Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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USS Sioux City christened, launched in Wisconsin

1/31 - Marinette, Wis. – With all the pomp and ceremony befitting such an occasion, the USS Sioux City left the land behind, splashing into the water where it is meant to be.

The ship was christened and launched Saturday into the Menominee River at the Marinette Marine Shipyards, where she has been under construction since 2013.

Hundreds of people, including Naval dignitaries, Sioux Cityans and many of the workers who built the ship, gathered near the dock on an unseasonably warm day to witness the first ship named for Sioux City move one step closer to joining the Navy fleet.

"For the United States of America, I christen thee Sioux City. May God bless this ship and all who sail on her," ship sponsor Mary Winnefeld said seconds before shattering a bottle of champagne across the bow in one swing, drawing cheers.

Within seconds, the ship slowly slid down the launching skids and landed with a splash that created waves shattering the ice covering the river. As the USS Sioux City rocked and bobbed in the water, a Navy band played "Anchors Aweigh," as the crowd cheered and whistled.

Nancy Kielhold, who traveled from Sioux City with her husband, Nick, was still emotional after witnessing the ship strike the water.

"I could have cried it was so emotional. The speeches connected to Sioux City and Iowa. It was so patriotic," she said, choking up slightly. "I swear I got hit by drops of water from the launch."

Sioux City was well-represented by some two dozen people who stood to be recognized by the crowd during the ceremony before the launch. That so many would travel so far for the occasion showed Sioux City's commitment to supporting the ship and her crews in any way possible, mayor Bob Scott told the crowd.

"We as a community are honored in a way you can't imagine," Scott said. "Our community has embraced this already and will continue to do so for the lifetime of the ship. We do have a rich history in the military, and this is an honor we will not soon forget."

Throughout the past two days, shipbuilders, Naval officers and contractors expressed the amount of pride they had in a ship that has yet to sail. The pride Sioux City has showed in this ship made an impression on them, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce president Chris McGowan said.

During the weekend, McGowan said, Navy officials were surprised that so many from Sioux City came to the launch. Most cities have far fewer citizens attend these ceremonies.

"It's interesting to have learned some communities have not embraced their namesake ship and crew as Sioux City has," McGowan said after the launch. "The entirety of the two days just gave me an enormous sense of pride to say Sioux City is my home town.

"We're going to do everything in our power to make sure the community continues to support the ship and its crew in the future."

That the ship was named for a smaller city in a land-locked Midwestern state brings pride to sailors from those areas. Having a ship named for Sioux City is special, said Capt. Paul Young, a Fremont, Nebraska, native who oversees the crews that will serve on the ship.

"It tugs at the heartstrings for sure because I know the quality of people in the Midwest, especially in Nebraska and Iowa," Young said.

The launch capped off a ceremony of speeches from executives, Navy brass and politicians, many of them paying tribute to Sioux City.

Though the USS Sioux City is a warship, it also will take part in peace-keeping missions and relief efforts, calling to mind Chief War Eagle and his desire for peace with early settlers in the Sioux City area, said Gloria Valdez, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for Ship Programs.

Adm. Michelle Howard, vice chief of Naval Operations, the Navy's second-in-command, complimented Iowans' innovative spirit, citing the invention of the Eskimo Pie ice cream treat in Onawa.

"This spirit is wrapped up in (the ship's) motto: 'Forging a New Frontier'. The Sioux City is going where few ships have gone before," Howard said.

The ship is the 11th in the littoral combat class, a new class of ships designed to sail nearer the coast -- in the littoral zone -- and into shallower waters than other naval vessels. The ships are designed for mine detection and clearing, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.

Building and development of the ships in the Sioux City's class involve 10,000 people and 900 companies in 43 states, said Stephanie Hill, general manger and vice president of Lockheed Martin mission systems and training, ship and aviation systems.

Work remains to finish the ship's interior and install many of its operating systems. After up to 12 months of testing on Lake Michigan, the USS Sioux City will be commissioned before arriving in its home base in Florida.

Sioux City Journal


St. Joseph Coast Guard saves dog from icy Paw Paw River

1/31 - Cleveland - An ice rescue crew from Coast Guard Station St. Joseph, Michigan, rescued a dog from the ice in the Paw Paw River in Benton Harbor Township, Michigan, Saturday morning.

The dog is currently being checked by animal control for a microchip in an attempt to find an owner.

"Countless hours of training contributed to a successful rescue of this dog," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Butler, one of the rescuers at Station St. Joseph. "Despite only training to rescue humans, many of the same techniques and precautions are applicable to animals and are performed to save them if safe to do so; this was proven today."

Just after 11 a.m., the Station St. Joseph watchstander overheard on a scanner that the Berrien County Sheriff's Department was responding to a report of a German Shepherd stranded on the ice on the Paw Paw River in Benton Harbor Township.

Station St. Joseph's ice rescue team was already out training and was directed to respond by the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan Command Center in Milwaukee.

When the crew arrived on scene where other response agencies had gathered, it was determined that the other personnel were not equipped to safely conduct the rescue. The dog was on the ice approximately 8 feet from shore.

With the assistance of an animal control officer, who provided food, the crew was able to comfort the dog, place a leash on it, and safely escort him off the river ice.

The dog had initially been observed walking along the river on it's own, with no persons in sight.

The Coast Guard strongly encourages pet owners to keep a close eye on their pets this time of year to prevent these type of situations. Should something like this occur, call the local authorities and do not attempt to rescue the dog. Bystanders are most helpful by keeping their eyes on the animal that is in immediate danger.

Station St. Joseph plans to keep in touch with local animal control regarding the microchip scan.

Sector Lake Michigan


Senator McCain sets crosshairs on Jones Act build requirement (again)

1/31 - Once again U.S. Senator John McCain [R-AZ] has his crosshairs set on the Jones Act with an amendment he intends to attach to a proposed energy bill that would eliminate the U.S. build requirement for tankers involved in U.S. coastwise trade.

McCain hopes to attach the amendment to bill S. 2012, also known as the “Energy Modernization Act of 2015”, which seeks to provide for the modernization of the energy policy of the United States, and for other purposes.

The submitted amendment from McCain would change section 12112 of title 46 of the United States Code (46 U.S.C. 12112 – Coastwise Endorsement) by eliminating the U.S. build requirement for oil and gasoline tankers involved in U.S. coastwise trade.

S. 2012 is an original bill sponsored by Senator List Murkowski [R-AK] from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and was first introduced in September. The bill may be up for consideration on the Senate floor next week.

The amendment is the latest attempt by McCain to repeal parts of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, aka the Jones Act, requiring that all goods shipped between ports of the United States be carried by vessels built in the United States and owned and operated by Americans.

In 2015, McCain attempted to attach a similar amendment to a Keystone XL pipeline bill, again seeking to eliminate the U.S. build requirement of the Jones Act. The attempt was met with fierce criticism from industry stakeholders and lawmakers alike, and the bill ultimately passed without McCain’s amendment attached.

Despite tough opposition, McCain has vowed the eventual full repeal of the Jones Act, describing it as “antiquated law” that hinders free trade and raises prices for American consumers.



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.

1917: DUNDEE, which left the Great Lakes in 1915 after service in several fleets including Canada Steamship Lines, was torpedoed and sunk by U-55. The vessel was 10 miles north and west of Ives Head, Cornwall, England, while enroute, in ballast, from London to Swansea. One life was lost.

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


Coast Guard breaks ice with operation Coal Shovel

1/30 - Detroit, Mich. – U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreaking crews kicked off operation Coal Shovel Friday in the waters of the southern Great Lakes.

Operation Coal Shovel encompasses domestic ice-breaking operations in southern Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair / Detroit River system, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers, work together to break ice in these waterways as conditions worsen throughout the winter.

The Coast Guard conducts domestic ice-breaking operations for the purposes of search-and-rescue, and other operations, such as flood mitigation and the facilitation of navigation, to meet the reasonable demands of commerce. The Coast Guard also provides flood mitigation assistance, as requested from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Other ice-related emergency operations include opening channels to icebound communities or breaking ice for the ferries that serve them in order to ensure critical supplies of food, heating oil or access to medical assistance is maintained.

The last two winters presented particularly harsh ice conditions on the Great Lakes. In 2015, operation Coal Shovel started on Jan. 8, 2015, and ended on April 17, 2015, for a total of 100 days during which U.S. and Canadian icebreakers performed 2,400 hours of operations to support more than 150 commercial vessel transits.

Operation Taconite, another Coast Guard icebreaking operation that takes place in Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and northern Lake Huron, lasted for 122 days. The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard played a vital role in facilitating the movement of iron ore, coal, salt, limestone, oil derivatives, cement and other cargoes during that time.

Coast Guard Sector Detroit provides command and control for Coal Shovel, and may place restrictions or close waterways as ice conditions dictate. Due consideration is given to the need for cross channel traffic, such as ferries, the availability of icebreakers, and the safety of the island residents who use natural ice bridges for traveling to and from the mainland.

As the 2016 operation Coal Shovel season begins, Sector Detroit and the Canadian Coast Guard will continue to monitor potential hazardous ice conditions and conduct ice-breaking operations throughout the Great Lakes. Phone conferences are conducted regularly with maritime shipping company representatives to coordinate icebreaking services and facilitate the movement of commercial vessels.

The Coast Guard recommends all recreational ice users plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels. Waterway users and island residents should stay tuned to local media resources for the status of channel closures.



Michigan lakeshore city hopes to be port-of-call for two cruise lines this year

1/30 - Muskegon, Mich. – Six months ago, few would have pegged Muskegon as a likely port of call for a cruise ship.

But after one vessel's unexpected stop, and several months of hard work, tourism officials are going public about their work to attract as many as 14 ship stops during the 2016 season.

"We are actively recruiting a couple of cruise ship lines, to be their port of call in 2016," said Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Larsen. "We have done a lot of research and we have discovered our port infrastructure works perfectly for cruise ships. ... Muskegon's deep water port is a safe harbor for these ships."

One of the cruise ships might look familiar to the Muskegon locals. Larsen said one of the two lines they're working to recruit is the Pearl Seas Cruises, which had one of its ships dock in Muskegon unexpectedly last fall.

Click here to read more


Great Lakes ice coverage is below average

1/30 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – he Great Lakes have just a fraction of the ice they’ve had in the past two years by late January.

Right now, the five lakes are about 12 percent ice covered, compared with 27 percent in late January of 2015 and 48 percent in January 2014. 2014 was the year Lake Michigan broke its record ice extent.

Normal ice cover for this time of year is about 19 percent.



Private equity firm acquires Haimark cruise companies

1/30 - A private investment firm, VC2 Capital, has entered into an agreement to buy the Haimark Companies, which operate river and luxury small ship cruises in South America, Asia and, until recently, the Eastern United States and Canada.

The latter itineraries were run by Haimark Line, a Denver-based cruise line that came into the small ship cruise market in 2014 with one ship, Saint Laurent. The 210-passenger ship suffered damages when it collided with the Eisenhower Lock on the St. Lawrence Seaway in June 2015, forcing a slate of cruises to be canceled. The company later filed for bankruptcy.

That bankruptcy did not affect Haimark's other operations, which include the following small luxury river ships: Amazon Discovery, Ganges Voyager, Irrawaddy Explorer, Mekong Navigator and Mekong Princess. The ships are chartered through Vantage and other cruise lines.

Speaking from Los Angeles, where VC2 Capital is based, Managing Partner Adam Levin said the small ship luxury market has a lot of promise. "We've been looking at a few different opportunities … for the past six months," he said.

Of particular interest with Haimark is Cuba. In July 2015, Haimark was awarded approval from the U.S. and Cuban government to offer sailings to Cuba from Miami, the first American cruise line to have sign-off from both countries. Those cruises, on Saint Laurent, were slated to start in February 2016.

Cuba is what initially attracted VC2 Capital to Haimark, Levin said; while a date isn't set for when those cruises will take place, operations will resume in "the near future," he said. Operations for Haimark will continue to be run from the Denver office with the current management, he said.

Cruise Critic


Iconic Michigan fishing tug pulled from water for repairs

1/30 - Leland, Mich. – A hallmark of Leland's historic Fishtown, the Joy fishing trawler will spend some time in drydock this winter for repairs.

The steel-hulled ship and its sister tug The Janice Sue are still-active emblems of commercial fishing's past and have become part of the picturesque landscape along the Leland River and in Lake Michigan.

The process of pulling the Joy from the water in late November was filmed by Jim Burnham, who runs The Leland Report with his father, Keith Burnham. The online diary features daily slice of life images from around Leelanau County.

The handbuilt trapnet fishing tug, which is owned by the non-profit Fishtown Preservation Society, will have general maintenance performed as well as elevating a back railing for safety.

"The Joy lives up to her name and is really part of the family and fabric of the community," said Amanda Holmes, the executive director of the preservation society. "(It and the Janice Sue) are iconic on the water here."

Click here to read more, and see a video and photo gallery


Updates -  January 30

Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 30

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

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, crews began the removal of the four Hulett ore unloaders on Whiskey Island in Cleveland.

1999: The SD 14 freighter LITSA first came through the Seaway in 1977 as a) SANTA THERESA and was the last saltwater ship of the year downbound through that waterway in 1981. It was sailing as e) LITSA when fire broke out in the engine room off Senegal on this date. The blaze spread through the accommodation area and the crew got off safely. The hull was first towed to Dakar, Senegal, and then, after a sale to Turkish shipbreakers, it arrived at Aliaga on August 6, 2001.

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


Cliffs hanging on, but waiting to reopen plants

1/29 - Duluth, Minn. – Cliffs Natural Resources had a terrible 2015, losing money and slashing production, but the company expects demand for its taconite iron ore to tick up in 2016 and vows to reopen idled operations once sales increase.

Company officials Wednesday said both United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes and Northshore Mining in Babbitt and Silver Bay will remain closed at least through March but will reopen “sometime this year” as demand from steelmakers for taconite increases.

Hundreds of laid-off workers at each plant are waiting to go back on the job.

“It’s too soon to give you a date, but it will be this year,” Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves told the News Tribune in a telephone interview Wednesday. “We’re seeing a pretty decent pickup in business” among Cliffs’ customers, which should soon translate in more business for the company.

“We are on the upturn. Not back to normal — we still have problems with illegally dumped steel, especially from China… but things are on the right track at this point,” he said.

The Cleveland-based mining company announced its fourth-quarter and year-end results in a teleconference with industry analysts, revealing a net loss of $58 million for the last quarter and $748 million for all of 2015. Revenues for 2015 were $2 billion, down 40 percent from 2014’s $3.4 billion as sales and production both dropped.

The company's stock closed at $1.49 Wednesday, down three cents for the day, and down from about $10 heading into 2015 and $40 heading into 2014 before the U.S. steel and iron industries began to founder.

Several analysts in recent weeks have downgraded the company to sell or underperform and some have questioned whether the company can hang on with demand and prices for ore at critically low levels and the company's debt sky-high.

Goncalves told mining industry analysts in the teleconference that his efforts to focus the company entirely on U.S. iron ore production since taking the helm in August 2014 helped avoid certain bankruptcy in 2015, noting he has moved the company entirely out of the coal business and has divested all of its Canadian mining operations.

But the company still is burdened with huge debt, some $2.4 billion, that exceeds the company’s total capital value. With that problem lingering, the company announced Wednesday plans to offer bondholders new secured notes in exchange for their current holdings, an effort to reduce interest payments and cash flow.

Company officials said they plan to sell 17.5 million tons of U.S. taconite iron ore pellets in 2016, up just a tick from 17.3 million last year but down from more than 20 million just a few years ago.

A full 1.5 million tons of those sales already are sitting on hand as inventory, and company officials said they will not reopen Northshore and United Taconite until those pellets have been sold and customers order more. The company expects to produce about 16 million tons in 2016, and Kelly Tompkins, Cliffs’ chief financial officer.

In addition to the two idled operations, Cliffs also operates and is co-owner of Hibbing Taconite and the Empire/Tilden mining operations in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, both of which have remained operating. Empire is at the end of its mine life, however, and Goncalves told the News Tribune that operations at Empire will end permanently “in a matter of months, not years” and that Cliffs will then move that production to United.

“End of life at Empire is a reality,” he added.

“We are going to replace the Viceroy pellet at Empire with the new Mustang pellet at United; that will happen this year,” Goncalves said, noting those pellets are sold to ArcelorMittal for its Indiana Harbor steel mill.

Goncalves also praised his mine managers for reducing the cost of producing a ton of U.S. taconite from $48 in the third quarter of 2015 to $45 in the fourth quarter, and said they will continue to look for cost-cutting measures.

The company said it remains in “active negotiations” with the United Steelworkers union for a new contract and remains committed to a “fair and equitable agreement.”

Goncalves said demand for U.S.-made steel is slowly increasing as the federal government acts to keep unfairly traded foreign steel from being sold here. Those moves eventually will lead to more steel being made in the U.S. and slowly increase demand for the taconite iron ore pellets his company provides as feedstock for the steel mills.

As demand picks up for iron ore, Goncalves said his company remains uniquely positioned to meet it, noting its reduced production costs and its newly acquired ability to produce specialty pellets to make directly reduced iron for use in the electric mini-mill steel sector.

Goncalves took another shot at his potential competitor, Essar Steel Minnesota, the all-new taconite mine and processing center which remains partially built in Nashwauk. Goncalves predicted that Essar will remain half-built and unlikely to produce any pellets for some time.

If and when Essar begins production, that new supply is expected to eat into Cliffs’ business.

“Short of a miracle from God, the one that was being built in Minnesota (Essar) will not be able to start (production) in the next two years or three years,” he said, the latest round in an ongoing tiff between the two companies.

Essar Steel Minnesota appears to be out of cash and has stopped work on the $1.9 billion project, sending contractors packing and laying off several of its recently hired employees even before the project starts operations.

Cliffs also owns an iron ore operation in Australia. The company had planned to sell the Australian operation but, with ore prices in the basement and no willing buyer, Cliffs has decided instead to keep mining there for the time being.

Duluth News Tribune


Assiginack to request MTO to assume Norisle’s ownership

1/29 - Manitowaning, Ont. – Assiginack council is hoping a meeting next month with the Ministry of Transportation, during the council’s annual delegation to the Ontario Good Roads Association/Rural Ontario Municipalities Association (OGRA/ROMA) conference, will help them to devolve themselves of responsibility for the aging S.S. Norisle.

At its Jan. 19 meeting, council passed a lengthy resolution, which states:

“Whereas the Corporation of the Township of Assiginack acquired the S.S. Norisle from the Province of Ontario through an agreement with the Ministry of Transportation in 1975; and whereas the vessel has outlived its useful life as a community/tourist attraction; and whereas a dedicated community group feels the vessel has a future life as a Great Lakes Cruise Ship, but the costs to retrofit the vessel are far beyond this municipality’s ability to provide; and whereas issues concerning ownership, management, and operation of the vessel as a Great Lakes Cruise Ship would have to be determined before the vessel could sail and these issues are far beyond this municipality’s ability to determine; and whereas if this future use of the vessel is not financially viable, the vessel would still have to be disposed of and the cost to do so is far beyond this municipality’s capability to undertake; and whereas this municipality cannot dispose of the vessel without the permission of the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Transportation, pursuant to the 1975 agreement; now therefore be it resolved that we petition the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Transportation to re-assume ownership and responsibility of and for the vessel with the following mandate: a) To investigate, along with the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society, the viability of the vessel as a Great Lakes cruise ship; b) If viable for this purpose, to co-ordinate the ownership, management and operations requirements of the vessel for this purpose; and, c) If not viable, to undertake the steps necessary to remove the vessel from the Manitowaning waterfront.”

As reported previously, the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society (formerly Friends of the Norisle) has hired Compenso Communications based out of Owen Sound to help them with their goal of seeing the 70 year-old steamer refitted and plying Great Lakes waters once again. It is currently docked in Manitowaning Bay, where it has been berthed for over 40 years, in the care of Assiginack Township, since the former Owen Sound Transportation Company ferry was decommissioned for use and replaced by the M.S. Chi-Cheemaun.

“The boat is 70 years old,” Mayor Moffat said. “It’s too bad, but it’s one of those schemes that looked good 40 years ago,” the mayor said in reference to the Norisle sailing again.

Council decided to request a meeting with the Ministry of Transportation at next month’s OGRA/ROMA meeting to “discuss all our options,” including those of the Society’s. “But we’re not too optimistic.”

Late last year, the Society approached council, asking the municipality to apply for a grant from the Ministry of Tourism on its behalf for the commission of a study. This would have required one-third funding from Assiginack to the tune of $90,000, which was offered up by a member of the Society in exchange for a tax receipt—a suggestion that made council nervous.

Mayor Moffat said that the grant application was still not on “at the moment” and suggested the Society apply for charitable status, as it had talked of doing a number of years ago when it was called Friends of the Norisle, therefore allowing them to apply for such grants without municipal help.

“We’re looking at the big picture: the boat is deteriorating before our eyes and it will one day become completely unusable,” Mayor Moffat said matter-of-factly. “We want to put the boat back in the MTO’s court.”

“I’d be ecstatic if the Society could convince somebody to make it into a viable vessel, but at the moment I’m not very optimistic about it,” the mayor added. “You have to look out for everyone in the community and we don’t have the funds or the expertise to do it on our own.”

Mayor Moffat said that while he realizes the number of people who have put so much time and effort into “making these things happen, there’s just not a viable number of people to make it pay.”

Mr. Ham noted the Society and its dream of refitting the Norisle has indeed caught the attention of provincial ministry officials, judging from rumblings he’s heard. “Apparently it’s perked their ears right up—but evidently it hasn’t perked up our councils’ ears. I can’t understand why council is digging in their heels.”

Mr. Ham admitted that the Friends of the Norisle had looked into getting charitable status some time ago, but were advised against it as they “didn’t have the wherewithal at the time,” adding that now would be the time to do exactly that, especially if council applied for the funding as a first step to encourage the Society into moving forward with an application. Mr. Ham said he is pleased with the way things have gone so far but questions how the MTO visit will pan out for council. “It would be great if they (the MTO) did (take on the Norisle),” he said.

This reporter noted the 2017 date when the Norisle reverts back to the province, according to the 1975 agreement. “I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one either,” Mr. Ham responded.

The chair said it was too bad that the process was dragging on as it had been the Society’s hope to have the boat out of Manitowaning Bay by this summer.

The Manitoulin Expositor


Fednav adds Federal Caribou to its Great Lakes fleet

1/29 - Fednav Ltd. of Montreal, Quebec has recently added another new vessel to its growing Great Lakes fleet of vessels. The Federal Caribou, a newly built vessel at the Oshima Shipyard in Oshima, Japan, is expected to enter service sometime in 2016 for Fednav. The Federal Caribou, IMO 9671096, is a new class and series built for Fednav and is the seventh vessel in a new series of 16 box-hold Seaway-size vessels each of which being 34,500 DWT. Federal Caribou is also the first vessel in the "C" series of vessels built for Fednav at the Oshima Shipyard. In 2015 there were also six vessels in another series, the "B" series, built at Oshima for Fednav. Five of which, the Federal Baltic (first in the series) followed by the Federal Barents, Federal Beaufort, Federal Bering, Federal Bristol, all came inland and saw Great Lakes/Seaway service for the first time in 2015. One additional vessel in the series, the Federal Biscay, did not venture inland in 2015. The "B" series of the new Fednav ships are all named for different seas or bays. A noticeable difference with the new ships built at Oshima is the four deck cranes on them whereas some of their other Fednav fleetmates have only three deck cranes.

Denny Dushane


Expanded port could support 1,700 jobs, add $280M a year into economy

1/29 - Muskegon, Mich. – Muskegon Lake's potential as an economic powerhouse as well as itsimportance as a natural resource, watersports playground and fixture of housing were highlighted in reports made public Tuesday.

A study funded by Consumers Energy – which owns a soon-to-be-shuttered power plant on Muskegon Lake -- found the Port of Muskegon could be expanded to include a container terminal at an estimated cost of $80 million.

Reduced shipping rates could spur expansion of manufacturing and agribusiness, according to the report.

The expanded port could directly create about 500 jobs -- 68 of them in Muskegon County -- but indirectly support as many as 1,744 in the state of Michigan. The expanded port could directly inject $121 million into the state economy, and have a broader impact of $283 million.

"However, the importance of alternative, reliable, cost-effective transportation options for companies needing to deliver their products to global markets is invaluable to Michigan's prosperity, said Patricia Silverstein, president and chief economist of Denver-based Development Research Partners, which conducted the economic study.

The West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission also presented on Muskegon Lake Vision 2020, based on comments gathered at a June 2015 forum.

Seventy-three percent of participants in the forum agreed that sustaining Muskegon Lake as a natural resource is a local responsibility.

Click here to read more, and view a video

M Live


New Canadian Coast Guard ships subject to numerous complaints

1/29 - New mid-shore patrol ships have been the subject of numerous warranty claims by the Canadian Coast Guard, including for faulty wiring, polluted water tanks, premature corrosion and a gearbox failure, which could endanger the safety of the crew, Radio-Canada has learned.

Nine of the ships — built at the Irving shipyard in Halifax at a cost of more than $200 million — have entered into service since 2012, two on each coast and five in the Great Lakes.

"It's sort of unbelievable," said retired coast guard captain Harvey Adams. "One ship I think is only a couple years old, and major problems — electrical, corrosion. Things that shouldn't pop up for maybe 20 years are showing up almost immediately."

In a statement provided to CBC News Thursday, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. said the ships were built and inspected according to international and Transport Canada safety requirements.

"They were rigorously and thoroughly tested in the yard and at sea under the direct observation of Coast Guard personnel prior to delivery," President Kevin McCoy said. "Warranty issues that arose after delivery are being addressed by Irving Shipbuilding. The ships have performed extremely well in service."



Grand Traverse Islands next up in speaker series

1/29 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum’s Maritime Speaker Series continues Thursday, Feb. 4, with a presentation on recent efforts to encourage the creation of a national park in the Grand Traverse Islands. The program will be presented by John Bacon, chairman of the Friends of the Grand Traverse Islands, at the Sturgeon Bay museum beginning at 7 p.m.

The islands, stretching from Northern Door County to Upper Michigan’s Garden Peninsula are perhaps, as Bacon puts it, "Door County's best kept secret." They are not only home to five 19th century lighthouses and a U.S. Life Saving Service station, but they provide a critical habitat for many rare plants and animals and comprise the most striking example of the Niagara Escarpment in the United States.

The area is so unique, in fact, that the idea of a national park there is not new. In 1970, the U.S. Department of the Interior recommended the area for protection and recreational enjoyment in its landmark "Islands of America" report. But early efforts to protect the area lost steam in the 1980s.

Now, over three decades later, the idea of a national park in the Grand Traverse Islands is back in the spotlight and starting to regain momentum. "No project of this scale is ever going to happen overnight," said Bacon. "But the need is there - now more than ever. And so are the reasons. This is the right path forward for the Grand Traverse Islands and if we can show our representatives that we care and keep the conversation alive it can really happen!"

The Maritime Speaker Series continues Thursday, March 3, when author Joan Forsberg will delve into one of the great mysteries of the Great Lakes with a talk related to her new book “The Wreck of the Griffon,” Robert LaSalle’s 17-century sailing ship that disappeared following a voyage to the Grand Traverse Islands.

Also, a program has been added for April. Bruce Lynn, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, and Chris Winters will present “The Legend Lives On,” based on their book on the remarkable legacy of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The presentation is Thursday, April 7, and will help close out the museum’s tribute exhibit to the Great Lakes’ most famous shipwreck later in the month.

Maritime Speaker Series programs are free of charge with a nonperishable food donation requested. visit for more information.

Door County Maritime Museum


Updates -  January 29

Lay-up list updated  


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 29

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 - 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.

1975: RATTRAY HEAD, a Seaway trader first in 1971, ran aground on Black Rock Shoal, Galway Bay, while inbound with a cargo of coal. The ship was a total loss.

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


Great Lakes iron ore trade down 22 percent in January

1/28 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 2,158,254 tons in January, a decrease of 22 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at U.S. ports were down 21 percent. Shipments from Canadian ports in the Seaway dipped 31 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  January 28

Montreal, Que. – René Beauchamp
The new Shell Oil bunkering vessel Milo arrived in Montreal early the morning of Jan. 27. Presently under the Belize flag, she will reflag to Canada eventually and will probably get a new name.


Detroit International Bridge sets sights on Harsens Island again

1/28 - Clay Township, Mich. – Plans to build a bridge to Harsens Island in St. Clair County have been revived by the Detroit International Bridge Company.

A permit application to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality show the company wants to build a 1,750-foot drawbridge across the north channel of the St. Clair River. The proposed bridge would stretch between the Riverview Campground Marina on the mainland and just west of the Sunset Harbor Marina on Harsens Island.

The DEQ denied a similar proposal from the bridge company in 2007.

The Detroit International Bridge Company, owned by Manuel "Matty" Moroun, also operates the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor. Currently the only way to access the island is via boat or Champion’s Auto Ferry.

A public comment period on the proposal ends Thursday, but Clay Township Supervisor Artie Bryson is seeking an extension. A public hearing is tentatively set for March 9.

Crain’s Detroit Business


Construction of second Poe-sized lock gets support from Ohio House committee

1/28 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Ohio House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has passed a resolution calling on the federal government to build a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, so Ohio and the country can continue to reliably receive raw materials that are vital to national and economic security.

H.R. No. 263 was introduced by Representative Mike Dovilla (R-7) and cosponsored by Representatives Andrew Brenner (R-67), Cheryl L. Grossman (R-23), Bob D. Hackett (R-74), Stephen D. Hambley (R-69), Bill Patmon (D-10), Bill Reineke (R-88), Tim Schaffer (R-77), Michael Sheehy (D-46), and Martin J. Sweeney (D-14).

The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Iron ore for the steel industry is the primary cargo moving through the locks. However, as H.R. No. 263 stresses, “only one of the four Soo Locks, the Poe Lock, is large enough to accommodate the modern vessels that commonly traverse the Great Lakes.” If there was a lengthy failure of the Poe Lock, 70 percent of U.S.-flag carrying capacity would be effectively idled and Ohio steel mills and those in Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania would soon face shortages of iron ore. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security estimates Ohio’s unemployment rate could reach 17.2 percent, 60 percent higher than the 2008-2009 recession if the Poe Lock failed, and nearly 11 million unemployed workers nationwide.

Other cargos moving through the Poe Lock include clean-burning western coal and limestone.

Congress has authorized construction of a second Poe-sized lock, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acknowledges the Soo Locks are the single point of failure for the Great Lakes Navigation System. However, as the resolution notes, “a study that contains crucial errors is preventing the construction from proceeding.”

To break the logjam, the resolution calls on the President, Congress and Office of Management and Budget “to support plans to upgrade the Soo Locks … and encourages the Corps to take expeditious action in acknowledging the national security need for maintaining the Great Lakes Navigation System, in addition to properly accounting for the limitation of transportation resources if a lock outage occurs in preparation of an Economic Reevaluation Report.” Many industries that depend on cargo moving through the Poe Lock can only receive those raw materials via vessels.

A lock outage is far from theoretical. The MacArthur Lock was out of service for 20 days last summer and nearly 2 million tons of cargo were delayed.

The Corps recently reprogrammed $1.35 million to fund the Economic Reevaluation Report and update the new lock’s benefit/cost ratio. They hope to finalize the report within two years, but users of the Great Lakes are calling for completion in no more than 18 months.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Despite complaints, downtown barge won't budge

1/28 - Green Bay, Wis. – Despite resident complaints, a rusting cement barge moored near the southwest end of the Walnut Street Bridge won’t be moving anytime soon.

St. Mary Cement moved the aging barge from its dock near Leicht Memorial Park about a year ago to get it out of the way of crews dredging the Fox River. But the relocation to a KK Integrated Logistics Inc. dock near the bridge put the barge right in view of motorists and nearby residents, some of whom complained to Green Bay Alderman Randy Scannell and Mayor Jim Schmitt's office about the unattractive addition to Green Bay’s waterfront.

Large vessels like the cement barge come with the territory when 14 companies operate shipping terminals along the Fox River, said Scannell, whose district includes downtown Green Bay and portions of the west side of the Fox River. However, it is uncommon to see a ship moored along the shoreline for so long — much less a large, rusting barge that is destined for scrapping.

"It’s been there a long time and no one really knew how much longer it’ll be there,” Scannell said. “The uncertainty of how long it will be there had residents concerned.”

Scannell asked the city’s Improvement and Service Committee to explore the city's ability to force the company to move the barge, but quickly learned neither the city nor the Port of Green Bay has a say.

Port Director Dean Haen said local officials cannot make terminal operators and shippers move a boat unless it blocks the normal flow of river traffic.

“It’s between the owner of the barge, St. Mary Cement, and the shoreline operator, KK Warehousing,” Haen said. “It’s all a business decision on their part.”

Schmitt was not available for comment.

Haen said the company's plans to scrap the boat were put on hold because of depressed steel prices. He said the barge will be scrapped when steel prices make dismantling the vessel profitable.

Scannell said St. Mary’s Cement representatives told him the barge would be moved by summer at the latest.

“They’ve gotten some emails on it and heard people complain about it. He said he was a little hurt people were calling it a piece of junk and giving him a hard time, but he understands (their) concerns,” Scannell said. “It’s stuck there because of the delays in dredging, but as soon as dredging is done, it’ll be moved.”

A message left with Toronto-based St. Mary’s Canadian Building Materials, which owns St. Mary’s Cement, was not returned Wednesday.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Help wanted: Hornblower Niagara Cruises

1/28 - Captain
Hornblower Niagara Cruises provides guests with a boat tour that brings them as close as possible to the breathtaking flow of water, power and mist that is the magnificent Niagara Falls. Within the Niagara Gorge, the boat tour will journey past the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and into the very heart of the famous Horseshoe Falls for an exhilarating experience with the waterfalls that make up the famous natural wonder, Niagara Falls.

Hornblower Niagara Cruises is currently recruiting for a Captain. The Captain will operate Transport Canada inspected passenger vessels in the Niagara Gorge. Captains will lead the daily operation of the vessel with a focus on safety, security and creating amazing guest experiences. During the shoulder season and outside of operating season, the Captain may assist with maintenance and repair projects to vessels and facilities, and other special projects as directed. A flexible schedule is a must. Schedule includes evenings, weekends, holidays and some overtime. Visit for more details.

Hornblower Niagara Cruises provides guests with a boat tour that brings them as close as possible to the breathtaking flow of water, power and mist that is the magnificent Niagara Falls. Within the Niagara Gorge, the boat tour will journey past the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and into the very heart of the famous Horseshoe Falls for an exhilarating experience with the waterfalls that make up the famous natural wonder, Niagara Falls.

Hornblower Niagara Cruises is currently recruiting for a Mate. During operating and peak season, the Mate, under direct supervision of the Captain, operates Transport Canada inspected passenger vessels in the Niagara Gorge. The Mate will ensure the safety and security of the crew and passengers, enjoyment of the passengers, and respect for the environment. During the shoulder season and outside of operating season, the Mate may assist with maintenance and repair projects to vessels and facilities, and other special projects as directed. A flexible schedule is a must. Schedule includes evenings, weekends and holidays. Visit for more details.

Hornblower Niagara Cruises provides guests with a boat tour that brings them as close as possible to the breathtaking flow of water, power and mist that is the magnificent Niagara Falls. Within the Niagara Gorge, the boat tour will journey past the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and into the very heart of the famous Horseshoe Falls for an exhilarating experience with the waterfalls that make up the famous natural wonder, Niagara Falls.

The Deckhand will work under the direction of the Captain and Mate. Deckhands will work in a manner that ensures the safety and security of the crew and passengers, enjoyment of the passengers, and respect for the environment. This position takes pride in their appearance and has superb guest service & communication skills. A flexible schedule is a must. Schedule includes evenings, weekends and holidays. Visit for more details and how to apply.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 28

SELKIRK SETTLER (Hull #256) was launched January 28, 1983, at Govan, Scotland, by Govan Shipbuilding Ltd. She sails today as SPRUCEGLEN for Canada Steamship Lines.

At 4 a.m. on 28 January 1879, the ferry SARNIA was discovered 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.

1965: TRANSWARREN, a T-2 tanker, made three trips through the Seaway in 1960. The vessel began flooding on the Atlantic and sent out a distress call enroute from Bahamas to Ijmuiden, Holland. The ship made it to Ponta Delgada, Azores, for repairs but these were only temporary. On arrival at drydock in Marseilles, France, the vessel was declared a total loss and sold to Spanish shipbreakers at Castellon.

1966: The passenger ship STELLA MARIS came to the Great Lakes in 1959. It caught fire while bunkering at Sarroch Roads, Italy, as e) WESTAR after being refitted for the Alaska trade. Two died, another three were injured and the ship was declared a total loss. It arrived at La Spezia, Italy, for scrapping on April 30, 1966.

1975: CHRISTIAN SARTORI was the closest ship to the CARL D. BRADLEY when it sank in Lake Michigan on November 18, 1958, and helped in the search for survivors. The West German freighter continued to travel to the Great Lakes through 1967 and returned as b) CHRISTIAN in 1968. It ran aground at Puerto Isabel, Nicaragua, on this date after breaking its moorings as e) ROMEO BERNARD. The vessel had to be abandoned as a total loss.

1983: JALAJAYA went aground at the Los Angeles breakwater after the anchors dragged in bad weather. The ship was released and operated until tying up at Bombay, India, on October 3, 1987. It was subsequently scrapped there in 1988. The vessel had not been in service long when it first came through the Seaway in 1967.

1986: ADEL WEERT WIARDS, caught fire as c) EBN MAGID enroute from northern Europe to Libya. The vessel docked at Portland, U.K., on the English Channel, the next day but, following two explosions and additional fire on January 30, it was towed away and beached. The vessel was a total loss and scrapped at Bruges, Belgium, later in the year.

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


Port Reports -  January 27

Sarnia, Ont. – Phil Nash
Algonova tied up alongside the Algorail at the Sydney Smith dock in Sarnia on Sunday night for temporary lay-up. The vessel is expected to depart Feb. 9 for the Imperial Oil dock in Sarnia to load.


Green Bay icebreaking operations planned

1/27 - The U.S. Coast Guard will conduct icebreaking operations in northern Green Bay January 29-31. The work will take place between Marinette-Menominee and Sturgeon Bay.

Friday morning CGC Mobile Bay will escort the tug Jimmy L and its barge from Sturgeon Bay to Marinette, Wis. They are expected to depart about 7:30 a.m. The vessels will travel north and east of Green Island, approaching the Menominee entrance from the Michigan waters of Green Bay. On Sunday Mobile Bay will lead the Jimmy L and its barge back to Sturgeon Bay from Marinette. The vessels will return to Sturgeon Bay following the same path through northern Green Bay, remaining north and east of Green Island.



U.S. Steel lost $1.5 billion last year

1/27 - Just a year after turning its first annual profit in half a decade, U.S. Steel is back deep in the hole, with a $1.5 billion loss for 2015.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker lost $10.32 per diluted share, including $1.2 billion in non-recurring items such as restructuring costs. U.S. Steel's annual results were so dismal one market observer said the 115-year-old company, the first in American history to make $1 billion, must present a survival plan.

Wall Street however was pleased because U.S. Steel's net loss of $999 million or $6.83 per market share in fourth quarter beat analysts' expectations. U.S. Steel stock shot up 85 cents per share to around $7.77 a share within an hour of announcing the result, because of the better-than-expected performance in the fourth quarter.

The steelmaker made a profit of $275 million during the same period in 2015, but has been beset by a surge of cheap, often subsidized imports that have dragged down prices and damaged the entire domestic steel industry.

U.S. Steel, the second largest domestic steelmaker after Nucor, says it still has strong liquidity and positive cash flow despite the harsh market conditions. Chief Executive Officer Mario Longhi said his Carnegie Way cost-cutting initiative, an ongoing effort to make the company more efficient, yielded $815 million in savings last year.

"The $815 million of Carnegie Way benefits we realized in 2015 show that we continue to make significant progress on our journey toward our goal of achieving economic profit across the business cycle," Longhi said. "Our progress is real and it is substantial, but our fourth quarter and full-year results show that it is not yet enough to fully overcome some of the worst market and business conditions we have seen."

Excluding one-time items, U.S. Steel lost $262 million, or $1.79 per share, in 2015. The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker, which has been idling mills and laying off workers nationwide, reported a cash flow of $359 million and total liquidity of $2.4 billion, including $755 million in cash.

The company's flat-rolled segment, which includes the Gary Works mill, lost $116 million last year, including $88 million in the fourth quarter. Flat-rollled had been U.S. Steel's most profitable division in 2014, earning a net income of $709 million. Flat-rolled prices dropped by $30 a ton in the fourth quarter because of imports U.S. Steel says are dumped or subsidized.

U.S. Steel is forecasting break-even earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation or amortization, or EBITDA, in 2016, unless market conditions improve.

"We are facing significant headwinds and uncertainty in many of the markets we serve but remain focused on continuing to improve our cost structure, developing differentiated solutions for our customers and creating more reliable and agile operating capabilities," Longhi said.

"We have a strong and growing pipeline of Carnegie Way projects that will provide benefits in our operating segments and all other areas of our company," he said. "The substantive changes and improvements we are making continue to increase our earnings power. We are working hard every day to serve our customers and are well positioned to respond to improving market conditions."

NW Indiana Times


Alpena film festival filled with Great Lakes and ocean flicks

1/27 - Alpena, Mich. – A film documenting the discovery of three Lake Huron shipwrecks will be among those shown at the fourth-annual Thunder Bay International Film Festival, which opens this week in Alpena, Mich.

The film fest’s theme – “we impact oceans and oceans impact us” – will be reiterated in over 30 films, including nearly a dozen on the Great Lakes, said Stephanie Gandulla, maritime archaeologist and film festival coordinator.

Whether navigating barricades of Great Lakes ice in “Cutter Rescues,” preserving the legacy of lost crew members in “The Edmund Fitzgerald: A 40-Year Legend” or traversing Lake Michigan by stand-up paddleboard in “Protecting the Great Lakes,” the Great Lakes produce great visual stories.

The festival runs Thursday through Sunday, and it’s one of four international sites featuring select films from the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival, including a surf doc about two brothers riding Patagonia’s waves, entitled “Tierra de Patagones.”

Alpena’s film fest will also host the world premier of a Swedish documentary – “Mars the Magnificent” – on Saturday. It follows the exploration of a large wooden ship destined for the seafloor after it and 800 soldiers sunk during the first “modern” naval battle in 1563.

The filmmakers and underwater explorers were inspired by Thunder Bay, visiting the sanctuary to learn about its programs and how it incorporates community outreach.

“The southeast shores of Sweden have a similar maritime cultural landscape to the one here in Alpena. The cold and nearly freshwater, brackish Baltic Sea is a great preservation environment for sunken ships. They’ve got hundreds like we do,” she said.

Films like “Mars” and others will provide post-showing opportunities to ask questions of filmmakers and production staff. Saturday’s events will also include a focused filmmakers panel in the morning and fish biology panel in the afternoon. Local-area teachers and students will lead the Sunday afternoon panel on curbing plastics pollution.

Other film festival events include a “Sanctuary Sneak Peak” at Thunder Bay Winery in downtown Alpena on Wednesday, “Shark Night” at Thunder Bay Theatre on Thursday and a wrap-up party on Sunday at Black Sheep Pub.

Events on Wednesday are free and open to the public, with a portion of wine sales going to the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Thursday’s events will be held at the Thunder Bay Theatre with tickets available for $10.

Tickets are $30 for the opening reception and films on Friday, $20 for the evening reception and films on Saturday, and $6 for all other programs. Kids ten and under get free admission on Sunday for a full day of activities, 10am to 3pm.

Full festival passes can be purchased at a discount.

Great Lakes Echo


Great Lakes Shipwrecks exhibit coming to Erie

1/27 - Erie, Pa. – Lake Erie’s richest history is 60 feet beyond our reach – in the wreckage of the Canobie, the Abyssinia, the Dean Richmond and the S.K. Martin.

A new exhibit at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center tells the stories of those ships, the men lost with them and the work on maritime trade routes that allowed Erie and other waterfront cities to grow. The exhibit, “Great Lakes Shipwrecks,” opens Feb. 1 and will continue through April 25 in the second-floor gallery at TREC. It was developed by Pennsylvania Sea Grant, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Erie Maritime Museum and the Erie County Historical Society.

Admission to the exhibit is free and open to the public daily from 10 AM until 6 PM.

“This is an opportunity to appreciate the wonders beneath the waters,” said David Boughton, a Maritime Education Specialist for Pennsylvania Sea Grant, an outreach collaboration of the Pennsylvania State University, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Each of these shipwrecks tells a story.”

Few are as dramatic as the sinking of the New Connecticut, a schooner that capsized in 1833. The crew escaped, but a passenger – the aunt of Captain Gilman Appleby – was trapped in her cabin. Three days later, a diver probed the wreckage with a pike, looking for her body. Two days after that, the ship was raised and towed to port. When the salvage crew righted it, the woman staggered onto the deck, alive. She had found an air pocket and survived five days in shoulder-deep water.

The Great Lakes are littered with broken ships. Experts believe at least 6,000 vessels, and perhaps as many as 25,000, rest on the lakes’ floors. For each wreck that has been commemorated – including the Edmund Fitzgerald, which inspired a hit song by Gordon Lightfoot – a dozen others have been forgotten.

“Great Lakes Shipwrecks” revives their stories in the best way possible: with underwater photographs, maps and actual wreckage that has washed ashore at Presque Isle State Park. Displays developed by New York Sea Grant and Sea Way Trails fit the wrecks within the historical context of maritime commerce and transport on the Great Lakes, from sailing ships to steamers and beyond. Equipment used to conduct underwater surveys – including sonar gear, commercial scuba diving suits and research-grade and student-built Remotely Operated Vehicles and cameras – also is on display.

On Feb. 6 and March 5, archeologists will be on hand to identify and document any shipwreck artifacts found by local citizens. Interviews will be recorded for a “Living History” project focused on shipwreck sites, stories and artifacts and the history of commercial waterfront operations. That work will help shape the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s coastal zone management marine spatial survey and will support the campaign to designate Presque Isle Bay as a National Marine Sanctuary.


Amy Paul new Acting Executive Director of Door County Maritime Museum

1/27 - Amy Paul has been named Acting Executive Director of the Door County Maritime Museum following the resignation of Executive Director Rick O’Farrell. Paul held the position of Marketing and Communications Manager prior to her promotion.

Paul’s ties to the museum extend back to 2008 when she served voluntarily on the museum’s marketing committee before being hired by the museum in the spring of 2013 in oversee the organization’s marketing and communications efforts.

Paul is enthusiastic to assume her new position at a time when the museum has undertaken ambitious projects at all three of its locations. These include exhibit enhancements at Gills Rock, completion of the first phase of lighthouse and tower restoration on Cana Island and the tower addition at Sturgeon Bay.

Door County Maritime Museum


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.

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

January 27, 1985 - 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.

1972: The Canadian coastal freighter VOYAGEUR D. hit a shoal off Pointe au Pic, Quebec, and was holed. It was able to make the wharf at St. Irenee but sank at the dock. The cargo of aluminum ingots was removed before the wreck was blow up with explosives on November 8, 1972.

1978: A major winter storm caught the American tanker SATURN on Lake Michigan and the ship was reported to be unable to make any headway in 20-foot waves. It left the Seaway for Caribbean service in 2003 and was renamed b) CENTENARIO TRADER at Sorel on the way south.

2002: SJARD first came through the Seaway in 2000. It was lost in a raging snowstorm 350 miles east of St. John's Newfoundland with a cargo of oil pipes while inbound from Kalinigrad, Russia. The crew of 14 took to the lifeboat and were picked up by the BEIRAMAR TRES.

2006: PINTAIL received extensive damage in a collision off Callao, Peru, with the TWIN STAR. The latter broke in two and sank. PINTAIL began Seaway service in 1996 and had been a regular Great Lakes trader as a) PUNICA beginning in 1983. The ship arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for scrapping as c) ANATHASIOS G. CALLITSIS and was beached on September 19. 2012. It had also traded inland under the final name in 2008 and 2009.

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


Interlake launches Phase II of emission-reduction technology

1/26 - Middleburg Heights, Ohio – The James R. Barker sailed into Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Company in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., last week where it will become Interlake Steamship Company’s first thousand footer and its second self-unloading bulk carrier to be outfitted with exhaust gas scrubbers.

Interlake became the first U.S.-flag fleet to test scrubbers on the Great Lakes in April 2015 after pioneering the emission-reduction technology on its Hon. James L. Oberstar.

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding handled the successful installation on the 806-foot Oberstar and was the clear front-runner to earn the second phase of installations on two additional vessels – the 1,004-foot Barker and the 826-foot Lee A. Tregurtha, which just arrived at the Wisconsin shipyard.

“We’re excited to extend this proven, innovative scrubber system to our 1,000-foot class ships and further reduce our fleet’s carbon footprint,” says Interlake President Mark W. Barker. “We have the utmost confidence in the expertise and technical abilities of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding to implement the technology and help propel us toward our long-term vision of being an environmental leader on the Great Lakes.”

During the multi-month project at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, both vessels will be equipped with the same single-inlet, closed-loop DuPont Marine Scrubbers from Belco Technologies Corp. (BELCO), a DuPont company, that were installed on the Oberstar.

“Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is pleased to have been selected to lead these scrubber installation projects,” says Todd Thayse, Vice President & General Manager of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. “Interlake’s commitment to leading environmental technology on the Great Lakes is once again demonstrated and we appreciate Interlake’s confidence in Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding to once again partner with us for this important project.”

The scrubber units, which are attached to the exhaust system of each of the ship’s two engines, effectively strip the majority of sulfur from its stack emissions. Here’s how the systems work: Exhaust gas from the engine is sent through a series of absorption sprays that “wash” and remove impurities, specifically sulfur and particulate matter. That washed exhaust gas then travels through a droplet separator before a clean plume of white steam is discharged into the atmosphere.

“The sulfur reductions we have been able to achieve in the first year of operation have exceeded our expectations,” says Barker, adding that the additional reductions of these emissions make an even stronger case for marine transportation – the most environmentally friendly way to deliver, in Interlake’s case, raw materials.

As the first U.S.-flag fleet to implement the scrubber technology, the Company was not only tasked with proving its emission-reduction capability but also taking the lead in developing a sustainable supply-and-delivery infrastructure to support its widespread use on the Great Lakes.

Specifically, the scrubber system relies on an injection of sodium hydroxide -- to neutralize and remove sulfur from the exhaust gas -- and that chemical has to be delivered to the vessel about twice a month.

Working with partners, Hawkins Inc., PVS Chemicals Inc., Garrow Oil & Propane and OSI Environmental, the Company has established waterfront supply capability at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and Detroit, Mich. Calumet Specialties LLC has become a vital partner and stakeholder in the development of a new supply capability within the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wis. A supply-and-delivery infrastructure is expected to be built out at ports located near East Chicago, Ill., and Burns Harbor, Ind.

After a successful round of sea trials, the Barker and Tregurtha are expected to resume their Great Lakes trade routes by late spring.

Interlake Steamship Co.


St. Lawrence Seaway moved 36 million tons of cargo in 2015

1/26 - Massena, N.Y. – The recently ended St. Lawrence Seaway navigation season saw 36 million tons of cargo transported along the waterway over 274 days.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., Cornwall, Ont., said in a statement last Tuesday that grain shipments topped the cargo volume at 10.8 million tons shipped, a volume well above its five-year average.

The Port of Thunder Bay, Ont., the principal point of entry for grain into the Great Lakes-Seaway system, reported its second-best season in 15 years.

Betty S. Sutton, administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., said the shipping season, which concluded Dec. 31, “saw highs and lows in traditional cargoes” moving through the system.

“Global demand for coal remained below last year’s level, whereas general cargo to and from international and domestic markets remained high with over a 100 percent increase,” the release said. “Project cargo and dry bulk materials to support the construction and manufacturing industry also remained in the positive standings.”

The 2015 season opened April 2, about a week later than usual, reflecting the frigid conditions in early spring, according to the Seaway. The system closed with the passage of the vessel Mississagi through the Welland Canal Lock in Ontario. The last vessel to exit the Montreal/Lake Ontario section was the Baie St. Paul, leaving through St. Lambert Lock in Quebec. The Seaway noted that, with temperatures well above their 10-year average in December, the Seaway experienced a rare ice-free close to its season.

The Seaway Management Corp. also noted that it received the Promising Innovation in Transport Award given by the International Transport Forum at an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development summit held in Germany in May.

The award recognized the corporation’s pioneering work in developing, along with the supplier Cavotec, the world’s first Hands-Free Mooring system for ships transiting locks.

The use of the equipment will largely replace the traditional practice of manually securing ships in locks with steel mooring lines, enabling the Seaway to achieve gains in operating efficiency and safety and become more competitive.

With the shipping season ended, winter maintenance projects will be occurring at Snell and Eisenhower Locks in Massena.

Watertown Daily Times


Help wanted: Full-time – Canadian-flag self-unloading cement carriers

1/26 - We offer full time employment opportunity on Canadian flag Great Lakes self-unloading tug/barge cement carriers. We are looking for candidates with some dry bulk or tug/barge experience. We offer the highest salaries and benefits in tug/barge operations, including 2 months onboard with one month off paid vacation, medical coverage and Family Security Plan all under collective agreement. We expect from candidates strong communication skills and good work ethic. Candidates must be able to travel to the US portions of the Great Lakes area and must have valid Canadian Passport, all applicable Transport Canada Certificates and valid medical certificate issued by Transport Canada.

Positions available are:
Master - 500 GT Domestic
Chief Engineer - 2nd or 3rd Class
First/Second Mate - Watch Keeping Mate - NC or OOW-NC
Second/Third Engineer 4th Motor Ship

Please send your resume to Human Resources, Fettes Shipping Inc., 3385 Harvester Rd. - #250, Burlington, ON L7N 3N2. Fax 905 333-6588 or email


Updates -  January 26

Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 26

In 1994 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.

1986: The saltwater ship f) MARIKA L. was sold at auction to Scrap Hellas Ltd. on this date The vessel had arrived at Eleusis, Greece, under tow, on April 25, 1981, after an engine room fire on the Mediterranean. The ship had been arrested and partially sunk prior to being sold. It made one trip through the Seaway as a) DONATELLA PARODI in 1965 and was ultimately resold for scrapping at Aliaga, Turkey.

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


Container ship MSC Monica refloated

1/25 - The MSC Monica, a container ship which went aground off Deschaillons, QC, on Friday morning, was refloated on Saturday night by four Groupe Ocean tugs and was towed to an anchorage at Grondines for inspection. On Sunday morning, she arrived at Québec City under her own power escorted by Ocean Tundra.

René Beauchamp


Edward L. Ryerson a testament to MSC greatness

1/25 - The Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company has a rich history of building remarkable ships that have served the Great Lakes since the early 20th century.

The S.S. Edward L. Ryerson of the Inland Steel Fleet is another strong testament to the impact Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company had on the Great Lakes’ shipping industry. Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company laid the keel for the Ryerson on April 20, 1959. The Ryerson was hull No. 425 for the company. On Jan. 21, 1960, the vessel was launched at the snow-covered and icy shipyard.

It was christened Edward L. Ryerson for the owners of the Inland Steel Company of Chicago. The Herald Times covered the launching and described it as follows: “The hull of the ship rode majestically down the launching way as the ropes were cut. It hit the water with a resounding roar and the ice jammed river swelled into a mountainous wave, grinding ice cakes together with the sound of breaking glass.”

According to a Manitowoc Herald Times article on July 16, 1960, the cost of the ship was estimated at $8 million. The article also stated “Special surveys were needed and some dredging done in the Manitowoc River to enable the Ryerson to negotiate the hairpin curves and bridges before it reaches Lake Michigan.” The ship was able to make it out into Lake Michigan in August for its sea trials.

An advertising pamphlet for the S.S. Edward L. Ryerson in the Manitowoc County Historical Society archives provided specific details about the ship. At the time it was built, the Ryerson was declared the largest vessel that navigation regulations would allow on the Great Lakes, boasting a length of 730 feet. The ship’s steam turbine engines could generate 9,000 horsepower and could drive the streamlined hull, when fully loaded, at almost 17 miles per hour.

Its cargo capacity neared 27,000 gross tons, and in any given season, it could carry more than 1 million tons of iron ore on long runs between the head of Lake Superior and its home port of Indiana Harbor, Indiana. As a result of her majestic design, she was titled “Queen of the Lakes.”

After many successful seasons, the Ryerson began a long-term lay-up in 1998. During this time, she was docked in Sturgeon Bay and was open for several public tours. It was not until 2006 that an increased demand for ore justified putting the Ryerson back in service.

Why does the history of the Ryerson matter to those who live in Manitowoc County? The ship stands as a testament to the greatness the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company achieved. The Queen of the Lakes broke records for Great Lakes shipping and is the only straight-deck bulk carrier in the U.S. not converted to a self-unloader.

The Ryerson is another contribution to Manitowoc County’s rich maritime history.

HTR News


$30K grant to explore shipping corn from West Michigan port

1/25 - Muskegon, Mich. – The Corn Marketing Program of Michigan has committed $30,000 for Muskegon County to study how the Port of Muskegon might help as a shipping point for corn farmers.

Corn is Michigan's top grown crop commodity by quantity. Muskegon has the largest natural deep-water port in West Michigan, and leaders are hoping to expand the amount of shipping traffic through the Port.

The grant was awarded following a January meeting of the Corn Marketing Program in Lansing.

Muskegon County Grants Coordinator Connie Maxim-Sparrow said she tried to convince farmers the Port of Muskegon could be used for shipping grains through the Great Lakes, as an alternative to Detroit.

"They said, 'Oh, good,'" Maxim-Sparrow said. "They were pretty excited with the potential." She added the feasibility study could also explore locating a corn processing site at the county's wastewater treatment site.

Corn Marketing Program of Michigan's Research Coordinator Natalie Rector explained the group's interest.

"In agriculture we realize transportation is very important," Rector said. "We need to get both inputs in and our products out. We're interested in (the port) helping our corn products in the state."

The farmers are also looking to import fertilizer, components for animal feed, and machinery. Other Michigan products might benefit from an improved shipping route, but corn is a good place to start the study, Rector said.

"A lot of our corn or bi-products may need to go nationally or internationally," Rector said.

Civic and business leaders in Muskegon County are working to raise the Port of Muskegon's profile in the shipping industry.

A startup shipping company, called ECO Ships, proposes to start shipping containers on the Great Lakes, with Muskegon being one of its major stops. Officials have said shipping operations could start in short order, as early as 2016.

Long term, planning around the Port of Muskegon is centered around future uses of the B.C. Cobb energy plant and its surrounding property owned by Consumers Energy. The plant received its last shipment of coal in early November and is set to cease operations by April.

M Live


Port Reports -  January 25

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner, Denny Dushane
Lee A. Tregurtha arrived Sturgeon Bay early on Sunday afternoon, becoming the twelfth and final ship to arrive Sturgeon Bay for the winter. She was assisted in Lake Michigan by the tug Erika Kobasic, and the tug Jimmy L. met the ship at the Sturgeon Bay harbor. The vessels in port for the winter are American Spirit, Mesabi Miner, James R. Barker, American Courage, Joseph L. Block, Arthur M. Anderson, Cason J. Callaway, John G. Munson, Wilfred Sykes, Alpena, tug Invincible and the Lee A. Tregurtha.


Obituary: Gordon Beecher Milne

Gordon Beecher Milne, 56, who posted frequently on the Boatnerd site as “Beecher,” passed away from a gunshot wound on Jan. 21. Born Nov. 8, 1959, he graduated Brecksville High School 1978 and worked in the HVAC industry. Since 2001, he was Director of Facilities and Security for the Great Lakes Science Center, which included supervision of the SS William G. Mather marine museum. He was a member of the Cleveland Police Association, a North Coast Harbor advocate and Great Lakes Maritime connoisseur. Friends and family are welcome Friday, Jan. 29 at Slone & Co. Funeral Directors, 13115 Lorain Ave., from 2-5 p.m., with services at 5 p.m. Celebration to follow at 6 p.m. at Great Lakes Science Center.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Updates -  January 25

Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 25

In 1994 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.

1986: The saltwater ship f) MARIKA L. was sold at auction to Scrap Hellas Ltd. on this date The vessel had arrived at Eleusis, Greece, under tow, on April 25, 1981, after an engine room fire on the Mediterranean. The ship had been arrested and partially sunk prior to being sold. It made one trip through the Seaway as a) DONATELLA PARODI in 1965 and was ultimately resold for scrapping at Aliaga, Turkey.

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


Port Reports -  January 24

Milwaukee, Wis. – Denny Dushane, Dan McNeil
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived in Milwaukee on Saturday in the mid-afternoon with a cargo of cement from Alpena and also for winter lay-up. Their arrival makes them the fifth and final vessel arrival for Milwaukee.

Sarnia, Ont. – Denny Dushane, Dan McNeil
CSL Laurentien arrived early on Saturday morning for the Cargill Grain Elevator and winter lay-up. Their arrival makes them the sixth vessel arrival thus far for this season. Other vessels in lay-up include Calumet, Cuyahoga, Algorail, Saginaw and Manitoulin.

Port Colborne, Ont. – Barry Andersen
The tug Techno St. Laurent, a long-time resident at the IMS yard, seems to be in the process of being scrapped. Her wheelhouse and some deck machinery are gone. Also, very little of the former CCGS Verendrye’s hull remains. Some after cabins and the unloader boom have been removed from the ex-American Fortitude.


Breaking the ice: Aboard a Coast Guard cutter

1/24 - Green Bay, Wis. – The coast is now clear for ships heading through the Bay of Green Bay, thanks to a U.S. Coast Guard cutter.

The cutter Mobile Bay was hard at work breaking through some really thick ice last Thursday. There wasn’t as much as there was the last two winters — those were record breakers — but it’s still early in the season.

And there was still plenty of ice to break through — roughly 38 miles of ice between Sturgeon Bay to Green Bay, meeting the tug Michigan in the Fox River and guiding it back north.

Lieutenant Commander Cary Godwin says this operation wasn’t expected to be the longest. It began early Thursday morning in Sturgeon Bay before even the sun rose. Crews hurried to get the Mobile Bay read to meet a ship stuck in the ice near Green Bay.

“Most Coast Guard ships around the country stay as far away from ice as possible. This is an exciting job. You get to run into stuff on purpose,” LCDR Godwin said.

The ice crunched loudly as the Mobile Bay forced its way through, powered by two diesel engines putting out 2,500 horsepower. Vibrations are felt through the entire ship. Engineers say the Mobile Bay was built as a beast.

“The way the ship’s designed with the beam to link, the ratio and horsepower, it’s mostly power,” Chief Warrant Officer Greg Tarker said.

This is Lt. Andy Daum’s first few months as part of the crew. He says it takes a lot of power to keep this ship crushing ice and clearing a path for others.

“It’s amazing power at your fingertips. It’s like driving a plow truck, only the plow truck is almost 700 tons with 2,500 shaft horsepower. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”

That power and the wakes that can break the ice well beyond the ship’s course make it risky for people who insist on being on the ice during ice-breaking operations, like two people we passed who appeared to be ice fishing in Sturgeon Bay.

“A lot of people recreate on the ice — snowmobiling, ATVs, ice fishing, playing pond hockey, everything to it — but something to always remember is, no ice is safe ice,” Daum said.

The Coast Guard ship plays a huge rule in keeping local businesses running, clearing a path to get ships in and out. Last year the ice breaking fleet allowed over $800 million worth of materials to get to their destinations in the Great Lakes.

Some ice breaking operations can take about eight or nine hours, others can take days on end, but you better believe no matter the job or when they’re needed the Coast Guard says they are ready.

“You know, there’s not much that will stop the ships. They’re not the largest ice breakers in the Coast Guard fleet or even on the lakes, but to me they’re the most capable because they’re just the perfect size to do what we do,” Godwin said.



Today in Great Lakes History -  January 24

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.

1964: RUTH ANN, a Liberian freighter that came through the Seaway in 1960, ran aground on the Chinchorro Bank off the Yucatan Peninsula enroute from Tampico to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, as d) GLENVIEW. It later broke up as a total loss.

1967: DAMMTOR, a West German flag pre-Seaway trader, foundered in heavy weather as b) HASHLOSHA while about 80 miles west of Naples, Italy, enroute from Greece to Marseilles, France. A distress call was sent but the vessel went down with the loss of 21 lives before help could arrive. The ship had also made four Seaway voyages in 1959,

1988: ENDERS M. VOORHEES, under tow on the Mediterranean, broke loose in gale force winds and went aground about 56 miles south of Athens off Kythnos Island and broke up. The hull was salvaged in sections and the bow and stern reached the scrapyard at Aliaga, Turkey, in August 1989.

2009: DIAMOND QUEEN sank at the Gaelic Tugboat Co. dock at River Rouge. It was refloated on January 27, 2009.

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


Container ship Monica MSC aground

1/23 - Deschaillons-sur-Saint-Laurent, Que. – Canada’s federal Transportation Safety Board has deployed a crew to Deschaillons-sur-Saint-Laurent, Que., where a container ship ran aground earlier today.

The MSC Monica, a ship that plies the St. Lawrence River regularly, was grounded at around 8:00 a.m. ET. The vessel left Montreal bound for Saint John, N.B.

The incident occurred about 118 miles northeast of Montreal, between Trois-Rivières and Québec City. According to preliminary information, the ship had a problem with its rudder and drifted off course.

The Canadian Coast Guard flew over the ship to assess the situation and was able to confirm that the vessel is not leaking fuel.

The 800-foot long ship is owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company, which also owns the MSC Sabrina – a ship that was grounded in 2008 not far from Trois-Rivières. The company has yet to release a statement about the grounding of the MSC Monica.

In a brief statement, the Transportation Safety Board said its investigators are now on the scene to gather information and assess the incident. As the tide rose Friday evening, two tugboats could be seen alongside the listing vessel.



Badger landmark announcement made in error

1/23 - Ludington, Mich. – The SS Badger apparently has not achieved its long-sought-after National Historic Landmark status.

The National Historic Landmarks Program, operated as part of the National Park Service in the U.S. Department of Interior, made the announcement Thursday afternoon on its Facebook page, but Friday removed the posting.

National Park Service spokesman Jeremy Barnum told The Associated Press the landmark program mistakenly published inaccurate information on an official social media page on Thursday. The ferry has not received the historic designation, but the application is under review.

Chris Powell, assistant director for communications for the National Parks Service, told the Daily News shortly after noon Friday that they were removing the Facebook post, which she said might have been put up too soon. She said they do not yet have confirmation the designation has been signed.

Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior, ultimately signs all such designations.

The snowstorm bearing down on Washington, D.C., is making it difficult to get through to anybody, she said. Final word might not be received until next week, she told the Daily News.

Congressman Bill Huizenga and his staff long have been involved in trying to help navigate what sometimes proved to be political waters to gain the status. The staff expressed dismay early this afternoon that the posting had been taken down.

"I have reached out to Secretary Jewell to get clarification on the status of the SS Badger," Huizenga stated Friday afternoon. "I plan to stress the importance of a timely resolution to this multi-year review.

"The Badger remains a vital and historic part of the Ludington community and has been utilized by both small businesses and local residents for generations.

"Every step of the way, the Badger has met the requirements the federal government has placed upon it and I will continue to fight for the Badger until it is properly recognized."

Brian Patrick, press secretary, said they were working to get an answer from Jewell because they believed the designation to be approved. He said the federal government shut down its offices in D.C. at noon. The first snow started falling after 1 p.m. Friday.

Ludington Daily News


Port Reports -  January 23

Alpena, Mich. – Ben and Chanda McClain, Dan McNeil
The shipping season came to close Friday morning with the Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arriving at Lafarge to load cement. The de Champlain departed for Milwaukee, Wis. The tugboat Manitou left Alpena as well, with icebreaking duties done at Lafarge. The Manitou headed back home to St. Clair, Mich. It had been in Alpena providing ice breaking assistance for the cement barges recently as she does every winter and spring when needed.


Mild winter, open water impacting Lake Huron

1/23 - Sarnia, Ont. – Winter’s late start has delayed ice formation on the Great Lakes, raising the potential for some extreme weather and other adverse impacts to come, Environment Canada say.

“There is the real possibility that strong lake effect snow and snow squall activity could continue later into the season,” said meteorologist Geoff Coulson. “The longer we have this long expanse of open water the longer the impact on weather.” Last week 6% percent of the Great Lakes were covered in ice, compared to 29% on the same date a year earlier. “This is the least amount of ice by this time in the winter since 2006-07,” Coulson said.

North winds sweeping over a largely ice-free Lake Huron could make the adage ‘in like a lamb, out like a lion’ a reality in southwestern Ontario, with heavy snow and whiteouts on Highway 402.

The region went from record cold temperatures in February to record highs in December, and that impacts atmospheric and weather patterns, Coulson said. “There has been a lot of variability in this region.”

Rob Caldwell, a water resources engineer with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said the mild start to winter followed by a cold stretch could also increase evaporation on the Great Lakes.

And extreme fluctuations and warmer water increases the risk of algae blooms, which impact fish spawning habits. “These are very important issues,” Caldwell said.

The surface temperature in the center of Lake Huron is also significantly warmer: nearly 7 C. last week compared to 3 C. a year earlier, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

Environmental Defence warns climate change is causing the Great Lakes, which hold 20% of the world’s available surface freshwater, to warm twice as fast as the global average, according to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters.

“Warmer weather has meant that the length of time that the lake is covered in ice every winter is shrinking. Less ice leads to further warming of surface waters. This change in temperature can disrupt ecosystems and pose challenges to the communities who rely on a healthy lake for their livelihoods, food, and drinking water,” Environmental Defence reported.

Warmer water is more hospitable to invasive species like Asian Carp and encourages their spread north. Warmer water, wind, and an excess of nutrients lead to algal blooms. In 2014, an algae bloom in Lake Erie prevented 400,000 people in Toledo, Ohio from drinking tap water for days.

Climate change alters precipitation patterns and leads to more frequent and intense storms that cause pollutants to wash into streams and lakes. Ontario is working with federal and international partners to address climate change impacts on the Great Lakes

Since 1995, average surface water temperatures have increased by a few degrees Fahrenheit in lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Ontario

Recent water temperature increases have been driven largely by warming in spring and summer months, and relate in part to an earlier thawing of winter ice.

Sarnia Journal


$1.5M fundraising effort to save iconic Lake Michigan catwalk gaining momentum

1/23 - Grand Haven, Mich. – Grand Haven is set to take another step in its effort to save the city's iconic South Pier catwalk.

In an effort to generate the $1.5 million needed to raise and repair the historic structure, a catwalk restoration committee consisting of representatives from Grand Haven City Council, the Community Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Development Authority and the Michigan Small Business Development Center will host a fundraiser from 2-7 p.m. Jan. 30.

Representatives from community organizations, nonprofits, museums, libraries and private businesses also are a part of the coalition.

"Jumpstart the Catwalk" will be held at the Fraternal Order of Eagles newly-remodeled event center at 20 N. 2nd St. The event will include beer and wine tasting, food, live entertainment, silent auction, raffle, a magic show and more.

To read more, and view a photo gallery, go to this link


2016 S.S. Badger Gathering reservations now being taken

1/23 - Plans have been completed for the annual Boatnerd Gathering aboard the S.S. Badger for a round trip from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., and return on Saturday, June 4, 2016. While in Manitowoc, Boatnerds will have an option to reboard the Badger for a Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise or visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

Staying on board the Badger on Friday night, June 3, is also an option. Friday night guests will be treated to guided tours of the pilothouse and possibly the engine room, plus a buffet breakfast on Saturday morning. Only 24 staterooms are available. Make your reservation today.

See the Gathering Page for all the details.

Other 2016 gathering details are still being finalized, however put these dates on your calendar:
Soo Engineers Day Gathering – June 26, 2016
Detroit River - August 6
Welland Canal Gathering – September 16-17, 2016
Watch the Gathering page for more details as information becomes available.


Updates -  January 23

Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 23

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

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.

1983: The Greek freighter CAPTAIN M. LYRAS visited the Seaway in 1960 and 1961 and returned as b) ANGELIKI L. in 1965. It arrived at Gadani Beach on this date as c) ANAMARIA for scrapping.

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


Michigan governor stresses need for second Poe-sized lock

1/22 - Cleveland, Ohio – A second Poe-sized Lock is critical to the future of Michigan and the United States declared Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) in his State of the State address on Jan.19, and he pledged to work with Congress to build it.

Gov. Snyder noted that 4,000 commercial vessels transit the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, each year, but most of the tonnage goes through the Poe Lock because it can accommodate the largest and most efficient vessels. “The Poe Lock is absolutely critical to our future.”

“What would happen if that one lock went down?” the Governor continued. “It would devastate Michigan’s economy. To be blunt, it could devastate the national economy.”

A second Poe-sized lock was authorized by Congress first in 1986, and then again in 2007, but funds for the $590 million project have not been appropriated. “This is something we need to work with Congress on and getting done.”

The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Iron ore for the steel industry is the primary cargo moving through the locks. Gov. Snyder stressed the country would “run out of steel” if the Poe Lock failed.

Other cargos moving through the Poe Lock include western coal and limestone.

Although authorized by Congress, construction of the lock has been stalled by a flawed benefit/cost (b/c) analysis. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has recently agreed to re-evaluate the project. Industry is calling on the Corps to fast track the analysis. A Department of Homeland Security report on the Poe Lock forecasts dire consequences should mechanical or structural issues close the lock for a lengthy period of time.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Carferry Badger gains long-sought National Historic Landmark designation

1/22 - Ludington, Mich. – The SS Badger has achieved long-sought-after National Historic Landmark status.

The National Historic Landmark Program, operated as part of the National Park Service in the U.S. Department of Interior, made the announcement on its Facebook page Thursday afternoon. “Congratulations to our newest #NationalHistoricLandmark the S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry in Ludington, MI, which was designated yesterday! Badger is the last example of a Great Lakes rail/car ferry design, a type that influenced design around the world. The first open-water crossing on which railcars were carried onboard occurred on Lake Michigan, the rail/car ferry design of which influenced other such ships. Badger is the last vessel in operation powered by Skinner Unaflow steeple compound engines and the last Great Lakes car ferry to remain in operation.”

Michigan 2nd District Congressman Bill Huizenga’s staff notified the Daily News of the posting. His office has been involved in trying to help navigate what sometimes proved to be political waters to gain the status.

Huizenga, R-Zeeland released the following statement in response to the National Park Service recognizing the S.S. Badger as a National Historic Landmark:

"The S.S. Badger is a vital and historic piece of the Ludington community. Nearly five years after Lake Michigan Carferry’s initial application, the federal government has finally recognized the Badger for what it is — a National Historic Landmark. This designation highlights not only the economic importance of the vessel to Ludington, Michigan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin but also the vessel's historical significance to the entire Great Lakes Region.

"This is an important victory for the hardworking families, small businesses, and communities that have relied on this Great Lakes car ferry for generations, and I am pleased it will continue to be part of their future."

When the Badger was first recommended for the status in 2011, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., within hours had filed a letter opposing the nomination citing what was then a coal ash discharge the Badger historically had been allowed.

In the ensuing years, Lake Michigan Carferry entered into a U.S. Department of Justice approved consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop the discharge before sailing in 2015.

LMC accomplished that by adding a coal ash retention system on board the Badger which was used successfully in 2015.

Ludington Daily News


Canadian Coast Guard expecting quieter winter

1/22 - Sarnia, Ont. – It's all calm on the eastern front, so far, for Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers on the Great Lakes.

There were no reports this week of ice issues on the lakes or the St. Clair River. That's a change from January 2015 when coast guard ships were busy working to free freighters trapped in ice jamming the river connecting Lake Huron and Lake Erie.

“It's pretty quiet,” Capt. Stephane Julien, superintendent of ice breaking for the Canadian Coast Guard Central and Arctic Region, said Thursday from the regional headquarters in Montreal. “And, it's like this all across Eastern Canada, even in the St. Lawrence River,” he said.

Ice is beginning to form in bays and shallow water around the lakes, “but nothing that requires assistance like it did last year at this time,” Julien said. “It's a totally different season than what we had the last two years.”

The Canadian Coast Guard has two icebreakers, CCGS Samuel Risley and CCGS Griffon, stationed on the lakes to help keep ships moving through the winter.

Often, icebreakers are put to work in the problematic area of the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and Detroit River, Julian said. “It's very narrow, lots of current,” he said.

Normally, an ice bridge that forms at the southern end of Lake Huron stops ice from moving into the St. Clair River. But if it breaks because of a storm, fast-moving ships or other reasons, “all hell breaks loose,” Julien said.

Ice from the lake will then move into the river, “and this is were it piles up and creates jams and pressure,” he said. “That little ice bridge at the tip of Lake Huron is very, very important for us, so we keep an eye on it.”

A remote camera allows Coast Guard officials to monitor the area of the water where the ice bridge forms. “It's a delicate point in the entire business of the ice in the St. Clair River,” Julien said.

Currently, new ice is forming there but it is very thin and there is no ice bridge yet, he said.

But, he noted they watched as a freighter travelled through the area Thursday morning and could see it was moving slowly. “Already, they're slowing down,” Julien said.

Ships moving full speed through the area can interfere with the forming of the ice bridge. “All mariners are aware of that situation, so everybody's careful,” Julien said. “For them, time is money so they benefit from an ice bridge that stays there.”

Jacques Collin, an Environment Canada Ice Service specialist and ice adviser to the coast guard, said colder temperatures in the early winter last season paved the way for ice to form when temperatures plunged in January and February.

“This year is different,” Collin said.

Temperatures in December and early January were above normal in the region and water temperatures remain “quite warm,” he said.

“There's almost no ice formation, that's the big difference from the last years.” Normally, at this time of year, there's 15 to 16 per cent ice coverage on the lakes. “Actually, we're at 12 to 13 per cent,” Collin said. “We're below normal.”

At this point in the season in both 2014 and 2015, ice coverage had reached 40 to 45 per cent on the Great Lakes, he said. For the entire season in 2015, coverage reached 97, he said. Lake Superior completely froze over in 2014 and 2015, for the first winters since 1982, Julien said

Most of the open water on the lakes is currently ice-free and is expected to remain that way, for at least the next week, Collin said.

The long-range outlook is for a warmer winter and less ice on the lakes, Julien said.


Toledo port works to increase business in 2016

1/22 - Toledo, Ohio – Millions of tons of cargo moves through the Port of Toledo every year, but overall numbers were down double digits in 2015. A lot of the drop is tied to one industry. Port leaders say plans to diversify the products moving through here even further, should help drive business back up this year.

Thousands of jobs and about a billion dollars worth of annual economic impact are tied to the port. The numbers were down about 30 percent last year but there are already signs that business will be back on track this year.

Shipping is big business in Toledo. Joe Cappel is the Vice President of Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. He said 7,000 local jobs depend on the port.

“Freighters bring millions of tons of cargo to docks along Lake Erie and the Maumee River. Grain is one of the biggest commodities that the port moves in and out of Toledo, but the product line-up goes far beyond agriculture. In addition to coal and iron ore, which are bulk materials, we are also handling large components that are too big and heavy to move by road or rail. We also ship petroleum products and cement for the construction industry in and out of the port," Cappel said.

In a good year, hundreds of freighters move 10 to 12 million tons of cargo in and out of Toledo. This year, that number was down to 8.25 million tons. Cappel explained that the decrease is mainly due to overcapacity in the steel industry.

“The Chinese economy is down so they have a surplus of steel they are sending to the United States at very low prices. Those prices are very difficult for our domestic producers to compete with," he said.

While iron ore and coal shipments were down it was a solid year for grain. Cappel said it was also a record-setting year for another material, "We hit a new record for aluminum shipments. 130,000 tons of aluminum came through the London Metal Exchange at the Toledo docks."

Something else that a lot of people use also comes through the Port of Toledo. "One of the nations largest flour mills is here, so we bring in wheat from Canada and it's milled into flour here. It is then used at bakeries throughout North America."

Even though shipping on the lakes is limited in winter months, Cappel points out that the port is still busy, "We have two dry docks and this is really their busy time of year. Ships come in for inspections and repairs during the winter, when they are not out trading on the great lakes so the port is active year-round."

Back to the overcapacity in the steel industry, Cappel says there have been complaints and punitive tariffs filed and when those kick in, it should help the American steel industry rebound.

When it comes to the drop in business in Toledo, Cappel says it was not a problem unique to the region. He says the decrease is in line with other ports around the Great Lakes.

13abc Action News


Updates -  January 22

Lay-up list updated  


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 22

The c.) WOODLAND, a.) FRENCH RIVER) was sold to International Capital Equipment of Canada and cleared 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 - SAINTE MARIE (Hull#127) was launched at Toledo, Ohio, by Craig Shipbuilding Co.

1976: INGRID WEIDE first came to the Great Lakes in 1953, and the West German freighter returned on many occasions including 23 trips through the Seaway to the end of 1965. The vessel stranded as c) DENEB B. off Borkum Island, West Germany, while inbound for Emden with a cargo of stone. The hull broke in two and sank but all on board were rescued.

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



Kathryn Spirit: Political leaders call on government to remove abandoned ship

1/21 - Beauharnois, Que. – The mayor of Montreal is calling for a meeting with the federal government about the abandoned cargo ship rusting away in Lake St. Louis. Kathryn Spirit, abandoned four years ago near the town of Beauharnois, is suspected of having toxic materials in its ballast that could leak at any moment.

In a written statement, mayor Denis Coderre said "pollution from rust residues and oil from the wreck could contaminate the drinking water reservoir that is Lake St. Louis."

On Tuesday, Daniel Messier, spokesman for the Quebec environment ministry, said there are no contaminants in "significant quantities" in the ship's hold. The Canadian Coast Guard has a similar position.

"The majority of accessible pollutants were removed in 2013. In its current state, this vessel is not discharging any polluting substances," spokeswoman Carole Saindon said.

If any toxic material does leak, the Coast Guard will "respond immediately in order to contain and remove the pollutants," she added.

This was little comfort for elected leaders who have been asking for this ship's removal for years.

"There could still be liquid contaminants in contact with materials in the ship," New Democratic MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach told CBC's As It Happens. "If the ship leans on its side, like it has in the past, it could cause dirty water to leak."

Quach said she sent several letters to federal environment and transportation ministers in the former Conservative government and received no response. She is still waiting for an answer from the new Liberal government, she said.

Beauharnois Mayor Claude Haineault also said he's been asking provincial and federal government agencies to remove the Kathryn Spirit for years. The Mexican company that owned the ship renounced it after going bankrupt. As a result, all maintenance operations to keep the boat upright have stopped.

Quach said the federal government can seize the boat if it poses a risk to the environment and public health.



Little Narrows mine may shut down

1/21 - CGC Inc. has laid off several employees at their Little Narrows gypsum mine in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Citing a decreased demand for product, the company will only be removing overburden this winter, and not recovering any more gypsum. The seasonal port on the Bras d'Or Lakes is the source for numerous backhauls for Great Lakes ships such as the Radcliffe R. Latimer. Locals in the area wonder if the mine will be operational in 2016.

Mac Mackay


Port Reports -  January 21

Toledo, Ohio – Dan McNeil
Tug Samuel de Champlain with barge Innovation arrived at the Toledo Lafarge Cement dock early Wednesday afternoon Jan. 20 to complete her split offload with Detroit. She is due to depart Toledo early Thursday Jan. 21 and is due back into Alpena in the early morning Friday Jan. 22 to load. All times can change with weather and ice conditions.

McKeil Marine’s relatively new acquisition, Spavalda, has been renamed Evans Spirit.


Help Wanted: Licensed Master, Isle Royale National Park – Houghton, Mich.

1/21 - This position functions as Master of the Isle Royale National Park operated vessel, Ranger III, a 165’, 650 gross ton passenger (H), tank (D) and miscellaneous cargo (I) vessel. The Ranger III provides logistical support and commercial passenger/freight service during the months of April – October to a wilderness island national park located approximately 70 miles north of park headquarters in Lake Superior. During the off season (November – March), this position will be duty stationed at park headquarters in Houghton, Michigan. The Master is responsible for all aspects of vessel operations, administration, and maintenance. Requirements include a Master of Steam or Motor Vessels, minimum 1,600 gross tons for the Great Lakes and Inland, First Class Pilot License and Radar Observer (unlimited) endorsement. This is a permanent-full time, federal government position, with a competitive wage and benefits package. Contact Randy Rastello, Chief of Maintenance, at (906) 487-7145, for further job related information or with questions. Please email resumes/qualifications to ( or mail to: Isle Royale National Park, 800 E Lakeshore Dr., Houghton, MI.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 21

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.

1904: HENDRICK S. HOLDEN was torn loose by flooding on the Black River at Lorain, Ohio, and the vessel smashed a coal dump. It also crushed and sank the tug GULL on its way into Lake Erie. The bulk carrier last sailed as VANDOC (i) in 1965.

1921: G.J. BOYCE had been sold off-lakes in 1916. It was inbound for a Cuban port when it lost its rudder. The wooden schooner stranded near Porto Padre and broke up as a total loss.

1928: The Lake Michigan rail car ferry MADISON struck a sand bar off Grand Haven and went aground with close to $50,000 in damage. High winds and ice were a factor.

1959: High winds at Buffalo tore the MacGILVRAY SHIRAS loose when a heavy current swept the Buffalo River. The wayward vessel struck MICHAEL K. TEWSBURY and MERTON E. FARR and eventually demolished the Michigan Ave. Bridge. The damaged SHIRAS was not repaired and arrived in Hamilton in June 1959 for scrapping.

1978: VESLEFJELL was sailing as e) MARLEN when abandoned by the crew after developing leaks in heavy seas near the Canary Islands. The vessel was enroute to Nigeria with cement when it went down. It had been a Great Lakes trader beginning in 1951 and last called inland in 1962.

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


U.S.-flag cargo movement on lakes down 3.3 percent in 2015

1/20 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 87.2 million tons of cargo in 2015, a decrease of 3.3 percent compared to 2014. The end-year tally is also the lowest since 2009 when the U.S.-flag float totaled 66.5 million tons.

Iron ore cargos tumbled 10.4 percent to 40.9 million tons, again, the lowest total since 2009.

Coal cargos totaled 17.65 million tons, a decrease of less than one percent, or 118,000 tons, which is the equivalent of roughly two cargos in a 1,000-foot-long laker.

Limestone cargos increased nearly 8 percent to 23.1 million tons, the highest total since 2008.

U.S.-flag cement cargos rose 6.3 percent to 3.45 million tons. Salt cargos were almost a carbon copy of 2014 – 1.4 million tons. Sand shipments dipped 15 percent to 320,000 tons. Grain cargos topped 350,000 tons, an increase of 37 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Last remaining active boat of the Bradley fleet being repowered

1/20 - Alpena, Mich. – Ship workers are preparing a freighter with strong Rogers City ties for a repowering project.

At Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., workers are removing hazardous materials from the John G. Munson to prepare for replacing its massive steam turbines with a diesel engine, Keylakes Vice President of Engineering Mitch Koslow said. Along with a new drivetrain and propeller, they'll also install four generators and two auxiliary boilers to provide electricity and steam needed to keep the boat powered and heated.

While Koslow declined to give an estimated cost for the project, he said the reasons behind it are two-fold.

"A diesel engine is much more fuel-efficient than a steam turbine is, and secondly, it's environmental reasons," he said. "They're much cleaner-burning. We're being somewhat driven regulations-wise toward more fuel efficiency and being more environmentally sensitive."

Once back in service, the Munson's expected to burn 1 million fewer gallons of fuel overall, a 37 percent reduction, Koslow said. The Munson should emit 11,000 fewer tons of carbon dioxide and 164 fewer tons of sulfur dioxide per year as well.

The Munson also is an ideal candidate for a repowering project because out of the nine self-unloading bulk carriers Keylakes manages, the Munson is the largest of the smaller vessels, Koslow said. It carries nearly 26,000 tons of cargo and its self-unloading system uses a forward boom, meaning its pivot point is closest to the pilot house as opposed to the boat's aft end.

Of the 768-foot Munson's fleetmates, the 1,004-foot Edgar B. Speer is the largest and holds the most cargo, while the Great Republic is the shortest at 634 feet and holds the fleet's second-smallest volume of cargo. That's according to information from Canadian National, which owns the Great Lakes fleet through a U.S. subsidiary.

Design work for the repowering began in February 2015, Koslow said. The plan is to have the Munson in dry dock by mid-March, when ship builders will install its new engine, gears, controllable-pitch propeller and other drivetrain components over the next month.

Ship workers will upgrade the Munson's engine controls, electrical distribution and other auxiliary systems over the rest of 2016, Koslow said. The goal is to have the Munson ready for sea trials by the start of the 2017 shipping season.

"We expect most of the work to be completed by year's end, and then next winter we'll use that time for our start-up on the commissioning of new systems and our testing," he said.

Structurally, the Munson is sound, and for the last five years its owners have invested into maintaining and investing in the steel that supports its cargo, Koslow said. That work will continue on the Munson and its fleetmates into the future, giving it a new lease on life.

The freighter was completed in 1952 for Bradley Transportation and is named after John Gephart Munson, according to George Wharton's vessel narrative. Munson was a former president of Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company in Rogers City and Bradley Transportation, before serving as a U.S. Steel vice president from 1939-51.

When Canadian National's subsidiary bought the Munson and seven of its fleetmates in 2004, it was the last member of the Great Lakes Fleet, formerly owned by U.S. Steel, that had sailed for Bradley Transportation, according to historian Gerald Micketti. It's the last member of the Bradley fleet still sailing under its original name; the George A. Sloan is now the Canadian-flagged Mississagi and part of Lower Lakes Towing's fleet.

As the freighter's twin steam turbines, Foster-Wheeler boilers and 600-kilowatt General Electric steam generators aged, they became more obsolete, Koslow said.

"The time comes to when you can't support them any longer," he said. "That comes into some of these decisions, when maintenance and supportability become so expensive that you have to take into account for safe and reliable and efficient operations."

Alpena News


Port Reports -  January 20

Duluth, Minn. – Daniel Lidner
The 1,013-foot Paul R. Tregurtha arrived Duluth on Monday morning for winter layup at Midwest Energy. Her arrival officially closed the Duluth/Superior port for the season, and brings the total number of vessels in layup to seven. They are the Indiana Harbor at Lakehead Pipeline, Herbert C. Jackson and Kaye E. Barker at Fraser Shipyards, Philip R. Clarke, American Century, and Edwin H. Gott at Port Terminal, and Paul R. Tregurtha at Midwest Energy.

Goderich, Ont.
Algomarine entered layup on Jan. 19.

Sarnia, Ont.
Manitoulin arrived for winter lay-up on Monday. She is rafted outboard of the Saginaw.

Detroit, Mich. – Dan McNeil
Tug Samuel de Champlain with barge Innovation arrived Lafarge Cement dock in Detroit Tuesday morning. They are due to depart Detroit Wednesday morning Jan. 20 and are due at the Lafarge Cement dock in Toledo to complete their offload Wednesday afternoon. Algonova departed the Purvis dock at the Soo sometime Tuesday afternoon Jan. 19 and is due next into Sarnia to load for Nanticoke.


Abandoned ship 'weeks away' from spilling toxic crude oil into St. Lawrence

1/20 - Beauharnois, Que. – The City of Beauharnois is worried a rusting cargo ship in Lake St. Louis is at imminent risk of leaking millions of litres of contaminated water that could end up in the St. Lawrence River.

The Kathryn Spirit was abandoned near the town on Montreal's South Shore, directly south of Île-Perrot, more than four years ago. The derelict ship contains water contaminated by crude oil in its ballast.

Beauharnois recently learned the Mexican company that owned the 150-metre-long ship has renounced ownership after going bankrupt.

As a result, all pumping operations to keep the boat upright have stopped.

Beauharnois Mayor Claude Haineault says rain and snow are accumulating in the hold of the ship, and with the pumping operations stopped, he's worried the ship might begin to list and eventually capsize.

"I think it will be a very big environmental disaster very soon," Haineault said.

Haineault said Montreal would be most at risk if the contaminated water ended up in the St. Lawrence River.

The Kathryn Spirit is anchored in an environmental protection zone in Lake Saint Louis, the reservoir that supplies drinking water to Montreal.

Haineault said it's just a matter of weeks before the situation becomes critical.

The Beauharnois mayor said he's been asking provincial and federal governments to remove the cargo ship for years.

That call for help that was supported by LaSalle last summer when the borough unanimously voted to pass a resolution backing up the City of Beauharnois.

The notes from that council meeting reveal that the city had been warning provincial and federal governments of the ship's "environmental risks to aquatic fauna" since 2011.

The notes also show that Transport Canada maritime officials, while investigating a spill in Lake St. Louis in 2013, mentioned the degree to which the cargo ship was tilted was "precarious and very worrying."

Beauharnois has now asked both governments to step in and help safely dispose of the Kathryn Spirit.

"After four years, we are very frustrated," Haineault said, "I wish that somebody somewhere thought this was an important issue."

Transport Canada says the Kathryn Spirit is now under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Coast Guard. Calls to the Coast Guard have not been returned.



Coast Guard announces channel closures, ice breaking

1/20 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Coast Guard will close the waters between Cheboygan Mich., and Bois Blanc Island known as South Channel, at 9 a.m. on Jan. 22. Grays Reef Passage will also be closed at the same time.

On Thursday Coast Guard crews will commence ice breaking operations in the waters of Green Bay. These operations will likely occur in some areas used by recreational users such as but not limited to the Fox River and southern Green Bay & Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal.



Ship watchers will get a summer treat from Tall Ships

1/20 - Port Huron, Mich. – Frank Frisk says a tall ship is a "ship magnet."

"There’s something about tall ships that makes them very special for people to chase after," said Port Huron's "Freighter Frank."

People will have plenty to chase after along the St. Clair River this summer. Although none of the 20 or so sailing ships that might participate in the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2016 has any of the Blue Water Area ports on its itinerary, ships will have to pass through on their way to and from events in ports such as Bay City and Chicago.

"We actually have ships that are going to be passing by there twice, once on their way to Bay City (and other ports) in July and once on their way out of the Great Lakes in September," said Erin Short, Tall Ships Challenge manager for Tall Ships America in Newport, Rhode Island.

People will start seeing the tall ships cruising the St. Clair River about two to three days before an event July 15-17 in Bay City, she said.

Ship watchers will be able to track the tall ships, Shoret said, at this link.

Besides stopping at Bay City, the tall ships will be at Toronto July 1-3; Fairport, Ohio, July 8-10; the Navy Pier in Chicago July 27-31; Green Bay, Wisconsin, Aug. 5-7; Duluth, Minnesota, Sept. 17-18; Erie, Pennsylvania, Sept. 8-11; and Brockville, Ontario, Sept. 16-18.

"We're going to have one race in each of the Great Lakes," Short said.

Short said the Chicago event probably will draw about 2 million people to the city.

"The purpose of the Tall Ships Challenge is to help promote tall ships and their programming," she said. "It's also another way to bring tourism and tourism money into those towns."

Bay City has been host to the tall ships five times, she said.

Short said the U.S. brig Niagara, a veteran of the War of 1812, likely will be participating. The Niagara often docks in Algonac during its summer tours.

"These ships are maintaining our maritime heritage," she said. "Without these ships, that heritage would be lost."

The ships participating in the challenge probably won't be listed on the Tall Ship America website until May, Short said.

Times Herald


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 three 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.

1907: WILLIAM NOTTINGHAM broke loose in wild winds and flooding at Buffalo. When the storm subsided, the ship had come to rest high and dry about 440 yards from the channel. A total of 12 vessels stranded in the storm but this one was the biggest challenge. A new channel had to be dug to refloat the vessel.

1960: LAKE KYTTLE, under tow as b) JAMES SHERIDAN, foundered in a storm on Long Island Sound. The ship had been built at Manitowoc in 1918 and converted to a barge at River Rouge in 1927 before returning to the sea about 1945.

1962: The Liberty ship FIDES was a Seaway visitor in 1961. It went aground at Grosser Vogelsand, in the Elbe Estuary and broke in two as a total loss.

1975: The tug CATHY McALLISTER sank alongside the dock at Montreal after suffering some grounding damage on the St. Lawrence. The vessel was salvaged on February 13, 1975. It was scrapped at Port Weller as d) DOC MORIN in the fall of 2011.

1979: ZAMOSC first came to the Great Lakes in 1971. It was enroute from Montreal to Antwerp when in a collision with the JINEI MARU off Terneuzen, Holland. The damaged ship was beached but it heeled over in the sand and had to be broken up.

1981: The former SILVER FIR, a Seaway caller in 1977, ran aground and became a total off Libya as d) GALAXY II.

1983: The YDRA sustained an engine room fire and went aground about a mile east of Bizerta, Tunisia, as a total loss. All on board were saved and the hull is still there. The ship first came to the Great Lakes as a) MANCHESTER PORT in 1966 and was back as b) BIOKOVO in 1972.

1990: IMPERIAL ACADIA received major damage at the island of Miquelon due to a storm and had to be transported to Halifax aboard the semi-submersible MIGHT SERVANT for repairs. The vessel arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for scrapping as e) RALPH TUCKER on October 26, 2004.

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


Toledo’s shipping tonnage fell 30 percent in 2015

1/19 - Toledo, Ohio – A slumping steel industry led to declines in several key commodities across the Port of Toledo’s docks last year that accounted for most of a nearly 30 percent plunge in cargo tonnage.

Iron ore and coal, the port’s two biggest commodities by weight, both fell by more than 43 percent, with the former entirely reflecting steel’s woes and the latter hit both by that and declining coal consumption by electric utilities in both the United States and Canada.

Port officials acknowledged those declines Thursday but also highlighted some bright spots in the numbers.

Joe Cappel, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, said a rebound could be coming in 2016 in the critical general-cargo sector, which includes high-value shipments such as aluminum, machinery, and industrial equipment.

Reinstatement of federal tax incentives for wind-power development projects should bring back shipments of wind-turbine components in 2016 that came through the Toledo port earlier this decade, Mr. Cappel said.

“Coal and ore may continue to be a bit of a challenge,” but efforts to diversify Toledo’s cargoes will continue, and leads on wind-related traffic and machinery imports for local refineries are both promising, he said.

Betty Sutton, administrator of the federal Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Commission, said declining coal and ore volumes were hardly unique to Toledo, while the local port’s grain performance, lower than in 2014, was better than many others’.

“In 2014 we had a great fall harvest, plus a large carryover from the previous year, which we didn’t have in 2015,” Ms. Sutton said.

Also affecting grain in 2015, she said, was a bumper wheat crop in Russia that depressed world prices, causing American exports to drop.

Toledo’s aluminum traffic, Ms. Sutton said, supports jobs not only at the port but in the auto industry, and machinery and equipment are also important growth areas.

Those cargoes are not well represented in traffic numbers based on weight, she and Mr. Cappel said, but so far officials have yet to devise a better yardstick for measuring their port impacts.

Dry-bulk traffic, some of it at the port’s growing Ironville Terminal, was the one commodity sector that increased.

Much of Ironville’s 344,000 tons of maritime traffic was railroad ballast stone, Mr. Cappel said, but “they’re starting to expand into other bulk materials,” including nonrailroad stone and mill scale.

Like the much older Toledo World Industries dock, Ironville is operated on the port authority’s behalf by Midwest Terminals of Toledo International, a stevedore company.

The 3,371,810-ton combined decline of coal and iron ore in 2015 accounted for an overwhelming majority of the Toledo port’s 3,411,347-ton drop in total cargo tonnage, which is a 29.27 percent decline.

Coal, historically Toledo’s heaviest-volume cargo but second to iron ore in recent years, fell below 2 million tons for the first time since local record-keeping began in 1947.

The 1,920,339 tons of coal through the Presque Isle Dock, which CSX Transportation operates under a lease from the port authority, marked a 45 percent decline from 2014’s traffic there. The previous record low had been set in 2012.

Mr. Cappel said he did not immediately know how coal’s decline broke between utility users, which have been reducing coal-burning capacity in response to both stricter pollution-control regulations and abundant natural-gas supply from fracking, and steelmakers, which suffered from a worldwide glut in 2015.

But steel’s struggles were further demonstrated in the 1.8-million-ton decline at Toledo’s iron-ore dock, also operated by CSX. All of the ore trans-shipped in Toledo goes to AK Steel mills in Ashland, Ky., and Middletown, Ohio, and Mr. Cappel noted that AK shut down its Ashland furnaces during 2015 and cut production in Middletown.

United States steelmakers have sought federal intervention recently against Chinese steel producers, which they accuse of glutting the world market with subsidized steel following the collapse of a construction boom in their home country.

Declining steel imports from other foreign countries, Mr. Cappel said, also contributed to a 35 percent drop in general and miscellaneous cargo at Toledo’s port last year, but that number would have been even deeper if not for the robust aluminum traffic.

Toledo’s coal business meanwhile, could get some help in 2016 from railroad facility consolidation.

Norfolk Southern announced late last year that it is closing a coal dock in Ashtabula, Ohio, that it shared with CSX Transportation. NS will shift coal previously unloaded in Ashtabula to a dock in Sandusky, while CSX’s only other Great Lakes coal dock is the Toledo facility.

Toledo Blade


Mild winter keeps Great Lakes' water levels up

1/19 - Detroit, Mich. – It has seemed more normal lately. But Michigan's mild start to winter has Great Lakes levels doing strange things.

"We've seen some very interesting conditions, to say the least, so far this winter," said Keith Kompoltowicz, the chief of watershed hydrology for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit.

December saw record amounts of precipitation in many parts of the Great Lakes basin — but in the form of rain, not snow, he said. "It basically put a pause button on the seasonal declines across the lakes in general," Kompoltowicz said.

Water levels that typically decline at the onset of winter stayed constant, or even rose. And then there's the ice cover. The warmer temperatures and lack of snow and ice have led to the entire Great Lakes system being only about 6.6% ice covered as of Friday. On the same day last year, the lakes were more than one-third — 34% — covered with ice.

One group that would normally celebrate such conditions is the Great Lakes freight haulers, the cargo ships moving iron ore, cement and other minerals and goods. The industry endured early stops to the shipping season, late spring starts and ice-jammed, snail-speed travel in-between the past two years.

Read more at this link


Port Reports -  January 19

Duluth-Superior – Denny Dushane
Paul R. Tregurtha arrived in Duluth on a cold Monday morning for winter lay-up in Superior at the Midwest Energy Coal Terminal, the seventh and final vessel to arrive in the Twin Ports. In total, there are nine vessels in lay-up – two of the nine vessels, Edward L. Ryerson and American Victory, did not sail in 2015. The list of vessels spending the winter in the Twin Ports include Indiana Harbor at the Enbridge Dock, Herbert C. Jackson at Fraser Shipyards for engine conversion, Edwin H. Gott at the Port Terminal Berth 1, American Century at the Port Terminal Berth 6/7, Philip R. Clarke at the Port Terminal Berth 4, Kaye E. Barker at Fraser Shipyards and the Tregurtha.

Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – Dan McNeil
The tanker Algonova arrived at the Purvis Dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., sometime Monday afternoon Jan.18 with a cargo of diesel and gasoline. She will depart sometime Tuesday, Jan. 19 and head back to Sarnia to load at one of the fuel docks.

Escanaba, Mich.
Great Lakes Trader arrived Jan. 17 at Basic Marine for lay-up.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Denny Dushane
The American Steamship Co. 1,000-footer Burns Harbor arrived in Milwaukee on a cold Monday for winter lay-up, becoming the fourth vessel to tie up for the season. The list of ships now in port include tug Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender at the Bay Street dock, Stewart J. Cort at the Heavy Lift Dock, tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity at the Salt Dock and the Burns Harbor.

Alpena, Mich. – Dan McNeil
Tug Samuel de Champlain with barge Innovation departed Alpena Monday afternoon Jan. 18 and are due at the Lafarge Cement dock in Detroit Tuesday morning Jan. 19.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The American Steamship Co. 1,000-footer American Integrity arrived at Toledo on a cold Monday just after noon for winter lay-up. American Integrity's arrival makes her the 13th vessel to arrive for 2015/16 and the last vessel to arrive for winter quarters. Lower Lakes Towing's new Manitoulin, which had arrived on Friday to unload a grain cargo from Thunder Bay, was still in port on Monday at the Kraft Foods grain elevator. There are 15 vessels in lay-up this winter in the Port of Toledo. Two of them, American Valor and the tug/barge combo Jane Ann IV / Sarah Spencer did not sail in 2015. The vessels that are laid-up include Algoma Hansa at the Ironhead Marine Drydock, Sam Laud at the Old Ironville Dock (former Gulf Oil Property), American Mariner at CSX #1 West Wall, H. Lee White at the former C&O Ore Dock (in the slip where the CSX coal loading dock is), Buffalo at CSX #2 Midwest Stone Dock area, St. Clair and American Integrity at the CSX #2 East Wall, as well as Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Edgar B. Speer at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. Manistee and Great Republic are laid-up at the Torco Slip #2, while the Lower Lakes Towing vessels tug Olive L. Moore/barge Lewis J. Kuber, and the tug Victory along with the barge James L. Kuber, are at Torco Slip #1.


Marine News Casualties & Demolitions, January 2016

1/19 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the January 2016 issue.

Seaway Salties: The Panamanian flag bulk carrier Glory Morning began Seaway service as a) Lake Spanker right after it was completed by the Tonoku Shipbuilding Co. at Shiogama, Japan, in July 1986. The vessel had a 29-year career and was sailing as d) Glory Morning when it arrived at Alang, India, on Sept. 8, 2015. Scrapping got underway on Oct. 10, 2015, by Sheth & Sons Ltd.

Hua Zhou came to the Great Lakes for the Estonian Shipping Co. passing upbound in the Seaway as b) Aleksander Kolmpere on Nov. 24, 1998. The bulk carrier was loaded with steel for Toronto and Chicago before loading grain at Duluth for overseas delivery. It has been built at Varna, Bulgaria, as a) Skulptor Matveyev and was renamed in 1992 and then as c) Hua Zhou in 2005. Following a sale to Chinese shipbreakers, it arrived at Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China, on Aug. 17, 2015, for dismantling.

Princess Maria never came inland under this name but was a regular under her first two. She was built as a) Bar and completed at Bilbao, Spain, on Dec. 28, 1986. The ship came through the Seaway in 1988 and was back on a regular basis as b) Inviken beginning on Nov. 1997, taking a cargo of sugar to Toronto. The ship had just been renamed and was flying the flag of Bahamas. The vessel made about 27 inland voyages to the end of 2008 before becoming c) Princess Maria in 2012. The latter, following a sale to Pakistani shipbreakers, arrived at Gadani Beach on Aug. 31, 2015, and dismantling got underway on Sept. 9.

The chemical tanker f) Yu Fu arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, on Aug. 9, 2015, and scrapping began Aug. 15 by BBC Steel. The ship had been the last saltwater ship of the 1995 season to enter the St. Lawrence Seaway heading upbound on Dec. 15, as b) Uznadze with palm oil for Hamilton. It returned in 2002 as c) St. Mary with registry in the Marshall Islands. The vessel had been built at Split, Yugoslavia, as a) Akademik Split in 1988.

Casualties: The Dutch-flagged Flinterstar was in collision with the Marshall Islands flagged LNG tanker Al Oraiq in the North Sea seven miles north west of Zeebrugge, Belgium, on Oct. 6, 2015. The accident occurred in position 51.24.39N, 003 03.34E. The hull was badly damaged and stranded on a sandbar partially submerged but all on board were rescued with only minor injuries. Flinterstar had been built in 2002 and had also sailed as b) UAL Africa from 2003 to 2011. A salvage contract has been awarded to remove the bunkers.

Minouche had been a Great Lakes trader as a) Herman C. Boye in 1998 as the ship headed to Detroit in August to load machinery. The small 1,167 gross ton vessel was diesel powered and able to carry 1,525 tons of cargo. The ship became d) Minouche in 2014 and was flying the flag of Bolivia when it listed to port and sank in the North Atlantic, west of Mole Saint Nicolas, Haiti, during Hurricane Joaquin on Oct. 1, 2015. The crew was rescued by U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and taken to Grand Iguana, Bahamas. The former Seaway salty was on a voyage from Miami to Port De Paix, Haiti, with general cargo when lost. The container ship c) El Faro generated more publicity disappearing with all hands in the same storm.

Great Lakes Related: The varied career of the Marie-Lou has been reported as ended following a sale to unspecified shipbreakers in Feb. 2015. The ship had been built in the United Kingdom for the fishing trade as a) Cape Brier in 1951 and came to Canada and conversion to the double bottom scow b) J.P.P. 601 in 1974. It was resold and renamed c) Kim R.D. in 1980 and d) Marie-Lou in 1984 for work as a spoil carrier. It was upbound in the Seaway as part of the McKeil fleet in Nov. 1989 and then joined Dean Construction in 1990 before being sold to Panamanian interests in 1992. The ship was down bound in the Welland Canal on May 5, 1992, and a refit at Hamilton for the Caribbean sand trade. It left the Great Lakes via Oswego with the pilothouse removed and welded on deck. The ship last served Arenera Balboa SA of Panama before the recent reported sale for scrap. We may soon hear of a similar fate for sister ship Marie-Sol

Skip Gillham, Barry Anderson and René Beauchamp


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 19

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

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.

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

1967: The former ELMBAY ran aground near Barra Grande along the coast of northern Brazil as e) SIMANSUR and was abandoned as a total loss. The ship saw Great Lakes service from 1923 until 1942 for several firms including Canada Steamship Lines.

1998: The Cypriot freighter FLARE was south of Newfoundland when it broke in two while inbound in ballast for Montreal. The stern section sank quickly. The bow drifted for several days before it too went down. Four members of the crew clung to an overturned lifeboat and were saved. The ship had been a Seaway trader as a) DORIC FLAME in 1977 and returned as b) FLAME in 1987 and as c) FLARE in 1993.

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


Port Reports -  January 18

Madeline Island – Capt. Philip Schneeberger
The Madeline Island Ferry Line, which runs between Bayfield and La Pointe, Wis., on Madeline Island In Lake Superior, is still operating. The Island Queen and Nichevo are making six round trips per day. They will be hauling semis of fuel oil, propane and gasoline (no cars or passengers on gas trips) in the upcoming days. Everyone will be stocking up for the transition days when the ferries quit for the season. Once the ferries quit, the only back and forth will be to use the windsleds, which can only haul passengers. The island has an elementary school and the high school kids have to ride the ferry or windsleds to get to school in Bayfield on the mainland. If the weather stays cold enough there will be an ice road and everyone will be able to drive back and forth.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
The 1,004-foot James R. Barker arrived in Sturgeon Bay through the ship canal Saturday afternoon, becoming the tenth vessel in port for the winter. Lee A. Tregurtha and Joseph L. Block are expected to arrive within the next few days.

Alpena, Mich. – Dan McNeil
Tug Samuel de Champlain with barge Innovation are due to return to Alpena Monday morning, Jan. 18, to load another cement cargo at Lafarge. The Port Huron based Tug Manitou is in Alpena and will provide ice breaking assistance for them.

Owen Sound, Ont. – Paul Martin
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin arrived through the early hours of Sunday, Jan. 17 for winter layup along the east wall of the Owen Sound inner harbor. She joins the Algoway on the west wall by the elevator and the Chi-Cheemaun for the winter season.


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, is now 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.

1925: JOHN RUGEE, a wooden steamer in the George Hall Coal Co. fleet, was destroyed by a fire while spending the winter at Ogdensburg.

1938: The passenger ship WAUBIC was damaged by a fire at Kingsville, Ontario, while at winter quarters. It was rebuilt at Port Dover later in the year as b) ERIE ISLE.

1942: LAKE FLAMBEAU was built at Duluth in 1919. It was sailing as c) FRANCES SALMAN when it was sunk by U-552 off the coast of Newfoundland with the loss of 28 lives.

1983: The Greek freighter KIMOLIAKI PISTIS came through the Seaway in 1981. It caught fire on this date in 1983 and was abandoned enroute from Recife, Brazil, to a Black Sea port. The hull was towed into Piraeus, Greece, January 27 and declared a total loss. It first traveled to the Great Lakes as a) MINAS CONJURO in 1969 and then as b) EUGENIO in 1979. The vessel arrived at Split, Yugoslavia, for scrapping on February 21, 1984.

1998: The second MAPLEGLEN caught fire in the engine room while in lay-up at Owen Sound and sustained about $40,000 in damage.

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


The winter fleet checks in

1/17 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – With the arrival of the Great Lakes cargo ships Wilfred Sykes and Mesabi Miner Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, the Bay Shipbuilding Co. "winter fleet" is about three-quarters complete.

The lineup posted on the Door County Maritime Museum website,, lists 16 vessels scheduled to undergo winter maintenance at the Bay Ship yard in Sturgeon Bay. As of Friday morning all but five were in port.

Latest to arrive was the Mesabi Miner, a 1,004-foot carrier owned by Interlake Steamship Co., which came through the downtown Sturgeon Bay bridges around 2 p.m. Thursday. The Sykes, a 678-footer owned by Central Marine Logistics, arrived on Wednesday.

Still to come are the 1,004-foot James R. Barker, the Joseph L. Block, Lee A. Tregurtha, and the tug Michigan with barge Great Lakes. The Lee A. Tregurtha is due Feb. 2, while the other were scheduled for arrival over the next few days.

Part of Fincantieri Marine Group, Bay Ship – Door County's largest employer – is one of the Great Lakes' major hubs for repair and maintenance of the big cargo ships that ply the Lakes. Parent company Fincantieri recently completed a $26 million capital expansion plan for the facility including a new floating drydock, computer-aided manufacturing equipment, and climate-controlled manufacturing facilities.

Most recently the Sturgeon Bay City Council on Jan. 5 approved closing portions of two streets near downtown, First Avenue and Jefferson Street, to accommodate Bay Ship's planned purchase of the now-vacant Palmer Johnson Yachts facilities, provided the company meet 11 conditions negotiated with city officials.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Port Reports -  January 17

Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – Denny Dushane
On Saturday morning the Paul R. Tregurtha arrived to unload a cargo of taconite from Two Harbors, Minn., at the Essar Steel Dock. At 1,013'6" in length, they were the largest freighter ever to dock at Essar, slightly beating the size of their fleetmate, Mesabi Miner, which unloaded ore at Essar in December.

Whitefish, Ont. – Dan McNeil
Tug Samuel de Champlain and cement barge Innovation are making a late season run to Whitefish, Ont. They are due during the early morning hours of Sunday Jan. 17.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Denny Dushane
The 1,000-footer James R. Barker arrived on Saturday in the mid to late afternoon for winter lay-up at Bay Shipbuilding. They became the eighth vessel to arrive, bringing the total to 10 vessels currently in lay-up here. Joseph L. Block is due sometime on Sunday morning. Also expected, but at a later date, is the Lee A. Tregurtha, which is currently making ore runs from Escanaba, Mich., to the AK Steel Dock in Dearborn/Detroit.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 17

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

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

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 - 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.

2000: FEDERAL VIBEKE got stuck in the ice on the St. Lawrence and was almost carried into the bridge at Quebec City. The vessel was bound for Sorel with steel. It first came to the Great Lakes in 1993 after previous visits as a) NOSIRA LIN beginning in 1981, b) DAN BAUTA in 1989, and c) KRISTIANIAFJORD in 1991. It was back as e) KALISTI in 2000 and f) NOBILITY in 2004. This bulk carrier arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping as h) OPAL II and was beached on November 14, 2012.

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


Last vessels pass through Soo Locks for the season

1/16 - The Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., were expected to close at midnight on Friday, officially ending the commercial shipping season.

Three vessels made transits through the system as the midnight closing deadline neared. The 1,000-footer American Integrity became the last U.S. vessel to transit the locks. It was followed later in the afternoon by the Canadian-flagged Manitoulin, downbound with a grain cargo from Thunder Bay for Toledo. As the afternoon came to a close, Algomarine departed from the Export Dock with a slag cargo for Detroit. Local reports indicate this was the vessel’s last passage through the locks before retirement in the spring.

One other vessel made a voyage through the Soo Locks – the tug Anglian Lady assisted by the Purvis tug W.I. Scott Purvis. Both went up to the Essar Steel dock to take the barge Ironmaster and transit downbound later in the evening. It is believed that they will be the last transit for the 2015-16 season. The locks are due to reopen for the 2016-17 shipping season on March 25 at 12:01 a.m.

Denny Dushane


Soo Locks close with Great Lakes shipping down about 10 percent

1/16 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Great Lakes shipping season is officially over for the next couple months, ending a tough year for Midwest iron ore mines and the ships that carry taconite for steel mills.

On Friday, Jan. 15, the Soo Locks close on the St. Mary's River in Sault Ste. Marie — an annual tradition that allows the complex to get a jump on winter maintenance before shipping ramps up again with the locks re-opening March 25.

The Soo Locks are the last Great Lakes locks to close each year. On Dec. 30, the Welland Canal through Ontario closed. On Dec. 31, the St. Lawrence Seaway locks on the St. Lawrence River closed.

Lock closures generally coincide with the start of icebreaking, a tame labor thus far this year with ice buildup mostly limited to bays, inlets and rivers around the lakes. Across the basin, the total Great Lakes ice cover is about 6.6 percent.

Cargo tonnage through the Soo Locks was down this season by about 9 million tons, according to Allan Frappier, chief of lock operations. Tonnage through the St. Lawrence Seaway locks was down about 9.5 percent.

Ships moved 77.5 million tons through the Soo Locks locks in the 2014 season, but only about 68.4 million this season. Overall, a total of 39.6 million tons moved through the Seaway locks this season, down from about 44 million tons.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, coal shipments were down more than 40 percent compared to 2014, grain shipments and liquid bulk cargos were separately down nearly 11 percent and general cargo dropped by 15.4 percent.

Although some bulk cargos like salt are moved around the lower lakes during the brief off-season, most vessels have laid-up at various ports around the Great Lakes by now — some as early as November, thanks to a global iron ore and steel surplus that's caused layoffs and idled mills and mines in several states. Click here to read more of the story, and view a photo gallery


Engineers prepare for closure of Soo Locks

1/16 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The Soo Locks will close its gates Friday night, officially ending the shipping season. Over the next 10 weeks, engineers there will carry out a number of important repairs to the Poe and MacArthur lock.

"We have work going on with the embedded anchorages of the Poe Lock," said area engineer Kevin Sprague. "We will also continue work regarding the electrical rehabilitation of the MacArthur lock as well as sand blasting and painting of the bulkheads on the MacArthur lock."

Both of the locks are several decades old. Engineers say that the repairs are crucial in making sure that the locks can confine to handle the heavy flow of commercial shipping.

"We have a very tight schedule moving forward and the last thing we want is to encounter any delays because of some mechanical issue that we overlooked," said Sprague.

The repair operations will be made a little bit easier for the engineers due to calmer than usual winter conditions, however the work itself is still dangerous and the repair crews are trained to expect the unexpected.

"Working conditions have been a lot better than during the past few seasons," said Chief of Lock Operations Allan Frappier. "But you still must prepare for the worst."

The shipping season that is now about to come to an end has been somewhat of a disappointment as only 3,400 cargo vessels carrying about 68 million tons of cargo passed through the locks. Those numbers represent a considerable decline in traffic from previous years.



Port Reports -  January 16

Duluth, Minn. – Denny Dushane
Friday saw two more vessel arrivals for winter lay-up in the Twin Ports. Philip R. Clarke arrived in the early morning to lay up at the Port Terminal Berth 4. Kaye E. Barker later arrived just after noon for lay-up at Fraser Shipyard in Superior. On Thursday in the early evening the 1,000-footer American Century arrived for lay-up at the Port Terminal Berth 6/7.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Dan McNeil
Tug G.L. Ostrander with barge Integrity arrived Friday afternoon for winter layup at the salt dock. She has a storage load of cement from Lafarge.

Sarnia, Ont. – Denny Dushane
Saginaw arrived in the North Slip on Thursday evening, becoming the fourth vessel to arrive for winter lay-up. Three other vessels are in lay-up in Sarnia – the Calumet and Cuyahoga are in the North Slip and Algorail is at the Sidney Smith Dock. One other vessel will be joining them in the next few days. Lower Lakes Towing's new vessel Manitoulin is expected to lay-up in Sarnia after delivering a grain cargo loaded in Thunder Bay for Toledo. Manitoulin is expected to arrive in Toledo on Jan. 16 to unload before heading to Sarnia.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The Great Lakes Fleet's 1,000-footer Edgar B. Speer arrived in Toledo on Friday in the mid-afternoon for winter lay-up. She was escorted into Toledo by the Gaelic tug Patricia Hoey. The Speer arrived at her lay-up location at the Midwest Overseas Terminal Dock, joining another 1,000-foot vessel, the Walter J. McCarthy Jr., which arrived at the same dock for an early season lay-up in late November. It is also believed that the arrival of the Speer may be the first time that one of the 1,000 footers from the Great Lakes Fleet has ever laid-up for the winter in Toledo. The Port of Toledo is also expecting what could be its last vessel arrival of the season. The new Manitoulin cleared the Soo Locks on Friday afternoon bound for Toledo to unload a grain cargo from Thunder Bay.


Port Authority is picking up steam after productive 2015

1/16 - Cleveland, Ohio - Will Friedman believes that the Port of Cleveland is on its way to becoming a growing international port of call. “We are carving out our niche here,” said Friedman, president of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, which runs the lakefront docks. “(The service) is standing the test of time.”

Friedman was talking about the 2-year-old cargo service, dubbed the Cleveland-Europe Express, that is making regularly scheduled trips between Cleveland and Antwerp, Belgium.

In a year-in-review interview at the Port Authority’s office at the foot of West Ninth Street, overlooking the docks it runs on the lakefront, Friedman spoke optimistically about the future for the deal he negotiated in 2013 to bring regular international cargo service to Cleveland and the increased activity elsewhere on the docks.

What started as nine, monthly round trips in 2014 between Cleveland and Antwerp by ships owned by the Dutch Spliethoff Group grew to 24 during the nine-month, 2015 Great Lakes shipping season, with greater frequency anticipated after the Great Lakes thaw out this spring.

This service marked the first time in years that container shipping — which accounts for about 70% of all international shipping tonnage, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development — entered the Great Lakes.

As oceangoing freighters got bigger starting in the 1960s, shipping into the Great Lakes declined as the biggest — and most cost-efficient — ships grew too large to pass through the locks at the entrance to the lakes. It was cheaper to ship to Baltimore or another coastal port and finish the trip by rail or truck.

But delays at clogged East Coast ports are changing the supply chain equation.

The Port Authority so far has bet nearly $11 million to subsidize the service. The goal is that, eventually, the service will be profitable for Spliethoff and the subsidy will end and, maybe, turn into a profit.

The service cost the Port Authority $5.9 million in 2014 and, when the books are closed, almost $3 million in 2015. The 2016 cost, according to Brent Leslie, the agency’s chief financial officer, is expected to be $1.8 million.

“It’s standing the test of time, growing and picking up momentum,” Friedman said. “It was initially met with skepticism. Now people understand it’s here for the long haul and people are taking a hard look at how they can use it.”

Judging from the industry’s response, the service has made the Port of Cleveland the envy of the Great Lakes.

“Cleveland-Antwerp container service takes wing,” headlined a story in the respected Journal of Commerce in July. The article noted that the service carried 752 containers, most of it westbound, into Cleveland in the first half of 2015, compared with 178 on the six monthly sailings after the service was launched in mid-2014.

Betty Sutton, administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. (SLSDC), said the introduction of cargo service in Cleveland is having “a ripple effect” across the Great Lakes and beyond.

“This liner service has certainly raised the profile of the Great Lakes Seaway system,” she said. “Globally, we’re seeing those not doing business on the Great Lakes taking a second look at the market and the system.”

The SLSDC is the Washington, D.C.-based, federally owned company that operates the locks and canals that make up the U.S. portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway and markets shipping on the Great Lakes. Sutton is a Barberton native and former member of Congress representing parts of Akron and Youngstown.

After taking over as president of the Port Authority in 2010, Friedman began to investigate ways to rebuild cargo service.

Three years ago, Friedman negotiated a deal to subsidize regular, monthly cargo service between Cleveland and Antwerp, Belgium, during the nine-month Great Lakes shipping season.

Essentially, the Port Authority is chartering the 450-long Fortunagracht from the Spliethoff Group, making up the difference between the cost of operation and the revenue generated by cargo. The Fortunagracht is part of a fleet of smaller ships Spliethoff operates that can carry a mix of containers and general cargo.

Upgrades on the way To make shipping through the Cleveland docks more attractive, the Port Authority is spending $8 million to upgrade the infrastructure on the lakefront docks.

The money, from a combination of a federal grant and two forgivable loans from the state of Ohio, will buy a new warehouse to better shield international cargo from the elements and two mobile harbor cranes that will speed up the loading and unloading of ships.

Anything that reduces the amount of time cargo and ships aren’t moving reduces costs and should make the operation more attractive to shippers.

The service appears to be working for Spliethoff as well.

“I’m very optimistic about the potential,” said Bart Peters, the director of the shipping firm’s Atlantic department. He told Crain’s that the company is building a broader service. The company’s ships now call on ports in Hamilton, Ont., Milwaukee and Duluth, Minn., and will add more when the opportunity arises.

It’s also looking to add European stops in Germany and the United Kingdom.

“We are building more than only Cleveland,” he said. “We are building trade into the whole area with Cleveland as the hub.”

International freight service is at the mercy of the international economy and its politics. At the moment, that means that, because of the strong U.S. dollar, American goods sell at a premium in Europe. So it’s harder to export.

But that didn’t stop Lubrizol Corp. from a pilot program last summer that put containers of the Wickliffe company’s premium specialty chemicals on ships leaving from the Port of Cleveland.

“We’ve really been pleased with it,” said Matthew Joyce, the company’s director of the Americas supply chain.

“Right now, we believe we’ve found an alternative (to East Coast port shipping) that’s providing better shipping times, safe and secure reliable service at cost-equivalent rates into Northern Europe.

“We’re looking at how and if we can expand (the Cleveland service).”

Shipments of general cargo — imported steel, machinery and natural gas pipeline pipe — also were up at the Port of Cleveland. Traffic, measured by weight,

Crain’s Cleveland Business


Great Lakes shipping caps off year with Chamber luncheon

1/16 - Toronto, Ont. - Great Lakes-Seaway business leaders marked the end of the shipping season at the Chamber of Marine Commerce’s annual Marine Club luncheon Thursday in Toronto. The luncheon, a signature event during a week of industry meetings, attracted a record crowd of more than 200 Canadian and U.S. shipping, industrial and agricultural executives along with federal, provincial and local government representatives.

“This is an opportunity for our industry to reflect on the successes of the past year, connect with our many stakeholders throughout the region, and hopefully have a little fun after many months of hard work,” said Stephen Brooks, President of the bi-national Chamber of Marine Commerce.

“The Chamber of Marine Commerce is now moving full speed ahead into 2016 advocating to ensure the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway remains the conduit for North American industrial competitiveness.”

Liberal MP Vance Badawey (Niagara Centre) spoke on the opportunities ahead for dialogue with the newly-elected Liberal Canadian government, saying “With $7 billion being spent by the shipping industry and governments on both sides of the border to improve infrastructure at the same time that Canadians are demanding more environmentally sustainable transportation methods, there is great opportunity for growth along the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway.”

Greg Wight, former CEO of Algoma Central Corporation and the current fundraising campaign chair for the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial, also briefed the audience on the new designs and plans for the monument, which will honor the 137 men that lost their lives during the construction of the canal.

Chamber of Marine Commerce


Donations boost to canal memorial

1/16 - St. Catharines, Ont. – The drive to create a memorial for the workers who died building the Welland Canal is three steps closer to its fundraising goal.

Greg Wight, campaign chairman with the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force, confirmed donations of $25,000 each were received from St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., Fednav and ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

The corporation is a not-for-profit responsible for the movement of marine traffic through the seaway, which includes the Welland Canal. ArcelorMittal Dofasco is a steel producer based in Hamilton and a significant user of the seaway system. Fednav is a Montreal-based international shipping and charter group.

The task force is a volunteer group set up to create a memorial recognizing 137 workers who died while building the canal between 1914 to 1932.

The fundraising goal for the memorial and its parkette is about $750,000. To date, $250,000 has been raised through corporate sponsorship. Heritage Canada has also contributed $150,000.

“We’re probably 60 per cent there, it’s really coming along well,” said Wight, a retired CEO of Algoma Central Corp. “The next step is to move from 60 to 100 per cent.”

The seaway corporation has donated land for the memorial at Lock 3 in St. Catharines. After fundraising is complete, the memorial is to be built in 2017 with a possible unveiling by June or July that year. Details will be released soon for public meetings with memorial designer Dereck Revington. They will likely take place in two Welland Canal communities Feb. 8.

The task force is continuing to seek financial support for the project. For more information or to contribute, visit To donate in person, go to the St. Catharines museum or to the mayor’s office at St. Catharines city hall.

St. Catharines Standard


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 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.

1926: The wooden steamer PALM BAY caught fire while laid up at Portsmouth, Ontario, and was scuttled in Lake Ontario the next year. It had previously sailed as a) PUEBLO and b) RICHARD W.

1988: ASHLAND, enroute to scrapping in Taiwan, dragged anchor off Bermuda and ran aground on the rocks in severe winds. It was pulled free 4 days later with heavy bottom damage and barely made Mamonal, Colombia, for scrapping on February 5.

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


Port Reports -  January 15

Duluth-Superior – Denny Dushane
The 1,000 footer Edwin H. Gott arrived during the early morning on Thursday for the Port Terminal Berth 1, making her the third vessel to arrive for winter lay-up in the Twin Ports. Indiana Harbor and the Herbert C. Jackson have already arrived. The Jackson's arrival was on Dec. 11 for engine conversion at the Fraser Shipyards in Superior. Four other vessels are still due – the 1,000 footer American Century was expected to arrive during the late evening on Thursday for the Port Terminal Berth 6/7 and the Philip R. Clarke and the Kaye E. Barker are both expected to arrive sometime on Friday, Jan. 15 for Fraser. The last vessel expected to lay-up will be the Paul R. Tregurtha, sometime on Jan. 21, after making a few trips from Two Harbors, Minn., to Essar Steel in Soo, Ont.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Denny Dushane, Jim Conlon
The 1,000 footer Mesabi Miner arrived in the early afternoon on Thursday for winter lay-up at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. Her arrival marks the seventh vessel to arrive, joining eight other vessels so far that are wintering at Bay Shipbuilding. Yet to arrive are the 1,000 footer James R. Barker, Joseph L. Block and Lee A. Tregurtha. Both Barker and Tregurtha are expected to receive gas scrubbers. The U.S.C.G. icebreaker Mackinaw was standing by in the bay north of Bayship while the Miner was being eased into the huge graving dock. Mackinaw was returning from breaking ice to Green Bay to allow a ship to get in to unload on Thursday night.


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.

1986: The former Greek freighter PAULINA C., a Seaway trader beginning in 1976, ran aground off the Dutch coast near Rotterdam as c) RIO GRANDE. It was refloated January 23 and became d) NEPTUNIA later in 1986. It arrived at Bombay, India, for scrapping on December 3, 1986.

1990: The tanker MAYA FARBER came through the Seaway in 1981. It was anchored off Port Sudan as e) RAAD AL-BAKRY VIII when there was an explosion in a cargo tank. Fire broke out and the vessel was gutted. The hull later broke in two and the after end sank. The forebody was sold for scrap and arrived at Alang, India, for dismantling on March 28, 1990.

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


Duluth-Superior season winds to a close; 7 lakers to be in port for winter

1/14 - Duluth, Minn. – The Port of Duluth-Superior is welcoming seven ships for winter layup this year. In fact, the Indiana Harbor laid up early (on Nov. 3) and a major repowering project is already underway at Fraser Shipyards on the Herbert C. Jackson, in dry dock since early December.

The Soo Locks are set to close at midnight on Friday, Jan. 15. By then, four more wintering vessels are expected to have arrived in the Twin Ports beginning Thursday morning with the anticipated arrival of the Edwin H. Gott, followed Friday or later by the American Century, Kaye E. Barker and Philip R. Clarke. Transit times vary with wind and weather.

Boatwatchers will have to wait just a little longer for the arrival of the very last laker – the Paul R. Tregurtha – as the 1,000-footer is making one or two late season, intra-lake deliveries of iron ore. Her arrival beneath the Aerial Bridge next week will officially mark the end of the 2015 Great Lakes shipping season in the Twin Ports. The last ‘saltie’ of the season, Federal Bering, departed Duluth on Dec. 18; the St. Lawrence Seaway closed on Dec. 31.

In all, seven Great Lakes freighters will be wintering in the Twin Ports this year:
Vessel Location Arrival
Indiana Harbor Enbridge Dock   11/03/15 
Herbert C. Jackson   Fraser Shipyards   12/11/15 
Kaye E. Barker   Fraser Shipyards   
Edwin H. Gott   Port Terminal Berth 1   
Philip R. Clarke   Port Terminal Berth 4   
American Century   Port Terminal Berth 6/7   
Paul R. Tregurtha   Midwest Energy Resources Co.   

While ships’ crews will take the next few, well-deserved weeks off, there is no real ‘down time’ on the waterfront. Hundreds of workers – engineers, welders, pipefitters, mechanics, electricians and others –will spend the next eight weeks doing heavy-duty maintenance and repair work so these vessels are ready to sail when the Soo Locks reopen on March 25 and the 2016 Great Lakes-Seaway shipping season gets underway.

The Jackson’s conversion is part of $110 million that U.S. vessel operators will spend on maintaining/modernizing ships during this offseason, according to Lake Carriers’ Association. Repairs and maintenance work will constitute $60 million of that total while the rest will be taken up by special project work, such as repowering or installing exhaust scrubbers.

Vessel arrival times are estimates and may change without notice.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Coast Guard begins icebreaking operations in western Great Lakes

1/14 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie commenced Operation Taconite Wedneday morning in response to expanded ice growth in the commercial ports of western Lake Superior, Green Bay and the lower St. Marys River. Before ice impedes commercial navigation, several icebreakers were assigned to each region.

Overnight, USCGC Mackinaw was dispatched to Green Bay to assist two vessels into the Port of Green Bay. USCGC Alder was assigned to manage the ice breaking needs of western Lake Superior, specifically the twin ports of Duluth, Minn. and Superior, Wis. USCGCs Mobile Bay and Katmai Bay were assigned to the St. Marys River. In the coming days, as ice growth expands on the Great Lakes, additional Coast Guard ice breakers will join the operation.

Operation Taconite is the Coast Guard’s largest domestic icebreaking operation. The operation encompasses Lake Superior, St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac, Georgian Bay, and all of Lake Michigan. As part of Operation Taconite’s commencement, the process of closing the Pipe Island and West Neebish Channels in the St. Marys River has begun, with an effective closure time of 1 p.m. on Jan. 16. In the coming weeks, additional waterways may close after consideration is given to the protection of the marine environment, the need for cross-channel traffic (e.g. ferries) and the safety of the island residents who in the course of their daily business use naturally-formed ice bridges for transportation to and from the mainland.

The implementation of Operation Taconite places additional movement criteria on commercial ships plying the western Lakes, St. Marys River and the Straits of Mackinac. These measures include restricting tanker transits to daylight in the presence of ice, reducing speeds by 2 miles per hour in specified locations to reduce incidental ice breaking, and requiring additional voice and position reporting points throughout the operation’s area of responsibility. The Coast Guard recommends all recreational ice users plan their activities carefully, dress appropriately, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels. Recreational users and island residents should stay tuned to local media resources for the status of regional waterway closures.



Port Reports -  January 14

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Denny Dushane, Jim Conlon
Wilfred Sykes arrived in Sturgeon Bay on Wednesday for winter lay-up, joining seven others vessels already in lay-up at Bay Shipbuilding. Others expected but yet to arrive include the 1,000 footer Mesabi Miner, due sometime on Jan. 14. The 1,000 footer James R. Barker is also expected, along with Lee A. Tregurtha and Joseph L. Block. Also in winter lay-up are American Spirit, Alpena, American Courage, John G. Munson for engine conversion, Cason J. Callaway, Arthur M. Anderson (which did not sail in 2015) and the tug Invincible (which did not sail in 2015). In total there should be 12 vessels spending the winter lay-up of 2015/16 in Sturgeon.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Denny Dushane
The tug Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender arrived in Milwaukee in the late afternoon to early evening on Jan. 12 for winter lay-up. Expected sometime on Jan. 14 is the Stewart J. Cort.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Wednesday night the G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge. The tug Manitou assisted the Integrity and broke ice where needed. The tug Undaunted and its barge Pere Marquette 41 also tied up at Lafarge Wednesday night and will unload cargo.


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.

1946: The BADGER STATE, a former Great Lakes canal ship as a) FORDONIAN, b) YUKONDOC and c) GEORGIAN, foundered off the mouth of the Grijalva River in the Gulf of Mexico.

1969: SAGAMO, retired former flagship of the Lake Muskoka passenger ships in Central Ontario, burned at the dock in Gravenhurst as a total loss.

1981: The former Lake Erie rail car ferry and later barge MAITLAND NO. 1 rolled over between Yarmouth, NS and Rockland, ME. An attempt to tow the vessel upside down failed and it sank. The ship was under tow of IRVING MAPLE and bound for Port Everglades, FL with a load of scrap. It may have been renamed b) TRIO TRADO at Quebec City on the way south.

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


Seaway wraps up strong 2015 navigation season

1/13 - Cornwall, Ont. – With water temperatures well above the 10-year average, the St. Lawrence Seaway closed its 2015 navigation season ice free on December 31st. Thirty-six million tonnes of cargo transited the waterway during the season, with grain, at volumes well above the five-year average, leading the way. The Seaway once again proved to be a key asset for farmers as they shipped their crops to markets at home and overseas.

Grain volumes on the Seaway amounted to 10.8 million tonnes, one of the strongest years in recent memory. The Port of Thunder Bay, the principal point of entry for grain into the Great Lakes / Seaway System, reported its second-best season in 15 years. Combined with grain being loaded onto ships from other ports such as Hamilton, Duluth / Superior and Toledo, agricultural commodities have become increasingly important to the Great Lakes / Seaway System.

Terence Bowles, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC), said “the Seaway continues to serve as a vital trade artery, enabling cargo to move to more than 50 countries across the globe.”

In May, the SLSMC received the Promising Innovation in Transport Award by the International Transport Forum at the OECD, during the 2015 Summit of Transport Ministers held in Leipzig, Germany. The award recognized the SLSMC’s pioneering work in developing, with the supplier Cavotec, the world’s first Hands-Free Mooring (HFM) system for ships transiting locks. The use of this equipment will largely replace the traditional practice of manually securing ships in locks with steel mooring lines, enabling the Seaway to orchestrate gains in operating efficiency and safety, and become yet more competitive.

On this subject, Terence Bowles said “the OECD’s recognition of the Seaway’s work on Hands Free Mooring underscores the value of the innovative spirit demonstrated by our employees, a quality that is essential to success in today’s global economy. With strong support from a wide variety of stakeholders, we are setting the stage for a thoroughly modern lock operating system, which will ensure the Seaway’s future competitiveness and sustainability well into the 21st century, and attract more vessels to use our waterway.”

The 2015 season opened on April 2, about a week later than usual, reflecting the frigid conditions in early spring, and closed on December 31 with the passage of the vessel Mississagi through Welland Canal Lock 1 at 3:41 a.m. The last vessel to exit the Montreal / Lake Ontario section was the Baie St. Paul, which exited the St. Lambert Lock at 8:41 p.m. on December 30. The 2015 navigation season was 274 days in length.

“Now that the navigation season has concluded, winter maintenance projects at the U.S. Snell and Eisenhower locks are already underway. The maintenance of the U.S. locks is a year round job and Seaway employees are diligently working as we continue to rehabilitate and modernize the Seaway infrastructure under our Asset Renewal Program,” said Betty Sutton, Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

“The 2015 navigation season saw highs and lows in traditional cargoes that move through the Seaway System. Global demand for coal remained below last year’s levels whereas general cargo to and from international and domestic markets remained high with over a 100% increase. Project cargo and dry bulk materials to support the construction and manufacturing industry also remained in positive standings.”

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation


Kingston developer to buy marine museum property

1/13 - Kingston, Ont. – Kingston’s marine museum property, including the historic dry dock, is about to be sold to Patry Developments Inc. Company owner Jay Patry said he is planning to build a high-rise apartment on the 3.8-acre prime waterfront property — and to find a way to keep the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in its longtime home.

“We are the successful bidder for the dry dock,” Patry confirmed Monday. He purchased the land and buildings from the federal government for $3.2 million.

“We are going to work closely with the authorities that regulate the property and put some type of highrise on the site,” Patry told the Whig-Standard. “The feds acted like any smart seller. They took the highest bidder.”

Information about the sale came on the birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald, who, as prime minister, laid the cornerstone for the historic dry dock in 1890. For the purchase price, Patry gets the development property, the museum building, dry dock, and a crumbling deepwater wharf.

The City of Kingston could have bought the property for a dollar, but successive councils voted against that plan because of the estimated $23 million it would cost to fix the building and clean up the contamination. The marine museum still has a lease with the federal government that goes to the end of this year

As the new owner, Patry would have to provide 120 days’ notification if he wants the museum to vacate the site. He said, however, that he wants to work with the museum and city officials to form a partnership to keep the museum onsite.

The facility includes a large archival section, a 12,000-volume library, 31,000 photographs, 4,000 artifacts and art pieces, and 50,000 ships’ plans.

“We met with the marine museum and will work with them to partner with them to keep them in the space. It’s in disrepair and needs a lot to bring it up to par,” he said. “We feel the dry dock is best served as a dry dock. It should be left dry. We have to look at the site and determine how to preserve it and work with the museum to keep them there.”

The chairman of the board of directors at the marine museum, Christopher West, confirmed having “very preliminary” talks with Patry. “He said he’s keen to find a way to keep the museum on the site,” West said.

From the museum’s point of view, West said it’s most important to obtain a “long-term assurance of its residency at a site.” Without that stability, he said, it’s difficult to sell memberships and ask for donations.

“We’re starting the dance,” West said. “Ideally, sooner rather than later this year, with the involvement of the city as well, we can come to a meeting of the minds and a sustainable solution for the museum.”

Patry said it will be several years before ground is broken at the marine museum property.

“I’m interested in putting something extraordinary there. Something that’s not normal. Whatever that is — I don’t know what,” he said. “I want something that’s going to be looked at in 20 or 50 years and people say, ‘that’s cool.’”



Exhibit spotlights tower campaign; Fitzgerald exhibit now open daily

1/13 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum is shining a light on its campaign to build an 11-story tower at its location in Sturgeon Bay.

The museum recently restored the Fresnel lens that was formally housed in the Green Bay Entrance Lighthouse on permanent loan from the United State Lighthouse. The light is now situated in the lower lobby of the museum as part of an informational display on the tower project. The lens will sit enclosed atop the tower when it is completed.

Calling it a “major step forward,” the museum expansion serves both as an observation platform for the community’s stunning harbor and additional space for an array of state-of-the-art exhibits for all ages.

The “Reaching New Heights in Our Maritime Heritage” campaign will ultimately produce an addition that will promote Northeastern Wisconsin’s shipbuilders and maritime-related businesses as well as the world’s most extensive navigable waterways system.

While the expansion project will include an expanded lobby and museum store, the highlight will be the elevator ride to the 10th floor indoor observation deck with its 360-degree view of Sturgeon Bay. Guests will be able to see downtown Sturgeon Bay to the north and south as well as seeing commercial and recreational boat traffic in the harbor.

From here, visitors will have a simulated lighthouse experience by climbing the spiral staircase to the 11th floor beacon enclosure and open observation deck.

The lens from the Green Bay lighthouse was originally installed in 1935. It dates back to approximately 1880, having also been used at a different location. The lens design was created by French physicist Augustine Fresnel in 1822 and was used extensively in the United States, including in as many as 12 Door County lights. For more information related to the campaign or to support the project, please contact the museum’s executive director, Rick O’Farrell, at (920) 743-5958.

Meanwhile, the museum’s exhibit marking the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald can again be viewed daily at the museum in Sturgeon Bay.

While not one of the museum’s larger exhibits, it effectively pays tribute to the hardy seamen who braved some of the most difficult weather conditions ever experienced on Lake Superior.

Highlights include a deck light and life jacket given to the museum when the Fitzgerald was in Sturgeon Bay for off-season work. A video featuring radio conversations recorded on Nov. 10, 1975 discussing the possible sinking and rescue attempts is another intriguing aspect of the presentation. Artwork of the Fitzgerald from the museum’s collection is also interspersed throughout the exhibit.

Additional artifacts have been added to the exhibit while on display. One is a searchlight from the Arthur M. Anderson which was sailing near the Fitzgerald and courageously battled the storm in the search for survivors. The Anderson is currently docked at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. Also added is an impressive eight-foot model of the “Fitz” crafted by Jerry Guenther, whose model of the Titanic was the centerpiece of the museum’s 100th commemorative exhibit of its sinking in 2012.

Door County Marine Museum


Port Reports -  January 13

Owen Sound, Ont. – Paul Martin
The newly rebuilt Manitoulin made its first visit ever to the Owen Sound port elevator arriving on Sunday, Jan. 10. She was still unloading grain through Monday. The ship had to work itself around the Algoway moored on the west pier for the winter.


Seaway tolls to Increase by 2.0 percent in 2016

1/13 - The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced a toll rate increase of 2.0 percent for the 2016 navigation season. It also announced the introduction of a new Gateway Incentive program created to support the system’s competitiveness.

The new revised tariff has been posted on the Seaway website.

The Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system supports over 227,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity per year. The SLSMC remains dedicated to promoting the economic and environmental benefits of marine transportation, attracting new cargoes to the Seaway, and leveraging technology to enhance the system’s performance.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation


Lockheed Martin, Navy don’t know if USS Milwaukee failure a class-wide issue

1/13 - It’s still too early to say if the propulsion problem that sidelined the Navy’s latest Littoral Combat Ship – the Great Lakes-built USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) – is a class-wide issue, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of Littoral Ships & Systems, told reporters on Monday.

The company and the service are now combing through a series of computerized “logic statements” to see what series of instructions caused the two clutch mechanisms in the ships combining gear – the mechanism that pairs the ship’s Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines with the ship’s Colt-Pielstick diesel engines to Milwaukee’s water jets—to slip, wear and likely contaminated the lube oil system, according to a working theory of the casualty failure provided to USNI News last month.

“We’re still going through he root cause analysis with the Navy on that. It’s probably too early to neck down to exactly what it is,” Lockheed’s Joe North told reporters at a briefing ahead of the Surface Navy Association 2016 symposium. “We don’t know if it’s a single ship issue or if it’s a class issue, right now.”

Since the ship was towed into port at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, Va. on Dec. 11 engineers from Lockheed, its sub contractors – including German gear manufacturer RENK – and the service have combed through the logic statements looking for what specific software instructions the ship’s computers sent to the gearing system that resulted in the slips that sidelined Milwaukee.

“It’s complicated because it’s through he propulsion train we have to have to go through all the logic statements and work everything through,” North said. “The positive side is we took [the clutches] out and we’re replacing them. You’ll see her sailing out here in a about a month’s time she’ll be under her own power sailing to Mayport.”

The issue with the combining gear, USNI News understands, has not been seen in any of the other Freedom-class ships and the service has told USNI News Milwaukee’s problems were not part of a larger class problem.

Following the repairs – estimated to complete in early February – the ship will move to Mayport to undergo shock trial tests for the service.



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 was 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.


William H. Donner to be cut up at Menominee

1/12 - The crane barge William H. Donner, a former lake vessel that has been used for many years as a cargo transfer vessel at Marinette, Wis., has been moved across the River to K&K Warehousing in Menominee, Mich., where it will eventually be cut up for scrap.

Crews have been working since mid December at Fuel & Dock in Marinette putting together a new ground-based crane that will be used to unload future deliveries of pig iron ingots to the dock. Its unknown if a second similar crane will be added in the future.

The 524-foot-long Donner, built in 1914 at Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Mahoning Steamship Co., and which later sailed for Bethlehem Steel, carried the same name her entire career. She last operated as a powered vessel in 1969.

Scott Best


Miller Ferry closes for winter season due to weather conditions

1/12 - Catawba, Ohio – After a unseasonably warm start to the winter which allowed Lake Erie’s waters to remain open for passage, Miller Ferry has finally announced that it will no longer run for the remainder for the winter.

Initially scheduled to run a 10:30 a.m. trip to Put-in-Bay today, harsh winter weather conditions proved too much for the morning run on Monday. Miller Ferries to Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass Island closed for rest of winter season.

While the extended season certainly made for longer hours for Miller crews, the warmer weather up to this point has allowed Miller ferry to help boost production on many large island construction projects.

Norwalk Reflector


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 12

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

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 - 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 fitout at Milwaukee. 1970: BARON BERWICK made one trip inland in 1959 and returned as b) FILTRIC in 1967. The latter was abandoned 5 miles south of Cape Finistere on the northwest coast of Spain after the cargo shifted. The vessel was enroute from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Alexandria, Egypt, and it drifted aground the next day as a total loss.

1971: The West German freighter BRANDENBURG sank in the Straits of Dover, 7 miles south of Folkestone, England, after apparently hitting the wreck of TEXACO CARIBBEAN which had gone down the previous day following a collision. The former had been through the Seaway in 1969.

1979: A propane explosion aboard the tug WESTERN ENGINEER at Thunder Bay resulted in extensive damage. Two were injured. The ship was never repaired and noted as broken up in 1980.

1985: ATLANTIC HOPE first came inland when it was fresh from the shipyard in 1965. It was gutted by a fire in the accommodation area in position 9.22 N / 60.37 W as b) ALIVERI HOPE. The ship was abandoned but towed to Barbados and eventually into Mamonal, Colombia, on October 14, 1985, for dismantling.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


The new faces of maritime: Local women highlight changing workforce

1/11 - Duluth, Minn. – Looking out over the deck of the lake freighter Edwin H. Gott, Ellora Hammerberg surveyed a landscape just outside Detroit that was blackened with the soot and oil of industry.

“We just pulled up to Zug Island on the Detroit River,” Hammerberg said into her cellphone. “It’s just below and it’s not very pretty.”

As third mate aboard the 1,000-foot freighter, Hammerberg, 25, is living out a dream. A Duluth East High School graduate, she was called to the profession in her teens. Several seasons of a part-time job with the local Vista Fleet gave her an up-close look at the port of Duluth-Superior.

“Watching the big boats come into the harbor, it just fascinated me,” she said. “It also fascinated me that people didn’t pay attention to how important they are to keeping the economy and everything going.”

Hammerberg is not alone in her observation. Students in the Transportation and Logistics Management major at the University of Wisconsin-Superior call what they study “the great hidden empire.”

“Because if it works right, which it does most of the time, you don’t notice,” said Richard Stewart, the longtime director of the program who sailed for 15 years, finishing as a master of oceangoing vessels.

But for an industry that is experiencing a graying of its workforce, it’s imperative that people like Hammerberg find their way to it. Hers is among the fresh faces in an industry known for its scruffy beards.

In a 2012 study, titled “Transportation & Logistics 2030,” the world’s largest professional services firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, analyzed the growth of commodities and product movement around the globe against the backdrop of an aging workforce. It found that 35 percent of the American workforce was approaching retirement age; Stewart calls this generation of aging baby boomers the “pig in the python.” The industry, the study summarized, needed to make top priorities out of improving its image and training and developing younger workers.

The study also found the industry was dominated by men, with women making up between 20 and 30 percent of the workforce globally — and only 10 percent of its management.

“It’s an archaic industry for its propensity to include only men,” said Kate Ferguson, who last year joined the Duluth Seaway Port Authority as its director of business development. “But I’m seeing more and more younger professionals and women. There’s been an infusion.”

Ferguson, 32, grew up in Michigan on the shores of Lake Huron. For years, she lifeguarded and would use her binoculars to check out the lake freighters pulling into dock at the local LaFarge cement terminal.

She went to UWS to play hockey first and later soccer. It was an adviser who steered her into the burgeoning Transportation and Logistics Management major. “It was an awakening,” Ferguson said. “It was right in front of me my entire life. ‘That’s what I want to do.’”

The first thing Stewart did was try to talk her out of it. Since its inception at the university in 1998, and Stewart’s arrival in 1999, the major has grown from three students to what it is now, pushing 90 — and Stewart has made it a point of first trying to talk each of his students out of the program.

It’s a 24/7 job, he’ll tell them. Managers are expected to get out into the field. They need to be willing to take a call at 4 a.m. on a Sunday to hear, “We’ve got a problem?” and respond with, “Give me the details.”

“If I can’t talk them out of it,” Stewart said, “they can stay.”

Blessed with support from the entire cluster of transportation industries in the Twin Ports — maritime, rail, air, truck and pipeline — the hallmarks of the UWS major are its internships and on-site visits that allow students to “caress the steel,” Stewart said.

These are boom times for Stewart’s graduating students, who typically have three to four jobs from which to pick. A study Stewart and UWS just submitted for peer review reveals one of the reasons for their prosperity: Of more than 600 colleges and universities surveyed, the UWS study found only 170 offered degrees in some combination of supply chain management or transportation and logistics.

The rise of the global economy has created a tremendous expansion of the need for transportation and logistics, Stewart said, but “at the same time we haven’t been putting a lot of people in the workforce.”

Most students, like Ferguson, transfer into the program once they’re already on campus, Stewart said. He explained that while moving goods around the world is a noble profession, the industry’s image problem comes from the fact that it’s not one people talk about in the way parents and their children discuss, say, getting into the medical or engineering fields, or other career-oriented professions.

“I have people all the time quizzically ask me, ‘Why aren’t people entering this field as freshmen?’” Stewart said. “But you always tell your kids to do what you think is important. So if you’re not telling them, who will?”

Since starting with the local Port Authority in July, Ferguson has been working side-by-side with the person she was hired to replace, longtime trade development director Ron Johnson.

Ferguson came with credentials that included time spent at Essentia Health, the Great Lakes Fleet and Canadian National Railway. She described the overlapping time spent working alongside Johnson as one of “downloading for him and uploading for me.”

“She’s really going to have a full plate,” said Johnson, who retired Friday. “She’s a very smart, aggressive and talented person.”

The Port Authority website bills Ferguson as its “first point of contact for companies pursuing domestic and international trade opportunities.”

Johnson was noted for his work trying to create more agricultural shipping in the port after the grain industry’s peak in the late 1970s, and helping to keep Duluth from becoming nothing more than a residual port.

A Marine and later a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, Johnson first learned about transportation and logistics growing up on a dairy farm in Carlton County and later working for the Junction Oasis truck stop in Carlton. The settings offered valuable and practical lessons, he said.

He called the Great Lakes “the fourth coast,” joining the East, West and Gulf coasts, but added it’s tough work generating business given that the lakes’ shipping industry largely shuts down part of the year.

“We need the best, as far as the best talent, to get the word out,” he said.

Now charged with drumming up business for a Port Authority that soon will feature a nearly $18 million refurbished dock for general and project cargoes, Ferguson is eager to help diversify the cargoes coming into the Duluth port.

She said she couldn’t yet talk about specifics, but she’s optimistic and said there are opportunities on the horizon. The new employees coming into the industry, she said, are bringing with them more skills when it comes to data crunching and analysis.

When asked to assess her own strengths, Ferguson said, “I’m someone who has always brought energy and enthusiasm to the table.”

Back aboard the Gott, Hammerberg was getting ready to go on duty in the pilothouse.

“I’m the one in the front window, piloting the vessel — when to turn, what (coordinates) to steer on,” she said, “On the river, the captain still stands by.”

Hammerberg graduated in 2009 from Duluth East before attending the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, Mich. Whereas programs like the major at UWS will produce the next generation of managers, the maritime academies located near ports across the country will train its operators.

Job placement is nearly 100 percent out of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Hammerberg said, recalling the vessel operating companies and unions that would come to the academy and pitch their opportunities to the next wave of seafarers.

Following a mandatory sea project in the summer of 2014, Hammerberg graduated and chose to go to work for the Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet, now owned by CN, because it stood out as a good fit for her. She’s spent little time back home in Duluth since — one of the trade-offs for a life on the water.

“I live on the boat more often than anything else,” she said. “You learn to see the world from a different point of view from what a lot of people see. When you’re away you fully appreciate being home. You don’t take a lot of the things for granted that people normally do.”

Hammerberg recently got engaged to another graduate of the maritime academy and together they’re going to make a home base out of Traverse City.

Looking out at Zug Island, she resisted the temptation to go ashore. There are safer places. Asked about the maritime industry’s future when it comes to filling its wave of retirees, Hammerberg stuck to her specialty.

“Honestly, I’m not 100 percent positive,” she said. “A lot of companies are changing and trying to become more efficient. But the office deals with all the numbers. Me, personally, as third mate, I’m keeping it running.”

Duluth News Tribune


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, 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."

1919: The laker CASTALIA left the lakes in two pieces and was rejoined at Lauzon, Quebec, for a new career on the Atlantic in 1918. The ship broke in two 65 miles off Sable Island, Nova Scotia, and the crew was rescued by the BERGENFJORD.

1962: The retired Interlake Steamship Company bulk carrier ARCTURUS was under tow of the tug PRIA GRANDE for scrapping in Europe when it sank in the Atlantic in position 46.10 N / 8.50 W.

1965: CELIA B. made 15 trips through the Seaway in 1959-1962 under Liberian registry. The vessel arrived at Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles, as f) SEA MAID with engine damage and having lost its propeller. The ship was ultimately deemed not worth repairing and arrived at Rotterdam, Netherlands, under tow for scrapping on June 22, 1966.

1974: The first FEDERAL HUDSON to visit the Great Lakes was sailing as d) GOLDEN KING when it struck the wreck of the THETIS off Chittagong, Bangladesh, while inbound from Singapore Roads. It was beached in sinking condition and sustained water damage at high tide. The vessel was refloated on February 13, 1974, and taken to Chittagong to unload and get repaired. It was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as d) CHAR HSIUNG in 1980.

1981: ARNA began Seaway trading in 1965. It stranded off Shimonoseki, Japan, as b) IQBALBAKSH and was declared a total loss. The vessel was sold to South Korean shipbreakers and arrived at Busan, under tow on August 2, 1981.

1993: EUROJOY was anchored off Cadiz, Spain, when a spontaneous combustion fire broke out in the cargo of coal that had been bound for Turkey. The ship was listed as a total loss and sold for scrap but was repaired. It sailed additional years until scrapping at Alang, India, as g) LENA II in 1998. It first visited the Seaway as a) ATLANTIC CHALLENGE in 1971 and returned as b) ANGEBALTIC in 1981, c) ASTURIAS in 1986 and e) EUROJOY in 1990.

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


Public offered last look inside at B.C. Cobb power plant

1/10 - Muskegon, Mich. – On Saturday Jan. 8, Consumers Energy offered the public a rare glimpse at the inner workings of the soon-to-be-closed B.C. Cobb power plant in Muskegon. The first-come, first-served guided tours turned out to be very popular, with all slots reserved by 10 am. However the very gracious volunteer staff issued at least 80 stand by tickets, and it appeared that all those who were willing to wait for a tour were able to be accommodated, with the last tour starting about 4 pm.

B.C. Cobb is the only Consumers Energy plant that receives all its coal via lake freighter. It’s last shipment was delivered by the James R. Barker back on November 8th, 2015.

The tours were limited to the "turbine deck" the main floor of the primary galley in the power plant. Unfortunately, due to security regulations, no photography was allowed inside the plant. Visitors were shown the 5 primary boilers as well as the 5 turbine generators. Two boilers and two turbines are currently active. In spite of the near freezing temperatures outside, the air temperature on the turbine deck was 92 degrees. Visitors were also shown the interior of the now inactive control room for Units 1,2 and 3, including a display showing the real time status of Unit 4, and a schematic of the boilers and turbines. The volunteers, mostly long time plant employees, were willing to answer all questions about the plant and others throughout Consumers system.

Units 1 and 2 of the plant first came on line in 1948 burning Eastern coal. Units 1, 2 and 3 produced 60 Megawatts each. They were retired in 1990, but converted to natural gas and reactivated in 2000. They were permanently shut down in 2008. Units 4 and 5 are still active and now burn Western coal. They produce 160 MW each. Due to their age and more stringent environmental emission regulations, they will be retired in April 2016. At that point decommissioning and demolition of the power plant will begin, with work expected to be completed by the end of 2018. The exiting substation next to the plant will remain in operation. The possibility of reusing the property for other maritime uses is being investigated.

Tom Hynes


Port Reports -  January 10

Muskegon, Mich., Winter Report – Tom Hynes
A quick drive along the eastern shore at dusk found the following vessels wintering in the harbor: tugs Ethan George and Robert W. Purcell (both out of the water on blocks), tugs Fischer Hayden and Barbara Andrie in the slip near the Andrie headquarters building, Drummond Islander II and several work barges south of the Andrie slip, the vessels LST-393, Port City Princess, Paul H. Townsend, Trieste, tug Zeus, and barges McKee Sons and Cleveland Rocks at the Mart Dock, an unidentified work tug and barges working at Heritage Landing, and the tug Candice Elise next to the Milwaukee Clipper. With the exception of the Drummond Islander II and perhaps the unidentified tug, all have spent winters in Muskegon in the past several years.


California lawyer buys St. Clair Inn

1/10 - St. Clair, Mich. – The St. Clair Inn officially sold last week, and community leaders say they’re glad to see the historic building potentially returning to its former glory.

City officials said California lawyer and businessman Jeff Katofsky, managing member of Nevada limited liability company Planet Clair LLC, purchased the property, which is on the St. Clair River.

The company is assessing the property with plans to reopen it as a hotel and restaurant. According to the St. Clair County register of deeds, the purchase was mortgaged for $4.1 million.

Katofsky said he has been studying the inn and has been in negotiations for three to four months, and he’s been to the area several times. By Friday, Planet Clair had owned the property for two days.

“I fell in love the first time I drove up and saw it,” he said. “Before I even walked in the door it was something that I knew that I wanted to do.

Officials had talked over the purchaser’s references, and expectations for what could be done to the inn — something Bohm called a cornerstone for St. Clair. And after spending time with Katofsky, he said he appeared to have “the ability and the wherewithal” to take the development on.

“Make no mistake, to rehab the St. Clair Inn, it’s a huge undertaking,” Bohm said. “It’ll cost a lot of money — millions of dollars. I was most impressed that he fully understood that. He wasn’t going to come in and fix it (and) not do it cheaply.”

Katofsky declined to discuss finances for the project, though he said because every day “that property is now costing money,” it’s in his best interest to move ahead quickly in finalizing plans.

He said he didn’t yet know the full scope of needed renovations, and that it’s too soon to set a timeline for rehabbing the property — or for opening it to the public.

“I’m sure there are things that we haven’t seen yet. What I can tell you is it’s going to be beautiful again,” Katofsky said. “If you ask me that question in 120 days, I could probably give you a better answer to that. There’s a lot for us to learn and understand before we can take a hammer anywhere.”

Vacant for two years and long for sale, the 90-year-old inn at 500 N. Riverside Ave. and surrounding property has been subject to an ownership dispute and a countywide effort to bring its redevelopment back to the forefront.

Port Huron Times Herald


Discarded goldfish are taking over Hamilton's harbor

1/10 - Hamilton, Ont. – Have you ever dumped your goldfish in Hamilton Harbor? Here's the bad news: it's been breeding.

Researchers at the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) have counted as many as two million large and small goldfish this year, fish that are likely descendants of people dropping unwanted pets in the water. Now there are so many that they're throwing another wrench into attempts to rehabilitate the bay.

This year, the RBG team has counted as many as 2,500 large goldfish and two million young, said Tys Theysmeyer, head of natural lands with the Royal Botanical Gardens. They seem to be thriving thanks to climate change, and poor water conditions that have discouraged native species from flourishing.

RBG spotted handfuls of them dating back to the 1990s, Theysmeyer said. But lately, the problem has worsened.

"People used to actively release goldfish into the bay a lot," he said. "In the last five years, their numbers have been rising and rising." The growing goldfish population isn't limited to Hamilton. The province says they've been a problem in other areas of the lower Great Lakes, in particular the north shore of Lake Erie.

In Hamilton, the numbers are rising from a perfect storm of water conditions. Warmer water temperatures mean that new fish species such as the goldfish can survive, where decades ago it might not have. Theysmeyer says pressures on water quality in the bay, such as contaminated overflow from the city, have also caused a decline in native fish species, leaving more room for goldfish.

Native fish such as northern pike, freshwater drum and several sunfish and minnow species are in short supply, Theysmeyer said. He estimates that only two species — namely yellow perch and blue gill — are showing up in greater numbers.

"A couple of native fish have been on the rise," he said. "But goldfish win."

This year in particular, RBG has seen large schools of goldfish in the area. The RBG and Hamilton Conservation Authority tried to collect some, and "we collected thousands," said Jennifer Bowman, an RBG aquatic ecologist.

RBG has contacted the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Ministry of Natural Resources, Bowman said, about "how they would want to move forward and if they want to take action."

The presence of goldfish throws the ecosystem off balance, Bowman said. "Goldfish are not balanced."

"All of Hamilton Harbor is turning into a dirty goldfish bowl."

Carp are a larger problem facing the harbor, and one the RBG and other organizations have tried to tackle for years. Carp are bigger than goldfish, so big that their feeding and spawning actions can uproot and crush aquatic plants.

They're also bottom feeders, which means they forage in the soft sediments of a river mouth marsh environment, the RBG says. And while RBG has built an extensive barrier to keep carp out of its marsh, the species is still an issue in the harbor.

But goldfish are increasingly prevalent. Theysmeyer said their presence is a good example of how humans shouldn't mess with an ecosystem. "If you let your pets go, strange things can happen in the wild."

The future looks brighter for native fish species. The city is spending millions in improvements to the Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant, cited as one of the major impediments to water quality. The feds have also started cleaning up Randle Reef, a large underwater mass of toxic material in the bay.

Theysmeyer hopes those actions will improve native fish numbers and the goldfish won't be quite so dominant.

But "until that happens, goldfish will be king."



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.

1967: PRINDOC (iii) was laid up for the winter at Cardinal, Ontario, when it broke its moorings in a storm and drifted down the St. Lawrence. The shipkeeper was able to get the anchor down and they held just above the Iroquois power dam, averting a major problem.

1970: IOANNA stranded near Sete, France, in a gale while inbound from Barcelona, Spain and had to be sold for scrap. The ship had been a Seaway trader as a) A.J. FALKLAND in 1959 and returned as b) PETER in 1960 and 1961.

1971: CATTARO came through the Seaway in 1959 for the Ellerman's Wilson Line. It caught fire in the engine room at Galatz, Romania, as b) VRACHOS and had to be beached. It was subsequently broken up for scrap.

1977: The tanker CHESTER A. POLING broke in two and sank off the coast of Massachusetts in a storm after an explosion in the forward pump room. Two members of the crew were lost. The ship had been a Great Lakes trader as a) PLATTSBURG SOCONY and as b) MOBIL ALBANY.

1981: SOL RIVER came to the Great Lakes in 1968. It ran aground as f) LIZA near Combi, Lemnos Island, Greece. The hull broke in two and sank January 15. The ship was carrying phosphate enroute from Sfax, Tunisia, to Kavalla, Greece, when it went down on the Aegean Sea with the loss of 5 lives.

2001: The Cypriot freighter ARETHUSA first came through the Seaway in 1987. Fire broke out in the engine room and spread to the bridge and accommodation area while the ship was in the northern Great Belt. The vessel, enroute from Casablanca, Morocco, to Gdansk, Poland, with phosphate, was towed to Gydnia, Poland, after the blaze was extinguished. Repairs to the 28-year-old vessel were not worthwhile and it arrived at the scrapyard at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling on March 26, 2001.

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


Lakes/Seaway iron ore trade down 8.5 percent in 2015

1/9 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 54.4 million tons in 2015, a decrease of 8.5 percent compared to 2014. Shipments slipped 7.8 percent compared to the trade’s 5-year average.

Loadings at U.S. ports totaled 47.1 million tons, a decrease of 12.4 percent compared to 2014, and 10.3 percent off their 5-year average.

Loadings at Canadian Seaway ports totaled 7.3 million tons, an increase of 29.8 percent compared to 2014, and 11.6 percent ahead of their 5-year average.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Lake Erie's lack of ice means shipping companies save money this winter

1/9 - Windsor, Ont. – A lack of ice on Lake Erie is making life easier for shipping companies this winter. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. tweeted Thursday that the lake had been declared 99 per cent ice free earlier this week.

Peter Berry, the harbormaster for the Windsor Port Authority, in Windsor, Ont., said as a result of these conditions, there has been no need to call in the Canadian Coast Guard to help with ice jams this season. Last February, nearly 81 per cent of all the Great Lakes' surface area was covered with ice.

"We don't have to work with the Coast Guard at this point for issuing ice notices or having icebreakers go out to work with the ships," he explained in a telephone interview on Thursday night.

"At 99 per cent, the ice that they are speaking of, that one per cent is mostly shoreline ice, which wouldn't affect commercial shipping," said Berry, adding that means big savings for those companies.

The Detroit River is a major shipping channel. It helps link Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan to Lake Erie and eventually Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Berry said the low ice levels have also meant that Coast Guard equipment has suffered less wear and tear this winter.

"The impact economically ... is the fact that those repairs do not need to occur and neither do those expenses," he said.

When there is more ice on the lake, it takes time for icebreakers to do their work. But with no ice this winter, there are no such delays to contend with.

"You look at the movement of things such as salt, which is something that moves right through till February most times," said Berry. "Instead of the ships having to wait to leave the salt dock for six to 10 days, they're able to leave as soon as they're full and get through most areas of the lake."



$3.6 million cut from federal budget for dredging Cleveland Harbor

1/9 - Cleveland, Ohio – The dispute between the Port of Cleveland and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers heated up again this week after Army brass obtained a cut of more than $3 million in funds budgeted for dredging the Cuyahoga River shipping channel.

Port of Cleveland President & CEO Wil Friedman wrote to Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman on Tuesday to express his dismay at the "troubling actions" of the Army Corps and to seek their assistance in recouping the money.

At the root of the dispute are the Army Corps' ongoing efforts to dump dredged sediment from the river channel directly into the open Lake Erie, rather than to continue its longstanding practice of storing the sediment in lakefront containment dikes. Port officials and the Ohio EPA contend the sediment is potentially toxic and unsuitable for open-lake disposal.

"We believe that this action will only complicate and endanger 2016 Cuyahoga River navigation channel dredging," Friedman wrote in the letters to Ohio's U.S. senators.

In response to Friedman's complaints, Army Corps spokesman Bruce Sanders said the money contained in last month's congressional end-of-the-year federal budget signed into law by President Obama "is sufficient to dredge Cleveland Harbor in accordance with federal dredging regulations."

Sanders added that the Army Corps is awaiting a response to its request for certification that would allow it to dispose of dredged sediment in the open lake.

Last year, the Ohio EPA rejected the Army Corps' request for open-lake certification. That decision was enforced in an order by U.S. District Court Judge Donald Nugent. Ohio EPA officials said they would not change that decision this year.

In the original federal budget, $9.54 million was earmarked for dredging Cleveland Harbor, Friedman said. But unknown to port officials or the Ohio congressional delegation, Army Corps brass advised a congressional Appropriations Committee to cut the budgeted money for dredging the harbor to $5.94 million -- a reduction of $3.6 million, he said.

"In short, we believe that this request was made as an attempt to circumvent" Nugent's order banning open-lake disposal, Friedman wrote in the letters. Nugent's order only applied to 2015 dredging, but Friedman said he would ask the judge for an extension of that order to cover 2016 also.

To make up for the $3.6 million shortfall, Friedman asked Brown and Portman to seek the necessary money from a $273 million Army Corps fund set aside for operations and maintenance of federal harbor and channel projects.

The annual dredging of sediment that builds up in the Cuyahoga River is necessary to keep the channel waters deep enough for large commercial ships.

The Army Corps' actions come at a time when activity in the Cleveland Harbor is its busiest in decades, with a more than 500 percent growth since 2014 in shipping containers moving through the docks, and a 300 percent increase in overall tonnage, Friedman said.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Port Reports -  January 9

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Jan. 8, Stephen B. Roman unloaded cement.


Obituary: Thomas M. “Captain Tom” Kelly

Thomas M. Kelly, 67, of Suttons Bay passed away at home surrounded by his family on Jan. 8 of Mantle Cell Lymphoma.

He was known as Captain Tom to thousands of students throughout Michigan. To colleagues, parents and educators he was known as a visionary. That vision was to teach children and adults to know and love the Great Lakes and to use that knowledge and passion to protect the lakes. Inland Seas, the schoolship he conceived and captained for 20 years, with its distinctive green hull and dark red sails, could frequently be seen on Grand Traverse Bay.

Tom’s love of sailboats began at age 14 when his family moved to Michigan and his father bought a 16-foot gaff-rigged catboat to sail on White Lake. He never lost his love of the water. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in resource management and a master’s degree in fisheries biology from the University of Michigan. He operated his own charter sailing business, worked on a U of M research vessel, served as a marine consultant and authored numerous papers on aquatic research. He held a U.S. Coast Guard master’s license for 100-ton sail and power vessels.

His dream of a schoolship began in 1988 when a friend suggested he crew on the Clearwater, the Hudson River sloop and environmental schoolship founded by folksinger Pete Seeger. Upon returning to the Great Lakes in 1989, Tom founded Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA) with partners John Elder and Peter Doren. In 1989, he and his team began taking students on educational trips aboard the Malabar, Manitou, and his own 35’ wooden ketch, Cygnet. In 1990 Tom was featured in a National Geographic Special, “Great Lakes – Fragile Seas.” By 1994 the schooner Inland Seas was built and ready to set sail. The program attracted students from throughout Michigan and Tom also led groups from as far away as Japan, Germany and Indonesia.

In 2001 ISEA purchased property from Northern Lumber Company in Suttons Bay and built the Inland Seas Education Center. The building, which includes a museum, classrooms, laboratories and a boat shop, furthered Tom’s mission of inspiring children and adults about the wonders of the Great Lakes. Tom told a reporter once, “I grew up more interested in making a difference than making a buck,” and he did. He leaves a legacy of students young and old inspired by his passion to love and protect the Great Lakes.

Shortly after he retired in 2013, Inland Seas carried its 100,000th student aboard. In August 2014 Traverse magazine featured Tom, calling him “The man who brought schoolships to the Great Lakes.” Tom married Anne Weber in 1988. She shared his love of sailing and became his “first mate,” frequently joining him aboard Inland Seas and Cygnet. Their daughter Emma was born in 1992 and their son Graham was born in 1995. Both children share their father’s passion for the environment.

A memorial service will be held in January, with the date to be announced. Memorial contributions may be made to ISEA’s “Tom Kelly Scholarship Fund” or the “Tom Kelly Schoolship Upkeep Fund” at Inland Seas Education Association, P.O. Box 218, Suttons Bay, MI 49682, or to ShareCare of Leelanau, Inc., 7401 East Duck Lake Road, Suite 600, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653.


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.

1974: MARDINA REEFER ran aground at the breakwall at Stephenville, Newfoundland, while inbound in stormy weather. The ship was scheduled to load pickled herring for Europe but became a total loss. Salvage efforts failed and the hull was pounded on the rocks and eventually split in two. The crew was rescued. The vessel had been through the Seaway in 1973.

1974: LUCIE SCHULTE had been a Pre-Seaway and Seaway visitor to the Great Lakes. It sank in bad weather as b) TEVEGA in the Bay of Biscay while enroute from Antwerp, Belgium, to Casablanca, Morocco, with a cargo of barley. Only one member of the crew survived.

1979: MARIGO M.F. had been a Seaway trader in 1973 and earlier as a) NEGO ANNE in 1971. The ship went aground off Alexandria, Egypt, and sustained hull and water damage. The bulk carrier was not worth repairing and sold to Brodospas of Split, Yugoslavia, for scrap. It arrived August 13, 1979, for dismantling.

1980: BILL CROSBIE was carrying steel when it got into trouble on the Atlantic on January 4, 1980. The vessel, a Seaway trader in 1974, was listing badly when it was brought into St. John's, Newfoundland, only to roll over and sink at the wharf on this date. The hull was towed out to sea, bottom up, on November 3, 1980, and scuttled 12 miles off shore.

1983: SANTONA stranded in the Red Sea off Sudan at North Jumna Shoal. The hull was refloated but sold for scrap. It arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, on April 4, 1983, for dismantling. It was a busy Seaway trader and had made 36 trips to the Great Lakes from 1959 to 1967.

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


U.S. steelmaking capacity drops to 60 percent

1/8 - Duluth, Minn. – The American Iron and Steel Institute reported this week that U.S. steel mills are now running at just 60 percent of capacity, with the other 40 percent idled as foreign steel continues to trade into the domestic market.

The most recent 60.2 percent capacity level is down from 60.9 percent the week before and 75.1 percent at this time one year ago. Except for a brief dip during the 2009 global recession, that 60.2 percent capacity level is the lowest in at least the last quarter century.

The institute also reported that raw steel production by U.S. manufacturers dropped by another 1.1 percent during the week ending Jan. 2 after dropping 4.4 percent the week before.

The 1,440,000 tons of steel produced last week is down nearly 20 percent from the 1,798,000 tons produced during the same week one year ago.

For all of 2015, U.S. steel production hit 86,843,000 net tons, or about 71 percent of capacity. That's down 9.3 percent from the 95,706,000 net tons in 2014 when the industry ran at nearly 78 percent capacity.

About 29 percent of all finished steel sold in the U.S. in 2015 was made overseas.

All of those numbers are not good news for Minnesota's taconite iron ore industry that supplies the raw material for the largest U.S. steelmakers. And that unused capacity is the big reason why seven of the state's 11 major iron ore related operations are closed or about to close with their employees laid-off — there's simply no demand for their product.

Minnesota officials in Washington are working to curb those imports, noting that demand has remained fairly strong for steel in the U.S. — with record auto sales and strong consumer buying — but that too much of that demand is being met with steel made in foreign nations and being sold in the U.S. below cost.

"The steel industry is feeling so much pain today because it is completely decoupled from the modest growth occurring in the rest of the economy," Lisa Harrison, spokeswoman for the American Iron and Steel Institute, told the News Tribune. "This is a result of the continuing surge in dumped and subsidized imports coming into the U.S. market from around the world. "

Minnesota and Iron Range officials hope that increased trade sanctions and enforcement in 2016 will help stem the tide of foreign steel and increase U.S. capacity. Steel industry officials agree.

"A more effective U.S. trade policy is needed to level the playing field as well as preserve and strengthen our nation's manufacturing base," the institute notes, although Harrison said the only long-term solution is for China to stop subsidizing its steel mills and stop making more steel than the world needs.

There was some good news in this week's report.

Raw steel production in the Great Lakes region increased 2.4 percent from 568,000 tons the previous week to 582,000 tons in the week that ended Jan. 2. It's those mills that are the primary consumer of Minnesota taconite.

In another positive move for the U.S. based industry, the institute reported Wednesday that steel imports were down 5 percent in December compared to November imports, based on U.S. Commerce Department data. Imports were also down some from 2014 levels at year's end.

Imported steel made up about 28 percent of steel sold in the U.S. in November and about 29 percent for all of 2015.

In December, the largest finished steel import permit applications were from South Korea, Turkey, Japan, China and Brazil.

The American Iron and Steel Institute represents North American steel producers. The institute's member companies represent over three quarters of both U.S. and North American steel capacity.

There was a glimmer of hope for the first few days of 2016 as iron ore prices on the global spot market inched back above $40. Iron ore edged up 16 percent from a low of $37 in mid-December to above $43 to end last week.

That ended this week when the Chinese stock market tanked, and ore prices immediately began to fall. Prices sat at about $41 on Wednesday. That compares to $68 per ton one year ago and as high as $190 per ton in 2011.

Experts predict stagnant prices in the range of $30-$40 per ton for the foreseeable future, with a Reuters poll last month suggesting the iron ore price could fall below $30 per ton in 2016. Some analysts agree that prices could fall below $30 per ton as global production continues to far outpace demand.

While the global spot price doesn't directly affect some Minnesota producers who mine for their own blast furnaces — such as U.S Steel and ArcelorMittal — it does impact companies like Cliffs Natural Resources and Magnetation that don't make steel and must sell all their ore to other customers.

The cheap global price of ore also helps to hold down the cost of steel production in China and other nations compared to U.S. costs.

Cliffs downgraded by Moody's, Deutsche Bank

On Tuesday Moody's Investors Service downgraded Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. "Corporate Family Rating" and "Probability of Default Rating" to Caa1 and Caa1-PD from B1 and B1-PD respectively. Moody's changed its overall outlook on Cliffs from "under review" to "negative."

Deutsche Bank also downgraded its rating of Cliffs from "hold" to "sell."

Cliffs, which late last month announced it had sold its last remaining coal mine interests, announced Tuesday that its board of directors has decided to reduce cash outflow by paying the final dividend on the Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock in common shares of its stock instead of cash.

Duluth News Tribune


Thunder Bay shipping season draws to a close

1/8 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – The shipping season on the Great Lakes is drawing to a close, but the Thunder Bay Port Authority is already looking ahead to what next year might bring.

The warm winter weather means freighters are encountering little to no ice as they cross Lake Superior, and that has the potential to create water level problems in the future, said Tim Heney, the chief executive officer of the Thunder Bay Port Authority.

"One of the concerns when we have no ice cover, like it looks like we're going to have this year, is that it can cause lake levels to drop more than usual because of evaporation," he said.

Instead, this season is ending on an unusual note when it comes to water levels, Heney explained.

"To see it bounce up in December is very unusual, because it usually drops about three inches on average in December." said Heney.

"We just don't want to see a return to the levels back in 2007, when we are at the all-time low, but it looks like that's not going to happen anytime soon," said Heney.

The lack of ice makes no difference in the length of the shipping season, said Heney, adding there are only three more vessels, which need to load up, before the season comes to a close.

CBC News


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 CHIEF WAWATAM, which had been aground since January 3. In 1974, BENSON FORD, of 1924, became beset by ice in Western Lake Erie.

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

1996: The research ship CALYPSO, a converted wooden minesweeper, served noted deep-sea diver Jacques Cousteau for many years. It came to the Great Lakes in 1980 and explored several wrecks including the EDMUND FITZGERALD and GUNILDA. It sank at Singapore following a collision on this date. The hull was refloated but never repaired. Subsequently, there were disputes over ownership, with a later report saying the vessel would be displayed at the Bahamas as a tourist attraction.

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


Rand announces appointments for U.S., Canadian fleets

1/7 - New York, N.Y. – Rand Logistics Inc. has announced the company has appointed Captain Paul J. Joaquin and Captain Gerald “Gerry” J. Ray as vice presidents of operations for the U.S. and Canadian fleets, respectively, effectively immediately.

The two will have executive responsibility for the coordination, execution and optimization of vessel operations to fulfill annual operating plan commitments. This includes workforce and resource planning, fleet safety, regulatory and environmental compliance, vessel expense management and driving operating excellence initiatives.

Both Joaquin and Ray joined the company in 2001. Joaquin is a graduate of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, Mich., where he received a degree in Marine Technology. He is a U.S. Coast Guard licensed pilot of all waters west of Cape Vincent. Ray is a graduate of Georgian College in Owen Sound, Ont., where he received a diploma in Marine Navigation Technology, and holds several licenses and certifications specific to the marine industry.

Rand Logistics


Mild December stretches ferry season on Erie

1/7 - Catawba Island, Ohio – When the calendar read Jan. 5 in the past two years, the ferry docks here were empty and ice had either shut off the main lifeline between the village of Put-in-Bay and the rest of the world, or its stranglehold on the lake was rapidly developing.

Not so this time around, since it is definitely winter but someone forgot to tell Lake Erie about it. Open water and the absence of ice means the Miller Boat Line is continuing to ferry food, building materials, and passengers a few miles across the lake to South Bass Island and back.

“We’re chugging right along,” said Billy Market, who operates the Miller Line with his brother, Scott, and sister, Julene. “It’s been good for the islanders to get back and forth over the holidays, and it’s been a big factor in all of the construction going on right now. The run of milder weather has enabled them to get a lot of materials over to the island.”

Market said by this time last year, the ferry fleet was mothballed in the Put-in-Bay harbor, and at this time two years ago, there was ice nearly a foot thick around some of the islands.

As fickle as she can be, the big lake might bring the curtain down on the ferry season soon if a sustained cold snap begins to ice her edges, but the water temperature was 38 degrees on Monday and the big boats were still churning across the open water between Catawba Point and the Lime Kiln Dock on the southwestern tip of South Bass Island.

Market said the extended season of ferry runs has helped the three major construction projects on the island continue to progress. There is a large expansion under way at one of the downtown hotels, and two condominium developments taking place.

Market said that one day last week there were four semi-tractor trailer rigs lined up at the ferry ramp in the morning, ready to transport their cargo across the water to the island.

“Usually, a lot of this construction goes on in the spring and everyone is in kind of a panic mode, but the more we can haul this fall, the less panic there should be in the spring,” he said. “Spring will still be very busy — it always is — but these runs into the winter months should help lessen the spring rush.”

Market said many of the subcontractors working on the major projects on the island will commute back and forth on the ferry, while some of the construction workers will ride over to the island to start the week, work four 10 or 12-hour days, and then return home.

Besides feeding the construction work, the winter ferry runs also keep the shelves stocked at the island stores. Once the ferry service shuts down for the season, food supplies must be flown in, which adds significant cost to everything the 400-500 full-time residents of the 1,600-acre island need.

“The logistics of it are much easier, since you can bring a truck load over on the boat, but everything has to be hand-loaded onto a plane. But once the lake freezes over, that’s the only option.”

The Miller Boat Line also ferries propane to the island, while fuel for the gasoline pumps comes via a separate small tanker boat. The mail arrives by airplane, while Miller transports the package service from UPS and other couriers.

The Miller Line made more than 5,700 ferry runs in 2015, transporting nearly 78,000 passengers and close to 12,000 vehicles. From the middle of May to the middle of September, there were 28 ferry trips a day on weekends, and 26 daily throughout the week. There was a single ferry run on Christmas Day, and one on New Year’s Day.

“We are very fortunate we have not had to deal with a lot of ice on the lines, the deck, and the docks so far. We are sort of the lifeline of the island, so we need to run as long as we can,” Market said.

“If it stays like this, it isn’t so bad, but once it does turn cold, I hope it stays cold. The best thing for us is once the weather changes, it needs to stay that way for about two months.”

Market said the ferry crews are looking forward to time off, since their season started on April 8. The final run of the 2014 season came on Jan. 2, 2015. The previous season, the ferry was shut down for a full four months.

Ferry runs to nearby Kelleys Island from the dock at Marblehead by the Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line Service are scheduled for Mondays and Wednesdays at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., with return trips from the island 30 minutes later.

The ferry service is closed Tuesday and Thursday, while on weekends five daily runs are scheduled, weather permitting.

Toledo Blade


Lake Huron water level continues to rise

1/7 - Above average precipitation in the month of December has led to higher than normal water levels in Lake Michigan-Huron for this time of year.

According to Lauren Fry, lead water level forecaster for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District, preliminary estimates show Lake Michigan-Huron received 154 percent of average precipitation in December.

Couple that with lower than average evaporation during that span and you have the main reasons behind the reported three inch increase in water levels over the past month. Lake Michigan-Huron’s level is also two inches higher than it was one year ago.

“We’ve actually had a pretty wet December,” Fry said.

“Normally at this time of year we’d be looking at a period of slowly declining levels, so it’s somewhat rare,” she said of the three-inch increase. “It has happened in the past where we’ve had a positive change in water levels at this point, but much more often than not, that’s not the case.”

Fry said Michigan-Huron is predicted to fall one inch in the next month due to the normal seasonal decline and a meteorology forecast for the month of January that shows drier than average output for the region.

It wasn’t too long ago that Lake Michigan-Huron hit a record monthly low of 576 feet January 2013. In contrast, the lake’s current water level of 579.4 feet is nearly three-and-a-half feet higher.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 7

07 January 1974 - 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.

1924: The rail car ferry ONTARIO NO. 1 had a rough overnight crossing of Lake Ontario. The ship was diverted to Toronto with three feet of ice on the deck and anchored off Port Credit. With no seagate, it had to sail into the wind and could not make its docking at Cobourg as scheduled.

1943: ORNEFJELL came to the Great Lakes beginning in 1933 and returned as b) AKABAHRA after being sold in 1937. It was torpedoed and sunk on the Mediterranean in position 37.07 N / 4.38 E.

1977: BARFONN had visited the Seaway beginning in 1959 and returned as b) ORIENT EXPLORER in 1967 and as c) AEGEAN in 1971. It caught fire at Colombo, Sri Lanka, as d) TONG THAY and became a total loss. The vessel was taken to Singapore Roads, laid up, sold for scrap and arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for dismantling on March 24, 1978.

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


Work underway on two ships in Owen Sound harbor

1/6 - Owen Sound, Ont. – The two ships moored for winter at the Owen Sound harbor will undergo some improvements over the next few months.

Algoma Central Corporation's lake freighter Algoway, which arrived recently at the port, is scheduled for some general maintenance work, Peter Winkley, the company's chief financial officer said Monday.

“A handful” of people, all of whom are from the Owen Sound area, will do the work, he said.

Meanwhile, renovations have already begun on the MS Chi-Cheemaun's dining room area. Susan Schrempf, chief executive officer of Owen Sound Transportation Company, which owns the vessel, said design drawings for the upgrade have been completed and the space has been gutted.

A tender has been issued for the renovation job. “It will be going from a cafeteria to a fine dining area,” she said in an interview.

Schrempf said the project is on track to be finished by March 15, which is well before the ship's sailing season begins May 6. The Chi-Cheemaun's kitchen will not be changed, but the dining room will be completely overhauled.

There will be different stations where people can select their food, she said, and new tables and chairs will be purchased. It will also be decorated in such a way as to create a fine dining atmosphere.

Last May, a First Nations-themed vinyl decal was installed on the ferry's smokestack as part of the first of a two-phase project to update the ship's exterior.

Schrempf said another decal, which will wrap around the front of the bow, will be installed in the spring of 2017 while the vessel is dry-docked for that winter's layover. The ship, which is dry-docked once every five years, is slated to be sandblasted and painted before the new decals are added.

This is likely the last time the Algoway will be in Owen Sound for the winter, as the ship is scheduled to be replaced in 2017, according to Winkley.

He said the 44-year-old, 650-foot freighter, which transports mostly salt and aggregates, will be scrapped and replaced with a ship that is being built in Croatia.

The new vessel, which will be about the same size as the Algoway, will be one of Algoma's Equinox class freighters. The state-of-the-art ships have been designed to optimize fuel efficiency and operating performance thus minimizing environmental impact, the company has said.

Owen Sound Sun Times


Lake Superior makes unusual winter jump

1/6 - Duluth, Minn. – The level of Lake Superior made an unusual jump in December thanks to heavy rains, snowfall and unseasonably warm temperatures across the region. The big lake rose nearly a half-inch in December, a month it usually drops three inches.

The lake received its highest water supply for December in 116 years of accurate records, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

Lake Superior now sits nine inches above its normal Jan. 1 level and one inch below the level at this time last year.

The level of lakes Michigan and Huron rose three inches in December, a month the lakes usually drop two inches. Those lakes now sit 12 inches above their long-term average and two inches higher than the Jan. 1 level of 2015.

Duluth received 3.7 inches of rain equivalent in December, more than the usual 2.5 inches, while Marquette received more than double the usual precipitation — 4.87 inches compared to 2.3. The warmer temperatures kept rivers open and caused much of the snow that did fall to melt, pushing more water into the lake that would usually be locked up on shore until spring. The unusually warm December temperatures — with little difference between lake and air temperatures — spurred less-than-usual evaporation and thus less lake-effect snow than usual.

Water levels of the upper lakes generally decline from September to March and then rise from April to August.

Duluth News Tribune


Ice-free Great Lakes a welcome change from last two winters

1/6 - Windsor, Ont. – Normally, the Great Lakes average one per cent ice coverage for the month of December but mild weather means the North American Ice Service reports open water throughout the system and calls for minimal ice coverage for Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie through mid-January.

“We can actually move ships out of here much easier,” said Windsor harbour master Peter Berry. “We still move salt and home heating fuel in the winter. It really doesn’t hurt my feelings that we don’t have any ice.”

Last winter’s brutally cold weather conditions saw ice coverage on the Great Lakes soar way above the normal long-term average of 53.2 per cent, topping out at 92.5 per cent.

Berry watched freighters take on a payload and then sit at the dock, sometimes for as long as 10 days, waiting their turn for an icebreaking cutter to escort them through the system. Both the U.S. and Canadian coast guard services were busy all winter freeing up vessels stuck in ice or providing escorts from one port to another.

Since keeping the Detroit River navigable is crucial to the winter shipping season, icebreaking does not cost the Windsor Port Authority anything.

“We don’t pay for icebreaking,” Berry said. “We’re like the 401 of the Great Lakes, you have to plow us or you’re not going to go anywhere else. If the Detroit River freezes over, any connection between Lake Huron and Lake Erie disappears. You’ve got to keep the Detroit River moving.”

The Canadian Coast Guard prepares two vessels, the Samuel Risley and the Griffon, for winter duty in this area by mid-December regardless of current ice conditions.

“We are ready when the ice comes,” said Johnny Leclair, a Canadian Coast Guard fleet director for the central and Arctic region. The two vessels are available for water rescues, environmental response and buoy maintenance.

The cost savings of an ice-free lake system are minimal, according to Leclair. There could be some savings in fuel costs but that won’t be realized until the end of the icebreaking season.

A mild start to winter is “a welcome change from the last two years,” Leclair said. “The last two years have been quite hectic. We were heavily solicited.”

The last two springs, the Canadian Coast Guard had to bring in icebreakers from Eastern Canada to help prepare the system for traffic associated with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in April.

The long-term forecast calls for “below normal lake ice coverage through the early half of this winter.”

The Windsor Star


Obituary: Richard L. “Dick” Moehl

1/6 - Richard Moehl, who helped found and organize the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association in 1983 and served as its volunteer president for 27 years retiring in 2012, has died, according to an obituary published in the Ann Arbor News on December 30, 2015.

During his tenure with GLLKA he was instrumental in working with Boy Scouts of Troop 4 of Ann Arbor restoring the St. Helena Island Light Station in northern Lake Michigan working out of Mackinaw City. Moehl helped scouts from Troop 4 earn 29 Scout service projects at the light station, three on the retired icebreaker Mackinaw and one at McGulpin Point Light Station.

In 2000, then-governor John Engler Honored Moehl as the George Romney Volunteer of the year. Retiring from Beacon Investment Company after 32+ years in 1999, Moehl was commodore of the Huron Portage Yacht Club in 1975 where he became club champion in the Fireball and Sunfish classes.

He was very proud of earning his 100-ton merchant marine master's license and operating his Coast Guard credentialed 46-foot Cake & Ice Cream, primarily in historic lighthouse restoration and preservation work in the Straits of Mackinac. He was called to Washington, D.C. a number of times to testify about various lighthouse issues and was somewhat of a pioneer in fostering national and state legislation to facilitate historic restoration procedures for lighthouses.

A memorial will be held in the spring in Mackinaw City, Mich. In place of flowers donations may be made to Eagle Scout projects BSA Troop 4, Ann Arbor (attn. Frank Oldani) 1025 Scio Hills Ct., Ann Arbor, MI 48103 and for Dick's vision for maritime heritage preservation in Emmet County, to The Dark Sky Coast Association P.O. Box 493, Harbor Springs, MI 49770.


Lookback #780 – Kyra Eleni hit bottom and wrecked on Jan. 6, 1978

Editor’s Note: Due to health reasons, Skip Gillham is taking a break from his Lookback columns after this entry. He hopes to return in the near future. In the meantime, please join all of us at Boatnerd in thanking Skip for his many contributions to this site over the years and in wishing him a speedy recovery!

Kyra Eleni was a Greek freighter that had been built at Trondheim, Norway, and completed as Otta on July 19, 1949. The ship was sold and renamed Kyra Eleni in 1963, and first came to the Great Lakes in 1970.

The 323 foot, 9 inch long cargo carrier departed Laurium, Greece, for Bourgas, Bulgaria, in ballast, on Jan. 5, 1978, and got caught in heavy weather. The ship was trying to anchor to the lee side of Patklos Island when it hit bottom and began to leak the next day.

The captain, chief engineer and their wives, as well as the other 18 sailors, safely abandoned the ship via ladder to the rocks and had to hike, by night, to the Guard's House on the north side of the island for shelter.

All survived the ordeal but Kyra Eleni was a total loss and, before long, slipped off into deeper water and sank. Today the wreck is an attraction to skin divers as the broken remains on the bottom continue to show much of the equipment of this former Seaway trader.

Skip Gillham


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.

1976: The former GLADYS BOWATER was sailing as c) AGINOR when it caught fire and had to be abandoned off southwest Sicily. The hull was towed to Palermo, Italy, with serious damage and then to Piraeus, Greece, where it was laid up unrepaired. But the ship was resold, rebuilt and returned to service as d) ALEXANDRA in 1977. It was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as e) LAMYAA in 1985.

1979: OTTO NUBEL first came to the Great Lakes in 1953 and returned regularly until the final four trips in 1959. The ship was sailing as b) MARIA III when there was an explosion in the engine room on January 6, 1979, near Tamomago Island, Spain. A fire followed and the vessel went aground where it was abandoned as a total loss.

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


Great Lakes Shipyard completes work for Corps of Engineers, Detroit District

1/5 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard has completed a multi-vessel drydocking and repair contract for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Detroit District Floating Plant, and all vessels were redelivered on Dec. 28. This was the first time the Detroit District Floating Plant has been drydocked using Great Lakes Shipyard’s 700 metric ton capacity Marine Travelift. The shipyard hauled out tug Demolen and deck scow BC-6576 on Oct. 26 and Crane Barge Veler on Oct. 27.

In addition to drydocking the vessels, work included bin wall fabrication and installation; deck mat renewals; underwater hull cleaning and maintenance; inspection of propulsion and steering systems; sea valves maintenance; bearing inspections; steel repairs, and other routine maintenance and repairs. The scope of work also included renewal of four large deck hatches on the Veler.

Great Lakes Shipyard


Port Reports -  January 5

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
On Monday at the Upper Harbor, Paul R. Tregurtha unloaded the last coal cargo of the 2015-16 shipping season into the hopper.

Port Colborne, Ont.
Peter R. Cresswell arrived at what is presumed to be her final destination, the Marine Recycling Corp. scrap dock at Port Colborne, early Monday morning.


Lookback #779 – Former Norholt stranded on Shadwan Island on Jan. 5, 1982

The Norwegian-flag freighter Norholt was completed at Nakskov, Denmark, in June 1961 and began Great Lakes trading with one trip in 1962. By the end of the 1966 season, the 417 foot long, 4,099 gross ton carrier had made 15 trips in and outbound through the Seaway.

While owned by A/S Ivarens Rederi, the ship saw some service on charter to the Bristol City Line and the Donaldson Line during this period.

The vessel was renamed b) Salvador in 1966 and, as such, made another Seaway voyage in 1967. It moved under the flag of Greece as c) San Juan in 1977 and the ship got into trouble 34 years ago today.

San Juan was on a voyage from Le Havre, France, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, when it went aground in the Red Sea at Shadwan Island on Jan. 5, 1982. The vessel was refloated on Jan. 22, towed to Suez Bay two days later, and laid up.

A fire broke out on board on Aug. 26, 1982, and the vessel had to be abandoned by what remained of the crew. The gutted hull was beached in Suez Bay on Sept. 3, 1982, and eventually taken over by the Suez Canal Authority and scrapped.

Skip Gillham


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, 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.

1976: A.S. GLOSSBRENNER struck bottom entering Port McNicoll and had to be unloaded immediately due to the extensive hull damage. The ship was repaired at Port Weller Dry Docks in the spring. The vessel became b) ALGOGULF (ii) in 1987 and c) ALGOSTEEL (ii) in 1990.

1982: The Norwegian freighter NORHOLT first came through the Seaway in 1962 and made a total of 15 inland voyages. It was renamed b) SALVADOR in 1966 and returned once in 1967. The ship went aground as c) SAN JUAN off Shadwan Island enroute to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on this date. It was refloated January 22, 1982, towed to Suez Bay and laid up. Fire broke out on August 26, 1982, and the ship was abandoned and later beached. It was taken over by the Suez Canal Authority in 1983 and scrapped.

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


Port Reports -  January 4

Sturgeon Bay, Wi. 
Cason J Callaway arrived for winter layup late Sunday Night.

Quebec City – Ron Beaupre
Catherine III, the former Catherine Desgagnes, has departed Quebec City bound for Sydney, N.S. A destination beyond that port is currently unknown.


Lookback #778 – Former Liberty ship Faro aground in heavy weather on Jan. 4, 1966

The Liberty ship James Fenimore Cooper recognized a prolific and popular American writer of the frontier days. The vessel named in his honor was built at Portland, Ore., and completed for the United States Maritime Commission in June 1942.

The ship was managed by the American President Lines from 1942 into 1946 and the Luchenbach Steamship Co. from 1946 until being laid up in November 1949.

Resold within the USA, the vessel became b) Mohawk in 1951 and c) Algonkin in 1955 before moving under the flag of Liberia as d) World Loyalty in 1956 and then e) Faro in 1962.

The latter made one trip to the Great Lakes in 1965 before being wrecked in heavy weather two miles off Nojima, Japan, near Toyko Bay, on Jan. 4, 1966. The ship was in ballast and on a voyage from Muroran, Japan, to Keelung, Taiwan, when it went aground 50-years ago today.

Following a sale to Japanese shipbreakers, the ship was broken up “as lies” in 1967,

Skip Gillham


Updates -  January 4

The Great Lakes Bookshelf has been updated.

The Winter Lay-up list has been updated.

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Amber, BBC Quebec, Cornelia, Harbour Clear, Juno, Narew, Nordana Mathilde, Patras, Purha, Swan Baltic and Thorco Alliance.

Search Page Forums are back Online


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 floe 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.

1966: FARO, a Liberty ship that had visited the Seaway in 1965, ran aground in heavy weather off Nojima, Japan, enroute from Muroran, Japan, to Keelung, Taiwan, in ballast. It had to be abandoned as a total loss. It was sold to Japanese shipbreakers in 1967 and broken up.

2012: FEDERAL MIRAMICHI was disabled by a mechanical problem during stormy weather on the English Channel, 12.8 miles northwest of Guernsey enroute from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Paranagua, Brazil, with 22,900 tons of urea. French authorities, fearing the ship could blow ashore, dispatched a tug and the vessel was towed into Cherbourg for repairs. It has been a frequent Seaway trader since 2006.

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


Superior shipyard lands major project

1/3 - Superior, Wis. – repowering project the likes of which hasn’t been seen at Fraser Shipyards since the 1980s is taking place in Superior, where the yard will convert the 56-year-old Herbert C. Jackson to a diesel-propulsion system.

The six-month project is a welcome centerpiece to the winter lay-up that coincides with the seasonal close of shipping on the Great Lakes beginning Jan. 15.

“This is a huge step forward for our shipyard and what we hope is the first of many large projects,” said Tom Curelli, Fraser vice president, in a news release from the Jackson’s owner, the Interlake Steamship Co. of Ohio.

Curelli figured the project would require 65 to 75 full-time employees. An ongoing $10 million revitalization of the yard — the last $2.9 million coming from a state of Wisconsin grant — was cited as a major reason Fraser Shipyards is being looked at again for larger jobs.

“Fraser has invested considerably in its infrastructure and its people to do a project of this size,” said Mark Barker, Interlake president, in the news release. “We felt Fraser has proven its ability to do this repower.”

Included in the improvements were the addition of 2,000 feet of new dockage and facility-wide electrical upgrades.

The Jackson is a 690-foot vessel that regularly carries almost 25,000 tons of iron ore between Marquette, Mich., and Detroit. Its repowering marks the fourth steam-to-diesel conversion for Interlake’s 10-vessel fleet since 2006 as it strives to reach new emission requirements. The Jackson’s aging steam turbine with twin boilers had been converted from coal-burning to fuel oil in 1975.

“We have a long-term vision for this industry and made the decision 10 years ago to invest in new technology that will allow us to reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact while increasing our reliability for our customers,” Barker said in the company’s release.

The Jackson’s conversion effort is part of $110 million U.S. vessel operators will spend on maintaining and modernizing ships this offseason, said the Lake Carriers’ Association in a late-December news release.

Maintenance and repair work will constitute $60 million of that total while project work, such as repowering or installing exhaust scrubbers, will take up the other $50 million. The work comes despite a second-half to the shipping season that saw a sharp downturn in iron ore movement on the Great Lakes.

“Members are moving forward with projects that will keep their vessels safe and efficient,” said James H.I. Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers’ Association, in a news release, while acknowledging that six of the 56 U.S.-flag vessels were withdrawn from service in November due to steel dumping.

“The dumping of foreign steel into the U.S. market has severely impacted cargo movement during the final months of 2015,” Weakley said.

The arrival of the Jackson at the 125-year-old Fraser shipyard signals the start of the winter lay-up, when vessels across the lakes will undergo scrutiny not often afforded during the season, when the vessels run 24/7 and stop only long enough to load or unload.

Conveyor systems that are part of self-unloading vessels will be inspected and worn belts replaced. Navigation, firefighting and lifesaving equipment is checked over and replaced or upgraded. Several vessels will be rotated into dry dock as required by law to allow the U.S. Coast Guard and others to inspect the hull below the waterline. Fraser generally gets a handful of vessels into its docks and other docks throughout the ports of Duluth and Superior. While Interlake did not issue a dollar figure on the Jackson’s power conversion, it is part of a 10-year, $100 million modernization effort for the company.

“We are honored to have been selected for this project,” said Fraser president and chief operating officer James Farkas. “Our team is excited and so is our surrounding community to have the Herbert C. Jackson in our shipyard and to be part of such a transformation.”

The Jackson will be outfitted with twin engines totaling 6,250 brake horsepower — giving what was the company’s smallest powered vessel enhanced propulsion capabilities to go with exhaust economizers that harness waste heat and energy from the main engine exhaust and produce “free steam” to help heat the vessel throughout. The engines later could be powered by liquefied natural gas if infrastructure is built out around the lakes.

After successful sea trials, the Jackson is expected back on route in late June. The shipping season on the Great Lakes resumes following lay-up in March.

Duluth News Tribune


Detroit’s Fort Street bridge reopens after 2 1/2 years

1/3 - Detroit, Mich. – The Fort Street bridge over the Rouge River closed for repairs in the summer of 2013. After several delays, the span was supposed to reopen last June, then August and then September, but it finally reopened New Year’s Day after 2 1/2-years.



Port Reports -  January 3

Owen Sound, Ont. – Paul Martin
Algoway arrived at Owen Sound Jan. 1 in ballast and is tied up along the west wall by the elevator for winter lay-up. Also, Chi-Cheemaun is in winter lay-up along the east wall at the inner harbor.

Detroit, Mich. – Christopher Dark
The Hon. James L. Oberstar finished with her last trip of the season up the Rouge Saturday, then came back up the Detroit River to Mistersky for fuel. The G-tug Superior came out and accompanied her back down river to Nicholson Ecorse to assist in entering the slip. She will remain there for winter lay-up.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric H.
Mississagi has been anchored out in Lake Ontario for the last three days (contrary to earlier reports she had laid up). The Hamilton Port Authority shows her loading slag and then heading to Picton. CWB Marquis arrived for layup Jan. 1.


Lookback #777 – Beech Hill arrived at Halifax with ice damage on Jan. 3, 1954

The former Beech Hill was built by Marine Industries and completed at Sorel, Que., in Nov. 1943 as Fort Richelieu. The 441 foot, 6 inch long steamer was constructed for the Government of Canada and chartered to the British Ministry of War Transport.

The ship survived the war years and was sold to Halifax Overseas Freighters in 1950 as Beech Hill. It was used on a variety of routes and included a six-month charter to the U.S.S.R. It had taken a cargo to Cuba late in 1953 and required over a month to unload. Then, it headed to Trois Rivieres, likely to load grain, but had to turn back and came into Halifax 62 years ago today with ice damage.

Beech Hill came through the Seaway on four occasions in 1961 and, on July 12, was noted unloading grain at Halifax from the Canadian Lakehead.

The ship was sold and registered in Great Britain, and then Greece, as Alkon in 1964. It was sold to Chinese shipbreakers and arrived at Dalian to be broken up on Feb. 25, 1967.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #772 Update

The Ragneborg, as Chavin, was beached at Puerto Cotes, Honduras, in 1974. The hull languished off the beach at Cieneguita just south of Puerto Cortes. In July 2007 as part of a general beautifying effort of the town's harbor and beaches, the city and nation began proceedings to have seven vessels littering Puerto Cortes Bay removed, including Chavin, the rather notorious Atlantic Trader, and the Honduran navy's Yojoa, the former United States Coast Guard tender Walnut of 1939. By 2012 all but Chavin, Sor Maria, and Yojoa had been removed. That year, the city of Puerto Cortes arranged to have the Chavin and Sor Maria removed. Google Earth shows all are now gone, except the remains of the Yojoa, still submerged off the Honduran naval yard at Puerto Cortes.

William Lafferty


Updates -  January 3

Lay-up list updated

Saturday our service provider is working on the Search Page forums, they should be restored Sunday.


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. 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 (i).

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, TADOUSSAC cleared Thunder Bay, Ontario, for Hamilton with 24,085 tons of iron ore, closing that port for the season.

1945: While not a Great Lakes event, what is considered the deadliest marine disaster in world history occurred on this date. The little-remembered event claimed the German passenger liner WILHELM GUSTLOFF loaded with over 10,000 refugees and naval personnel fleeing Germany in the latter stages of World War Two. It was torpedoed by a Russian submarine on the Baltic Sea and a reported 9,343 lives were lost. Another 1,239 reached safety.

1979: KOIKU MARU first visited the Seaway in 1967. It ran aground near Tartous, Syria, in stormy weather overnight and had to be abandoned as a total loss.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Brian Bernard , Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Congressman proposes total ban on steel imports

1/2 - U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, a Democrat who represents Minnesota's Iron Range, which provides iron ore to the steel industry, is calling for a five-year ban on any steel imports.

The United States currently imposes 157 anti-dumping and countervailing tariffs against foreign-made steel, but they're often too low, and trade agreements are too riddled with loopholes for them to matter, Nolan said.

Minnesota has lost 1,750 mining and steelworker jobs in its Iron Range as a result of the import crisis, where cheap and often subsidized steel imports have captured nearly a third of the market share in the United States.

Nolan is proposing halting all foreign steel and steel products from entering America for five years, and also urging President Barack Obama to use his executive authority to impose tariffs high enough to block all foreign steel imports.

"We must confront and stop the illegal dumping of millions of tons of low-grade, foreign government-subsidized steel that has sent the Iron Range taconite mining industry – and America's steel industry – into the steepest decline in decades," Nolan said.

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, said he has not cosponsored the legislation but says imports must be cracked down on.

"However, I share his sentiment that we must continue to do all that we can to stop the influx of illegal steel imports," Visclosky said.

"I am fighting every day to protect American steelworkers and manufacturers. We must hold other countries accountable to the same labor, safety, environmental, and market standards that we adhere to.”

The president could immediately end the crisis that led to layoffs and mill idlings nationwide by imposing tariffs that would make it unprofitable to ship steel into the United States, Nolan said. President George W. Bush took a similar action when steelmakers such as Bethlehem Steel and LTV Steel went bankrupt in the early 2000s, at a time when imports weren't as bad as they are now.

"We are asking the President for action the equivalent of what President Bush did in 2002 when our mining and steel industries faced similar dire crises," Nolan said.

"Bush used his executive authority to impose dramatic tariffs that had the effect of a moratorium. President Reagan acted in similar fashion in the 1980s, and in both cases our mining and steel industries quickly rebounded. If those dedicated 'free-traders' could see the light and stand up for American jobs and American workers, there's no reason President Obama can't do the same today."

America's steel industry should be doing well, Nolan said. But foreign steelmakers have muscled in with subsidies as high as 255 percent, which American companies don’t get.

"To be clear, there is plenty of demand for steel in the United States," Nolan said.

"Domestic steel consumption rose by 11.7 percent in 2014 alone. Unfortunately, foreign steel imports jumped by 36 percent last year, capturing their highest share of the U.S. market on record – and limiting growth in our domestic industry to just 3 percent. So the simple fact is – increased U.S. consumption is being supplied by illegal, subsidized foreign steel."

NW Indiana Times


Port Reports -  January 2

Sutton’s Bay – Al Miller
Tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Challenger began the new year anchored in Suttons Bay on Friday, apparently waiting for tug Bradshaw McKee and barge to clear the dock at Charlevoix, Michc. The Brown and Challenger raised anchor and departed in late afternoon.


Lookback #776 – Former Ontario caught fire at Barcelona, Spain, on Jan. 2, 1987

Ontario, a general cargo vessel, was operated by Bomar Navigation of Canada in 1973-1974 and served in the East Coast paper trade for the Abitibi Paper Co.

The 345.8 foot long by 49.3 foot wide vessel was built at Varna, Bulgaria, and completed as a) Sariba in 1970 for Australian Territorial service. The diesel-powered vessel spent three years on that route before being sold and coming to Canada as b) Ontario in 1973.

Ontario headed up the Seaway on Nov. 8, 1973, for, I believe, its only trip into the Great Lakes and was downbound again on Nov. 19.

A fire broke out in the engine room on May 23, 1974, while en route from Santos, Brazil, to Montreal and the captain sent out a call for assistance. The ship arrived at Montreal on June 6 and was sold to Tunisian interests on July 8, 1974, closing Canadian registration.

Renamed c) Remada, the vessel caught fire again, this time in a cargo hold, at Barcelona, Spain, on Jan. 2, 1987, and the ship sustained heavy damage. After only 17 years of service, the vessel was sold to Spanish shipbreakers and arrived at the Barcelona scrapyard on June 18, 1987.

Skip Gillham


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.

1967: The small Norwegian freighter RAAGAN dated from 1919 and had been a Pre-Seaway visitor to the Great Lakes as a) ERICH LINDOE, b) GRENLAND and c) HILDUR I. It sank in the North Sea about 60 miles north of the Dutch coast after developing leaks on a voyage from Egersund, Denmark, to Dordrecht, Netherlands, with a cargo of titanium. The crew was rescued.

1976: The XENY, which was towed into Cadiz Roads on January 1, capsized and sank on her side. The ship had caught fire on December 2 and was abandoned by the crew. It had first visited the Great Lakes as a) PRINS WILLEM II in 1955 and had been back as d) XENY in 1971.

1981: The heavy lift vessel MAMMOTH SCAN had heeled over while unloading at Abu Dhabi on October 15, 1980. The ship was righted and under tow when the towline parted off Algeria on December 28, 1980. The listing vessel was brought to Malaga Roads, Spain, on this date, healed over and sank as a total loss.

1987: A fire in the cargo hold of REMADA at Barcelona, Spain, resulted in heavy damage and the ship had to be sold for scrap. It had made one trip through the Seaway in November 1973 as b) ONTARIO.

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


73-year-old Great Lakes steamship Alpena will sail on after dock fire

1/1 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – It'll take more than a yard fire to finish off the Alpena.

The venerable steamship, launched Feb. 28, 1942, was heavily damaged in a dry dock fire this month at Fincantieri's Bay Shipbuilding yard in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. The fire, which engulfed the aft end, caused an estimated $3 million in damage to the oldest Great Lakes steamship still in active service.

Preliminary investigation results point to faulty equipment on the aft port windlass, a type of winch used to hoist the anchor and haul in mooring lines.

"There was a heating element in that which appears to have failed, overloading a circuit back into the electrical control room in the very aft end of the boat," said Tim Dietman, Sturgeon Bay assistant fire chief.

"From what we understand, that aft windlass is not a regularly used piece of equipment," he said "It's used pretty much once a year when they go to layup for the winter; when they have to secure down."

"I'm not sure if it was original or had ever been changed."

For more of the story, and a photo gallery, visit this link


Port Reports -  January 1

Hamilton, Ont.
Algosteel, CWB Marquis, Mississagi and Algowood all tied up for the winter on Dec. 31.

Toronto, Ont.
Algosoo arrived at Section 35 in Toronto December 30 at 17:45 for winter lay up.


Former Weather Channel exec next up in Door County speaker series

1/1 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum’s Maritime Speaker Series resumes Thursday, Jan. 7, with an appropriate presentation considering all the bizarre weather that has been sweeping the country by former Weather Channel executive Terry Connelly at the Sturgeon Bay museum beginning at 7 pm.

The Maritime Speaker Series will continue on Thursday, Feb. 4, when the Door County Land Trust will present a program on the islands of Door County and specifically the work the conservation organization has been doing on some of them. The series wraps up on Thursday, March 3, when author Joan Forsberg will delve into one of the great mysteries of the Great Lakes with a talk related to her new book “The Wreck of the Griffon,” Robert LaSalle’s 17-century sailing ship that disappeared during a voyage to Green Bay.

Programs are free with a nonperishable food donation requested. Call (920) 743-5958 or visit for more information.



Lookback #775 – Bulk carrier Ais Mamas began leaking on Jan. 1, 2000

It was 16-years ago that the former Seaway trader Ais Mamas began taking water in #1 hold while carrying a cargo of logs from West Africa to India.

Sailing at the time as c) Ais Mamas, the ship's crew was abandoned to another vessel which stood by and was able to observe the battle to stay afloat.

The tug Red Toucon arrived on the scene on Jan. 4, 2000, and was able to tow the stricken motor vessel to safety at Capetown, South Africa. But that was the end of its sailing days. The ship was a total loss and following a sale for scrap, arrived at Alang on April 23, 2000, and was listed as beached the next day.

This ship had been built at Shimonoseki, Japan, in 1976. As a) Wisteria, it visited the Great Lakes later that year to load grain at Thunder Bay. The Japanese flag freighter became b) Bright Star in 1981 and c) Ais Mamas in 1987. The latter had been a Seaway trader in 1988.

Marine News, a very reliable reference, shows the ship being scrapped at Alang, India, in 2000 but another very credible source indicates that it may have been moved to Xinhui, China, later in the summer to be dismantled.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  January 1

Happy New Year!
We've faced some challenges over the last few years with key volunteers unable to dedicated the time they wish to updating and maintaining the site due to changes at work and family commitments. We hope to have BoatNerd 2.0 Online in the Spring featuring a much needed refresh, modern back end to allow for more volunteer help and a revised AIS map.

Lay-up list updated


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.

1943: HAMILDOC (i) went south during World War Two to assist in the bauxite trade. The N.M. Paterson & Sons bulk canaller sank in the Caribbean after a three-day gale. The vessel, enroute from Georgetown, British Guiana, to Trinidad, was at anchor when the hull broke in two. All on board were saved.

2000: WISTERIA was built at Imabari, Japan, in 1976 and came through the Seaway that year. It was taking water in #1 hold as c) AIS MAMAS while enroute from West Africa to India with a cargo of logs. The crew was removed but the ship was taken in tow and reached Capetown, South Africa, on January 5. It was subsequently sold for scrap and arrived at Alang, India, for dismantling on April 23, 2000 and was beached the next day.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.




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