trying to save the lights, passing another law last month, but their efforts are being hamstrung by a lack of money.

The number of lighthouses in the nation has dropped from 2,300 in the late 1800s to 950 in 1995 to 600 today. Michigan, with 116, has more than any other state. "Money is everything," said Kirk Lindquist, president of the Michigan Lighthouse Fund, a Lansing group that raises money for lighthouse owners. "Some are doing well but others go month to month, year to year."

Lighthouses provide a rich link to Michigan's history, especially its maritime past, supporters said. The lighthouses have been part of Michigan, some since about statehood, guiding ships by flame before the invention of electricity. The brick and stone structures also provide much of the identity for the lakefront communities that house them, supporters said.

"It's part of our past," said Doug McCormick, 92, a retired Coast Guard chief boatswain who, until recently, was the volunteer caretaker of the Grand Traverse Lighthouse at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula. Like many of the people rallying behind lighthouses, McCormick is closer to the end of his life than the beginning.

The son of a lighthouse keeper, he was born in another lighthouse and had hoped to die in one. But his work at Grand Traverse, run by a historical group, ended when he suffered a stroke four years ago. The 148-year-old lighthouse, where McCormick spent his childhood, remains as a museum but its function has been replaced by a light tower erected beside it.

Technology replaces lights
In the early 1900s, Michigan's 3,300 miles of coast were covered with lighthouses to guide the heavy commercial traffic to safe harbor and away from crippling shoals. The Coast Guard began automating the lights in the late 1960s, making lighthouse keepers unnecessary. By the 1990s, global positioning systems and other modern navigation equipment left the lights similarly unneeded.

The Coast Guard stopped staffing the lighthouses after they went automatic, then began giving them away in the mid-1990s.

Neglected for a decade and sometimes longer, the lonely sentinels have been left to the ravages of raw weather and relentless surf. Some are listing or looted. They have missing roofs and windows, peeling asbestos and paint, rotting stairs and floorboards. Some are simply forgotten. The Waugoshance Lighthouse, built in 1851 in the Straits of Mackinac, was used for target practice by U.S. fighter aircraft training for World War II. "It's like the ruins in Rome," said Dick Moehl, president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. "No one did anything. No one cared."

The Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, located in Port Huron at the entrance to the St. Clair River, doesn't look like a bomb hit it, but it still needs help. The oldest lighthouse in Michigan, the 177-year-old structure needs numerous bricks replaced after they were shattered when water trapped inside them froze.

"It's falling apart," said Bob Hanford, 81, a retired Detroit cop who has voluntarily cared for the lighthouse for 17 years. "It seems to get worst in the winter time." Port Huron plans to repair the 86-foot white tower, which is shown on the city seal, after assuming ownership sometime this year. The bill could exceed $1 million.

Boaters rally for lighthouses
Despite being dismissed as government surplus, lighthouses continue to have a strong hold on Michigan residents, especially boaters. When the Coast Guard turned off the light at the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse above the Michigan thumb, a local group collected 1,000 signatures in 10 days on a petition to reverse the action. It was turned back on.

The group, the Alcona Historical Society, has turned the 70-foot tower, built in 1869, into a museum. "It has such a strong history," said group president Gordon Bennett. "It's a strong drawing card for the county."

In shedding the lighthouses, the Coast Guard has found no shortage of groups willing to take them: communities, businesses, historical groups, citizens, even a school district. More than half of the state's lighthouses have been transferred to new owners.

State politicians and those in Washington also have rallied to the causes, enacting laws to make it easier for the Coast Guard to pass ownership to others. Last month, President Bush signed a bill directing the National Park Service to undertake a three-year study to find funding to preserve Michigan lighthouses. The bill didn't include any money for the study, however, so it's unclear when the park service will begin the project.

Restoration costs are high
While lighthouses enjoy strong support from residents and elected officials, there's still one more thing it needs: money. A tower that cost $19,000 to build in the 1800s could cost up to several million dollars to restore. "It's a constant job," said Chuck Brockman, 72, a retired newspaper designer who has been raising money for 17 years to fix two lighthouses on Lake St. Clair. "It's very expensive, especially over open water."

A handful of lighthouses has even raised money by allowing overnight guests. The Grand Traverse Lighthouse hosts people for $220 per week, $195 if they're a member of the museum group. While they're there, they greet visitors, talk about museum history, assist in the gift shop and help with maintenance.

From the Detroit News


Port Report - January 21

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Interlake's James R. Barker arrived for winter lay up during the day on Friday. It is at the Heavy Lift Dock in the inner harbor. Early Saturday afternoon the Wilfred Sykes was unloading at the Badger Plant of St. Mary's Cement in the inner harbor.


Updates - January 21

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - More prizes added.

Calendar of Events updated

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - 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 damage.

On 21 January 1895, CHICORA (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 199 foot, 1,123 gross tons, built in 1892, at Detroit, Michigan) was bound from Milwaukee for St. Joseph on a mid-winter run when he 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. Declared a constructive total loss, she was scrapped at Duluth in 1978.

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

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


Duc D'Orleans To Be Restored

1/20 - Sarnia - The historic Port of Sarnia group and the Sarnia Sea cadets have formed a non-profit partnership to restore the retired excursion vessel Duc D'Orleans to her wartime livery.

Built in Sarnia 1943 by Mac-Craft Corp. QO 105 as a 112-foot fairmile, the vessel was retired in 2006 upon arrival of a replacement steel vessel named Duc D'Orleans II.

Owners Ken and Sherry Bracewell, interested in seeing the historic vessel remain in Sarnia, have donated Duc D'Orleans to the restoration group. Government funding will be requested to assist with the project.

Following war service the vessel was used by McGill University to conduct experiments in the St. Lawrence River before becoming a cruise vessel based in Quebec City.

In 1978, Bracewell and partner Jacques Beauchamp purchased the vessel and brought her home to Sarnia.


Port Report - January 20

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived in port Friday morning after delivering to Whitefish, ON. It took on cargo under the silos at Lafarge. The Innovation was outbound in the bay at 4pm, heading for South Chicago.
Ice has formed in the river and along the outer edges of the bay.


Updates - January 20

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - More prizes added.

Calendar of Events updated

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 20
Compiled by Mike Nicholls

NORDIC BLOSSOM was launched January 20, 1981 as the a.) NORDIC SUN.

On January 20, 1917, American Ship Building's Lorain yard launched the steel bulk freighter EUGENE W PARGNY for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

January 20, 1911 - The ANN ARBOR NO 5 made her first trip into Kewaunee.

On 20 January 1923, CHOCTAW (steel propeller packet, 75 foot, 53 gross tont, built in 1911, at Collingwood) burned at her dock at Port Stanley, Ontario.

On 20 January 1978, HARRY L ALLEN (formerly JOHN B COWLE, built in 1910) burned at her winter lay-up berth at Capital 4 grain elevator dock in Duluth. She was declared a total loss.

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

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

Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history.


More Salt Needed From Goderich Now That There's Snow

1/19 - Goderich - The plant manager at the Sifto Salt Mine in Goderich says the lay-off this year isn't much worse than it is most years.
Roland Howe says 89 of the 450 employees are currently laid off. He says the unusually warm winter has had some impact.

But he says the greatest demand on their production is when the ships are running and most of those deliveries to the entire Great Lakes region were made earlier in the winter.

Howe says the last ship of the season will likely be loaded this weekend and then they'll focus on the local Ontario market for the rest of the season.

The shipping season typically opens again in mid-March.

From CKNX Radio


Port Reports - January 19

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
The tug Michigan and its petroleum barge Great Lakes continue to remain at anchor in the outer harbor on Thursday.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
As the sun rose in the Twin Ports on Friday, the Mesabi Miner was arriving in port, marking an end to Duluth-Superior’s 2006-2007 shipping season. The Miner appeared to be trying to dock at the Murphy Oil dock at the port terminal about 7:30 a.m. From there it was expected to proceed to Midwest Energy Terminal to lay up.

Lorain - Jim Reagan
The Edward L. Ryerson cleared the Port of Lorain at approximately 7:15 pm Thursday evening. As it backed downriver through the Bascule Bridge it blew a salute and then quietly slipped out of the harbor heading back up the lakes to winter lay up at Sturgeon Bay.


Updates - January 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - More prizes added.

Calendar of Events updated

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 19
Complied by Mike Nicholls

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, 4,626 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 carferry MADISON was christened with a bottle of Wisconsin milk. She entered service in March of 1927.

The CLARENCE B RANDALL, the a.) J J SULLIVAN of 1907, was towed to Windsor, Ontario on January 19, 1987, for scrapping.

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

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


Lakes Limestone Shipments Up 3.3 Percent in 2006
Weather Boosts Trade at End of Year

1/18 - Cleveland---Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 39 million net tons in 2006, an increase of 3.3 percent compared to 2005. However, for most of 2006, shipments were slightly behind the previous year, but much calmer weather in November and December allowed loadings to rebound significantly, erase the deficit, and then exceed the 2005 total.

In terms of the 5-year average, 2006 shipments were again roughly 3.3 percent ahead of the pace.

Although limestone generally moves in smaller vessels, the trade exhibited all the ill-effects of the decades-long dredging crisis on the Great Lakes. Many stone cargos were less than full loads. In early April, it appeared stone deliveries to customers along the Saginaw River in Michigan would cease due to lack of adequate draft. Only emergency dredging kept the River open to commercial navigation.

Source - Lake Carriers Association


Weather Nudges 2006 U.S.-Flag Total Over 2005 Tally
Increase Small, Less Than 2 Percent

1/18 - Cleveland—Thanks to better weather in the final two months of 2006, U.S.-Flag carriage of dry-bulk cargos on the Great Lakes increased 1.9 percent compared to 2005. The 109.7 million net tons hauled in 2006 also represent an increase of 6 percent over the fleet’s 5-year average.

Strong demand for iron ore and limestone pushed shipments in U.S.-Flag Lakers over 2005 levels, but coal cargos slumped, in part because of high inventories. However, the coal trade exemplified the problems that result from inadequate dredging.
When high water levels offset the lack of dredging in the mid-1990s, the largest U.S.-Flag Lakers were carrying nearly 71,000 net tons each trip in the Head-of-the-Lakes trade (Lake Superior to lower Lakes ports). The top coal cargo carried through the Soo Locks in 2006 totaled only 66,429 net tons.

The problem became more acute in the final months of 2006. As water levels on Lake Superior plunged, vessels in both the coal and iron ore trades saw individual loads fall to 90 percent or less of designed carrying capacity. In fact, the vessel that has held the Lakes record for coal in the Head-of-the-Lakes trade since 1997 - 70,903 net tons - was able to carry only 61,832 net tons on its final voyage of 2006.

The iron trade suffered a similar fate as the year drew to a close. The record ore cargo in the Head-of-the-Lakes trade is 72,300 net tons and was lifted in 1997, yet in December of 2006, the same vessel could only haul 60,649 net tons of pellets on its final trip.

Lake Carriers’ Association represents 18 American corporations that operate 63 U.S.-Flag vessels on the Great Lakes. These vessels carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: Iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, limestone and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation.... Collectively, these vessels transport as much as 125 million tons of cargo a year when high water levels offset lack of adequate dredging.

More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - January 18

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Wednesday morning the tug Michigan and its petroleum barge Great Lakes were sitting in the outer harbor. Their place of docking in the harbor is presently uncertain, according to port authorities.

Lorain - Jim Reagan, C. Makin & Luke Archer
Wednesday, at 10:20 AM the Edward L. Ryerson, drawing 26 feet of water, was upbound on the Black River through the Bascule Bridge bound for the Jonick Dock and Terminal with the last load of ore pellets of the season. Unloading is expected to take about 30 hours. Wednesday evening the Ryerson unloading in Lorain. All three shore cranes were busy taking bites out of the BN Superior taconite pellets.

DeTour - Cathy Kohring
On a cold but sunny Wednesday in DeTour, the CGC 101/Katmai Bay and 104/Biscayne Bay and 30/Mackinaw were busy with ice breaking duties now that Operation Taconite has begun. The two smaller boats continued up the river for the night, while the Mackinaw is spending the night tied up to the Interlake Steamship Lines Dock. The St. Mary's River is completely covered over with ice in the north DeTour area clear to the Soo.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
American Century was off the Torco Dock around 7:50pm Wednesday evening. She is waiting for the "G" tug Nebraska to assist her into the CSX #2 Dock for winter lay up. She will be turning around off the CSX Docks and will go in stern first behind the American Mariner which is also tied up at the CSX #2 Dock. If the Century is the last boat scheduled to arrive at Toledo, this will make a total of seven freighters tied up here which is the lowest number of boats ever to spend the winter at this port.


Updates - January 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - More prizes added.

Calendar of Events up dated

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


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 had her Canadian registry closed on January 18, 1979. The vessel had been renamed b) CORAH ANN and sold to a 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.

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

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


Port Reports - January 17

Twin Ports - Al Miller
As the sun rose on a clear, cold Tuesday morning in Superior, the Mesabi Miner was under the big chute at Midwest Energy Terminal loading the Twin Ports’ final cargo of the 2006-2007 navigation season. The Miner was expected to depart in early afternoon to deliver the coal to the WE-Energies plant at Presque Isle near Marquette. The ship is due back in port Friday to lay up at the Midwest Energy Terminal.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
After making an attempt and deciding it was too windy to enter the harbour Tuesday afternoon, Canadian Transport came in through the night and is loading Wednesday morning at Sifto Salt.

Sturgeon Bay - Chris and Tiffany Wesendorf
The Edgar B. Speer arrived off Sherwood Point sometime during the night Monday and started making it's way in to the shipyard backwards. The tug Jimmy L. went out to assist. When the Speer reached the shipyard they pulled out the Reserve to give the Speer more room to get into Berth 15.


Updates - January 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - More prizes added.

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 17
Complied by Mike Nicholls

January 17 - NORTHERN VENTURE closed the Welland Canal for the season as she passed down bound 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.

The 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 was float launched in 1951, as a.) SCOTT MISENER (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.

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

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


Soo Locks Closing

1/16 - 2 a.m. Update
The Joseph L Block cleared the lower piers downbound early Tuesday morning at 1 a.m. followed by the last boat of the season, Edward L Ryerson. The downbound Ryerson officially closed the 2006-2007 shipping season stretching the 12 o'clock deadline by just over an hour as she entered the Poe Lock.
The Ryerson cleared the lower piers at 2:20 a.m.

11 p.m. Update
At 11 p.m. the Joseph L. Block was ready to depart Algoma Steel. The Edward L. Ryerson was near Gros Cap in the St. Marys River.  The Block planned on heading upbound to Big Point where she will make her turn downbound for the locks. The fleet mates should lock down close together.

The last laker to transit the locks upbound was the Joseph L Block on Sunday January 14th. On Monday the tug Avenger IV  made the last upbound passage for the season.

10:30 p.m. Update
The Soo Locks are set to close early this morning, officially closing at midnight. The Edward L. Ryerson is expected to be the last vessel through the locks for the 2006/2007 season. The Ryerson was nearing Whitefish Point about 9:50 p.m. Monday night. This would place her at the locks between 1 - 2 a.m.  The Ryerson is heading to Lorain to unload.

The Joseph L. Block was expected to depart Algoma Steel downbound around 10:40 p.m.

Monday was a busy day, the CSL Tadoussac, Paul R. Tregurtha, Burns Harbor and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley all locked downbound with the Risley tieing up at the Roberta Bondar Marina.

Reported by Jerry Masson


New Prizes listed in the Raffle to Benefit BoatNerd

1/16 - Three new prizes have been donated to our fund raising raffle:
1. A private two hour St. Clair River cruise for up to 20 people onboard the Hammond Bay.  Your own private charter for the 2007 season.
2. Two tickets for the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association “Lunch at the Lighthouse” cruise to St. Helena Island.
3. Two round trip tickets to Beaver Island.  The 2 hour ferry ride from Charlevoix will take you to St. James, Beaver Island, located 32 miles northwest of Charlevoix.

And the grand prize a four-six-day trip for four to take place during the 2007 sailing season (between the months of June and September) on the winner's choice of the classic Lee. A. Tregurtha or the Queen of the Lakes Paul R. Tregurtha.

All proceeds from this raffle will benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)(3) corporation. Funds raised will be used to upgrade our equipment, expand our services and pay monthly Internet connection charges. This is your chance to help keep this site in operation!

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 2, 2007 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron, Mich.
Donation: $10 per ticket, 3 for $25, 6 for $50 or 12 for $100.

Click here to order, or for more information. Tickets are also available by mail, and at Boatnerd World Headquarters in Port Huron. If you are interested in donating a prize please click here


Great Lakes Coal Trade Down 2.1 Percent in 2006
Shipments from Superior, Wisconsin Reach New Plateau

1/16 - Cleveland—Shipments of western and eastern coal on the Great Lakes totaled 41.8 million net tons in 2006, a decrease of 2.1 percent compared to 2005, but a slight increase over the trade’s 5-year average.

While the decrease reflects the affects of high inventories, especially earlier in the year, the dredging crisis also played a role in the downturn. Decades of inadequate dredging of ports and waterways limited vessel carrying capacity.

Then, in the final months of year, plummeting water levels on Lake Superior further trimmed vessel capacity. The last loads of the year in 1,000-foot-long vessels were often less than 63,000 net tons. As a result, the vessels were utilizing less than 90 percent of their rated capacity.

One bright spot was another record year for shipments of western coal from Superior, Wisconsin. Superior Midwest Energy Terminal loaded 21.3 million net tons in 2006, an increase of 850,000 tons over the benchmark it set in 2005.

However, shipments of eastern coal from Lake Erie ports fell to their lowest level in recent memory. Demand for eastern coal has declined as utilities switch to low sulfur western coal.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Report - January 16

Detour - Cathy Kohring
The Ryerson passed by DeTour about 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, officially closing the shipping season on the St. Marys River for Locks transit.  They were only about 45 minutes behind the Joseph L. Block, but were already breaking through newly formed ice in the shipping channel by Lime Island.  The River is covered over with ice and with temps at minus 8 Tuesday morning, making ice very rapidly. 


Storm Pictures

1/16 - For the last few weeks, a series of on-board storm pictures alleged to be from Lake Superior have been circulating the internet. The pictures also are alleged to be of a Misener boat taken just last month, or sometimes November, 2006. Boatnerd News receives copies of these every day.

Be advised that Misener went out of business in the 1990's, and the pictures were taken in the North Atlantic. They can be viewed here: In the BoatNerd Public Gallery


Updates - January 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - More prizes added.

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


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 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, Brian Bernard, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

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


Port Report - January 15

Soo - Jerry Masson & Roger LeLievre
The arrival of the upbound Joseph L Block in the harbor Sunday will add to the list of who will be the last boat to transit and signal the closing of the one remaining lock, the Poe, to winter navigation at the Soo.
The Joe Block locked through and was in the upper river this afternoon heading to the export dock at Algoma Steel. The Block should be ready to depart Algoma late Monday night and lock through downbound into the lower river.
The Ryerson, Tadoussac and possibly one or two more ships are expected to lock through Monday.

Edward L. Ryerson left Superior around 9:00pm Sunday, and is due at the Soo Locks close to midnight Monday. Either the Ryerson or the Joseph L. Block, which is at Algoma Steel loading, will be the last downbound vessel.


Updates - January 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 15
Complied by Mike Nicholls

In 1978, the up bound McKEE SONS, LEON FALK JR, WILLIAM P SNYDER JR, A H FERBERT and CHAMPLAIN became stuck in heavy ice outside Cleveland Harbor. Eventually they were freed with the help of the 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 foot 2 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.

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

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


Coast Guard begins icebreaking operations in the western Great Lakes

1/14 - Sault Ste. Marie - The Coast Guard commenced Operation Taconite this morning in anticipation of colder temperatures and increased commercial shipping activity associated with the annual closure of the Sault Locks, all of which will occur over the holiday weekend.

Operation Taconite is the Coast Guard's largest domestic icebreaking operation, encompassing Lake Superior, St. Mary's River, the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Michigan. As a result of the operation, certain waterways may be closed as ice conditions require.

Prior to the closure of any waterway, due consideration is given to the protection of the marine environment, waterway improvements, aids to navigation, the need for cross channel traffic (e.g. ferries), the availability of icebreakers, and the safety of the island residents; who in the course of their daily business use naturally formed ice bridges for transportation to and from the mainland.

Currently there are no channel closures; however the implementation of Operation Taconite will place some additional measures on shipping throughout the lakes, St. Mary's River, Straits and Green Bay. Restricting tanker transits to daylight only, once ice forms, reducing speeds by 2 m.p.h. in various parts of the region, and placing additional reporting points throughout the operation’s area are a some examples of the additional measures.

The Coast Guard would like to remind all recreational ice users that there are no channel closures at this time, to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels. Recreational users and island residents should stay tuned to local media resources for the status of channel closures.

Reported by Jerry Masson from USCG Press Release/SooToday


 Union sues U.S. Coast Guard to stop 'kit' shipbuilding
Metal Trades Department (AFL-CIO) sues Coast Guard to block kit ships

1/14 - Washington, DC - The Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO has sued the U.S. Coast Guard to block controversial rulings that violate the 80-year-old Jones Act to allow U.S. shipbuilders to mass produce so-called "kit ships."

The suit, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, charges that a ruling issued on May 24, 2006 and affirmed on November 15, 2006 by the Coast Guard's National Vessel Documentation Center, ignores the requirements of the Jones Act that stipulate that ships moving between U.S. ports must be "built in" the U.S.

The Documentation Center's rulings effectively authorized plans by Aker Shipyards Philadelphia (APSI) and NASSCO, a division of General Dynamics, to produce a series of tankers that are assembled from thousands of parts and modules imported from Korea. "If these ill-considered, illogical and unacceptable regulations remain in place, America will lose its shipbuilding industry completely," declared Metal Trades Department President Ron Ault. U.S. shipbuilders now account for less than one percent of the world market share.

Aside from an anemic flow of orders from the U.S. Navy, the nation's six major shipbuilders have been counting on a surge in demand for modern double-hulled tankers to replace an outdated fleet delivering commodities to U.S. ports. The Coast Guard's interpretation of the Jones Act now puts that prospect in jeopardy, Ault explained.

The Metal Trades Department estimates that 55,000 skilled shipbuilding workers it represents are directly imperiled. Another 250,000 jobs supported by U.S.-based marine equipment suppliers - pipe and chain manufacturers, specialty steel mills, valve producers, and manufacturers making propulsion equipment and specialty fittings - would quickly collapse.

"The American shipbuilding industry is the last remaining piece of heavy manufacturing still performed in the United States. "Because of its high degree of specialization and the proportions of its products, it is efficient and capable of doing much more than it does today - possibly even building large containment vessels for nuclear plants for export. "Yet, it could disappear overnight - along with vital institutional memory and skills.

"Aker and NASSCO got into this process willingly, but the remaining yards will be forced to follow or die," Ault said. Aker and NASSCO each entered into partnerships with two of Korea's giant shipbuilding companies - Hyundai Mipo and Daewoo Shipbuilding, respectively.

The terms of those contracts provide proprietary Korean designs for new tankers, along with stipulations that require the U.S. partners to exclusively use bow and stern assemblies, piping, winches, even entire engine rooms and crew quarters supplied by the Korean partners. On September 19, 2006, Aker launched the first in a series of 10 kit ships it plans to lease through one of its subsidiaries.

According to the lawsuit, "the preassembly and pre-outfitting of equipment modules and piping systems in foreign facilities is inconsistent with the plain language of the Coast Guard's regulation, which ... requires a vessel to be assembled entirely in the United States in order to qualify as 'United States built.'

The preassembly and pre-outfitting of equipment modules and piping systems at foreign facilities is also inconsistent with the Jones Act, which was enacted specifically to protect the capability of the United States, and, by extension, United States shipyards and their employees, to produce commercial vessels, such as product tankers."

The Metal Trades has also called into question the Coast Guard's timing in issuing regulations that enabled Aker and possibly NASSCO to begin these projects ahead of the effective date of new global safety standards issued by the International Association of Classification Societies. Any ships contracted before April 1, 2006 are exempt from the new rules.

Last November, the Coast Guard Documentation Center was named in a lawsuit filed by the Shipbuilders' Council of America (SCA) and Pasha Hawaii Transport, challenging a decision to allow Matson Lines to refit three transport vessels in China at a cost of $45 million. Ironically, Aker is one of the 36 corporate members of the SCA.

The Metal Trades also called upon lawmakers and policy officials at the local, state and federal level to investigate if Aker is in compliance with a regional compact with the Philadelphia Shipyard Development Corporation requiring Aker to provide training and shipbuilding jobs and to cultivate a network of suppliers and subcontractors in Philadelphia and surrounding regions in return for $500 million in subsidies provided when the shipyard was converted from the old Philadelphia Naval Shipyard into the hands of private investors.

Formed in 1908, the Metal Trades Department is constitutional department of the AFL-CIO. It acts as an umbrella organization, negotiating collective bargaining agreements under the National Labor Relations Act in multi-union private sector shipbuilding industrial, mining and petrochemical operations throughout the U.S.
The department provides the same services to affiliate unions in federal facilities.

AFL-CIO News Release from


Duluth/Superior Grain Shipments Hitting Bottom

1/14 - Duluth - Several factors conspired to make the latest shipping season the weakest ever for grain in the Twin Ports.

Strong Asian demand for agricultural commodities, combined with relatively reasonable rail rates, has attracted more Midwestern crops to the West Coast for export. High rates for river barges prompted more grain to flow through the port of Milwaukee, creating added competition for vessels.

Canadian lakers that have traditionally carried Twin Ports grain through the St. Lawrence Seaway for loading onto saltwater ships were diverted for other purposes. Low water levels in the Great Lakes forced ships to load lighter than usual, making the Twin Ports a less attractive grain supplier.

Growth in production of biofuels has created a greater domestic market for agricultural commodities.

Reported by Al Miller from the Duluth News Tribune


State halts grain inspections in Twin Ports

1/14 - Duluth - Grain inspector Bob Barriere said he feels as though he’s staring down a steamroller. For most of his 33-year career, there has been talk of Minnesota closing the book on its grain inspection operations in Duluth. Now, it’s more than just talk. He’ll probably fall 1? years shy of eligibility for full retirement benefits.

Gene Hugoson, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, has sent a letter to the federal government announcing that, as of April 2, the state will no longer grade, inspect and weigh grain being shipped to and from Duluth. The move would eliminate operations that have been a port fixture since 1885. The state’s grain inspection facility on Duluth’s Garfield Avenue employs four people full time and another five workers seasonally. At its peak in the late 1970s, the office employed about 120 people in Duluth. As recently as nine years ago, it had a staff of 30.

But declining grain and soybean shipments have spelled the facility’s demise. The latest shipping season brought only 36 vessels to Duluth elevators to load grain or beans. That’s 15 fewer ships than last year. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, it wasn’t unusual for Duluth inspectors to handle 400 ships a year.

Despite staff reductions and a 25 percent hike in service fees, the Duluth inspections facility posted a net loss of $44,000 in 2006, according to Gier Friisoe, director of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s plant protection division. That’s actually an improvement over past performance. In the previous three years, the grain inspection operations in Duluth averaged an annual loss of $129,000, according to figures Friisoe supplied.

“They were able to make a pretty good case that it was not practical for the state to continue its Duluth grain inspection operations,” said Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon, DFL-Duluth, after meeting with Friisoe and other Ag department staff Friday. “I’m obviously disappointed,” Prettner Solon said. “But on the other hand, I also feel fortunate that we were able to forestall this decision for several years.”

Reps. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, and Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, also participated in the meeting. “We’re going to have to wait and see how the USDA answers Commissioner Hugoson’s letter,” Murphy said. She said she was assured that the USDA will step in to provide Duluth with inspection services in the state’s absence. She expressed hope that state employees now on the job in Duluth will be able to land work with the future service provider.

Janet Nelson, a 31-year employee, said it has been difficult to make life decisions — such as whether to buy a house — given the uncertain outlook. “We’ve been in limbo for years,” she said. John Schadl, communications director for U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., said his boss continues to monitor the situation. “Congressman Oberstar wants to make sure the port continues to hav e the resources it needs to move ships through quickly and efficiently,” Schadl said.

The USDA plans to provide inspection services using two federal employees already based in Superior. Any transition will need to occur quickly. A mild winter may mean a March 20 opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and Duluth could see its first saltie traffic by March 27, said Dan Sydow, manager of Fedmar International, a Duluth ship agent. Seasonal staff also could be retained to handle the Duluth workload, said Amanda Taylor, confidential assistant to the administrator of the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. It’s possible Duluth’s services could eventually be delivered by a for-profit firm.

Another possibility could involve partnering with Wisconsin, which maintains grain-inspection operations in Superior. As it is home to more elevators than Duluth, Superior has managed to stay a bit busier, with inspectors handling 77 vessels in 2006. As a whole, the Twin Ports loaded 2 million metric tons of grain in 2006, about 29 percent less than the prior year, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority said.

Sydow said that if the state is intent to shut down its Duluth office, the best alternative would be to have experienced Wisconsin staff provide service for the whole port. But Friisoe said engineering such an agreement across state lines could be complicated by the federal Grain Standards, Inspections and Handling Act.

Maintaining the integrity of the inspection services is of paramount concern to Ron Johnson, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority’s trade development director. He said USDA-sanctioned inspections conducted by government staff are trusted around the globe. “Some people will buy grain from us even when it’s a little more expensive, because they can trust the quality,” said Johnson, adding that he believes the federal government will do nothing to tarnish that reputation.

Sydow said it’s also crucial to contain inspection costs. “The thing about grain is that it will flow like water through the cheapest route,” he said. “An eighth of a cent per bushel can make it go one way instead of another. We don’t have room for any inefficiencies in our system.”

Reported by Al Miller from the Duluth News Tribune


Port Report - January 14

DeTour Passage - Cathy Kohring
Thursday was pretty busy for boat traffic near DeTour. Two were at anchor all night Wednesday due to the strong winds on Lake Huron. The Edgar B. Speer and the Charles M. Beeghly were near Maude Bay waiting it out.
The CG Cutter Mackinaw spent the night at the old Interlake Coal Dock after practicing small boat lowering and raising maneuvers and also did some practice runs in the Mud Lake/Lime Island area on Thursday morning. She departed the system Thursday afternoon, but not before meeting the Arthur M. Anderson who was outbound DeTour for the season and the Speer.
Early in the morning the Lee A. Tregurtha was upbound near Pipe Island when orders came to turn around and head to Escanaba instead. So Captain Nuzzo gave the order for "right wheel" and they turned and left the river for this season.
The Edward L. Ryerson is due in DeTour around 7:00 Friday evening for it final run of the year up to Lake Superior.
They all have to be headed down and exiting the system as the locks close at Midnight on the 15th. Then its only 68 more days until Opening Day on the 24th of March!


Updates - January 14

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 14

On this day in 1970, the IRVING S OLDS entered winter lay up at Lorain to close the longest season in Great Lakes shipping history.

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 in 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: Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II, Father Dowling Collection and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

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


Port Reports - January 13

Goderich - Wayne Brown & Jacob Smith
Cuyahoga, with a brand new paint job, was unloading corn at elevators on Friday.
Tugs Dover and Ian Mac assisted Canadian Transport into Sifto dock to load salt

Duluth -
Roger Blough is due in for lay-up outside berth at the Port Terminal in Duluth Saturday morning at 9:00am. She will fuel first the slide ahead to lay-up.
Edwin H. Gott due is in for lay-up at Garfield Berth C in Duluth early Sunday morning.


Updates - January 13

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


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 inch thick ice on Muskegon Lake.

After lightering 3,000 tons of coal, the a.) 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. The ARUNDEL sails today as the tug c.) ERIKA KOBASIC.

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

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

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

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


Corps makes ready for lock gate project

1/12 - Sault Ste. Marie - With less than a week left in the 2006 shipping season, the Corps of Engineers is making ready for winter work on the massive Poe Lock upper end gates.

Area Engineer Al Klein said the Poe Lock will likely close on time at or before midnight on Monday, the date set by regulation for the Soo Locks winter shutdown. Klein said, so far, no fleets have requested an extension to allow late passage of the Locks before the normal winter shutdown.

With no appreciable ice formed prior to the closure, the likelihood of weather delays appears minimal as shipping lines complete the last few trips to Lake Superior for the season. Shipping normally continues for several weeks after the Locks close on the lower Great Lakes, including alternate iron ore loading facilities at Escanaba on northern Lake Michigan.

As is usual for the last few weeks before the Poe Lock closes, Corps crews have been busy making ready for winter projects. This winter's repairs will include draining the Poe for the scheduled gate work. The MacArthur Lock closed for the season shortly after Christmas after handling a few late passages through the smaller lock.

This winter's work on the upper-end Poe gates will be done in climate controlled conditions, thanks to large new tent structure assembled alongside the Poe in recent weeks. The huge metal-framed fabric tent will be rolled into place over the gates and sealed to create, essentially, an indoor work space.

The work to be done, Klein said, includes inspection of the massive gate pintles that carry the weight of the huge steel doors. Pintle cracks discovered unexpectedly in the MacArthur Lock gates about five years ago caused a year-long delay in replacement as the massive hinge components were custom cast for the older lock gates. This time around, Klein said replacement pintles are already on site in case the castings must be pulled off and replaced on the newer Poe gates.

Also on the agenda for the short winter repair season is work on the quoin blocks that form a nearly water-tight joint between the lock walls and the gates when the gates swing shut. The quoin blocks inset into the gate cavity in the walls extend from the concrete lock floor to the surface, a distance of about 50 feet.

While the Poe is emptied, crews will also “muck out” the lateral underwater tunnels used to fill and empty the Locks when in operation. The large cave-like tunnels accumulate considerable mud and debris from upriver during the Locks regular use. Klein said officials expect an extra helping of muck in the lateral tunnels after several years of dredging on the upper St. Mary's River stirred up sediment and other bottom materials that find their way into the Locks tunnels.

He said some winter work is also scheduled for the Poe Lock's lower-end operating gates during the short off-season period. Whatever work is done deep within the concrete canyon of the Poe Lock must be completed by March, when preparations begin for a new shipping season on March 25.

Klein said the tent-structure, which resembles a similar portable tent used for repair of both the Poe and MacArthur Lock monolith joints several years ago, will be broken down and stored for future use. The portable tent, about two-thirds the length of a football field, has a useful life of about 10-15 years, he said.

While the Corps makes ready for off-season repair work on the Locks, the new Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw continues its training and familiarity cruises of the St. Mary's this week. Mackinaw recently completed its first buoy retrieval and replacement season and will apparently not be needed to break ice before the Locks close early next week.

Instead, Mackinaw and her crew are gaining familiarity with the St. Mary's and nearby waters of Whitefish Bay, normally Mackinaw's icebreaking “beat” when real ice forms.

From the Soo Evening News


CGC Storis to be Decommissioned

1/12 - Kodiak, Alaska - The Coast Guard 's "Queen of the Fleet," Cutter Storis will be decommissioned during a ceremony on the Coast Guard base February 8, 2007 in Kodiak. The ship is known as the Queen of the Fleet for being the oldest active duty cutter in service.

During World War II, CGC Storis patrolled the North Atlantic to prevent the establishment of Nazi weather stations in Greenland. In 1948, CGC Storis changed homeport to Juneau, Alaska from where it supplied medical treatment to native villages and survey uncharted waters in the arctic.

In July of 1957 Storis, along with cutters Bramble and Spar which are now decommissioned, completed its historic transit of the Northwest Passage and circumnavigation of the North American continent. Soon thereafter CGC Storis was transferred to its present homeport of Kodiak, Alaska.

Proudly bearing its gold "38" hull number - a distinction given only to the oldest cutter in the fleet - the crew of the Storis completed their last patrol in Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea in early December 2006.
Former Storis sailors are invited to contact YN1 Timoteo if they desire to attend the ceremony.

USCG News Release


SONAR, GPS used to locate Erie wrecks

1/12 - Lorain - A recent study tried to pinpoint the ghosts of Lake Erie — the more than 1,500 reported shipwrecks littering the lake’s bed.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources completed a study using SONAR side-scan and GPS technology to turn up possible locations for shipwrecks, according to Constance J. Livchak of the Geological Survey branch of ODNR. Livchak, a former Lorain resident, said this was the first public use of the technologies in the lake, and it resulted in the discovery of several potential wrecks. In addition, three confirmed wrecks — the George Dunbar, Amaretta Mosher and F.H. Prince — were found by the Geological Survey Team, which conducted the study using the technology, which produces an image of sound being either absorbed or reflected.

“It was a success,” Livchak said. “Locating shipwrecks is very important. They actually belong to the citizens of Ohio and offer a glimpse at the maritime history of Ohio. It’s like looking into the past.”

Avon Lake resident Mike Wachter and his wife, Georgeann, have used side-scan SONAR privately for almost 15 years while plunging the depths of Lake Erie looking for wrecks. They agree that the wrecks provide glimpses of the area’s past. “They are literally time capsules preserved virtually exactly as they went down. A perfect snapshot of a moment in time,” Mike Watcher said. The Wachters are amateur divers, authors of numerous books on the subject of shipwrecks in Lake Erie as well as members of the Maritime Archaeological Survey Team.

MAST is an entirely volunteer organization that provides man power to participate in research, documentation and underwater archaeological survey, according to MAST chairman Ken Marshall. Marshall, who has been diving since 1979, aims to change his divers’ impression of wrecks from, “a pile of broken sticks into a forensic puzzle.” This study most likely will give them that chance, said Marshall, who said he’s excited about the results.

So is Wachter. “It’s a great start. The next step is to investigate any targets in more depth,” Wachter said.

For the most part, the survey pinpointed potential sites for the wrecks, but whether a ship actually rests at that location will be determined by MAST and by the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center, which is part of the Great Lakes Historical Society. Chris Gillcrist, executive director of the Great Lakes Historical Society, said that study was the first real effort at identifying vessels resting on the bottom of the lake.

He said the Geological Survey Group has given them side-scan images of nine targets, which the research center hopes to determine which ships they are — if they are ships at all. “They could be anything — rocks, cars. There’s even supposed to be a baby grand piano half a mile off Vermilion,” Gillcrist said, laughing.

Teams of four to 10 divers from MAST will be going out for several months this summer with hopes of identifying thee targets. Even if they turn out to be nothing, Gillcrist said there is much to be learned from this expedition. “Knowing that they are nothing is just as important as finding actual wrecks,” he said. “We can then rule those areas out which would give us more time to look into other areas. “But, of course, we hope they are ships,” he added.

From the Lorain Chronicle-Telegram


Port Reports - January 12

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports docks are loading their final ships of the season as more vessels arrive for lay up.
The DMIR/CN ore dock in Duluth has James R. Barker scheduled to load Friday.
BNSF apparently will load its last boats Saturday when Edward L. Ryerson, CSL Tadoussac and Burns Harbor are all scheduled to arrive.
DMIR/CN in Two Harbors had Charles M. Beeghly and Paul R. Tregurtha set to load Thursday.
Canadian Olympic arrived in Superior on Thursday afternoon to load coal for Nanticoke.
Mesabi Miner will end the season there when it loads Saturday and again next Tuesday for Presque Isle at Marquette. After that it will return to terminal to lay up.
On Thursday, St. Clair arrived at Fraser Shipyards for lay up.

Lorain - Roger LeLievre
The Edward L. Ryerson left Lorain around 2:30 p.m. Thursday, headed for Superior for her last load of the season. She is on the Duluth Shipping News schedule for loading early Saturday morning. After unloading this cargo at Lorain, she will head for winter lay-up at Sturgeon Bay. This trip will cap a Cinderella season for the classic steamer, which was reactivated in July after eight seasons of inactivity, due to a strong demand for pellets.

DeTour Village - Cathy Kohring
Thursday was busy for boat traffic near DeTour. Two were at anchor all night Wednesday due to the strong winds on Lake Huron. The Speer and the Beeghly were near Maude Bay waiting it out.
The CG Cutter Mackinaw spent the night at the old Interlake Coal Dock after practicing small boat lowering and raising maneuvers and also did some practice runs in the Mud Lake - Lime Island area on Thursday morning. She departed the system Thursday afternoon, but not before meeting the Arthur M. Anderson who was outbound DeTour for the season and the Edgar Speer.
Early in the morning the Lee A Tregurtha was upbound near Pipe Island when orders came to turn around and head to Escanaba instead. So they turned and left the river for this season.
There were several boats coming in Thursday night after dark, the Roger Blough was also in the system. The EL Ryerson was due in DeTour around 7 p.m. Friday evening for it final run of the year up to Lake Superior. They all have to be headed down and exiting the system as the locks close at Midnight on the 15th. After the cloasing it will be 68 days until the opening of the locks on March 24.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
The Cuyahoga had departed the Milwaukee harbor by 8 a.m. Thursday morning after loading at the Nidera Elevator on Wednesday.


Thank You Note

I would like to thank Reverend David Shearman for entering the newspaper report concerning my father, Howard Hindman, in the Boatnerd news column.

My family deeply appreciates the kindness shown by the marine community, and thank those who take the time to see that the article was displayed on this site.

Captain K. George Hindman and family


Updates - January 12

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


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. She was used in a unique experiment with shunters in the Welland Canal in 1980. She was scrapped at Gijon, Spain in 1985.

On January 12, 1973, the VENUS 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: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Brian Bernard, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Complied by Mike Nicholls.

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


Big Tent Waiting

1/11 - Sault Ste. Marie - Erected over the last several weeks alongside the Poe Lock's upper-end gates, a circus-size tensioned tent will be rolled over the massive gates sometime next week for winter work on the gates.

Assembled with on-board lighting and portable heat, the specially designed tent includes a long tongue of fabric and framing to extend to the Poe Lock floor once the huge chamber is drained.

Before that happens, a number of ships are expected to pass through the Poe as the 2006 shipping season comes to a close on Monday.

From the Soo Evening News


2006 Port of Green Bay tonnage numbers increase

1/11 - Green Bay, WI - As the Port of Green Bay goes, so does the local economy. “We’re kind of a leading indicator,” said Dean Hean, port manager.

And the results of the 2006 shipping season, in a report released Tuesday, show a 1 percent growth in tonnage received from 2005 to 2006. “We’ve seen a growth in commodity shipments. That should bode well — especially for Northeastern Wisconsin — that things continue to be good,” Haen said.

During 2006, the port received 2,537,522 metric tons of cargo, an overall increase of 29,490 tons from 2005. The highest number of tons of cargo received in a year since 1965 is 2,834,641 tons in 1979. Overall, port tonnage has increased 51 percent since 2000.

Haen said the increase from 2005 to 2006 is remarkable considering Wisconsin Public Service Corp. resumed bringing in its western coal by train in 2006. In 2005, hundreds of thousands of tons of coal were brought by rail to Chicago and shipped to Green Bay because previous winter conditions damaged train tracks in states west of Minnesota. By 2006, the tracks were repaired and direct rail shipments to Green Bay continued.

Haen said the increase in tonnage is directly attributable to the health of the region’s local manufacturing and construction economy and its demand for raw materials such as coal, limestone, cement, salt and forest products.

Total December shipments increased from 224,776 tons in 2005 to 241,170 tons in 2006. The port saw the increase in tonnage in 2006, despite a 9 percent drop in the number of ships from 2005 to 2006. In 2005, 233 ships arrived in Green Bay; in 2006, 213 arrived.

The St. Lawrence Seaway closed for the season Dec. 30. The Green Bay Port has concluded its shipping season, but because of the mild winter and lack of ice on shipping routes, Haen said, more activity might occur.

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette


Green Bay agrees to purchase K&K waterfront site along the Fox River

1/11 - Green Bay, WI - The city Redevelopment Authority on Tuesday agreed to purchase the K&K Warehouse site near Walnut and Pearl streets on the west bank of the Fox River. The city will pay $5 million for the site if certain contingencies are met. Chief among them will be the ability to lease the space to cover cash flow.

"There are a couple of leases in there we would look to continue," said Allison Swanson, economic development director. K&K uses the warehouse and adjoining dock primarily to import wood pulp and European lumber, and leases space to other companies.

In 2006, the K&K terminal and the Port of Green Bay received the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.'s Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter tonnage award.

Swanson said Thomas Kuber, president of K&K, approached the city about buying the property. "This was an opportunity that was lost in the past," she said.

City Planning Director Rob Strong said the city would be unlikely to develop the property soon because of other projects already under way downtown, but the opportunity to get ownership of the property was important. "It's a significant amount of water frontage in downtown Green Bay," Strong said.

The city also owns undeveloped land south of the K&K site stretching to Mason Street. "Developers that looked at the greenfield site in the past looked at (the K&K) site," Swanson said.

She said the parties hope to close the deal about March 1.

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette


Famous name sails into Toledo history

1/12 - Toledo - After a century and a half, Oglebay Norton Co. is no longer involved in Toledo's seaport. In recent months, the Cleveland firm sold its Summit Street warehouse and its fleet of Great Lakes ships.

Aficionados who pride themselves on recognizing freighters around the Port of Toledo will have to learn a new vocabulary. The new owners have renamed these famous ships. For example, the 1,000-foot Columbia Star is now the American Century, the 690-foot Courtney Burton is now the American Fortitude, and the 730-foot Middletown is the American Victory.

However, transportation officials said nothing has changed other than turning a page in history: Shipping of iron ore and coal will go on as always. "There's a loss of history, tradition, and a name, but in terms of capacity and service to the Great Lakes, we haven't lost anything," said James Hartung, president of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. Oglebay Norton's divestiture allows some operators to expand their capacity, he said.

It's business as usual for the former Oglebay Norton vessels, according to Noel Bassett, vice president of operations for American Steamship Co., which bought six of the firm's ships last year. Most former Oglebay Norton employees continue to work on the boats that mostly carry iron ore and coal, he said.

American Steamship, based in Williamsville, N.Y., a suburb of Buffalo, is a subsidiary of GATX Corp., a public company headquartered in Chicago. American Steamship bought the ships for $120 million, and purchased Oglebay Norton's warehouse along the Maumee River for $570,000. Mr. Bassett said the firm intends to keep the 30,000-square-foot warehouse open to store spare parts and materials used in its fleet of 18 vessels. The Cleveland firm also sold four other ships for about $23 million to other operators.

The company, which dates to the early 1850s, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2004, listing assets of $650 million and liabilities of $560 million. Its reorganization plan called for the firm to focus on its minerals business, and its stock no longer trades. It recently reported its revenues totaled $289 million for the first nine months of 2006.

In its history, Oglebay Norton employed thousands in the Toledo area, not only on its fleet but also at other operations such as the former Toledo Overseas Terminal, which it ran in the 1960s and 1970s.

And it has a storied past. One of its ships was the ill-fated Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in Lake Superior in a violent gale in November, 1975. Its captain, Ernest McSorley, lived in Ottawa Hills, and some of the crew of 29 were from the Toledo area.

From the Toledo Blade


Wind Point Lighthouse wins contest to get new windows after online voting

1/11 - Wind Point, WI -- The Wind Point Lighthouse will be getting new windows from Jeld-Wen, according to a press release sent out Tuesday morning.

Jeld-Wen pitted historic lighthouses from across the country against each other in an online vote, to see which one should get new doors and windows from the company. Journal Times had asked readers to vote and directed readers to the Jeld-Wen voting site. After voting ended, two lighthouses were chosen for the project: Wind Point Lighthouse and Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse.

“Thomas Point Shoal and Wind Point both have immediate needs for high-performance windows and doors that are architecturally compatible. Both have strong local involvement to facilitate a smooth replacement process,” Lynne Butterworth, community relations manager for JELD-WEN, said in a statement. “Public voting on jeld-wen was an important indicator of community support and architectural appeal.”

More than 40 historic structures were considered, and of that group, Thomas Point and Wind Point together received more than 20,000 online votes. The company could not decide between the two, so the company chose them both.

The two lighthouses are nationally-recognized historic buildings. Thomas Point is a National Historic Landmark and Wind Point is on the National Register of Historic Places. Jeld-Wen architects traveled to the two sites to evaluate the existing windows and doors and to start designing new, historically aesthetic replacements.
Wind Point light is located in the Village of Wind Point, Wisconsin, just north of Racine.

From the Racine Journal Times


Howard Hindman remembered for his love of community
Businessman was a local institution

1/11 - Owen Sound, Ont. - Howard Hindman, the successful local businessman and community benefactor, is dead at the age of 90.

Mr. Hindman died Wednesday in Owen Sound hospital, which he helped see built. His part in building that facility may be what he’ll be best known for, his daughter Susan Kirk said. Mr. Hindman had lung and heart problems for years, she said.

“He certainly is an outstanding citizen of Owen Sound. He was one of a kind,” said Mayor Ruth Lovell, who was a good friend of Mr. Hindman’s for years. “His contributions were numerous and in every area of the community.”

Mr. Hindman was president of the Hindman Transportation Company, a lake freighter shipping business, until he and partner Parker Evans sold it in 1978. He spent much of his time volunteering on local boards and supporting community causes, while shying away from attention.

He was chair of the hospital board, the school board, the police board, honourary chair of the hospital foundation and was a strong supporter of the Owen Sound Greys Junior B hockey team for decades.

He said Mr. Hindman and his dad, Capt. George Hindman, ran the bantam, midgets and juvenile hockey teams in Owen Sound in the ’40s when they were called the Hindman Diamonds.

Howard and George Hindman began running the Owen Sound Greys in 1946, with Howard as manager or president of the Junior B club until 1986. Recently he was presented with a hockey jersey with his name on it at a Greys hockey game. The Ontario Hockey Association honoured Mr. Hindman in the 1970s for his contributions to hockey, Roberts said.

Susan Kirk said her dad should be remembered for his “generosity and his community involvement.” Kirk said her father received many awards, including Owen Sound Citizen of the Year and an Ontario citizenship award. He’s also in the Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame. “He was very strong-willed. He was very fair.”

She also cited his more than 55 years as a Kiwanian. He was on the executive of the 1950 Owen Sound Crescents, which won the Canadian Sr. A lacrosse championship. He became the team manager in 1952, after the team did not operate in 1951. He was a member of the Crescent Athletic Club for more than 60 years and was a Shriner too, for as long as that organization has been in Owen Sound.

Visitation at Breckenridge-Ashcroft Funeral Home will take place Friday between 2 and 4 p.m. and between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. Funeral services will follow Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Central Westside United Church with interment in Greenwood Cemetery with his wife, Ruth Josephine “Pete” Hindman, nee McKay, who died in 1978. He leaves daughters Lynda Smith; Elizabeth Bedford and her husband David; Susan Kirk and her husband Paul; son Kenneth George “Skip” Hindman and his wife Karen.

Reported by David Shearman from the Owen Sound Sun Times


Port Reports - January 11

Lorain - Jim Reagan and C. Mackin
Early Tuesday morning, the Edward L. Ryerson loaded with ore went to anchor outside Lorain Harbor apparently to wait out the wind on Lake Erie. The winds were especially heavy during the night. Finally the wind subsided enough that it could enter port and make its way up the Black River passing through the Charles Berry Bascule Bridge a little after 9:00 am Wednesday morning.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Lower Lakes Towing's Cuyahoga was loading at the Nidera Elevator in the inner harbor on Wednesday morning.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The Toronto Drydock Co. tug M. R. Kane returned to port yesterday with a Radium barge. They have finished working in Pickering, where they had been driving piles.
The tour boat Captain Mathew Flinders departed Toronto on January 2nd for Hamilton. It will be dry docked at Heddle's yard and will be re-powered before returning to Toronto.
The Stephen B. Roman, which was in port Wednesday night, is back in Rochester Thursday, after dropping off a partial load in Toronto.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessels of Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet are making their final runs of the season. Among them, Edwin H. Gott is due in Duluth on January 14 to lay up at the port terminal and Roger Blough is due in Duluth on January 12 to lay up at the port terminal.
Cason J. Callaway was anchored in Whitefish Bay late Tuesday waiting for weather before proceeding to Superior to lay up in Fraser Shipyards.
Presque Isle was due in Conneaut on Friday to unload before proceeding to Erie to lay up.
Arthur M. Anderson was anchored off the Keweenaw Peninsula on Tuesday waiting for weather before going to Sturgeon Bay to lay up.
John G. Munson already is in drydock at Fraser Shipyards ready to begin its five-year inspection.
Fraser Shipyards in Superior should provide a good view of lakers in lay up this winter. Vessels expected there include John G. Munson, Kaye E. Barker, St. Clair, and Cason J. Callaway.


Trip Raffle to Benefit BoatNerd

1/8 - Through the generosity of the Interlake Steamship Co., BoatNerd is offering the chance to to win a four-six-day trip for four to take place during the 2007 sailing season (between the months of June and September) on the winner's choice of the classic Lee. A. Tregurtha or the Queen of the Lakes Paul R. Tregurtha.

The trip is the Grand Prize of BoatNerd¹s first ever raffle and fundraising event. Other prizes will also be given away.

All proceeds from this raffle will benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)(3) corporation. Funds raised will be used to upgrade our equipment, expand our services and pay monthly Internet connection charges. This is your chance to help keep this site in operation!

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 2, 2007 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron, Mich.
Donation: $10 per ticket, 3 for $25, 6 for $50 or 12 for $100.

Click here to order, or for more information. Tickets are also available by mail, and at Boatnerd World Headquarters in Port Huron.


Updates - January 11

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public 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, for scrapping.

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

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."

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

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


Mystery Crib’s Story Still Unknown

1/10 - Duluth - The saga of the mysterious crib that washed ashore on Lake Superior in December continues, and its origin will decide whether to preserve it or chop it up for firewood.

A team of divers explored an area — the old harbor breakwater cribs — behind Duluth’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Saturday afternoon to test a theory.

Local divers were certain the 50-foot long timber structure emerged from a line of cribbing built in the 1870s that supported a wharf for Elevator A in Duluth. But after measuring, studying and photographing the underwater cribs, the theory doesn’t stack up.

“The one on shore is practically brand-new compared to the ones in the water,” said Steve Daniel, president of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society, one of four who dived Saturday. “The hardware — bolts — look newer onshore than in the water … the ones in the water are really weathered, deteriorated.”

The underwater cribs, which extend at an angle for about 200 yards and 2 0 feet deep to a red buoy, were 30 feet wide, and the crib on shore is 20 feet wide. Divers recall that the 55-foot gap in the line of cribs — what made some first believe the crib originated in that area — had been noticed years before.

“This could be from anywhere in the harbor,” Daniel said, adding that the outer harbor was most likely. More research is needed to pinpoint a location. Divers have heard of other underwater structures northeast of the cribs near the memorial, and plan to dive again soon.

“Now more than ever, I kind of want to find out what this thing is and where it came from,” said Jay Hanson, owner of Superior Scuba Center, who made the 45-minute dive Saturday in 37-degree water.

The crib rests on Minnesota land, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation is taking responsibility for it. The crib is staying put for now. MnDOT recently had plans to dismantle it and have a salvager haul it away, but Mayor Herb Bergson asked the state to hold off until more is known about the pine structure, said Tom Kasper, lead worker for the city’s street and park maintenance division.

“Where it came from is going to have an impact on what happens with it,” he said. “If there were no historic connection I think it would be less important.”

Many groups are interested in it, including the Minnesota Historical Society and the Lake Superior Maritime Museum Association, Kasper said, and MnDOT said it would allow time for more exploration.

“The structure is in excellent condition,” Daniel said. “It would be nice if they could find a home for it.”

Reported by Al Miller from the Duluth News Tribune


Manistee battles to get harbor dredged in 2007

1/10 - Manistee — The city’s river channel is plugging with sand while the federal government decided not to spend money this year to dredge it for shipping.

Manistee City Manager Mitch Deisch said he was informed in August 2006 that the city’s harbor would be dredged in 2007, but he was then told in October that Manistee was taken off the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ list of dredging projects. “Clearly this is the responsibility of the Corps to dredge, but clearly they are under funded,” Deisch said, adding, “there is significant shoaling on the northern side and at times it is interfering with freighter traffic.”

The Corps had announced in spring 2006 that it would spend up to $150,000 to dredge Pentwater harbor and $120,000 to dredge Arcadia harbor in 2007, but David Yonkman, aide to U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, said this morning that those two projects were also taken off the list for this year.

Tom O’Bryan, an engineer with the Corps, said Manistee’s harbor should be dredged every three years and that it should be dredged this year. But O’Bryan said somehow Manistee was cut from the Corps’ list of dredging projects for this year. That decision could hurt the community, O’Bryan said, because “probably at least half of the harbor is not navigable. Freighters have to squeeze by on the south side.”

A Corps survey of the harbor was conducted in October 2006 and it showed significant shoaling on the north side of the harbor, Deisch said. “It’s highly important,” Deisch said about the need for dredging. “It’s not just a city issue, it’s a community issue and there are 600 jobs on Manistee Lake that rely upon freighter traffic.”

Renee Ihlenfeldt of the Manistee Economic Development Office said a total of 18 businesses and local governments participated in a letter-writing campaign to inform the Corps and elected officials about their feelings on the issue. She said her office also personally delivered packets of the letters to the staffs of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. “It means a tremendous amount to Manistee and Manistee County and the surrounding areas,” Ihlenfeldt said about channel dredging. “We’re certainly planning to do everything possible to make sure that (not dredging) is not a fact.”

Ihlenfeldt said she has heard the shoaling is already causing freighters to carry only 75 percent of their capacity so they do not become stuck in the harbor.

Manistee Police Chief David Bachman is also the city’s harbor master. “We have a huge stake in keeping this harbor open,” Bachman said.

From the Ludington Daily News


Port Reports - January 10

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Monday evening just before 6:00pm, Algosteel backed into Milwaukee's inner harbor to deliver salt to the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Transport entered the harbour around 1:00 pm on Tuesday and went to load at Sifto Salt.

Wallaceburg - Al Mann
Unusually mild winter weather and lack of ice in the Chenal Ecarte River has allowed bridge protective work to proceed. Dean Construction Co. of Belle River, using their tug Neptune III and repair barges have been installing protective pilings at the Walpole Island-mainland bridge. Completion of the work is necessary to allow the Wallaceburg-Toledo barge service, which began late last fall, to resume in the spring. The pilings had deteriorated over the years and were also damaged during passages of commercial traffic.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Barbara Andrie along with the barge A-390 were inbound the Saginaw River Tuesday morning calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload. The pair were still at the dock 9:30 Tuesday night and were expected to be outbound Wednesday morning.


Updates - January 10

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 10

On this day in 1952, the EDWARD B GREENE was launched at the at the American Shipbuilding yards at Toledo, Ohio. The 647 foot vessel joined the Cleveland Cliffs fleet. After lengthening over the winter of 1975-1976 and conversion to a self unloader in 1981, the GREENE sailed briefly as the b.) BENSON FORD for Rouge Steel. She sails today as the c.) KAYE E BARKER of the Interlake fleet.

ONTADOC (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 POLING, 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 a.) BENSON FORD.

On Jan 10, 1978, 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. The JUPITER was lost after an explosion at Bay City in 1990. The OJIBWA is now the tug GEN OGLETHORPE in Savannah, Georgia.

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: Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series and compiled by Mike Nicholls.

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


Port Reports - January 9

Kingston - Ron Walsh
The Stephen B. Roman is still running and was out on Lake Ontario Monday morning. There is absolutely no ice in the Bay of Quinte to impede her approach to Picton.
The Algosteel was heading for Milwaukee this morning and was experiencing strong winds on Lake Michigan. My friend on board said they would then go to Owen Sound and lay up for the winter.

Toledo - Bob Vincent
Late Sunday, the American Mariner and American Integrity came to Toledo for winter lay-up. The American Mariner is located at CSX # 2 wall, closest to the shipping channel. The American Integrity is at the Midwest Terminals of Toledo International dock, facing up river.

Montreal - Laurent
Rafted together are Canadian Prospector, Montrealais and Algontario loaded with ore and ready to go in Spring, at Hangar 4 in Old-Montreal.
To the east of them is Thalassa Desgagné at hangar 3.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Midwest Energy Terminal broke its own record in the calendar year 2006 by transshipping 21.8 million tons of coal. Its previous record was 2005, when it transshipped 20.4 million tons. The dock already is working on 2007, with the American Century due to load Jan. 9. The dock’s last trips of the 06-07 shipping season are scheduled to be Kaye E. Barker loading January 15 and Mesabi Miner loading January 16. Both are destined for Presque Isle near Marquette. For the past several years, an Interlake boat has spent the winter at the dock, so the Mesabi Miner is likely to be this year’s winter resident.
Great Lakes Fleet reported that Arthur M. Anderson is due in Sturgeon Bay January 12 for lay up.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Saturday night, St. Mary's Conquest and its tug Susan W. Hannah arrived and proceeded upstream to their Kinnickinnic Avenue terminal. Sunday afternoon, Conquest was still unloading.
Also Sunday, Maumee delivered salt to the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island, and tug Rebecca Lynn and its barge A-410 unloaded at the inner harbor tank farm north of Greenfield Avenue.
Canadian Transport arrived inside the Milwaukee piers Sunday at about 3:00pm, turned in the inner harbor, and backed into slip 1 in the outer harbor where it delivered salt.
Looking ahead, Cuyahoga is scheduled to arrive and load grain at Nidera on Wednesday, making a rare visit by a grain boat to this port in January, and Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder are expected with coal from KCBX.

Sarnia - Barry Hiscocks
Mississagi is at the north end of the North Slip for winter lay up.
The always pristine fish tugs, Josh II and Mar-Vel-Ann have taken up their annual residence at the centre piers in the North Slip, to fish the waters of southern Lake Huron through the winter months.
The Norlake Transportation tug, Radium Yellowknife has shifted bow first to the Government Dock between the Algolake and Chi-Cheemaun. Two of her grain barges are secured at the old CNR rail ferry dock in Sarnia, with a third wintering at the Bruinsma Marine dock in Wallaceburg,ON.
The McNally Marine tug Sandra Mary along with her barge MCNCO 20, were also spotted loading a crane/shovel at the Government Dock in preparation to begin their work at the damaged Shell Oil fuel stand in Corunna, ON.


Updates - January 9

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 09

On this day in 1973, the CHARLES M BEEGHLY was the latest running Interlake vessel when she entered winter lay up at Toledo, Ohio.

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 renamed c.) AGIA TRIAS.

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 beset BENSON FORD, of 1924, from the shipping channel in Western Lake Erie, running aground.

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

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


Port Reports - January 8

Owen Sound - Ed. Saliwonchyk
Saginaw departed Owen Sound at 3 p.m. Sunday after unloading her last shipment of grain from Thunder Bay for this season.

Montreal - Rene Beauchamp
Mathilda Desgagnés arrived in Montreal for winter lay up on December 22. She was sold since that time and is no longer registered on the Transport Canada website. On Monday she was still flying the Canadian flag and had the same name and port of registry.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
In the early morning hours on Saturday the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation was in port at Lafarge, the pair were headed for Cleveland next.
Saturday evening brought an unusual visitor to the river, the Philip R. Clarke. The Clarke carefully made its way in at nightfall, ( being a first trip in the river) and tied up around 6 p.m. to unload coal for the DPI Plant. Usually all the coal in recent years for the plant have been brought by ASC or W&M Steamship vessels. Unloading finished before 11 p.m., but the Clarke remained at the dock overnight. At 7:30 a.m. on Sunday it started backing out into the bay to meet the rising sun.
The Steamer Alpena is expected to return on Monday morning
At Stoneport on Saturday the Wolverine ended the 2006/07 season for the dock, by loading the last cargo.

Escanaba - Dick Lund
The Joseph L. Block and Wilfred Sykes were in port at Escanaba's ore facility on Sunday. The Block was bow-first at the north side of the dock while the Sykes was backed in stern-first on the south side.
Tug Victory was at the dock to the north of the ore facility.  The tug Biscowet is ashore near the old fire boat, Joseph Medill at Basic Marine.


Trip Raffle to Benefit BoatNerd

1/8 - Through the generosity of the Interlake Steamship Co., BoatNerd is offering the chance to to win a four-six-day trip for four to take place during the 2007 sailing season (between the months of June and September) on the winner's choice of the classic Lee. A. Tregurtha or the Queen of the Lakes Paul R. Tregurtha.

The trip is the Grand Prize of BoatNerd¹s first ever raffle and fundraising event. Other prizes will also be given away.

All proceeds from this raffle will benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)(3) corporation. Funds raised will be used to upgrade our equipment, expand our services and pay monthly Internet connection charges.

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 2, 2007 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron, Mich.
Donation: $10 per ticket, 3 for $25, 6 for $50 or 12 for $100.

Click here to order, or for more information. Tickets are also available by mail, and at Boatnerd World Headquarters in Port Huron.


Annual Lay Up List Being Compiled

1/8 - The Annual Boatnerd Lay Up List is currently being compiled and posted as information is received.

Persons wishing to contribute updates or corrections to the Lay Up List should send the information to

Please be sure your information is correct before reporting.


Calendar of Events

1/8 The 2007 Boatnerd Calendar of Events is being compiled at this time.

If your organization has an event scheduled, that would be of interested to our readers, please use the convenient form on the Calendar page to submit the information.


News Photo Submission Guidelines

1/8 - We will not longer accept photos for inclusion in the News Photo Galleries that do not meet the Photo Submission Guidelines. Click here to print, read and use the guidelines.

Photos that are received that do not meet the guidelines will be ignored.

The three most frequent mistakes are (1) not changing the file name of each photo to meet the guidelines, or making the file name more than 20 characters long: (2) not including a caption for each photo in the text part or your email, and (3) sending too many pictures of the same scene or same boat at the same time.

Please help us to provide complete coverage of the Great Lakes shipping scene. Sending reports in this format ensures that your pictures are processed as quickly as possible. It saves hours of editing time over a typical week and makes it possible to easily identify who took a picture allowing proper credit to be given.


Updates - January 8

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 08

On 08 January 2004, McKiel 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, of 1924, became beset by ice in Western Lake Erie.

January 8, 1976, the LEON FALK JR closed the season at Superior, Wisconsin after she departed the Burlington-Northern ore docks.

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


Shell Fuel Dock Repair Underway

1/7 - Corunna, Ont. - McNally Marine Ltd. has been awarded the contract to rebuild the section of Shell dock at Corunna damaged by the John G. Munson.

On Saturday, the tug Ecosse was upbound with the spud barge McN. No.20. Work will begin once all the necessary equipment is on site.

Reported by George Lee


Port Report - January 7

Owen Sound - Wayne Brown, Peter Bowers & Jacob Smith
Saginaw arrived in Owen Sound about 4 p.m. on Saturday to unload wheat at the elevator. This is the last load of the season into Owen Sound elevators and the last cargo of the year for the Saginaw as she is headed for lay up.
Also arriving Saturday was Algosteel to load salt at Sifto. She was assisted by the tugs Ian Mac and Dover.


Job Opening at American Steamship

1/7 - Williamsville, NY - American Steamship Company has an opening for a Vessel Scheduler.

Additional information is available here


Updates - January 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 07

On January 7, 1970, the e.) ONG, a.) REDHEAD of 1930, had her Canadian registry closed. The tanker had been sold for use as a water tender at Antigua in the Lesser Antilles and had departed Toronto on December 1, 1969. In 1970, ONG was renamed f.) WINDOC.

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

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


Balm is boon to Great Lakes shippers
Rain keeps water up for navigation

1/6 - Detroit - The warm weather has provided a small bonus for freighter operators on the Great Lakes.

"Because it was mild in the second half of December, some of the limestone quarries did more than they would have," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lakes Carriers' Association, which represents American ship operators on the Great Lakes. "The mild weather produced a few more cargoes."

The Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, connecting Lake Huron and Lake Superior, will be closed soon for winter maintenance, so the opportunities are limited, Nekvasil said.

Meanwhile, water levels on the upper Great Lakes are higher than they would be if last month's rain had been snow -- but they still remain below historical averages, said Tim Calappi, a hydraulic engineer in the Detroit office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "Since it came down as rain, we're obviously starting to see some rise on the lakes," Calappi said. "They've been rising since October, when they would normally be falling."

Calappi said Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron remain about 16 inches below normal as part of a long-term trend. Lake St. Clair is between 1 and 2 inches above normal. Lakes Erie and Ontario are above normal.

There is no ice on the Great Lakes, Calappi said, so it's unlikely that an ice bridge to Mackinac Island will appear this winter. "I'd be surprised if one formed," he said.

From the Detroit Free Press


Coast Guards Rulemaking Proposal Withdrawal Published in the Federal Register

1/6 - CLEVELAND - The U.S. Coast Guard announced today its decision to withdraw the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to establish 34 safety zones for live-fire training on the Great Lakes.

"The Coast Guard appreciates the thoughtful comments we received and will work with the public to ensure the Coast Guard can meet any threat to public safety or security (in the Great Lakes)," said Rear Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr., Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District.

"I continue to emphasize the need for our Coast Guard men and women to be trained in the environment they operate," said Read Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr., commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District. "I am dedicated to working with the members and stakeholders of the Great Lakes community to achieve a plan which maintains the Coast Guard's operational readiness to provide safety and security to those who live, work and play on the Great Lakes."

USCG Ninth District News Release


Port Reports - January 6

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Friday evening steamer Alpena was delivering powdered cement to the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor.
Across the harbor basin, Interlake's tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder brought coal to the WE Energies dock at Greenfield Avenue.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Earl W. Oglebay was outbound the Saginaw River Friday morning after unloading overnight at the Wirt dock in Saginaw. She was assisted with turning in the Sixth Street Basin by the tug Gregory J. Busch.
The Oglebay's fleetmate, Wolverine, was inbound Friday evening calling on the Bay City Wirt dock to unload. She was expected to turn off the dock and be outbound around midnight.


Updates - January 6

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 06

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

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

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

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

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


Security program requires port workers to carry new ID cards

1/5 - Washington — The Department of Homeland Security this March will begin requiring 750,000 U.S. port and maritime workers to carry identification cards imprinted with their bio metric fingerprints, despite delays in developing devices to read them. The agency announced Wednesday the start of the new program, under which workers will undergo extensive background checks to obtain the cards to gain unescorted access to secure areas of U.S. ports and vessels. Installation of the card readers, however, appears to be more than a year away.

The Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Coast Guard decided that more research was needed on technology for the card readers, which must be durable enough to withstand salt-water environments and able to scan cards and fingers without direct contact, Coast Guard spokeswoman Angela McArdle said. The agencies said a separate rule covering the readers would be proposed later this year. In the interim, McArdle said, the Coast Guard will conduct spot checks with hand-held scanners to verify the identity of cardholders.

With the final rule posted on the TSA’s Web site on New Year’s Day, the agency and the Coast Guard called it “imperative” to go forward, despite the delays, “to improve the security of our nation’s vessels and port facilities.” McArdle said the agencies “can still take advantage of the screening and the background checks, so we know the backgrounds of the people who are getting these cards.”

Under the regulation, applicants for the new ID card will undergo a comprehensive check of their criminal histories, immigration status and whether their names show up on TSA’s terrorist watch lists. The rule lays out what crimes or terrorism-related concerns will disqualify applicants for the new ID card. For example, money laundering is listed as a disqualifier because it is among “crimes of dishonesty and fraud and can be a means of funding terrorism,” while welfare fraud and passing bad checks won’t preclude issuance of the credential.

Fees for the cards, known as the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, will range from $107 to $159, with applicants getting discounts. The card, which also will carry a digital photo of each worker, will be valid for five years.

McArdle said maritime workers will be required to sign up to get the cards on a rolling basis, starting at the most critical ports, with all workers scheduled to be enrolled within 20 months.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Lake Superior - How low will it go?

1/5 - Duluth - The largest freshwater lake in the U.S. keeps getting smaller as the worst drought in at least 30 years grips the Northland.

The International Lake Superior Board of Control reported Wednesday that Lake Superior continued its decline through December and sits at its lowest January 1 level in 81 years. The lake dropped 2 inches in December. It is a foot below the level it was at this time last year and more than 18 inches below the average for the month. So far, contrary to some media reports, the big lake’s big drop hasn’t set any monthly or all-time records. As low as it is, Lake Superior is still 3 inches above its all-time January low and 10 inches higher than the record low set in April 1926.

Even with the lake expected to drop through March, it’s unlikely to fall below the 1926 record, said Cynthia Sellinger, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich. “At this point, I don’t see that happening,” she said. “But that could change if it stays dry.”

Precipitation across the Lake Superior basin was only about 60 percent of normal in December, although that’s closer to normal than recent months. There has been less evaporation because of fewer cold snaps, which pull moisture from the lake. “The lake actually declined a little less than normal in December. But not much less,” said Carl Woodruff, a hydraulic engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District.

Lake Superior is so huge that the decline has been hard to notice to the untrained eye. Even at 18 inches below the long-term average, the lake doesn’t look much different to most people. Park Point residents are noticing a wider beach. And Great Lakes freighters are traveling with less-than-full loads because water levels in harbors are so low. That means thousands of dollars more to move the same amount of coal, taconite and grain — millions of dollars spread across the hundreds of vessels on the lakes.

Environmentally, low water levels shouldn’t have much effect on Lake Superior, and may even help prevent erosion along sensitive shoreline. But the drought has affected the lake’s tributary streams, where some salmon and trout spawn. North Shore and South Shore streams are running at near-historic low seasonal levels, as are most rivers in northern Minnesota.

While heavy rain last weekend will help soften the drought, it’s far from over. The National Drought Mitigation Center is forecasting the region’s extreme drought to continue through March before any relief comes. Some northern Minnesota areas had their lowest rainfall levels in recorded history during the past growing season, from May to October. So far this year, snow-depth rankings have been off the charts — the sparsest December snow cover recorded in some places.

“If the next 90-day forecast is the same as the current one, then we’ll see a continued decline in the lake’s level,” Sellinger said. “You’ve got very little snowpack. The levels already are low. And if there’s not the usual spring rains, that’s not a good combination. At this point, I’m not seeing much of a spring runoff increase [in water levels] like we would normally get.”

With a warmer and drier than normal Northland winter forecast through March, the prognosis for relief isn’t great. Evaporation across the lake’s 31,700-square-mile surface area will continue to suck water out of the lake, especially with little or no ice cover. Woodruff said occasional blasts of cold air across the unfrozen lake will pull even more moisture out of Lake Superior and deposit it on land as lake-effect snow. Much of that moisture returns to the lake, but there’s no net gain.

“What we need are some big storms to come in from the west to bring in new moisture,” Woodruff said. “Since early summer, Lake Superior has been just starved of moisture.”

A new study by the International Joint Commission will try to determine whether the decline is part of a larger pattern. The report will look at the impact of weather cycles, climate change and how the lake’s outlet at Saulte Ste. Marie is controlled. That outlet determines how much water can be used for hydroelectric power generation and how much moves into the lower lakes.

The study also will look at whether a dredging project on the St. Clair River in 1962, which allowed more water to leave lakes Huron and Michigan, has contributed to low water levels. When the river was dredged to 30 feet deep to allow heavier ships to pass, erosion scoured parts of the river to more than 60 feet deep. Some say that has opened a wider funnel out of the upper lakes. But because the lake’s record high came in the 1980s, after the dredging, skeptics say climate variations — not dredging — are the primary factor in Lake Superior water levels.

Others say a contributing factor could be the ongoing settling of the Earth below the Great Lakes, still changing after the last glacial period and tilting more water out of the basin.

From the Duluth News tribune


Update on Lake Superior Outflow

1/5 - Detroit - The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,520 cubic metres per second (m 3 /s) (53.7thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month of January. This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of January and is a decrease from the December outflow which was 1,560 m 3 /s (55.1 tcfs).

The January outflow will be released by discharging about 1,418 m 3 /s (50.1 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids. The gate setting of the control structure will be maintained at the existing setting equivalent to one-half gate open (four gates open 25 cm, or about 10 inches each). There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

This past month the water supply to the Lake Superior basin was near its long-term average for December, while the supply to the Lakes Michigan-Huron basin was above its December average. The levels of Lakes Superior and Lakes Michigan-Huron remain below their chart datum levels.

The level of Lake Superior is expected to continue to decline during the next few months, while that of Lakes Michigan-Huron is expected to remain about the same. Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 42 cm (17 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-January level, and is 30 cm (12 inches) below the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior fell by about 6 cm (2 inches), while on average it falls by 8 cm (3 inches) in December. The last time Lake Superior was this low at this time of year was in January 1926.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron rose by 3 cm (1 inch) this December, while on average the level of these lakes decline by about 4 cm (2 inches) in December. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 35 cm (14 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-January level, but is 5 cm (2 inches) higher than a year ago. The Board continues to monitor conditions both on Lake Superior and downstream and will advise the International Joint Commission accordingly on those conditions.

Brigadier General Bruce A. Berwick, Commander, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is the United States Board Member. Mr. Carr McLeod is the Board Member for Canada.

Click here for more Information or, at here

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Slow Shipping

1/5 - Bay City, MI - Ship traffic on the Saginaw River was down last year, which may be good news for drivers forced to stop for open drawbridges, but it's bad news for the businesses that rely on the waterway for cargo deliveries. Lower water levels and the need for the river channel to be dredged combined to limit the number of vessels that traversed the river, and the loads that were carried, according to reports by dock owners and ship observers.

''Shipping was like the perfect storm this year,'' said William G. Webber, president of the Saginaw River Alliance, a group of dock owners on the Saginaw River. ''We are down 300,000 tons of stone right now, which is 15 boat loads.''

A Web site dedicated to watching shipping on the Great Lakes,, logged 320 ships in the Saginaw River in 2006, down from 347 in 2005, said Todd Shorkey, who helps report numbers for the Web site. ''Captains were plagued by continued low water levels, a navigational channel in desperate need of dredging and a turning basin in Saginaw, that was for all practical purposes, unusable at the beginning of the shipping season,'' Shorkey wrote in the ''Saginaw River 2006 Shipping Season Report.''

In fact, the top three travelers in the river in 2005 made significantly fewer trips in 2006, Shorkey noted. The Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader made 34 visits to the Saginaw River in 2005, but only 11 last year. The Invincible/McKee Sons dropped to nine trips compared to 22 in 2005. The end result? Stone docks, one of the biggest users of ship traffic, say they may not have enough stone to last into the spring. ''We usually have acquired quantities to carry us through the spring, but because of the lack of ships due to the dredging problem we are not able to acquire ample quantities,'' said Doug Wirt, owner of Wirt Stone Dock, 400 Martin St.

Wirt Stone Dock's main product is Wirt Stone Mix, which is used to make concrete and asphalt for roads, parking lots and driveways. The Bay County Road Commission also regularly purchases limestone from Wirt Stone Dock, which is used to chip and seal county roads. Webber said stone from his dock is used on roadways from Flint to West Branch and he is worried that he doesn't have enough stone to meet demand through the winter and early spring.

And it's not just supplies for the roads that could be running low. Webber said that his dock also supplies limestone for the sugar and steel factories, fertilizer for farmers and road salt to keep streets ice-free. Webber said he carefully picks and chooses what to bring in because of the decrease in boat loads. ''The foundation of our economy are these bulk products,'' said Webber.

Glen Nekvasil, vice president of Lake Carriers Association, a group representing American vessels on the Great Lakes, said the problem has been ongoing. ''It has been a long-term problem, but in the 1990s, the high water masked the problem,'' he said. In recent years, the water has receded and lower levels have exacerbated the issue.

Shorkey noted in his report that shoaling and low water levels caused headaches for captains between Veterans Memorial and Liberty bridges in Bay City. This winter's unseasonable warm weather has lengthened the shipping season, but may lower water levels more if the Saginaw River doesn't freeze. ''If the water doesn't freeze, then the water continues to evaporate,'' Nekvasil said.

Docks have long asked for the river to be dredged and plans are to dredge parts of the river later this year. That may not happen until construction on the Dredged Material Disposal Facility being built on the Bay-Saginaw county line is completed in mid-summer, said Wayne Schloop, chief of operations at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit. The Corps is overseeing construction on the project.

But dock owners say that may not be soon enough. ''Looks like there is going to be some more emergency dredging in the spring,'' said Webber.

Reported by Todd Shorkey from the Bay City Times


Ontonagon lighthouse in line to receive aid from new partnership

1/5 - Ontonagon - New legislation signed by President Bush will likely assist in the continuing restoration of the Ontonagon lighthouse.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow announced late last year the law signed by the president will preserve and promote Michigan's lighthouses and maritime heritage. It will create a federal, state and local partnership to restore lighthouses of the Great Lakes. "We're hoping that some good will come out of this," said Joni Jachim, Ontonagon County Historical Museum curator.

The Ontonagon lighthouse is on Lake Superior and the museum, called the "purple building with the pink door," is at 422 River St. Bruce Johanson, president of the Ontonagon County Historical Society, said Tuesday the society's lighthouse committee would welcome additional funding. He said the organization's next step is to attempt to become a part of the Keweenaw National Historical Park system.

Stabenow notes Michigan has 120 lighthouses, more than any other state in the nation. The law sponsored by Stabenow and U.S. Rep. Dave Camp is designed to increase tourism, backing creation of a Michigan Lighthouse Trail. It requires the National Park Service to work with the state and local communities to make recommendations to Congress as to the best ways to protect lighthouses and increase tourism. Johanson said there's growing interest nationwide from "lighthouse buffs," and that's good news for Ontonagon.

About 5,000 people visit the Ontonagon museum and tour the lighthouse annually, many during the winter months. The facility is open from noon to 5 p.m. now, but is closed on Sundays. Personal tours of the lighthouse may be scheduled for any time, Johanson noted. Two volumes of the original lighthouse keeper's logs are among the items that are on display. An automatic light from the lighthouse still guides ships into the Ontonagon harbor.

Johanson said the Ontonagon lighthouse was in real bad condition when the restoration work began a few years ago. The lighthouse was built in 1866 to replace the original wooden structure built in 1851-52, one of the earliest constructed on Lake Superior. The Ontonagon light originally guided sailing vessels into the harbor as they came to pick up copper and lumber from the area and bring much needed supplies.

It was built "schoolhouse" style, similar to Sand Point Lighthouse in Escanaba and the Copper Harbor Lighthouse, with cream-colored brick that was also used for the Peninsula Point Lighthouse on Lake Michigan. Through a Michigan lighthouse assistance grant and a series of fund-raising efforts that have included adopting stairs and rooms in the building, much restoration work has been accomplished.

Johanson said the state grant helped Hitch Engineering study cracking of the walls, leading to tuckpointing and rebuilding the chimney, which will hopefully be completed this year. "The state funding is covering the exterior work on the building," he said. A new heated floor has been installed, and a kitchen and two upstairs rooms have been renovated.

The Upper Peninsula Power Company adopted the beacon lantern, providing funds. The steps to the beacon tower have netted $300 apiece. "We're sort of selling off pieces," Johanson explained. Johanson said the building reflects the time period of around 1916, which is different than the lighthouse in Copper Harbor, built around the same time.

Better access is also planned to the Ontonagon lighthouse. An easement across Stone Container property, connecting to Riverfront Park, is being sought. Jachim hopes federal funding through the new legislation will become a reality. "We're certainly optimistic," she said.

Johanson, who said the society has received letters from Stabenow about the legislation, said he's not sure about how much money will become available through the new federal legislation, but emphasized the effort to join the Keweenaw National Historical Park should help regarding any additional restoration funding.

From the Ironwood Daily Globe


Port Reports - January 5

Burns Harbor - Tom Milton
The Burns Harbor was unloading at her namesake port on Thursday. Mittal Steel had a mountain of ore stockpiled for winter. The Stewart J. Cort was also due Thursday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The shipping season continues on the Saginaw River with the arrival of the Earl W. Oglebay on Thursday afternoon. She called on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City to lighter before continuing upriver during the evening to finish her unload at the Wirt dock in Saginaw. The Earl W. Oglebay was expected to be outbound Friday morning.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Transport came in through the night and is loading on a damp, mild Friday morning at Sifto Salt.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Early Wednesday tug Rebecca Lynn and its barge A-410 finished unloading and departed from the inner harbor tank farm north of Greenfield Avenue.
Thursday evening Algosteel arrived inside the Milwaukee breakwater just after 10:00pm and proceeded upriver to the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island where it delivered salt.


Updates - January 5

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updates

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 05

The keel was laid January 5, 1972, for the ALGOWAY (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 tail shaft 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 Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

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


Port Reports - January 4

Saginaw River - Stephen Hause & Todd Shorkey
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons became the third visitor to the Saginaw River in the new year. The vessel entered the river at 8 a.m. Wednesday, traveling all the way upstream to Saginaw. After unloading at the GM dock, tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons was assisted by the Gregory J. Busch in the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw and started outbound at 7 p.m.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The American Republic is in lay up at The Ironhead Shipyard. The tug Cleveland and passenger boat Ste. Claire were tied up at the riverfront dock of the shipyard while the barge Cleveland Rocks is in drydock.
Work on removing the old draw spans from the Martin Luther King bridge is progressing. The tug Pioneerland and barges are assisting in the draw span removal. New draw spans are ready to go at the George Gradel dock site located near the CSX Railroad Bridge at the mouth of the Maumee River. There are four draw spans involved with this project. No ship traffic is being allowed to pass thru the MLK Bridge at the present time during this construction project. Navigation should resume in late March when the new draw spans are in place on the bridge.


Toronto Marine Historical Society on the Web

1/4 - The Toronto Marine Historical Society introduces its web site  Some followers of the BoatNerd.Com web site are members who receive Scanner the society's journal of record and also attend the meetings held monthly from October to May.  All who are interested in Great Lakes ships both current and historical now have another page to bookmark. 


Updates - January 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public 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, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

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


Port Reports - January 3

Marquette - Jim Mihalek, Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
Tuesday, the Herbert C. Jackson made history in Marquette. The Jackson will be the last boat to load on the side of the dock using the pin knockers. When she is done they will begin working to convert the gates for mechanical operation. During the winter months these doors will all be automated as are those on the south side.
Also on Tuesday, American Century made a first ever visit to Marquette. She unloaded western coal from Superior at the Upper Harbor WE power plant hopper. As Columbia Star, it is highly unlikely she was ever in Marquette. Her wide bridge wings came very close to the ore dock as she unloaded.

Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
Stoneport remained a busy place on Tuesday with vessels loading and waiting their turn nearby. The mild weather seems to have kept the port open for business longer this year. The Maumee loaded during the day, followed by fleet mate McKee Sons late in the afternoon. Also anchored offshore with the moon overhead was the Calumet and Algorail.

Toronto/Rochester - Charlie Gibbons
The 2007 shipping season got underway Tuesday morning when Stephen B. Roman came out of her holiday lay-up and headed down the lake for Bath, to load for Rochester. The Roman was out on the lake on New Year's Day for a trial run, but returned to port at 10:00am She departed Tuesday morning just after 7:00am. The Roman arrived in Rochester about 1:30pm Tuesday afternoon. She left Toronto early on Monday for Rochester but went back to Toronto because of the weather. Will make two or maybe three trips to Rochester before laying up in Toronto again.

Wallaceburg - Al Mann
After some early glitches, the Wallaceburg-Toledo barge service has been deemed successful. The barge BIG 546 is presently at the Wallaceburg Bruinsma dock and will winter there. The harbour tug "Marion B" owned by the Bruinsma Co. has been laid up nearby for the season. Meanwhile repairs to the dolphins at the Walpole Island-mainland bridge (on the Chenal Ecarte River) will be completed leaving the way for the service to continue upon spring start up. Although the service established in 2006 to transport agricultural products is modest compared to earlier years, local officials are pleased to once again see commercial marine service in Wallaceburg.


Updates - January 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


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.

On 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 cleared 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.


Port Reports - January 2

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
On Monday, Saginaw arrived with a partial load of wheat. Part of the load had been previously delivered to Goderich.
Saginaw is scheduled to deliver another load on January 7.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Peter R. Cresswell arrived early Tuesday morning and is now laying up for the winter on the northwest inner harbour wall. At the other end of the inner harbour is Algomarine. It has been many years since a vessel from the Algoma fleet, let alone two, has laid up in Goderich.

Green Bay - Jason Leino
Both the weather and ship watching were off to great starts for the new year in Green Bay. The rain and clouds were replaced with sun and above normal temps. The John G. Munson left port before the new year rang in but the Algosar and St. Mary's Conquest remained and became the first two visitors of the new year.
Early Monday afternoon the tug Indiana assisted the Algosar with the turn from the U.S. Oil Dock into the channel and the Algosar was outbound Green Bay shortly after.
Not long after the departure of the Algosar, smoke could be seen coming form the St. Mary's Conquest and they also departed Green Bay later Monday afternoon.

Alpena/Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
In the early morning hours of Sunday the Peter R. Cresswell was taking on cargo at Stoneport, which is a rare visit for the vessel. The Great Lakes Trader followed after the Cresswell. On Monday fleetmates Wolverine & Earl W. Oglebay loaded at the dock.
The Steamer Alpena was in port Sunday night and brought in the new year taking on cargo under the silos.
Monday the McKee Sons was anchored out in the bay waiting for the winds to calm down before it headed into Lafarge. Later on, it unloaded product into the storage hopper.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Maumee was outbound the Saginaw River Monday afternoon after unloading overnight at the GM Dock in Saginaw. She met her fleetmate, Calumet, at the Bay City Wirt dock around 4:30 Monday afternoon just as she was beginning to unload there. The Calumet was expected to be outbound from there Monday night.


Saginaw River 2006 Shipping Season Report

1/2 - The 2006 shipping season on the Saginaw River proved to be in interesting one. Captains were plagued by continued low water levels, a navigational channel in desperate need of dredging, and a turning basin in Saginaw, that was for all practical purposes, unusable at the beginning of the shipping season. A number of companies threatened to stop sending their boats up to Saginaw because of the hazards. The Carrollton based tug Gregory J. Busch was a welcome sight for many of the boats this year as well as the tug Robin Lynn, who was brought in by an alliance of dock owners, hiring the tug to stand by and assist boats in turning, either at Sixth Street or downriver at the Airport Turning Basin.

Help is hopefully on the way in 2007 with the completion of a new Confined Disposal Facility for upper Saginaw River dredging spoils. It looks like there are still some legal hurdles to be overcome, but the badly needed dredging could begin by the fall of 2007. Dredging has also been scheduled for a trouble spot between the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge and Liberty Bridge in Bay City. Shoaling and possibly an underwater fiber optic cable have snagged a number of vessels there in 2006.

As for the Sixth Street Turning Basin in Saginaw, a month’s long dredging project restored the basin to a safe and useable place to turn at the upper end of the river. This project required the contractor to barge the dredged spoils over 20 miles out to the Confined Disposal Island at the mouth of the river and took months longer than expected to complete. Throw in the usual mechanical problems with the drawbridges in Bay City and strong currents in the river and it all adds up to a lot of stress, aggravation, and a few more grey hairs for the Captains who called on the river in 2006.

The number of vessels calling on the Saginaw River in 2006 was down from the previous year. 320 vessel passages were logged this year compared to 347 in 2005, a decrease of 27 vessels. The most frequent visitor to the Saginaw River was the tug Olive L. Moore & the barge Lewis J. Kuber with 24 trips. This is even more impressive in that the pair’s first ever trip to the Saginaw River wasn’t until September 17th when they called on the GM Dock in Saginaw. The Manistee was next with 20 trips followed by the CSL Tadoussac and Calumet each with 18. None of the top three from 2005 made this list in 2006. The Joyce L. VanEnkevort/ Great Lakes Trader dropped to 11 visits this year compared to a whopping 34 last year and the Invincible/ McKee Sons dropped to 9 as compared to 22 last season.

As for the fleets, the winner by far was Lower Lakes with 73 trips to the Saginaw River. This is 14 more trips than 2005. Next was American Steamship with 38, Andrie, Inc. with 27, Algoma Central Marine with 26, and K&K Integrated with 24.

The Saginaw River had some first time visitors in 2006. The newly constructed barge Innovation pushed by the tug Samuel de Champlain, the saltie Onego Merchant were two of those vessels. And while the tug Olive L. Moore is no stranger to the Saginaw River, her barge, the Lewis J. Kuber, made her first visit to the Saginaw in 2006. Canada Steamship Lines Nanticoke also made her first appearance on the river since calling on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee on September 30, 1993.

The tug Statesboro, recently purchased by Busch Marine also arrived on the river late in the year and the tanker Gemini, a frequent visitor in past years, returned in 2006 renamed as the Algosar.

Some old favorites and friends were missed on the river for the first time in years. The vessels Wilfred Sykes, Paul H. Townsend, David Z. Norton, tug John Spence/McAsphalt 401 and the tug Joe Thompson/Joseph H. Thompson fall into this category. 2006 was also the first time in recent memory an Oglebay Norton vessel has not called on the river, although the Fred R. White called under ASC colors as the American Courage and the Wolverine and Earl W. Oglebay called under the ownership of Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Company.

As far as the docks along the Saginaw River go, the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City was tops with 43 deliveries. They were followed by the Bay City Wirt dock with 39 the Saginaw Wirt dock with 33. The Sargent docks in Essexville and Zilwaukee were next, tied with 27 each.

Reported by Todd Shorkey


News Photo Submission Guidelines

1/2 - We will not longer accept photos for inclusion in the News Photo Galleries that do not meet the Photo Submission Guidelines. Click here to print, read and use the guidelines.

Photos that are received that do not meet the guidelines will be ignored.

The three most frequent mistakes are (1) not changing the file name of each photo to meet the guidelines, or making the file name more than 20 characters long: (2) not including a caption for each photo in the text part or your email, and (3) sending too many pictures of the same scene or same boat at the same time.

Please help us to provide complete coverage of the Great Lakes shipping scene. Sending reports in this format ensures that your pictures are processed as quickly as possible. It saves hours of editing time over a typical week and makes it possible to easily identify who took a picture allowing proper credit to be given.


Updates - January 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 02

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

The 3-mast wooden schooner M J CUMMINGS was launched at the shipyard of Goble & 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.

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

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

Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history.


Mild Winter Prolongs Shipping in Green Bay

1/1/07 - Green Bay - Driving through downtown Green Bay on New Years Eve three things brought attention to the fact that Winter just is not what it used to be. The lack of any snow on the ground for the majority of December, the steady rain and temps near forty, and three ships in port.

While shipping has in recent years carried well into January, there have been many seasons where shipping has been wrapped up by December 31st, and to have three in port at once this late in the season is a rather rare thing.

As of late Sunday morning the Algosar was at the U.S. Oil dock unloading diesel fuel, the John G. Munson was at the Fox River Dock unloading coal (this is their last vessel of the season), and the St. Mary's Conquest was unloading cement at St. Mary's Cement.

With out any ice in the river or bay the only hindrance the three vessels may have had is getting around each other and possibly foggy conditions on the bay.

Reported by Jason Leino


Port Reports - January 1, 2007

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Sunday the Saginaw was in unloading wheat. It came from Thunder Bay with a split load for Goderich and Owen Sound.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On New Year's Eve, Kaye E. Barker unloaded western coal from Superior at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The year 2007 got of to a fast start on the Saginaw River as the Maumee was inbound at the Front Range around 2:00am on New Years Day. She traveled upriver to unload at the GM Dock in Saginaw. Maumee was expected to be outbound Monday afternoon.
The Calumet is also expected to call on the river Monday with a load for Bay City Wirt.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Four charter boats were out for New Year's Eve parties last night. They were Enterprise 2000, Jubilee Queen, Northern Spirit 1 and Capt. Mathew Flinders.
English River came in on Saturday and has gone into lay-up.
McKeil has posted Jarrett M. and Wyatt M., the newly renamed tugs Atomic and Progress, to Toronto to shift sugar storage ships in January.


Annual Lay Up List Being Compiled

1/1/07 - The Annual Boatnerd Lay Up List is currently being compiled and posted as information is received.

Persons wishing to contribute updates or corrections to the Lay Up List should send the information to

Please be sure your information is correct before reporting.


Toronto Marine Historical Society Founder Dies

1/1/07 - Toronto - Bruce Arnold Smith, founding president of the Toronto Marine Historical Society, died Dec. 16 in Hamilton. Mr. Smith had a long career with the CBC as an announcer and radio host. For 23 years his morning show “Toast and Jamboree” was a staple in thousands of homes on both sides of the border.

A Memorial Service will be held at Wellington Square United Church, 2121 Caroline St., Burlington, Ontario, Saturday, Jan. 6 at 1:30 p.m.

The scheduled T.M.H.S. meeting on Jan. 6 is being postponed so that T.M.H.S. members can pay their respects. The meeting has been rescheduled to the following Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Swansea Town Hall, at the usual time of 2:30 p.m.


Updates - January 1, 2007

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

13th Annual Lay Up List updated


Today in Great Lakes History - January 01

On this day in 1958, Seventy-six year old Rangvald Gunderson retired as wheelsman from the ELTON HOYT 2ND. Mr. Gunderson sailed on the lakes for 60 years.

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, 1,806 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, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. Compiled by Mike Nicholls.

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


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