Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Algoma Central signs agreement to install exhaust gas scrubbers

1/31 - Toronto, Ont. - Algoma Central Corp has signed an agreement to have a Finnish company install freshwater exhaust gas scrubbers on six new Equinox Class vessels for US$12 million. Algoma said Monday that the scrubbers being supplied by Wartsila Ship Power are designed to remove 97 per cent of sulphur oxides emissions generated by vessel engines.

Algoma, a shipping, ship repair and marine engineering company, will be the first customer for Wartsila's new scrubber design.

"The installation of scrubber units on our Equinox Class vessels fits with our stated strategic objective of improving the efficiency of our fleet while at the same time reducing our environmental footprint," said president and CEO Greg Wight.

The Equinox Class vessels are designed for service in the Great Lakes. The first delivery will arrive in Canada in the first half of 2013, Algoma said. Wartsila will also supply a main engine, shafting and propeller, auxiliary generators, oily bilge water treatment systems and bow thrusters for the Equinox Class vessels.

The Canadian Press


Port Reports -  January 31

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Wilfred Sykes arrived at Bay Shipbuilding via the Sturgeon Bay Ship Channel Monday morning for winter layup. She was assisted into the yard by Selvick tugs around 7 a.m.

Erie, Pa. - Jeff Benson
Robert S. Pierson remains in the graving dock at Donjon Ship building; she is currently being sandblasted and painted. Work continues on the new barge Lakes Contender. The boom looks to be complete, but no belts have been placed on the boom as yet. Work has started on Presque Isle and Edgar B. Speer, but it appears to be inside work so far.


Plans progressing for replacement Detroit River rail tunnel

1/31 - Detroit, Mich. – The Detroit River Tunnel Partnership has applied for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit to build a replacement railroad tunnel under the Detroit River. The organization is a partnership of Borealis Infrastructure Trust and Canadian Pacific Railway.

The proposed single-track tunnel will be built about 100 feet southwest of the existing pair of tunnels that opened to rail traffic in 1910. The new tunnel will be slightly longer and deeper than the existing bores, with an inside diameter of roughly 27 feet and a length of almost 2 miles. Westbound trains will climb a 2.15 percent grade exiting the tunnel while the eastbound grade will be 1.75 percent.

The project proposes to use a tunnel boring machine to dig the tunnel from Canada to the U.S., with all excavated material to be disposed of on the Canadian side of the border. This method of construction should cause little disruption to marine traffic. The original tunnel was built by sinking prefabricated sections into a dredged trench.

The Corps of Engineers permit is one of about 60 that will be required for the new tunnel. Information released in 2010 stated that the existing tunnels carry about 350,000 rail cars per year and that the construction cost for the new tunnel would be roughly $400 million US dollars.

The Corps of Engineers is accepting public comment on the proposed project until February 11, 2012. & Tom Hynes


Updates -  January 31

Weekly Website Updates
New Videos on our YouTube Channel


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.


Happy birthday: Canadian Coast Guard celebrates 50th

1/30 - Sarnia, Ont. – They laid the first transatlantic fiber optic cable, performed ice rescues on the St. Clair River and provided aid during Hurricane Katrina.

The men and women of the Canadian Coast Guard were saluted during the local kickoff of its 50th anniversary golden jubilee at the Sarnia government dock Thursday. Schoolchildren sang Happy Birthday and a ceremonial flag was unveiled on an upper deck of the CCGS Griffon.

The Regional Operations Centre located on Christina Street is in charge of all the operations in the Central and Arctic Region, a fact that still surprises many.

“Most people in the Sarnia area don’t realize that we use the office to control operations in the Arctic,” said Wade Spurrell, assistant commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard.

The anniversary comes at a time when the coast guard’s fleet is set to grow. The region will welcome its first Hero class mid-shore patrol vessel later this summer. These vessels will conduct security patrols of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

As the coast guard moves forward, the Harper government is committed to funding it properly, Chatham-Kent-Essex MP Dave Van Kesteren told crews in attendance Thursday.

The federal government has invested more than $1.4 billion to modernize the fleet and provide proper tools and training. That includes new fishery science vessels that allow for research in Canadian waters.

“My own riding of Chatham-Kent-Essex includes a sizable portion of the north shore of Lake Erie,” Van Kesteren told the crowd. “The commercial fishery, recreational boating and sport fishing all contribute to the health and economy of our province.”

The Canadian Coast Guard is also a sizable employer. To date, more than 4,000 Canadians are employed by the agency. Half operate the fleet of 116 vessels that provide round-the-clock service.

In the summer of 2010, members of the Central and Arctic Region were tested when back-to-back ship groundings happened in the arctic. Cruise ship passengers had to be evacuated and the scene monitored for pollution.

Sarnia’s Regional Operations Centre had to work hand-in-hand with radio officers in Iqaluit to coordinate fleet efforts.

“These are just a few of the many proud accomplishments of the men and women of Central and Arctic Region,” Spurrell told the crowd. “On this special occasion of our 50th anniversary, we honour our personnel, both past and present, at sea and ashore for their significant contributions toward making our waterways a safer place for all.”

Public events to mark the golden jubilee are slated throughout the year.

The Sarnia Observer


Reward for help with finding originator of false distress calls in Lake Erie

1/30 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard Investigative Service, in partnership with Crime Stoppers of Michigan, are offering a reward of up to $3,500 for information leading to the identification and conviction of the person(s) responsible for communicating a series of false distress calls to the Coast Guard.

The series of false distress or "mayday" calls have been transmitted over marine band radio, VHF-FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, since 2010. The calls, which feature a person or persons claiming to be in distress on a plane or boat in Lake Erie, are believed to have originated from the Bolles Harbor region south of Monroe, Mich.

The following .MP3 files are being made available, which contain portions of the false distress calls. Authorities hope someone will recognize the voice on the audio clips.

Click the below links to play the audio samples, in .MP3 format:
Sample Audio 1    Sample Audio 2

"The Coast Guard and other emergency response organizations must take all distress calls seriously — the maritime environment can be far too dangerous to do otherwise," said Chief Petty Officer Gabriel Settel, Coast Guard Sector Detroit Command Center supervisor.

"False distress calls are dangerous because they put those mariners who are actually in danger at added risk because crews are preoccupied with needless searches," said Settel. "Additionally, the maritime environment is inherently dangerous, so false distress calls put emergency responders at unnecessary risk. Finally, these hoax calls waste taxpayer dollars."

Anyone with information concerning these false distress calls are urged to contact the U.S. Coast Guard at 313-568-9560 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAKUP.


Seaway carriers grappling with sluggish freight demand

1/30 - Montreal, Que. – For both the inland and ocean carriers, there were a few bright spots during the 2011 navigation season on the St. Lawrence Seaway but the overall volume of activity was a disappointment.

According to preliminary estimates, total cargo on the waterway advanced just over 1% to 37 million tonnes, despite substantial new business in coal exports to Europe and healthy increases in Canadian grain and petroleum shipments. Observers expect little improvement in 2012 in light of a looming recession in Europe and slow growth in the United States and Canada.

There was a double-digit upswing of traffic on the Seaway in 2010, in the wake of a sharp recession-related decline in 2009, and Terence Bowles, president of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, had last March forecast a cargo increase of 7% to 39 million tonnes in 2011. But big drops in iron ore and US grain tonnage undercut total throughput.

The shipments of coal, which totaled nearly 3.4 million tonnes at the end of November, were bolstered by the Seaway being increasingly chosen by shippers as a viable transportation route for exporting low-sulfur coal to European markets.

For instance, between mid-summer and mid-October, Canada Steamship Lines carried more than 300,000 tonnes of coal from Superior, Wisconsin to the Port of Quebec for transshipment onto ocean vessels destined for Europe. From ports like Rotterdam, the coal is distributed to European utilities.

"What we are attempting to do, basically, is to promote the northern corridor to take coal out of the United States for Europe," said Tom Brodeur, CSL's Vice-President of Marketing and Customer Service.

With the U.S. exporting 100 million tonnes of coal annually, Brodeur pointed out that congestion is taking place at US East Coast and Gulf of Mexico ports and railway networks are strained.

In an interview, he hinted that the CSL coal shipments from Superior could go up significantly in 2012 - to between 1.5 million tonnes and 2 million tonnes.

Wayne Smith, senior vice-president, commercial of Algoma Central Corporation, which operates the largest domestic fleet, said that "demand has been stronger than anticipated, although the risks remain over the strength of the economic recovery. It was a good year for Canadian grain, and we moved a lot of salt (Sisco) out of Goderich where there was a tornado. The product tankers which had lagged the recession have been quite busy."

At Montreal-based Fednav Ltd., the largest ocean-going user of the North American waterway, co-CEO Paul Pathy underlines a priority "to keep the fleet as flexible as possible during times of economic uncertainty and market volatility. Generally, we were slightly up in 2011 from 2010, even though often we can't tell what is coming on steel or grain."

Fednav vessels, he noted, were bringing in coke but a lot less finished steel to the Great Lakes - "and there is a greater diversity of cargoes in and out of Hamilton."

Like other Canadian Great Lakes shipping executives, Pathy professed optimism over the long-term future of the Lakes trade and added that such optimism was underscored by new ships coming on stream.

Between now and 2013, Fednav, Canada Steamship Lines and Algoma Central Corporation are all expanding their fleets with new, 'greener' and more fuel-efficient vessels.

Chief catalyst for the sudden, multi-billion dollar renewal of the Canadian fleet was the federal government announcement in October 2010 of the removal of a long-standing, 25% import duty on foreign-built ships.

Canadian Transportation and Logistics


Ship postcard book brings Great Lakes history to life

1/30 - Long before people shared their travels instantly through e-mail, Facebook and smartphone photos, they sent postcards – which in the heyday of Great Lakes passenger vessels were available on just about every ship. Today, those postcards are little pieces of history.

Assembled in a new book, "Arrived on This Ship" (111 pages, Thunder Bay Press, $19.95), the postcards and commentary by collector and author Hudson Keenan of Mt. Pleasant, Mich., offer a fascinating look at a bygone era in travel.

"There were hardly any roads," said Keenan, 79 and 20 years retired from a long career teaching earth science at Mt. Pleasant High School. "If you wanted to go somewhere, you went by train or you went by boat."

Those boats carried thousands of people each year to Great Lakes ports, including Detroit, about two dozen other Michigan cities along the waterway and Mackinac Island. Passengers picked up postcards showing their vessel, the dock or, in some cases, news-style photographs of events on the lakes. Keenan's book, subtitled "Great Lakes Postcards from the Early Twentieth Century," includes cards sold by photographers after the 1915 Eastland disaster in Chicago, in which the lakes steamer rolled over at its dock, killing 836 people.

There's also a page devoted to the ferry steamer Omar D. Conger, which traveled between Port Huron and Sarnia, Ontario, starting in the 1880s. The ship was damaged by a fire in 1901, rebuilt, and then destroyed by a boiler explosion that killed four crew members in 1922. But the blast, Keenan notes, came just a few minutes before the ferry would have been filled with passengers for its afternoon crossing.

In choosing about 100 postcards to include in the small, coffee-table book, Keenan said he "tried to pick those that show the different aspects of Great Lakes travel at the time and the progression of the vessels."

The book includes popular day-trip ships, such as the Tashmoo, a fixture on the Detroit and St. Clair rivers for nearly four decades, and the steamer Pleasure, which ferried people between mainland Detroit and Belle Isle and across the Detroit River in the days before the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

In an interview last week, Keenan said he first began collecting postcards that showed scenes from Mt. Pleasant.

"As I'd hunt for these things, going to postcard shows and such, I came across these cards from the lakes vessels, and they were very interesting and in some cases quite striking, quite artistic," he said. "I'd get the card and then start doing research on the ship."

The short commentaries Keenan wrote to accompany each postcard often include sources from which readers with a particular interest in a vessel can learn more. The postcards show, in many cases, not just images of the boats but glimpses of the way people dressed and how port cities looked at the time.

"It's a pretty easy read. I didn't want to bog anybody down," Keenan said. "You can read a few and come back to it. But it isn't just a picture book. It's a history book."

And for anyone who marvels at the enormous vessels that glide so majestically across the lakes today, "Arrived on this Ship" is a way to experience the Great Lakes of another time, when they were busy with boats carrying people for pleasure and for purpose, a time we will not likely see again.

Free Press


Names at Bay Shipbuilding tell many tales

1/30 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Few things in Door County intrigue as does the winter arrival of the big lake freighters to Sturgeon Bay. The current collection of 14 vessels contains some of the most significant boats currently working on the Great Lakes.

Included in the mix is the largest vessel on the lakes, the first 1,000-footer ever built and perhaps the most famous of the entire Great Lakes fleet.

Visually, the most captivating arrival came early last week when the Paul R. Tregurtha arrived and tested the configuration of the city's downtown bridges to the fullest. Bestowed with the title "Queen of the Lakes" for being the longest boat in operation, the Tregurtha measures 1,013 feet. Its measurement may have something to do with the fact that she was the last of the 13 1,000-footers constructed and allowed her to surpass five other boats that measure 1,004 feet. She has retained her royal status longer than any boat in history, claiming the title upon her christening in 1981.

Her arrival in Sturgeon Bay took on the appearance of a royal procession as the gigantic boat maneuvered through the reconfigured channel, permitting it to effectively line up a direct route through the two bridges. With her extensive length, the Tregurtha effectively closed down both bridges as she more than spanned the 600 feet between the two.

Although the Tregurtha wasn't built in Sturgeon Bay, she undertook one of the most significant repowering jobs on the lakes two years ago at Bay Shipbuilding. While on the surface, the addition of new diesel engines may not appear particularly newsworthy, the fact that they can be equipped to run primarily on natural gas adds a futurist twist to her story.

If you spin past Bay Ship and see the Lee A. Tregurtha docked next to the Paul R. Tregurtha, it would be more than fitting. Formerly the William Clay Ford, the Lee A. Tregurtha is named for Mrs. Dorothy Lee Anderson Tregurtha, wife of Paul.

Originally built as an ocean-going oil tanker during World War II, the USS Chiwawa (as the Lee was known when acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1942) received a Battle Star for her services as part of an Atlantic convoy that came under attach by a significant German U-boat wolf pack.

The Paul R. Tregurtha's history is also directly tied to one of the other 1,000-footers docked at the local yard this winter. Oct. 29, 1986, the Tregurtha (then known under is original name William J. De Lancey) rendered assistance to her fleet mate, the James R. Barker, which had suffered an engine room fire while upbound on lower Lake Huron. The two vessels were lashed together side-by-side and then proceeded for the long trip to this same Sturgeon Bay yard, where the Barker was left for repairs four days later.

The other of the three 1,000-footers in the yard this year is the Stewart J. Cort, the first 1,000-footer to ply the Great Lakes. According to the popular Great Lakes website, the Cort looks different from the other 1,000-foot vessels because it is the only one with a pilothouse on the bow.

Perhaps the most famous ship in the yard is the Arthur M. Anderson, because of its part in the most famous sinking on the Great Lakes. Those with a deeper understanding of Great Lakes history are aware of the heroic roll the crew of Anderson played in the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald in November 1975. Capt. Jesse Cooper of the Anderson and Capt. Ernest McSorley of the ill-fated Fitzgerald maintained radio contact during that stormy night and were close enough to maintain visual contact as well. The Anderson reported it missing, conducted an initial search before being forced to seek shelter and later reversed course to again assist in the search for survivors.

Yes, Bay Shipbuilding can be a particularly interesting place this time of year.

Door County Advocate


Updates -  January 30

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated
New Video on our YouTube Channel - 1984 trip on the William Clay Ford, a 1 hour narrated program.
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the Soo Harbor in 1904 gallery


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.


Biscayne Bay assists in the Straits

1/29 - The crew of a Coast Guard cutter came to the aid of two vessels that became beset by ice in the Straits of Mackinac Friday night and Saturday morning.

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay, a 140-foot ice-breaking tug homeported in St. Ignace, Mich., aided the vessels while engaged in Operation Taconite, the Coast Guard's largest domestic ice-breaking operation, which began in December.

At 4:40 p.m. Friday, the watchstander at Coast Guard Sault Ste. Marie Vessel Traffic Service, was contacted by the crew of the ferry Huron, who reported they had become beset by ice with 68 people aboard while transiting from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island. There were no reports of injury or other medical concerns and the master of the ferry felt the 90-foot vessel was not in danger of running aground.

The crew of Biscayne Bay arrived at 6:20 p.m. and was able to free the ferry without incident. After the ferry safely entered Mackinac Island Harbor, the crew of Biscayne Bay remained close by as the ferry offloaded their passengers and onloaded more.

Due to the fact that ice was reportedly building at Round Island Passage, the crew of Biscayne Bay remained with the ferry Huron for its return trip to St. Ignace. At 8:25 p.m. both the Huron and the Biscayne Bay were safely moored in St. Ignace.

Early Saturday morning, the crew of Biscayne Bay was called on again to assist a vessel in the Straits of Mackinac.

The crew of the Manistee, a 676-foot bulk carrier, had contacted the Coast Guard Sault VTS at 5:18 a.m., reporting the ship had become beset by ice with 18 people aboard about 10 nautical miles west of the Mackinac Bridge.

For a time, the crew of Manistee was able to free the vessel, but could only operate at low speeds, due to the icy conditions. The crew of Biscayne Bay was on scene at 8:50 a.m. and was able to safely free the motor vessel and escort it through the Round Island Passage and into the open waters of Lake Huron.

In support of Operation Taconite this year, the crew of Biscayne Bay has broken ice throughout Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, but aiding vessels close the cutter's homeport is particularly special for the crew.

"We don't get many opportunities to assist our local community, right here in St. Ignace," said Lt. Matthew Walter, commanding officer of Biscayne Bay.

"Any time we can meet the needs of industry here in the straits and take care of our neighbors, it gives us an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to our unit motto of the "Sentinel of the Straits."


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.


Green Bay ice-breaking operations to start next week

1/28 - The U.S. Coast Guard will be conducting icebreaking operations in Green Bay between the Marinette/ Menominee harbor breakwall and Ports De Mortes Passage to allow commercial tugs to access Marinette/Menominee harbor. These operations will likely occur between Tuesday and Thursday next week.

All ice fishermen should remove their ice shacks and equipment from these areas. Snowmobile, all- terrain vehicle (ATV) operators, and other recreational users of the ice should avoid shipping channels, plan their activity carefully, and use caution near this area of operation.


Port Reports -  January 28

Muskegon, Mich. – Mark Taylor
Calumet and Manistee arrived in Muskegon Thursday night to offload salt at Verplank.

USCG Thunder Bay was docked along the Maumee River in downtown Toledo, between the Cherry Street bridge and Lafarge Cement dock. There were no signs of any activity on board. Both American Courage and Adam E. Cornelius are in layup at the old Interlake dock had a large number of H. Hanson employees and contractors performing work on them.


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

Halifax - Mac Mackay Thursday's scheduled move of Spruceglen from the drydock was cancelled. It is now tentative for Friday morning, but a storm is on the way and it may be delayed again. Atlantic Superior is to follow Spruceglen into the drydock.


Job opportunities announced at Lower Lakes Towing

1/27 - We are looking for competent, practically skilled Great Lakes Ships Masters with a minimum certification of Master Near Coastal 1 to join our team. Thorough knowledge of the Great Lakes system of harbours, rivers and pilotage requirements west of St. Lambert is preferred. Applicants must possess a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a prerequisite, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order. The candidate will demonstrate strong managerial and leadership skills.

If you are a leader that is looking for a change, we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, positive work environment and an industry leading leave system. Consideration will also be given to candidates that are looking for part time involvement.

Applicants who meet the job requirements for this position are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to: Personnel Manager, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. PO Box 1149 517 Main Street, Port Dover, ON Ph: (519) 583-0982 Fax: (519) 583-1946, email both:

We are looking for competent, practically skilled 1st Mates (or on the threshold of practical capability to function at the 1st Mate level) with a minimum certification of Chief Mate Near Coastal to join our team. Thorough knowledge of the Great Lakes system of harbours, rivers and pilotage requirements west of St. Lambert is preferred. Applicants must possess a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a prerequisite, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order. The candidate will demonstrate strong managerial and leadership skills.

If you are a leader that is looking for a change, we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, positive work environment and an industry leading leave system. Consideration will also be given to candidates that are looking for part time or training work.

Applicants who meet the job requirements for this position are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to: Personnel Manager, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. PO Box 1149 517 Main Street, Port Dover, ON Ph: (519) 583-0982 Fax: (519) 583-1946, email both:


Lake Superior Marine Museum Association presents free programs

1/27 - Duluth, Minn. – Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA), in conjunction with Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, has coordinated three free Evening Entertainment Series programs at Canal Park Lodge in Duluth from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on February 9, 16 and 23. Guest speakers and dates are:

Thursday, February 9 – Modern Viking Voyages of the Leif Erikson & Roald Amundsen Ships: Knife River, Minn. resident Randy Ellestad will share details about Duluth’s Viking ship, its colorful history and remarkable voyage as it battles with the elements, city hall, and its future.

Thursday, February 16 – The Great Lakes Steamship Society: Learn from Steve Haverty, a founding member of the Great Lakes Steamship Society, how the organization strives to preserve maritime heritage of the Great Lakes and focuses on its current project the J.B. Ford.

Thursday, February 23 – Wildfire In A Wild Land: Kris Reichenbach of the US Forest Service will share photographs and information about the Pagami Creek Wildfire that burned more than 145 square miles of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Learn how the historic event was a natural occurrence and more about the role of fire in the boreal landscape.


Captain Mike Cull

1/27 - Captain Mike Cull recently passed away in his hometown of Bay City, Mich. Born on Beaver Island, Mike Cull was the fourth generation of his family from Beaver Island to sail the Lakes. Captain Cull started his sailing career in 1964 aboard the steamer E.M Ford. In 1966 Cull enlisted in the U S Navy, where he spent three years aboard the U S Aircraft Carrier Oriskiny.

Upon returning to the Great Lakes, Captain Cull chose not to return to the lake freighters but instead went to work on tugboats. Cull became a tugboat captain in 1972. He spent his entire career on the Great Lakes. Among the many tugs Cull commanded in a 40-year career on the lakes, three were almost always mentioned as his favorites – the tug John Henry, the tug Olive L. Moore and the tug Frederick T. Kellers.


Updates -  January 27

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new descriptions in the Soo Harbor in 1904 gallery


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 welcomes rare January visitor

1/26 - The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled cargo from a lake vessel in January for the first time since 2006.

Mild weather made it possible for the tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber to travel to and dock at the Portage port, said Port Director Peter Laman. The barge loaded 16,000 tons of locally harvested corn Monday and Tuesday for export to an ethanol plant in Sarnia, Ontario. Cargill Inc. provided the corn for export from its port operation.

"The mild weather has kept ice from forming on the lakes, which generally limits shipping this time of year," Laman said. "The international shipping season officially closed last month, but the port is open year-round. Businesses can still ship and receive cargo on river barges or lake vessels, as long as the weather and ice allow them to get through."

The port's international shipping season officially ended on Dec. 30, when locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway were closed for the winter.

Cargill joined the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor in 1979. The company operates a 7 million-bushel grain elevator and primarily exports corn, wheat and soybeans from local farmers to world markets.


Regalica sails, more new Polsteam salties on the way

1/26 - Polish Steamship Company's new vessel Regalica appears to have set sail on her maiden voyage, getting underway from Shanghai on 25 January with a destination reading Singapore on 31 January. She's the first in a series of eight Seaway-capable 16,000mt deadweight bulkers built for Polsteam at Sanfu Ship Engineering of Taizhou Jiangsu, China.

Most of her sisters are well on their way to completion and will likely begin service this year or early in 2013. Narew, Raba, and Olza are afloat and their paint jobs appear either complete or nearly so. Prosna and San are afloat but their hatches and superstructure are unpainted and surrounded by scaffolding. Skawa and the eighth vessel in the series, whose name is yet to be announced, are still on the slipways but appear structurally complete.

The Regalica-class ships are similar in size and capacity to Polsteam's Nogat, Orla, Pilica, and Rega and it's likely that at least a few of them will make their debut on the Lakes this coming shipping season. They join Polsteam's other newbuild series; eight larger Handysize Seaway bulkers built for the run from Tata Steel in Ijmuiden, Netherlands to Cleveland, Burns Harbor, and Milwaukee, typically returning across the Atlantic with grain from Duluth-Superior or Thunder Bay. The first of that class, Miedwie, entered service in 2010 and made her first trip to the Lakes in September of that year. Her sisters Drawsko, Resko, Wicko, and Juno have also since made trips up the Seaway. Lubie and Solina entered service in late 2011 and may debut on the Lakes this coming season. Mamry is the final vessel in the Miedwie class; she's currently under construction at the Nantong Mingde yard in China and is expected to sail sometime this year.


Change of attitude in Canada revives hopes for cross-lake ferry service

1/26 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Queen Mary it won't be, but passenger service may finally cross Lake Erie from Cleveland to Canada, possibly by 2013. Authorities on both sides of the border are again talking about ferry service that would dock somewhere near Cleveland Browns Stadium and go back and forth to Port Stanley, Ont. The idea for a ferry dates back many years.

Initially, the service would probably be a two-year trial. And it would be started in the wake of the failure of a similar project that connected Rochester, N.Y., with Toronto.

Canadian and local authorities have selected a U.S.-based vessel management company to develop a plan to haul people, cars and a limited number of trucks across the lake. Officials want to focus the service on tourism.

"That's a change we've made primarily because Port Stanley told us right off the bat they don't want a lot of trucks," said Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority President William Friedman. "They see their future as more tourism, less industrial type of activities."

The vessel management company, HMS Global Maritime of New Albany, Ind., is studying the types of boats that can go between the ports and analyzing the viability of the venture. Certain restrictions are in place because Port Stanley's harbor is not as deep as Cleveland's. The draft of a ship's hull determines the minimum depth of water a vessel can navigate.

Port Stanley's harbor is not dredged. If the operator chooses a vessel that requires dredging, authorities said they will have to negotiate a deal for that.

A hurdle that hindered a deal in the past is gone. The city of Central Elgin now owns Port Stanley. The Canadian government transferred the port to the local authorities in late 2010. Before that, the federal government on that side of the border had refused to consent to a transnational agreement to allow for a shuttle.

On the American side, nearly $7 million in federal government grants remain earmarked for ships and a terminal for the first Northeast Ohio port city that nails down a ferry deal.

This type of service has been tried before on the Great Lakes and failed. A privately operated $42 million catamaran ran briefly between Rochester and Toronto in the early 2000s. Rochester officials hoped it would make the city an international tourist destination. The mayor likened it to the city's "phoenix, rising up."

The five-story vessel with room for 774 passengers and 220 cars had a fare of about $30 a person. But ridership was never steady. After 80 days, the operator canceled the operation, saying the company was nearly $2 million in debt.

Rochester tried to resurrect the service. The city bought the catamaran at a bankruptcy auction in 2005, but municipal ownership didn't help. The service lost $1 million a month over 10 months, draining a reserve fund. City officials sold the Australian-built catamaran in late 2006.

The trip between Cleveland and Port Stanley would take about 31/2 hours. Details, such as the number of vessels, prices, schedule and amenities, have not been determined. In a best-case scenario, the first pilot season would run during the warmer months of 2013.

"We're trying to minimize costs up front and determine how we can get this service started with the least amount of money being spent," Friedman said. "We want to see how customers respond to it. Nobody knows if it would be sustainable."

The Plain Dealer Port of Cleveland’s cargo volume grew 31 percent in 2011 Cleveland, Ohio – The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority reported that overall cargo tonnage increased 31 percent in 2011, largely the result of growth in steel, iron-ore and oversized “project” cargo handled by Port facilities.

The Port handled 3.4 million tons of cargo last year – the highest volume since 2008. General cargo volume rose 16 percent as both steel and project cargo posted increases; while bulk cargo increased 33 percent, as more iron ore was handled by Port operations.

“Trade through our port showed strong growth in 2011, which is another indicator of an economic rebound underway in our region,” said Port CEO Will Friedman. Overall tonnage transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway increased 2.5 percent in 2011.

Separately the Port Authority’s Board of Directors agreed to enter into a contract for nearly $3.9 million to construct an on-dock rail loop that will make the Port more competitive.

The Port selected Great Lakes Construction Company, a Cleveland-based company to build the 5,500 feet of additional track. The project is slated to be completed before the end of October, and was made possible by an Ohio Department of Development Logistics and Distribution Stimulus Loan of $3,025,000. The Port will fund the remainder of the project from its capital budget.

The rail loop will connect existing on-dock tracks, giving the two Class 1 railroads serving the Port access to the entire general cargo facility and providing enhanced opportunities for rail-to-ship and ship-to-rail cargo handling. This expanded rail service will give local companies more efficient and cost-effective shipping options, and better position the port to handle more railcars at one time, increase exports, and reach customers in a broader geographic area.

Cleveland Commercial Railroad, LLC will manage the scheduling and operations of the Port’s expanded rail system, and market it to area companies.

The board also authorized the Port to enter into a contract for up to $65,000 with Martin Associates to analyze the business case for launching regularly scheduled liner service between Cleveland and ports in Europe, and possibly Canada. Such service would provide new options for transporting both containerized and non-containerized cargo, offering Ohio shippers a competitive and reliable alternative to established routings, and advancing the Port’s strategic aim of diversifying its cargo base. Regularly scheduled service could also provide unprecedented opportunities to export goods from Northeast Ohio by ship directly to world markets.

Martin Associates previously completed market analyses for the Port Authority and recently concluded a bi-national analysis of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System. Under the new contract it will conduct market research and identify viable service design options that the Port can use as the basis for an ocean-carrier solicitation program that will begin later this year.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority


Joey D workboat unveiled at Port of Milwaukee Tuesday

1/26 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The new workboat in the Port of Milwaukee has some special qualities and a special name. The Joey D was unveiled Tuesday. The boat is named for long-time harbormaster, the late Joe Digiorgio.

The workboat will be used primarily for routine work at the Port of Milwaukee, but will also be deployed as a security boat, a dive platform, an icebreaker and a salvage boat. The vessel was designed by Jensen, a Crowley Maritime Corp. company based in Seattle, Wash, and built at the Great Lakes Shipyard in Cleveland, Ohio.

Fox 6


Updates -  January 26

Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 26

In 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.


Port Reports -  January 25

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Sunday morning the tug John Spence and its barge arrived at Lafarge. It tied up at the coal dock and equipment was seen around it, likely to unload the cargo. The John Spence departed Lafarge on Monday night. Tuesday evening the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived in port and tied up under the cement silos.


Updates -  January 25

Public Gallery updated
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - Soo Harbor in 1904 gallery updated


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.


S.S. Badger issue causes Congress to choose sides among environment, business

1/24 - Ludington, Mich. - The legislation involving the S.S. Badger could develop into a political showdown at the Congressional level.

A high-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate has voiced his opposition to allowing the Lake Michigan ferry to continue to dump its coal ash overboard, while three congressmen from the affected states have worked to advance a special clause that would allow the practice.

Without the U.S. House-approved amendment to the proposed Coast Guard budget bill, the Badger may be forced to shut down cross-lake operations after its upcoming season of cross-lake ferry service. The Badger's owner also is seeking a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency to continue operating.

The Badger, believed to be the last coal-fired passenger vessel operating regularly in the United States, is currently authorized to discharge coal ash into the lake under a section of the Vessel General Permit. That authorization expires on Dec. 19.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the amendment co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland; Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls; and Tom Petri, R-Manitowoc, Wis. for its version of the Coast Guard bill in November that would allow the Badger to continue operating as is for the life of the vessel based on its historic significance. A different version of the Coast Guard bill, which does not include the Badger amendment, has yet to be approved by the U.S. Senate.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, the assistant majority leader, has come out in strong opposition in what he views as the Badger's attempt to circumvent EPA standards. After meeting with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in November, Durbin called on federal officials to block the bid for National Historic Landmark Status for the Badger because of its implication in the House amendment.

“This is more than a car ferry with a venerable tradition,” Durbin said in a news release. “This is a vessel that generates and dumps four tons of coal ash laced with mercury and arsenic into Lake Michigan every day. Lake Michigan cannot take any more toxic dumping, no matter how historic or quaint the source may be.”

Lynda Matson, Lake Michigan Carferry's vice president of customer service and marketing, said the company applauds the three Congressmen for their efforts and calls on the U.S. Senators from Michigan and Wisconsin to follow that lead.

“Huizenga, Benishek and Petri are true champions of our area,” Matson said, referencing the economic benefits and jobs generated by the Badger in Ludington and Manitowoc. “When the time comes, we are hopeful that our senators will also support the S.S. Badger given the huge impact we have on Michigan and Wisconsin.”

In supporting amendment, Huizenga said it is an example of getting rid of federal government regulations that threaten small business.

Without the certainty provided by this amendment, the Badger could very easily be forced off the Great Lakes at the end of 2012, Huizenga said on the House floor in November. With an annual economic impact of roughly $35 million for our two small port cities both in Wisconsin and in Michigan, keeping the Badger operational is absolutely vital to our communities.

Muskegon Chronicle


Seaway salties – demolitions from Marine News, January 2012

1/24 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following Seaway salties going for scrap in the January 2012 issue:

The African Dawn of 1963 first came inland in 1976. It was renamed Dawn in 1980 and scrapping was completed at Brownsville, Texas, in July 2011.

Carrianna Primrose of 1982 first came inland in 1982 and returned as Sea Primrose in 1984 and Primrose Islands in 1987. The ship was under her seventh name of Devigloryi when it was beached at Alang, India, on November 9, 2011.

Ebn Al Waleed of 1987, a Seaway visitor in 2007, was beached at Alang, India, on November 9, 2011 as Falcon Eye III.

Gianos Marios H. was built as Dian in 1977, renamed in 1981, and entered the Seaway that year. She returned ad as Spartan Runner in 1986 and under a fifth name of M. Hass in 1991. It was sailing as Forshang 1, an eighth name, when it arrived at Jiangyin, China, on November 7, 2011.

Henriette Schulte of 1977 came through the Seaway in 1987 and was sailing under her 10th name of Zhe Hai 325 when delivered to Chinese shipbreakers in 2011.

Nordheim of 1976 came inland for the first time in 1986. It arrived at Alang, India, under a fourth name of Manar and was beached on November 18, 2011.

Traun, built in 1981, first came to the Great Lakes in 1982. It returned as General Blazhevich in 1994 and as Regina in 2003. It was beached at Alang, India, as General Trader on November 28, 2011.

Velos of 1975 first came inland that year and returned as Velos I in 1984 and Aspis in 1989. The ship was sailing as Don Leandro when it was beached at Alang, India, on November 15, 2011.

We acknowledge the annual publication Seaway Salties, compiled by Rene Beauchamp, as an excellent resource and it has provided us with the years that the above ships first came to the Great Lakes.

Barry Andersen and Skip Gillham


International shipping through Seaway up in 2011

1/24 - Duluth, Minn. – International shipping from the Great Lakes through the St. Lawrence Seaway was up last year, even though grain shipments were down. Salties, the moniker given to oceangoing vessels, make up about 10 percent of the ships calling on the Duluth-Superior Port. Last year only 71 salties arrived in the Twin Ports, down from 104 in 2010. Port Authority spokeswoman Adele Yorde said China became an emerging market for iron ore in 2011, while grain tonnage took a dive.

“International markets being what they are this year, Russia, the Ukraine, the Baltic Sea area had a boom crop of grain, of wheat, as did Australia. The Midwestern farmers had a tough start to the season. The shipments out of here just did not come close to what they were last year.”

St. Lawrence Seaway numbers were up 2.5 percent. U.S. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson said he’ll take that. “Given the economy that is still quite fragile, we’re happy with those results,” he said.

While grain was down, iron ore and coal were up, suggesting a growing market. As for the upcoming season? Johnson said it depends on the world economy. “We’re cautiously optimistic, but we’ll just have to wait and see,” he said.

Last year did set one seaway record: It was open 284 days, one day longer than the previous record year in 2006.

Duluth News Tribune


Port of Green Bay tonnage rises 25 percent in 2011

1/24 - Green Bay, Wis. – Coming into the 2011 shipping season, Port of Green Bay Manager Dean Haen wasn't sure what to expect. The past few years had seen rapid monthly increases and decreases in the amount of cargo moving through the port as the economy struggled through the Great Recession.

But totals stayed strong through 2011 and saw the port's tonnage total end the season up 25 percent from 2010. "We spent all of 2011 ahead of 2010," Haen said. "We didn't see those monthly fluctuations where things were looking good and then went sour, it just stayed very steady."

The port handled about 2.2 million tons of cargo in 2011, up from 1.7 million tons the pervious year. It was also the first time the port had been above 2 million tons since 2008. Recent activity peaked in 2005 and 2006, when the port cleared 2.5 million tons, according to data from the facility.

Domestic imports of gypsum and petroleum coke, coupled with increases in foreign imports of salt, helped bolster numbers along with the U.S. Venture's petroleum terminal export of more than 210,000 tons last year.

The U.S. Venture terminal was a new addition to port operations in 2011.

"This year seemed to be really consistent," Haen said about traffic flow in the port. "We got up, and we continued to build on the numbers throughout the year. Just that stability we saw in 2011 is positive."

He said the port is often a leading indicator of the wider economy. "If manufacturers are ordering raw materials, they're doing for a reason, they're planning more production," Haen said.

The port of Green Bay saw its last vessel Jan. 9 and closed for the season last week. "A full year of steady growth in the port is a good sign leading into 2012," Haen said.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Great Lakes, Seaway under threat from pleasure boats: security report

1/24 - Ottawa, Ont. – With millions of pleasure craft plying the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, marine security officials’ greatest concern is the threat of small, harmless-looking boats attacking nuclear plants, international bridges, chemical factories and other vital infrastructure along the Canada-U.S. border.

The assessment is among a series of critical findings in a new report that concludes Canada has no coherent strategy for dealing with a growing national security threat posed by small boats in high-traffic border regions.

The commissioned study for Defence Research and Development Canada warns that public safety, the economy and trade with the United States are all at potential risk unless Canada embraces advanced surveillance technologies and a unified operational structure to replace the maze of police and government organizations now responsible for marine security.

Much of the analysis is based on comments and insight from police, military, port authorities and government officials. Most, “do not feel that the current surveillance capabilities are sufficient to counter the small vessel threat and that a change is needed,” the report says.

A decade after the 9/11 attacks, Canada’s approach to marine security, “has only borne incremental but limited success due to a paucity of understanding of this complex issue at all levels of government coupled with limited resources,” it says.

“In all of this activity there appears to be no coherent strategy or approach.”

The report notes, for example, how tens of millions of federal dollars have been spent upgrading port security since September 2001.

“Regrettably, the marine-based threat was at the time poorly understood and efforts to improve the security of marine stakeholder operations resulted in millions ... being spent primarily on security fencing, CCTV systems and lighting. (But) ... little has been done to address the seaward side of marine security operations.”

What’s more, a threat risk assessment matrix to calculate the consequences of various types of attacks on specific high-value targets “does not appear to exist.”

While Transport Canada is responsible for marine security policies and regulations, there is no single federal entity for security planning, co-ordination and execution, such as the U.S. Coast Guard or Italy’s Guardia Costiera.

The RCMP is responsible for marine border integrity in the Great Lakes and Seaway area, but is, “ill-equipped and undermanned to effectively perform this function,” the report says.

The Department of National Defence, “possesses the technological and operational expertise for conducting marine security operations, however, lacks the enforcement and investigative capabilities.”

And, unlike its U.S. counterpart, the Canadian Coast Guard does not have a mandate to participate in marine security operations except in support of the RCMP or other government departments.

That leaves Canada’s three Marine Security Operations Centres as the nation’s most effective marine security apparatus, the report says. Created under the government’s 2004 National Security Policy, the centres are jointly manned by the Canada Border Services Agency, coast guard, navy, RCMP and Transport Canada, working in collaboration on the identification, intent and movement of personnel and cargo on the east and west coasts and in the Great Lakes/Seaway region.

Even there, however, the centres are largely occupied with information collection and sharing, rather than a unified operational command. As well, the five participating agencies are all federal, while the jurisdictions they monitor typically encompass provincial and municipal holdings. And personnel from the various agencies operate “in silo to some degree,” the report says.

Cross-border smuggling with small vessels has been around at least since Prohibition and, while it remains a major concern, the biggest worry in the Great Lakes and Seaway region is terrorism, according the officials surveyed.

Scenarios include the smuggling of a weapon of mass destruction into the U.S. or a water-borne attack against critical infrastructure.

An estimated 6.2 million small, non-commercial craft ply the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence region — 3.7 million square kilometres of water and more than 200,000 kilometres of Canadian shoreline — and all are exempt from Transport Canada’s Marine Transportation Security Regulations.

“The risks to Canadian security interests exist mainly because of weak maritime security regulations for small vessels, problems associated with enforcement and the ability of small vessels to operate virtually invisibly within Canadian and U.S. waters,” the report says.

And, “unlike the coasts, where response time to a threat can be several hours, the authorities in the (Great Lakes/Seaway) region need to be able to respond to a threat within minutes.”

The report suggests three key “capability gaps” need to be addressed to combat the threat posed by small boats:

• Co-ordination of marine security operations under a single government agency, such as the coast guard.
• A strategy to co-ordinate and position scarce manpower and equipment.
• Advanced surveillance equipment, including sensors, and other technology should be considered and deployed with existing surveillance equipment in a more co-ordinated and strategic fashion.

The Ottawa Citizen


Coast Guard, other environmental response agencies to practice recovering oil from icy water

1/24 - Cleveland, Ohio – Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, oil spill response organizations, Enbridge Energy Partners and several other agencies are scheduled to participate in a unique exercise out of St. Ignace, Mich., Monday through Wednesday, during which several techniques for recovering spilled oil and other hazardous materials from icy waterways will be tested and evaluated.

While the Coast Guard frequently trains for spill recovery throughout the country, this will be the first time the service has practiced such activities in icy water.

Members of the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, based in Groton, Conn., have been studying multiple recovery options for the unique conditions prevalent during Great Lakes winters. The goal of this project will be to evaluate the effectiveness of those options by recovering small amounts of peat moss and oranges, environmentally-friendly oil surrogates, from the icy waters. The results could also be useful for future responses in the Arctic.

“Fortunately, it's been about nine years since we've needed to recover a large amount of oil from an ice-covered waterway in this region, but as responders we all need to be prepared for potential accidents year round and know how to address the unique challenges we face here,” said Capt. Joseph McGuiness, commander of Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

“This collaboration is an invaluable opportunity for all the responders to come together to share our best practices, learn from each other and practice working alongside one another to safeguard the public and the environment.”

Four vessels will be involved in the project. The Port Huron, Mich., based Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, a buoy tender with ice-breaking capabilities, will deploy and evaluate a new Coast Guard cold-weather skimming system. Additionally, three commercial tugboats will deploy commercial responders and equipment.

In addition, Enbridge Energy Partners will be deploying responders on the shoreline for training, vessels for use during demonstration and helicopter overflights.


Updates -  January 24

Weekly Website Updates
New Video on our YouTube Channel
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new gallery featuring Soo Harbor in 1905


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 24

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

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

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

In 1988, while under tow of German tug EVEREST of 1960, the ENDERS M. VOORHEES encountered force 9 winds, parted her towline and went aground and subsequently broke in two at Profitis Elais, Kythnos Island (Thermia) in the Cyclades between the Mirto and Aegean Seas. She was on her way to Turkey for scrapping at the time.

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


Port Reports -  January 23

Straits of Mackinac
Manistee, which had been stuck in the ice on Saturday, continued without delay through the Straits early Sunday morning, passing through the Round Island passage before turning downbound on Lake Huron. USCG Biscayne Bay remained on station through out the night near St. Helena Island. Algowood was eastbound Saturday morning without delay. About 5:30 a.m. she passed through Round Island passage, while John B. Aird was upbound in the South Passage. The Aird went to anchor east of Mackinaw City about 6:30 a.m., while the tug Victory and barge were eastbound, passing the Algowood north of Bois Blanc Island.

About 8:30 a.m. the Victory was transiting easily through the Straits in the area where the Manistee had become stuck on Saturday. At that time, the USCG Mackinaw departed its base in Cheboygan, Mich., heading through the South Passage and westbound under the Mackinaw Bridge. They turned just short of the Biscayne Bay's position and headed east. At noon, the Mackinaw was eastbound through Round Island Passage and Biscayne Bay was working track maintenance south and west of St. Helena Island. Mackinaw continued upbound to the St. Mary's River and stopped off of Lime Island. Sunday night the Mackinaw Biscayne Bay and John B. Aird remained in the same locations.

Cleveland, Ohio - Jake Kniola
The tug Wilf Seymour and barge made their way up the Cuyahoga River Sunday with help with the tug Iowa to load steel slab.

Halifax, N.S. - Mac Mackay
CSL Spirit sailed on Sunday afternoon after completion of repairs to hull damage. Plates and framing were cut out and replaced on the starboard side near the bow above the water line. She is returning to Sept Iles Bay for the Pointe Noire iron ore shuttle. Atlantic Superior arrived January 20 for refit and has been deballasted. Meanwhile in drydock, Spruceglen's re-painting is nearly complete. Algoma Dartmouth has also returned from a week long drydocking in Shelburne.


Updates -  January 23

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated
New Video on our YouTube Channel
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new gallery featuring Soo Harbor in 1905


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.


Manistee finds tough going in Straits ice

1/22 - Straits of Mackinac – The Manistee, eastbound in the Straits, became stuck in the ice Saturday at 11 a.m. south of St. Helena Island. She spent the day trying to work free but remained stuck Saturday evening. The USCG Biscayne Bay departed the nearby USCG Station St. Ignace at 4:45 p.m. to assist. They arrived on scene about an hour later, meanwhile the Manistee had turned 180 degrees facing west. Biscayne Bay worked with the Manistee and the pair appeared to stop for the night about 7 p.m.

About 9:30 efforts resumed and by 10:45 p.m. the pair were making headway east bound through the straits.


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.


Great Lakes coal trade down almost 14 percent in 2011

1/21 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 27.6 million tons in 2011, a decrease of 13.6 percent compared to 2010. Compared to its 5-year average, the coal trade was down 24.6 percent in 2011. Loadings at Lake Superior ports 15.2 million tons fell 20.6 percent compared to 2010 and were nearly 29 percent off their 5-year average.

Shipments from Lake Michigan rose to their highest level since 2006. Loadings totaled 3.8 million tons, an increase of 45 percent over 2010, and 24 percent better than their 5-year average.

The coal trade out of Lake Erie totaled 8.6 million tons, a decrease 15.6 percent compared to 2010, and a drop of 29 percent compared to their 5-year average.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  January 21

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Friday, the Kaye E. Barker backed down to Bay Shipbuilding from Sherwood Point. The USCG cutter Mobile Bay escorted her in, along with a Selvick tug. The Barker was berthed on Dock 7 against the wall. Also, the Paul R. Tregurtha was tied at berth 15 against the wall.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin cleared Sandusky Bay early Friday en route to Nanticoke with coal loaded at the NorfolkSouthern dock.


S.S. Badger awaits federal decisions as potential final season nears

1/21 - Ludington, Mich. – The S.S. Badger ferry is entering uncharted waters, and there are storm clouds on the horizon. Without federal action in its favor, the company that owns the 410-foot vessel may be forced to shut down cross-lake operations between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wis., beginning with the 2013 season.

Two proposals with the federal government a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking a special permit and a U.S. House amendment added to a U.S. Coast Guard bill basically hold the key for the Lake Michigan Carferry's quest to operate the coal-fired vessel beyond the upcoming season.

No deadline exists for action on the company's petition to the EPA or congressional approval of a final version of the Coast Guard appropriations bill, with or without the Badger clause.

The Badger, believed to be the last coal-fired passenger vessel operating regularly in the United States, is currently authorized to discharge coal ash into the lake under a section of its vessel general permit. That authorization expires Dec. 19.

Supporters of the Badger's continued operations point to its economic impact on its port communities and the company's studies that show limited, if any, impact by its coal ash on the lake. Opponents of the Badger's coal-ash dumping claim the Clean Water Act requires it to stop the practice, others have to follow the law and the company has had enough time to find an alternative to its coal-fired system.

The upcoming season, set to begin in May, would likely be the last for the Badger if the EPA does not grant a permit allowing for the continued dumping of coal ash into Lake Michigan or the final Coast Guard bill does not guarantee historical status to circumvent the more recent environmental standards.

Lake Michigan Carferry is seeking to renew the authorization from the EPA that it currently operates under, allowing for the coal-ash discharge to continue. It sent a petition for a National Permit Discharge Elimination System permit to the EPA, dated Nov. 2.

Lynda Matson, Lake Michigan Carferry's vice president of customer service and marketing, said company officials are confused and frustrated by the uncertain time frame concerning rulings by the EPA and action by the U.S. Senate. The U.S. House has already passed the Coast Guard budget bill that includes the waiver for the Badger.

“The concern is not being able to tell our employees how we're going to be operating in the future,” Matson said. “We provide 200 jobs, and they want to know. Not being able to give them a firm time line is difficult.”

Phillippa Canon, an EPA spokeswoman, said the agency is still reviewing the petition and is moving forward as quickly as possible.

Muskegon Chronicle


Updates -  January 21

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 21

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

On 21 January 1895, CHICORA (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 199 foot, 1,123 gross tons, built in 1892, at Detroit, Michigan) was bound from Milwaukee for St. Joseph on a mid-winter run when he foundered with little trace. All 25 on board were lost. The ship's dog was found wandering on the beach by St. Joseph, Michigan, a few days later. A well organized search for the wreck continued until mid-June. Many small pieces of wreckage were washed ashore in the Spring.

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

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


Green Bay shipping season shows promise

1/20 - Green Bay, Wis. - The shipping industry in Green Bay may be making a comeback. Numbers released Wednesday show more than two million metric tons of freight moved through the port last year, an increase of 25 per cent. The port manager says it's a sign, the economy is picking up.

For 140 years, Great Lakes Calcium has relied on the shipping business.

"We bring in all our raw materials through the Great Lakes, on Great Lakes freighters. So our location on the Port of Green Bay is crucial to our survival," said Dave Nelson, Chief Operating Officer, for Great Lakes Calcium. Nelson said throughout the season, 15 ships will dock here.

"We bring in about 300,000 tons of material a year, through the Great Lakes," said Nelson.

It's a trend that's catching on. The port manager says last year, more than two million metric tons of freight moved up and down the river. From gypsum, to petroleum coke, to road salt, numbers from the Port of Green Bay show imports on the rise.

And more ships made it into the port as well, 188 in all, that's up 32 percent from the year before.

"If our manufacturers are bringing in more raw materials, that means they're planning on producing more--which is good for our manufacturers and all the employees that work at those manufacturers," said Dean Haen, Manager for the Port of Green Bay.

That’s good news for industries hit by a tough economy. "Our business is doing pretty well. We are pretty healthy, and using shipping is a key component to that," said Nelson.



Port Reports -  January 20

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor, Michipicoten arrived and loaded the last ore cargo of the season. Her visit was the latest in recent seasons.

Soo Locks
The downbound motor vessel Saginaw closed the Soo Locks shipping season shortly before midnight Wednesday. She was preceded by the tug Victory and her barge, James L. Kuber. Nearly 75 million tons of cargo moved through the Soo Locks for the season just concluded. The locks will reopen March 25.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin arrived at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock Wednesday evening from Nanticoke. She continued loading Thursday. January is normally a slack period for coal shipments, but the lack of ice cover this winter on Lake Erie and in Sandusky Bay could jump start the year for the dock. Earlier in the month, the tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber loaded for the Canadian Soo.


Three Coast Guard icebreakers scheduled to moor in Detroit

1/20 - Cleveland, Ohio – A trio of U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers are scheduled to be moored in Detroit near Cobo Hall, and provide free tours to the public on Friday and Saturday.

Each cutter’s crew will be supporting the Coast Guard’s 2011-12 domestic icebreaking mission and providing support for a security zone surrounding the 24th Annual North American Auto Show.

Moored in Detroit will be the 140-foot ice breaking tugs Bristol Bay, homeported in Detroit, Neah Bay, homeported in Cleveland, and cutter Thunder Bay, homeported in Rockland, Maine, but temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes.

Cutters Bristol Bay and Neah Bay will be open for tours on Friday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., respectively. Cutter Thunder Bay will be open for tours on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Ice breaking on the Great Lakes is vital to keeping shipping lanes open. Large quantities of steel, coal, heating oil and grain ship throughout the region, and Coast Guard ice breaking services enable these shippers to transport an average of $2 billion worth of cargo each year.


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.


Shipping expected to be up slightly as Soo Locks close for season

1/19 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Shipping tonnage is expected to be slightly up as the last of the Soo Locks shut down for the season at midnight. The Soo Locks season ended at midnight as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closed the Poe Lock, traditionally the last of the Soo Locks to stay open. The last vessel downbound at Soo Locks was the Saginaw, she unloaded at Essar Wednesday and was underway at 10 p.m. clearing the locks at 12:10 a.m.

Allan Frappier, chief of lock operations with the Corps, reached Wednesday, said the locks saw just under 75 million tons of cargo pass through during the 2011 shipping season, according to preliminary data. "I mean 'just,' under," said Frappier.

That's up from the previous year, when the Corps reported roughly 74.5 million tons of cargo passed through the locks in the 2010 shipping season, ending Jan. 19, 2011. That was up significantly from the year before, which saw 53.3 million tons of cargo carried through the locks.

Frappier said more detailed data on the 2011 season was to be released Thursday.

December saw a surge in shipping, with iron ore loadings up 35 percent, says the Lake Carriers’ Association, which represents 56 U.S.-flagged vessels on the Great Lakes. The 2011 season saw 61 million net tons of iron ore shipped on the Great Lakes, up 12.8 percent over the year before and the highest volume since 2006.

Part of that data will be the number of passengers who passed through the locks. Frappier said he expects to see that number drop from last year largely because tour boats were able to use the Sault Canal, on the Canadian side of the river, this season.

The Poe Lock stayed open an extra 72 hours this season, at the request of the shipping industry, which was affected by recent high winds, said Frappier.

Three vessels were expected to have passed through on the Poe's last day Wednesday. The Canadian Coast Guard's Samuel Risley, an icebreaker and buoy tender, went through the locks Wednesday morning, with the freighter Saginaw, a self-unloading bulk carrier, and a tug and barge combination - the tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber - expected to lock through before midnight.

The smaller MacArthur Lock traditionally closes in December, as the shipping season winds down. Frappier said it closed Dec. 17 this season.

Shipping channels remain open. The U.S. Coast Guard announced that it will close the West Neebish Channel at noon Friday. Alternating one-way traffic will be established in the Munuscong and Middle Neebish Channels.

Sault Star and Jerry Masson


Edwin H. Gott closes Twin Ports shipping season

1/19 - Edwin H. Gott arrived in Duluth early Wednesday to lay up for the winter at the Duluth port terminal. It is the last vessel of the season. She joins seven other ships that are laid up for the season in the Twin Ports this winter.

Al Miller


Port Reports -  January 19

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tug Victory and Barge James L. Kuber departed the Upper Harbor with ore Wednesday morning. Michipicoten is scheduled to be the last vessel of the season on Thursday, weather dependent.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Navigation opened at Toronto Tuesday morning with the early arrival of Stephen B. Roman from Picton.


New Donjon tug honored at WorkBoat Show

1/19 - Hillside, N.J. – Donjon Marine, Co., Inc., a provider of multi-faceted marine services including marine salvage, heavy lift, dredging-related emergency response services and, most recently, shipbuilding and repair, is proud to have its new articulated tug the Ken Boothe Sr. selected as one of the 10 most Significant Boats in 2012 at the 2011 International WorkBoat Show.

It was recognized for its bruiser-type traditional Great Lakes tugs design and look and the fact that its the first newbuild project for Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair in Erie, Pa., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Donjon, according to WorkBoat.

The Ken Boothe, Sr. was completed last April by Donjon for Seajon LLC, a partnership between Donjon and Seacor Holdings Inc. The 10,700 horsepower ATB will work in conjunction with a 34,000-ton capacity self-unloading bulk cargo barge named Lakes Contender which will be completed in early spring 2012.

"We are very pleased to receive this recognition at the WorkBoat Show for this state-of-the-art towing vessel and to share in the success with our partner Seacor and the Great Lakes shipping community as a whole,” said J. Arnold Witte, President and CEO, Donjon Marine Co., Inc. “Bringing jobs to the Western Pennsylvania region on the construction of this stately vessel, along with many other projects, makes Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair quite proud of its success,” Witte continued.

Donjon Marine


Lack of ice could mean drop in lake levels

1/19 - With warmer temperatures, less snowfall and nearly no ice coverage this winter, it’s likely that spring and summer lake levels could drop at least two inches, according the Army Corps of Engineers.

Great Lakes Area Engineer, Tom O’Bryan, said if the pattern remains for the duration of the winter, Lake Michigan is in for a two to four-inch loss instead of the usual rise seen in the spring. However, there are a number of factors effecting lake levels, he added, and the amount of liquid precipitation this winter could still raise water levels.

“Lake levels are not only dependent on ice coverage on the water, which prevents evaporation, but also on the snow pack, which melts in the spring.”

Northern Michigan’s thermometers need to start dropping-- and stay at below freezing temperatures. “We rely on the natural cycle of cold weather and lots of snow here in northern Michigan,” O’Bryan said.

For those not particularly concerned with water levels, O’Bryan noted there are other concerns a lack of “true” winter weather bring to the shoreline. Winter storms and high winds also have an effect on the shoaling of the harbors (sediment deposition), as well as erosion.

Marinas, recreational boaters and freighters will suffer the most from a decrease in lake levels. O’Bryan said for each inch the water level drops, a freighter must reduce weight by anywhere from 71- 276 tons.

Jim Bartlett, chairman of the Harbor Springs Harbor Commission, said he is choosing to remain optimistic. “The lack of ice cover does allow for evaporation, which we’d like to see contained with ice cover, but it’s also important to note Lakes Michigan/ Huron are currently up about 7-inches from a year ago.”

Harbor Light Newspaper


High-water mark for Seaway operation in 2011

1/19 - Montreal, Que. – Despite up-and-down economic indicators worldwide last year, the St. Lawrence Seaway's 53rd season turned in an honorable performance, including a 2.5-per-cent hike to 37.5 million tonnes of cargo transiting through the maritime lane.

The mild winter helped by allowing for a record 284 days of operation until Dec. 30, topping the previous record set in 2006 by one day.

In a telephone interview, Terence Bowles, president and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., attributed much of the increase to an admittedly sketchy economic recovery in the U.S., as well as to new shipments of iron ore to China in the last two years.

Iron ore accounted for about 9 million tonnes of cargo shipped through the corridor, about one-quarter of the Seaway's total bulk shipments. Another quarter is grain, and of the other 50 per cent, about 10 per cent is coal and 40 per cent general bulk goods - petroleum, chemicals, scrap metals, salt and others.

"That's encouraging for next year," said Bowles, adding that the increase was achieved despite the loss of 2 million tonnes of ore normally shipped from Quebec to Hamilton, Ont., as a result of the yearlong shutdown of a U.S. Steel plant there stemming from a labor dispute. Grain volumes fell by about 6.4 per cent due to flooding in the U.S. Midwest, Bowles said.

"That's been a bit disappointing," he said, made worse by Russians who resumed shipping grain last year after halting export of the commodity in 2010 to satisfy domestic demand. The Seaway also is collecting more tolls from iron-ore shipments to China because they have to pass through several locks from the Great Lakes, rather than single-lock shipments from Quebec or Montreal, say, to Hamilton.

"China and Asia are a growing business for us and we expect to do a bit better than that next year," Bowles said.

The slowdown in China is relative, he added. "China has been growing at what, an 11-per-cent rate? So OK, it might slow down to nine per cent, but that's still growth, right? So they'll need more iron ore next year and the year after."

The nagging issue of ballast water treatment for ocean-going ships that pass through the Seaway is still not resolved. New York State is demanding that all ships that pass through its locks along the canal be equipped with their own treatment plant for ballast water that ships carry for stability during loading and unloading. The goal is to eliminate the introduction of invasive species that harmed the Great Lakes eco-system.

But the industry replied that since 2006, all ocean-going ships that transit through the waterway must exchange their ballast water while still at sea, and that the salinity has eliminated nearly 100 per cent of the zooplankton that once harmed the Great Lakes.

The New York regulation, which is scheduled to take effect in August 2013, would require treatment plants on individual ships that would exceed international norms by between 100 and 1,000 times, said Bowles - and the technology to do that does not exist. But he said he hopes that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which endorses the international standards, will put pressure on New York to moderate its stand.

The U.S. Coast Guard, which also supports the international rules and enforces the law, is expecting to come up with a ruling "in a couple of months" that also could buttress the industry's position, Bowles said. The state measure would prevent some Canadian ships from conducting domestic business as some routes between two Canadian cities must pass through a U.S. lock.

Another helpful development last year for Canadian shipping firms was a 25-per-cent surtax that Ottawa cancelled on foreign-built cargo ships. The longtime measure was meant to promote Canada's shipbuilding industry but ended up making it much harder for Canadian companies to buy new ships, Bowles said. "So right away, Canadian companies ordered four or five new vessels. And that's going to be a terrific boost for our business."

The Montreal Gazette


Daniel J. Morrell survivor Dennis Hale to speak

1/19 - On Sunday, February 19, Shipmasters’ Detroit Lodge No. 7 will host an event featuring author Dennis Hale, sole survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell shipwreck. The program will begin at 2 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms. This event is open to the public.

On the night of November 28-29, 1966, the Morrell encountered a gale on Lake Huron that generated winds up to 70 MPH and waves as high as 25 feet. At 2 a.m. on November 29, 26 miles northeast of Harbor Beach, Mich., the Morrell broke in two and sank. Of the 29-man crew, there was only one survivor, 26-year-old watchman Dennis Hale.

Click here for more information


Updates -  January 19

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list 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.


Lakes ore trade up 12.8 percent in 2011: Best since 2006

1/18 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 61,354,552 net tons in 2011, an increase of 12.8 percent over 2010, and the highest total since 2006. The year ended on a very strong note; December loadings were up 35 percent.

Loadings at U.S. Great Lakes ports rose 14.3 percent to 55 million tons. However, shipments from Canadian ports registered only a marginal increase: 57,937 tons, or roughly two loads in Seaway-sized lakers.

The 2011 ore float was 13 percent ahead of the trade’s 5-year average. U.S. ports collectively bettered their 5-year average by 17.6 percent, but loadings at Canadian ports slipped by more than 15 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association.


Port Reports -  January 18

Twin Ports – Al Miller
John G. Munson arrived in the Twin Ports early Tuesday to lay up for the winter. At dawn the vessel was slowly proceeding into Fraser Shipyards.

Goderich, Ont. – Dale Baechler
CSL Tadoussac laid up on Monday at Dock #6.

Toledo and Cleveland, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Adam E. Cornelius arrived for winter layup late Monday evening at the north end of the former Interlake Iron Dock near the shipyard. The Buffalo is at Cleveland, and appears to be in layup in the Cuyahoga River at the docksite where the Maumee used to be at near the steel mill. It is possible that she may be used on the ore shuttle run from the Cleveland Lakefront area to the steel mill as needed.


Seaway ends its 53rd season on a positive note

1/18 - Cornwall, Ont. – The St. Lawrence Seaway closed for the season on December 30, 2011, with the westbound vessel Algoma Spirit reaching Lake Ontario at 7:54 a.m. after having transited the locks on the St. Lawrence River.

The Seaway’s 53rd navigation season commenced on March 22, and the system remained open for a record 284 days, exceeding by one day the previous record set in 2006. The tug / barge combination John Spence / Niagara Spirit was the last vessel to transit the Welland Canal, clearing Port Colborne December 30th at 8:26 p.m. on its way to Lake Erie.

The St. Lawrence Seaway’s positive momentum remained intact in 2011, with tonnage volumes rising by 2.5% to reach an estimated 37.5 million tonnes. Trade patterns exhibited a number of changes, most notably with iron ore and coal becoming export commodities due to strong overseas demand. Grain volumes decreased overall by some 6.4% due to a decrease in the amount of U.S. grain moving via the Seaway. Strong increases in the volume of bulk liquids, salt and scrap metal contributed to an overall cargo increase of 930,000 tonnes for the systems 2011 season.

Terence Bowles, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, noted that the year brought about some significant progress on a number of fronts. “We recognize that while some of our core markets remain under pressure, work is progressing in terms of diversifying our market base, containing our costs, and increasing the systems productivity. Over the last four years, our market development efforts have generated $12.5 million in new business revenue,” said Bowles.

“In addition to advances in cargo volumes, we achieved a good deal of progress in 2011 on a number of other fronts,” said Bowles. “In October of 2011, a new three-year labour agreement was ratified, extending to March 31, 2014. We reached a fair settlement that controls our costs and ensures that our customers can continue to experience reliable service.”

“This is the second consecutive year of increases in Seaway traffic and tonnage, reflecting the resilience of the North American economy,” said Collister Johnson, Jr., Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

A recently published economic impact study, commissioned by Marine Delivers, demonstrates the significant role that the Great Lakes / Seaway system plays in supporting the Canadian and U.S. economies. Some 227,000 jobs and $34 billion in economic activity are supported by the movement of goods within the Great Lakes / Seaway waterway. Since its inception in 1959, over 2.5 billion tonnes valued in excess of $375 billion has been transported via the Seaway. For more information on the Seaway, including access to the full text of the economic impact study visit


HMS General Hunter replica being built at Bruce County Museum

1/18 - Southampton, Ont. – To mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, a replica of the former British warship HMS General Hunter is being built inside the Bruce County Museum, only a few hundred metres from where the early 19th century vessel was discovered 11 years ago buried under sand at the Southampton beach.

It is expected to take a team of at least two-dozen volunteers and nearly six months of work to complete the representation of the brig's battle-ready deck, which will feature a towering mainmast, square sails, rigging and cannons.

"The idea is for visitors to feel like they're walking onto the deck of a ship and, in this case, the General Hunter," said project director Ken Cassavoy.

The replica ship will be the centrepiece of the museum's upcoming exhibit on the General Hunter and the War of 1812, which is scheduled to be opened to the public on June 19.

The 200-year-old battle flag from the General Hunter, which is on loan from the United States Naval Academy Museum in Annapolis, M.D., will also be on display for the exhibit. The flag will be unveiled at the Bruce County Museum on Wednesday.

Built in 1806 at Amherstburg, the HMS General Hunter served as a provincial marine transport ship on the Upper Great Lakes and later took part in a number of actions during the War of 1812 as part of the British Navy squadron. She was captured by the Americans in September 1813 during one of the most important naval battles of the war, the Battle of Lake Erie. The Americans used the General Hunter after the war as a transport vessel for the United States Army.

She wrecked on the beach by what is now Southampton in August 1816 after two days adrift during a violent gale. The Americans later returned to the site to remove items from the ship and set it on fire to recover the iron of the hull.

Nearly 185 years later, in the spring of 2001, a man walking the beach at Southampton discovered the ribs of a ship poking out of the sand.

A team, led by Cassavoy, who is a marine archeologist, fully excavated the vessel in 2004 and removed artifacts.The remains were confirmed by experts to be the HMS General Hunter.

Cassavoy said the vessel, which was reburied for protection, is the area's most significant connection to the War of 1812 — the historic conflict between American forces and the British Empire.

"It is the only warship that still exists on the Upper Great Lakes that I'm aware of," he said.

Bruce County has set aside $100,000 over three years for the General Hunter exhibit, which will coincide with the anniversary of the War of 1812. The museum has also applied for funding under the federal 1812 Commemoration Fund, but an answer has not yet been received.

Construction on the replica vessel began just before Christmas when a mainmast was erected at the museum. Volunteers from the Southampton Marine Heritage Society and Southampton Propeller Club are donating their time to build the exhibit. Cassavoy's wife Pat, an artist, is painting a mural of Lake Erie to surround the ship.

When finished, the walk-on deck will be 40 feet long, about 16 feet shy of the actual length of the General Hunter. However, most of the items on the deck will be to full scale, Cassavoy said. Guides will be trained to retell the story of the General Hunter and the War of 1812, he said. Visitors will be able to load and unload a cannon, furl and unfurl a mast and experience other features of a 19th century warship.

"I just hope they get a really good ship experience," Cassavoy said. "And begin to understand the history of the War of 1812."

Owen Sound Sun Times


Federal, state, local agencies in region to hold mass rescue operations preparedness exercise

1/18 - Green Bay, Wis. — Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Austin Straubel International Airport, Brown County Sheriff's Department, New Franken Fire Department, and more than two dozen partner agencies are scheduled to hold a mass rescue operations preparedness exercise in Green Bay today.

The exercise is not open to the public.

The scenario of the exercise involves simulating the crash landing of a commuter plane with 51 passengers aboard on ice-covered Green Bay, with emergency responders from the Coast Guard and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources using rescue airboats, alongside traditional aviation and shore-based rescue assets in response to the simulated crash.

The exercise — the first of its kind, in that it will be held on an ice-covered waterway environment — is designed to test the coordinated federal/state/local response to a simulated emergency situation. It's also the first exercise to use airboats, which the Coast Guard designates as Special Purpose Craft-Airboats. Coast Guard SPC-AIRs were used during a real mass rescue operation, as emergency responders on airboats, helicopters, planes, ships and boats from several agencies rescued 134 people trapped on an ice floe adrift in Lake Erie in early February 2009.

The exercise also comes 30 years, nearly to the day, after Air Florida Flight 90 crashed onto the 14th Street Bridge and then into the icy Potomac River in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 13, 1982. As a result of the crash, 74 people were killed, including 70 plane passengers and crewmembers and four people in vehicles on the bridge.

The exercise provides the participating agencies the opportunity to evaluate their response plans, capabilities and coordination to the mass rescue operation, transportation security incident and subsequent oil spill response scenario in a maritime, cold-weather environment while working under the auspices of the National Response Framework and the National Search and Rescue Plan.

Local citizens should not be alarmed about any increased presence or activity of area law enforcement and emergency first responders who are participating in the exercise.

“It’s important that we work tirelessly to strengthen the operational partnerships amongst all federal, state and local agencies in the region,” said Rear Adm. Michael Parks, commander of the 9th Coast Guard District. “It’s the only way to ensure that, if a real emergency of this magnitude occurs, we can deliver the robust and timely response that the citizens and visitors of this area expect and deserve.”

Green Bay Press Gazette


Hamilton Port Authority hiring a Public Relations & Communications Manager

1/18 - Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Category: Publicity / PR | Advertising / Marketing | Television
Company Website:
Application Deadline: Feb 3, 2012


Boatnerd 2012 Cruising/Gatherings Scheduled

1/18 - Several cruises and gatherings have been planned by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping ( for interested boat watchers during the 2012 season. Don't wait to make your reservations. Now is the time to make your summer travel plans.

June 8-9 – Badger Boatnerd Gathering Cruise
A round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan, from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry S/S Badger. On Friday night, June 3rd, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel B&B to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. See the Boatnerd Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form.

June 28-30 - Engineer’s Weekend St. Marys River Cruise
Arrangements have been made for the annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. The cruise will be three hours and we will travel through the U.S. and Canadian Locks, doing our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.

Keweenaw Star Boatnerd Cruise – July 13-15
We are sponsoring a three-day, two-night trip from Charlevoix to the Soo on July 13-15. Three days cruising aboard the Keweenaw Star in the shipping lanes and past a number of lighthouses, lunch on board the boat, two nights at the casino in the Soo, two buffet dinners and breakfast buffets at the casino, and $30 cash to spend in the casino. See the Gathering Page for details. Call the Keweenaw Star at 231-237-9365 and make your reservation today. Limited space available.

August 4 - Detroit River/River Rouge Boatnerd Cruise
On Saturday, August 4, we will repeat the popular Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. Pizza will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.

September 14-16 Annual Welland Canal Gathering
Once again, Boatnerds will gather at the Welland Canal for socializing, sharing pictures, slides and videos, plus watching the passing traffic. We will also tour International Marine Salvage and see where boats go when they die. See the Gathering Page for details


Updates -  January 18

Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 18

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

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


Twin Ports' shipping season ending with taconite up, coal and grain down

1/17 - Duluth, Minn. – A Canadian power company’s decision to go green resulted in lower waterborne cargo totals passing through the Twin Ports this season, even though taconite and other cargoes were up.

The Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., will close at midnight Wednesday, signifying the end of the Great Lakes shipping season. While the Duluth Seaway Port Authority doesn’t have final numbers for the 2011 shipping season yet, they have a pretty good idea how it will finish.

“We are going to be down about 6 to 7 percent from 2010 numbers,” said Adolph Ojard, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director. “The bright spot is iron ore, which is a huge economic driver for the region.”

But while taconite shipments were up this year, coal and grain shipments were down. Coal is an important cargo in the Twin Ports.

Despite the regional connection of iron ore and the port, the tonnage of coal traveling through the port actually outpaced iron ore in seven of the last 10 shipping seasons, including a six-year run from 2005 through the 2010 season.

This shipping season, however, the tonnage of coal slipped around 20 percent. The reduction was due in large part to Ontario Power Generation’s decision to reduce its orders from 8 million tons to about 300,000 tons. The company is working to phase out the use of coal to produce electricity by the end of 2014, investing in electric and nuclear generation and testing the use of biomass fuels in plants that formerly were fueled with coal.

In response to Ontario Power’s decision and other changes in the North American market, Midwest Energy is working to enter new markets. It exported coal to Europe this year and signed a three-year deal to export close to 2 million tons a year to Rotterdam in the Netherlands beginning this year.

Midwest Energy President Fred L. Shusterich said the company is working to develop similar agreements, but so far nothing has come to fruition. “We are working diligently on that,” he said. “Onward and upward is the way I look at it.” Midwest Energy’s Superior terminal has an annual capacity of 25 million tons.

Grain shipments also declined this year — dropping by more than 40 percent from 2010. “In 2010 we benefited from droughts in the Ukraine and floods in Australia,” Ojard said.

This season, by contrast, saw America’s wheat growers hindered by cold and wet weather. Further hurting America’s position in the global grain market was Russia’s decision to lift an export ban.

“Wheat prices in America were relatively high, so we weren’t as competitive,” Ojard said.

More than 16 million tons of iron ore passed through the Twin Ports this season. That is roughly 17 percent more than last year and nearly 100 percent more than the year before, when the recession saw Twin Ports’ iron ore shipments fall to 8.2 million tons from 18.4 million tons in 2008.

“In 2011, production in the iron mines was nearly 39 million tons — very near capacity,” said Craig Pagel, president of the Minnesota Iron Mining Association. “The projection for 2012 is that we will surpass that number. Not only will production be at all-time levels, there are also capital purchases being made to ensure the future of iron mining in Northeast Minnesota.”

The “other” cargoes category also increased this year. Ojard expects to see increases in some areas next season. During this season, for instance, the port received five shiploads of wind turbine components. The port already has commitments for nine shiploads during the next shipping season.

Considering the world economy, “we had a good year,” Ojard said. “Next year will be equally good.”

Duluth News Tribune


Great Lakes Shipyard delivers completed work boat for Port of Milwaukee

1/17 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard, Cleveland, has completed construction of a 60-foot work boat for the Port of Milwaukee. The vessel sailed from Cleveland and was delivered to the port on Tuesday. Great Lakes Shipyard was awarded the contract by the city in June 2011.

The vessel was designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants, Seattle, Wash., to include general harbor work, icebreaking, salvage and dive operation capabilities. The workboat is equipped with a DMW Telescopic Boom Marine crane; it also has specialized lighting and equipment for harbor security work. The workboat is powered by a single 405 HP Cummins QSK11 Tier II diesel engine and has a maximum speed of 10 knots.


Port Reports -  January 17

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Monday the Lee A. Tregurtha (coming down the bay of Green Bay) arrived at Bay Shipbuilding for layup midmorning and was assisted into dry dock by the tugs Jimmy L., Mary E. Hannah, Susan L., Cameron O. and Sharon M. Selvick. Early afternoon Paul R. Tregurtha was inbound Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal headed for Bay Shipbuilding for layup.

Toronto, Ont. – Charlie Gibbons
Steven B. Roman departed Sunday afternoon on its first trip of 2012.


Eight ships to lay up in the Twin Ports for the winter

1/17 - Duluth, Minn. – As this shipping season winds down, lakers are arriving to lay up for the winter. Staying the winter will be eight lakers that sailed this year: Edwin H. Gott, Roger Blough, American Spirit, Mesabi Miner, John J. Boland, John G. Munson, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and American Century.

With the lakers come maintenance and repair work that can cost an average of between $800,000 and $1.5 million a vessel. The Lake Carriers’ Association reports that major U.S.-flag operators will invest more than $75 million in 56 vessels laid up this winter at ports around the Great Lakes. That averages out to more than $1.3 million a ship.

“We usually hope to see more than eight operating vessels lay up,” said James D. Sharrow, Duluth Seaway Port Authority facilities manager. “We have had as many as 13 in recent years, but with the projects this winter there may be as much work as when we had 13.”

That’s because there are five 1,000-footers laying up here, which, because of their size, typically require more work,” Sharrow said. “There are some nice-sized projects the shipyard is working on this year.”

Fraser Shipyards president and chief operating officer James Korthals declined to talk about the economic impact of the work the company has this winter. “Compared to last year we are doing similar types of work,” he said. “We have some large steel replacement jobs (bulkheads and cargo hopper bottoms) we are doing.”

Duluth News Tribune


Blue Water Shipmasters’ scholarship announced

1/17 - Port Huron, Mich. – Captain James C. Acheson, in partnership with the International Ship Master’s Association Lodge #2, has established a Blue Water Shipmasters’ Fund through the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. Income from the fund will provide one $1,000 scholarship annually for a Blue Water resident attending the deck or engineering program at either the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, Mich., the Great Lakes International Marine Training Centre at Georgian College in Owen Sound, Ont., or the St. Clair County Community College transfer program in Port Huron, Mich.

Application deadline is March 16. Applicants must be a resident of St. Clair County, Mich., or Lambton County, Ont. Click here for more details


Updates -  January 17

Weekly Website Updates
Lay-up list updated


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.


Port Reports -  January 16

Sunday was the last busy day of the shipping season on western Lake Superior, with each port from Taconite Harbor to Duluth-Superior seeing traffic. Calumet and Philip R. Clarke cleared Silver Bay and Two Harbors, respectively, in the early morning. Calumet may be the last vessel for the season at Silver Bay. Presque Isle arrived in Two Harbors just before dawn and is expected to be the last vessel to load there for the winter. Mesabi Miner cleared Duluth early with the season's last load of coal from Midwest Energy, and arrived in Taconite Harbor later in the morning to deliver her cargo. CSL Laurentien departed the Burlington Northern ore dock in Superior during the early afternoon. The crew of the Roger Blough spent the day putting their vessel into layup at Duluth Port Terminal's Berth 4, having arrived there for the winter on Saturday evening.

The Canadian Transport surprised local boatwatchers on a last-minute run with salt for the Twin Ports from Goderich; as of mid-afternoon she was off the Apostle Islands bound for the head of the Lakes, though at the time she was not listed on any publicly available shipping schedules. After unloading salt the Transport is scheduled to load taconite on Monday at Burlington Northern in Superior. That looks to be BN's last load of the season, as the Frontenac's scheduled load there on Monday has been canceled and CSL's venerable self-unloader has gone into layup at Sarnia instead. When the Canadian Transport clears Superior sometime on Monday evening or Tuesday morning, she'll likely be carrying the last cargo to leave western Lake Superior for the lower lakes this season.

After that, traffic should wind down quickly barring any more last-minute arrivals. Mesabi Miner returns from Taconite Harbor to winter at Midwest Energy sometime Tuesday, John G. Munson is also due Tuesday for layup at Fraser Shipyards, and Edwin H. Gott should close out the season late Tuesday or Wednesday morning when she arrives to layup in Duluth.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Kaye E. Barker departed after loading ore on her last trip of the season. The tug Olive L. Moore and Barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived to load ore for the third time in a week.


Updates -  January 16

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - City of Munising Gallery


What Do You Think? Voice your opinion on Port Huron Maritime Center

1/16 - Port Huron, Mich. – The operators of the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron, Mich., are considering an expansion of the popular facility’s programming. Shipwatching, the use of underwater cameras, as well as the availability of food and fellowship have proven to be popular since the Center’s inception. Now the operators are inviting the public to respond through this website and are welcoming any ideas relating to the promotion of the Great Lakes which could also be exciting and informational to visitors at the Center.

What would make you come back more often? What would cause you to tell your friends and family that it’s something they must see? If the center should expand, what would you like to see included? Please fill out and submit the form below, providing as much detail as you would like.

Click here to share your thoughts


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 16

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

In 1987, 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, 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.


Port Reports -  January 15

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Saturday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Michipicoten loaded ore while Kaye E. Barker waited to load. Michipicoten was being loaded straight from ore cars with a full run of chutes down.

Amherstburg, Ont. – D. Cozens
The Frontenac was upbound in the Amherstburg Channel at 1 p.m. Saturday heading for lay-up in Sarnia. The CCGS Griffon was docked at the Amherstburg Base. There is no ice on the river due to the very mild winter to date.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber were loading Saturday at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock. The pair entered Sandusky Bay Friday after laying off-shore for more than 24-hours due to strong winds which accompanied the areas first real snow storm of the winter.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Friday brought in a nasty winter storm that caused a temporary suspension of dredge operations. Gale force winds and white out conditions sent the tugs to the wall at the Cargil Pier as water levels came up on the Eastern Basin of Lake Erie.


City of Milwaukee officer drowns

1/15 - Saturday morning at approximately 11:30 a.m. members of the Manistee County Dive Team and the US Coast Guard located the body of the missing person in the water near the SS City of Milwaukee. The individual is identified as George Paul Micka of Muskegon Michigan. Mr. Micka is a long term railroad employee, for the past several years he worked for the Marquette Rail Company. In addition he is the current president of the board of directors for the SS City of Milwaukee.

The evidence suggests that Mr. Micka drowned as a result of an accident and no foul play is suspected.

Mr. Micka left work with the railroad on Thursday night about 10:30 p.m. and drove to Manistee to check on the boats. He was expected to spend the night on the Milwaukee, because of an anticipated snow storm, and report for work with the railroad at noon on Friday. When he failed to show up for work his co-workers started looking for him. His car was located in the lot at the Milwaukee covered with snow. It is believed that he spent the night on the boat. Tracks in the snow suggest he spent time on the Milwaukee and then walked over to the retired Coast Guard Boat moored next to the Milwaukee. One set of tracks went onto the boat and none left.

Mr. Micka was known to jump from the deck of the boat onto the raised dock when leaving the coast guard boat. The gang plank connecting the dock to the boat was not in place when officers arrived on scene. It was determined that he was not on the boat and the next logical place to look was in the water.

Friday night divers were unable to locate him due to darkness and concerns for the safety of the divers caused us to suspend the dive until daylight. This morning they returned to the scene with radar technology and an underwater camera mounted on a pole. They located his body in about 11 feet of water near a floating dock that would have been a logical place for him to swim to in an effort to get his self out of the water. Tragically he didnt make it.

Ludington Daily News


Updates -  January 15

Lay-up list 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.


U.S.-Flag lakers' cargo up 5.75 percent in 2011

1/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 93.8 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in 2011, an increase of 5.75 percent compared to 2010. The 2011 float was also just about on par with the fleet’s 5-year average. Iron ore cargos for the steel industry increased 12.4 percent compared to a year ago and outperformed their 5-year average by 12.7 percent.

Coal loadings slipped by 6 percent compared to 2010, and even more 14 percent compared to the trade’s 5-year average.

Limestone cargos rebounded by a million tons, or 5 percent compared to 2010. However, shipments of aggregate and fluxstone still trailed their 5-year averages by 8 percent. The cement, salt, and sand totals increased slightly compared to 2010, but cement missed its 5-year average by about 500,000 tons. Salt topped its 5-year average by about 200,000. Sand was one cargo short of its 5-year average.

Grain was down by roughly one boatload compared to 2010 and missed its 5-year average by about two cargos.

Lake Carriers Association


Cargo traffic at Toledo's port up 6 percent

1/14 - Toledo, Ohio – Buoyed by a surge in iron-ore business and high-percentage gains in general cargo and liquid-bulk commodities, cargo traffic at Toledo's port increased by 6 percent last year, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority reported.

The 11,509,180 tons of cargo that crossed the various docks in Toledo's harbor during 2011 was the most here since 2007, and second-most since 2000, port records show.

"In a challenging economy, and it's still challenging, a 6 percent increase is pretty good," said Joe Cappel, the port authority's director of cargo development.

The 2011 shipping season also marked the first time in recent years that domestic cargo outpaced international freight. In recent times, Canada has been the primary origin or destination for Toledo's lake-borne cargo, but big shifts in both the coal and iron ore trades plus a drop in grain traffic changed that last year.

Iron ore -- which arrives by ship and then rides the rails from Toledo mainly, if not exclusively, to AK Steel mills in Middletown, Ohio, and Ashland, Ky. -- increased by just under 1 million tons to 4,653,285 tons in 2011. The amount of ore arriving from mine ports in Minnesota or Michigan nearly doubled, while Toledo shipments from Canadian sources declined.

Coal shipments through Toledo declined by more than 400,000 tons overall last year, but domestic coal business increased by 15 percent, further tilting the local port's balance in favor of domestic shipments. The primary Canadian consumers of coal shipped through Toledo are steel mills, while U.S. recipients typically include both steelmakers and power plants.

After a down year in 2010, general and miscellaneous cargo also increased, which Mr. Cappel credited mainly to a rebound in aluminum shipments plus about 11,000 tons of "project" cargo. The latter consisted mainly of wind-turbine components and machinery for a plant upgrade at the BP-Husky refinery in Oregon.

While general and miscellaneous cargo is a light contributor to port tonnage, it is considered to be especially valuable to the Port of Toledo because it is labor intensive and thus a jobs generator on the docks.

The port authority's statistics cover cargoes handled at its own docks as well as those of private firms that handle grain, cement, petroleum, fertilizer, salt, and other commodities at terminals along the Maumee River.

Petroleum was the driving force behind an 89 percent increase in liquid-bulk cargoes last year, Mr. Cappel said, while the dry-bulk sector -- including railroad stone, rock salt, synthetic gypsum, coke breeze, and mill scale -- rose above 2 million tons for the first time in Toledo port history.

Steve Smigelski, the general manager at Kuhlman Bulk Materials, said his company's rock-salt business increased by 11 percent -- "the rough winter last year was huge" -- while granular fertilizer traffic across its South Toledo docks grew by 7 percent.

After having several years of steady traffic decline, Mr. Smigelski said, "It's been good to have a number of good ones to string together."

Grain business at Toledo's three riverfront elevators fell by 15 percent, to 945,489, which Mr. Cappel blamed on a wet autumn that kept a lot of corn on the stalks. Farmers now are waiting for a solid freeze to harden their muddy fields so they can complete the harvest, he said.

"We may see a flurry of corn activity in the spring because of that," Mr. Cappel said.

Coal tonnage also could rebound in 2012 if a huge pile of Wyoming coal that has been in storage on the general-cargo dock for more than a year is finally shipped out, he said. The coal was stored in Toledo because of reduced demand from electric power generators.

Toledo Blade


S.S. Norisle cleanup means historic ship one step closer to dry dock, refit

1/14 - Manitoulin Island, Ont. - S.S. Norisle cleanup means historic ship one step closer to dry dock, refit Manitoulin Island, Ont. – After months of work, phase one of the S.S. Norisle refit is almost complete. With assistance from the federal Job Creation Program, the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society Inc. was able to hire a group of workers last fall to clean the 60-year-old steam vessel.

“Phase one involved the removal of all the piping systems, electrical system and fire extinguishing system,” explained S.S. Norisle Steamship Society Inc. chair Dave Ham. “The workers have done a great job of cleaning the vessel. They also removed all the woodwork, some of which will be saved and some of which had to be thrown away because of rot. The team cleaned and collected the debris from the bilge area down in the bowels of the ship and dried it out, in addition to clearing the area under the engine room.

Mr. Ham said that originally the ballasting was scheduled to be done during phase one, but the group decided to leave it until phase two, the dry docking work, to insure the ship’s stability during its transfer to Purvis Marine Limited in Sault Ste. Marie.

“The crew is right on time,” said Mr. Ham. “The coal removal is the final part of phase one, which we hope to have competed by the end of February.”

Mr. Ham explained that the society’s JCP has been extended to complete the coal removal. The 150 tons of coal was sold to a southern Ontario buyer.

The work to the S.S. Norisle is part of the society’s ongoing project to restore the ship as a heritage cruise ship, preserving the vessel and creating a Northern Ontario historical attraction.

“We have been very lucky to be able to have all this work done on the ship,” said S.S. Norisle Steamship Society Inc. board member and founder Jean McLennan. “There are only five steamboat passenger cruisers left in the world, so we are very lucky to have the Norisle.”

Ms. McLennan said she is amazed at how the project has come along thanks to generous donations from not only the government, but also private individuals.

“It just blows my mind away to think of how generous and supportive people have been of the project,” explained Ms. McLennan. “This ship really has the potential to be an asset to Northern Ontario and Canada as a whole.”

Mr. Ham said that once the coal is removed, the next step is to seek funding for phase two of the project. Once funding is obtained, the Norisle will be transported to a dry dock, Purvis Marine Limited in Sault Ste. Marie, where it will be restored to its former glory.

The Manitoulin Expositor


Basic Marine faces fine: Company cited $147,840 for safety violations

1/14 - Escanaba, Mich. - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Basic Marine Inc., a shipyard and boat fabricating facility in Escanaba, for 32 including five repeat violations of safety and health standards. Proposed fines total $147,840.

OSHA began health and safety inspections in July as a follow-up to inspections conducted in March 2008. The 2008 inspections were initiated based on a referral from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, after a worker sustained an amputation injury.

"Basic Marine has demonstrated a total lack of commitment to employee safety and health by repeatedly failing to protect its workers. This situation is particularly egregious as the initial citations were issued after a worker was severely injured on the job," said Robert Bonack, director of OSHA's Lansing Area Office. "Whenever workers are injured, we expect that employers should be receptive to re-evaluating their safety and health programs to reduce the likelihood of more injuries, but this has not been the case with Basic Marine."

When Basic Marine was contacted Friday morning, the Daily Press was told no one was available to answer questions on the OSHA violations and fines.

A single repeat safety violation represents failing to provide machine guarding to prevent inadvertent contact with an operating vertical band saw. Four repeat health violations are failing to have a written hazard communications program and to train workers in hazard communications; train workers in safety procedures for testing and entering enclosed, confined and other spaces that may have dangerous atmospheric conditions; and annually fit test workers who wore respirators. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited during the 2008 inspections.

Twenty-one serious safety violations include failing to provide fall protection, provide training and evaluation in the safe operation of forklifts, inspect forklifts and other equipment as required, repair damaged equipment before operating cranes, correct unsafe conditions before resuming crane operations, ensure workers wore head protection when hazards existed and provide an effective fire safety plan. Four serious health violations are failing to provide an air-line respirator for workers spray painting in a confined space, evaluate confined spaces for environmental hazards, conduct training drills for the designated confined space rescue team and post confined space air monitoring results. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Two other-than-serious health and safety violations involve failing to maintain monthly inspection records for cranes, brakes and other machinery, as well as to medically evaluate workers when required. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Basic Marine Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Escanaba Daily Press


Shipmasters’ freighter cruise raffle tickets still available

1/14 - There are still tickets available for the 7-10 day Great Lakes trip aboard the Algoma Spirit during the 2012 sailing season. The draw is Feb. 10, 2012 at the Grand Ball of the International Shipmasters Association Days Inn Hotel and Conference Centre, Owen Sound, Ont. The winner need not be present at the draw, and will be contacted directly by the captain of the Algoma Spirit. Click here for more information on the raffle.

The deadline for placing an ad in the convention program has been extended to Jan. 21. Click here to place an ad.


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.


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 Reports -  January 12

Twin Ports – Al Miller
American Century arrived in Superior on Tuesday for winter layup at Elevator M and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was due in Wednesday to lay up at the Enbridge Dock (formerly the Lakehead Pipeline dock). Arriving for layup later this week or early next are Edwin H. Gott and Roger Blough, both expected to tie up at the port terminal, and John G. Munson, due at Fraser Shipyards. Mesabi Miner is scheduled to load Saturday at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal bound for Taconite Harbor, then return to Superior to lay-up at the terminal dock.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Lee A. Tregurtha and Lewis J. Kuber waited to load ore Wednesday afternoon at the Upper Harbor.

Amherstburg, Ont. – D Cozens
At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday the Roger Blough was passing upbound in the Amherstburg Channel of the Detroit River loaded. During times of light traffic the Amherstburg Channel is only used if there is downbound traffic in the Livingston Channel. These two channels are parallel to each other and are usually one way. The CCGS Griffin has been docked at the Amherstburg base for the last three days.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Michipicoten finished unloading her cargo at Anderson’s K Elevator and departed Wednesday afternoon. The latest update for the Torco Ore Dock has the Lee A. Tregurtha due in Friday, Hon. James L. Oberstar on Sunday followed by the tug  Olive L. Moore with barge Lewis J. Kuber and Victory with barge James L. Kuber on Jan. 18. With an incoming winter snowstorm for the Great Lakes forecasted for the next several days these vessels may be delayed arriving. A correction on the tug Invincible's location (see Tuesday’s news), she is in layup at the CSX Coal Docks near the former ore dock where the Great Lakes Towing Company tug base was located at for quite a few years. The Great Lakes Towing Company tug base is now located at the Hans Hansen Dock on the west side of the Maumee River.


Coast Guard ends Detroit River search for worker who fell off Ambassador Bridge

1/12 - Detroit, Mich. – Coast Guard search crews have ended their search this evening for a man who fell into the Detroit River from the Ambassador Bridge in downtown Detroit. Missing is Kent Morton, 27, of Garden City, Mich.

"The decision to suspend an active search and rescue case is the most difficult decision that our operators face," said Chief Petty Officer Gabriel Settel, command center supervisor, Coast Guard Sector Detroit. "Our thoughts go out to Mr. Morton's family and friends during this incredibly difficult time."

In all, crews scoured a combined search area of nearly 300 square nautical miles of the Detroit River. Morton's family has been in constant contact with the Detroit Police Department, who have been providing updates on the status of the search.

The communications watchstander at Coast Guard Station Belle Isle, in Detroit, Mich., was contacted at 1:45 p.m. by bridge security, who received a call from witnesses who reportedly saw a man fall from the center span of the bridge. The man was last seen wearing work coveralls. There is no more information about any other safety gear that was worn or utilized.

A Coast Guard boat crew, aboard a Station Belle Isle 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, was already underway and was diverted to begin searching. A second RB-M crew was dispatched from Station Belle Isle, as was an MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit.

Also assisting in the search was a Detroit Police Department rescue boat crew with a dive team aboard and a helicopter crew from the Michigan State Police.

The center span of the Ambassador Bridge is about 150 feet from the surface of the water. The water temperature at the time of the accident was 37 degrees Fahrenheit.

Detroit Police Inspector Don Johnson said witnesses reported the man was alive when he hit the water, but the current took him away. Johnson said a dive team was using an underwater robot with sonar capabilities to navigate the water, and a Coast Guard helicopter also was being used.

It’s unclear exactly where the man was working on the bridge when he fell, but it appeared to be near the middle, Johnson said. He was repainting the bridge as part of a crew from Seaway Painters LLC, authorities said.

USCG, Detroit Free Press


Weather delays blamed for locks extension

1/12 - Duluth, Minn. – The Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., will remain open an extra three days, extending the Great Lakes shipping season. The lock will remain open through 11:59 p.m. Jan. 18, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Monday.

The extra time was requested by companies that faced weather delays in recent weeks, mainly gale-force winds that delayed some trips, that can now finish out their contracts for the season, said Adele Yorde, spokeswoman for the Seaway Port Authority of Duluth.

“It’s not so much extra business as it gives them time to finish the contracts they already had,” she said.

When the locks do close Jan. 18, that signals the end of the Great Lakes shipping season, although some shipments can be made within lakes. The lock will reopen in March. At least eight Great Lakes freighters will spend their winter in the Twin Ports for maintenance and, in some cases, major refurbishing.

Built in 1968, the 1,200-foot Poe is the longest of the four locks at the Soo, which allows ships to sail between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes.

More than 4,500 vessels transits carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo maneuver through the locks annually. Iron ore, coal and limestone are among the most frequently carried commodities.


ArcelorMittal to reopen portion of Flats steel mill, hire 150 new workers

1/12 - Cleveland, Ohio - "Despite the restart of Cleveland's west side, ArcelorMittal USA continues to operate below pre-crisis levels," the company said in a written statement. It added that it still has unused capacity at the mill and could add more work and more jobs in the near future if market demand for steel remains high. Arcelor has about 1,700 hourly and salaried workers at the Cleveland site, and all of the people who were laid off in 2008 and 2009 have either returned to work or retired. A company spokeswoman said all 150 positions to be filled by re-starting the west side of the plant will be new positions. The plant's west side is a finishing and refining area. Molten iron from the company's two blast furnaces goes to a basic oxygen furnace on the west side. In that oxygen furnace, workers mix the molten iron with scrap steel and other materials to create new steel. A ladle metallurgy furnace on the site further refines the steel, and a caster converts the molten steel into slabs. ArcelorMittal shut down the west side of its operations in 2008 as the global economy collapsed.

During the downturn, the company shut down both of its blast furnaces, massive furnaces that melt iron ore or scrap iron, putting the plant on a skeleton crew than handled only maintenance. In mid-2009, it restarted one of the blast furnaces and brought back nearly 1,000 workers. The second restarted a few months later. At the time, the company said it had to restart production well before the economy improved because it takes a long time to get steel plants back to production. So if it had waited until the orders started rolling in, it wouldn't have been able to fill those orders for many months. In its statement, ArcelorMittal said restarting the west side of its plant could increase its steel-making output by about 480,000 tons per year. It also said that orders from its customers are increasing, and it expects that trend to continue.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Saginaw River cruise boats have a home for at least one more season

1/12 - Bay City, Mich. – The Princess Wenonah and the Islander cruise boats have a home on the Saginaw River for at least one more season. Bay City and Bay City Boat Lines in December approved a lease agreement allowing the two ships to continue docking behind Bay City Hall at the Uptown at RiversEdge site.

The Uptown site is owned by the city, but a purchase agreement is expected to turn over ownership of the property to Saginaw-based developer SSP Associates later this year.

The berth agreement allows Bay City Boat Lines to dock three vessels, the Princess Wenonah, the Islander and a third, non-active boat at the site through Sept. 30. It does not indicate what will happen once SSP Associates takes over the site, but officials are confident Bay City Boat Lines can remain there.

“The lease agreement is transferable,” said Bay City Manager Robert Belleman. “Once SSP takes ownership of the property, they will also take ownership of this lease.”

SSP Associates, which is run by Saginaw doctor Samuel J. Shaheen and his brother, Peter, has until September to execute its purchase agreement of the Uptown property, although it could be done sooner. The company plans a $25 million mixed-use development of the site that includes restaurants, retail and residential.

Michelle Judd, marketing and reservation coordinator for Bay City Boat Lines, said she is not sure what will happen after this operating season and did not want to comment further on the contract. “Until the property changes hands, we can’t negotiate further,” she said. “We’ll continue to operate as is and, as things develop, we’ll make changes.”

Bay City Boat Lines pays the city $1,700 to moor the vessels at the north end of the Uptown site. The company has offered paid and company-sponsored boat tours on the Saginaw River since 1998. In the past, the boats were moored at Wenonah Park, but had to move because of federal regulations. They began docking at the Uptown site in 2005.

Belleman believes city staff has contacted SSP officials about the future docking situation. “(SSP) is trying to ensure that their development complements the downtown. Bay City Boat Lines offers a community-oriented development and I think they will recognize that,” he said. “I don’t want to sit here and speculate that Bay City Boat Lines won’t have a home.”

The Bay City Times


Holland could pick up cost to dredge harbor

1/12 - Holland, Mich. – Drastic cuts to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ budget means Hollanders will have to pick up the $210,000 annual cost of dredging the Holland harbor.

The Army Corps has said only harbors shipping 1 million tons or more annually will qualify for dredging, Holland Board of Public Works General Manager Dave Koster said Monday. An average of 480,000 tons is shipped through the harbor annually, Koster said. Approximately 150,000 tons of that is the BPW’s coal.

A Dec. 29 shipment of BPW coal had to be diverted to Grand Haven because the shoal already had risen to a navigable depth of between 17.5-18 feet, said Holland City Councilman Bob Vande Vusse, liaison to the BPW board. Soundings revealed that a shoal had developed just outside the mouth of the breakwall, Vande Vusse said in an email to The Sentinel. Project depth for the harbor entrance is 23 feet, he wrote. “That will impact us,” Padnos Logistics Manager Scott Wolters said. “It has already. We haven’t been able to line up barge shipments.”

The dredging will cost money, but losing the harbor will affect the local economy as a whole, Wolters said. Padnos is one of four industrial users of the harbor.

It is much cheaper to ship coal, recycled metals and construction supplies over water than it is over land by truck or rail, both Wolters and Koster said.

The BPW Board of Directors agreed to pay the Corps $210,000 for the dredging. The board likely would be responsible for $100,000 of that cost.

Neighboring industrial business, such as Brewers City Dock and Louis Padnos Iron and Metal, will meet with the BPW on Friday to work out a financial arrangement, Koster said.

“It’s not going to get better with time. It’s only going to get worse,” Wolters said.

From the shore, it might not look any different, but every year the Corps dredged the harbor with federal money. The dredged sand is used to replenish the beaches, Koster said. It is feasible the shifting sand could close the harbor, and the Holland area — including recreational users — could lose access to Lake Michigan.

Not being able to ship over water means Padnos wouldn’t be able to pay local suppliers the rates it does now, he said. Whether paying to dredge the harbor and channel or paying higher shipping costs, the loss of federally paid dredging is going to cost Holland. To ship coal by truck will cost the BPW about 10 percent more than it already is paying for coal, Koster said. Now, coal costs about $73 per ton delivered, he said.

According to his research, having the coal shipped to Grand Haven and then trucked to Holland would cost $7.50 more per ton, and that is the most affordable alternative.

The Holland Sentinel


State grant aids Hallett Dock project

1/12 - Superior, Wis. – The second phase of a project to give fully loaded ships full access to Hallett Dock No. 8 is getting a boost from the state. The company with facilities in Duluth and Superior is planning to rehabilitate 1,200 feet of dock on the Superior waterfront.

In 2007, the company rehabilitated 800 feet on the outer edge of the dock, said Mike McCoshen, president of Hallett Dock Company. Then in late 2007, the company rehabilitated another 300 feet of the dock on its own after 180 feet collapsed, repairing the collapsed section and 60 feet on either side of the collapse to reinforce it, he said.

Now, the company is planning to rehabilitate 945 feet between the out section of dock and another 245 feet on the other side of the 300-foot section rehabilitated in late 2007.

Wisconsin’s Harbor Assistance Program is picking up the tab for 80 percent of the project costs, estimated at more than $4.1 million. The state will pay $3,332,269 of the project costs and Hallett Dock Co. will pay $833,067, said Jason Serck, Superior’s Port and Planning director.

Since 1979, when the Harbor Assistance Program was created, more than $73 million in grants have been awarded for projects to maintain the state’s eight ports, including about $1.7 million for the first phase of the Hallett Dock No. 8 rehabilitation project.

“It’s going to be beneficial for us in the fact that we’ll then be able to dredge the slip to seaway draft,” McCoshen said. “We’ll be able to dredge to 28 feet. Right now, the outer 800 feet is as 28 feet, but after that, there is a 23-foot draft coming up. The vessels coming in can’t come in with a full load.”

Used for storage of inbound materials, that limits how much material the company can accept and where it can be stored. A fully loaded ship can use only the outer end of the dock, and only one ship, the John G. Munson, has a self-unloading boom on the bow of the ship that allows more flexibility.

Once the project is complete, McCoshen said fully loaded ships that can only access the outer end of the dock, will be able to access the full length of the dock.

With several projects on the drawing board and mining operations on the Iron Range, McCoshen said there is potential for handling limestone for the mines and aggregate for the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through the Superior dock.

In addition to construction jobs — not yet determined — McCoshen said he anticipates the project will create additional jobs at Dock No. 8. “It will immediately add one person over there and over time, it will add several more,” McCoshen said.

But it isn’t just Hallett Dock that will benefit. In the long-run, McCoshen expects the project to benefit the railroad too because more materials will come in and more materials will go out by rail.

Superior Telegram


Updates -  January 12

News Photo Gallery


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.


Lakes limestone trade up 1 percent in 2011

1/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 28,153,642 net tons in 2011, an increase of 1 percent over 2010, but a decrease of 10.2 percent compared to the trade’s 5-year average.

Shipments from U.S. quarries increased 3.5 percent compared to a year ago, but were 7.9 percent off the trade’s 5-year average. Loadings at Canadian quarries slipped by 9.3 percent compared to a year ago, and fell even further 19.4 percent - when compared to the trade’s 5-year average.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  January 11

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tuesday morning at the Upper Harbor, Paul R. Tregurtha unloaded the last coal cargo of the season into the hopper, and fleet mate Kaye E. Barker loaded ore.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Scott Best and Wendell Wilke
On a mild and sunny Tuesday afternoon, American Mariner arrived in Sturgeon Bay for winter layup. They came in off Lake Michigan via the Sturgeon Bay ship canal and backed into a slip shared with fleet mate St Clair. Selvick's tug Jimmy L flushed ice out of the slip. Meanwhile, in Green Bay, the Karen Andrie was a rare January visitor at the CRM slip, assisted into port overnight by the tug Mary E. Hannah. Both tugs and the barge Endeavour were tied up Tuesday afternoon.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Hon. James L. Oberstar arrived at the Torco Dock to unload ore Tuesday morning. She departed late Tuesday afternoon. Calumet was due in at the Torco Dock late Tuesday evening to unload ore. The following vessels are due at the Torco Dock: Lee A. Tregurtha on Friday, Hon. James L. Oberstar on Sunday, the tug Olive L. Moore/ barge Lewis J. Kuber due in Tuesday, and the tug Victory/barge James L. Kuber due on Wednesday. The CSX Coal Docks are closed for the season. Michipicoten arrived at the Kuhlman Dock to unload grain Tuesday afternoon. She was expected to depart Wednesday morning. H. Lee White arrived at the CSX #2 Dock for winter layup Tuesday afternoon. The following vessels are in layup at Toledo: Sam Laud – Torco Ore Dock, American Fortitude – Lakefront Coal Dock, American Valor – Lakefront Ore Dock, H. Lee White – CSX#2 Dock, American Courage – former Interlake Iron dock. The tug Invincible and an unidentified tug/barge unit are at Ironhead Shipyard. Several more vessels are expected to arrive at this port for winter layup soon.


Emergency dredging wraps up at St. Joe

1/11 - St. Joseph, Mich. – Mild weather over the weekend enabled a dredging company to reopen the St. Joseph River harbor to ships. With adequate depth restored for safe navigation, the three commercial docks on the harbor all expect to receive vessels before winter ends the shipping season, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton said Monday.

At a morning news conference at Dock 63 on Marina Island, the St. Joseph Republican announced completion of the emergency dredging project, which was planned and carried out in an unusually short time.

Upton worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, dock owners, shippers and local officials to line up dredging after heavy shoaling developed in Lake Michigan near the ends of the twin piers, preventing vessels from reaching port.

Upton said the project benefitted from a bit of the "luck of the Irish" because the MCM Marine Co. barge and other equipment were already in the harbor.

The Army Corps budget was finalized in mid-December, and the district office in Detroit provided $100,000 for the work. MCM, of Sault Ste. Marie, which has done a lot of other maintenance work in the harbor, was given a $99,000 contract to remove about 6,000 cubic yards of material from the bottom of the navigation channel.

On Sunday MCM took advantage of unseasonably mild weather with relatively little wind to tackle the project. The company finished early Monday.

Dock owners who appeared with Upton at the news conference said the one-month harbor shutdown resulted in nine vessels being turned back without delivering their loads.

Pete Berghoff, president of Dock 63, said the emergency dredging will allow two ships carrying road salt to reach his dock. The 24,000 tons of salt to be received will be used by area road commissions and street departments for winter ice control. Currently, Berghoff said, his salt supply is down to 7,000 or 8,000 tons, compared with 44,000 tons at this time a year ago. "Anything we get now will make me very happy," he said.

Rick Moore, manager of the LaFarge Corp. cement terminal in St. Joseph, said one ship is expected Sunday, and possibly one more afterward. "That'll get us through the winter to spring," he said.

The commercial docks receive bulk cement, stone, aggregate and road salt. With the harbor out of service, dock owners had to turn to more costly trucking to get the materials needed to supply their customers.

Upton said keeping the harbor open to commercial shipping is important to the area's economy because the delivery system is "enormously" more economical than using trucks. Most of the materials are used in constructing buildings and roads. Officials said losing access to the harbor would immediately drive up building costs.

Officials said the dredging work is considered a temporary fix. The work opened a 200-foot-wide channel through shoals, allowing ships to reach port for the rest of the season.

The Army Corps has paid for annual spring dredging for decades. But Congress has not budgeted money this year to dredge harbors at St. Joseph, Holland and elsewhere.

Upton said a solution may be in sight. Bipartisan legislation to meet dredging needs around the country from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which has a surplus of more than $6 billion, is expected to be attached to a transportation bill that could be approved as soon as March, he said.

The trust fund is supported by taxes on waterborne shipping and was set up in 1986 to pay for dredging and other harbor work. But Congress has appropriated only part of the money collected from year to year for harbors. Much of the cash has been used for other purposes, and the trust fund has received treasury bonds in exchange.

Tom O'Bryan, of the Army Corps' Grand Haven office, said there would be time to complete dredging for the 2012 shipping season if Congress approves the legislation in the spring.

The Herald-Palladium


Seasonal operations announced for St. Marys River

1/11 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Vessel Traffic Service St. Marys River will close Pipe Island Passage (East of Pipe Island Shoal and North of Pipe Island Twins from Watson Reef Light to Sweets Point). The channel will close effective 8 a.m. Friday. The Pipe Island Course will become a two-way route.

The Coast Guard would like to remind all recreational ice users to plan their activity carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels.


GVSU pulls wind research buoy from Lake Michigan, researchers thrilled with results

1/11 - Muskegon, Mich. – As Grand Valley State University removed its wind research buoy from Lake Michigan's winter waters at the end of the year, it's clear that the scientific data being collected goes well beyond whether to place wind turbines in the lake.

GVSU Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center officials in Muskegon report that the research platform that had been four miles out in Lake Michigan just south of the Muskegon pierheads was a success.

Despite funding problems with the state of Michigan, the buoy will return to Lake Michigan in late March at a mid-lake point on the Michigan side of the state line, GVSU officials said. It is the only research platform of its kind on the Great Lakes, university officials said.

The laser technology wind sensors provided second-by-second information of wind speed and direction at four heights. But wind quality is just one of the areas of data collection as the buoy gathered information for more than 100 different parameters, MAREC Director Arn Boezaart said.

“The information has been relayed in real time to the U.S. Weather Service office in Grand Rapids, and the meteorologists are thrilled with this new data,” Boezaart said. The platform gathers information that weather, Great Lakes, wildlife and other researchers will find valuable, he said.

The early conclusion before all the data is analyzed is that there was plenty of wind on the lake from Nov. 4 to Dec. 30, Boezaart said. The buoy recorded peak winds of more than 60 mph and 20-foot waves during that time.

“There were four or five major storm events … we had some tremendous weather during the two months,” Boezaart said. “The weather put the platform and the equipment through its paces. Everyone is thrilled with the results.”

But that doesn't mean wind turbines will be sprouting up on the lake anytime soon, if ever, Boezaart said. He said offshore wind farms are five to 10 years away at the earliest.

The MAREC platform project is not to support or oppose offshore wind development but is designed to provide scientific data if such decisions come before the public and the energy industry, he said.

“This is real science with real information that can be used 10-15 years from now,” Boezaart said. “We will now have wind data. Ten years from now, everything could be different with energy. We need the information to make the right decisions.”

Researchers have been able to monitor lake winds vs. the traditional anemometer clocking winds at the Muskegon Channel for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Lake Michigan Field Station.

“Out on the lake, we found more wind and it was more robust,” Boezaart said, unable to provide specific detail at this time. “The farther out in the lake and the higher up you go, the more wind we found and winds of better quality.”

Andrie Transportation of Muskegon brought the platform into the Muskegon Channel and has it sitting on the inner harbor wall adjacent to the NOAA field station. It will continue to operate through the winter, providing wind information right at the Lake Michigan shoreline, Boezaart said.

The Vindicator laser wind instrument by Catch the Wind of Virginia captured wind speed and direction at 164, 196, 246, 295 and 393 feet. The highest level of testing is considered “hub height” of a typical utility-grade wind turbine.

The two-month test run of the buoy proved that data can be collected from a moving platform and that the laser-pulse technology worked in such an environment, Boezaart said. The platform was removed from the lake before ice formed this winter to protect the electronic equipment even as the buoy, manufactured by AXYS Technologies, could survive the winter conditions on Lake Michigan, Boezaart said.

Besides wind, the platform measures the electrical output of a solar cell and a small wind turbine, basic water quality, wave height and direction, lake currents, barometric pressure, and water and air temperatures, along with bird and bat activity. Michigan State University has sensors to detect birds and bats.

When the platform was brought back to the Muskegon harbor Dec. 30, Boezaart said that he and the Andrie crew saw a flock of ducks, thousands of birds flying low four miles off shore.

GVSU and its research partners from the University of Michigan received a financial blow for the $3.3 million project — a budget for the platform, equipment and three years of research and analysis. A Michigan Court of Appeals ruling in September ended a $1.3 million Michigan Public Service Commission grant for alternative energy after only $347,000 was spent.

The more than $1 million project shortfall — as the state money was a match to release federal funds from the Department of Energy — threatens 2012 and 2013 research, Boezaart said. GVSU will make sure that at least basic research will continue for 2012 as new financing or partners are found for the research, he said.

GVSU and its researcher partners will seek funding from the energy industry, public utilities, private foundations and other research institutions, Boezaart said.

Muskegon Chronicle


New commissioner appointed to Duluth Seaway Port Authority

1/11 - Duluth, Minn. – Chris Dahlberg has been appointed by the St. Louis County Board to a six-year term on the Duluth Seaway Port Authority Board of Commissioners effective Jan. 3, 2012. He fills the vacancy created when Commissioner Bill Krons term ended in December.

Dahlberg, who was elected to the St. Louis County Board in 2008, had served as a member of the Duluth City Council in 1992-94. President of the Dahlberg Law Office, P.A., he is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, with degrees in public policy from the University’s Humphrey Institute, political science from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and in Mandarin from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif.

Dahlberg has been a member of the U.S. Army Reserves for 23-plus years. He currently holds the rank of major and is with the Brigade Judge Advocate attached to the 330th Medical Brigade, Fort Sheridan, Ill. He served in Baghdad in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004-05. Dahlberg is also active with several Duluth civic and business organizations including the YMCA Youth Services Committee, Bethany Crisis Shelter Advisory Committee and the Lake Superior Zoological Society Board.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is governed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners two appointed by the Governor of Minnesota, two by the St. Louis County Board, and three by the Duluth City Council.


Updates -  January 11

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list 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.


Rolls-Royce to upgrade Interlake’s tug Dorothy Ann

1/10 - Cleveland, Ohio – Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine has been contracted to upgrade Interlake Steamship Company’s Tug Dorothy Ann. The 124-foot, 7,200-horsepower Z-drive tug is the largest Z-drive ATB tug built to date in North America and is mated to the barge Pathfinder.

The upgrade will convert the Dorothy Ann’s Rolls-Royce/Ulstien azimuth thrusters from fixed-pitch to controllable-pitch propellers. The project will include replacement of the lower drive units as well as all thruster control systems on the vessel. This conversion will improve the reliability of the vessel’s propulsion system equipment and reduce overall maintenance costs. Great Lakes Shipyard will perform the work under its new affiliation as the Rolls-Royce Regional Service Center on the Great Lakes. This contract is the first to take place since Great Lakes Shipyard and Rolls-Royce Commercial Marine Inc. teamed up to create the Marine Service Center.

Great Lakes Group


Port Reports -  January 10

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Fresh from a five-year survey and repainting at Bay Ship in Sturgeon Bay, the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived to load ore late Sunday evening at the Upper Harbor. The visit was a first for the pair, but Lewis J. Kuber visited late in 2007 with tug Victory.


Dock owners: future of St. Joe Harbor in jeopardy

1/10 - St. Joseph, Mich. – Emergency dredging finally started on Lake Michigan Sunday morning. The St. Joseph Harbor has been closed for about three weeks – in mid-December a ship got stuck on a sandbar and put the commercial shipping industry on hold.

As soon as the weather was favorable and the waters calmed, contractors got out on the dredging boats to deepen the channel, but dock owner John Kinney said this is just a quick fix to an ongoing, critical problem. “This is a short term solution; I almost want to call this a band-aid on a bullet hole,” Kinney said.

The owner of Central Dock in Benton Harbor said he’s lost more than $100,000 this year because ships haven’t been able to get through the channel. “A lot less product is coming across this dock which long term is going to cost the consumer a lot more money.”

The shipping season is almost over –docks shut down on January 15th – and now they’re rushing to get ships in and good delivered before the lake freezes.

Kinney said eight more ships were supposed to come in before the end of the season, but now because it is getting so late, only four will be coming in. Now, the rest of the deliveries will have to be trucked in and that will cost a whole lot more time and money.

“A truck will hold 55 tons, a vessel can bring in 12,000, it’s just simple math,” Kinney said.

The cost will go up for everyone if boats cannot get into the harbor, and that’s exactly what will happen if another sandbar builds up and ships aren’t able to get through. Kinney said, “No boats is going to cost everybody more money”

Two or three more storms and Kinney said the channel will close back up, “If it fills in, these docks are closed,” Kinney said.

The St. Joseph Harbor should open on Monday, but Kinney said he’s worried about the future, “That’s where the real problem comes in, because in the long-term picture of this thing there is no money available for dredging this harbor next year.”

Local dock owners are frustrated because the Federal Government is not paying for the dredging. Shippers said they pay a special tax each time they dock and that money is supposed to go to maintain the harbors, but so far those funds have not been used for that. “Why they won’t release this money to dredge these harbors and keep all of these people employed and businesses open is completely beyond all of us,” Kinney said.

On Monday Congressman Fred Upton was scheduled to hold a press conference to discuss his plan to change government funded for projects like dredging the harbor so it can stay open for business.

ABC 57 News


Iceless Lake Erie concerns scientists

1/10 - Lake Erie's ice is missing. It's January, and the area went through a cold snap last week. But people who look out across the lake are still waiting for the usual winter coat of ice to show up.

It's an odd sight, said George Leshkevich, a research scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"I would say at this point in the season, certainly the Western Basin should have a fairly substantial ice cover," Leshkevich said. The lake's open water during January is part of a trend that's shown up for more than a dozen years, Leshkevich said.

In 1997, the lakes were covered with plenty of ice, but since then the trend has been for less ice covering the Great Lakes, including Lake Erie. That trend has continued so far during the winter of 2011-12.

Statistics compiled by the Great Lakes lab show that on Jan. 3, there was no ice on Lake Erie. A photograph taken in late December shows no ice on the lake's surface. Leshkevich also noted when ice has formed over the lakes in recent years, the quality of the ice is less than before.

In 2003, Lake Superior was almost completely covered with ice. But it had water on it, it had holes in it and it was not as thick as the ice Leshkevich saw in the 1990s.

Leshkevich tracks ice coverage on the surfaces of the Great Lakes and posts photographs and information about lake trends. Scientists say the lack of ice could be related to global warming.

Leshkevich said it's difficult to say how much of the decline in ice is because of abnormal climate change, and how much is because of natural variation throughout the years. "The record we have for ice cover on the lake right now is relatively short," he said.

Two other scientists, however, said they think global warming has contributed to the recent shortage of ice, although they said further research is needed.

Jeffrey Rogers, a geographer at The Ohio State University, is Ohio's state climatologist. He said there has been a gradual warming in the Lake Erie region throughout the years, although it is not as pronounced as in other places such as Alaska and Siberia.

But Rogers said there's more evidence of another effect of global warming -- more intense rain storms, which last summer dumped large amounts of water on Sandusky area communities and increased runoff into the lake.

Brent Lofgren, a climatologist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, said less ice covering the lake in winter could mean more evaporation from the lake, which can increase precipitation along the shore. "We're going to be subjected to a lot rainier winters," he said.

Scientists are debating whether global warming will lower the lake levels, and by how much.

Don't believe the hype about global warming causing huge drops in the elevation of the Great Lakes, Lofgren advised. "A lot of the predictions about drops in lake levels of large magnitude were kind of due to spin," he said.

It's a complicated problem, said Andrew Gronewold, a hydrologist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, because it involves factors such as evaporation from the lake, rainfall and runoff that flows into the lake.

It's a problem Lofgren has been wrestling with for years. A 2002 paper he co-authored suggested during a period of 80 years, under one scenario lakes Michigan and Superior could drop more than 4 feet. Another finding predicted the water level could increase.

Sandusky Register


Updates -  January 10

Weekly Website Updates
Lay-up list 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.


Soo Locks extend season

1/9 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The regular Jan. 15 closing date of the Soo Locks has been extended by three days, closing at midnight January 18. Downbound boats must leave their Lake Superior harbors no later than midnight January 17 and upbound vessels must clear DeTour prior to midnight on the 18. Warmer temperatures in the region have kept ice from developing, leaving waterways open for shipping on the upper lakes


Port Reports -  January 9

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Calumet arrived Sunday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore. The visit was her first of the season.

Port Huron, Mich. – Bruce Hurd
The USCG Bay tug Thunder Bay was upbound at Port Huron Sunday, headed for Sault Ste. Marie. The Thunder Bay is based in Maine and is on the Lakes for the winter.

Toledo, Ohio - Barry Hiscocks
The tug Invincible was inbound at Toledo for her 5-year survey at Toledo Ship Repair. The barge McKee Sons is in Sarnia for winter lay-up at Cargill West dock.

Erie, Penn.
The tug Apalachee towed the new Donjon Marine barge Lakes Contender out of the dry dock at Erie Sunday afternoon. The barge, which is similar to the Great Lakes Trader, will eventually be paired with the tug Ken Boothe Sr. for service with a yet-to-be-named operator, rumored to be American Steamship Co.


Shipmasters 2012 Convention in Owen Sound this year

1/9 - The Grand Lodge of the International Shipmasters Association will be hosting its annual convention in Owen Sound, Ont., this year from February 9-12. The convention is hosted in a different Great Lakes port each year. The event will be held at the Owen Sound Days Inn.

A host of speakers and sponsors will be presented including a representative of Algoma Central Corporation who will introduce their new Equinox ship design. There will also be presentations by the St. Lawrence Seaway, NOAA, Environment Canada, TRANSAS USA, Port of Windsor the ECRC, 3-D NAV, ENAV and the USCG.

There will be a draw to win a freighter cruise on board the Algoma Spirit during the 2012 navigation season, hosted by Capt. Seann ODonoughue. The Draw will take place on Friday February 11, at the Days Inn Owen Sound. Click here for more information on the raffle.

 About 150 Shipmasters and their spouses are expected to come to Owen Sound for the convention. Click here for more information 


Updates -  January 9

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated


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.


Port Reports -  January 8

Twin Ports – Al Miller
American Spirit arrived in Duluth on Saturday morning to lay up at the Garfield C dock by the port terminal. CSL Niagara was loading at BNSF ore dock while Burns Harbor and CSL Tadoussac rode at anchor out on the lake waiting for the dock.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Fleetmates Lee A. Tregurtha and Hon. James L. Oberstar arrived early Saturday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore. All Interlake vessels, except Stewart J. Cort, are scheduled to visit the Upper Harbor in January.

Cleveland - Jake Kniola
Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder entered lay-up Saturday at the Great Lakes Towing yard.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Luedtke dredge operations are still going on since there is no ice to deal with yet. Only one rig was running during the first week of the month. At that time they were concentrating on the reach of the Buffalo River between Turning Basin #2 (Republic Steel) and the CSX CP Draw Bridge, just southwest of Red Jacket Point. This area was highly contaminated with all kinds of pollutants left over from the old Buffalo Color plant that was once located there.

Sorel, QC
VSL Centurion laid up on Saturday in Sorel.


Lakes visitor runs into trouble in English Channel

1/8 - On Jan. 5 at 2.15 p.m. the saltie Federal Miramichi – a frequent Great Lakes/Seaway visitor – was 12.8 miles NW of Guernsey in the English Channel with the tug Hellas (IMO: 7419690) in attendance. The tug left her salvage station position in Torbay the afternoon of Jan. 4 after receiving a distress call. Due to the breakdown of the Federal Miramichi’s propulsion system it was impossible to carry out repairs.

On the afternoon of Jan. 5 the tug Abeille Libertie took over as the Hellas was unable to connect in winds east-northeast at 40 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The convoy finally arrived at the port of Cherbourg, France, late in the morning of Jan 6. The ship, with its crew of 21, came from St. Petersburg and was destined for Paranagua, Barzil with 22,900 tons of urea.

Guernsey's Harbour Master, Captain Peter Gill, said establishing a tow would not have been an easy task, given the poor weather in the Channel. A spokesman for the ship's chartering company, the Canada-based Fednav Group, said the 600-foot (180m) vessel had suffered engine and gear failure on Wednesday.

French authorities issued a legal notice to the ship's owners ordering it to take appropriate action to remedy the situation. The notice warned the authorities would take action as they saw fit if the deadline was missed, although did not explicitly state what form this would take. It said the ship presented a serious danger to French shorelines and connected interests.

Jan van der Doe, BBC


ConAgra building demolition today in Huron, Ohio

1/8 - Huron, Ohio – A demolitions team will condense the ConAgra grain mill in Huron to a pile of rubble Sunday afternoon and the public is invited to watch the collapse. For those wanting to enjoy the show from the safety of their homes, a live broadcast will streamed on local newspaper web sites.

Advanced Explosives Demolition Inc., an international company of building destroyers, will bring down the more than 60-year-old city-owned facility to make way for new developments. The company packed structural columns with sticks of dynamite in preparation Friday with plans for the big boom at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The plan is to detonate columns in a delayed order to make the building collapse in on itself. The facility’s grain silos will be tipped over using heavy machinery rather than being packed full of explosives. There will be a 15 minute fireworks presentation beginning at 2:15 p.m. with the implosion countdown beginning at 10 seconds before 3 p.m.

Law enforcement officers will secure up to a 1000 feet radius from blast to protect spectators. The U.S. 6 (Cleveland Road) bridge, which runs in front of ConAgra will close to all except emergency traffic at 2:50 p.m. and opened once the explosions dust clears.

Lorain Morning Journal


Coast Guard

1/8 - St. Joseph, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard is turning to its heroes for naming a new class of cutters. High on the list is Joseph Napier, keeper of St. Joseph's 19th-century life-saving station. It stood where the Coast Guard station stands today.

One of the service's new fast-response cutters will be named for Napier, who is credited with leading a courageous rescue of men stranded on a storm-wrecked ship off St. Joseph in 1877.

Marc Stanley, executive vice president of Bollinger Shipyards, said his company is building the Napier in Louisiana for delivery in 2014. The ship will be assigned to Miami, where it will be used in drug interdiction, border protection and search and rescue.

The Coast Guard has ordered 58 such vessels to be built over the next 10 years, Stanley said. They cost about $35 million each. He said the Coast Guard is seeking descendants of its heroes for a fleet dedication in March. Napier descendants, or those who know where they can be found, are urged to email Stanley at marcs@

He said city officials can contact him about how to lobby the Coast Guard for a Napier commissioning ceremony in St. Joseph.

Napier was keeper of St. Joseph Life-Saving Station 6 and was responsible for multiple rescues on Lake Michigan, according to the Coast Guard. The most notable occurred Oct. 10, 1877, when the schooner D.G. Williams broke apart approaching the port in a storm. The schooner's crew of six clung to the rigging as Napier and three of his crewmen rowed into the violent lake, according to the Coast Guard Compass, the service's official blog.

The rescue surfboat capsized on the first effort. The rescue crew righted and boarded the surfboat and reached the Williams, rescuing two sailors. The rescue boat got swamped on a second run, but the volunteers bailed out the water, battled rough seas and saved two more men.

The rescue boat capsized on the third run, and Napier suffered a leg injury. One of the rescuers threw a line to Napier, who helped right the boat and row it to the Williams. The last two sailors were rescued and rejoined their fellow crewmen on shore.

"Joseph Napier continues to serve as an inspiration not only to this crew but the community," Chief Adam Kane of Station St. Joseph told the Compass. "Since taking command of this unit in June (2010), citizens of St. Joseph have educated me on the history of his accomplishments and the dedication he showed during his storied career as a life-saver."

Bob Myers, curator of the 1839 Courthouse Museum in Berrien Springs, said Napier's efforts gained him the first gold medal life-saving award issued by the U.S. Life-Saving Service, the forerunner to the Coast Guard.



Updates -  January 8

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list 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 East 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.


Port Reports -  January 7

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic Friday afternoon included CSL Laurentien departing the CN ore dock in Duluth through a channel with a considerable amount of open water due to recent mild temperatures. In Superior, James R. Barker was completing its load at BNSF ore dock while Burns Harbor, Canadian Transport and CSL Niagara waited out on the lake for their turn at the dock.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Wendell Wilke and Jim Costigan
The Chicago excursion boat Mystic Blue arrived at Bay Shipbuilding for winter late Thursday afternoon. The tug Spartan arrived early Friday morning, followed by the St. Clair mid-morning. The tug Spartan went into the dry dock shortly after arriving.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Vessel activity at Lafarge has remained fairly busy for the first week of the new year. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived in port Thursday night to load cement. Innovation left Friday morning, heading for Detroit. The barge McKee Sons with tug Invincible made its way into Lafarge to tie up around 10 a.m. on Friday. It unloaded coal on an unseasonably warm day.


No ferry service yet for Rochester

1/7 - Rochester, N.Y. – A resurrected Rochester-to-Toronto ferry service is off the table for 2012, but the developer hoping to restart service remains committed to the project. All Harper Sibley needs is a ship.

“Everything is pretty much in place (on both sides of the lake) to move forward,” Sibley wrote in an email this morning, responding to questions about the status of his efforts. “But I was not able to get the right boat at the right price.”

Sibley said an offer he made on a 300-passenger ferry was rejected, and a smaller boat he wanted was sold to someone in Africa. He had hoped to have a passenger-only ferry operational between Rochester and Toronto in mid-May of this year.

Ferry service had a brief but unforgettable run in Rochester in 2004 and 2005, first as a private venture then as a city-backed endeavor. Both efforts failed and lost millions in taxpayer dollars.

In an earlier interview, Sibley had said he was looking at 150-passenger ships, whereas the fast ferry had room for 774 people plus vehicles.

“I am still searching for the right ferry boat,” Sibley wrote. “Rochester has had the experience of trying to launch the service with the wrong boat and I am not going to make that mistake.”

Sibley, whose ancestors founded Western Union, is the managing director of Valentine’s Resort and Marina in Harbour Island, the Bahamas.

He is not seeking city, county or state funding for the project but instead will rely on private investment, including his own.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Updates -  January 7

Lay-up list 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.


Port Reports -  January 6

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic Thursday morning included Canadian Transport unloading salt at Hallett 8 in Superior. The vessel was expected to load an outbound cargo of iron ore pellets at BNSF. Also in port, Great Republic was backing into the CN ore dock. Off Superior, the Edwin H. Gott was proceeding down the lake after loading at BNSF ore dock. By late afternoon, Great Republic was outbound under the Blatnik Bridge. John J. Boland was in Fraser Shipyards, the first vessel of the season to arrive for winter layup. It reportedly will have a substantial amount of its cargo hold replaced this winter. Off Superior entry, the James R. Barker and a vessel that appeared to be Canadian Transport were at anchor on the lake waiting for the Paul Martin to clear. Several more vessels were scheduled to arrive overnight for the suddenly busy BNSF dock.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Michipicoten and John G. Munson arrived Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore. Munson's visit was her first of the season.

Owen Sound, Ont. - David Martin
Wednesday the Robert S. Pierson was unloading at the grain elevator in Owen Sound.

Cleveland, Ohio - Jake Kniola
The USCG cutter Mackinaw came at around 10 p.m. Wednesday night. The last time the Mackinaw was in Cleveland is when it came for the summer roundup last year.


Despite dredging, Saginaw River shipping declines

1/6 - Saginaw, Mich. - In the last six years, shipping along the Saginaw River has dropped by 60 percent, despite a major effort to make the shipping route easier to navigate. It was back in 2009 when the dredging of the Saginaw River got underway.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of tons of sediment has been removed from the bottom of the river, making the river deeper and helping prevent ships from getting stuck. When dredging started, dock owners hoped the process would lead to more ships, bringing more materials to the Great Lakes Bay Region.

So far that hasn't happened, but not because dredging was unsuccessful. Instead, the problem comes down to dollars and cents.

"The economy is tied to the river in a lot of ways," explained Todd Shorkey, a reporter for the website "Just very simply the demands not there," echoed Rod Pasch, a dock supervisor and salesman with the Bay County location of Wirt Stone Dock.

Shorkey started tracking ships along the Saginaw River in 2005. That year, 347 vessels made the passage. Last year, according to Shorkey, "Now we're down to 138."

Pasch says fewer road projects are being done with materials stored along the river. There are other indicators as well. "You don't see the new builds, you don't see the big stores going up and new builds on homes, private homes."

Gas prices haven't helped shipping either. "Price of fuel for our vessels that come in has just gone crazy," Pasch said.

More rail deliveries have had an impact too. Add it all together and Shorkey reports a 60 percent ship passage decline in six years.

Pasch remains hopeful for 2012. "We're gonna have to come out of this sooner or later and I hope it's sooner rather than later."

Shorkey would like to see the same thing. "I definitely like to see it increase not only for the economy but for the enjoyment of the people. Not many places around the United States you can almost reach out and touch one of these big boats going by. So it's pretty unique to the area."

Video of interview



Water levels rising on lakes Michigan, Huron

1/6 - Port Huron, Mich. – Water levels in the Lakes Michigan-Huron basin are up from last year but remain about 9 inches below the historic average. Keith Kompoltowicz, a meteorologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said it's been more than a decade since water levels in the lakes were above the long-term average of 578.4 feet.

The basin averaged a level of 577.6 feet in December, a seven-inch increase from the same time a year ago, Kompoltowicz said. The wet fall and early winter helped keep the water levels up during the usual seasonal decline.

Kompoltowicz said under current conditions, water levels are forecast to remain 7 to 8 inches greater than last year's levels. How much snow and ice develops in the coming months also will be factors in the water level, he said. Ice cover on the lakes prevents evaporation, but the frigid temperatures needed to form the ice increase evaporation rates. "It's kind of a race to what comes first," he observed.

Water levels have pros and cons for different people. Residential waterfront property owners, for example, might be happy about lower levels extending their beaches but, Kompoltowicz said, when levels sink, commercial shipping vessels are not able to transport a full load.

"It's lower than average, but it's not anything we haven't seen before -- we just haven't seen this stretch of lower-than-average water levels for this duration. We just haven't seen the consistent winter after winter snowfall and spring rainfalls to get the levels back to average."

Port Huron Times Herald


Corps of Engineers nearing completion on report for Lake Huron projects

1/6 - Bay City, Mich. – An official with the Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District said the group is in the “95 percent” stage on a report looking at possible projects in the Lake Huron region. Project Manager Jeff Follett said the report should be completed by February.

“They’ve basically completed their report and we’ve sent it to a different district to review, to make sure it makes sense and accomplishes the mission,” Follett said.

The Corps and partner Tetra Tech, an environmental consulting firm from California, held meetings last spring and summer to gather ideas from stakeholders on the Lake. There were meetings in Midland and Bay City. Kevin Kratt, project manager with Tetra Tech, said the meetings were successful for coming up with possible projects.

“We came up with a lot of good projects, basically there is just a lot of good stakeholders feedback at all the meetings,” Kratt said. “We got letters of support from different local sponsors. That was the whole point of the project.”

Following the release of the report, if a group expresses interest in a possible project, it awaits funding, Follett said. Once funding is secured, the Corps must agree to cost sharing with the local interested group. Follett said he expects a two-to-three year time frame before any construction would start.

“It’s always kind of a dual-step thing,” Kratt said. “The corps needs to be interested and have money on their side, but there has to be local interest as well.”

Bay City Times


Russell Gordon Pank, retired ASC Chief Engineer

1/6 - On Christmas morning, Russell Gordon Pank, formerly of Superior, Wis. And Midland, Mich., passed away at his daughter’s home in Hermitage, Tenn.

He was born on Nov. 11, 1922. In 1942, he received a call from his older brother Robert telling him about a job on a freighter. Following Robert’s example, he went to Buffalo, N.Y. and joined the Merchant Marine. He sailed on the Great Lakes until 1943, when he shipped on a Liberty ship from New York that carried materiel for the army in Casablanca. Returning to New York, he was asked to do the Murmansk Run. Being “a dumb kid,” he said yes and began the run known for its high casualties. His convoy safely made the run and he returned to New York, where he shipped to England and the Mediterranean. He would then go to the South Pacific where he took part in the liberation of the Philippines. His ship was hit by a kamikaze while in the Leyte Gulf, however, the ship survived.

Mr. Pank left the Merchant Marine in 1946 as a second assistant engineer. In 1958 hr went to sea again, sailing to the Middle East, Africa and Europe. He worked his way up the ranks and earned his engineering licenses. He became a chief engineer and spent much of his career as such. He retired from the American Steamship Company in 1991 at age 69. Memorial services are pending.


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
Early morning vessel traffic in Duluth-Superior included Edwin H. Gott arriving through the Duluth ship canal to fuel at the port terminal before proceeding to the BNSF ore dock in Superior to load. The Gott was expected to get the dock in mid-afternoon following the departure of CSL Assiniboine. As the Gott arrived, the USCGC Alder was departing its dock. Ice covers most of the harbor now but relatively mild temperatures have kept the ice from becoming a major problem. Superior Midwest Energy terminal is seeing an uncharacteristically quiet end to its season with only two vessels remaining on the schedule. Paul R. Tregurtha is scheduled to load Sunday and Mesabi Miner is due on Jan. 15 to take one load before laying up.

Superior, Wis.
Fleetmate American Century maneuvered alongside of the American Integrity around 2 a.m. local time to lighter the Integrity, which was loaded too deep and grounded at Burlington-Northern ore dock in Superior. She is expected to unload about 3,600-4,000 tons of cargo to reduce her draft so she can make it through the Soo Locks and on to Zug Island. It is unknown if she suffered any structural damage from the grounding.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker loaded ore Wednesday afternoon at the Upper Harbor.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Peter Groh
The tug Carla Anne Selvick is still idle at the Roen yard in downtown Sturgeon Bay, with her future still up in the air. The Mary E. Hannah was up from the Calumet River sporting her new pilothouse. She will most likely be spending the winter like she did last year. In the yard was the Stewart J. Cort in the graving dock and the tarps were on. She will soon have a new coat of paint and be ready for the spring. Lewis J. Kuber was at the far end of the yard all painted up and ready to head back out.


Saginaw's boom collapses, repairs under way

1/5 - Thunder Bay, Ont. - The Great Lakes cargo ship Saginaw is spending a bit more time than expected in Thunder Bay after its unloading boom collapsed on the weekend. There were no injuries when the 75-metre boom failed on New Years Eve.

The 194-metre ship remained docked at Thunder Bay Terminals while repairs were made, Thunder Bay Port Authority CEO Tim Heney said Tuesday. The boom wasn’t being used to unload cargo when it failed. Rather, it was being moved out of the way so the 60-year-old ship could be loaded at the terminal. A photo showed the boom collapsed over the vessel's port side and onto the dock.

“The way those ships work is they put the boom out so they can access the hatches to load the ship,” Heney said.

What caused the boom failure wasn’t known on Tuesday. There was damage to the boom, but to what extent wasn’t known. Nor was the length of time it will take to repair the boom. Heney said the Saginaw was the last ship of the season for Thunder Bay Terminals.



Great Lakes shipping companies to invest $75 million this winter

1/5 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The off-season is the "on-season" for Wisconsin shipyards as Great Lakes vessels prepare to tie-up for the winter. That's when 800 people will get to work on maintaining and modernizing lakers.

Almost all of the 56 U.S.-flagged Great Lakes freighters will get some work between mid-January and the end of March when the new shipping season starts. Lake Carriers Association Vice-President Glen Neckvasil says that could mean anything from basic dockside maintenance to pulling the big boats out of the water onto dry dock. Neckvasil says operators will invest $75 million this winter.

“We’re going to be keeping a lot of shipyard workers employed and obviously then the companies and workers who supply shipyards, they’re going to keep busy this winter too. We only have a short period of time to get the fleet ready for next year. We could move as much as 100 million tons of cargo in one year so this winter maintenance period is very, very important to us and our customers.”

An unusually low number of ships will be wintering in the Twin Ports this year. Normally, about a dozen vessels tie up and get maintenance in Duluth-Superior, but this year only eight are set to lay-up. Duluth Port Director Adolph Ojard says five of those ships will be super-carriers, and maintenance work will be more than usual on those thousand footers, creating more jobs.

Fraser Shipyards in Superior handles the vessel maintenance, with crews working on ships at the shipyard or going to the docks where they lakers lay-up.

International Boilermakers Union representative Leonard Gunderson is based at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. He says 80 percent of their work is during winter lay-up.

“It’s extremely important. I mean, anything that brings work in, whether it be commercial work or Coast Guard work, for most of our shipyards, that’s the bread and butter. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of new construction going on right now.”

Some lakers will also have engines overhauled to meet new air emission requirements and ballast tank work to make it more difficult for invasive species to get in the ships. Gunderson says that’s good news for the Boilermarkers union.

“Yeah, they’re putting a lot of pressure on the shippers, which is alright for us. It’s hard on the shippers, but it’s alright for us. I mean, it produces work.”

This winter, 800 boilermakers, welders, electricians, and other skilled workers will be employed in two of the three Wisconsin shipyards. That includes 600 at the Sturgeon Bay yards and another 200 at Fraser Shipyards in Superior working on some two dozen lakers and others at nearby docks.

Marinette Marine employs 750 people, but since their work is for the Navy and Coast Guard, they stay employed year-round.

Wisconsin Public Radio


Twin Ports researchers get contract to study environmental issues

1/5 - Duluth, Minn. – A Twin Ports research institute will study environmental issues facing shipping and Great Lakes marine transportation under a five-year agreement with the federal government. The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute’s first task is to lead a study of whether it’s feasible to convert to natural gas 10 bulk carriers that generate steam by burning fuel oil.

“These ships are going to have a problem in their current state with what is coming down the road” for air emission standards, said Michael Parsons, professor emeritus from the University of Michigan’s Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Department, who will lead the study. “Converting to natural gas would make them some of the cleanest ships on the lakes.”

Most of the ships were built during the 1950s, “So they still have life in fresh water,” Parsons said.

Converting the carriers to natural gas also could reduce fuel and crew costs. The study will help determine whether the savings would offset the conversion costs.

“The advantages have to be weighed against the added costs,” Parsons said. “There are going to be significant costs to do the conversion. Part of the study is to look at the tradeoffs and the return period on the investment to see if it makes sense.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration — also known as MARAD — is paying for the study by the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute, a consortium of the University of Wisconsin-Superior and the University of Minnesota Duluth with 10 affiliate universities around the Great Lakes.

“Ideally, the results we find could extend to other areas, other waterways,” said Carol Wolosz, the institute’s executive director. The institute has conducted research for MARAD before, “but this is the first time we have been set up on a cooperative agreement,” Wolosz said.

Though the study is in its early stages, Wolosz said Parsons should have a “good bit of information” to present at back-to-back conferences in Cleveland in late February.

Converting the steamships would require removing their fuel bunkers, boilers and turbines and installing new engines and large insulated tanks to hold liquefied natural gas at minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit. While LNG is cheaper than the bunker fuel the lakers burn, LNG requires 3.5 to four times as much volume as fuel oil containing a similar amount of energy.

“Part of the challenge of the study is to see if you have enough room in a ship to put in enough LNG so that the ships would have the range they need to operate on the Great Lakes,” Parsons said. “The ore carriers have routes that are six or seven days long.”

While Parsons is looking at the economics of converting the vessels, other researchers will work with gas suppliers and pipeline companies to determine what changes would be necessary to meet the needs of LNG-powered ships.

Using natural gas to help power ships is not new. LNG bulk carriers began using some of their cargo as fuel in the 1960s. Ferries in Canada, Virginia and Norway use natural gas. The Norwegian company Fjord1 operates 12 gas-powered ferries along the country’s coast. On Dec. 13, the company held a naming ceremony for the world’s largest gas ferry, the 426-foot-long MF Boknafjord, with a capacity of 242 passenger cars and 600 passengers. Its three LNG motors give the ferry a cruising speed of 20 knots.

Ferries –— with short routes and frequent opportunity to take on fuel –— are natural candidates to use natural gas. The institute will study the feasibility of converting the last coal-burning ferry on the Great Lakes to natural gas.

The Environmental Protection Agency has given the SS Badger until December to stop dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan. The 410-foot Badger makes daily trips between Ludington, Mich., and Manitowoc, Wis., from mid-May to mid-October, dumping ash in the process. The institute will examine the Badger’s fuel consumption, routes, engineering and the availability or need for fueling facilities to determine the viability of using natural gas.

“It is the best thing to study right now because of all the circumstances,” Wolosz said. “They are under pressure to do something; they need a decision, but they can’t convert to natural gas if there isn’t going to be gas available. But what would it take to make gas available, and how would this tie to other ships on the Great Lakes?”

Duluth News Tribune


Updates -  January 5

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery 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

Superior, Wis.
American Integrity spent Tuesday anchored off Superior after reportedly being improperly loaded at the BN-5 dock. Local reports say the Integrity was pulled free by the G tugs North Dakota and North Carolina and cleared the Superior entry shortly before midnight Monday and went to anchor. She looked to have a list to her port side aft while her bow looked to be level. Around 1:30 a.m. the North Dakota brought inspectors out. Sources say she is waiting for fleetmate American Century to pull alongside so they can lighter her.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Kaye E. Barker anchored in the bay overnight, joining Great Republic and John J. Boland. All three vessels left the bay on Tuesday morning. Also arriving on Tuesday morning was the Calumet, which unloaded coal at Lafarge throughout the day.

Cleveland, Ohio - Jake Kniola
Adam E. Cornelius departed Cleveland Tuesday. It had been in port since Jan 1.


Saginaw River 2011 shipping season wrap-up

1/4 - Saginaw, Mich. – High hopes at the beginning of the shipping season for a rebound from the declining number of vessel passages and cargos from the past few years proved unfounded, as once again traffic numbers were down. Here’s a look back at what happened on the Saginaw River this past season.

The 2011 shipping season officially started on April 12th with the arrival of the tug Samuel de Champlain and her cement barge Innovation, which unloaded at the Lafarge Cement Terminal in Carrollton. The end of the season came when Stephen B. Roman departed the Essroc Cement dock in Essexville on December 21st. For the year, there were a total of 138 commercial vessel passages by 26 different boats for a season lasting 254 days. These numbers are again a decrease over the previous season. For 2010, there were seven more vessel passages, from three more boats, and the season was six days longer.

In 2011, 16 different docks along the Saginaw River saw cargo deliveries. This was the same as last year. The dock that saw the most traffic was the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City, seeing 29 deliveries, up three from 2010. Coming in second was the Bay City Wirt Stone dock, with 14 cargo deliveries, which was down eight from last year’s total of 22. The third place dock was the Lafarge Stone dock in Saginaw, with 13 deliveries. These three docks accounted for 39 percent of the cargo delivered to the Saginaw River in 2011. The busiest dock from 2010, the Saginaw Wirt Stone dock, came in eighth in 2011 with 8 cargos, down from 27 the year before. In all, accounting for split cargos for some vessels that unloaded at two different docks, there were 145 deliveries to the various docks.

The workhorse of the Saginaw River had to be the tug Olive L. Moore, paired with the self-unloading barge Lewis J. Kuber. This pair made 52 trips to the river, 21 more trips than they made in 2010, and 42 more than the next highest visitor, Stephen B. Roman, which had 11. Third place was a tie between Algorail and Manitowoc, which each made 9 passages. Manistee came in fifth with 7. This is the fifth year in a row that the Olive L. Moore – Lewis J. Kuber have had the most passages.

There was no contest for the most represented fleet for 2011. Lower Lakes Towing/Grand River Navigation blew the other fleets out of the water, logging 75 vessel passages. This was the fifth year in a row for LLT/GRN in the No. 1 position. They had 22 more deliveries than in 2010 and accounted for 55 percent of the vessel passages on the Saginaw River. The next busiest fleet was Algoma Central Marine with 15 passages, and third was Essroc Canada, Inc. with 11. These three companies accounted for 74 percent of all deliveries on the Saginaw River in 2011.

There were a number of vessels seen on the Saginaw River in 2010 that didn’t come in during 2011. These were American Mariner, Walter J. McCarthy, Jr., CSL Tadoussac, Herbert C. Jackson, Robert S. Pierson, Maumee, Cuyahoga, G.L. Ostrander/Integrity, Evans McKeil/Metis and Joseph H Thompson, Jr./Joseph H. Thompson. Maumee is now at IMS in Port Colborne, Ont., awaiting the cutting torch. Vessels that the river did not see in 2010, but which made calls on the Saginaw River in 2011 were American Century, Stephen B. Roman, James Norris, Spartan/Spartan II, and Cleveland/Cleveland Rocks. Norris is also awaiting scrapping at IMS, tied up alongside Maumee. A number of tugs – Kurt Luedtke, Karl Luedtke, Ann Marie, Krista S, Tenacious, Kathy Lynn, and Gregory J. Busch – were active on the Saginaw River, and the research vessels Channel Cat and Chinook were also seen.

Of the other stories of 2011, one of the biggest would be the absence of any deliveries of cement clinker to the Essroc dock in Essexville. This is the first year in memory that there was not at least one clinker cargo delivered there. In 2010, a cement powder unloader was installed and put into service by the end of the season, and in 2011 all cargos came as powder and delivered by Stephen B. Roman. The port is still awaiting the arrival of the decommissioned navel destroyer USS Edson, which will be docked just below the Independence Bridge in Bangor Township and opened to the public for tours. Hopefully, after many delays and large amounts of red tape having been cut through, she will arrive sometime in 2012. Dredging of the Saginaw River took place again in 2011 with Ryba Marine Construction working the upper river during the early season, and Luedtke Engineering working the lower river and Saginaw Bay later in the year. Water levels and shoaling were not as much of an issue this season as they have been in recent years, and it looks like more dredging is on tap in 2012 as Ryba has been staging their equipment in the old Defoe Shipbuilding slip just below the Liberty Bridge in Bay City. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock worked Aids to Navigation in the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel during the spring and fall and the SCS Greyfox made her usual appearance during July, giving tours and cruises during the week of the Forth of July.

Hopefully 2012 will bring increased traffic and more product to the docks along the banks of the Saginaw River. In 2005 there were 347 passages. This number has decreased every year since, down to the 2011 total of 138.

Todd Shorkey


Lake ports look to host tall ships in 2013

1/4 - Ports along Lake Erie in northern Ohio, Michigan and Canada are hoping to be selected as hosts for tall ships traveling to the lake in 2013 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the U.S. victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie.

At least 10 ports already have applied to host the sailing vessels during the two-week bicentennial celebration beginning Labor Day weekend in 2013. The event is expected to draw thousands of people to Lake Erie, said David Zavagno, chairman of the bicentennial committee for the volunteer, nonprofit Perry Group, which is organizing the event.

The celebration will commemorate the Sept. 10, 1813, battle in which Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry led more than 500 sailors to a victory over the British Royal Navy. That victory secured U.S. control of the Great Lakes in the War of 1812 and helped establish the current border with Canada.

"If the outcome had been different, it would have significantly altered the geography of the United States and western expansion," Zavagno said. "This celebration is an opportunity to share that history with children and adults and remember the courageous sailors who fought in the battle."

The committee hopes at least 15 tall ships will participate in the battle re-enactment near South Bass Island on Sept. 2, 2013.

The ships will stay at host ports prior to the re-enactment. Organizers have visited potential places to assess water depth and docking capabilities. They will announce their selections this spring after determining which ships will participate.

The ports, which hope to benefit economically from the expected tourism, will have to pay fees required by the ship or ships they host. Charges by the independently-owned vessels can range from roughly $10,000 to $40,000, depending on the ship, Zavagno said. Host ports also must hold a festival featuring tours of the ships and other activities.

Lorain Port Authority director Rick Novak said he's hopeful its application will be accepted. Tall ships have previously docked there. And Novak said he believes private donors and foundations would help provide funding.

"This is a unique opportunity to highlight the historical aspects of Lake Erie, and people from all over love to see the tall ships," Novak said.

Mayor Debbie Hymore-Tester of Port Clinton is also optimistic. The city probably would have to rely on private donations, but a tentative sponsor is already lined up to help if Port Clinton is chosen, she said.

Planning isn't complete, but the celebration will begin Aug. 30, 2013, with the tall ships sailing in a parade around Lake Erie's western basin before heading to their host ports.

The U.S., British and Canadian navies and representatives of their governments -- including the U.S. president and Queen Elizabeth II -- will be invited to participate in the celebration. The commemoration will conclude Sept. 10 with a wreath-laying ceremony at the battle site.

Associated Press


Updates -  January 4

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list 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

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The windy conditions on Lake Huron brought Great Republic and John J. Boland in to anchor off Alpena on Monday. Both vessels remained anchored throughout the day but were often concealed due to the snow squalls.

Sandusky and Western Lake Erie - Jim Spencer
After spending Sunday night and most of the day at anchor three miles east of the Sandusky pierhead light, Edgar B. Speer picked up her hook shortly before dark on Monday. She resumed her journey to Conneaut, where she is scheduled to discharge her cargo of taconite. The tug Victory and barge James Kuber, which had gone on the hook nearby during the day, remained. South Bass Island weather station reported winds NW 30, and Marblehead Coast Guard Life Boat Station reported WNW 22 knots. Snow squalls and a slowly rising barometer were also noted.

Cleveland, Ohio - Jake Kniola
Adam E. Cornelius remained at the Cleveland Bulk Terminal Monday after coming in on Sunday.

Halifax , NS - Mac Mackay
Spruceglen is due to move to the Halifax Shipyard on Tuesday, January 3. It will be entering the Novadock floating drydock, where it is expected to receive hull work. The ship is shown as due in Quebec City January 25. If that is the case, it is unlikely that it will receive a new paint job in Halifax. Meanwhile repairs are underway to CSL Spirit at pier 9. The ship has a large dent in her hull on the starboard side forward. This appears to have been received in her work at Sept Iles on the iron ore shuttle. Atlantic Superior and Atlantic Huron are doing the shuttle work in the meantime. The area to be cut out for repair appears to be about 10 feet square.


Updates -  January 3

Weekly Website Updates
Lay-up list 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.


Port Reports -  January 2

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Manitowoc was unloading into the storage hopper at Lafarge on Sunday. It departed the dock before 10 a.m.

Cleveland, Ohio - Jake Kniola
On Saturday McKeil Marine's Wilf Seymour was downbound on the Cuyahoga River, while Andre Inc's Rebecca Lynn and barge were unloading at the Shelly Oil Dock.


Great Lakes winter storm warning issued

1/2 -  9a.m. update Vessel traffic is at a near standstill as the boats are taking shelter from the storm. Temperatures in the single digits and winds from the NW at 15-17 mph, gusting to as high as 30 mph across the upper Great Lakes.

Lake Superior - Bete Gris Bay, Keweenaw Peninsula - Arthur M. Anderson and American Century

Thunder Bay - Indiana Harbor, St. Clair, Algosoo, Saginaw and Robert S. Pierson

Duluth/Superior - James R. Barker, Algowood and American Integrity

Marquette Ore Dock - Lee A. Tregurtha and James M. Oberstar

Whitefish Bay - Manitowoc, CSL Assiniboine, Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder and Edwin H. Gott

Goulais Bay - Roger Blough

Lower St. Marys River - Canadian Transport, Herbert C. Jackson, Frontenac and Algosar

Lake Huron: Bois Blanc Island - Calumet

Alpena/Thunder Bay - Great Republic, John J. Boland

Lake Erie: Cedar Point/Sandusky - Edgar B. Speer

Lake Michigan: Escanaba - Wilfred Sykes and H. Lee White

Milwaukee - John B. Aird and Samuel De Champlain

Original Report -
Winter storm warnings were issued for several states near the Great Lakes by the National Weather Service early Sunday. It issued its "first major winter storm" warning of 2012 at 3:51 a.m. ET Sunday for parts of Michigan, saying snow, sleet and rain along with strong winds were expected Sunday.

The NWS later issued other storm warnings for parts of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin near the Great Lakes. The Michigan warning was due to begin at noon Sunday and last until 7 p.m. ET Monday.

"In addition to the snowfall, wind gusts over 35 mph will be common through Monday, resulting in considerable blowing and drifting snow and blizzard conditions at times, especially downwind of Lake Michigan," the NWS said in the warning notice.

A number of vessels sought shelter from the storm. Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder and Edwin H. Gott were anchored behind Whitefish Point, while Algosar, Herbert C. Jackson and Frontenac were stopped in the St. Marys River above DeTour. Indiana Harbor and St. Clair were on the hook off Thunder Bay, Ont., while Roger Blough tucked into Goulais Bay. Arthur M. Anderson and American Century were waiting out the winds in the lee of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Marine forecast:
Lake Superior - Gale warning in effect through Monday afternoon, heavy freezing spray warning in effect through Tuesday morning. Sunday night northwest gales to 40 knots. Heavy freezing spray. A slight chance of snow showers. Waves 8 to 11 feet. Monday northwest gales to 40 knots. Heavy freezing spray. A slight chance of snow showers. Waves subsiding to 4 to 7 feet.

Lake Huron - Gale warning in effect through Monday evening Sunday night northwest gales to 35 knots diminishing to 30 knots late. Gusts to 45 knot gales. A chance of snow showers. Waves 10 to 14 feet. Maximum wave height around 18 feet.

Lake Michigan - Gale warning in effect through late Monday night Sunday night northwest gales to 40 kt. freezing spray. Snow showers. Waves 14 to 18 ft.

Lake Erie - Gale warning in effect through Monday morning low water advisory in effect until 10 am est. Monday. Overnight Sunday west gales to 35 knots. Scattered rain showers late this evening. Scattered snow showers. Waves 7 to 10 feet.

Lake Ontario - Gale warning in effect through Monday afternoon. Sunday night west gales to 35 knots. Scattered rain and snow showers. Waves 5 to 8 feet building to 10 to 13 feet.


Updates -  January 2

Weekly Website Updates
Lay-up list updated
New Video on our YouTube Channel


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.


Owner determined to salvage boat restaurant

1/1 - St. Catharines, Ont. – The owner of the floating restaurant that was gutted by a fire Wednesday morning said he is determined to bring the boat back to life. "Nothing is going to stop me from making this work," Nino Donatelli said Thursday afternoon.

Donatelli said a structural engineer will examine the burnt-out hulk in Port Dalhousie next week to determine what can be done to salvage the boat, most recently known as Toyko Joe's.

Firefighters were called to the boat at the end of Lighthouse Rd. around 6 a.m. The blaze caused some $500,000 in damage. No one was injured. The fire department said the boat was unlocked at the time and considers the fire suspicious. However, the cause of the blaze remains unknown because of the extent of the damage.

"You have to realize the fire inside was intense and the boat is made of metal," said St. Catharines Fire Chief Mark Mehlenbacher. "It was like an oven in there."

Tokyo Joe's was not open for business this year, Donatelli said, because he was too busy with his other ventures. Donatelli said he did not have insurance for the boat, but is determined to repair it and reopen it if possible.

St. Catharines Standard


Port Reports -  January 1

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
The last sunset of 2011 found Herbert C. Jackson waiting to load at the Upper Harbor ore dock. Predicted gale and winter storm warnings on Lake Superior for Sunday and Monday will likely impact shipping schedules.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Jake Heffernan
Stewart J. Cort arrived at Bay Shipbuilding on Friday for a five-year inspection and winter lay-up.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
As of December 31, both the CSX Coal Dock #4 loading machine and the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock were closed for the season. However, ship traffic continues for the Port of Toledo with four vessels expected in the next few days with ore cargoes for the Torco Dock. Vessels scheduled to arrive are Great Republic on December 31 late evening arrival, James L. Kuber early on New Year's Day and, on January 3, both Lee A. Tregurtha and Philip R. Clarke are scheduled to unload. Also, there are three vessels laid-up in Toledo for the winter so far, with the American Courage being the most recent, on Christmas Day. The other two vessels are the American Valor and American Fortitude, now in long-term layup at the Lakefront Torco Dock area. American Valor was originally at CSX #1 berth, however, during the 2011 season she was moved out toward the Lakefront. American Courage is laid-up at the former Interlake Iron Company Dock.


Saltwater traffic down slightly this season over last

1/1 - With the final saltwater vessel exiting the Seaway December 29, the Seaway officially closed for the 2011 season.

The 2011 season saw 220 vessels from 22 different countries make 356 transits at the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. Of the 220 vessels, there were 70 vessels that never visited the lakes-Seaway system prior to 2011. Also, of the 70 newcomers to the Seaway, six were renamed from previous visits, with only one, the Gisele Scan formerly the BBC Orinoco, returning to the lakes after being renamed.

The 2011 season also saw three saltwater vessels renamed while on the lakes-Seaway: Beluga Fusion became BBC Steinhoeft on March 25 at Toronto, CF Max became Morholmen at Hamilton in November. Renamed at Montreal around September 29 was the BBC Brazil, which later became the Thorco Celebration.

The 356 transits for 2011 was down 24 transits from 2010 and 28 transits from the 5-year average from March-April through the end of December. Also, the 220 vessels that made transits in 2011 is down 11 vessels from 2010 as well. During December 2011, there were 25 transits by vessels at the Eisenhower Lock, which was down one transit from December 2010.

Also, of the 70 newcomers or salties which did not visit prior to 2011, this number was down by eight from the 78 newcomers that visited in 2010. The final transit numbers by the month for the 2011 season are as follows: March/April-53, May-52, June 45, July 35, August 36, September 32, October 42, November 36 & December 25.

Denny Dushane


Court delays U.S. coal-fired power plants ruling

1/1 - Houston, Texas – A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday issued a last-minute order to delay the January 1 implementation of stricter federal limits on pollution from coal-fired plants, providing a temporary win for utilities worried about the cost of implementation.

In a blow to environmental groups, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted a request to stay the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, pending further court review.

The EPA finalized the rule in July, setting much stricter limits on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants in 27 states to protect the health of residents in states downwind from the emissions.

"The EPA firmly believes that when the court does weigh the merits of the rule it will ultimately be upheld," the agency said in a statement after the court's decision.

Power generators said the January 1 implementation date was too soon to allow the design and installation of pollution control equipment to meet the rule, forcing a number of units to shut or to run only part of the time.

Texas challenged the EPA rule because the state was included in the final version without having an opportunity to provide input on its impact in Texas. State regulators who met later with EPA officials said the agency used faulty assumptions about the state's power grid.

Other states challenging the Cross State rule were Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Wisconsin.



Port traffic, shipbuilding positive economic signs in Wisconsin

1/1 - Green Bay, Wis. – Port and shipping traffic on the Great Lakes can be one of the leading indicators of the overall economy. Through November, numbers for both the Port of Green Bay and U.S.-flag ships hauling cargo on the lakes were up for 2011.

Late this year the port of Green Bay's cargo totals were up 26 percent from 2010 and had surpassed the 2 million ton mark for the first time since 2008. Traffic in Green Bay was buoyed by Appleton-based U.S. Venture's opening of a new petroleum shipping terminal at the mouth of the Fox River.

Through the end of November, U.S. ships on the Great Lakes hauled 85 million tons of cargo, about 4.6 percent more than at the same point in 2010, according to the Lake Carriers' Association. While that year-to-date number is up, it's still about 1.4 percent less than the five-year average.

December numbers for both the Port of the Green Bay and the Lake Carriers' Association will be released in early January.

The area's shipbuilding industry also grew in the past 12 months, with Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette ramping up production on shallow-water combat ships for the Navy while Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay started work on a pair of off-shore oil platform support vessels.

Both projects are expected to increase employment at the yards — in the case of Marinette Marine, doubling it in the next few years to more than 2,000. Employment at Bay Ship will top out around 800 this winter when many of the Great Lakes freighters headed to Sturgeon Bay for winter maintenance and overhaul.

Marinette Marine is expected to deliver LCS-3, the future USS Fort Worth, to the Navy shortly, and work is ongoing on LCS-5, the future USS Milwaukee. Work will also get under way in earnest on LCS-7, the future USS Detroit, in 2012 as the company moves toward serial production of 10 littoral combat ships in a U.S. Navy plan approved by Congress at the tail end of 2010.

Austal USA is building 10 ships of a competing design in Alabama. The Navy has said it wants as many as 55 of the littoral combat ships.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Injured woman evacuated from Kelley’s Island

1/1 - Cleveland, Ohio ­ A U.S. Coast Guard boat crew from Station Marblehead, Ohio, evacuated an 85-year-old woman Saturday who was suffering severe injuries and possible hypothermia after reportedly falling down on Kelley’s Island in Lake Erie. Search and rescue controllers at Coast Guard Sector Detroit received the request for a medical evacuation at 2:25 p.m.

A flight surgeon, who makes the ultimate determination on what warrants emergency transport, was contacted and briefed and authorized the medevac. A boat crew from Station Marblehead launched aboard a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft–Law Enforcement boat. Once on the island, the boat crew embarked the woman and emergency medical technician from Kelley’s Island. The woman was transferred to awaiting EMS for further transport to Magruder Hospital in Port Clinton, Ohio.


Marine historian William Forsythe dies

1/1 - Fairport, N.Y. - William Forsythe, 56, of Fairport, N.Y. was killed December 22 when he was struck by a westbound CSX train. Forsythe was pronounced dead at the scene and later identified through dental records by the Medical Examiner's Office. The crossing gates were working at the time of the incident, and traffic was stopped at the crossing.

He leaves his children, Karen and Matthew Forsythe; parents, William and Winnie Forsythe; brother, Thomas (Sue) Forsythe; niece and nephew, Melissa and Andrew Forsythe. He was a frequent contributor to the BoatNerd Web site and was particularly interested in the Roy A. Jodrey and Cyprus shipwrecks.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle


Updates -  January 1

Happy New Year to all, and thanks to everyone for your continued support of the BoatNerd Web site.

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated
New Video on our YouTube Channel - Video and slideshow of a trip last summer on the Kaye E. Barker


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.


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