Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

Copyright All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

* Report News

Enterprise heads for lay-up

1/31 - Straits of Mackinac - Sunday about 9 p.m. the Canadian Enterprise headed eastbound from South Chicago to Nanticoke for lay-up. She was escorted by the USCG cutter Mobile Bay.

Fred Stone


2010 Port of Muskegon activity stable as community receives statewide attention

1/31 - Muskegon, Mich. - During a year in which Muskegon’s port was put on Michigan’s center stage, shipping activity in and out of Muskegon stayed pretty much the same.

Numbers for the local shipping season are in contrast to Great Lakes freight shipments that increased by a third in 2010, the Lake Carriers' Association reports.

After a significant decrease in ship ports of call from 2008 to 2009, the number of Great Lakes ships to visit Muskegon in 2010 dropped by three to 81. That compares to 111 in 2008, according to an annual port of Muskegon report produced by Richard Snyder.

“The debacle and slow recovery of the national economy is reflected in West Michigan and the port of Muskegon mirrors the local economy,” said Snyder, who closely monitors maritime activity in Muskegon through Digital Dreams Maritime Photography and ship arrivals and departures reports in The Muskegon Chronicle.

Muskegon last year hosted the first Michigan Port Collaborative spring conference held outside of Lansing. In May, Muskegon welcomed more than 100 port officials from Detroit to Marquette.

The visitors from other Michigan maritime communities saw a variety of activities in the state’s largest deep-water port on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Muskegon showed off it’s recreational boating and fishing activities, cross-lake passenger transportation with The Lake Express and lake freighter traffic.

Muskegon’s port receives construction materials, cement, coal and salt. The tonnage of items brought into Muskegon was down overall, but construction materials of gravel and stone saw an increase, according to Snyder’s annual report.

Construction materials — aggregates used in roads and building foundations — were up 28,424 tons in 2010 to a total of 309,424 tons. Meanwhile, cement was down 10,000 tons to 65,000 tons, coal down 353,000 tons to 800,000 tons and salt down 70,387 tons to 129,613 tons.

The Lake Carriers' Association reported U.S.-flagged vessels in the Great Lakes hauled 88.7 million tons of dry bulk cargo in 2010, up from 66.4 million tons in 2009. The biggest increase was in shipments of iron ore for steel making, which soared by 75 percent.

To better compare Muskegon’s port activity from 2008, 2009 and 2010, Snyder said he did not count the fly ash and bottom ash removed from Consumers Energy’s B.C. Cobb Plant at the east end of Muskegon Lake.

Consumers recently began transporting coal ash out of the Cobb Plant in the Pere Marquette 41. The waste from the coal plant is taken to St. Marys Cement in Charlevoix and used as an additive in cement, Snyder said.

Coal ash is the only commodity currently being transported out of the port of Muskegon, the maritime observer said.

“In order to keep the port alive, we have to ship materials out of here,” Snyder said. “We must pursue that to keep the port of Muskegon viable. It’s all about jobs.”

Economic developers from Muskegon Area First and local government officials have been quietly working with private marine operators and property owners along the Muskegon Lake shoreline to increase port activity.

One suggestion that has been investigated is to develop a “roll on-roll off” cross-lake service for trucks and trailers. Initial review by port officials in Milwaukee found such a service is not economically viable at this time.

But Snyder believes that, with contracts with the right users in Michigan and Wisconsin, such a service could be operated successfully, and bring economic benefits to both sides of the lake.

Muskegon Chronicle


Drawing today for trip on St. Marys Challenger

1/31 - The Great Lakes Historical Society is raffling off a trip for four persons aboard the St. Marys Challenger in the 2011 shipping season. All proceeds benefit the Great Lakes Historical Society. The drawing will be held on Monday at the society's headquarters in Vermilion, Ohio. Winners need not be present at drawing to win. click here for more information


Updates -  January 31

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 31

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

January 31, 1930 - While the Grand Trunk 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.


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.


Escanaba shipping season ends

1/29 - Great Lakes Trader was taking on the last load of taconite for the season from Escanaba Friday night. The dock isn't expecting any more shipping until early March.

Lee Rowe


Norisle revival moving ahead

1/29 - There could be a new cruise ship on Lake Huron within the next two years. Michael Dearden is a consultant working with a group called the Friends of the Norisle. The Norisle is a Canadian-built steamship that carried passengers between Tobermory and South Baymouth for 29 years. It has been a museum ship for the last 30 years.

With over $700,000 in funding and mainly volunteer labor, Dearden says returning the vessel to service is now close to happening. He says a market and feasibility study has confirmed a market for Great Lakes cruising, and they hope to have the Norisle in service for the 2012 season.

He says it might travel as far south as Lake Ontario in the early spring and late fall, but would spend most of the busy summer season on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, with Goderich as one of its ports of call.



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.

In 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.


Viterra looks to run Port of Montreal grain terminal

1/28 - Winnipeg - Canada's biggest grain handler, Viterra Inc., said on Wednesday that it is in talks to lease and operate the Port of Montreal grain terminal.

The terminal would fill a void for Viterra. It controls about 45 per cent of Western Canada's grain handling capacity, more than either privately held Richardson International or Cargill Inc., but its port terminals are on Canada's West Coast and at Thunder Bay, Ont.

The Montreal terminal would allow it to operate from a major eastern Canadian port. Discussions are continuing and no transaction has been finalized, Viterra said. The Montreal grain terminal is licensed by the Canadian Grain Commission, operates year-round, and can store 262,000 tonnes of grain.

The Montreal Gazette


Great Lakes Shipyard receives top industry safety award

1/28 - Cleveland, Ohio - Great Lakes Shipyard has received the 2009 – 2010 Industry Leader Safety Award from the Signal Mutual Indemnity Association. This is the second time in recent years that the Great Lakes Shipyard was chosen to receive this award because of its outstanding safety performance with no “lost time” accidents. The shipyard’s commitment to safety is not new. The previous outstanding safety award was presented in 2004 - 2005. The company attributes its successful performance over the years to its extensive internal safety policies and training programs.

Great Lakes Group


Deck officers and engineers needed for Canadian tug/barge work

1/28 - This is a full-time employment opportunity for deck officers and engineers for Canadian Great Lakes self-unloading tug/barge operations.

Salary and benefits including two months on and one month off paid vacation, medical coverage and a Family Security Plan under union collective agreement.

Interested candidates should forward resume to:
Fettes Shipping Inc.
250-3385 Harvester Road
Burlington, ON L7N 3N2
or email


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.


Port Reports -  January 27

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Joseph L. Block arrived Wednesday morning for winter lay-up at Bay Shipbuilding.

Port Huron
Samuel Risley departed Sarnia headed onto Lake Huron about 4 a.m. and appeared to be on course for Goderich. They made it to a point off Grand Bend, Ont., then turned to head downbound, stopping mid-lake between Lexington, Mich., and Kettle Point, Ont. The Risley remained there until 6 p.m., when they continued downbound, reaching the Canadian Enterprise after 8 p.m. Enterprise had spent the day in Sarnia's North Slip waiting to begin a trip to South Chicago. After following the Risley through the Huron Cut, Enterprise took an easterly course upbound and the Risley stopped again between Lexington and Kettle Point. Algocanada was returning from Cheboygan, Mich, at midnight she was off Port Sanilac. With no downbound traffic, the USCG Cutter Bristol Bay departed Algonac, Mich. Wednesday afternoon and returned to its base in Detroit.


Equinox-class vessels part of Seaway Marine Transports fleet renewal

1/27 - Seaway Marine Transport has recently embarked upon a major fleet replacement program, which will see many older vessels replaced by modern, state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable carriers of the future.

According to the company’s revamped webiste,, SMT will reset the bar for both operating and environmental performance with its new Equinox Class of vessel, which will include self-unloading and non-self-unloading vessels.

Developed by SMT partners Algoma Central Corporation and Upper Lakes Shipping, together with representatives from Seaway Marine Transport and a team of designers, architects, engineers and researchers, these vessels represent the next generation of Great Lakes dry bulk carriers.

The first of SMT’s Equinox vessels is scheduled to enter the SMT fleet in mid 2013.

The Equinox Class design balances hull form, power and speed with optimal operating performance and environmental efficiency. According to Seaway Marine Transport, these new vessels will improve trading capacity by 15-20 percent while at the same time reducing fuel consumption, air emissions, and other environmental impacts.

Introduction of the Equinox Class follows other recent and significant renewal activity at SMT. In 2010, the Algobay, a coastal-class self-unloader incorporating a new hull, engine and generators, and new self-unloading and navigation equipment, entered the SMT fleet. Also in 2010, three used gearless Algoma Ocean Class units – Algoma Guardian, Algoma Discovery and Algoma Spirit – were added to replace aging gearless vessels. Finally, a fifth replacement vessel, Canadian Mariner, a new coastal-class self-unloader that employs new, state of the art equipment in the engine room and on the deck and bridge, is scheduled to enter the SMT fleet in mid 2011.

A video about the new Equinox-class vessels


Shipping tonnage up at Port of Windsor

1/27 - Windsor, Ont. - Shipping tonnage handled by the Port of Windsor increased by nine per cent in 2010 compared to the previous year despite challenges faced throughout the North American economy.

The port handled 5,324,451 tonnes last year which, while down from a record set in 2006, was well above the port's 10-year average.

"This was very welcome news given the state of the North American economy over the past three years," said David Cree, president and CEO of the Windsor Port Authority. "Port throughput is a good leading indicator of the state of the local economy, so the port's performance last year bodes well for a continuing recovery in Windsor and Essex County."

The most dramatic gain last year was in stone and construction aggregates, with total tonnage rising by more than 40 per cent to 2,108,909 tonnes. Stone and aggregates are used in the construction industry and further increases are expected over the next five years during construction of the Windsor-Essex Parkway.

Dry bulk products such as salt also saw an increase to near record levels. Another increase was recorded in windmill parts while grain shipments were slightly below 10-year averages.

The WPA also received a federal infrastructure grant last year that is being used to expand the existing petroleum and liquid asphalt storage capacity at Sterling Marine Fuels. It will also be used to develop a new stone and construction aggregate terminal to handle the anticipated increases in tonnage over the next few years. Construction is expected to be completed by mid-year.

"Last year was a very good rebuilding year for the port," said Cree. "We now have new port infrastructure currently under construction and we are working on several additional port projects.

"We are very optimistic about the future of the port and will continue to benefit the community by providing jobs and the cost-effectiveness and environmental advantages of marine transportation."

The Windsor Star


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 an expensive rebuild, was sold and renamed MALCOLM in 1979.

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

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


Port Reports -  January 26

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Wilfred Sykes transited the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal after dark Monday evening and sat idle south of the Ogden Street Bridge until early Tuesday. At 6 a.m. she was going through the downtown bridges, and was assisted into her berth next to the Saginaw around daybreak.

St. Clair River -
Icebreaking continued Tuesday, with Samuel Risley departing from the ice off Algonac, where it spent the night, about 7 a.m. to work with the USCG Bristol Bay to escort the Everlast and barge.

They made steady progress and Everlast reached its dock in Sarnia at 11 a.m. Risley continued upbound to the Government Dock in Sarnia and Bristol Bay to the Huron Cut. They later headed downbound to escort Canadian Enterprise, which had spent the day in the Belle Isle anchorage before crossing Lake St. Clair unassisted. Risley met the Enterprise in lower Lake St. Clair and escorted her to Sarnia where she stopped in the North Slip and Risley returned to the Government Dock for the night. Bristol Bay returned to Algonac after assisting.

Cleveland, Ohio -
McKee Sons and Invincible were at the Cleveland Bulk Terminal, C&P Dock, Whiskey Island Tuesday.


Donors add rare shipbuilding photos, professor’s library to Special Collections at UW-Superior

1/26 - Superior, Wis. - A collection of rare photographs that belonged to famed Twin Ports shipbuilder Alexander McDougall and the library of retired geology professor Dr. Joseph Mengel Jr. are the latest additions to the Special Collections of Jim Dan Hill Library at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

We are grateful for these gifts. Both donations have local significance that will be important to researchers as well as to our community,” said Debra Nordgren, library director.

The collection of photos includes four albums that belonged to McDougall, inventor and builder of the unique whaleback ships, and his son A. Miller McDougall, a noted Duluth businessman. The photos were donated by the Alan Marshall family of Orchard Lake, Mich., descendants of the McDougalls.

Two albums include whaleback photographs taken by photographer David F. Barry. The third album is related to McDougall’s ship design work, including designs and models for gunboats. The fourth album includes images from the McDougall-Duluth shipyard in Duluth, which built freighters for ocean service during World War I.

The photos are an addition to the Lake Superior Maritime Collections at UW-Superior, which chronicles maritime history and commerce on the upper Great Lakes.

The Mengel gift includes 2,500 books, the UW-Superior professor’s professional, personal and family papers, and several detailed models of historic ships. Mengel’s professional work encompassed studies of copper deposits and red clay stability in northern Wisconsin; the oil and coal deposits of the Powder River and Williston basin regions of Montana; and records related to the asbestos-like fibers found in Lake Superior in the 1970s.

The Mengel family papers include personal correspondence and photographs of Joseph Mengel Sr. from World War I. The elder Mengel was a member of the 148th Field Artillery, which included on its roster UW-Superior president and library namesake Jim Dan Hill.

Staff and volunteers from the S.S. Meteor Museum, which preserves the last of McDougalls whaleback vessels, have examined the albums donated by the Marshall family. A team interested in past use and potential further preservation of Wisconsin Point has consulted maps on local Red Clay Slope Stability from the Mengel family papers, she said.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 26

6 January 1994 - The THALASSA DESGAGNES (steel propeller tanker, 131.43 meters, 5,746 gross tons, built in 1976, in Norway, as the a.) JOASLA, renamed b.) ORINOCO in 1979, c.) RIO ORINOCO in 1982) entered service for Groupe Desgagnes.

The keel for 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.

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


Icebreakers assist McKee Sons, salt boats in Detroit River

1/25 - Detroit, Mich. – The barge McKee Sons and the tug Invincible were upbound early Monday morning in the Detroit River, escorted by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley. McKee Sons turned off the main channel and headed down the Trenton Channel to deliver coal, while Risley continued on to spend the night in Windsor.

Risley had departed Windsor about 8 a.m., escorting the tug Everlast and barge across Lake. St. Clair. They met the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay in the lower St. Clair River and both icebreakers made slow progress providing close escort for McKee Sons and Invincible through the lower river. They stopped for the night about 8 p.m. After unloading, Invincible and McKee Sons fueled in Windsor then headed downbound for Cleveland. They cleared the Detroit River about 8 p.m.

Canadian Enterprise departed Ojibway salt upbound late Monday night and was expected to anchor near Belle Isle and wait for icebreaker assistance. They are loaded with salt for Chicago.

The East Coast-based Morro Bay headed down across Lake Erie to Cleveland on Sunday.


Nautica Queen arrives at Great Lakes Shipyard for repairs

1/25 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard, in Cleveland, will perform deck repairs to the Nautica Queen this winter. The 124 foot-long Nautica Queen was built in 1981 and is home-ported in Cleveland on the west bank of the flats. She can accommodate up to 400 passengers in the two enclosed decks and observation deck on the top of the ship. The vessel hosts lunch and dinner cruises as well as Sunday brunch and also hosts corporate and birthday parties as well as wedding receptions.

Great Lakes Shipyard, a division of The Great Lakes Towing Company, operates a full-service shipyard and drydock in Cleveland specializing in all types of marine construction and vessel repairs including tugs, supply boats, ferries, barges, excursion vessels, dinner boats, research vessels, large yachts and off-site topside work. Great Lakes Shipyard


Port Reports -  January 25

Straits of Mackinac - Fred Stone
At 11:30 a.m. Monday, Algomarine passed eastbound from S. Chicago to Goderich to load salt. She was assisted through the ice by the USCG cutter Mobile Bay.


Coast Guard closes St. Ignace-Mackinac Island channel

1/25 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The waters between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island have been closed to traffic as of Sunday.


Updates -  January 25

Weekly Website Updates


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 25

25 January 2003 - The LE GRANDE HERMINE, a replica of a historic sailing ship, was destroyed by fire in Jordan Harbor just west of St. Catharines, Ontario. The vessel had become a southern Ontario landmark and was well known to boat watchers heading to the Welland Canal. Police say it was almost certainly the work of an arsonist.

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.


Icebreakers grind through another day of tough conditions

1/24 - St. Clair River - The escort of Canadian Progress and Canadian Enterprise ended Saturday night with the convoy stopping in the lower St. Clair River near Russell Island.

Efforts began again Sunday morning about 6 a.m., with the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley breaking a track into the lower river then returning to escort the freighters. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay joined the close escort and the icebreakers slugged it out with the ice. It was slow going and the convoy reached Lake St. Clair about 11:30 a.m. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay departed Detroit and joined the efforts on Lake St. Clair, later turning and heading upbound.

Canadian Enterprise made her dock at Ojibay salt in Windsor, where she loaded for another trip to South Chicago. Progress followed Morro Bay and Risley downbound to Western Lake Erie, where the waiting Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon would escort her into lay-up dock at Port Colborne, Ont.

Later in the day, the Risley met up with the tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons, heading upbound from Ashtabula with coal for Trenton, Mich. They met off Colchester about 9:45 p.m.


Port Reports -  January 24

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman The following vessels are in layup at Toledo. Lakefront Docks: American Mariner, American Fortitude. CSX Coal Docks: American Valor (CSX#1), Kaye E. Barker (CSX#2). Old Interlake Dock: American Republic. Ironhead Shipyard: CSL Tadoussac in drydock; CSL Niagara, barge Cleveland Rocks, tug Cleveland, which is now out of drydock.

Manistee is laid up at Monroe, Mich. It is believed that it has been 25 years since a lake freighter has laid up there. The last boat was the Sharon, from May 1980 through April 1986. Other vessels in layup at Monroe are the Drummond Islander II, small dredge Arthur J., workboats Tammy and Madison plus several small barges.


Seaway showed signs of recovery in 2010

1/24 - St. Catharines, Ont. - With steel plants in the Great Lakes basin once again gobbling up iron ore as the economy continues to recover from the brutal recession, the St. Lawrence Seaway saw cargo shipments increase 15 per cent in 2010 over 2009’s grim shipping year.

The Seaway said last week that about 35.5 million tonnes of cargo travelled through the inland shipping system in the shipping season. Shipments of iron ore, a mainstay of the Seaway, soared a full 35 per cent over 2009, as manufacturers such as automotive plants saw production steadily increase over the darkest days of the recession when car sales plummeted.

The improved picture on the Seaway was also a result of 10 per cent more shipments of grain, while a category known as ‘general cargo’ that includes such cargo as iron and steel bulk shipments saw a 63 per cent increase in cargo shipments.

The Seaway had its worst year in a half century in 2009, with iron ore shipments plummeting by 58 per cent as steel plants stood idle.

“With a recovery in the manufacturing sector, characterized by a resurgent domestic auto assembly business, the level of activity in the iron ore trade broke out of the starting gate at a brisk pace in 2010,” said Terence Bowles, newly appointed president and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

The resurgence in the auto sector, which serves as a barometer of economic activity, bodes well for the economic outlook in 2011, said Bowles.

“We are pleased to note that 2010 finished with positive momentum on several fronts,” he said. “We are optimistic of what we may experience in 2011, as economic growth continues to regain strength.” The federal government’s decision to repeal a 25 per cent duty on imported vessels has also ushered in a new era of renewal for Great Lakes ship fleets, the Seaway said, with Algoma Central Corp. and the CSL Group recently announcing the purchase of new vessels designed for work within the Seaway and the Great Lakes.

The Seaway shipping season, which lasted 280 days, officially concluded on Dec. 29, although the Welland Canal stayed open until Dec. 30 so the laker John B. Aird passed through Lock 1 on its way to the Port Weller Dry Docks.

The Association of American Railroads also reported this month that business was up in 2010, with a 7.3 percent increase in carloads being the largest year-over-year increase since the association started keeping such statistics in 1988. But the association noted last year’s numbers were still the second lowest on record, after 2009.

“Like the economy in general, rail traffic in 2010 recovered some lost ground, but not nearly all of it,” said association senior vice-president John T. Gray.

Niagara this Week


Ontario invests at ArcelorMittal Dofasco to enhance output

1/24 - Hamilton, Ont. – The province of Ontario is helping ArcelorMittal Dofasco reduce energy use and emissions during the steelmaking process and help maximize its production.

The province is investing as much as $43.6 million at ArcelorMittal Dofasco in Hamilton, which will help solidify the company as Canada's only producer of Galvalume, a coated steel product with double the durability and corrosion resistance of galvanized steel. The state-of-the-art finishing lines would ensure a steady supply for its customers including the construction and automotive industries.

This investment will also increase work for supply, fabrication construction and engineering trades in the Hamilton area, as well as support research and design businesses. This announcement supports the province's five-year Open Ontario plan to create new job opportunities and help promote economic growth.


Updates -  January 24

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
New feature - A Voyage into History with the Cyprus
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards 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.


Ice grounds Canadian Progress, icebreakers come to the rescue

1/23 - Port Huron, Mich. – The downbound Canadian Progress became stuck in ice Saturday while passing through the Huron Cut. She reported being aground shortly before 1 p.m., after the ice field pushed her out of the channel. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley headed upbound to assist, and a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter from Detroit was on scene. About 1:15 p.m. the vessel was back in the channel with anchors down. Progress was aground above buoys 6 and 7 on the west side of the channel.

By 2 p.m., the Progress reported that the ice field was pushing the vessel northeast, and she was close to passing over her stern anchor. Even with clearance between the anchor and the hull, the Progress’ crew did not want to start their engines for fear of striking the anchor with the propeller.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock departed Port Huron at 2:30 p.m. to assist and Morro Bay was upbound from the lower river but could not run at full speed due ice in the river.

Risley arrived on scene and worked to take pressure off the Progress so it could safely clear its stern anchor and not run aground again. The winds and ice worked against the pair and by 2:30 the Progress was being pushed out the east side of the channel, while the Risley provided close support to keep her in the channel.

Hollyhock arrived on scene about 2:55 p.m.; by this time the Progress was almost completely out of the channel and her hull was reaching critically low water at the stern. A mate was lowered to the Risley from the Progress to communicate the position of the anchor. The icebreakers worked with the Progress and turned her pivoting on the stern to keep from backing over the anchor.

Those on scene monitoring the situation commented on the incredibly high level of skill, professionalism and expert ship handling that allowed the Progress to be freed without damage. In what could have been a tense situation, both the icebreaking crews and the Progress’ crew kept cool heads and cooperated with a high degree of teamwork.

About 4:30 p.m. the Progress was clear of its anchor and back in the channel. The vessel was allowed to head downbound to Port Colborne, Ont., where an investigation will take place. The area where the vessel was pushed aground is soft bottom 21 - 23 feet deep and there was no damage to the vessel. Draft at her stern was 24.5-feet and 12-feet at the bow.

Progress followed the Risley down while Canadian Enterprise, which had been waiting above Buoys 11 & 12, was assisted down through the Huron Cut by the Hollyhock. Hollyhock also used the opportunity to move Buoy 11, which had been pushed off station by the ice.

Morro Bay arrived upbound and held below Port Huron to assist, as the Progress started moving Morro Bay returned downbound.

Ice in that area has not been a problem this year but southerly winds gusting to 32 mph appear to have shifted the ice in lower Lake Huron, creating a new area for the Coast Guard icebreakers to work.

The day ended about 9 p.m. with the Samuel Risley, Morro Bay, Canadian Progress and Canadian Enterprise stopping for the night in the ice just above Russell Island.


Winter fleet moves into Bay Shipbuilding

1/23 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - The view from the top of the hill on Madison Avenue looks like a great steel city on Sturgeon Bay every winter, and this year is no exception as up to 15 Great Lakes freighters are docked at Bay Shipbuilding Co. for off-season maintenance.

This year's winter fleet includes the American Steamship Co.'s American Courage, Indiana Harbor, John J. Boland and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. Docked from Canada Steamship Lines is the Pineglen, and from Great Lakes Fleet Inc., the Edwin H. Gott. Interlake Steamship Co. has sent the Herbert C. Jackson, Mesabi Miner and Paul R. Tregurtha. Lower Lakes Towing Inc. and Lower Lakes Transportation's Saginaw are also wintering at Bay Ship.

Door County Advocate


Updates -  January 23

News Photo Gallery
News Photo Gallery and a second page
Public Gallery updated
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards 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.

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


Ice field takes Progress for a ride

1/22 - Port Huron, Mich. - 2:55 p.m. update - The downbound Canadian Progress became stuck in ice while passing through the Huron Cut, shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday she reported being aground as the ice field push her out of the channel. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley was upbound to assist and a U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter from Detroit was on scene. About 1:15 they reported to be back in the channel with anchors down. Progress was aground above buoys 6 & 7 on the west side of the channel.

About 2 p.m. the Progress reported that the ice field was pushing the vessel north east, close to passing over its stern anchor that was dropped. Even with clearance between the anchor and the hull, Progress did not want to start their engines.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock departed Port Huron at 2:30 p.m. to assist and Morro Bay was upbound from the lower River running at reduced speed due to the ice.

Risley arrived on scene and worked to take pressure off the Progress so Progress could safely clear their stern anchor and not run aground again. The winds and ice worked against the pair and by 2:30 the Progress was being pushed out the east side of the channel while the Risley provided close support to keep her in the channel.

Hollyhock arrived on scene about 2:55, at this time the Progress was almost completely out of the channel and her hull reaching critically low water at the stern. With no commercial tugs immediately available and the stern slipping closer to grounding, Risley prepared to use its emergency towing winch.

Ice in the area has not been a problem this year but southerly winds gusting to 32 mph appear to have shifted the ice in lower Lake Huron, creating a new area for the Coast Guard icebreakers to work.

The area where the vessel was pushed aground is soft bottom 21 - 23 feet deep and no damage was expected. Draft at her stern was 24.5-feet and 12-feet at the bow, she will undergo a required inspection at the Shell dock in Corunna. Progress is downbound for Port Colborne.

Fleetmate Canadian Enterprise was downbound behind the Progress and stopped near buoys 11 & 12 to wait for traffic to clear and icebreaker escort.


Bramble could have new home: Illinois man works on bid for cutter

1/22 - Port Huron, Mich. - The decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bramble could begin a new life as early as April. Dale Ridder, 59, of Zion, Ill., who took a tour of the ship in October, said Thursday he hopes to submit a bid by the end of the month or early next month.

The Bramble, commissioned in 1944, is owned by the Port Huron Museum, which received the ship after it was decommissioned in 2003. The museum's board of trustees decided in December 2009 to sell the ship.

"I was awed by the condition," Ridder said of the Bramble. "It was almost like the Coast Guard had just decommissioned her. The volunteers have done an absolutely fantastic job. I just can't praise them enough."

Ridder said that, if his effort to buy the Bramble succeeds, he hopes to have the vessel moving by the first week of April. He plans to head to Escanaba to repair the ship and make it ready for civilian service. After the projected repairs are complete, he hopes to go to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific to locate a sunken destroyer, the USS Strong, and a submarine, the USS Grampus, which disappeared in the area in March 1943.

He said the most appealing thing about the Bramble was its size.

"There's plenty of room on that ship," Ridder said. "That's why I'm focusing on her. The Bramble is in marvelous shape. She does need some work on the engine, but she's what I'm looking for."

He said he is planning to use the Bramble as a full-time research ship. One other group has expressed an interest in the ship, but it is trying to raise the money for a bid, said Bob LaFean, of Fair Winds Consulting in Port Huron, during a Bramble crew meeting Thursday.

Expenses for the ship are about $100,000 a year, while income generated by the vessel for the museum's fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 totaled about $38,000. LaFean said the asking price of the ship is $300,000.

Susan Bennett, executive director of the Port Huron Museum, has said that, until a bid is accepted for the ship, public visits to the Bramble will be "business as usual," and events and overnights will continue to be booked on the ship.

Fifty people are expected to stay on the ship this weekend, said Sheila Lindsey, business and tour manager, at the meeting. Bennett said there are 17 overnights booked after April 1, but she is "working on alternatives" should the boat be sold.

Despite the deficit the Bramble produces for the museum, officials want to make sure it will have a good home.

"I don't want anything deteriorating," Juanita Gittings, chairwoman of the Port Huron Museum Board of Trustees, said at the meeting. "I want to be a good steward. ...Whatever we do, we do it respectfully, and we do it the right way."

Ridder said he appreciates the Bramble's history and doesn't anticipate that many changes to the ship would be needed. "I plan on taking very good care of the ship," he said.

Port Huron Times Herald


Port Reports -  January 22

St. Clair River -
The Connecticut-based Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay, assigned to the Great Lakes for the winter, arrived in the St. Clair River Thursday morning to assist with ice breaking efforts. Morro Bay had been working the St. Marys River.

Thursday traffic included the downbound Invincible and McKee Sons, which arrived off Port Huron about 8 a.m. and followed the Mackinaw downbound. Once they reached the river below Russell Island, Neah Bay took over and Mackinaw returned upbound. The tug John Spence and barge were also downbound for Sarnia Thursday morning.

Friday began with the Samuel Risley escorting the Everlast and her barge downbound from Sarnia at 6 a.m. Morro Bay departed her overnight dock in Algonac at 7:45 a.m., heading upbound to assist. Everlast required close escort, becoming stuck multiple times between Algonac and Harsen's Island. The escort continued down Lake St. Clair into the afternoon.

Risley returned upbound to wait in the Cut Off Channel about 6:45 p.m. Mackinaw departed Port Huron, heading upbound for her home dock and ice breaking in the Straits and St. Marys River as needed. The day ended with the Samuel Risley providing a late-night escort of the Algocanada.

Monroe, Mich. - Jim Hoffman
Manistee is wintering in Monroe, Mich. The last time a lake freighter was in layup at Monroe was the American Steamship Co. self-unloader Sharon, which arrived at Monroe during May 1980 and departed April 1986 bound for Toledo to layup at the CSX Dock Frog Pond area. During June 1986 she was sold for scrap and was towed out from Toledo, eventually bound for Brownsville, Texas, along with the Detroit Edison for scrapping. So it’s been 25 years since a lake freighter has last laid up at Monroe, Michigan.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Toledo’s winter layup fleet is as follows: Lakefront Docks: American Mariner, American Fortitude. CSX Coal Docks: American Valor (CSX#1), Kaye E. Barker (CSX#2), Old Interlake Dock: American Republic, Sam Laud. Ironhead Shipyard: CSL Tadoussac in drydock, CSL Niagara, barge Cleveland Rocks, tug Cleveland.


Corey Allen Parker, lake sailor and artist, dies in Cleveland

1/22 - Corey Allen Parker, age 34, of Cleveland, Ohio, passed away on Dec. 30, 2010 at the University Hospital/Cancer Unit in Cleveland. He was born on November 29, 1976 in Cheboygan, Mich., to Don and Loni (Tennant) Parker. He graduated from McBain Public High School in 1995.

Parker had worked on the boats on the Great Lakes to help pay for his education. He studied for one year at New Hope, Pa., one year at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City and two years at Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris University. He graduated with high honors.

He was pursued by the American Greeting Card Company and was hired as an illustrator and doing art design. He worked for them at their Cleveland, Ohio, office for more than 4 1/2 years. His life was surrounded by doing art and photography, and he was known the world over for his artwork.


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.

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.


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.


Light traffic gives icebreaking crews a breather on St. Clair River

1/20 - St. Clair River – Wednesday traffic was slow in the St. Clair River system, as many vessels have tied up for the winter.

Icebreaking got underway for the day about 8 a.m. when Bristol Bay departed Algonac and headed downbound to meet the Calumet, which was upbound on Lake St. Clair. Around the same time, Samuel Risley departed Sarnia heading downbound. Calumet was escorted by the Bristol Bay to the St. Clair Cut Off Channel, then handed off to the Risley. Bristol Bay turned and worked the lower river channels to flush ice into Lake St. Clair.

Calumet passed Russell Island about 12:30 p.m. and had a hard time in the ice. Neah Bay arrived on scene at 2 pm. and took over the Bristol Bay's work in the lower channels, and Bristol Bay headed downbound.

Shortly after 3 p.m., Calumet started moving below Marine City, and was met by the downbound Algocanada. Risley took the Calumet to an area where the ice lightened up above Marine City and turned downbound to assist the Neah Bay with the Algocanada, which appeared to make an easy passage through the ice. Calumet was headed to Sarnia for lay-up.

USCGC Hollyhock returned upbound, heading for her dock in Port Huron. Mackinaw spent the day docked in Port Huron, available if needed. Samuel Risley and Neah Bay ended their day at Algonac about 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday marked the seventh consecutive day of close-escort icebreaking in the lower St. Clair River. Traffic is expected to be light from now on, with Canadian Enterprise schedule to make three salt runs from Windsor, and the occasional tanker passing through. The smaller cutters will likely be called on for breaking in the lower river channels to prevent flooding upriver.

Residents on Harsen's Island were relieved to see that the flood control efforts were limited to the lower river channels, avoiding ice breaking in the North Channel. The ferry connecting the island to the main land has been operating in a track that would be affected if breaking were necessary in the channel.


U.S.-Flag laker cargos up 33.4 percent in 2010

1/20 - U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 88.7 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in 2010, an increase of 33.4 percent over 2009. Shipments were, however, nearly 10 percent off the industry's 5-year average, a fact that reinforces that the U.S. economy has yet to fully recover from the recession.

The largest increase came in iron ore cargos for the steel industry. Shipments in U.S. bottoms totaled 42 million tons, an increase of 75 percent compared to 2009. Again, however, the rebound has to be put in perspective. In 2009 iron ore shipments from ports fell to their lowest level since 1938.

Coal cargos carried in U.S.-flag hulls totaled 21.5 million tons, an increase of 4.1 percent compared to 2009, but fell short of the trades five-year average by almost 13 percent.

Shipments of limestone (aggregate and fluxstone) totaled 20.4 million tons, an increase of 19.6 percent over 2009. However, the 2010 total was nearly 18 below the trade’s five-year average .

Cement cargos slipped by about 80,000 tons. Salt loadings increased by 130,000 tons. Sand cargos dipped slightly, and grain loadings were a virtual repeat of 2009.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  January 20

Detroit, Mich. - Mark Schmidt
Cason J. Callaway unloaded coal at a Rouge River dock on Wednesday. She departed downbound for winter lay-up in Erie, Pa., assisted through Western Lake Erie by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon.

Port Colborne, Ont. - Christopher Wilson
CSL Laurentien arrived in Port Colborne Wednesday to lay up at Wharf 16, Snider’s Coal Dock


Strong finish to 2010 shipping season in Duluth-Superior

1/20 - Duluth, Minn. The 2010 shipping season officially came to a close in the Port of Duluth-Superior Wednesday with the morning arrival of the John G. Munson, the last vessel inbound for winter layup. Altogether, 10 U.S.-flagged vessels that transport dry bulk cargoes across the Great Lakes will winter in the Twin Ports this year. Instead of closing Saturday, Jan. 15, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers kept the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., open through Tuesday to enable companies on the lower Lakes to stockpile more iron ore and coal.

“Industry appreciates how hard Coast Guard icebreakers and local tug operators worked to keep shipping channels open and docks accessible in heavy ice conditions to extend the season,” said Adolph Ojard, executive director, Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

The 2010 shipping season finished strong in the Port of Duluth-Superior, reaching a season-end total of 39.8 million short tons a 28 percent increase compared to tonnage handled during the economically depressed navigation season of 2009. Led by a nearly 80 percent rebound in iron ore shipments for the steel industry, the 2010 season also saw solid performances in limestone, coal and project cargo (i.e. wind turbine components) plus a 68 percent surge in grain shipments as this port helped meet global demand for wheat after crop failures in Russia and its neighboring countries.

"We witnessed a significant recovery in 2010; these numbers are very encouraging,” said Ojard. “The rebound in iron ore shipments and steel-making operations mirrors optimism in other sectors that this country’s economic recovery is gaining strength. Momentum bodes well for an equally strong start to the 2011 navigation season.”

Port of Duluth-Superior 2010 Navigation Season Recap at a Glance
Overall tonnage 39.8 million short tons up 28 percent from last year
Iron Ore up 79 percent from last year to 14.6 million short tons
Grain up 68 percent from this time last year
Coal shipments steady at 18.5 million short tons (compared to 18.4 in 2009)
Other cargoes up 30 percent (led by limestone; also includes cement, salt, stone & project cargo)
12 shiploads of wind turbine components 172,000 freight tons
Vessel visits up 37 percent

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Marquette pellet shipments rose in 2010

1/20 - Marquette, Mich. - With the final ship of the season, the Manitowoc, loaded on Sunday and the official close of the Great Lakes shipping season at the Soo Locks early Thursday, the Marquette Upper Harbor ore dock won't be seeing any more ships until the season opens again in March or April.

According to Cliffs Natural Resources spokesman Dale Hemmila, the number of vessels at the dock was up 42 percent and cargoes were up 37 percent from the 2009-2010 shipping season. Hemmila declined to provide figures on the tonnage of iron ore pellets shipped last year from Marquette.

"If you look at the change in the industry over the last year, it's gotten significantly better," Hemmila said. "It did shape up to be a much better year."

Looking ahead, Hemmila said the coming year looked to be off to a good start.

"I think we're starting off the year similar to the way we ended it - at a pretty good level," he said."

With the reopening of the shipping season usually in March or April, depending on the amount of ice on the lakes, the close of the season is a chance to prepare the ore docks for the start of a new season.

"This is the time of the year when we do a lot of the maintenance on the dock," Hemmila said. "This is important for the dock to get all that work done."

The shipping season this year was extended three days at the request of the Lake Carriers Association, allowing four or five shipping companies involved to make 10-12 extra trips, with a value of $750,000 to $1.5 million per trip.

Mining Journal


West Neebish Channel closure

1/20 - Soo, Mich. - The West Neebish Channel will close for the season at 5 p.m. Thursday. Alternating one-way traffic will be established in the Munuscong and Middle Neebish channels.


Draught information system to increase safety and efficiency of Seaway

1/20 - The St Lawrence Seaway Management and Development Corporations (The St Lawrence Seaway) in cooperation with the shipping industry, are developing a Draught Information System to increase the safety of navigation in the St. Lawrence Seaway by providing the mariner with better information about under-keel clearance.

The primary purpose is to ensure that a safe under-keel clearance is maintained by vessels as they make maximum use of the available water column potentially increasing the efficiency of the seaway. The ship dynamics combined with accurate bathymetry and current water level information allow for a dynamic portrayal of the safety of the ship. This also provides a look-ahead capability that will assist in safe navigation. Using a Draught Information System a mariner has a better understanding of what the safe limits are to navigation.

An implementation specification is being developed following the procedures defined for the public standards development process. The Draught Information System is currently being put out for public comment. Future stages of this work may process this specification through the national standards system of Canada and the USA.

Click here for details the comment period closes 17 February 2011.


Updates -  January 20

Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 20

20 January 1980 - The E. M. FORD (406 foot, 4,498 gross tons, built in 1898, at Lorain, Ohio as a bulk freighter, converted to self-unloading bulk cement carrier in 1956, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) was raised at her dock in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She sank on Christmas Eve of 1979, when gale force winds forced her from her moorings and repeatedly slammed her bow into the dock facing. Crews had to remove a solid 3 feet of hardened cement and patch her holed bow before she could be re-floated. 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 tons, 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.


Soo Locks close for season with McKee Sons passage

1/19 - Mckee Sons and tug Invincible were the last Great Lakes vessels to transit the Soo Locks, ending the shipping season as they entered the Poe Lock about 3 a.m. Wednesday morning. The locks were supposed to close at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, but the time was delayed in order for the McKee Sons to lock down. The last ship through the locks upbound was John G. Munson, passing through Monday at 3:30 p.m.

Jerry Masson


Ice still clogging traffic in St. Clair River

1/19 - St. Clair River – Vessel restrictions remain in place on the St. Clair River because of ice. Lt. Justin Westmiller, spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard's Detroit station, said ships traveling the river will need an escort between Marine City and Lake St. Clair indefinitely.

The restriction was put in place last week and had been expected to be lifted after the weekend. Westmiller said ice remains heavy and U.S. Coast Guard ships -- Mackinaw, Neah Bay and Bristol Bay -- are working to keep commercial ships from getting stuck. The Canadian Coast Guard's Samuel Risley also is in the river.

"Almost daily, ships get stuck at one point or another," Westmiller said.

Champion's Auto Ferry, which travels between mainland Clay Township and Harsens Island, continues to run on schedule. The Bluewater Ferry, which runs between Marine City and Sombra, Ontario, and the Walpole Island-Algonac Ferry were closed Monday evening, according to recordings on their answering machines.

Bob Bryson, owner of Champion's, said his ferry is running thanks to a path that has been cut through the ice. The ferry has been able to make its routine 60 trips daily with few problems, he said.

At this point, the biggest threat to his service is the Coast Guard.

An ice dam has formed north of Russell Island and could cause flooding, Westmiller said. To break it up, the Coast Guard needs to break ice in the North Channel so water can drain into Lake St. Clair. Doing that would cause ice to flow into the path Bryson has cleared.

Westmiller said there are no immediate plans to go into the North Channel. But, he said, that could change on short notice.

Bryson said his backup transportation to Harsens Island -- an airboat -- is being repaired and won't be available until next week.

"The whole issue is if they bring that ice cutter down or not," he said. "The ferry would shut down."

Port Huron Times Herald


Cutters continued to escort traffic Tuesday on St. Clair River

1/19 - Tuesday began with Canadian Enterprise upbound on Lake St. Clair, with the Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley awaiting its arrival in the lower St. Clair River. The U.S. Coast Guard's Mackinaw, Neah Bay and Bristol Bay had stopped for the night off Algonac, Mich.

Enterprise passed upbound under escort and reached Marine City at 2:15 a.m. She continued upbound while the Risley stopped to wait for the downbound Presque Isle. Presque Isle arrived off Marine City at 7 a.m. and was assisted by the Risley before becoming stopped in the ice off Algonac at 7:30 a.m. About 8:15 a.m. the U.S. icebreakers left their berths and joined in the effort.

Mackinaw headed down into the lower river to break a track while the Neah and Bristol Bay assisted the Risley. At 10 a.m., Presque Isle cleared the Cut Off Channel while the Mackinaw was breaking ice near Marine City and the Bay class tugs were breaking in the South and Cut Off channels.

Risley continued downbound to meet the tug Everlast and Norman McLeod upbound on Lake St. Clair, followed by Algoeast. Both vessel required close escort by the Risley, Mackinaw and Bristol Bay. They cleared Marine City about 3:30 p.m.

Mackinaw worked the lower river with track maintenance until required to escort the upbound CSL Assiniboine, the escort began off Harsen's Island about 8 p.m. At 10 p.m. the solo escort by the Mackinaw continued off Algonac with slow progress. Once clear of the ice the Mackinaw continued upbound and was expected to dock in Port Huron at the Bean Dock for the night. Risley had returned to Sarnia after a stop at the Lambton Coal Dock.

Neah Bay departed down Tuesday afternoon, tying up in Detroit at 2 p.m. Bristol Bay stopped at Algonac about 4 p.m.

On Lake Erie, the Griffon and USCGC Hollyhock kept busy with escorts on the west end of the lake. Hollyhock returned upbound escorting the Assiniboine and ended the escort at Windsor, Ont. where they would remain for the night.


Port Reports -  January 19

Twin Ports - Al Miller
John G. Munson was expected to enter Superior Harbor through Superior Entry on Wednesday and proceed up the Front Channel to lay up at the Duluth Port Terminal. Arriving over the weekend for layup were Roger Blough at the port terminal, American Century at Garfield D, American Integrity at Elevator M and James R. Barker at Midwest Energy Terminal. Previously in port were American Spirit at Lakehead Pipeline dock and H. Lee White in Fraser Shipyards drydock. Also at Fraser are Edward L. Ryerson, American Victory and Adam E. Cornelius, all in long-term layup.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Tuesday was another busy day with layup arrivals at Bay Shipbuilding. Early morning saw the Saginaw inbound from the lake. Once Saginaw was in her berth, Selvick tugs were busy most of the morning positioning Walter J. McCarthy Jr. in "footer row" next to the Indiana Harbor and Edwin H. Gott. Once they were positioned, Paul R. Tregurtha entered the yard from the lake side, where she had been idle below the Ogden Street Bridge most of the morning. Then, from the Bay of Green Bay, Herbert C. Jackson was downbound, backing down to the north limits of the yard until the Tregurtha was in place. The tug Erica Kosbasic assisted the Jackson in the ice.

Vessels at Bay Ship as of Jan. 18 were as follows: Gott, Indiana Harbor and McCarthy at berth 15; Saginaw at berth 9; Mesabi Miner and Paul R. Tregurtha berthed out on the face; American Courage at berth 3 and John J. Boland at berth 2. There was a tug in the small graving dock and Pineglen was in the large graving dock.

Detroit, Mich. - Mark Schmidt
Charles M. Beeghly entered lay-up in Nicholson's slip Tuesday afternoon. Mississagi departed the slip at 1:30 p.m. after unloading; she is on the short salt shuttle run from Ojibway Salt across the river. Lee A. Tregurtha was anchored in the Belle Isle anchorage and departed once the Mississagi was clear. She headed the short distance down river and turned to back into the Nicholson's slip for lay-up behind fleet mate Charles M. Beeghly.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The 767-foot Cason J. Callaway slipped through broken ice late Tuesday morning, crossing Sandusky Bay and arriving alongside the Norfolk Southern coal dock. The Great Lakes fleet vessel was aided by the tug Manitou. The Callaway was expected to depart for Detroit early Wednesday.


Canal blasts force museum to adjust hours

1/19 - St. Catharines, Ont. - St. Catharines museum-goers had to dodge the odd explosion this week when planning their visits.

The Lock 3 complex shortened hours Tuesday and today as a safety precaution to allow a demolition crew to blast old concrete away from the 75-year-old lock wall during a major winter overhaul. The museum's hours were also cut back Monday during blasting.

"It's only temporary," museum curator Kathleen Powell said. "I think having it around lunch time and at the end of the day is the least amount of disruption."

The museum will be closed today between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. It will close an hour early at 4 p.m.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. will carry out controlled explosions during those times to break off concrete up to a metre thick on the wall of Lock 3. Traffic on Government Road was also stopped temporarily on either side of the museum during the explosions.

The Seaway has hired demolition experts to carry out the work.

St. Catharines Standard


Seaway Ship Enthusiasts is Eastern Ontario's new ship fan group

1/19 - Seaway Ship Enthusiasts is a newly formed group of ship and Seaway fans based at the Brockville Museum, Brockville, Ont. Given Brockville's location on the St. Lawrence and the number of area residents who spend countless hours not only watching the ships on the river, but also who watched the building of the Seaway, it was felt that there would be enough interest establish regular meetings. Some trial meetings were held in 2010 and the support was great enough to continue on a regular basis.

The Brockville Museum will incorporate the group as part of its regular programming and provided space to meet. The format is informal with participation and the sharing of stories, information, and images encouraged.

Seaway Ship Enthusiasts meets every third Thursday from September to May at 7 p.m. in the Carriage Hall of the Brockville Museum. The next meetings are Jan. 20, Mar. 17, and May 19. The Jan. 20 program will feature the slides of the late Laurence Scott, images dating from the 1960s and 1970s of shipping on the upper St. Lawrence.

Cost is $3.50 per person, for more information contact Viktor Kaczkowski


Updates -  January 19

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 19

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

The DAVID M. WHITNEY (steel propeller freighter, 412 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.


Cutter crews back to work after good night's rest

1/18 - St. Clair River – No traffic in the area gave the icebreaker crews assigned to the lower St. Clair River a chance to rest from several days of near-continuous icebreaking. Late Sunday night into early Monday morning, Mackinaw remained at the Recor Edison Coal Dock, Samuel Risley and Neah Bay were off Algonac and Bristol Bay was at her base in Detroit.

Calumet was the first downbound traffic, arriving at Port Huron at 7 a.m. loaded for Cleveland. At 7:30 a.m. the Risley, Bristol Bay and Mackinaw got underway, with Risley and Mackinaw making a pass up and down the river then waiting for Calumet. Neah Bay headed downbound to work the lower channels and flush ice into Lake St. Clair.

Calumet fell in behind the Mackinaw off Marine City about 9 a.m. and became stuck about 9:40 a.m. off Robert's Landing. Mackinaw and Risley worked the Calumet while the Bristol Bay arrived upbound to work with the Neah Bay.

By 11:30 a.m. the Calumet was off Harsen's Island and the Mackinaw turned upbound and later stopped above Marine City, while the Risley escorted the Calumet across Lake St. Clair and stopped to resupply in Windsor.

At 5:30 p.m. the Charles M. Beeghly passed the Mackinaw downbound to be escorted by only the Bristol Bay; she appeared to transit the river without issue. Next downbound was the Lee A. Tregurtha, which fell in behind the Mackinaw about 7:10 p.m. above Marine City.

CSL Laurentien was following behind the Lee A., passing Marine City about 8:30 p.m. Lee A. Tregurtha reached the Cut Off Channel downbound at 9 p.m. and passed the upbound Samuel Risley.

On Lake Erie Monday both the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon were providing ice escort. Hollyhock escorted the Mississagi out of Toledo to the Detroit River and then took the CSL Niagara into Toledo, where she will be laying up at the shipyard. Griffon has been working western Lake Erie and returned to her Amherstburg base Monday night.


Port Reports -  January 18

St. Marys River - Jerry Masson
On a cold, snowy day at the Soo, John G. Munson locked upbound, clearing the upper piers at 3:40 p.m., heading for lay-up. At 11 p.m. Monday, she was at anchor in Whitefish Bay, waiting for weather.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Jeff Birch
As the season rapidly winds down, the layup fleet began arriving in earnest at Bay Shipbuilding. On Saturday, the John J. Boland arrived, and on Sunday the Mesabi Miner and Indiana Harbor arrived, the latter via the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
St. Clair arrived Monday for winter lay-up. She is moored across from the Burns Harbor in the inner harbor.


Freighter arrival at Erie for winter layup delayed

1/18 - Erie, Pa. – Good news for fishermen, bad news for ship watchers. Presque Isle Bay ice fishermen had a little more time to catch their limit of perch on Presque Isle Bay given that the arrival of the Edgar B. Speer was been delayed to 5 p.m. Monday, at the earliest.

After being slowed by mechanical problems and weather, the Great Lakes freighter left Conneaut, Ohio at about 10 a.m. Monday morning, according to D. Tod Eagleton, dock operations supervisor for Carmeuse Lime & Stone, Erie Sand & Gravel Operations.

The Speer was expected to shatter ice on the east end of the bay when it enters the Presque Isle channel, creating potentially unsafe conditions on the ice, as the freighter makes its way to a slip at the foot of Holland Street.

The Speer is arriving empty and will dock at Erie Sand & Gravel for winter repairs, Eagleton said.

Two other freighters are due in Erie later this week. Presque Isle is expected at Erie Sand & Gravel on Wednesday. Cason J. Callaway should dock at the slip beside DonJon Shipbuilding & Repair on Wednesday or Thursday.

Erie Times-News


Shipping lane sees greater influx of cargo shipments

1/18 - Superior, Wis. – St. Lawrence Seaway traffic — the link that connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean — rebounded last year. It may signal economic recovery while helping Wisconsin farmers.

Farmers from the nation’s breadbasket helped feed the people of Europe and Africa after drought forced Russia and the Ukraine to end or cut back grain exports last summer.

Cal Dalton, in Pardeeville just north of Madison, was one of those farmers. He says he’s been busy. “Not only with the harvest, which was excellent, but also because we have bins, we are moving grain to export terminals,” he explains.

Two-thirds of Wisconsin’s grain goes down the Mississippi, but the rest is shipped through the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Dan Sydow with Daniel’s Shipping Services in Duluth says 2010 saw a rebound, but it’s still below the 10-year average.

“Because last year was one of the worst in like 40 years, anything above that you’re happy to get,” says Sydow. “So because we had a bit of an improvement above that, we’re kind of falsely happy.”

Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson says along with grain exports up 10-percent, all cargo increased 15-percent in 2010.

“What that’s about is the recovery of the economy. The Seaway’s kind of a bellwether for predicting the economy. We tend to be ahead of the curve on the upside and ahead of the curve on the downside so that’s good news.”

Johnson notes that flooding in Australia means U.S. farmers will have to pick up the slack next year.

“If you look at grain futures, the flooding in Australia seems to be pricing the market,” says Johnson. “So it very well could be a situation where it could be two good years in a row for American grain farmers.”

The St. Lawrence Seaway closed Dec. 29 and will reopen in late March.

Superior Telegram


Opening remains for maritime museum boat building class

1/18 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Aspiring boat builders have an opportunity to gain first-hand skills in the age-old craft when the Door County Maritime Museum’s annual boat building class gets underway Jan. 29. One opening remains for this basic-intermediate level class. Class enrollment is limited to 5 students to enhance the learning experience and ensure each student gets maximum hands-on experience in all facets of the construction process. Classes are held each Saturday through June.

The boat being constructed this year is a 12-foot Pooduck Skiff. This Joel White-designed sailing dingy features lapstrake construction with elegant lines. Often called a “big little” boat, the design is renowned for excellent rowing and sailing ability, easy construction, and mannerly towing habits. The dinghy may be viewed on the Wooden Boat publications website at As in years past, the finished boat will be raffled as the grand

Tuition for museum members is $300 and guest tuition is $375. For additional information or to enroll for the class, call the Maritime Museum at 920-743-5958.


Updates -  January 18

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 18

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

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

The MONDOC had her Canadian registry closed on January 18, 1979. The vessel had been renamed b) CORAH ANN and sold to Jamaican company. CORAH ANN was scrapped in 2003.

The National Steamship Co. was incorporated January 18, 1906.

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

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


St. Clair river ice eases, traffic light

1/17 - St. Clair River – By Sunday afternoon, traffic was moving through the St. Clair River despite troublesome brash ice and thanks to the assistance of Coast Guard cutters from both sides of the border.

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw joined the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley Sunday morning about 8 a.m., working to free the Herbert C. Jackson near Willow Point, where she had been stopped by ice at 12:30 a.m. Philip R. Clarke caught up with the Jackson about 1 a.m., stopping above Russell Island. Risley and Jackson were only able to move a few hundred feet and stopped for the night about 2 a.m.

As the Mackinaw and Risley assisted the Jackson and Clarke Sunday morning, Neah Bay and Bristol Bay worked the South and Cut Off Channels of the lower river in an effort to flush ice into Lake St. Clair. By 10:30 a.m. the Jackson started moving and reached the Salt Dock at 11 a.m. behind the Risley; the Risley then turned downbound.

The Clarke started moving thanks to close escort by the Mackinaw and Risley, and was underway upbound about noon. Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were able to proceed downbound behind the Samuel Risley.

Once they cleared, Mackinaw returned to St. Clair, docking at the Recor Edison Coal Dock to pick up passengers at 3 p.m. With no traffic in the river they tied up for the rest of the day.

Risley took up escort of the downbound Canadian Enterprise, which made it through the lower river without incident. Enterprise was heading to Windsor to load salt and was expecting to make several more trips. Risley handed off the Enterprise escort to the Bristol Bay below Russell Island with the Bristol Bay returning to her base in Detroit.

After several days of hard work it looked like the cutters would get a good night's rest, with no traffic expected. The majority of boats passing through the area were heading to winter lay-up. Two vessels are expected late Monday and will require an ice escort: CSL Laurentien cleared Detour, Mich. downbound at 10:45 p.m. Sunday heading for Nanticoke. Following about and hour behind was Charles M. Beeghly heading for Detroit.


Port Reports -  January 17

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Manitowoc arrived at the Upper Harbor Sunday afternoon to load ore. She was expected to be the last ore boat of the season. Paul R. Tregurtha unloaded the last coal cargo of the season on Saturday.

St. Marys River - Jerry Masson
The downbound Calumet was stuck in the Rock Cut Sunday morning, with USCG Biscayne Bay and Katmai Bay breaking her free before noon. Arthur M. Anderson was at the locks waiting for the Calumet to clear, however she eventually passed downbound through the east Neebish (upbound) channel. Sunday downbound traffic also included CSL Laurentien, Charles M. Beeghly, Paul R. Tregurtha (downbound in Soo Harbor 4:10 p.m.) and Presque Isle. Upbound was American Integrity.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Gerry Banks and Wendell Wilke
Mesabi Miner, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Indiana Harbor have arrived for winter layup. Mesabi Miner was backing into Sturgeon Bay Sunday afternoon assisted by two Selvick tugs. John J. Boland entered Sturgeon Bay Sunday morning with the tug Jimmy L standing by to assist.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Scott Sullivan and John N. Vogel
Burns Harbor backed in Friday evening, heading for her usual winter berthing spot. On Sunday at 10:30 a.m., Stewart J. Cort came into port and berthed at her usual location at the Heavy Lift Dock. Cort and Burns Harbor lay up in Milwaukee every winter. Lafarge's tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity are also wintering in port.


Join the Weekly Updates List

1/17 - We have a new mail server Online and have updated our Weekly Updates mailing. The Weekly Updates mailing is a low volume e-mail sent on Monday's when the weekly websites updates are added.  You  only receive updates for the Boatnerd sites (no spam and your e-mail address will not be sold) and members also receive previews of new content and special non-public pages. Please enter your e-mail address below to join. If you were a member of the previous list you will need to resubscribe to continue receiving.

Your e-mail:                                            


Updates -  January 17

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery including HD video of the St. Clair River ice
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the J.B. Ford, Pinedale and Fort Henry features
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated
New Video on our YouTube Channel


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 17

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.



Ice still causing St. Clair River delays; plenty of assistance available

1/16 - St. Clair River – 4 p.m. update - Traffic is again moving through the river. The Jackson was freed before noon and the Clarke passed upbound without incident. Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder followed by the Canadian Enterprise passed downbound under escort without becoming stuck.

10 a.m. update - Herbert C. Jackson reached the lower river just after midnight and passed upbound behind the Risley without delay until they reached Willow Point where they were stopped by the ice at 12:30 a.m. The Clarke had caught up about 1 a.m., stopping above Russell Island. Risley and Jackson were only able to move a few hundred feet and stopped for the night about 2 a.m.

Efforts resumed at  8 a.m. with the U.S. Coast Guard cutters departing Algonac. Mackinaw joined the Risley to work in freeing the Jackson while the Neah Bay and Bristol Bay worked the lower river in an effort to flush ice into Lake St. Clair. By 10:30 a.m. the Jackson started moving and reached the Salt Dock at 11 a.m. behind the Risley.

The Philip R. Clarke is waiting to pass upbound, Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder downbound and the Canadian Enterprise will reach the area downbound Sunday afternoon.

Original report - Work in the lower river carried over from Friday, with Samuel Risley working until just after midnight assisting the downbound Edgar B. Speer. Risley returned upbound, stopping between boats below Marine City, at about 1:30 a.m.

Mississagi and Philip R. Clarke arrived downbound at Marine City at 4:40 a.m. Philip R. Clarke fell in behind the Risley and the ice escort was underway. Mississagi quickly became stuck off Algonac, so Risley continued the escort of the Clarke to the Cut Off Channel before turning upbound to work with the Mississagi. About 7 a.m. they were making slow progress through the ice, and the Cason J. Callaway had arrived downbound falling in behind the Mississagi. The Callaway became stuck off Algonac.

8 a.m. the Mississagi was clearing the Cut Off Channel behind the Risley with the American Integrity upbound stopping at the end of the channel with the Risley. The US. Coast Guard cutters Bristol Bay and Neah Bay started operations for the day leaving the dock at Algonac and heading to assist the Callaway.

USCG Mackinaw arrived on scene at 9 a.m. and went to working to free the Callaway. Callaway had a very difficult time in the ice and slugged it out under close escort by the three cutters. By noon the distance covered was minimal and traffic was stacking up. CSL Niagara and Kaye E. Barker arrived downbound and stopped in the ice off the Marine City salt dock.

While the US cutters worked the downbound Callaway, the Risley began to move upbound with the 1000-foot American Integrity. Thousand footers have high horsepower but their cylindrical bows tend to push the brash ice when passing upbound against the current, causing it to pile up. In addition, their long length can make turning difficult in a tight, ice filled channel.

Integrity passed slowly up the Cut Off Channel while the Risley went upbound. Mackinaw escorted the Callaway downbound, where they passed the Integrity off Harsens Island. Callaway reached Lake St. Clair about 3 p.m., eight long hours after she had first become stuck.

Integrity passed upbound under close escort, having trouble from Algonac to the Salt Dock. She was clear about 4:45 p.m. following the Risley up the St. Clair River.

Neah Bay tied up at Algonac while the Bristol Bay and Mackinaw turned their attention to the waiting CSL Niagara and Kaye E. Barker. The Niagara appeared to have a relatively easy passage with the track left by the Integrity, entering Lake St. Clair about 6:20 p.m. Her passage through the ice took about one and a half hours compared to the Callaway's eight hours.

The upbound Risley picked up the Walter J. McCarty Jr. who had departed the St. Clair Coal dock and escorted the McCarthy and Integrity all the up to the Huron Cut in lower Lake Huron. About 7:30 Risley turned and headed back down to assist in the lower river. Kaye E. Barker had started down bound behind the CSL Niagara shortly before 5 p.m. but even under close escort with the Mackinaw and Bristol Bay the Barker was slugging it out through the ice. At 7:30 p.m. they were able to maintain their speed behind the Mackinaw and reached Lake St. Clair about 8:30 p.m.

A tough day of icebreaking looked to end with a lull in traffic with the Herbert C. Jackson in the area, upbound at Belle Isle at 8:45 p.m., followed a short time later by the Philip R. Clarke. Mackinaw and the Bay-class cutters stopped in the North Channel at Algonac while the Risley returned and waited off Russell Island for the upbound boats.


Port Reports -  January 16

Menominee, Mich. - Scott Best
Saturday around 11 a.m. the Erika Kobasic and tug Victory, with her barge James L Kuber, arrived off Menominee. The Kobasic first broke up a turning basin off the Menominee breakwall and then broke up the river to allow the Victory to back in stern first to its winter layup dock in Menominee. After a long day working in the ice and assisting in docking the Kuber, the Kobasic headed back up the bay to Escanaba.

Milwaukee, Wis. - John N. Vogel
Burns Harbor arrived in Milwaukee sometime in the last 24 hours and is now at its winter berth at the south end of the inner harbor.


Updates -  January 16

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards 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, at Brownsville, Texas, for scrapping, 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 tender’s 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.


Ice breaking marathon continues in St. Clair River; Mackinaw on the way

1/15 - St. Clair, Mich. – Vessel traffic slowed Friday, giving icebreakers in the St. Clair River a rest. Early Friday morning, Bristol Bay returned for the night to its Detroit base, Neah Bay stopped at Algonac and Samuel Risley spent the morning returning upbound to Sarnia. Risley made a brief stop and then took up escort of the downbound Sam Laud about 7 a.m.

The upbound Saginaw transited Lake St. Clair without escort and stopped about 9 a.m. in the St. Clair Cut Off Channel to wait for the Risley and Laud to clear. Laud required close escort in the lower river off Algonac, and was picking up speed heading into the Cut Off Channel about 10:30 a.m. The Risley turned and escorted the upbound Saginaw, an escort that required breaking all the way up to Marine City, ending at 1:30.

Risley turned and stopped below Marine City waiting for the downbound Edgar B. Speer to arrive. Bristol Bay returned to the lower river about 6 p.m. and tied up at Algonac with Neah Bay.

Risley got back under way about 7 p.m. and conducted track maintenance until meeting the Speer in the lower river at 8:30 p.m. It was slow going off of Algonac and the close escort continued through the night with the pair finally reaching Lake St. Clair at midnight. The Speer is headed to Conneaut, Ohio, to unload and the Samuel Risley turned and headed upbound.

"It's quite tough," said Andy Maillet, operations supervisor for the Canadian Coast Guard's central and arctic region.

The ice jam, which began earlier this week when ice drifting down from Lake Huron began crashing against the frozen surface of Lake St. Clair backed up past Port Lambton, has shut down the Bluewater Ferry at Sombra since Wednesday evening.

"That happens and we're used to it," said owner Lowell Dalgety. "Every year you hope it doesn't happen again but it always does and we live with it." The ferry can go through floating ice but can't break a path when the river surface is solid, he said.

The bulk of it was carried down the St. Clair River on Tuesday, he said, and an ice bridge formed just north of the Blue Water Bridge. "That sort of stopped the ice from entering the river so that we've been able to work on the river for the last two days," he said, adding, "We hope to get ahead of any accumulations down there."

The U.S. cutter Mackinaw was expected to help break up the jam on Saturday and continue moving traffic through, Maillet said.

The CCGS Griffon is helping vessels contend with worsening conditions in Lake Erie. Meanwhile, officers are keeping tabs on the weather, with southerly winds expected that could dislodge heavy ice piling along the lake shoreline.

"Southerly winds may push that off and when the winds come around back to the north it may push some heavy stuff into the river," Maillet said. "It's just something we'll have to watch out for."

Officials are also hoping the snow holds off, he said. "It just makes it thicker, sticky and tougher to grind through."

BoatNerd and The Sarnia Observer

If you head to the river this weekend please send pictures of the ice breaking to


Erie Pa Lay-up

1/15 - Erie, Pa. – Edgar B. Speer is scheduled to arrive Sunday for winter lay-up. Presque Isle and the Cason J. Callaway are due to arrive in the bay on Wednesday, said Tod Eagleton, dock operations supervisor at Erie Sand & Gravel.

The Speer is scheduled to dock at a slip at the foot of Holland Street, Eagleton said. Presque Isle will dock at the Erie Sand & Gravel terminal, and the Callaway will dock at a slip near DonJon Shipbuilding & Repair.

Erie Times-News


Sunken tug leads to law suit

1/15 - Cheboygan, Mich. – Charges have been filed related to an oil slick that briefly closed a stretch of state park beach in Cheboygan this past October. Scotland Stivers, of Superior Wis., turned himself in Thursday and has been released on bond.

Stivers owns two tug boats and one ferry that were moored in Lake Huron's Duncan Bay. One tug, the Jenny Lynn, sank last summer. The two others ran aground in fall windstorms, and authorities allege that one leaked enough used oil to put a 5-by-300 yard sheen on Duncan Bay.

Stivers is charged with three misdemeanors and one felony. A pre-trial conference is set for early next month in Cheboygan County Court.

Up North Live


Port Reports -  January 15

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessel loading in the Twin Ports is winding down in the final days of the season on Lake Superior. James R. Barker was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal on Friday morning for its last load to Taconite Harbor before returning to the dock this weekend to lay-up. Presque Isle was expected in Duluth on Friday to load at the DMIR/CN ore dock with pellets for Detroit. Roger Blough was expected to arrive in the evening to lay-up at the Duluth port terminal. In the lay-up fleet, American Spirit arrived earlier in the week to tie up at the Enbridge Energy dock in Superior. John G. Munson is expected to arrive Tuesday to winter at the Duluth port terminal.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Friday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Manitowoc and Charles M. Beeghly were secured at the ore dock waiting to load. These vessels might be the last ore boats of the season, weather and ice dependent.


No toll increase for St. Lawrence Seaway in 2011

1/15 - The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation has announced that there will not be a toll increase in 2011. The decision to extend the toll freeze was made in an effort to maintain the momentum underlying the Seaway’s market development initiatives.

A 15.46 percent increase in tonnage during the 2010 navigation season testifies to a rebound in activity, following a difficult 2009 season, said a Seaway official, with the effectiveness of the SLSMC’s business development initiatives evident with over a million tonnes of new business passing through the system in 2010.

“Given the recuperation of the economy, an extra year with no toll increase will assist our stakeholders in their efforts to develop new business and will serve to reinforce the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System’s position as the gateway to North America’s heartland” said Bruce Hodgson, Director of Market Development for the SLSMC.

Recently appointed SLSMC President and CEO Terence Bowles voiced his support for the toll freeze. “We are striving to reduce the cost and complexity of the system and attract new cargo,” said Bowles. “The extension of the toll freeze, coupled with various incentive programs, represents tangible steps toward meeting these objectives.”

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation


Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society Society changes structure

1/15 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society has announced a change in its structure, mode of operation and leadership responsibilities.

In recognition of the essentially seasonal nature of the Shipwreck Society’s business operations, the Board of Directors has elected to re-focus its efforts to a more seasonal role. Part of this shift will involve elimination of the year-round Executive Director’s position, held for many years by Society founder and underwater explorer Tom Farnquist. Farnquist will remain with the GLSHS in a Director Emeritus capacity.

Farnquist is recognized as the inspirational leader and founder of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society established in 1978. Before Farnquist founded the Shipwreck Society, the historic light station at Whitefish Point was deteriorating.

Farnquist transformed that site into the maritime heritage center it is today. Working with an all-volunteer board of directors he systematically restored the interiors and exteriors of the historic 1861 lighthouse and keepers quarters, the 1923 Coast Guard crew quarters, lookout tower and boathouse. He also initiated measures to help protect the surrounding dunes environment and created a museum dedicated to the sailors and shipwrecks that perished on Lake Superiors Shipwreck Coast.

With several projects underway, Farnquist also continued shipwreck research exploration. He organized and directed three separate expeditions to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, most notably the 1995 recovery of the ship’s bell.

In recent years, Farnquist acquired and restored the historic U.S. Weather Service Building at the Sault Locks. That building is now the headquarters for the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, containing museum exhibits and a museum store.

“We look forward to Tom’s continued and ongoing involvement in the activities of the Society; as our founder and in many ways our inspiration, we honor him,” said James Spurr, a volunteer and President of the Shipwreck Society. “Tom’s new title of Director Emeritus will allow for guidance with the Shipwreck Society and continued pursuit of his passions for underwater cultural history and related maritime history.”

Soo Evening News


Updates -  January 15

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 15

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


Coast Guard restricts vessel traffic in St. Clair River

1/14 - St. Clair, Mich. - The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard have restricted vessel traffic to one-way passage with escort until Monday in the St. Clair River from Marine City to Lake St. Clair due to heavy ice throughout the St. Clair River system.

U.S. Coast Guard cutters Neah and Bristol Bay, along with Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley, are conducting icebreaking operations to safely escort vessels through the river system. Vessels getting assistance Thursday were Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation, Invincible and barge McKee Sons, American Mariner, Herbert C. Jackson, Algoeast and Manistee.

The restriction officially began Thursday at 6 p.m. but downbound traffic stopped above Algonac about 3 p.m. as the Invincible and barge McKee Sons were upbound. McKee Sons had trouble off Algonac and required close escort by the Bristol Bay, Neah Bay and Samuel Risley.

Late Thursday night the downbound convoy was moving with the Algoeast having a relatively easy time in the ice and downbound on Lake St. Clair escorted by the Bristol Bay. The Herbert C. Jackson and Manistee had slower going in the ice off Algonac assisted by the Risley and Neah Bay.

The USCG Mackinaw has been reassigned to work the area from the Soo. She departed the Soo Friday afternoon. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Griffon was working Lake Erie off Sandusky, Ohio. late Thursday.


Shipping season extended because of demand

1/14 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Ice or no ice, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is extending the lakes shipping season three days, due to an increased demand for more cargo. Instead of closing Saturday night at midnight, the locks at Sault St. Marie, Mich., will keep operating until midnight Tuesday.

Lake Carriers Association Vice-President Glenn Neckvasil says companies want to stockpile more iron ore and coal.

“Steel mills are operating at very high rates. They need a couple more cargoes to make sure they get through the winter,” he explained.

To help extend the season through thick ice, Neckvasil says the Coast Guard has ordered the icebreaker Morro Bay from the East Coast to the upper Great Lakes. “Because the ice is getting pretty significant out there we need every icebreaker we have,” he explained. “So we appreciate that vessel being transferred to the lakes. All icebreakers are working hard right now and we appreciate what the crews are doing.”

Duluth Seaway Port Authority Marketing Director Ron Johnson acknowledged that’s a good sign that the economy is recovering.

“The inventories in both coal and iron ore pellets are such that the companies buying the material need that extra run in there and the carriers are going to accommodate them,” Johnson said.



Guard icebreaking fleet works hard to maintain commerce

1/14 - Cleveland, Ohio - As frigid winter weather continues to assault the nation, U.S. Coast Guardsmen are braving the elements and working hard aboard Great Lakes icebreakers, where they remain ready for maritime emergencies and ready to clear waterways for commerce.

Every year, icebreakers throughout the Great Lakes facilitate the safe transport of cargo with an average total economic value of more than $2 billion.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved a request by the shipping industry to extend lock operations at Sault Ste. Marie beyond the scheduled closure date of Jan. 15 to midnight on Jan. 18 due to late season demand for iron ore and coal resulting from improved economic conditions. Coast Guard icebreaker crews will continue to lead the way and clear channels to get those vessels to their destination ports so they can deliver their cargo.

Nine U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers and two Canadian coast guard icebreakers have been engaged in Operations Coal Shovel and Taconite, the two largest domestic ice breaking operations, since early December.

The Coast Guard conducts domestic ice breaking operations for four basic purposes: search and rescue, urgent response to vessels, exigent community service requests, and the facilitation of navigation to meet the reasonable demands of commerce. Exigent community service requests include flood control and opening channels to icebound communities or breaking ice for the ferries that serve them in order to ensure critical supplies of food or heating oil or access to medical assistance is maintained.

Operations Taconite and Coal Shovel ensure the most efficient movement of vessels through the entire Great Lakes region. Based on ice conditions, assets are dedicated to specific areas in coordination with our international partners and commercial ice breaking services.

Every Ninth Coast Guard District icebreaker crew is busy breaking ice and freeing vessels. They are:
Cutter Mackinaw, a 240-foot seagoing buoy tender/icebreaker homeported in Cheboygan, Mich.,
Cutter Biscayne Bay, a 140-foot ice breaking tug homeported in St. Ignace, Mich.,
Cutter Bristol Bay, a 140-foot ice breaking tug homeported in Detroit,
Cutter Katmai Bay, a 140-foot ice breaking tug homeported in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.,
Cutter Mobile Bay, a 140-foot ice breaking tug homeported in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.,
Cutter Neah Bay, a 140-foot ice breaking tug homeported in Cleveland,
Cutter Alder, a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender homeported in Duluth, Minn.,
Cutter Hollyhock, a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender homeported in Port Huron, Mich.
An additional icebreaker from the First Coast Guard District has been temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes region. The crew of Cutter Morro Bay, a 140-foot ice breaking tug homeported in New London, Conn., will augment the other Coast Guard icebreakers operating throughout the season.

Maintaining a 1,500-mile international border with Canada requires special collaboration to keep shared waterways safe, secure and clear. As such, Canadian coast guard ships Samuel Risley and Griffon are working with U.S. crews to accomplish operations Taconite and Coal Shovel.

U.S. Coast Guard


Port Reports -  January 14

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Thursday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Kaye E. Barker loaded ore, and fleet mates Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder arrived to load. The local paper reports that the Barker is due back Monday for the last ore load of season, weather and ice dependent. Midwest Energy reports that Paul R. Tregurtha will deliver the last coal cargo of the season late Friday evening.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
American Republic arrived at the old Interlake Iron Dock just north of the shipyard for winter lay-up on Thursday afternoon.


Coast Guard announces channel closure

1/14 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Captain of the Port Sault Ste Marie will close the waters between Cheboygan Michigan and Bois Blanc Island Michigan known as South Channel, 10 a.m. Thursday.


Coast Guard to break ice near Monroe, Mich.

1/14 - Detroit, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard is advising that ice breaking operations are scheduled to be conducted Friday afternoon in advance of the arrival of a coal delivery to Monroe Harbor.


Seaway tonnage rebounds in 2010

1/14 - Cornwall, Ont. – The St. Lawrence Seaway experienced a rebound in activity over the course of the 2010 navigation season, with a 15 percent increase in cargo volume yielding an estimated total of 35.5 million tonnes. Shipments of iron ore posted a strong 35 percent gain over the level witnessed in 2009. Grain likewise showed improvement, posting a 10 percent increase year over year. Coupled with a 63 percent surge in general cargo, which consists principally of iron and steel break-bulk shipments and project cargo such as wind turbine components, the Seaway finished the year on a positive note.

“With a recovery in the manufacturing sector, characterized by a resurgent domestic auto assembly business, the level of activity in the iron ore trade broke out of the starting gate at a brisk pace in 2010” said Terence Bowles, newly appointed President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC).

“It is often said that the transportation sector serves as a barometer of economic activity, and we are pleased to note that 2010 finished with positive momentum on several fronts,” continued Bowles. “We are optimistic of what we may experience in 2011, as economic growth continues to regain strength.”

The Government of Canada’s decision to repeal the 25 percent duty on imported vessels has ushered in a new era of fleet renewal. Domestic marine carriers are gearing up to renew parts of their fleets. Algoma Central Corporation and the CSL Group have recently announced the purchase of new vessels designed for commerce within the Seaway / Great Lakes. The advent of new vessels will serve to further extend the marine mode’s advantage in energy efficiency within the transportation sector, and enhance its low carbon footprint.

With a 100 percent inspection rate concerning ocean vessels entering the Seaway, ballast water management has been advanced yet again in 2010. No new species attributable to ballast water carried by ocean vessels have been detected since 2006. “The application of salt water flushing is clearly having the desired impact in mitigating the introduction of new species,” said Terry Johnson, Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

“The efficacy of salt water flushing, while not a final solution, is sufficient in scope to warrant the re-examination of ballast water management initiatives, and we are encouraged by the recent actions undertaken by the State of Wisconsin to recognize IMO standards.”

The Seaway navigation season for 2010 spanned 280 days. The St. Lawrence Seaway concluded its 2010 navigation season on December 29 with the passage of the Atlantic Erie. The vessel transited the St. Lambert Lock at 11:51 a.m. on route to Montreal. The Welland Canal remained open to navigation until December 30, as the John B. Aird transited Lock 1 at 1:00 p.m. on its way to the Port Weller dry docks.

Since its inception in 1959, over 2.5 billion tonnes valued in excess of $375 billion has been transported via the Seaway. A vital transportation artery to the heart of North America, the St. Lawrence Seaway supports tens of thousands of jobs within the mining, manufacturing and agricultural sectors.


Updates -  January 14

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 14

On this day in 1970, IRVING S. OLDS entered winter layup 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 icebreaker 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 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, 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, 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 miner’s strike.

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


Coast Guard restricts vessel traffic in St. Clair River

1/13 - St. Clair River - 4 p.m. update - The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard have restricted vessel traffic to one-way passage with escort until Monday in the St. Clair River from Marine City to Lake St. Clair due to heavy ice throughout the St. Clair River system.

The restriction begins today at 6 p.m.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Neah and Bristol Bay, along with Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley, are standing by to conduct ice breaking operations to safely escort vessels through the river system. The USCG Mackinaw was also reported as heading to the area to work, she was in the St. Marys River Thursday evening. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Griffon was working Lake Erie off Sandusky, Ohio.


St. Clair River ice slows ships, closes ferries

1/13 - St. Clair, Mich. - Ice in the St. Clair River has halted one ferry service, slowed down another and delayed freighter traffic.

The upbound lakers Ojibway and CSL Laurentien became stuck in the ice Wednesday about 5 p.m. at the head of Russell Island at Algonac. They were assisted by the U.S. Coast Guard cutters Neah Bay and Bristol Bay, as well as the Canadian Coast Guard cutter Samuel Risley, which joined in the effort in the late evening. Ojibway was in the clear by 9 p.m. and upbound at the salt dock; the cutters then turned their attention to CSL Laurentien, which was freed around 10 p.m. American Integrity, which had been holding back until the upbound traffic cleared, was headed downbound with assistance from the Risley and Bristol Bay.  About 11:20 she came to a stop in the ice off Algonac State Park, the coast guard ice breakers provided close escort and by 2:45 a.m. they had reached Lake St. Clair and escorted the Integrity to Detroit..

This section of the river caused serious delays last season and required heavy ice breaking assistance. This year the ice coverage is reported to be 10 tenths of thick brash ice from the Salt Dock to Russell Island. Brash ice is smaller pieces of ice that have been broken up and piled on top of each other. This type of ice is difficult for icebreakers to manage, as once the breaker has passed through, the track tends to close very quickly. With each vessel passage the ice becomes broken into smaller pieces and can pile up all the way to the bottom of the channel.

The Walpole Island ferry stopped running Tuesday afternoon because of heavy ice. It was slow going between Harsens Island and Clay Township Wednesday, according to a recording at Champion’s Auto Ferry. Trips are being made about every 30 minutes.

The Bluewater Ferry was making trips across the river between Sombra, Ont., and Marine City about every 15 minutes, according to a recording at the business.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay was docked at USCG Sector Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday. This is the East Coast cutter assigned to the lakes for the winter to assist. She has been working the St. Marys River.

Port Huron Times Herald


Port Reports -  January 13

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessels from Great Lakes Fleet are busy at the head of the lakes as they load their final taconite cargoes of the season or head to winter layup. Cason J. Callaway arrived in Duluth at dawn Wednesday to load at CN/DMIR with pellets bound for Detroit. At the same time, a tug was breaking ice in the turning basin off the end of the ore docks. John G. Munson was due Wednesday at the BNSF ore dock to load for Gary. Presque Isle is due at the CN/DMIR dock on Friday to load for Detroit. The same day, Roger Blough is expected to arrive at the Duluth port terminal for layup. Two Harbors also is busy, with Edgar B. Speer expected to depart Wednesday with pellets for Conneaut, Philip R. Clarke expected to arrive to load for East Chicago, and Arthur M. Anderson due Friday to load.

St. Marys River -
Reports from Sault Ste. Marie indicate that while turning into the Rock Cut Monday afternoon, Indiana Harbor was damaged while navigating through ice. After anchoring over night in Maud Bay to wait for USCG inspection, she was cleared to proceed to the port of Indiana Harbor to unload, and then head to layup/repairs in Sturgeon Bay. She was outbound past DeTour around 4:30 p.m.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Tuesday evening the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge to load cement. The tug Barbara Andrie remains tied up at Lafarge. Wednesday morning the Champlain was anchored out in the bay due to weather, and remained there throughout the day.


Port of Green Bay cargo totals fall below 5-year average

1/13 - Green Bay, Wis. - The amount of cargo moving through the Port of Green Bay in 2010 reflected the larger economic landscape of Great Lakes shipping. Although the amount of iron ore, limestone and coal shipments moving in U.S.-flagged vessels increased over 2009, load totals didn't meet the five-year average.

Cargo totals for the Port of Green Bay were 1.7 million tons in 2010, a decrease of about 4 percent from 2009, according to a report issued Tuesday by the port. Decreases in the amount of salt and cement were key factors influencing the totals, according to the report.

Salt, for instance, was down about 133,000 metric tons last year.

"Salt was the difference," said Port Manager Dean Haen. "Salt was real high (in 2009), because in 2008, everybody wiped out their reserves, so there was a lot of replenishing. If you take salt out of the picture, we had a flat year comparing 2009 to 2010."

Limestone shipments were up about 9 percent, but cement was down by roughly the same amount.

"We ended 2010 with an 8 percent increase in domestic cargo, which may indicate that we will continue to see tonnage increase in 2011 as the economy continues to improve," Haen stated.

December saw 119,102 tons move through the port, up from 40,428 in the last month of 2009, according to the report.

In the larger picture of traffic on the Great Lakes, several commodities showed improvement in 2010, due in part to 2009 being a particularly harsh year. Iron ore, for example, ended the year with a 67 percent increase from 2009 at 54.4 million tons last year, according to an annual summary from the Ohio-based Lake Carriers' Association.

That still was about 2 percent less than the average loadings spanning 2005-09.

Throughout the region, coal was up 7 percent to 32 million tons, and limestone increased 18.6 percent to 27.9 million tons from the previous year. Both those totals trailed the five-year average by 21 and 16 percent respectively, according to the report.

"An increase is always positive news, but one does has to recognize 2009 was a very difficult year when the iron ore total was the lowest since 1938," said Glen Nekvasil of the Lake Carriers' Association. "We had ships that didn't sail last year, so we have a ways to go until we're fully recovered."

Haen expects a new port terminal to open later this year when U.S. Venture starts shipping petroleum products.

"They'll be open for business for at least half of the season… and this will be our first new business opportunity in five or six years," he said. "Someone has figured out a new market to move products, so that's positive."

Green Bay Press Gazette


Salt runs keep lake ships busy

1/13 - Owen Sound, Ont. - A demand for road salt will keep Owen Sound's harbour empty of lake freighters through much of January.

The Algoma Central Corporation ships, which usually winter over in the city, are still plying the Great Lakes, said Dave Ross, the general manager of Fraser Marine & Industrial, which is the corporation's ship repair business.

"They're still trading. They're carrying salt out of Goderich at the moment. They should be in (the harbour) by the end of the month," Ross said. "Normally we're in before the end of December but this year the ships have additional cargoes to carry, which they're doing throughout the month of January."

Ross said he expects three Algoma ships will tie up in Owen Sound.

Fraser Marine typically hires local people -- steelworkers, welders and fitters, for example -- to do repair work on the ships while they're docked for the winter. While the number of people employed varies, "last year we had 20 to 25 guys working up there," Ross said.

The seaway normally closes about Christmas, but this year it stayed open until Dec. 30. However, the Algoma ships destined to tie up in Owen Sound are delivering to places such as Chicago and Milwaukee and don't need to use canals or locks to make their deliveries, he said.

Owen Sound Sun Times


Detroit helicopter crew rescues 3 Canadian men stranded on ice

1/13 - Cleveland, Ohio - A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Detroit worked with the Canadian coast guard to rescue three men who became disoriented and stranded on an ice floe near the center of Lake St. Clair in Canadian waters Tuesday night.

Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton in Ontario requested help from the U.S. Coast Guard at about 8:05 p.m.

The Detroit helicopter crew lowered a rescue swimmer onto the ice to help airlift the men, who were taken to Selfridge Air National Guard base in Harrison, Mich., where they were met and interviewed by Customs and Border Protection agents.

The men were not carrying a VHF-FM marine radio or a GPS, but used a cell phone to call for help. Responders were able to locate the men by using the nearest three cell phone towers that picked up their call, triangulating the signal and searching in the center of that area.


Ice dunes at Presque Isle beautiful but dangerous

1/13 - Fall through an ice dune in winter and your body might not be found until spring. "They're beautiful to look at but not very safe to go on," said Paul Pershing, ranger supervisor at Presque Isle State Park.

Every year, rangers there have to warn people off the ice dunes, which are formed by wave action and the freezing of wave spray splashed into air that's colder than the water.

"Once it gets cold and stays cold, we'll be out there every day asking people to get off the ice," Pershing said. That's despite a sign visitors pass on their way into the park that cautions them against climbing on ice dunes.

What makes them dangerous, Pershing said, is that they can be hollow and if you fall through, cold water and hypothermia could be waiting below. If there's more ice down there, landing on it can lead to broken limbs.

"Even if I see you fall through, the chance of a successful rescue is very slim," Pershing said.

"It will probably be more of a recovery (of a body) than a rescue," he said. "We'll do what we can. There's a good chance you may not be found until springtime."

He said a recent warm-up kept peninsula visitors off the dunes for a while. But rangers saw several people back out there over the snowy weekend. Pershing said rangers usually try to signal people off the dunes.

Their efforts have been successful so far this season. Pershing also didn't remember anyone falling through an ice dune the past couple of years.

However, there was one woman who had to be rescued after walking on a dune in March 2007. "It broke away like an iceberg," Pershing said.

The woman was able to remain on the piece of ice, but it slipped out into Lake Erie.

Luckily, Pershing said, she had a cell phone and was able to call for help. Pershing said that if you find yourself falling through an ice dune, you might be able to keep from going all the way by putting your arms out to the sides.

"The best safety, though," he said, "is don't go on them."

Erie Times News


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 13

13 January 2005 - GENESIS EXPLORER (steel propeller tanker, 435 foot, built in 1974, at Port Weller, Ontario, formerly a.) IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR & b.) ALGOSAR) sailed from Halifax for Quebec City. She was registered in the Comoros Islands. She was carrying a few members of her former crew for training purposes, but her new crew was African.

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 re-board 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: Joe Barr, Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port of Montreal cargo levels on rise

1/12 - Montreal, Que. - A rising global tide of shipping is finally buoying revenues at the Port of Montreal, but significant challenges remain for the inland facility – including competition from deep-water ports able to accommodate the world’s ever-larger ships.

Reduced shipping activity over the past few years forced the Montreal Port Authority to scale back ambitious expansion plans for the sprawling facility. Then, last summer, a potentially crippling labour dispute was settled after a three-day lockout.

But in 2011, the inland port, which runs 26 kilometres along the St. Lawrence River, is poised for a robust performance, president and chief executive officer Sylvie Vachon says.

It’s too early to confirm, but the port could end up turning a profit in 2010 after posting a net loss of $21.7-million in 2009, Ms. Vachon said in an interview. Preliminary figures point to a 4.5-per-cent growth in volume – both container and bulk – handled at the port last year, she noted.

In 2009, the total for all types of cargo handled fell 12 per cent to 24.5 million tonnes from the previous year. For 2010, it looks like the total will have rebounded to 25.6 million tonnes, Ms. Vachon said.

The gains are pretty much in line with those at major port facilities around the world as the economy rebounds and trade in commodities and consumer products picks up.

For Ms. Vachon, the first priority is ensuring Montreal’s port remains one of North America’s major inland transshipment facilities.

It is working to reduce its dependence on northern Europe, and “we’re beginning to see results,” said Ms. Vachon, who took over the top job in 2009. The port is drumming up more business with shipping lines that sail out of Mediterranean ports as part of that strategy.

But major constraints on physical expansion limit how much new traffic it can take on, she said. “As the economy rebounds, capacity becomes a major factor.”

The port’s management team is looking at expansion options, including going off the Island of Montreal to build a new container facility at Contrecoeur, on the South Shore.

However, the slowdown in activity over the past few years has put a major dent in the port’s ambitious growth plans. A target of tripling container capacity to 4.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) by 2020 has been abandoned. The more modest goal now is 2 million TEUs by 2016.

The port also had to contend with the impact of a potentially crippling labour dispute last summer involving about 900 longshoremen. The damage was for the most part contained when a settlement was reached.

Although Montreal enjoys an excellent position as an intermodal port that acts as a key gateway to Canada and the U.S. Midwest, capacity limitations present a significant problem, said Claude Comtois, a port and shipping expert at the University of Montreal.

The port is also hobbled by the fact that it can’t accommodate the ever-larger ships being built, which require deep-water facilities, he said.

“It pushes the port to the sidelines in terms of the big global shipping networks that are being created.”

Ben Hackett, managing director at Hackett Associates Ltd. in Washington D.C., agreed.

“Looking forward, fundamentally, the economies of scale favour the U.S. deep-water ports, like Norfolk [Va.]. The carriers prefer to use the bigger ships for economies of scale,” he said.

“There’s not much that Montreal can do about this.”

Mary Brooks, commercial shipping and ports expert in the faculty of management at Dalhousie University, believes Montreal can continue to thrive as a niche player, however.

“There is a good straight run for shippers from northern Europe to the U.S. Midwest” that the Port of Montreal can continue to service as long as it continues to do a top-notch job of providing services, she said.

The Globe and Mail


Twin Ports report

1/12 - The DMIR/CN ore dock remained busy Tuesday, with Great Lakes Trader and CSL Niagara both there Thursday to load iron ore pellets. Cason J. Callaway was expected late in the day. Midwest Energy Terminal is nearing the end of its season. Paul R. Tregurtha is scheduled to load there Thursday for Presque Isle. After that, James R. Barker will take a load to Taconite Harbor before returning to the dock Sunday for winter layup.

Al Miller


Seminar to discuss Fishtown and the Great Lakes Fishery

1/12 - Suttons Bay, Mich. – The Inland Seas Education Association will present a free seminar that focuses on Great Lakes fisheries at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11, at the Inland Seas Education Center, 100 Dame St., in Suttons Bay. The speaker will be the executive director of the Fishtown Preservation Society, Amanda Holmes.

The shores of the Great Lakes and their islands were once fringed with commercial fisheries like Leland’s Fishtown, where fish were processed for the burgeoning Midwest. Fishtown is still a commercial fishery, as it has been for over a century, although on a smaller scale.

Holmes will share her explorations of some of the few remaining fishing operations throughout the Great Lakes, why they have survived and what they have taught her about the rarity of Fishtown.

“Learning about the Great Lakes fishing families and their lives on the lakes has gotten into my blood,” said Holmes. “At every opportunity, I explore the Great Lakes shoreline and track down fisheries that I’ve heard about.

“In September, my husband and I visited Door County, Wisconsin, for the sole purpose of tracking fish tugs and meeting some of the area’s fishermen. In Gill’s Rock, we came across Jeff Weborg, who runs the Weborg Fish Market, and if any place I’ve encountered were to rival Fishtown in appearance, this fishery is it. Jeff said that this site, which has been in his family for generations, is just as much at risk of disappearing as other fisheries on the Great Lakes. He has tried to generate public interest in purchasing his fishery, like we did in Fishtown, but it’s an uphill battle that has yet to be resolved.”

Fishtown’s authentic riverfront docks and fish shanties still look much as they did when they were part of the peak of Great Lakes commercial fishing enterprises, and remind residents and visitors alike of the area’s maritime heritage.

Its buildings had been preserved by the Carlsons; a family with five generations of fishermen, until the structures were acquired by the Fishtown Preservation Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit volunteer organization that was formed to save the site from the possibility of being demolished for redevelopment.

Holmes said that it’s unfortunate that there are more stories of places where fishing has been lost than where it continues these days.

“But the more that people know where it still exists, and where they can get fresh fish, the better it is for everyone,” she said.

“Just over a year ago, I gave a presentation to the Pentwater Historical Society and about 130 people attended,” said Holmes. “In the audience was an old fisherman, Bud Stenberg, who had lived in Pentwater all of his life. Due to the changing environment and regulations, he’d had to leave commercial fishing, but he never stopped missing it.

“Few in Pentwater know anything about the old fishing industry there, and they don’t miss it because they never knew it existed. A few weeks after my presentation, Bud came to Fishtown to get a taste of fishing again.

“Commercial fishermen, who say that fishing is in their blood, love Fishtown, which to me is a measure that we are doing something right.”

Holmes holds a PhD in Folklore and Folk life, and a certificate in Historic Preservation, both from the University of Pennsylvania. She has written numerous architectural, landscape, and engineering studies for the National Park Service, and has published an award-winning history of Omena, Michigan.

Her background in Folklore has led her to gather as many stories as possible about Fishtown, and to broaden her scope to capturing the stories of commercial fishing and fishermen from all over the Great Lakes. Holmes has worked with the Fishtown Preservation Society for four years, and serves as its executive director.

The Inland Seas Education Association is a nonprofit organization based in Suttons Bay, dedicated to science education on the Great Lakes. Its shipboard and shore-side programs are designed to inspire young people’s interest in science and to provide for the long-term stewardship of the Great Lakes. To learn more, contact the ISEA at 231-271-3077, or visit

Grand Traverse Insider


Groups study Great Lakes, Mississippi separation

1/12 - Traverse City, Mich. — Groups representing Great Lakes states and cities kicked off a study Tuesday on how best to sever ties between the lakes and the Mississippi River to prevent invasive species such as Asian carp from migrating between them.

The $2 million project will focus on rivers and canals in the Chicago area that connect the two giant watersheds by linking Lake Michigan and tributaries of the Mississippi. Huge, greedy Asian carp have infested the Chicago waterway network. Authorities are trying desperately to block their path to the Great Lakes, where scientists fear they could wreak havoc on the food web and the fishing and tourism industries.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is developing a strategy for shutting down or reducing the number of aquatic pathways across the two basins. It's scheduled for completion in summer of 2015, which many advocates say is too long, given the urgency of the carp threat and the extensive damage that invasive species such as the quagga mussel and round goby already have done.

The study by the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is meant to provide information that could help the federal government move more quickly.

"I think their timetable is too slow," said Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission, which represents the region's eight states. "We're not trying to relieve the Army Corps of its responsibility, but we want to augment and support and accelerate their work."

The commission and the cities group, whose members include more than 70 mayors and other local officials, plan to finish their study by the end of this year and present options for separating the two watersheds by January 2012.

They have raised $2 million from six private foundations and hired a team of experts in hydrology, engineering, fish biology, transportation and other relevant fields, Eder said.

The two organizations favor separating the Great Lakes and Mississippi basins, a concept the federal government has yet to endorse. Supporters contend it's the only sure way to protect both aquatic systems from species invasions. Opponents, including shippers and business groups in the Chicago area, say separation would be hugely expensive and disrupt commerce.

Two environmental groups — the Alliance for the Great Lakes and the Natural Resources Defense Council — also have conducted studies calling for separating the two systems, which have been artificially linked since the 1890s.

John Goss, Asian carp program director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said he welcomed the Great Lakes groups' project.

Federal agencies are providing advice for the study "and will continue to participate and evaluate how the data can be integrated into federal efforts," Goss said.

Besides recommending separation methods, the study will look at ways to make the Chicago waterways more helpful to commercial shipping, recreational boating, flood and storm water management and water cleanliness.

"This project is comprehensive because it addresses all the vital functions of the Chicago waterway system," said David Ullrich, executive director of the cities group.

Associated Press


Great Lakes' freighters topic of series

1/12 - St. Clair, Mich. - St. Clair City Library's Friends present Frank Frisk and the “Deep Six: Titanics of the Great Lakes” Thursday at the St. Clair Library.

Frisk describes the similarities between the Titanic and the freighters of topic.

"This presentation details the six largest Great Lakes freighters that went down to their death. The Titanic was the newest and largest luxury liner to go down in her death. The Great Lakes can be just as deadly as the oceans," Frisk said.

His presentation includes Rob Mixter's profile of the largest shipwrecks on the lakes and has been updated with all the new special features. Ships to be highlighted include the William Moreland, the Cedarville, the Daniel J. Morrell, the Carl D. Bradley and the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Frisk's passion for the waterways is derived from his father's family.

"They were involved on the Great Lakes. Captain George Recor retired off the Great Lakes and several of the Grants were involved with GarWood so I would say I was raised in the ambiance much to my enjoyment all of my life," Frisk said.

For almost a decade, Frisk worked in the galleys of the Interlake Steamship Company boats. Frisk fed the crews' bodies while the Great Lakes fed his mind, body and soul. He lives and breathes freighters and waterways.

Extensive research at University of Detroit-Mercy and the Bowling Green University Maritime Great Lakes Research Center to complete projects afforded him the opportunities to share today.

"In the mid-90s I was one of the first on the Great Lakes to have an Internet connection, a laptop connected to a mobile phone, talk about slow, but I made it work," Frisk said.

Many take the Great Lakes for granted, he said.

"These Great Lakes we are blessed with should be considered one of the Great Wonders of the World. I wish our school systems could include any additional programs dedicated to the history from the early days, ship building and now all the research being conducted to benefit mankind's survival," Frisk said.

Voice News


Updates -  January 12

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards 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. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports -  January 11

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
A late season rush continues at the Upper Harbor ore dock. Buffalo loaded Monday morning after arriving Sunday evening. The visit was her first of the season. Mississagi was also secured to load but appeared to be having a delay. Calumet was at anchor waiting for a clear dock.

Escanaba, Mich. - Scott Best
Monday was a busy day at the CN Ore dock in Escanaba. American Mariner arrived in the very early morning and was loading ore, while Wilfred Sykes arrived shortly after noon and tied up at the south side of the ore dock. The tug Erika Kobasic assisted the Sykes as it neared the ore dock and swept the dock for them. Manistee is due Monday evening for a rare visit, and should load after the Sykes.

St. Marys River - Jerry Masson
Closing date for the Soo Locks has been changed to Jan. 18 at midnight. The extension will mean extra trips for the lake freighters for the first time in many years. USCG Mackinaw, Mobile Bay, Katmai Bay and Biscayne Bay are working to keep the lanes open in the upper and lower St. Marys River system.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
The USCGC Morro Bay departed from Midwest Overseas Terminal Dock Monday afternoon bound for Detroit. Saginaw arrived at the Kraft Foods Elevator Dock late Monday evening to unload grain. CSL Tadoussac and the tug Cleveland remain in drydock at the Ironhead Shipyard. The next scheduled ore boat due in at the Torco Dock is the Buffalo on Wednesday morning. Most likely she will be the last ore boat of the season for this dock.


Saginaw River 2010 shipping season saw passages continue to decline

1/11 - Saginaw, Mich. – The 2010 commercial shipping season on the Saginaw River ended much like the 2009 season, with fewer vessel passages and the economy once again a driving factor of the decrease. This was the fifth straight year that the number of commercial passages has declined. The first vessel of the season arrived on March 31 with the last arriving on December 15, for a 260-day season. During this period there were 145 commercial vessel passages by 29 different boats. Over the 2009 season there were 163 passages by 37 different boats, for a 2010 decrease of 18 passages and 8 fewer vessels.

Looking at some of the other numbers from the 2010 season, 16 different commercial docks along the Saginaw River saw deliveries this season. Having the most traffic was the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw with 27. This was down four from the 31 in 2009, but still enough for the most in 2010. Next was the Bay Aggregates dock with 25 deliveries, down from 29 in 2009. Third on the list was the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City with 22, a decrease of 14 from the 36 deliveries last year. Rounding out the top five were the Consumers Energy dock with 17 and the General Motors dock with 16.

The vessel with the most trips up and down the Saginaw River in 2010 was the tug/barge combo Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber with 31. This was down from the 36 trips the pair logged in 2009, but still enough to make the Moore/Kuber the leader for the fifth year in a row. Coming in next was the Calumet with 23, up two from last season’s total of 21. Third was Manitowoc with 14 trips, ending up with two fewer trips than in 2009. This was the same top three as last year. To finish out the top five was the Indiana Harbor with nine and tied with seven passages apiece were Algoway, Algorail, and Walter J. McCarthy, Jr.

Looking at the fleets, Lower Lakes Towing/Grand River Navigation were again the champs with more passages than any other fleet for the fourth year in a row. Their boats logged 53 visits, which is five more than in 2009. K&K Integrated was next with 31 visits, down nine from last year’s 40, and American Steamship Company was third with 17 passages, down four from last year. For the remainder of the top five, Algoma Central Marine had 14, followed by Andrie, Inc. with nine.

There were a number of vessels that were visitors in 2009 that did not call on the Saginaw River in 2010, most notably Agawa Canyon, which was sent overseas for scrap. Others on the list that were missed on the river in 2010 were Adam E. Cornelius, American Century, American Integrity, American Courage, H. Lee White, Sam Laud and Frontenac. Making return visits in 2010 after not seeing the Saginaw River for a season or more were American Mariner, CSL Tadoussac, Alpena, Cuyahoga, and Saginaw. Some other seldom seen, infrequent, or new visitors to the Saginaw River were the tug Evans McKeil with the cement barge Metis, the tugs Karl Luedtke, Ann-Marie, Tenacious, and Kathy Lynn.

There were a number of other interesting stories on the Saginaw River during the 2010 season. The tall ship fleet called on the downtown area with visits by the Lynx, Denis Sullivan, Europa, HMS Bounty, Pride of Baltimore II, Roseway, Madeline, Pathfinder, Playfair, Roald Amundson, and the two local Bay City tall ships, Appledore IV and Appledore V.

The Luedtke tug Ann-Marie, sank in the Bay Aggregates slip in December, spending a few days on the bottom of the river before being refloated the next week. The cause of the sinking is still unknown and still under investigation. Over the summer at the Essroc cement dock, crews fabricated a new powered cement unloading dock and on Nov. 4, the tug Evans McKeil and cement barge Metis were the first visitors to use the new rig. On a related note, Essroc only saw two deliveries in 2010 as opposed to 17 back in 2008. While on the flip side, the Lafarge cement terminal in Carrollton had four deliveries as opposed to only one in 2009. Deliveries to the Bit-Mat dock rebounded in 2010 from a low of 3 in 2009, to 10 in this past season.

The SCS Greyfox made her annual 4th of July visit to help raise funds for the effort to bring the decommissioned Navy destroyer USS Edson to Bay City. As more and more hurdles are cleared, it is looking more and more likely that this project will finally happen in 2011.

Dredging was the name of the game in 2010 with crews from Ryba Marine working the upper Saginaw River during the spring/summer months and Luedtke Engineering working the lower Saginaw River/Entrance Channel this fall. More dredging has been approved for 2011. Finally, to wrap up the beginning and end of the season, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock called on the Saginaw Bay in the spring and fall to work aids to navigation, placing summer and winter marks.

Todd A. Shorkey


Lake Superior Marine Museum Association presents entertainment programs

1/11 - Duluth, Minn. - The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA), in conjunction with the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, will host four free Evening Entertainment Series programs at Canal Park Lodge in Duluth every Thursday evening in February from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Guest speakers and dates are as follows:

Thursday, February 3 – Mary Shideler – The Kayak Lady
Through a series of stories and photos, learn of Shideler’s close encounters, observations and how she overcame obstacles that included a mixture of adventure and fun on her quest to paddle all 1,007 lakes in Northern Minnesota’s Itasca County.

Thursday, February 10 – Doug Nelson – Emergency Amateur Radio
Local Duluthian and Grandma’s Marathon race communications coordinator will share information about Morse code, unique forms of digital communications and how amateur radio operators provide assistance to the National Weather Service and other organizations.

Thursday, February 17 – LCDR MaryEllen Durley – Arctic Adventures of the Alder
The U.S. Coast Guard’s 225-foot Alder recently participated in the Exercise NATSIQ 2010. Navigating 8,500 miles through fog, rain and heavy seas amongst many icebergs, Lt. Cmdr. Durley will share how the two-month joint Canadian exercise improved collective capacity of Arctic allies to respond to safety, security threats and emergencies.

Thursday, February 24 - Carol Christenson – Lake Superior Affects the Weather
NOAA Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Carol Christenson, will enlighten us and share details of how the largest of the Great Lakes affects Twin Ports’ weather and how to properly react to Weather Service warnings.

For more information about the four free February Evening Entertainment Series programs visit


Updates -  January 11

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 11

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

In 1973, ROGER BLOUGH collided with 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 - 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.


Port Reports -  January 10

St. Marys River
Sunday saw a parade of downbounders in the St. Marys River system. Traffic included Burns Harbor, Ojibway, James R. Barker, Invincible and McKee Sons, Arthur M. Anderson, Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder, Calumet (to Essar Steel) and Roger Blough. Herbert C. Jackson was upbound in the late evening. Mackinaw was at the USCG base dock and Biscayne Bay was at the Carbide Dock. There have been reports indicating the Soo Locks will stay open an extra three days, until Jan. 18, but that has not been confirmed by the Army Corps.

S. Chicago – Lou Gerard
Wilfred Sykes arrived in South Chicago Saturday to load coal at KCBX. She backed up the river, assisted by the tug Zuccolo.


Help Wanted

1/10 - The Great Lakes Towing Company has four career opportunities at its Cleveland headquarters: (1.) Vice President Engineering; (2.) Purchasing Manager; (3.) Travelift Manager; and (4.) a Marine Marketing & Operations Coordinator.

1.) The Vice President - Engineering reports to the President; and works closely with all other functional leaders in the company, including those in operations, finance, sales, and marketing. The Vice President of Engineering is responsible for all of the company's engineering activities, as described below.

We seek a diligent, experienced engineering professional, with a history of successful project and contract management. With a marine engineering and/or Naval Architecture background, the successful candidate will provide the hands-on leadership needed for effective multi-project management, and the innovative drive to ensure the continued strong growth of the company.

Reporting to the President as a key member of a young dynamic engineering team, the VP of Engineering will be responsible for all aspects of the company's Shipyard and tug fleet engineering activities. These will include structuring and management of all engineering functions as a cohesive unit; the day-to-day management of all aspects of simultaneous projects; from solicitation through estimating and proposal preparation, to delivery of products and services in accordance with agreed upon specifications within time and budget constraints. Great Lakes Shipyard is expanding and enjoying strong growth, and will expect to see continued profitability.

The ideal candidate will have a proven record that fulfills the majority of these requirements:

Minimum BS or BE in Marine Engineering or Naval Architecture; MBA strongly preferred
10+ years of marine industry engineering experience, with at least 5 years in a management position
Competent in marine engineering and naval architecture, including a thorough knowledge of USCG Regulations and ABS Rules.
Strong interpersonal skills and ability to develop close working relationships with the industry, including both government and commercial customers
Proven ability to manage diverse, simultaneous projects of varying complexities Record of achieving objectives; successful project completion, within budget and time frame

2.) An experienced Purchasing Manager is needed or the Company's ship repair and new construction programs. This person will be responsible for all procurement activities in support of multiple projects, including vendor relations, product tracking, control management, and contract negotiations for new construction, repair and fleet maintenance.

The Purchasing Manager will (a) ensure adherence to procurement policies & procedures; (b) identify, recommend, and solicit current and potential subcontractors and material vendors in response to receiving and reviewing purchase requisitions; (c) participate in subcontractor selection and issues purchase orders and amendments in response to reviewing and analyzing bids from subcontractors and vendors; (d) monitor subcontractor and vendor performance by collecting and analyzing information received by cognizant personnel; and (e) facilitate payments to subcontractors and vendors by reviewing invoices; verifying status and job satisfaction with the cognizant production personnel.

Undergraduate degree in a business related field or equivalent maritime work experience required. BA/BS degree preferred. APICS or CPM certification preferred. Minimum five (5) years experience in a heavy manufacturing or marine industry.

Candidates should also possess the following:

Knowledge of accounting and cost accounting systems, material and procurement systems and data processing systems.
Extensive experience using Microsoft Windows, Advanced Excel and Word and database programs.
Experience with all phases of procurement cycle.
Experience with cost/price analysis, bid analysis and analyzing market conditions.
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both oral and written.
Excellent organizational and negotiation skills.
Ability to handle competing priorities and deadlines effectively and respond well to last minute, high priority, time sensitive projects.

3.) The Travelift Manager will be an experienced project engineer and dockmaster with previous experience operating a large Marine Travelift of at least 400-tons lift capacity. This person will be responsible for the safe, effective, and profitable use of the Companys new 700-ton Marine Travelift, due for delivery in June 2011.

The new Travelift itself will become business division of the Company, and the Travelift Manager will be responsible for all aspects of that new business, including responsibilities for providing engineering support as directed for development of estimates, progress monitoring and tracking, and budget adherence for all construction and maintenance & repair projects, government & commercial contracts, and routine fleet engineering programs and such other projects as assigned.

The Travelift Manager will assist with all shipyard administrative functions involving engineering, design support using AutoCad, estimating, scheduling, logistics, engineering, safety, subcontractors, purchasing, material controls, interpretation of drawings and specs, change orders and more ensuring that projects are safely completed in accordance with contract specifications, on time and within budget.

Additional responsibilities include multiple and varied engineering-related assignments, as directed. Other assignments may require travel or supervision of work aboard Company tugs or other vessels; however the position is shoreside and based in Cleveland, Ohio.

4.) The Marine Marketing & Operations Coordinator should possess strong computer, networking and writing skills. Familiarity with internet-based networking sites a must (i.e. Wikipedia, facebook, twitter, etc.).

Marketing responsibilities include but are not limited to developing marketing literature, ensuring valid, current and accurate content; planning and concept development and execution of print and media campaigns; monitoring corporate communications plan and strategy for uniformity in message, including templates, tag lines, and logo usage; maintaining organizations web site with updated photos, announcements, etc;

Operations responsibilities include office work directly related to the management or general business operations of the Company and its customers; gathering all pertinent and useful information pertaining to incidents, unusual events, competitor activities, business opportunities, etc.; maintaining detailed performance management statistics, scheduling and directing tug crews to report for work in sufficient time to meet customer requirements, understanding and management of various Labor Agreements. The Great Lakes Towing Company offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including medical, dental, vision, and 401(k).

Send resume with salary history to:
The Great Lakes Towing Company
4500 Division Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44102
Fax: 216-781-7472
Web: and


Updates -  January 10

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 10

On this day in 1952, EDWARD B. GREENE was launched at the American Shipbuilding yard 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-foot ridged ice off Erie, Pennsylvania. The U.S.C.G. tug OJIBWA was 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.


Port Reports -  January 9

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Saturday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Mississagi made an uncommon visit to load ore. She last visited Marquette in January 2010. Her arrival appeared delayed by heavy snow and winds as she was anchored off the Upper Harbor at daybreak.

Detroit, Mich. – Chris Flint
Herbert C. Jackson unloaded at Severstal steel Saturday on the Rouge River and departed upbound that evening. They became stuck in ice below the Lake St. Clair Crib Light and came to a stop. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley departed Windsor, where they were stopped for the night, and headed upbound to assist. By 1 a.m. the Risley had cleared the way for the Jackson who was entering the St. Clair Cutoff channel at full speed.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon worked the area Saturday morning and then headed downbound to its base in Amherstburg, Ont., Saturday afternoon. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Neah Bay docked in Detroit's Hart Plaza Saturday afternoon and remained there Saturday night.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Canadian Progress was inbound for the Buffalo South Entrance Channel Saturday evening for the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna.


Iron mine battle may be extended

1/9 - Montreal, Que. - - The battle for control of the massive Mary River iron ore deposits on Baffin Island in the Eastern Arctic may continue beyond Jan. 10, the expiry date set for two rival takeover offers.

The Nunavut Iron Ore Acquisition Inc. consortium has agreed with the Ontario Securities Commission to amend its $1.45-a-share bid for Baffinland Iron Mines Corp., owner of the Mary River project, by Jan. 10. But it said it may extend its offer for a further period. It seeks 60 per cent of Baffinland's shares.

The Nunavut Iron bid included a plan to issue warrants to Baffinland shareholders and OSC staff said this would amount to a promise and was not a solid component of the offer.

ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steelmaker, has offered $1.40 a share for all the Baffinland shares, valuing the company at about $570 million, with a Jan. 10 expiry date. However, ArcelorMittal can still amend or extend its offer. It has the backing of Baffinland's board and largest shareholder.

The contest began last October with Nunavut Iron's opening salvo valuing Baffinland at $274 million. The latest offers have doubled that valuation.

Baffinland said a key feasibility study, carried out since last July by AMEC, the Britain-based international engineering and project management firm, for a three million tonnes yearly project at Mary River, will not be released before Jan. 10, but can be expected by mid-month.

The "road haulage feasibility study" covers an open-pit mine, processing plant at Mary River and road to a future port at Milne Inlet, 100 kilometres northwest. The direct shipping ore would be trucked to Milne Inlet and stockpiled there, while shipping to Europe would be confined to the annual open-water "window" of three months.

Baffinland CEO Michael Zurowski said the AMEC study's capital cost estimate for this scaled-down project will be "higher than estimates previously mentioned by certain Canadian analysts."

He would not add any detail, but this proposal contrasts with Baffinland's 2008 plan to develop annual capacity of 18 million tonnes at Mary River, with a railway to another port and year-round shipping to market requiring large Polar-class ore carriers. The price tag was $4.1 billion.

The Montreal Gazette


Captain Charles Brooks, icon of the Thousand Islands, dies

1/9 - Gananoque, Ont. - A memorial was held on Friday, Jan. 7 at the Gananoque legion hall for a Thousand Islands icon, the late Captain Charles Egbert Brooks. He was 84. The Sutton, Ont., native began his career in the Thousand Islands after a stint in the army and as a forest ranger and game warden which transferred him to this area. A love of the river and fishing led him to a lifetime of transporting people and goods through the many channels of the Thousand Islands as a water taxi operator and tour boat guide. Well known on both sides of the St. Lawrence River, Captain Brooks was senior skipper of the Gananoque Boat Line fleet until his retirement a few years ago. On-line condolences at


Updates -  January 9

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery - Video of traffic from the Detroit River Saturday
Discussion Boards updated
New Video on our YouTube Channel


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 9

On this day in 1973, the CHARLES M. BEEGHLY was the latest running Interlake vessel when she entered winter layup 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.


Lakes limestone trade up nearly 19 percent in 2010

1/8 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 1,039,924 tons in December, an increase of 37.7 percent compared a year ago. However, the trade was down more than 40 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

For the year the Lakes limestone trade totaled 27.9 million tons, an increase of 18.6 percent compared to 2009. Shipments from U.S. stone quarries rose 20 percent to 22.3 million tons. Loadings at Canadian quarries increased 13.4 percent to 5.5 million tons.

2010s rebound was not enough to restore the stone trade to previous levels. Shipments were 16.3 percent off the trade’s 5-year average, and nearly 30 percent below the volume recorded in 2006.

Lake Carriers' Association


Lakes coal trade finishes strong; Tops recession-impacted 2009 by 7 percent

1/8 - Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 2,966,286 net tons in December, an increase of 27 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings remained 18 percent below December’s 5-year average.

For the year, the Great Lakes coal trade totaled 32 million tons, an increase of 7 percent compared to 2009. Loadings at Lake Superior ports were virtually unchanged from 2009. Shipments from Chicago increased 18 percent. The largest increase collectively came at Ohio’s Lake Erie loading ports of Toledo, Sandusky and Ashtabula: 20.3 percent.

Despite the improvement over 2009, the Lakes coal trade still has yet to fully rebound to previous levels. 2010 loadings were more than 21 percent below the 5-year average.

Lake Carriers' Association


Icebreaker enters Midland Bay

1/8 - Midland, Ont. – The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley began icebreaking duties Friday morning just off Sawlog Bay Point on the approach to Midland Bay. The ship was clearing a path for the Frontenac.

All snowmobilers and ice fishermen are urged to stay clear and off the ice while icebreaking operations are being conducted. Areas where the icebreaker has patrolled will have open water and will remain unstable for a significant length of time after the passage of the ships.

Simcoe Online


Cargill partners with Nashwauk UP iron ore producer

1/8 - Duluth, Minn. - International commodities giant Cargill announced Thursday its first venture into Iron Range mining — an investment in Nashwauk-based Magnetation Inc.’s new technology that recovers high-grade iron ore from what used to be considered mining waste.

Magnetation gets cash and credibility in the deal, while Cargill gets the exclusive worldwide right to jointly develop and apply the technology with Magnetation. Cargill also gets the right to market the iron concentrate to its international iron ore customers.

“We’ve taken a financial interest in Magnetation’s Plant 1 … and will take what Magnetation is doing on the Iron Range to worldwide markets,” Robert Mann, vice president of Cargill’s Ferrous International division, told the News Tribune.

Magnetation was founded in 2006 and built its first plant in 2008 near Keewatin, with its first product shipped last February. The company employs about 50 people.

Magnetation CEO Larry Lehtinen said he expects the infusion of Cargill money to help the company boost its Iron Range production from 150,000 to 450,000 tons this year at its Keewatin plant. He said Magnetation remains on track to build a second plant near Taconite in Itasca County starting later this year, with production starting in 2012.

The companies would not disclose the amount of Cargill’s investment.

The Wayzata, Minn.-based Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Known more for its agribusiness, Cargill has been a global marketer of pig iron and finished steel for more than 40 years, Mann said, but its only direct involvement in iron ore or steel production was co-ownership of a steelmaking plant in Ohio.

Other than the investment and the prestige of Cargill’s name, Lehitnen said he expects little impact on Magnetation’s Iron Range operations. Magnetation will remain an independent company, he said.

The two companies plan to build iron recovery plants at iron-ore mining hotspots in Asia and other locations, Mann said.

Cargill said Magnetation’s technology promises both economic and environmental benefits, as old tailings basins can be tapped for valuable iron and transformed “into functioning ecological wetlands.”

The process can turn iron ore left behind decades ago as worthless into a valuable, concentrated ore pellet that can be used to make several steel products. Magnetation’s equipment can take material with an iron content of 25 percent to 30 percent and produce a concentrate with an iron content of about 65 percent, Lehtinen said.

At the heart of the Magnetation process is a contraption developed by Al Fritz, former superintendent of the J&L Hill Annex Mine near Hibbing and Magnetation’s founder. Fritz dubbed his invention the “ferrous wheel.’’ Not to be confused with the carnival ride, Fritz’s machine uses permanent magnets and an amplifying matrix to generate an intense magnetic field that can attract materials that are only faintly magnetic.

Taconite pellet operations use weaker magnetic fields to remove iron oxide in the form of magnetite from the ore they process. However, conventional taconite plants do nothing to capture hematite, because hematite is not readily drawn to conventional magnets. Consequently, the tailings from taconite operations usually still have an iron oxide content of 12 to 18 percent.

Founded in 1865, Cargill is the largest privately held company by revenue in the U.S., employing 131,000 people in 66 countries.

Duluth News Tribune


Repair crews will have a blast at Lock 3

1/8 - St. Catharines, Ont. - The closed Welland Canal will explode with winter maintenance activity this month. That's no exaggeration, either.

In the next few weeks, demolition experts will use explosives to blast old concrete away from the 75-year-old walls of Lock 3 in St. Catharines, said Luc Boisclair, the Niagara general manager of engineering for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

The Seaway has been refacing lock walls all along the 44-kilometre industrial waterway for the past decade, said Boisclair, although in recent years much of the scraping off and replacing of concrete has been done by hand.

But in this case, using explosives is "simply faster and more efficient," he said, noting layers of old concrete between 50 centimetres and a metre in thickness must be removed and replaced on the west wall of Lock 3.

Blasting will occur on up to seven different days, likely in mid-January, he said. The explosions will be "very controlled," but as a safety precaution the nearby Lock 3 museum and its platform will be closed during each blast, he said.

The Seaway has hired professional demolition experts to handle the unique job, Boisclair said. "We don't anticipate any damaging vibrations or anything else that would be a problem for the museum," he added.

Anthony Percival, a coordinator at the museum, said employees and visitors will have to vacate the museum during the blasts."We don't get to watch," he said with a laugh. "But I think it's exciting for people."

Percival added he expected the city museum to close only briefly, maybe only as long as a "lunch hour," for each of the blasts.

Further north on the canal, another big rehabilitation job has already closed a section of the Welland Canals Parkway from Bunting Rd. to Carlton St., as well as the parallel section of the recreational trail.

That closure, which will last all winter, is needed to allow heavy machinery to access a 100-metre section of an approach wall between Lock 1 and 2. A timber-built section of that wall partially collapsed last year following heavy rains.

Boisclair said the Seaway will replace the section of wall with steel piles. Over the next several years, more tie-up walls are scheduled to be replaced in a similar fashion.

St. Catharines Standard


Willis B. Boyer horn now signals hockey team’s goals

1/8 - Toledo, Ohio - For decades the ship horn mounted on the smokestack of the S.S. Willis B. Boyer was blown as a salute of respect on the Great Lakes. Now the horn is blasted at the Huntington Center in a tribute to goals scored by the Toledo Walleye.

The refurbished horn, which is about four feet long and weighs approximately 300 pounds, had not been heard in more than 30 years.

Paul LaMarre, the executive director of the S.S. Willis B. Boyer museum ship, said the freighter's horn could be heard “as far as sound would travel. It could be heard literally for miles,” LaMarre said. “When it was blown aboard the ship it was blown in recognition of respect and tradition.”

LaMarre said the horn's sound was a salute to other vessels and would be used to greet crowds of waving spectators along the shoreline.

“It's an honor for us to be able to have it sound in front of Toledo hockey fans as a salute to the team,” he said. “It is the climax of a lot of hard work and accomplishment. Scoring a goal is a pinnacle moment for a team. We wanted to show that enthusiasm.”

LaMarre worked on the project for three months with Mike Ramirez, who is the video and television productions manager for the Walleye.

The horn was tested last Saturday in the Walleye's win over Cincinnati. Ramirez said the loudness of the horn can be adjusted. He said the organization wants to gauge fan reaction after its initial volume level was set at the game on Saturday.

“Right now it's well below a safe level. It's pretty effective the way it is now,” Ramirez said. “We could go louder but I just don't know that it is necessary. You have to think about the kids.”

The horn was painted gold and is mounted on the ceiling of the Huntington Center.

When the Boyer was launched in 1911, it was the largest bulk freighter of its time. Originally the horn was blown by steam. Now it's powered by air. LaMarre said it takes 140 pounds per square inch (psi) to blow it. The Walleye installed a large air compressor and storage tank that allows the horn to be blown at high pressure.

LaMarre said the Huntington Center is one of only two arenas in the country that has such a horn. “The other is at Lake Superior State University,” he said. “The sound resonates from within you. It's also a tribute to our rich maritime heritage in the region.”

A long rope located in the arena's technical center is pulled to blow the horn.“It's a signature sound,” LaMarre said.

Toledo Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said he was caught off guard with the initial testing of the horn. “They blasted it a few times [Saturday] morning and it shook my office,” Vitucci said. “It's awesome that we have a great piece of history from the city right here in our arena. It's a neat addition.”

Vitucci said the horn is at the right level of volume.

“You don't want it to be so loud that it will scare little kids,” Vitucci said. “There are some arenas where you kind of hope your team doesn't score because you don't want to hear it. That's not what you want. We have a big building and it's up high so it's not blaring at people.”

LaMarre said the Boyer had two horns in her smokestack. It was a communication device and it sounded as a fog signal. LaMarre coordinated the refurbishing.

“The horn had not been operated in 30 years,” LaMarre said. “Now through the efforts of the boilermakers at the Toledo Ship Yard, guidance from the American Steamship Association and the Toledo Port Authority, we have this.”

The 617-foot-long Boyer has been converted into a museum. It has been moored at International Park in the Maumee River since 1980. The ship will be celebrating its 100-year anniversary this summer. “It will be restored to its original fleet colors and rechristened on July 1st,” LaMarre said.

Toledo Blade


Divers: 1811 wreck of Perry ship discovered off Rhode Island

1/8 - Providence, R.I. - A team of divers say they've discovered the remains of the USS Revenge, a ship commanded by U.S. Navy hero Oliver Hazard Perry and wrecked off Rhode Island in 1811.

Perry is known for defeating the British in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie off the shores of Ohio, Michigan and Ontario in the War of 1812 and for the line "I have met the enemy and they are ours." His battle flag bore the phrase "Don't give up the ship," and to this day is a symbol of the Navy.

The divers, Charles Buffum, a brewery owner from Stonington, Conn., and Craig Harger, a carbon dioxide salesman from Colchester, Conn., say the wreck changed the course of history because Perry likely would not have been sent to Lake Erie otherwise. Sunday is the 200th anniversary of the wreck.

Buffum said he's been interested in finding the remains of the Revenge ever since his mother several years ago gave him the book "Shipwrecks on the Shores of Westerly." The book includes Perry's account of the wreck, which happened when it hit a reef in a storm in heavy fog off Watch Hill in Westerly as Perry was bringing the ship from Newport to New London, Conn.

"I always thought to myself we ought to go out and have a look and just see if there's anything left," Buffum said.

The two, along with a third man, Mike Fournier, set out to find it with the aid of a metal detector. After several dives, they came across a cannon, then another.

"It was just thrilling," Harger said.

They made their first discovery in August 2005, and kept it secret as they continued to explore the area and make additional discoveries. Since then, they have found four more 42-inch-long cannons, an anchor, canister shot, and other metal objects that they say they're 99 percent sure were from the Revenge.

Buffum and Harger say the items fit into the time period that the Revenge sank, the anchor appears to be the main one that is known to have been cut loose from the ship, and that no other military ships with cannons have been recorded as sinking in the area.

They have not discovered a ship's bell or anything else that identifies it as the Revenge, and all the wood has disappeared, which is not unusual for a wreck that old, they said.

The Navy has a right to salvage its shipwrecks, and the two say they've contacted the Naval History & Heritage Command, which oversees such operations, in hopes the Navy will salvage the remains. A spokesman for the command did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

If the Navy does not, they said they hope to raise the money for a salvage operation so the artifacts can be displayed at a historical society.

They say they are concerned now that they are going public that other divers might try to remove objects from the site, which is a violation of the law. Many of the objects they found are in only 15 feet of water, although the area is difficult to dive because of currents, they said.

As for whether the wreck of the Revenge changed the course of history, David Skaggs, a professor emeritus of history at Bowling Green State University, said Perry might not put it that way. Skaggs has written two books on Perry, "A Signal Victory," about the Lake Erie campaign, which he co-authored, and a biography, "Oliver Hazard Perry: Honor, Courage, and Patriotism in the Early U.S Navy."

While Harger and Buffum say Perry was effectively demoted by being sent to the Great Lakes rather than getting another high seas command, Skaggs said the Great Lakes commission still gave Perry great prestige. Perry, a Rhode Island native, became known as the "Hero of Lake Erie" after he defeated a British squadron, becoming the first U.S. commander to do so.

"Whether or not there is another officer that could have done as well as Perry did is one of those 'might-have-beens' that historians are not prone to ask," Skaggs said.

Still, Skaggs said he was intrigued by the discovery.

"It is certainly an interesting new find on the eve of the bicentennial of the War of 1812," he said.

Buffalo News


Updates -  January 8

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 8

On 08 January 2004, McKeil 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.


Lakes iron ore trade up 11.3 Percent in December; Ends Year Up 67 percent over 2009

1/7 - Cleveland, Ohio - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 5,013,621 net tons in December, an increase of more than 11 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings were also virtually tied with the month’s 5-year average.

For the year the Great Lakes iron ore trade totaled 54.4 million tons, an increase of 67 percent compared to 2009. Shipments from U.S. ports rose 67.8 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian ports finished 62 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

The 2010 total was slightly off the 5-year average. Loadings were down 2 percent compared to the average for the years 2005-2009.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  January 7

Twin Ports - Al Miller
With several vessels waiting to load iron ore pellets in Two Harbors, the Presque Isle was diverted to Duluth to ease congestion and speed loading. The vessel arrived in Duluth about 8 a.m. Thursday. The Presque Isle swapped places with Arthur M. Anderson, which was sent to Two Harbors. Roger Blough was expected to load pellets in Duluth on Friday. Elsewhere in Duluth on Thursday, John G. Munson was expected to depart the BNSF ore dock in Superior with pellets bound for Conneaut. Kaye E. Barker was expected to arrive during the day for the CN/DMIR ore dock and James R. Barker was due at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke and Scott Best
Wednesday the Ojibway was ready to depart Sturgeon Bay after a dry-docking and five-year survey at Bay Shipbuilding. By noon, workers were finishing up the last bit of her new paint job. They departed shortly after midnight Thursday via the Sturgeon Bay Ship canal.


Author seeks photo for book cover; Jan. 9 is deadline

1/7 - Maritime author Wes Oleszewski is running a short-term contest to provide a cover photo for his new book about Great Lakes shipwrecks. Most of the wrecks are described as pretty obscure. Persons wishing to submit photos for consideration should address them to Wes at Submissions need to be received no later than Jan. 9.

Persons entering must have own the rights to publish on all photos. Persons whose photos are selected will receive an autographed copy of the book and $50 U.S. Once the selection has been made, all submitted photos will be deleted and not retained by the author. Final judging will be done by Avery Color Studios.


Updates -  January 7

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 7

07 January 1974 - The EDMUND FITZGERALD (steel propeller bulk freighter, 711 foot, 13,632 gross tons, built in 1958, at River Rouge, Michigan) lost her anchor in the Detroit River when it snagged on ice. It was raised in July 1992. The anchor weighs 12,000 pounds and now resides outside the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan.

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.

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


Salt business booming

1/6 - Goderich, Ont. - There's been a flurry of freighter activity in Goderich Harbor as Sifto Salt Mine sends rock salt around the Great Lakes region for winter application. Stormy weather has meant that road salt is needed and the completion of a storage facility at the Goderich mine has meant that more salt can be moved to surface and stored for shipment.

As winter storms wreaked havoc around the Great Lakes region through the early part of December it translated into increased lake freighter traffic to Goderich Harbor.

While snowstorms help deplete salt stockpiles that are built up around the Great Lakes, it was the completion of the $70 million investment in storage capacity and improvements to the skipping system that brings rock salt to the surface, that resulted in the recall of many of the 80 workers laid off in February 2010.

About 69 of the 80 full-time employees laid off in February have been recalled.

Last February, with salt storage at capacity around the Great Lakes, coupled with mild weather through January, the company issued layoff notices to about 20 per cent of the 400 employees, members of Local 16-0 of the Communications Energy and Paperworker's Union (CEP).

The investment in storage capacity and surfacing system will improve the company's production capacity to nine million tons annually, which accounts for about 80 percent of the mine's production. The company's Evaporator Plant on Regent Street refines rock salt for domestic use.

It was the investment in additional storage that has resulted in the improvement in the employment levels at the facility Director of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications for Compass Minerals in Kansas City, Mo., Peggy Landon said.

"We produce salt year ‘round and ship it for stockpiling months in advance. We intended to bring them (the workers) back all along," she said. "It is a wonderful mine for us, well located to serve customers. We have talented workers there. It has a lot going for it and it has good quality salt with large reserves."

This fall, three ocean-going vessels took rock salt from the mine for delivery to the United Kingdom, which struggled through rough winter weather last year and continues to battle the elements through some of the most severe winter storm conditions experienced across the Europe and the UK.

A number of lake freighters have loaded with salt at Sifto over the past few weeks, getting product moved before inclement weather winter weather stops lake traffic. Salt continues to move through the winter months via rail and truck.

The Canadian Transfer is docked in Goderich Harbor for the winter.

The Goderich Signal Star


Port Reports -  January 6

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Wednesday at the Upper Harbor, Joyce L. VanEnkevort and Great Lakes Trader arrived in the morning and loaded ore into the evening. In the afternoon, Calumet finally loaded ore and departed after three days of waiting. After Calumet's departure, Manitowoc, which arrived New Year's Day, moved back to the ore dock after anchoring out.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible arrived at Lafarge around 8 p.m. on Wednesday to unload coal. The bay has a layer of ice on it and appears to be thicker in different areas. The tug Barbara Andrie has been tied up at Lafarge since Monday, and may be in the area to break ice.

Toledo, Ohio - Paul C. LaMarre III
CSL Tadoussac entered the Toledo Shipyard Wednesday for winter work.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Manistee was unloading stone at the Jonick dock about 10:40 a.m. She left the mouth of the Lorain Harbor at 12:25 p.m.


Coast Guard explains St. Clair River ice cutting procedures

1/6 - Harsen’s Island - A special town hall meeting was held at the Harsen’s Island Fire Hall earlier this month in an effort to improve communication between the U.S. Coast Guard, area citizens and officials. The community had a chance to ask questions and express their views in an open forum. In attendance were representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, Champion's Auto Ferry and residents from Algonac and Clay Township.

Clay Township Supervisor Jay DeBoyer said the meeting went very well.

"They talked about the reason why they were in the North Channel last year," he said. "They said it was a very unique ice circumstance then and they will not have to come into the North Channel this year."

Ice jams last winter caused several shutdowns for Champion’s Auto Ferry to Harsen's Island in January and February. The first ice jam occurred early in the season, on Jan. 8, and the U.S. Coast Guard ice cutters began the tedious work of breaking up the ice. Over the next two months, their operations in the North Channel continued to conflict with Champion’s Auto Ferry owner Bob Bryson's service, forcing it to be shut down.

Bryson was quoted in The Voice in Feb. 2010 as saying, "There's been ice in the river ever since (the first ice jam on Jan. 8.) We've been shut down five different times by the Coast Guard, sometimes for one day, other times two to three days."

The Coast Guard authorities had said that water levels north of Clay Township were rising, causing flooding and to the south, levels were dropping by at least two feet, causing damage to docks and boats, making it necessary to work in the North Channel. The ice-breaking operations continued to jam up Bryson's self-made water bridge to and from the island.

DeBoyer took action and wrote Rep. Candice Miller a letter, which prompted Miller to make a visit to one of the ships. Miller sympathized with Clay Township residents, but pointed out the importance of keeping commerce traveling through the St. Clair River, especially in these tough economic times.

"The shipping industry along the Great Lakes is a great component of our economy and ice breaking is an important part of it," said Miller in an interview with The Voice.

Petty Officer Josh Shirey, Coast Guard Sector Detroit, told The Voice in February that the agency has received multiple complaints about its work in the North Channel.

"They don't understand that the possible negative consequences of not doing it are potentially worse than the hardship that comes to the Harsen’s Island residents," he said. "The operations minimize the risk of flooding in specifically the towns of Marine City and St. Clair."

DeBoyer said he thought the recent Town Hall meeting opened up communication with the residents, giving them a better understanding of the protocols of the USCG. He also said it was good for the decision-makers in the Coast Guard "to see the faces of the people you affect," for future reference.

Charles Miller, president of the Harsen’s Island St. Clair Flats Association said the Coast Guard representatives "were candid and generally prepared" for the crowd of about 105 people who attended the meeting.

"The Coast Guard has no mandate, nor do they have a desire, to work ice in the North Channel unless they are specifically requested to do so by a governmental entity or by the ferry operator," Miller said.

The Voice


Updates -  January 6

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 6

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

January 6, 1999 - The Dow Chemical plant in Ludington, Michigan, announced a plan to close its 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.


Port Reports -  January 5

Twin Ports - Al Miller
H. Lee White entered Fraser Shipyards at midday Tuesday, becoming the first active vessel to lay up in the Twin Ports at the end of this season. The White immediately moved into the yard’s large drydock, where it is expected to undergo its 5-year inspection and undergo cargo hold replacement. Elsewhere, the ore docks were busy as steel mills complete their winter stockpiles. In Duluth, CSL Assiniboine was loading at DMIR/CN while Philip R. Clarke was tied up at the ore dock waiting its turn at the shiploader. Arthur M. Anderson arrived in port Tuesday morning and tied up at the Duluth Port Terminal to await its turn at the ore dock. In Two Harbors, American Spirit, St. Clair and Presque Isle were all in port or waiting for a turn to load.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Manitowoc and Calumet remain at the Upper Harbor ore dock, still waiting to load ore. Calumet has anchored out and returned to the ore dock. Saginaw returned late Monday night, anchored out, and departed again Tuesday morning. Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder loaded ore late Monday night ahead of Manitowoc and Calumet, which have waited since Sunday.


Ships wintering in the Twin Ports expected to be down

1/5 - Duluth, Minn. - Fewer ships than usual will be wintering in the Twin Ports, but a local shipyard says they’ll still be busy over the next three months.

The Soo Locks close on Jan. 15 and Duluth Seaway Port Authority Facilities Manager Jim Sharrow says they expect the last of 11 vessels to dock in the Duluth-Superior Harbor around Jan. 22. The latest addition to the Fraser Shipyards in Superior is the H. Lee White. It will need the most repairs.

“All the ships that are going to be laid up in the harbor are U.S. flagged American-owned ships that we call ‘lakers,’” said Sharrow. “The H. Lee White is going on their drydock so she’s having a scheduled sight and survey dry docking which happens every five or six years.”

Sharrow says a drydocking is like a complete physical that people get at their doctor’s office.

“You can sail it into the berth. They close a big gate and they pump the water out of the berth. And the ship settles down onto a hundred or more different blocks that keep it up off the bottom so you can climb around and work on the bottom and paint it, replace steel if necessary and inspect everything from the outside. And then you do a detailed inspection where you literally crawl through all sections structurally.”

Due to a tight economy, the American Victory, the Edward L. Ryerson and the Adam E. Cornelius have been docked at Fraser Shipyards since last winter. And they’ll stay there for another winter. Sharrow says they’re docking fewer ships than last year.

“This is toward the low end of what I think of as normal, except for the fact that we have these several ships that didn’t sail at all. There were 12 ships last year total.”

Sharrow says an average vessel brings in around $800,000 dollars worth of work to the area. Fraser Shipyards President Jim Korthals says they will have a typical year with around 100 employees completing repairs.



Lake Michigan shipwreck gets historic designation

1/5 - Milwaukee, Wis. - An 1850s shipwreck in Lake Michigan near Ozaukee County has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The 81-foot schooner Northerner sank in 130 feet of water about five miles southeast of Port Washington in 1868. The Northerner is a rare example of a sailing vessel that was vital to the economy and transportation of the Great Lakes before the development of roads and rail networks.

There are only a few archaeological examples of small lakeshoring schooners discovered in Wisconsin waters. Information gleaned from visits to the Northerner has broadened knowledge for maritime historians and underwater archaeologists of lakeshoring vessel construction, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society, which administers the national register program in Wisconsin. The society recently learned of the Northerner's designation.

Lakeshoring schooners such as the Northerner were an important link for small communities, connecting them economically and culturally with regional markets.

The Northerner was built in 1850 and worked on Lake Ontario carrying goods to ports in the United States and Canada. The last five years of its operation were on Lake Michigan during the lumber industry boom. It sustained hull damage while it was being loaded with wood at a pier in Amsterdam, Wis., and sank while being towed to Milwaukee for repairs.

Scuba divers venturing to the wreck can see an intact hull and deck and carved bowsprit as well as lumber stacked in the Northerner's hold.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel


Taconite production doubles on the Iron Range in 2010

1/5 - Duluth, Minn. – It was a good year for taconite mining on the Iron Range. Production levels in 2010 were just below those during the peak year of 2008 and more than double those recorded in the recession year of 2009. A new era in iron mining is becoming more established on the Range, with new plants such as Magnetation and Mesabi Nugget using new technologies to produce iron for steel, and construction under way at the new Essar Steel Minnesota operation.

Minnesota Department of Revenue engineering specialist Bob Wagstrom said 2011 should see production levels around the same as those for 2006 through 2008, when it ranged around 38 million to 39 million tons.

“It’s good to see that back up again,” Wagstrom told the Mesabi Daily News.

Wagstrom projected 2010 production at 34.3 million tons, compared with 17.1 million tons in 2009, with higher output from each taconite plant on the Range. Plants in 2010 paid a production tax of $2.36 per ton, in lieu of any property taxes.

Tax revenues from the new-era iron producers will begin accruing soon, Wagstrom said. They include Mesabi Nugget, which uses a unique process to produce nuggets that are 95 percent iron compared to 60 percent to 65 percent for concentrated taconite pellets, and Magnetation, which reclaims iron ore from older-era iron tailings stockpiles.

At one point in spring and summer 2009, none of the six taconite plants on the Range was in production.

“2010 was much improved,” said Craig Pagel, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota. “As the recession ended, and steel demand increased, it was good to see all the taconite mines up and running.”

New investments led to a resurgence at Keewatin Taconite, which produced an estimated 4.8 million tons, compared with just 75,000 tons in 2009. Magnetation also stepped up its output, and Mesabi Nugget went through its first almost-full year of production. Essar Steel Minnesota started construction. And business was good for vendors and suppliers to the industry.

Once new construction is finished, “it will double the effect iron mining is having on the economy of Northeastern Minnesota” to $6 billion annually, Pagel said.

“We consider 2010 a huge, pivotal year for the company,” said Matt Lehtinen, Magnetation’s vice president of marketing and business development. Either it was going to expand or close up, he said.

A $4 million loan from the Iron Range Resources agency late in the year and a business deal with a Mexican steel producer both helped.

“It puts the company on solid ground as far as being fully capitalized,” Lehtinen said.

Essar Steel Minnesota project manager Steve Rutherford said work on its mammoth $1.6 billion operation is progressing, with more than 100 construction workers putting foundations in place. By 2012, about 1,000 to 1,200 construction workers will be on the site. Pellet production could begin by the fourth quarter of 2012. Essar had 31 Minnesota employees by the end of the year and plans to grow to 75 in 2011.

Duluth News Tribune


NOAA improves marine and weather forecast models for Great Lakes

1/5 - NOAA is now using enhanced weather and marine forecast models for the Great Lakes that will extend forecasts from 36 hours to 60 hours into the future to better serve commercial and recreational mariners, the shipping industry, emergency responders, water resource managers and the private weather industry.

The Great Lakes Operational Forecast System of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, which predict currents, water level and water temperature, is now running on NOAA’s National Weather Service’s computers. The computers run around the clock, offering a more reliable computing framework to generate Great Lakes forecast models and ultimately producing more timely forecasts. GLOFS nowcasts and forecasts are online at

The National Weather Service provides customers with wind and wave forecasts in addition to weather forecasts for the five Great Lakes. Bringing the National Ocean Service’s forecasts under the same computing system provides the opportunity for customers to have access to Great Lakes predictions from a single source.

“We are expanding environmental modeling capabilities within NOAA by leveraging existing resources and partnerships,” said Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, a division of the National Weather Service. “This initiative will give NOAA customers better, more reliable and timely information.”

This initiative is a first step to link NOAA’s environmental modeling efforts with state-of-the art technology and paves the way for a more seamless way to deliver environmental forecasts to NOAA’s diverse customer base in the future. In addition, this effort will aid NOAA’s ability to manage the nation’s marine ecosystems and it supports the Integrated Ocean Observing System – a federal, regional, and private-sector partnership working to increase understanding of the oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes so decision makers can take action to improve safety, enhance the economy and protect the environment.

“This initiative will lead to great advances in environmental modeling within NOAA,” said David Kennedy, acting assistant administrator of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “Imagine a system one day that can help us provide more accurate and timely predictions for safer and more efficient marine commerce and also lead to improvements in ecological forecasting, such as the harmful algal bloom prediction.”


Split decision over coke plant raises questions about Toledo facility's future

1/5 - Columbus, Ohio – Ohio's Tenth District Court of Appeals has sent the proposal for an $800 million FDS coking facility and co-generation power plant back to a state board for more legal review, raising new questions about the project's fate.

The three-judge panel agreed with the Ohio attorney general's office that the village of Harbor View and the Sierra Club did not have their right to challenge the FDS permit impeded by time constraints, but agreed there are questions about whether the permit itself is still valid.

The court said the matter belongs back in the hands of the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission, the state board with jurisdiction over Ohio EPA actions. Project advocates have raised concerns about what additional delays might mean in terms of their ability to recruit investors.

The project, in the discussion phase for years, is designed for a 51-acre site on the East Toledo-Oregon line owned by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. Large ovens would produce coke, a vital ingredient for steel, with waste steam being piped into the co-generation power plant.

FDS received its construction permit in June of 2004 following much debate. The investor consortium appealed it on the grounds that its mercury restriction was unreasonable. Harbor View and the Sierra Club appealed on the grounds of a permit being issued at all.

In 2005, former Ohio EPA Director Joe Koncelik took the unprecedented action of modifying the permit while it was still under appeal, softening it for FDS. That action was ruled invalid, prompting Gov. Ted Strickland to seek a permanent change in state law that would allow such modifications to occur. The Ohio General Assembly approved it, giving greater power to state EPA directors.

FDS was allowed to have until Dec. 14, 2006 to get the project under way. It still has not broken ground. It received a 12-month extension to its original 18-month time frame. During that extension, it hired a general contractor. Attorneys for both sides have been arguing since whether it did enough to keep the permit valid.

FDS has promised 150 jobs at an average salary of $45,000 a year. Critics claim the pollution it generates won't be worth the investment.

Toledo Blade


Capt. Bill Smith

1/5 - Kingston, Ont. – Capt. Bill Smith, who died Monday, started his sailing career decking on the Keystone canallers out of Kingston, Ont. He spent many years aboard the Cementkarrier and moved from there to be master with the Reoch fleet on such vessels as Grovedale, Parkdale and Nordale. He finished his career commanding vessels with Soo River. His final command was the Westdale of which he was master for many years. His father was a master with Keystone fleet, spending most of his career as captain of the S/S Keyport. He is predeceased by his brother Capt. Edward V. Smith, traffic manager of Halco and former master of various vessels of the Keystone Transport fleet.

There will be a mass of Christian burial at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 490 Days Road, Kingston, on Thursday, Jan. 6th at 11 a.m. The family will receive friends at the church one hour prior to the mass. The family wished to invite you to the Church hall for a reception. As expressions of sympathy memorial.

Capt. Smith served on these vessels as captain (from Russ Plumm)
Hilldale 1965 - 1966
Parkdale 1967 - 1969
Grovedale 1970
Westdale 1971 - 1975
H. C. Heimbecker 1978 - 1981


Updates -  January 5

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 5

The keel was laid January 5, 1972, for 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.


Port Reports -  January 4

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic early Monday included CSL Assiniboine and CSL Niagara at the DMIR/CN ore dock. Philip R. Clarke arrived, apparently to fuel, then turned with ice-breaking assistance from a tug and departed to anchor on the lake while it awaits a berth at the DMIR/CN ore dock. As the Clarke was leaving, the Paul R. Tregurtha arrived to load coal at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Marquette, Mich. - Lee Rowe and Rod Burdick
Arthur M. Anderson departed, Saginaw departed without loading ore, Calumet backed away from the dock and anchored and Manitowoc moved to the north side of the dock and waited. The assumption is that the dock is having some problems, possibly with frozen ore.

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
Monday afternoon, Canadian Enterprise was unloading salt at Morton dock. Invincible and McKee Sons backed up the river to load coal at KCBX.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
At 12:45 p.m., Mississagi was about five miles outside Lorain and heading into the harbor. She made it about halfway in, with the west Lorain Light just off her starboard side, reversed, tried again and moved mid-harbor at 1:50 p.m. She was docked and preparing to unload at 2:50 p.m.


First forecast for the boating season: Lower lake levels

1/4 - Detroit, Mich. - Great Lakes water levels are expected to be lower than in either of the last two years in June, according to the first projections for the summer boating season.

Several major storm systems packing rain and snow missed the Great Lakes region in 2010, often passing by to the south. But missing out on foul weather last year is expected to mean low water levels in the lakes once summer rolls around.

The relative health of the lakes in terms of water levels is determined by the amount of rain and snow that accumulate over the prior months. This week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is predicting that each of the Great Lakes, as well as Lake St. Clair, will be below their historical averages once June rolls around if conditions continue as they have.

In the 12 months of 2010, Lake Superior saw only 88 percent of its average precipitation, while Michigan/Huron saw 89 percent, and both Erie and Ontario were a few percentage points below normal.

"We definitely saw, especially last winter, that major blizzards affecting places like the Ohio River Valley and cities like Cincinnati and Pittsburgh got dumped with snow," said Keith Kompoltowicz, a forecaster with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "But we stayed on the northern edge of that and it helped keep our snow levels down."

Water levels have a significant impact on recreational boaters and the loads freighters can carry on the lakes. Last week, a coal-carrying vessel became stuck in the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River attempting to deliver its freight to Detroit Edison. Water levels are at or near their traditional low of the year and rise in the late spring with snowmelt.

There is some hope that an early start to the ice cover season would help eliminate winter evaporation, but that's unlikely to make up for a lack of precipitation.

Without a significant increase in precipitation through the rest of winter and the spring, the Army Corps is predicting:
Lake Superior's waters will be a foot to 14 inches below normal.
Lake Michigan/Huron will be 21 inches below normal.
Lake Erie will be five to six inches below normal.
Lake Ontario will be six to eight inches below normal.
In addition, Lake St. Clair will also likely be at least six inches under its historical average.

Detroit News


Erie's flagship Niagara sets 2011 sailing schedule

1/4 - Erie, Pa. - The U.S. Brig Niagara has set its 2011 sailing schedule. Erie's flagship will make public stops in Duluth, Minn.; Chicago; Port Washington, Wis.; and in Port Colborne and Montreal, Canada, in addition to several more nonpublic stops throughout the Great Lakes as part of a floating classroom for high school and college students.

There will be opportunities to visit the brig at home, too: day sails are scheduled for most Saturdays and Sundays when the ship is in port.

Erie Times-News


Icebreaker clears path on Lake St. Clair

1/4 - St. Clair Shores, Mich. - Out in the shipping channel that cuts diagonally across Lake St. Clair, due east of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, the giant lake freighter American Spirit was inching forward, hard up against a plate of ice. Downbound, the Spirit was carrying a full load of iron ore. On a gray winter morning, she would be the first ship broken out of the ice during Operation Coal Shovel.

"Mother Nature dictates our job out here," said Lt. Commander Matt ten Berge, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay, which helped break American Spirit out of the ice on the morning of Dec. 30 – the first such "direct assist" of the ice-breaking season in the Detroit region.

Within minutes of Bristol Bay opening a path for American Spirit, the laker was able to increase speed from less than one knot to eight knots.

Even before lunch was served on the 140-foot Bristol Bay, the freighters Everlast, Buffalo and Samuel de Champlain would all benefit from being able to pass through a path in the ice made by the cutter.

Operation Coal Shovel is the joint U.S.-Canadian ice-breaking operation for the southern part of Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair/Detroit River systems, and lakes Erie and Ontario.

Four U.S. ships—including the Bristol Bay that ties up in Detroit at the Coast Guard station at the foot of Mount Elliot and the Port Huron-based Hollyhock—are joined by two Canadian icebreakers in the annual operation.

An unusually cold December prompted an earlier than normal start to Coal Shovel and ten Berge said ice conditions on Detroit area waterways were worse this year before Christmas than they were last year in mid-January.

Last winter, the Bristol Bay and other icebreakers were familiar sights in northern Lake St. Clair, as several ice jams developed in the St. Clair River, stranding several ships and threatening communities along the river with flooding.

"That clog on the river last year—after we opened it up, you could look back and we just had a caravan of freighters following us," said Kristian Sova, a boatswain's mate first class, who has served on the Bristol Bay for about 2 1/2 years. As a boatswain's mate, Sova often has the responsibility for being in command of the movement of the ship, known in nautical parlance as "having the conn."

"Being on the ship … having the responsibility for the control of the vessel," Sova said, pausing and looking out over the ice from the ship's bridge, as he searched for the right words, "not everyone in the Coast Guard gets to do what we do."

The Bristol Bay, which has an all-male crew, is one of only two ships in its class in the Coast Guard that is outfitted with a special 120-foot barge.

During the spring, summer and fall, the ship is charged with maintaining 165 bouys, also known as "aids to navigation," or ATONs.

In the winter, the ship decouples from the barge and works as an icebreaker. The ship can also perform lifesaving and law enforcement functions, though those duties are normally assigned to other, small Coast Guard vessels in the region, such as the boats at the St. Clair Shores station.

Typically, the Coast Guard assigns 17 crew members to a 140-foot Bay-class cutter, but because of the ship's barge, a total of 30 personnel are assigned to the ship, said Lt. Adam Legget, the ship's executive officer, or second in command.

Legget said typically the newest members of the crew live on the ship. More senior single crewmen live in several apartments maintained by the Coast Guard in Warren. Married crewmen are able to make their own arrangements "on the local economy."

"This is a great duty assignment," said ten Berge, an Arizona native. He is serving his second tour aboard the Bristol Bay. He was the ship's executive officer in 2002-04 and then studied for a time as a graduate student at the University of Michigan in a Coast Guard educational program.

"The variety of things we get to do here—and the importance of what we do here, these are the things you join the Coast Guard to be able to do," ten Berge said.

The Coast Guard says more than 300,000 tons of commercial cargo moves through the Detroit/St. Clair River system per year.

The Coast Guard's history in Detroit dates back as early as 1874 with the completion of the still standing U.S. Lighthouse Service building, which is adjacent to the current Sector Detroit facility at the foot of Mt. Elliott Avenue.

St. Clair Shores Patch


Scientists scent a lamprey trap

1/4 - In the never-ending battle to prevent blood-sucking sea lamprey from wiping out some of the most popular fish species in the Great Lakes, biologists are developing new weapons that exploit three certainties in the eel-like parasites' lives: birth, sex and death.

Researchers are beginning the third and final year of testing lab-refined mating pheromones scents emitted by male lampreys to attract females. They're also working on a mixture with the stench of rotting lamprey flesh, which live ones detest, and another that smells of baby lampreys, which adults love. If proven effective, the chemicals will be deployed across the region to steer the aquatic vermin to where they can be trapped or killed.

Early results appear promising. Yet no one expects the lures and repellents to finally rid the lakes of the despised invader and enable fisheries managers in the U.S. and Canada to end a battle that has cost more than $400 million over five decades. Especially when a single spawning female lays up to 60,000 eggs.

"When you have a large, open ecosystem like the Great Lakes and highly distributed, abundant organisms like sea lamprey, eradication is usually not an option," said Michael Wagner, a Michigan State University behavioral ecologist and member of the research team. "There's no technique that we could think of achieving that right now."

Instead, the goal is to keep their numbers low enough to prevent significant harm to the $7 billion Great Lakes fishing industry. The lamprey population has dropped by about 90 percent since researchers perfected a biocide in the late 1950s that kills lamprey but not other species. Yet they remain a constant threat and have rebounded whenever control measures have been relaxed.

"You've always got to be on guard," said Nick Johnson, a U.S. Geological Survey ecologist at the Hammond Bay Biological Station on the northwestern shore of Lake Huron.

Adult sea lampreys, which reach lengths of 2 to 3 feet, resemble eels but behave more like leeches. With round, disk-like mouths and sharp teeth, they latch onto fish and suck out their blood and other bodily fluids, killing or severely weakening the hosts.

Although native to the Atlantic, they can live in fresh water and migrated to the Great Lakes through shipping canals. By the late 1940s, the prolific invaders had decimated trout, whitefish and other sport and commercial species across the lakes.

The development of a poison called TFM eventually brought lamprey numbers sharply lower. TFM is applied in rivers, where lampreys spawn. Crews treat about 175 streams across the region on a rotating basis, said Mike Fodale, a supervisor with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service station in Marquette. Other control methods include placing barriers in streams to keep the lampreys from spawning areas and sterilizing up to 30,000 males a year before releasing them back into the wild, where they mate but produce no offspring.

The efforts make a big difference. But the price tag is steep about $21 million a year and lampreys continue taking their toll. About 15 percent of lake trout sampled at a Lake Huron research lab in Alpena have lamprey wounds, said biologist Jim Johnson of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Lamprey predation has risen in Lake Michigan, Fodale said. That's where the pheromone applications come in. If biologists could guide spawning lampreys into streams baited with traps or treated with TFM, control programs would be more effective and less of the expensive biocide might be needed.

To make the potions, scientists capture lampreys and keep them in tanks of water, where filters extract pheromones they have secreted. Other processes reduce the chemicals to potent concentrates.

Of those under development by the Hammond Bay Station team, the refined sex pheromone is furthest along. In tests, traps baited with the scents nabbed about 30 percent more lampreys than those without, said Johnson, the USGS ecologist. If the data is solid enough after more trials, scientists will ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to certify the pheromone as the first ever to control populations of animals other than insects.

Work continues on other scents. Among them: a lure with the odor of larval lampreys, which could have the same effect as the sex pheromone, and the "necromone" that smells of death and could chase adults from untreated streams. The foul repellent could be particularly valuable because lampreys spawn in more than 430 Great Lakes streams and there isn't enough money or manpower to spread TFM in all of them.

Even if pheromones help reduce the lamprey population, the cost and the fact that no end is in sight should convey an urgent message as government agencies debate how to keep destructive Asian carp and other potential invaders out of the lakes, said Marc Gaden, spokesman for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

"We need to move heaven and earth to prevent new species from reaching us in the first place," Gaden said. "Yet we're barely more protected than when the lamprey came in. You could argue that with increased globalization, the Great Lakes have never been more vulnerable."


Updates -  January 4

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery - new video onboard the Wilfred Sykes on a stormy Lake Michigan
Public Gallery updated
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 4

On January 4, 1978, 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.


Port Reports -  January 3

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunrise on Sunday found fleetmates and sisters Manitowoc and Calumet secured together on the south side of the Upper Harbor ore dock. Saginaw was at anchor, despite a clear north side.

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Several vessels remained at anchor Sunday night due to weather. The Presque Isle was in Whitefish Bay, while Sam Laud, H. Lee White, St. Clair, Frontenac and H. Lee White were anchored off Bay Mills.

Menominee, Mich. - Dick Lund
The KK Integrated Shipping tug and barge Lewis J. Kuber and Olive L. Moore arrived at KK Integrated Logistics on Dec. 30. After dropping the barge at the KK East Dock, the tug Moore disengaged from the notch in the barge and headed up river to dock at the facility's West Dock. The tug Snohomish has been moved to the far west end of the West Dock, while the Moore is at the far east side of the West Dock. The Viking I remains (for now) at the east of the East Dock. Some repositioning of the vessels is possible before James L. Kuber and Victory arrive for winter lay-up.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were anchored off Alpena Saturday night due to high winds. On Sunday morning they headed into Lafarge to load cement. The Innovation departed the dock by early afternoon.

Toronto, Ont.
Stephen B. Roman entered the Port of Toronto Sunday about 11 a.m. Its master should be wearing the top hat for 2011 for the first Great Lakes boat.


Feds seek permanent solution to Asian Carp threat

1/3 - Washington, D.C. - The Obama administration says it will step up efforts to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes, even though closing Chicago-area shipping locks is off the table.

Officials on Thursday outlined the federal government strategy for meeting the Asian carp threat over the next year. It follows a $78.5 million plan released in February that included strengthening electronic barriers on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which has been completed.

Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, said the projects for next year announced Thursday are short-term fixes that will buy time while a permanent solution is determined for the invasive species.

"Now we have to make sure the time we accumulate we spend right," he said. "We don't know how much time we have."

Brammeier said he was pleased the Army Corps of Engineers recently started a study for a permanent solution, but was frustrated by the five-year time frame for the study.

Among initiatives will be refining the process of detecting the presence of Asian carp by testing water samples for their DNA.

Teams also will study 18 other places across the region identified as potential pathways for invasive species between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basin.

"The Obama Administration has taken an aggressive, unprecedented approach to protect our Great Lakes and the communities and economies that depend on them from the threat of Asian carp," John Goss, Asian carp director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said in a statement.


Updates -  January 3

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 3

For the second year in a row the tanker GEMINI (steel propeller tanker, 420 foot, 5,853 gross tons, built in 1978, at Orange, Texas) was the first vessel of the year in Manistee, Michigan in 2003. She headed to the General Chemical dock to load 8,000 tons of brine for Amherstburg, Ontario. The vessel arrived at Manistee in 2002, on January first, and Captain Riley Messer was presented a hackberry cane, crafted by local resident Ken Jilbert. A similar cane was presented to the vessel Saturday morning. Sold Canadian in 2005, renamed b.) ALGOSAR.

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.


High winds sending boats to anchor on upper Great Lakes

1/2 - Gale warnings across the lakes have sent many vessels to anchor. At 9 p.m. Saturday, boats seeking shelter included American Mariner in St. Ignace Bay, American Republic and Presque Isle in the Lower St. Marys River, as well as Frontenac, St. Clair and Sam Laud in Whitefish Bay. The Joseph L. Block was anchored in Thunder Bay.


Port Reports -  January 2

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Four vessels visited the Upper Harbor on New Year's Day. John J. Boland arrived in the morning to load ore after unloading coal at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock during the night. In the late afternoon, Herbert C. Jackson, Saginaw, and Manitowoc all arrived. Jackson and Saginaw docked together on the south side of the ore dock while Manitowoc went to anchor.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Buffalo Fire Department's Edward M. Cotter made an ice breaking run on the Buffalo River Friday, probably a pre-emptive strike to avoid a flood in South Buffalo when the thaw arrived Saturday.


Welland Canal closes for winter

1/2 - St. Catharines, Ont. — The last vessel to enter the Welland Canal this year won't leave until next spring.

The John B. Aird, a self-unloading bulk carrier, off-loaded sugar in Toronto before entering the canal early Thursday just before the industrial waterway closed for the winter.

The 220-metre-long vessel will spend the winter at the Seaway Marine and Industrial Ltd. facility at Port Weller for "maintenance and refurbishment," said Wayne Hennessy, director of traffic for vessel manager Seaway Marine Transport.

Portions of the canal will be dewatered over the next two weeks in preparation for winter maintenance, said Luc Boisclair, general manager of engineering for St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. That work will include refacing a Lock 3 wall near the St. Catharines Museum and rebuilding sections of tie-up walls between locks 1 and 2.

The most northerly section of Welland Canals Parkway, from Carlton Street to Bunting Road in St. Catharines, will be closed for four months as a result. The parallel section of the canal recreational trail will also be off-limits.

Welland Tribune


Accidentally tripped device prompts lake search

1/2 - A distress signal that set off an air and water search for a boat in trouble off the Stoney Creek shoreline Thursday was traced to an emergency device in a delivery van.

Officials from Industry Canada found the signal was coming from an emergency position indicating radio beacon — or EPIRB — being delivered by a courier to a marine supply company on Hamilton’s waterfront. The device had been accidentally activated.

Before the transmission was tracked down, the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton – which runs search and rescue operations – had dispatched the Hamilton police marine unit, a boat from the Toronto marine unit and a Hercules military aircraft to comb the Lake Ontario waters. The Hercules searched for about two hours at a cost of $14,000 an hour, said JRCC spokesperson Robert Bradbury.

The signal was first picked up at about 7:30 a.m. Industry Canada officials, using hand-held homing devices, finally tracked the source to the van in downtown Hamilton at about 3:30 p.m.

Bradbury said the signal bounced off buildings and vehicles into Lake Ontario, fooling search and rescue teams until they were able to determine the beacon was coming from inland. He said the device will be examined to find out why it activated.

Bradbury said such occurrences do not happen often. He said the JRCC has even picked up transmissions from EPIRB-like devices on planes travelling across the country, but found the planes are not in trouble.

Hamilton Spectator


Updates -  January 2

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 2

While on the North Atlantic under tow for scrapping, 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-masted wooden schooner M. J. CUMMINGS was launched at the shipyard of Goble & MacFarlane in Oswego, New York. Her owners were Mrs. Goble & MacFarlane, 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.



Port Reports -  January 1

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Calumet loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on New Year's Eve. With Michipicoten in lay-up for repowering, it appears "River Class" lakers Manitowoc and Calumet will finish the season on the Marquette/Essar Algoma run.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
The Manistee departed Friday morning about 9 a.m. heading east.

Welland Canal - Al Howard
The draining of the Welland canal began Friday starting at Lock 7. most of the system should be dry by next week.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday the Captain Henry Jackman arrived at 3:30 p.m. for winter lay up at Pier 26N. This should be the last ship in or out since the Burlington Lift Bridge will under going structural repairs and repainting until mid-March.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman was unloading cement at Essroc's Dock on Friday.


Help wanted - Engineering Superintendent

1/1 - Grand River Navigation Company is seeking an Engineering Superintendent for its fleet of five self-unloading Great Lakes bulk carriers. The position is responsible to the Director of Engineering for managing all engineering support functions including vessel maintenance planning and performance, vessel repairs, oversight of shipboard engineering personnel, management of engineering budgets and cost controls, and the safe and efficient operations of our fleet from an engineering perspective.

Prospective applicants must be a licensed and experienced marine engineer and/or possess significant experience in ship repair and maintenance activities. Experience with Great Lakes self-unloading bulk carriers is preferred.

Interested parties should submit a resume via e-mail by January 10, 2011 for consideration.


Updates -  January 1

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated
Lighthouse Gallery updated - Lake Erie, West Sister Island Light and Lake Michigan, Menominee North Pier Light
New Video on our YouTube Channel

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2011 from the BoatNerd.Com crew!


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 1

On this day in 1958, 76-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.


News Archive - August 1996 to present

Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping

Comments, news, and suggestions to:

Copyright All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Due to frequent updates, this page will automatically reload every half hour