Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Recent rains lead to higher Lake Superior water levels

10/31 - Duluth - Rainfall in October and late September has sent the level of Lake Superior way up in recent weeks, with the big lake now closer to normal water levels than it is to record low levels. Torrential rains have ended a 16-month-long drought in the region and have been pushing the level of the lake up over the past two months.

Lake Superior is up 3.5 inches from this time last year, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and is only a foot below normal. That's the closest to normal the lake has been in more than a year, after having been as much as 20 inches below normal earlier this year.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Research Laboratory hydrological graph for the lake shows Superior now about halfway to a normal level for this time of year, compared to record low levels seen in recent months. The lake set monthly records for low water in August and early September and appeared poised to break the all-time record low, set in April 1926, sometime next spring.

But the drought ended rapidly and the lake has responded faster than expected, said Carl Woodruff, hydraulic engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District. “It’s still low. It’s just not nearly as low,’’ Woodruff said Monday.

Duluth received 4.25 inches of rain in September, a quarter-inch above normal. In October, Duluth has received 6.8 inches of rain — an astounding 4.8 inches above normal. Duluth now is less than an inch short of moisture for the year, and more rain is in the forecast.

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Port Reports - October 31

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The Twin Ports’ fall grain rush, which was the biggest in recent years, seems to have slacked off in the past week or two. On Tuesday morning the only elevator loading ships was CHS, which had Canadian Prospector in berth 1 and BBC Finland in berth 2. Elsewhere, Indiana Harbor was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Paul R. Tregurtha was due to load next, but it was docked at the Duluth port terminal’s berth 2, which usually is used for quick repairs.

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Tuesday, the Federal Mattawa was in port, followed by the Algoway later in the day.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Sunday the Earl W backed into the coal dock slip at Lafarge and unloaded cargo into the storage hopper.
Tuesday morning the tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity was under the silos at Lafarge loading for Milwaukee. Once the Integrity departed the Buffalo came in to unload coal.

The Buffalo was outbound in the bay around 6 p.m.
The research vessel Spencer F. Baird was out and about, likely releasing fish in certain areas.
At Stoneport on Tuesday there was uncommon visitor at the dock, the Algomarine. It loaded cargo throughout the morning.
The Sam Laud was due later in the evening.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River left the inner harbor Tuesday morning, unaided, at approximately 7:45.

Tonawanda - Tom
The tug Herbert P Brake and barge PAV102 were tied up along the wall on the Tonawanda side. The tug skipper said he was coming from Erie PA and heading to Albany. The barge was brand spanking new (built in Erie) with a pristine paint job - black on the bottom and bright red on top.


Updates - October 31

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 31

On this day in 1984, at approximately 10:30 p.m., the International Railroad bridge at the Soo went askew and blocked boat traffic until 3:40 p.m., on 11/2/84. Twelve boats that were delayed up to 41 hours by the incident cost the operators an estimated $350,000.

On 31 October 1888, A W LAWRENCE (wooden propeller tug, 72 foot, 51 gross tons, built in 1880, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) blew her boiler at 2:30 a.m. off North Point near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The tug quickly sank. Four of the six aboard were lost. None of their remains were ever found. The tug MERRILL rescued the cook and a passenger. The LAWRENCE was owned by Capt. Mc Coy & Banner and valued at $5,000.

CANADIAN EXPLORER's sea trials were conducted on October 31, 1983, on Lake Erie where a service speed of 13.8 m.p.h. was recorded.

The EDWIN H GOTT was christened October 31, 1978.

On October 31, 1973, the H M GRIFFITH entered service for Canada Steamship Lines on her maiden voyage bound for Thunder Bay, Ontario to load iron ore for Hamilton, Ontario. The GRIFFITH was rebuilt with a new larger forward section and renamed b.) RT. HON. PAUL J MARTIN in 2000.

The CADILLAC was launched October 31, 1942, as a.) LAKE ANGELINE.

ELMGLEN cleared Owen Sound, Ontario on October 31, 1984, on her first trip in Parrish & Heimbecker colors.

On October 31, 1966, while down bound in the St. Marys River loaded with 11,143 tons of potash for Oswego, New York, the HALLFAX ran aground on a rocky reef and settled to the bottom with her hold full of water. She had grounded on Pipe Island Twins Reef just north of DeTour, Michigan.

The CHARLES L HUTCHINSON, a.) WILLIAM C MORELAND, struck a reef the night of October 31, 1925 three miles south of Manitou Island, off the Keweenaw Peninsula, on Lake Superior.

On October 31, 1983, the SYLVANIA was towed out of Toledo's Frog Pond by the harbor tugs ARKANSAS and WYOMING. She was handed over to the tug OHIO for delivery to the Triad Salvage Co., at Ashtabula, Ohio, arriving there on November 1st. Dismantling was completed there in 1984. Thus ended 78 years of service. Ironically the SYLVANIA, the first built of the 504 foot class bulkers, was the last survivor of that class. During her career with Columbia Transportation, the SYLVANIA had carried over 20 million tons and netted over $35 million.

On 31 October 1883, CITY OF TORONTO (wooden passenger-package freight sidewheeler, 207 foot, 898 gross tons, built in 1864, at Niagara, Ontario) caught fire at the Muir Brothers shipyard at Port Dalhousie, Ontario and was totally destroyed. She previously had her paddle boxes removed so she could pass through the Welland Canal, and she was in the shipyard to have them reassembled that winter.

On 31 October 1874, the tug FAVORITE was towing the schooner WILLIE NEELER on Lake Erie. At about 10:30 p.m., near Bar Point, the schooner suddenly sheered and before the tow line could be cast off, the FAVORITE capsized and sank. One life was lost. The rest of the crew clung to the upper works which had become dislodged from the vessel and they were rescued by the schooner's lifeboats.

On 31 October 1821, WALK-IN-THE-WATER (wooden side-wheeler, 135 foot, 339 tons, built in 1818, at Black Rock [Buffalo], New York) was wrecked on Point Abino, on the Canadian shore of Lake Erie during a storm. She was the first steam-powered vessel above Niagara and her frequent comings and goings during her career were very much in the newspapers in Detroit but her loss was not mentioned not at all since this steamer was virtually the only source of news from the east. Her engine was installed by Robert Fulton himself. After the wreck, it went into the steamer SUPERIOR and later ran a lumber mill in Saginaw, Michigan.

On 31 October 1880, TRANCHEMONTAGNE (wooden schooner, 108 foot, 130 tons, built in 1864, at Sorel, Quebec) was loaded with rye and sailing in a storm on Lake Ontario. She struck the breakwater at Oswego, New York head-on at about 3:00 a.m. She stove in her bow and quickly sank. The crew took to the rigging, except for one who was washed overboard and rode a provision box from her deck to shore. The Lifesaving Service rescued the rest from the breakwater. The schooner broke up quickly in the storm.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Twin Port security system coming
A new federal security protocol soon will be coming to the Twin Ports.

10/30 - Duluth/Superior - Jim Sharrow, facilities manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said he expects that by the start of the next shipping season, dockworkers in Duluth and Superior will need federal clearance to continue with their waterfront jobs. The Transportation Security Administration is launching its Transportation Workers Identification Credential, or TWIC, program in an effort to keep the nation’s ports secure from terrorist attack.

Thirteen days ago, Wilmington, Del., became the first U.S. port to begin testing the new system. Longshoremen, truckers, mariners and others who have ready access to key port operations will be required to undergo background checks before they can be issued TWIC cards, complete with biometric identification in the form of electronic fingerprint scans.

The cards won’t come cheap. Each will cost $132.50 and will remain valid for five years. Lose or damage one, and a replacement costs $60. Workers with valid merchant marine licenses will be eligible for a price break and can buy cards for $105.25.

Developing the TWIC program has cost the federal government about $100 million, The program, which has encountered delays, by law was to have gone live at the nation’s 10 highest-risk ports by July and at 40 more by year’s end. Even though pilot testing of the system began Oct. 16 in Wilmington, key pieces of the network remain in development. For instance, the card readers that port facilities are supposed to use to authenticate TWIC ID cards have yet to be produced.

In testimony before a congressional subcommittee earlier this year, TWIC Program Director Maurine Fanguy explained that developing a secure and fully integrated system has been a complicated challenge. “Technology programs always require comprehensive testing and TWIC is no different,” she said. “That is why we are focused on a rigorous program to flight-test TWIC before we go out to the ports. All the internal moving parts must work together, and they must work in combination to conduct accurate and timely security threat assessments. Rigorous performance testing is the only way to know for sure that TWIC is ready to go live.”

Sharrow said he feels fortunate that the TWIC system won’t arrive in the Twin Ports until it has been tested elsewhere. “I’d rather have someone else go first and work the kinks out of it,” he said. “We breathed a sigh of relief when learned that we we’re not likely to be hit with this before the next shipping season.”

The American Maritime Officers, a union representing merchant marine officers aboard U.S.-flagged vessels, has questioned the necessity of an entirely new credential and has instead recommended adding a biometric identifier to maritime licenses.

If background checks reveal past convictions for violent or sexual crimes, they may be deemed ineligible to receive a TWIC card. Concerns also have been raised about false matches and inaccuracies to be found in the federal terrorist watch list. It is feared that these flaws could lead to the wrongful flagging and disqualification of applicants.

Port facilities, too, could face a steep price associated with the TWIC program. By some estimates, they will need to invest $1.2 billion in additional security equipment to meet new federal standards. Jerry Fryberger, president of the Twin Ports’ Hallett Dock Co., sees massive security investments in bulk facilities such as the ones he oversees as misguided. “We don’t handle anything that’s hazardous or particularly sensitive,” he said, adding that the higher costs of shipping will be passed onto consumers.

Sharrow acknowledged that, depending on how it’s implemented, the program could prove a burden to some Twin Ports facilities, but he said the U.S. Coast Guard has been working with dock operators to minimize any disruptions. “There will be growing pains, but I’m confident we’ll get by,” Sharrow said. Fryberger suggested that, instead of taking a wide-sweep approach, the federal government should focus on key infrastructure, such as the Soo Locks and the Welland Canal.

Gary Nicholson, president of Lake Superior Warehousing Co. Inc., remains more resigned. Like them or not, he said the Twin Ports ultimately will need to comply with new federal standards. “We’ve all known this was coming,” he said. “It’s just another thing we have to deal with.”

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Port Reports - October 30

Cheboygan - Jon Paul Michaels
The tug Michigan and barge Great lakes arrived Monday morning on its weekly trip from Whiting, IN to the BP Tank Storage facility with a load of gasoline.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River arrived around 10 a.m.. Monday.

Ashland - Chris Mazzella
The American Mariner arrived at the Reiss Coal Dock in Ashland around 10:30 a.m. with 12,000 ton of coal.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Strong Southerly winds lowered the water level of the Saginaw River Monday afternoon delaying a few vessels from coming in until the water came back up. By early evening, the water was rising and the CSL Tadoussac was inbound for the Essroc dock in Essexville. She was expected to depart early Tuesday morning.
The tug Joe Thompson, Jr. and barge Joseph H. Thompson were lightering just above Essroc at the Sargent dock. The pair then continued upbound to complete their unload at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw.
Also inbound in the parade was the tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber who called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City for the second time in as many days.
Finally, the Calumet was inbound late Monday night, bound for the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. All three of these vessels were expected to be outbound on Tuesday.


Updates - October 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 30

On 30 October 1863, TORRENT (2-mast wooden schooner, 125 foot, 412 gross tons, built in 1855, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan) was carrying railroad iron from Buffalo to Little Bay de Noc when she foundered in a storm on Lake Erie, 10 miles east of Port Stanley, Ontario. No lives were lost.

On 30 October 1870, JOSEPH A HOLLON (wooden barge, 107 foot, 158 gross tons, built in 1867, at E. Saginaw, Michigan) was in tow of the tug CLEMATIS (wooden tug, 179 tons, built in 1863, at Cleveland, Ohio) in a terrific gale on Lake Huron. The barge broke free and drifted off. The waves washed completely over her and the captain was swept overboard. Her cabins were destroyed. The next day the wife of the mate and another crew member were rescued by the bark ONEONTA (wooden bark, 161 foot, 499 gross tons, built in 1862, at Buffalo, New York) and taken to Detroit, but the HOLLON was left to drift on the Lake. The newspapers listed her as "missing". Five days later the vessel was found and was towed into Port Elgin, Ontario. A total of four lives were lost: three were missing and the fourth was found "lashed to a pump, dead, with his eyes picked out.

The tugs GLENADA and MOUNT MC KAY towed AMOCO ILLINOIS from Essexville, Michigan on October 30, 1985, and arrived at the M&M slip in Windsor, Ontario on November 1st. where she was to be scrapped.

The Maritimers CADILLAC and her fleetmate CHAMPLAIN arrived under tow by the Dutch tug/supply ship THOMAS DE GAUWDIEF on October 30, 1987, at Aliaga, Turkey to be scrapped.

The ISLE ROYALE (Canal Bulk Freighter) was launched October 30, 1947, as a.) SOUTHCLIFFE HALL for the Hall Corporation of Canada Ltd. (which in 1969, became Hall Corporation (Shipping) 1969 Ltd.), Montreal.

On 30 October 1874, LOTTA BERNARD (wooden side-wheel "rabbit", 125 foot, 147 tons, built in 1869, at Port Clinton, Ohio) was carrying general merchandise from Silver Islet to Duluth when she foundered in a terrific gale off Encampment Island in Lake Superior. Three lives were lost. She was capable of only 4 miles per hour and was at the mercy of any fast rising storm.

During a storm, the schooner ANNABELLA CHAMBERS was wrecked on the islands off Toronto, Ontario on 30 October 1873. One sailor was washed overboard and lost. The skipper was rescued, but he had the dead body of his small son in his arms.

October 30, 1971 - The PERE MARQUETTE 21 was laid up due to coal strike. She never sailed again as a carferry.

On 30 October 1877, CITY OF TAWAS (3-mast wooden schooner, 135 foot, 291 tons, built in 1864, at Vicksburgh [now Marysville], Michigan as a sloop-barge) was carrying 500 tons of iron ore when she struck a bar outside the harbor at St. Joseph, Michigan while attempting to enter during a storm. She drifted ashore with a hole in her bottom and was pounded to pieces. One brave crewman swam ashore with a line and the rest came in on it.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Hamilton Port Authority curtails access to harbour area
Part of post-9/11 security measures

10/29 - Hamilton, Ont. - Post-9/11 security measures are closing a few windows on Hamilton Harbour.

The Hamilton Port Authority, following dictates from Transport Canada, is fencing off many of its facilities and installing card-access locks, electronic gates and video surveillance systems to limit access.

That means you won't be able to drive freely to the water's edge at Eastport along the Beach Strip, where the former Board of Hamilton Harbour Commissioners once maintained two public parkettes and viewing sites. And you may find it hard to reach the water at the foot of some streets in the bay front industrial area.

Danny Slade, manager of marine operations, told city council this week the authority has begun to implement the measures and expects to complete them by year-end. After presenting a general outline, he said, "It would be prudent not to go into greater detail at this time." Linda MacDonald, operations vice-president and harbourmaster, said a public meeting to explain the impact would be held sometime in December.

Ward 5 Councillor Chad Collins, whose east-end ward includes the Beach Strip, noted the harbour Remedial Action Plan calls for greater access and expressed concern over the Fisherman's Pier area and plans for a trail on the bay side of the sand strip.

MacDonald said the authority would soon be inviting proposals for recreational-commercial development at Fisherman's Pier, but has to secure access to its shipping and industrial areas. "We will be controlling access to all of Eastport," she said. "There will be fencing." She told Collins the two formerly public viewing sites "will be part of the controlled facilities."

Chain-link fencing has already gone up between Windermere Basin, which the city is developing as passive parkland, and the authority's road-rail bridge that connects Strathearne Avenue to Eastport across the basin mouth.

When Councillor Terry Whitehead asked how the authority plans mesh with the city's vision of access to the waterfront for the general public, Mayor Fred Eisenberger mentioned that he and councillors Collins and Bob Bratina are on a liaison committee with the authority, though it has not met regularly.

Councillor Brad Clark said he thought the port security measures were in keeping with tightened security around airports.

From the Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports - October 29

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday saw the Algoisle return to port at 8:30 a.m. after cleaning her holds in Lake Ontario. She went to Pier 25 to load grain for the next 36 hours. The tugs Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie departed at 10:30 a.m. for Clarkson and returned at 2:30 p.m.
The Canadian Miner arrived with iron ore for Dofasco at 11:30 a.m. The Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin arrived at at 3:00 p.m. with coal for Stelco. The Quebecois departed at 4 P.m. and went to the anchorage in Burlington Bay waiting for the winds to die down before proceeding to Clarkson. The Canadian Provider arrived at 4:30 p.m. going to Dofasco with iron ore.
Sunday morning saw the Quebecois depart the Burlington Bay anchorage for Clarkson. The Canadian Miner departed at 7:30 a.m. for the canal. The Canadian Provider departed from Dofasco at 12:30 p.m. in ballast for Port Cartier Quebec. The Canadian Leader arrived at 1245 p.m. with iron ore from Port Cartier for Dofasco. The CSL Laurentian arrived at 7 p.m. with iron ore for Stelco. The Federal Pioneer departed at 7:15 pm.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Adam E. Cornelius arrived at 8:30 a.m. Sunday for the Gateway Trade Terminal in Lackawanna with stone.

Sarnia - Frank Frisk
The tug Jane Ann IV and  Sarah Spencer departed Sarnia upbound at noon Sunday, following American Integrity and Lee A Tregurtha.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived light in Holland Sunday afternoon and proceeded to the Padnos dock to take on a load of metal for recycling. The loading process was expected to take 12 to 14 hours.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived overnight on Sunday to unload at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The pair was outbound early Sunday morning.
The American Century was also inbound on Sunday, unloading at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville, but the big news of the day was the arrival of the Michipicoten who also unloaded at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. This was the first visit of the Michipicoten to the Saginaw River under her present name and colors. She was outbound for the lake Sunday evening.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The H. Lee White arrived at Marquette's Shiras Dock with stone, then moved to the ore dock to take on a load of ore. The Charles M. Beeghly arrived later with coal for the WE Power Plant.


Milwaukee Clipper to move to Mart Dock

10/29 - Muskegon - Almost 10 years after it was towed to a temporary site in Muskegon, the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper is returning to its original berth at West Michigan Dock & Market, joining LST-393 and the Port City Princess.

Ray Hilt, president of S.S. Milwaukee Clipper Preservation Inc., said his organization has finalized plans to move the Clipper from the foot of McCracken Street to the Mart Dock. Plans call for the Clipper to be parked behind LST-393 and the Port City Princess. Ironically, the site is where the Clipper was based when it offered Muskegon-to-Milwaukee service for 39 years before being retired in 1970.

Hilt expressed hope the Clipper could be towed to the new site before the end of the year, after the preservation group receives site plan approval from Muskegon and is given the OK by the U.S. Coast Guard to tow the vessel. Because the Clipper technically is considered a building, site plan review and approval is needed from the city's planning commission, he said.

The pending move was announced Friday in Grand Rapids by Max McKee, president of West Michigan Dock & Market. The McKee family owned and operated the Clipper through its Muskegon-based Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Co. "This is very exciting for us," Hilt said. "We're very pleased to see the Clipper going to a new home."

Hilt said talks with McKee began in earnest in mid-summer and the two sides were able to hammer out a draft agreement in September. Hilt said McKee signed documents finalizing berthing arrangements Thursday, but details are not being publicly released under a confidentiality agreement. Hilt said the preservation association will be paying a dockage fee that falls within its limited budget.

Hilt said the original ticket office, currently used by the Port City Princess, will be remodeled to sell tickets also for LST-393 and the Clipper.

The announcement marks a decade-long effort to find a permanent site for the 361-foot-long Clipper. Ever since the ship was towed into Muskegon on Dec. 2, 1997, it has been "temporarily" berthed at the former Grand Trunk Railroad docks, now owned by Andrie Inc. Hilt said through the years, a number of sites for the ship have been considered.

In 2004, the preservation group and the city agreed in principle to have the Clipper berthed at Hartshorn Marina. But the ship never moved because making it fully accessible at the site would have cost about $1 million.

Hilt said the Mart Dock site does not require major dredging or any modifications to the seawall. Still, the preservation group faces the daunting task of having the Clipper meet building fire, safety and accessibility codes. The Mart Dock site most likely will require the eventual construction of a multi-story access tower off the port side of the ship to provide emergency exits and required elevator service. In addition, the site does not have a nearby supply of water or sewer.

But the move is important because it finally gives the Clipper an address, a long-standing requirement for the preservation group to seek restoration grants. "This now allows us to seek grant funds," Hilt said. "The trouble is ... grants are not available right now because of the economy."

The pending move also is important because it finally frees up the Grand Trunk property. Hilt said Clipper preservationists are grateful for Andrie Inc., which allowed the ship to stay for close to a decade. "If it weren't for the Andries, the Clipper could not have been saved," Hilt said. "Let's face it, we overstayed. It's time we moved."

The Milwaukee Clipper's roots trace back to the turn of the 20th century and the Erie & Western Transportation Corp., a steamship company owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad that launched the steamship Juniata in December 1904.

The ship that was to become the Clipper, the Juniata was launched eight years before the Titanic, and began regular service in May 1905. The ship sailed as the Juniata for 31 years, mostly between Buffalo, N.Y., and Duluth, Minn., before it was mothballed in 1937 because of its fire-prone wooden superstructure.

In 1940, the Muskegon-based Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Co. purchased the Juniata and converted it to the Milwaukee Clipper. The Clipper shuttled passengers and cargo from Muskegon to Milwaukee for 39 years before it was retired in 1970.

The Clipper remained berthed in Muskegon for eight years before it was sold and towed to Chicago's Navy Pier as a floating attraction. In 1990, the ship was purchased by the Hammond, Ind., Port Authority, which attempted to make it into a centerpiece attraction for its large Lake Michigan marina.

The Clipper was towed to Muskegon in late 1997 after being purchased by a nonprofit group now known as the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper Preservation Inc. The ship has been listed on the National Register of Historic Sites since 1983 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

From the Muskegon Chronicle


Doug Fairchild/Boatnerd Memorial Fund

The Board of Directors of Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supporting this website, has approved the establishment of a Memorial Fund to have a memorial bench installed in Rotary Park, at Mission Point, in Sault Ste. Marie in memory of the late Douglas Fairchild.

Fairchild, who died unexpectedly in March, was a dedicated boat watcher and supporter of the Boatnerd website. He also had a great interest in the aviation industry, and shared his experiences and information with everyone he met.

The permanent bench will be similar to the present memorial benches in Rotary Park and will be installed in this location favored by boat watchers and photographers from all around the Great Lakes.

Donations should be made to the Boatnerd Memorial Fund, and mailed to Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping, 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Donations may be tax-deductible depending upon your individual circumstances.


Updates - October 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 29

On this day in 1924, the LEONARD B MILLER collided with the GLENORCHY in the fog on Lake Huron. No lives were lost but the GLENORCHY sank and the estimated damage to the two vessels was $600,000.

The whaleback Barge 127 (steel barge, 264 foot, 1,128 gross tons) was launched by the American Steel Barge Company of W. Superior, Wisconsin on 29 October 1892. She lasted until 1936, when she was scrapped at New Orleans, Louisiana.

On 29 October 1906, the schooner WEST SIDE (wooden schooner, 138 foot, 324 gross tons, built in 1870, at Oswego, New York) was carrying pulpwood from Tobermory, Ontario to Delray, Michigan when she was caught in a severe gale on Lake Huron. There was no shelter and the vessel was lost about 25 mile off Thunder Bay Island. The skipper and his crew, consisting of his wife and three sons aged 10 to 18, abandoned in the yawl. They all suffered from exposure to the wind and waves, but luckily the FRANK H PEAVEY (steel propeller freighter, 430 foot, 5,002 gross tons, built in 1901, at Lorain, Ohio) picked them up and brought them to Port Huron, Michigan.

ALGOLAKE (Hull# 211) was launched October 29, 1976, at Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd. for the Algoma Central Railway.

On October 29, 1986, the JAMES R BARKER, who had suffered an engine room fire, was lashed side-by-side to the thousand-foot WILLIAM J DE LANCEY and towed to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for repairs.

The pieced together CANADIAN EXPLORER (Hull#71) was christened on October 29, 1983, at the Port Weller Dry Docks. She was created from the bow section of the NORTHERN VENTURE and the stern of the CABOT. The stern of the EXPLORER is now the stern of the CANADIAN TRANSFER.

The National Transportation Safety Board ruled on October 29, 1991, that Total Petroleum was responsible for the fire that destroyed the tanker JUPITER because of faulty moorings and exonerated the BUFFALO from primary responsibility.

On the afternoon of October 29, 1987, while up bound with coal from Sandusky, Ohio, the ROGER M KYES, went aground on Gull Island Shoal in Lake Erie's Middle Passage and began taking on water. About 3,000 tons of coal was transferred to the AMERICAN REPUBLIC after which the KYES freed herself the next morning. Damage from the grounding required extensive repairs. She was renamed b.) ADAM E CORNELIUS in 1989.

The tug portion of the PRESQUE ISLE departed New Orleans, Louisiana on October 29, 1973.

The H C HEIMBECKER's last trip started at Thunder Bay, Ontario with a load of grain bound for Owen Sound, Ontario where, on October 29, 1981, it was discovered that one of her boilers was cracked. When unloading was completed on October 30th, the HEIMBECKER proceeded under her own power to Ashtabula, Ohio for scrapping.

On 29 October 1892, ZACH CHANDLER (3 mast wooden schooner-barge, 194 foot, 727 gross tons, built in 1867, at Detroit, Michigan) was carrying lumber from Ashland, Wisconsin in tow of the steamer JOHN MITCHELL when the two became separated in a northerly gale in Lake Superior. The CHANDLER was overwhelmed and broke up on shore about three miles east of Deer Park, Michigan. Five of the crew made it to shore in the lifeboat and the Lifesaving Service saved two others, but one perished. Three years earlier, the CHANDLER stranded at almost the same spot and sustained heavy damage.

On 29 October 1879, AMAZON (wooden propeller freighter, 245 foot, 1,406 tons, built in 1873, at Trenton, Michigan) was carrying "provisions" - 900 tons of freight plus 7,000 barrels of flour - from Milwaukee to Grand Haven, Michigan. She struck the notorious bar off of Grand Haven in a gale and broke up. All 68 aboard survived. Her engine was later recovered.

On 29 October 1880, THOMAS A SCOTT (4-mast wooden schooner-barge, 207 foot, 1,159 tons, built in 1869, at Buffalo, New York as a propeller) was riding out a storm at anchor one mile off Milwaukee when she was struck by the big steamer AVON (wooden propeller, 251 foot, 1,702 gross tons, built in 1877, at Buffalo, New York). The SCOTT sank quickly. She had been bound from Chicago for Erie, Pennsylvania with 44,000 bushels of corn. Three of her crew scrambled onto the AVON while the seven others took to the yawl and were towed in by the Life Saving Service.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes at B.G.S.U and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - October 28

Sarnia - Frank Frisk
Jane Ann IV and Sarah Spencer
have been reunited in the north slip in Sarnia on Saturday. As soon as a fuel blend is available they will be departing.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin arrived late on Thursday night with coal for Lackawanna. She must have unloaded and then shifted under the spouts to load because she did not depart until 11 p.m. Friday.

Sturgeon Bay - Jeff Birch
The Milwaukee to Muskegon ferry Lake Express is on the floating drydock at Bayship.

Bay City - Todd Shorkey
The tug Kurt Luedtke moved a derrick barge and mud scows into position between Liberty and Veteran's Memorial bridges on Saturday in preparation to begin dredging operations. That particular area has been a trouble spot in recent years as a number of vessels have become stuck there due to shoaling made worse by low water levels. MCM Marine is continuing its contract dredging work from the Saginaw River Front Range to about two miles out into the Saginaw Bay. Both projects are expected to be finished before the end of the year.


Updates - October 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 28

On this day in 1939, the Pittsburgh steamer D G KERR, Captain H. D. McLeod, rescued six men from the cabin cruiser FRANCIS J H that was disabled and sinking on Lake Erie.

On this day in 1953, the McKEE SONS loaded her first cargo of 17,238 tons of stone at Port Inland for delivery to East Chicago. Originally built as the C-4 MARINE ANGEL, the McKEE SONS was the first ocean vessel converted to a Great Lakes self unloader.

On this day in 1978, a new 420 foot tanker built at Levingston Shipbuilding, Orange, Texas, was christened GEMINI during ceremonies at Huron, Ohio. The GEMINI was the largest American flagged tanker on the lakes with a capacity of 75,000 barrels and a rated speed of 15.5 mph. Sold Canadian and renamed b.) ALGOSAR in 2005.

On 28 October 1891, DAVID STEWART (3-mast wooden schooner, 171 foot, 545 gross tons, built in 1867, at Cleveland, Ohio) was dragged ashore off Fairport, Ohio by a strong gale. She was stranded and declared a total loss. However, she was salvaged and repaired in 1892 and lasted one more year.

The CANADIAN PIONEER's maiden voyage was on October 28, 1981, to Conneaut, Ohio to take on coal for Nanticoke, Ontario.

The CANADIAN TRANSPORT was launched October 28, 1978, for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., Toronto, Ontario.

The FRED G HARTWELL (Hull# 781) was launched October 28, 1922, by American Ship Building Co. at Lorain, Ohio for the Franklin Steamship Co. Renamed b.) MATTHEW ANDREWS in 1951. Sold Canadian in 1962, renamed c.) GEORGE M CARL. She was scrapped at Aviles, Spain in 1984.

D M CLEMSON (Hull# 716) was launched October 28, 1916, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio.

CHARLES M WHITE was launched October 28, 1945, as a C4-S-A4 cargo ship a.) MOUNT MANSFIELD for the U.S. Maritime Commission (U.S.M.C. Hull #2369).

On 28 October 1887, BESSIE BARWICK, a 135 foot wooden schooner built in 1866, at St. Catharines, Ontario as a bark, left Port Arthur for Kingston, Ontario with a load of lumber during a storm. For more than ten days, her whereabouts were unknown. In fact, a westerly gale drove her into the shallows of Michipicoten Island and she was pounded to pieces. Her crew was sheltered by local fishermen and then made it to the Soo in a small open boat.

On 28 October 1882, RUDOLPH WETZEL (wooden propeller tug, 23 tons, built in 1870, at Buffalo, New York) was racing for a tow with the tug HENRY S SILL when her boiler exploded 12 miles north of Racine, Wisconsin. She quickly sank. All three on board were killed and none of the bodies were ever found.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.



Man dies after tug capsizes

10/27 - Byng Inlet - A Port Hope man died Sunday morning after the tugboat he was on capsized off the shore of Byng Inlet.

Around 8 a.m. Sunday, Donald Orange, 65, of Port Hope, along with Bryan Hogg, 58, of Thornhill, Ronald Orange, 62, and Shawn Orange, 23, both of Penetanguishene, started to drive the 45-foot tugboat to Midland from where is was moored near the Sawmill Lodge.

About four miles out, the tugboat started to take on water and eventually capsized after being struck by a wave that put the nose under water, said Britt and area fire chief Larry Olds. All four men were wearing lifejackets and swam for the aluminum boat they were towing, police reported. By the time Donald Orange was pulled into the boat he had no vital signs, said Mr. Olds.

An autopsy to determine the cause of death was completed Monday, but results weren't released that afternoon pending notification of next of kin, said Kristine Dawson, West Parry Sound OPP community services officer.

The men headed for the Sawmill Lodge where firefighters worked to revive Donald Orange for 90 minutes. The Britt and Area Fire Department were called to the scene at 11 a.m.

The father of two was a member of the Newcastle Yacht Club and his sail boat was scheduled to come out of the water for the winter this past weekend, said Richard Christensen, commodore of the club.

"He's kind and generous and always (willing) to help," said Mr. Christensen.

From the Perry Sound Press

Editor's note - This same tug sank while trawling off of Port Dover, Ontario on March 24, 1974. Her crew of two were both lost. Aletha B. was built as a fish tug by Russel Bros in Owen Sound in 1945.


Port Reports - October 27

Toledo - Sheldon Rody
On a misty rainy Friday morning the Spruceglen was loading at the Port of Toledo.

Goderich -
Cuyahoga backed into Goderich elevators to unload a cargo of corn Friday night.

Menominee - Dick Lund
The old tug, Nicole S, which first arrived in Menominee about a year ago was finally on the move today. The Selvick tug Jimmy L assisted the Nicole S down-river and through the Ogden Street Bridge out to the bay of Green Bay before turning the Nicole S around and handing over the tow to the small tug, Park State. Their ultimate destination is Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The silos at Lafarge were busy on Friday with all three cement carriers arriving throughout the day. The Alpena was in port first loading for Superior, WI. By early afternoon the Alpena departed and exchanged salutes with the incoming tug G. L Ostrander barge Integrity. By nightfall the Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived and tied up at the coal dock. Once the Integrity left the Innovation moved over to the loading dock where it will likely take a delay waiting for product.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Scoter got underway early today from Redpath. Stellanova remained at Pier 51.  The catamaran Bearcat II has been on Toronto Drydock for the past couple of days.


Wisconsin gains 28th shipwreck on historic registry

10/27 - Algoma, Wi - The wooden schooner Daniel Lyons, which has rested at the bottom of Lake Michigan for nearly 130 years, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The three-masted, 143-foot long vessel struck and nearly sliced the ship named Kate Gillett on Oct. 18, 1878, about nine miles northeast of Algoma, according to a news release from the University of Wisconsin's Sea Grant Institute.

Gillett's captain worked to keep the bow of his ship lodged in the Lyons hull to keep it from flooding, so the five crew members could get onto the Gillett, according to the institute. When the boats separated, the Lyons settled at the stern, rolled to its side and sank bow first.

The vessel was built to fit through the locks of Welland Canal, which bypass the Niagara Falls between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. It transported grain from ports on western Lake Michigan, collected from newly settled farmlands of the Midwest, to eastern ports on Lakes Erie and Ontario, according to the institute.

Wisconsin now has 28 shipwrecks listed on the National Register, more than any other state, according to Keith Meverden, an underwater archaeologist at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Meverden led a team of nautical archeologists and other divers to conduct a survey of the wreck in 2005, getting the information in order to nominate the vessel.

From the Chicago Tribune


Updates - October 27

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 27

On this day in 1979, the MESABI MINER delivered her first cargo of coal to Port Washington, Wisconsin. The 21 foot draft restriction of the harbor limited the cargo to 39,000 tons.

While in tow of the tug MERRICK on 27 October 1879, the NIAGARA (wooden schooner, 204 foot, 764 gross tons, built in 1873, at Tonawanda, New York) collided with the PORTER (wooden schooner, 205 foot, 747 gross tons, built in 1874, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) which was in tow of the tug WILCOX at the mouth of the Detroit River. The PORTER sank but was salvaged and repaired. She lasted another 19 years.

The PAUL THAYER, was christened on October 27, 1973, at Lorain, Ohio. Renamed b.) EARL W OGLEBAY in 1995.

While the JAMES R BARKER was up bound October 27, 1986, on Lake Huron above buoys 11 & 12, a high pressure fuel line on the starboard engine failed causing an engine room fire, which was extinguished by on-board fire fighting equipment. Fortunately no one was injured.

On her maiden voyage the HOCHELAGA departed Collingwood on October 27, 1949, for Fort William, Ontario to load grain for Port Colborne, Ontario.

The FRANCIS E HOUSE was laid up at Duluth, Minnesota on October 27, 1960, and remained idle there until April, 1966, when she was sold to the Kinsman Marine Transit Co., Cleveland and was renamed c.) KINSMAN INDEPENDENT. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1974.

On October 27, 1973, the HENRY LA LIBERT struck an embankment while backing from the Frontier Dock Slip at Buffalo, New York and damaged her steering gear beyond repair. As a consequence she was laid up there.

The RED WING and the FRANK A SHERMAN departed Lauzon, Quebec on October 27, 1986, in tandem tow by the Vancouver based deep-sea tug CANADIAN VIKING bound for scrapping in Taiwan.

On 27 October 1869, ALFRED ALLEN (wooden schooner, 160 tons, built in 1853, at Pultneyville, New Jersey as J J MORLEY) was bound for Toledo, Ohio with 500 barrels of salt when she went on the Mohawk Reef near Port Colborne, Ontario in a blizzard. She washed free and drifted to the mainland beach where she was pounded to pieces. No lives were lost.

During a snow storm on the night of 27 October 1878, the propeller QUEBEC of the Beatty Line ran aground on Magnetic Shoals near Cockburn Island on Lake Huron. She was four miles from shore and one of her arches was broken in the accident.

October 27, 1854 - Well-known Pere Marquette carferry captain Joseph "Joe" Russell was born in Greenfield, Wisconsin.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes at B.G.S.U and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Griffon mystery runs deep
Steve Libert believes he has discovered ship that sunk in 1679

10/26 - Traverse City - On its second voyage, the wooden ship Griffon sank and sparked a mystery that has spanned centuries.

Built in 1679 north of Niagara, the 60-foot-long, 16-foot-wide ship was dispatched to Green Bay to load a rich cargo of furs. The largest cargo on the largest ship to ever sail the upper Great Lakes — in fact, the first European vessel to do so — vanished shortly after sailing. The disappearance launched a quest that has captivated countless historians, archeologists, divers and amateurs across the ages.

Steve Libert is one of those bewitched by the French ship Le Griffon and he has spent 30 years searching for clues both above and below the waves.

A senior intelligence analyst with the federal government who lives in the northern Virginia area, Libert discussed his odyssey Saturday evening at the Grand Traverse Heritage Center. His talk was part of the center's "Mysteries of the Lake: Lake Michigan Legends and Lore” exhibit, which runs through December 1. The event drew 125 people and also featured short presentations by Ken Vrana, president of the Center for Maritime and Underwater Resource Management and Richard Gross, a historical researcher from Schaumburg, Ill..

Bottom line: Libert believes that in 2001 he located the Griffon in Michigan waters off of the coast of Wisconsin. "I've been looking into the Griffon for 30 years and it's been a long road and a lot of hardships, I've lost a lot of money and been in a lot of danger,” he said. Although further exploration, documentation, confirmation and preservation of this promising wreck are tied up until the resolution of a federal court case with the state of Michigan, Libert shared what he has learned so far.

The legendary French explorer Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle built the Griffon. La Salle envisioned that the Griffon's cargoes of furs would finance his explorations down the Mississippi River as he sought the river's end. The actions of La Salle, who eventually claimed the land west of the Mississippi that later comprised President Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase, are intricately tied to United States and Great Lakes history.

Unraveling this mystery, Libert believes, will only deepen our understanding of the country's founding plus the purchase and development of land that comprises two-thirds of the land mass today. "I'm not a treasure hunter, I'm a historical shipwreck hunter,” said Libert.

Gathering a team of like-minded people into the Great Lakes Exploration Group, LLC, of which he is the president, Libert has spent years sifting through historical documents, reading first-hand accounts of the ship's maiden voyage to Wisconsin and exploring miles of lake bottom in his quest. Six years ago, the team finally located what may be the bowsprit of the Griffon and other wreckage but has not explored further until the legal issues are settled.

"I narrowed it down to a few square miles but it still took 14 years to find the vessel,” said Libert, who became entranced by the Griffon story when he was in eighth grade. "There have been about 52 discoveries of the Griffon and about 90 percent of them have been in Lake Huron.”

The Huron Islands clue led those other explorers to the Great Lake of the same name but Libert looked at old charts and a journal wrote by Father Hennepin, who sailed on the maiden voyage. The information in these documents led him to western Lake Michigan and the area where he eventually found the promising artifacts.

"How historians missed it, I have no idea,” said Libert. "That was probably one of the most significant factors for me looking where we did.”

For more information visit the Griffon project website.

From the Traverse City Record-Eagle


Port Reports - October 26

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algosoo backed into the channel under sunny skies and started loading at the Sifto Salt dock at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Maumee came in very late Wednesday evening with a load of stone for Meekhof's dock in Ferrysburg. It was gone by dawn.

Toronto - Clive Reddin
Scoter is at the Redpath sugar refinery and Stellanova is in port.

Lorain - C. Mackin
The American Republic passed through the Berry Bridge at 8 a.m. Thursday on its way upriver to R.E.P.


Tugboat will go back to work in Twin Ports

10/26 - Duluth - A once-retired Great Lakes tugboat, the Forney, soon will return to service in a new home: the Twin Ports. The vessel has been purchased by a Knife River family with a deep ship-handling heritage.

Mike Ojard and his sons, Pat and Vince, together purchased the Forney, which last saw service in Manitowoc, Wis., where it has been moored since 2004.

The Ojard name is synonymous with tugboats. Mike’s uncle, Adolph Ojard, served as skipper of the Edna G. Mike’s father, Edward “Harvey” Ojard, served as the vessel’s chief engineer. The two brothers worked side by side for 20-plus years, until the Edna G. was retired in 1981. The tug is now a Two Harbors museum boat. (Adolph Ojard was the father of Adolph N. Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.)

Mike Ojard, 61, went on to build his own business, London Auto Body, before retiring and handing it over to his sons five years ago. But he never completely turned his back on the marine service industry. “Tugboats have always been one of Dad’s passions since he was 4 years old, and now he’s doing what he always wanted to do,” Vince Ojard said.

The Ojards had attempted to purchase the 64-year-old tug Lake Superior earlier this year from the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, but they were outbid by Bob Billington of Billington Construction Co. Vince Ojard declined to say what his family paid for the Forney but said it was significantly more than the $56,000 for which the Lake Superior sold.

Mike Ojard plans to rename the Forney the Edward H., in honor of his father and in the style of the Edna G. Vince Ojard said his 19-year-old son, Vince, plans to join the crew of the Edward H. when it begins service in the Twin Ports early next year. If he does, he will become the fourth generation of the Ojard family to work aboard a Great Lakes tug.

On Wednesday evening, the Forney had taken shelter behind a breakwater at Whitefish Point and was waiting out poor weather. Paul Von Goertz, a friend of Mike Ojard’s and member of his crew, said the tug set out Sunday morning and encountered rough conditions on Lake Michigan. The National Weather Service reported 12-foot seas at the time.

“We’re still learning this tug, and we made a few mistakes. There were a few anxious moments,” said Von Goertz, recalling how the boat’s engine briefly conked out in treacherous waters. But Von Goertz said the Forney’s experienced crew responded adeptly and soon had the vessel restarted and back on course.

The tug is powered by its original engine — an 850-horsepower Enterprise diesel. The 86-foot vessel was built in 1944 by a New Orleans shipyard. It served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ fleet for many years until its retirement three years ago.

Von Goertz said he hoped to leave Whitefish Point this morning, assuming the weather improves. If so, the Forney, with a maximum speed of about 10 mph, probably will reach Duluth on Friday.

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service planned for River Rouge

10/26 - River Rouge, MI - A memorial service for the Edmund Fitzgerald will be held in Dr. Henri Belanger Park, in River Rouge, MI, on November 10, the anniversary of the famous sinking.

The service will be held at the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse from at 6 to 8 p.m.

The mailboat J. W. Westcott will be on hand to take out a wreath to be placed on the river. There will also be a plaque presentation, bell ringing, and lantern lighting. Refreshments will be served following the service.

For more information call Tony Laginess at 313-595-6963.


Updates - October 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 26

On 26 October 1878, the new steamer CITY OF DETROIT (composite side-wheel passenger-package freight steamer, 234 foot, 1,094 gross tons, built in 1878, at Wyandotte, Michigan) arrived in Detroit from Cleveland with 276 tons of freight, mostly iron, on deck, and no freight in her hold. This experiment was tried to see if the steamer would show any signs of "crankiness", even under a load so placed. She responded well and lived up to the expectations of her designers.

On 26 October 1882, the sunken schooner-barge NELLIE MC GILVRAY was dynamited as a hazard to navigation by the Portage River Improvement Company. She sank at the entrance to the Portage Canal in the Keweenaw Peninsula on 28 August 1882, and all attempts to raise her failed.

LOUIS R DESMARAIS was christened October 26,1977. She was reconstructed at Port Weller Drydocks and renamed b.) CSL LAURENTIEN in 2001.

On October 26, 1968, the R BRUCE ANGUS grounded in the St. Lawrence River near Beauharnois, Quebec, sixteen hundred tons of iron ore were lightered to free her and she damaged 65 bottom plates.

The HUTCHCLIFFE HALL and OREFAX were sold October 26, 1971, to the Consortium Ile d'Orleans of Montreal made up of Richelieu Dredging Corp., McNamara Construction Ltd. and The J.P. Porter Co. Ltd.

On October 26, 1924, the E A S CLARKE of 1907, anchored in the Detroit River opposite the Great Lakes Engineering Works because of dense fog was struck by the B F JONES of 1906, near her after deckhouse which caused the CLARKE to sink. No lives were lost.

On October 26, 1977, the MENIHEK LAKE struck a lock in the St. Lawrence Seaway sustaining damage estimated at $400,000.

On October 26, 1971, the ROGERS CITY's, A-frame collapsed while unloading at Carrollton, Michigan on the Saginaw River. Her unloading boom was cut away and temporary repairs were made at Defoe Shipbuilding Co., Bay City, Michigan.

The tug ROUILLE was launched on October 26, 1929, as Hull#83 of Collingwood Shipyards Ltd.

The schooner HEMISPHERE, which was being sought by the U.S. Marshals at Detroit and the St. Lawrence River, escaped at the Gallop Rapids and has gone to sea.

On 26 October 1851, ATLAS (wooden propeller, 153 foot, 375 tons, built in 1851, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying flour from Detroit to Buffalo when she was blown to shore near the mouth of the Grand River (Lorain, Ohio) by a gale, stranded and became a total loss. No lives were lost.

On 26 October 1895, GEORGE W DAVIS (wooden schooner, 136 foot, 299 gross tons, built in 1872, at Toledo, Ohio) was carrying coal in a storm on Lake Erie when she stranded near Port Maitland, Ontario. A few days after the stranding, she floated off on her own, drifted two miles up the beach and sank. No lives were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Cutter Mackinaw goes hunting for lake buoys

10/25 - Cheboygan - Another buoy season has arrived for the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw, which has departed for Wisconsin's Door Peninsula.

Last week, the Mackinaw's crew completed a week of buoy-deck operations training conducted by the buoy-deck training team from the National Aids to Navigation School in Yorktown, Va.

“Approximately 41 buoys will be pulled from Lake Michigan and Lake Huron and stowed for the winter in Cheboygan,” said Cmdr. John Little, the ship's captain. “Depending on the location and waterway, some of the buoys will be replaced with smaller, more ice resilient winter marks - which means that the chain and concrete sinker will remain on station in the lake. Others will be pulled entirely and will include the buoy, chain and sinker.”

Little said that in most cases the buoys that the Mackinaw's crew will remove weigh more than 12,000 pounds each; the chain over 4,000 pounds and the concrete sinker in excess of 8,500 pounds.

“This critical buoy-deck training involved classroom instruction and hands-on step-by-step procedures on our buoy-deck operations,” Little continued. “Actual buoys were shifted across the deck and placed over the side. The evolution is quite dangerous, especially when you add underway rolling and pitching experienced when working aids to navigation in the open Great Lakes during the ‘gales of November.' Little added that constant training and drills are part of life for Coast Guardsmen involved in buoy work.

“It is imperative to hone these buoy-deck procedures pier-side before putting them into practice in the lakes,” Little said. “Once we begin the fall buoy run, the cutter will be working aids as far south as Gary, Ind., in Lake Michigan and Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron. The ship will also be removing all of the NOAA weather buoys from both lakes by the first week in December.”

The buoy-deck training team was led by buoy-tending veteran Chief Warrant Officer Dave Merrill, who has more than 30 years of aids to navigation experience, including duties as a temporary new Mackinaw crewmember during last years fall buoy run. Merrill was assisted by Chief Boatswain's Mate Jason Wyglendowski, Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Chris Wilcox, and Boatswain's Mate 1st Class John Bagley.

The Mackinaw will return in time for Friday's Haunted Ship display at the Millard D. Olds Memorial Moorings.

By Mike Fornes for the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Port Reports - October 25

Twin Ports - Al Miller
CHS grain elevator in Superior remains busy. On Wednesday morning the Federal Hudson was in berth 1 waiting to load under clear skies while Maritime Trader was in berth 2 to load.
Elsewhere, American Integrity was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Later in the morning, Presque Isle was due at the CN/DMIR ore dock to load for Nanticoke.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey & Stephen Hause
The Calumet was inbound the Saginaw River Tuesday night, headed up to the GM dock in Saginaw to unload. She turned in the Sixth Street Basin Wednesday morning and was outbound for the lake.
The American Mariner was inbound Wednesday morning calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. She backed from the dock and out to Light 12 to turn Wednesday afternoon.
Also on the Saginaw River are crews from both MCM Marine and Luedtke Engineering who are working on separate dredging projects. The tugs Kurt Luedtke and Gretchen B. Luedtke along with three barges arrived on the Saginaw River late Monday evening, tying up at the Essroc dock in Essexville.

Toledo -
Cuyahoga was unloading at ADM on Wednesday.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Wednesday afternoon and evening was a busy one in Hamilton. The tug Anglian Lady and barge PML2501 arrived at 3:30 p.m.
Hamilton Energy arrived back in port at 4 p.m. after bunkering the Halifax in the Burlington Bay anchorage. Tug Bagotville departed at 4 p.m. and was heading to Oshawa.The tug Americo Dean arrived at 4:15 p.m. from Bronte. The Ocean Group tug LaPrairie departed at 4:30 p.m. heading to Clarkson.
She was followed out by the Spruceglen who departed Pier 12 at 4:30 p.m. and was headed to the Welland Canal and onto Toledo in ballast. The tug Annie M Dean and work barge Canadian Jubilee arrived at 6 p.m. from Bronte.
CSL Tadoussac then arrived at 6:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Stelco.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Federal Mattawa (reg. Monrovia) was berthed stern-in at Milwaukee's outer harbor terminal #2 Wednesday evening, delivering steel.
BBC Finland (reg. Naples) remained at the heavy lift dock in the inner harbor, unloading windmill blades.


Collingwood-built vessel to be broken up

10/25 - Marine News, published by the World Ship Society, reported in the October edition that the self discharging bulk carrier Baron arrived at Alang, India on August 23 to be broken up.

She had been built by Collingwood Drydocks in 1976 as Gypsum Baron. IMO No. 7356525.

Reported by René Beauchamp


Updates - October 25

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 25

On this day in 1975, a 96 foot mid body section was added to the ARTHUR B HOMER at Fraser Ship Yards, Superior, Wisconsin. The HOMER became the largest American flagged freighter to be lengthened. This modification increased her length to 826 feet and her per trip carrying capacity to 31,200 tons.

On 25 October 1872, the crew of the small tug P P PRATT (wooden propeller steam tug, 14 tons, built in 1866, at Buffalo, New York), went to dinner at a nearby hotel while the tug was docked in Oswego, New York. While they were gone, the tug's boiler exploded. A large piece of the boiler, weighing about five hundred pounds, landed on the corner of West First and Cayuga Street. A six-foot piece of rail impaled itself in the roof of the Oswego Palladium Newspaper's offices. Amazingly, no one was hurt. The hulk was raised the following week and the engine was salvaged.

On 25 October 1888, AMETHYST (wooden propeller tug, 14 gross tons, built in 1868, at Buffalo, New York) caught fire and burned to a total loss at Duluth, Minnesota.

The ALGOBAY departed on her maiden voyage October 25, 1978, from Collingwood light for Stoneport, Michigan to load stone for Sarnia, Ontario.

The STERNECLIFFE HALL entered service for the Hall Corporation of Canada on October 25, 1947.

The HURON arrived at Santander, Spain October 25, 1973, in consort with her sister WYANDOTTE towed by the German tug DOLPHIN X. for scrapping.

October 25, 1895 - SHENANGO NO 2 (later PERE MARQUETTE 16) was launched in Toledo, Ohio. She was built by the Craig Shipbuilding Company for the United States & Ontario Steam Navigation Company and later became part of the Pere Marquette carferry fleet.

The engines of the propeller WESTMORELAND, which sank in 1854, near Skillagalee Reef in Lake Michigan, were recovered and arrived at Chicago on 25 October 1874.

ARK was built on the burned out hull of the steamer E K COLLINS as a side wheel passenger steamer in 1853, at Newport, Michigan, but she was later cut down to a barge. On 25 October 1866, she was being towed along with three other barges down bound from Saginaw, Michigan in a storm. Her towline parted and she disappeared with her crew of 6. The other three tow-mates survived. There was much speculation about ARK's whereabouts until identifiable wreckage washed ashore 100 miles north of Goderich, Ontario.

On 25 October 1833, JOHN BY (wooden stern-wheeler, 110 foot, built in 1832, at Kingston, Ontario) was on her regular route between York (now Toronto) and Kingston, Ontario when a storm drove her ashore near Port Credit, a few miles from York. Her terrible handling in open lake water set the precedent that stern-wheelers were not compatible with lake commerce.

On 25 October 1887, VERNON (wooden propeller passenger/package-freight steamer, 158 foot, 560 tons, built in 1886, at Chicago, Illinois) foundered in a gale 6 miles northeast of Two Rivers Point on Lake Michigan. The death toll was estimated at 31 - 36. The sole survivor was picked up on a small raft two days later by the schooner POMEROY. He was on the raft with a dead body. Most casualties died of exposure. There were accusations at the time that the vessel was overloaded causing the cargo doors to be left open which allowed the water to pour in during the storm. This accusation was confirmed in 1969 (82 years after the incident) when divers found the wreck and indeed the cargo doors were open.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Stellanova loses steering

10/24 - The Jumbo, heavy lift vessel Stellanova, lost her steering while up bound for Toronto at calling in point 7 in the St Lawrence Seaway near Cornwall, Ontario, on Tuesday.

Steering regained, Stellanova was ordered to go to anchor at St Zotique, Quebec, for further inspection.

This is the same vessel that lost steering October, 14,2002 in the St. Lawrence Seaway at Kahnawake which resulted of Stellanova being in a frontal collision with the Canadian Prospector causing substantial damage to both vessels.

By 10 p.m., Stellanova is heading West once more, after losing steering, the Jumboship heavy lift vessel was ordered to go to St. Zotique anchorage . The Netherlands registered vessel is bound for Toronto, Ontario.

Reported by Walter Statham & Kent Malo.


Port Reports - October 24

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Tuesday morning, the Cuyahoga was into port loading at the elevators.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Cement carrier Integrity with its tug G. L. Ostrander arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor about midnight Monday night, then turned and docked at LaFarge. Integrity continued unloading cement on Tuesday.
Also Tuesday, BBC Finland arrived and turned in the inner harbor turning basin about 2:30 p.m., berthing at the heavy lift dock with a deck cargo of wind turbine blades.

Escanaba - Dick Lund
The Earl W paid a visit to Escanaba on Tuesday afternoon when it arrived for a load of taconite pellets.


Fines imposed for pollution spills

10/24 - Montreal Two separate investigations by Transport Canada recently led to charges in Penal and Criminal Court followed by an imposition of fines. The Italian-flag ship Crystal Rubino and the Canadian-flag ship Catherine Desgagné were both found guilty of hydrocarbon pollution.

Under the Oil Pollution Prevention Regulations and the Canada Shipping Act, Judge Pierre Fortin of the Montréal Criminal and Penal Court recently ordered the Crystal Rubino to pay a $15,000 fine for dumping six liters of hydrocarbon residues in the Saint Lawrence River. The discharge occurred April 18, 2004 when the Crystal Rubino was moored in the Port of Montréal and transferring hydrocarbon residues to a tank truck.

On the other hand, Judge Anne-Marie Jacques of the District of Richelieu Criminal and Penal Court found the Catherine Desgagné guilty of dumping about 10 liters of oily water from its machine room bilges into the Saint Lawrence River. An $18 000 fine was imposed on the ship. The discharge occurred on July 24, 2004 when the ship was moored at the Sorel wharf.

Transport Canada is committed to ensuring that commercial shipping operations in Canadian waters respect the environment and to prosecuting marine polluters whenever there is sufficient evidence. The penalties imposed by the courts serve as deterrents to potential polluters.

In addition, under the Health of the Oceans Initiative, the Government of Canada strengthened its commitment regarding the national water strategy announced in the Budget 2007. With an investment of $61.5 million over five years, divided among five federal departments, the Health of the Oceans funds are designated exclusively to protect fragile marine ecosystems and Canada's ocean resources for coastal communities. Transport Canada will use its assigned amounts to increase protection of Canada's navigable waterways by fighting pollution from ships.

Source - Transport Canada


Indian firm buys Minnesota Steel; will build steel plant

10/24 - Nashwauk - A financial manager in Grand Rapids offered what’s become an often-heard comment about a $1.6 billion steel mill proposed on Minnesota’s Iron Range.

“He was sitting next to me and he said: ‘I didn’t realize that this was going to be such a big project,’ ” said Peter McDermott, president of the Itasca Economic Development Corp. “It’s like a lot of other people. They don’t believe it until they see it.”

On Monday, the largest industrial project in the history of the Iron Range gave residents one more reason to believe, taking one of its final steps toward completion. Essar Global Limited, a steelmaker based in India, bought Minnesota Steel Industries and its steelmaking facility proposed near Nashwauk. The project holds potential to transform the region by adding good-paying jobs, creating spinoff businesses, attracting new families to the region and boosting school enrollments.

“I think this is pretty exciting, myself,” said Peter Kakela, a Michigan State University professor who studies the iron ore industry. “We’ve been importing about 10 million tons of steel slabs per year over the last 10 years. It would be great to have a domestic source.” “I don’t know if people understand what the magnitude of this is,” Marvin Vuicich, president of American Bank in Hibbing, said of the project. “It’s going to have an absolutely huge impact. It’s going to create a huge housing need in several Iron Range cities, increase property values, rental rates and create a huge need for workers. Maybe it’s going to be a way to keep more young people on the Range.”

Minnesota Steel officials would not comment on the sale price. However, the transaction means construction of the mammoth project probably will begin early in 2008. “Essar Steel is a global conglomerate and is now going to take the project to successful fruition,” said Steve Hicks, Minnesota Steel vice chairman. “Yes, they will be able to construct the project.” Full financial closure for the steel plant, in which Essar would secure $1.6 billion for construction, is expected by January.
The project has been about 11 years in the making.

To be built on about 20,000 acres west of Nashwauk and north of Highway 169, the operation would include a new open-pit taconite mine; crushing, concentrating and pelletizing plants; a direct-reduced iron facility; and a steel slab plant capable of producing 2.5 million tons of slabs a year. Steel slabs produced at the plant would range in size from 45 inches to 96 inches wide, 8 to 10 inches thick, and 12 to 30 feet long. Slabs would be shipped by rail to North American steelmakers to be reheated and rolled into steel products.

North American steelmakers have been importing steel slabs for years from plants in Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Mexico. The Itasca County plant would give North American steelmakers access to domestically manufactured steel slabs that company officials say would be produced at the lowest cost in the world.

“We haven’t seen anything like this in 100 years,” McDermott said. “Frankly, I see this as the tipping point. Our economy has been flat for 25 years. In the 1980s, our average wage per job [in Itasca County] was more than the state average. But we’ve lost mining and wood products jobs. Now, our average wage per job is $30,779 and the state average is $41,244. This is something that gets the news out to young people who have left the area that there are jobs here.”

Itasca County once was a hotbed of natural iron ore mining, in which high-quality iron ore that required little processing was removed from the Earth. But depletion of the high-grade ore led to the closure of nearly all Itasca County mines. Mining and processing of lower-grade taconite ore replaced natural ore mining, but most taconite plants are east of Itasca County. Today, layoffs at wood products plants and other employers within the county have translated into an Itasca County unemployment rate of about 6.4 percent, McDermott said.

“We have a high level of unemployment in our area and have been deemed by the state to be a distressed county,” McDermott said. “We need these mining jobs.” Phase I construction at the steel plant would produce about 1.25 million tons of steel slabs annually.

Essar announced a $1.5 billion deal on April 16 to acquire Algoma Steel, a Sault St. Marie, Ontario, steelmaking facility. Two days later, Essar announced the deal to acquire Minnesota Steel. Slabs produced at the steel plant could help feed Algoma. Algoma produces sheet steel shipped to U.S. automakers General Motors and Ford.

Because the site near Nashwauk has access to two rail lines, water transportation routes and natural gas from Canada, it offers Essar key advantages, Hicks said. Butler Taconite operated a taconite plant at the proposed steel site from 1964 until 1985, when the plant was torn down after a bankruptcy. Before that, natural ore mining had occurred on the proposed steel site since 1902. Much of the land the steel plant will be built on is abandoned Butler Taconite property such as mining dumps and an old tailings basin. An estimated 1.4 billion tons of high-quality iron reserves remain at the site. That’s enough feed for the steel plant to operate for about 100 years.

Mining, processing and producing steel at a single site would make the facility the world’s lowest-cost producer of steel, company officials say.

A 600,000 metric ton-per-year iron nugget plant also is in development near Aurora. Steel Dynamics of Fort Wayne, Ind., will own and operate the plant. That plant would be the first of its kind in the world. “Both [the steel and nugget plant] are starting out kind of small, but they’re both pretty high up the value chain,” Kakela said. “It’s new stuff. It’s the first time in 40 years that anything new has been made of Iron Range ore.”

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Erie Canal recovers from last year's dismal boating season

10/24 - Rochester, NY - Rebounding from a dismal boating season in 2006, the Erie Canal has had one of its best in recent years, officials say, despite an earlier-than-planned closing next month.

Through September, 132,838 boats had gone through a canal lock this year, up nearly 30 percent from 102,364 for the same period in 2006, when much of the canal was closed for six to eight weeks due to flooding. This year's total is even 2 percent higher than that for the same time in 2005, considered a good year for canal traffic, when 129,699 boats entered a lock.

"Marinas and businesses say it's the best year they've had in decades," said Canal Corp. Director Carmella Mantello. "They were devastated by flooding and rains last year. This year, they have completely bounced back and more."

On Oct. 8, state officials announced that the typical closing date of Nov. 15 would be moved up to Nov. 7 for commercial traffic and Nov. 1 for recreational boaters due to persistent dry weather in the Mohawk Valley. The earlier closing won't affect Lee Poinan, who owns and operates the Colonial Belle, a boat that offers daily dining excursions on the canal from Fairport. His last cruise is scheduled on Oct. 31. "We've been told we have to be out of here by the 7th," Poinan said.

It was business as usual last week, with crews taping paper placemats onto tables aboard the boat as a group of luncheon diners was about to board. "We had a great season," he said. "The weather made it a great season for boating." Water levels in the canal here have been about normal, Poinan said, ranging from 12 to 15 feet deep in the man-made sections.

About five miles to the east at Macedon Landing in Wayne County, Dan Wiles, part of a family that owns Mid-Lakes Navigation in Skaneateles, Onondaga County, was busy power-washing the hulls of canalboats taken out of the water for the season. His sister, Libby Wing, said rentals of 11 packet boats this year were popular. "The tourists are taking advantage of the canal more," she said.

The increase wasn't hard to achieve this year. In 2006, flooding rains closed the canal in the Mohawk Valley for six to eight weeks. Signs of the flood remain: Lock houses are still being repaired, landscaping restored, trees planted and dams rehabilitated. "We're continuously working on it," Mantello said. "We're close to 70 percent done with storm recovery. We should be fully recovered, minus dam rehabilitation, by the summer of 2008."

This year's problem was a lack of water. The Hinckley Reservoir, which straddles Herkimer and Oneida counties, provides drinking water for that region as well as being a major source for water in the canal. When the reservoir reached drought levels this summer, Oneida County declared an emergency. "We went to water conservation measures," Mantello said. Locks were opened only once an hour, the first time that had been done since a drought in 1980. "Every time you open the lock and close it, it's releasing 1.5 million gallons of water," she said.

Even though water levels have risen in the Mohawk Valley, the canal will close early, as advertised. The warning was needed to give boaters, including those who may be scattered around the Great Lakes, time to get through. It can take more than three weeks to navigate from the Great Lakes through the waterway and into the Hudson River.

Water will remain in the canal for about two weeks after it closes as workers remove buoys and winterize floodgates and dams. Fishing and private boating will still be allowed, but the lift bridges and locks won't be operating.

More than 680 boats docked overnight this season at Brockport's Welcome Center on the canal, the most in the center's three years of operation, said volunteer Charlene Whipple. The center closed for the season earlier this month. "There were so many nice people from all over the world," Whipple said. "I saw one boat that said 'Hamburg' on the back of it; I assumed they were from the Hamburg here (in Erie County). But they said they were from Hamburg, Germany, and left in 2000 to travel to all of the places they wanted to visit."

Gary Rainey of Erie Pa., spent five days this summer taking his 42-foot boat, Panache, from Newport, R.I., up the Hudson River and through the canal to Lake Erie. It was his first trip on the canal and, he said, likely not his last. "It was wonderful," Rainey said. "It's well-maintained, and the lock tenders and all the employees are so courteous. They really want you to use the canal."

Rainey said the only possible downside of travel on the canal is the 10 mph speed limit in most sections. "It gives you plenty of time to watch the world go by," he said. "It's a very pretty ride."

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Updates - October 24

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 24

On 24 October 1886, the wooden steam barge RUDOLPH burned on Lake St. Clair and was beached. She was loaded with lumber from East Saginaw, Michigan for Cleveland, Ohio.

On 24 October 1902, W T CHAPPELL (2-mast wooden schooner, 72 foot, 39 gross tons, built in 1877, at Sebewaing, Michigan) was carrying stove wood from Grand Marais, Michigan to the Soo in a severe storm on Lake Superior when she sprang a leak. She was blown over and sank 4 miles from the Vermillion Life Saving Station. The Life Saving crew rescued the 2-man crew in the surf boat and took them to the Whitefish Point Lighthouse for the night since the storm was so severe.

The THUNTANK 6 (Hull#309) was launched October 24, 1969, at Wallsend, England by Clelands Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., for Thun Tankers Ltd., London, U.K.. Renamed b.) ANTERIORITY in 1972. Purchased by Texaco Canada in 1975, renamed c.) TEXACO WARRIOR. Sold off-lakes in 1984, renamed d.) TRADER, e.) SEA CORAL in 1985, f.) TALIA II in 1985, g.) TALIA in 1985, STELLA ORION in 1995 and h.) SYRA in 2000.

The PHILIP D BLOCK along with the W W HOLLOWAY scrap tow arrived at Recife, Brazil. October 24, 1986.

The THOMAS W LAMONT and her former fleet mate, ENDERS M VOORHEES arrived at Alegeciras, Spain on October 24, 1987, on the way to the cutters torch. The LAMONT was one of the last bulkers that retained her telescoping hatch covers to the very end.

The NIPIGON BAY arrived Thunder Bay, Ontario on October 24, 1980, where repairs were made from damage caused by her grounding earlier in the month

On 24 October 1855, ALLEGHENY (wooden propeller, 178 foot, 468 tons, built in 1849, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying general merchandise and passengers in a storm, when she anchored near the Milwaukee harbor entrance for shelter. She lost her stack and then was unable to get up steam and was helpless. She dragged her anchor and came in close to the beach where she was pounded to pieces. There was no loss of life. Her engine and most of her cargo were removed by the end of the month. Her engine was installed in a new vessel of the same name built to replace her.

On 24 October 1873, just a month after being launched, the scow WAUBONSIE capsized at St. Clair, Michigan and lost her cargo of bricks. She was righted and towed to Port Huron, minus masts, rigging and bowsprit, for repairs.

On 24 October 1886, LADY DUFFERIN (3-mast wooden schooner-barge, 135 foot, 356 gross tons, built at Port Burwell, Ontario) was lost from the tow of the propeller W B HALL and went ashore near Cabot Head on Georgian Bay. No lives were lost, but the vessel was a total loss.

On 24 October 1953, the Yankcanuck Steamship Lines' MANZZUTTI (steel crane ship, 246 foot, 1,558 gross tons, built in 1903, at Buffalo, New York as J S KEEFE) ran aground south of the channel into the Saugeen River. The tug RUTH HINDMAN from Killarney pulled her free. No damage was reported.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Great Lakes Center Captain Dies While Diving

10/23 - Buffalo - John J. Freidhoff, lead boat captain and field station manager for Buffalo State College’s Great Lakes Center for Environmental Research and Education, died Friday while scuba diving in Lake Ontario near Brockport.

Freidhoff, 46, of Angola, was pulled from the bottom of the lake about 1 p.m. and taken to Lakeside Hospital in Brockport, where he died, Monroe County sheriff’s spokesman John Helfer told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Freidhoff, a Coast Guard reservist who was scuba diving with colleague Caleb P. Basiliko, was found with his mask off. The two men were attempting to retrieve sensing equipment used for research by Brockport State College’s Department of Environmental Science and Biology, according to Buffalo State officials.

Rochester media reports indicated the equipment was lost when a cable snapped two weeks ago in lake waters about 100 feet deep.

Freidhoff, who was affectionately known as “Capt. John,” was a certified scuba diver and a licensed boat captain. In 2004 he was nominated as Coast Guard Junior Officer of the Year “for his outstanding performance of duty.”

“He will be remembered for his dedication to improving the environment and for helping to make the Great Lakes Center an important resource for not just Buffalo State College but also for the Western New York/Southern Ontario region,” according to a statement by Phyllis Camesano, public relations director at Buffalo State. “Buffalo State College extends its deepest condolences to Capt. John’s family and friends throughout the community.”

A native of Cambria County, Pa., Freidhoff was a 1986 graduate of Gannon University in Erie, Pa.

Besides his work at Buffalo State College, the father and husband was active in the Angola community as a volunteer for the Lake Erie Beach Fire Department, a Cub Scout leader, softball coach and church youth leader.

From the Buffalo News


Port Reports - October 23

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Herbert C. Jackson backed out of the Buffalo River Monday by the tug New Jersey at approximately 2:15. She was turned around, blasted her horns and made her way out of the inner harbor and onto Lake Erie at roughly 2:25 where she gave one last blast of her horns.
The Karen Andrie departed Buffalo for Detroit with her petroleum barge A-397 at 10 p.m. Monday night.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons came in very early Monday morning with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Sims Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The American Courage was inbound the Saginaw River, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City early Sunday morning. She completed her unload and was outbound for the lake later in the day.
The Algoway was also inbound during the morning hours Sunday, calling on the North Star dock in Essexville. She completed her unload and was also outbound later in the day.
The tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound next with a split load. The pair called on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City to lighter and they then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. The Victory & Kuber were outbound from the Sixth Street turning basin early Monday evening.
The Maumee was inbound Monday morning, also calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. She dropped her entire load there, turned in the basin at the West end of the dock and was outbound for the lake late Monday afternoon.

Marinette - Dick Lund
The Algorail arrived in Marinette around 5:30 p.m. on Monday with a load of salt for Marinette Fuel & Dock.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader were loading at Stoneport on an overcast Monday afternoon. The Trader departed after 5 p.m. to head for Marquette.
In Alpena, the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge Monday evening to dock under the silos.

Calumet -
On Monday an unknown freighter was anchored
4-5 miles off-shore, likely waiting for the very high winds to die down.
Over the horizon came the American Mariner headed for Arcelor (Mittal, ISPAT, Inland) Steel in East Chicago. The Mariner slowed and appeared to be going to anchor, it was waiting for a ship leaving Arcelor. The Mariner was heading to KCBX for coal, and was towed stern first up the Calumet River by the G tug South Carolina

Port Colborne
Around 10 p.m. Monday it appeared a fire has broken out in the forward end of the remains of the L. E. Block being scrapped at IMS in Port Colborne. The fire generated a lot of smoke but due to security restrictions could not be viewed.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Milo departed Redpath Monday evening with the assistance of Omni Richelieu and La Prairie. The tugs were still in port at midnight, awaiting the arrival of the salty Scoter. Stephen B. Roman was in port all day.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
Saginaw cleared the Great Lakes Elevator light Monday night. Her unusual unload using the elevator's leg was prompted by a burned out boom winch motor. After unloading, a crane lifted the replacement motor into place and shortly after she cleared port.


Updates - October 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 23

On this day in 1949, the new Canada Steamship Line steamer HOCHELAGA successfully completed her sea trials in Georgian Bay. She departed Collingwood the next day to load her first cargo of grain at Port Arthur.

On 23 October 1887, the small wooden scow-schooner LADY ELGIN was driven ashore about one mile north of Goderich, Ontario in a severe storm that claimed numerous other vessels. By 26 October, she was broken up by the waves.

The CARL GORTHON, was launched October 23, 1970, for Rederi A/B Gylfe, Helsingborg, Sweden. Sold Canadian in 1980, renamed b.) FEDERAL PIONEER and c.) CECILIA DESGAGNES in 1985. In 2000, she was used as a movie set, unofficially renamed LADY PANAMA.

The rail car ferry GRAND RAPIDS was launched October 23, 1926, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin for the Grand Trunk-Milwaukee Car Ferry Co., Muskegon, Michigan. She entered service in December of 1926.

WILLIAM B SCHILLER (Hull#372) was launched October 23, 1909, at Lorain, Ohio for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio.

October 23, 1953 - The steamer SPARTAN arrived Ludington on her maiden voyage. Captain Harold A. Altschwager was in command.

On 23 October 1868, F T BARNEY (wooden schooner, 255 tons, built in 1856, at Vermilion, Ohio) collided with the schooner TRACY J BRONSON and sank below Nine Mile Point, Northwest of Rogers City in Lake Michigan. The wreck was found in 1987, and sits in deep water, upright in almost perfect condition.

On 23 October 1873, the wooden steam barge GENEVA was loaded with wheat and towing the barge GENOA in a violent storm on Lake Superior. She bent her propeller shaft and the flailing blades cut a large hole in her stern. The water rushed in and she went down quickly 15 miles off Caribou Island. No lives were lost. This was her first season of service. She was one of the first bulk freighters with the classic Great Lakes fore and aft deck houses.

On 23 October 1883, JULIA (2-mast wooden schooner, 89 foot, 115 gross tons, built in 1875, at Smith's Falls, Ontario) was coming into Oswego harbor with a load of barley when she struck a pier in the dark and sank. No lives were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Ice-cutting fees may prompt ferry shutdown

10/22 - Marine City - Southern St. Clair County residents and tourists traveling to Canada may have to go the long way around - through Port Huron and over the Blue Water Bridge - to get to Ontario and back.

The Bluewater International Ferry, which is located just east of state highway M-29, provides the fastest, most convenient rout to Canada; but, due to high marine service fees, ferry management is threatening to close for the winter. The Canadian-owned Bluewater Ferry docks in Sombra, Ontario, and Marine City.

Ferry manager Capt. Morgan Dalgety said exorbitant ice-breaking charges from the Canadian Coast Guard's Oceans and Fisheries Division are putting a financial squeeze on the company. To make matters worse, Dalgety doesn't believe the ferry is receiving any benefits from the Coast Guard's services. He also believes the freighters that regularly pass through the area - which don't pay any de-icing fees - get preferential treatment from the Canadian Coast Guard.

Ice-cutters routinely escort freighters through ice-jammed waters, he said, yet they won't clear a path from Sombra to Marine City for the ferry. "We were told they go across the channel, but they don't go up and down," Dalgety said.

Currently, he is in litigation with the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa for refusing to pay $168,000 in ice-breaking fees for the past three years. The ferry company is claiming financial hardship. "We make our money in the summer from tourists, vacationers and cottagers; but we lose money through the winter," Dalgety said. "It might be cheaper for us to lay the boat up in the winter."Authorities are in the process of investigating and "rethinking" the situation, he added.

Marine City Commissioner Tony Wren owns the duty-free store at the city's ferry dock. He and many other local Marine City businesses will be greatly impacted if the ferry does not keep running in the winter, he said. "If the ferry closes, this will have a serious impact on the retail economy of Marine City. Not only will I have to lay off six people but also our bars, restaurants and antique shops will suffer," Wren said. "The village of Sombra, on the Canadian side, will suffer even more as they rely on U.S. business."

Jaime Caceres, manager of the Canadian Coast Guard's Central-Artic Marine Division, agreed the fees are expensive and said the Coast Guard is working to come to "some kind of arrangement" due to Dalgety's present circumstances. Each time the Canadian Coast Guard goes out, shipping companies and other commercial operations along the waterway are charged $3,100, he said. In defense of the fees, Caceres said ice-breaking rates for marine businesses operating in the Great Lakes region are only about 10 percent of coast guard costs.
"And there is a cap on the fees," he said. "They are not charged more than eight times during a season and no more than three times a month."

Caceres agreed that the CCG's efforts to help one region sometimes makes it worse for another.

"Lake Huron is not a small lake," he said. "When the weather conditions are shifting, working in concert with the U.S. Coast Guard, we try to break the ice the best we can to keep the shipping channels as clear as possible. We also get information from the ice services and work with the regional operations center in Sarnia. In the end, we have to assess our information and plot a particular route."

CCG Superintendent of Operations Sam Babisky also explained the service they perform with a bigger picture in mind. "The waterway here is at the southern base of Lake Huron," he said. "It creates a lot of ice flow from the shorelines." 

Although the current moves quickly, he said, ice starts to build up while the water is still moving underneath. "It builds up like a glacier," Babisky said. "Left on its own, the ice would scour the shoreline, breaking up docks, boathouses and houses. Ice is tremendously powerful if it builds up enough weight.

"Our primary responsibility is to keep the channel open, flushing it into Lake Erie; keeping it flowing so that it does not destroy shoreside property at facilities on the riverbank."

According to Babisky, the CCG's efforts directly benefit the ferry whether they realize it or not. "It's hard to see when you're fixed in one spot. He doesn't see the ice banking in front of his ferry, but it's because we are flushing the ice so it never builds up," he said. "It's not an act of God when the waterway is open."

He added that while marine operations have a right to the benefits of Coast Guard icebreakers, they are not able to service ferry docks where the water is not deep enough to navigate the cutters. "We can't go in shallow water under 18 feet. We get as close to the shore as we possibly can," Babisky said. "We also can't get in at the Algonac ferry. They might have to use a little tug."

The Coast Guard monitors conditions using radar satellite photography, long before the river plugs up, Babisky said. The equipment checks water and air conditions 24 hours a day and provides the latest marine forecast.
"It provides real time up-to-date information," he said.

The information is available to all shippers and carriers doing business or traveling the waterways - all part of the marine service fee. "We have 45 full-time marine clients," he said. "Shipping, salt and steel companies, tugs, coal ports and coal shippers are using our service." He added that the forecasting service is also available at no extra charge to the Bluewater Ferry to help them prepare for crises or holdups due to the weather.

From the Voice News


Port Reports - October 22

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Adam E. Cornelius arrived at 11 a.m. Sunday morning for the General Mills Frontier Elevator.
At 5 p.m. Sunday, the Herbert C. Jackson was met at the North Entrance by one of the "G" tugs and was towed up to the ADM Standard Elevator.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The James R Barker brought coal to Marquette Saturday and was still unloading Sunday.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
Saginaw arrived with a load of grain early Sunday at the Great Lakes Elevator. She is currently unloading and expected to leave Monday. Unloading is being carried out by using the elevator's leg rather than the usual self-unloader boom to unloading bin mounted on the side of the elevator. The Saginaw's boom was left on the deck and grain was transferred to the hold immediately under the boom's end. The elevator's leg dipped this hold resulting in the leg getting an never ending supply of wheat. This is the first use of the leg in several years and the first unloading in this manner. The last ship to us the elevator's leg was thought to be the Mapleglen.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoway arrived overnight and is loading Monday morning at Sifto Salt.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Boat watchers in the Twin Ports early Monday found Beluga Efficiency waiting to load at AGP grain elevator in Duluth and Federal St. Laurent at CHS 1 in Superior. Fair weather is predicted for much of the week so grain loading should progress quickly.
Elsewhere, Paul R. Tregurtha was at the Murphy Oil terminal and American Century was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Late Sunday afternoon found Mesabi Miner tied up at the port terminal and Cason J. Callaway fueling before proceeding to Hallett dock to unload stone.


Fitzgerald memorial service scheduled

10/22 - Whitefish Point - The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society will host the annual Edmund Fitzgerald memorial Service on November 10, at the Whitefish Point museum.

The service will begin at 7:00 p.m. and a reception will follow.

Additional information is available at the Society's website.


Dossin Museum to host Lost Mariners Remembrance

10/22 - Detroit - On November 10, 1975, the Great Lakes ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a furious storm off Whitefish Point in Lake Superior, taking the lives of all 29 crewmen. Another ore freighter, William Clay Ford, was the first boat to arrive on the scene.

As a repository of important artifacts from these ships (the Fitzgerald bow anchor and the Ford pilot house), the Dossin Great Lakes Museum hosts a remembrance for all souls lost on the Great Lakes.

This event includes a lantern-lighting ceremony, prayer service with the Reverend Richard Ingalls, Jr., of Mariners’ Church, music by Great Lakes balladeer Lee Murdock, and the placement of a wreath in the Detroit River in honor of those who lost their lives.

Admission is $10 for Detroit Historical Society and Maritime Auxiliary Group members, $15 for Guests.

Tickets may be purchased by clicking here.


Detroit Marine Mart planned for December 8

10/23 - Detroit - The Detroit Historical Society will host an annual marine mart on Saturday, December 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Drive, Grosse Pointe Farms.

A flea market for Great Lakes lovers, the annual Marine Mart is a shipload of maritime treasure. Admission: $5 per person (at the door), kids 12 and under get in free. Vendors may rent tables for $30 each.

For additional information or a vendor table, contact call Suzanne Koceyan at (313) 833-1980.


Updates - October 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 22

On 22 October 1903, while being towed by the GETTYSBURG in the harbor at Grand Marais, Michigan in a severe storm, the SAVELAND (wooden schooner, 194 foot, 689 gross tons, built in 1873, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was torn away and thrown against some pilings which punctured her hull. She sank to her main deck and was pounded to pieces by the storm waves. No lives were lost.

The tug PRESQUE ISLE completed her sea trials on October 22, 1973, in New Orleans.

On October 22, 1986, the ALGOCEN spilled about four barrels of diesel fuel while refueling at the Esso Dock at Sarnia.

The TOM M GIRDLER departed South Chicago light on her maiden voyage, October 22, 1951, bound for Escanaba, Michigan where she loaded 13,900 tons of ore for delivery to Cleveland, Ohio.

The THORNHILL ,of 1906, grounded on October 22, 1973, just above the Sugar Island ferry crossing in the St. Marys River.

On 22 October 1887, C.O.D. (wooden schooner-barge, 140 foot, 289 gross tons, built in 1873, at Grand Haven, Michigan) was carrying wheat in Lake Erie in a northwest gale. She was beached three miles east of Port Burwell, Ontario and soon broke up. Most of the crew swam to shore, but the woman who was the cook was lashed to the rigging and she perished.

October 22, 1929 - The steamer MILWAUKEE (formerly MANISTIQUE MARQUETTE AND NORTHERN 1) sank in a gale with a loss of all 52 hands. 21 bodies were recovered. Captain Robert Mc Kay was in command.

On October 27, 1929, a Coast Guard patrolman near South Haven, Michigan, picked up the ship's message case, containing the following handwritten note: "S.S. MILWAUKEE, OCTOBER 22/29 8:30 p.m. The ship is taking water fast. We have turned around and headed for Milwaukee. Pumps are working but sea gate is bent in and can't keep the water out. Flicker is flooded. Seas are tremendous. Things look bad. Crew roll is about the same as on last payday. (signed) A. R. Sadon, Purser."

On 22 October 1870, JENNIE BRISCOE (wooden schooner, 85 foot, 82 tons, built in 1870, at Detroit, Michigan) was raised from where she sank off Grosse Ile, Michigan a couple of months earlier. She was in her first season of service when she collided with the propeller FREE STATE and sank there. Her raised wreck was sold Canadian in 1871, and she was rebuilt as the propeller scow HERALD.

In a severe gale on 22 October 1873, the three barges DAVID MORRIS, GLOBE, and SAGINAW from Bay City grounded and sank off Point Pelee on Lake Erie.

On 22 October 1887, DOLPHIN (wooden schooner-barge, 107 foot, 147 tons, built in 1855, at Milan, Ohio) and G D NORRIS (2-mast wooden schooner, 128 foot, 262 gross tons, built in 1856, at Cleveland, Ohio) were both carrying lumber and were in tow of the steamer OSWEGATCHIE in a storm on Lake Huron. The tow line broke when the vessels were off Harbor Beach, Michigan. The DOLPHIN capsized and foundered. All 6 or 7 onboard perished. The NORRIS sank to her decks and her crew was rescued by the passing steamer BRECK. The NORRIS drifted ashore near Goderich, Ontario.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - October 21

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Milo arrived Friday afternoon with the Groupe Oceans tugs, and was assisted into Redpath Sugar dock. The tugs returned to Hamilton afterwards.
The tug Evans McKeil and barge Metis arrived at Essroc Cement on Saturday morning. The tug departed for other duties.

Kingsville - Erick Zuschlag
The Jiimaan remained in Kingsville overnight Friday instead of returning to Pelee Island and remained in Kingsville Saturday because of a broken winch on the bow hatch. The winch was damaged while opening during docking in high winds Friday afternoon. Wind speeds were measured at close to 70 MPH (110 KM/H).

Marquette - Lee Rowe
On Friday the Lee A Tregurtha loaded ore in Marquette.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Windy weather has slowed vessel activity the past few days. The Drummond Islander II and the tug Beaver State were tied up in the river along with the U. S Fish & Wildlife vessel Spencer F. Baird. MCM's crane barge & dump scow were at the old dock between DPI & Lafarge.
On Saturday morning the Earl W was anchored in the bay due to the strong winds. Later on, the Buffalo arrived and also went to anchor. Both freighters have cargo to deliver to Lafarge. Come nightfall the Buffalo backed into Lafarge to tie up and unload coal.
The tug G. L Ostrander and barge Integrity were expected in port Sunday afternoon.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
After waiting at anchor since Friday, Algolake came into the inner harbour to turn at 5 p.m. on Saturday, then went to the Sifto Salt dock to load. Algorail was in through the night and is loading Sunday morning at Sifto.


Updates - October 21

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 21

On this day in 1980, the converted ELTON HOYT 2ND loaded her first cargo of 1,000 tons of pellets at Taconite Harbor. After field testing her new self unloading gear, she loaded 21,000 tons of pellets for delivery to Chicago.

The Anchor Line's CONEMAUGH (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 251 foot, 1,609 gross tons, built in 1880, at W. Bay City, Michigan) and the Union Line's NEW YORK (wooden propeller package freighter, 269 foot, 1,922 gross tons, built in 1879, at Buffalo, New York) collided on the Detroit River at 7:30 p.m., 21 October 1891. The CONEMAUGH sank close to the Canadian shore. She was carrying flour and other package freight from Chicago to Buffalo. She was later raised and repaired, and lasted until 1906 when she was lost in a storm on Lake Erie.

The JOHN B AIRD arrived at Sarnia, Ontario on October 21, 1990, for repairs after suffering a conveyor belt fire a week earlier.

The JAMES A FARRELL and fleet mate RICHARD TRIMBLE were the first vessels to lock down bound in the newly opened Davis Lock at the Soo on October 21, 1914.

On October 21, 1954, the GEORGE M HUMPHREY set a record when she took aboard 22,605 gross tons of iron ore at Superior, Wisconsin. The record stood until 1960.

The crew on the SAMUEL MATHER was safely removed from the badly exposed steamer on October 21, 1923, by the Eagle Harbor life saving crew. She had run aground on the 19th. Renamed b.) PATHFINDER in 1925, sold Canadian in 1968, renamed c.) GODERICH. Renamed d.) SOO RIVER TRADER in 1980, e.) PINEGLEN 1982. Scrapped at Port Maitland in 1984.

It was announced on October 21, 1986, that Canada Steamship Lines and Upper Lakes Group would merge CSL's Collingwood shipyard and ULS' Port Weller shipyard and create Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering (1986) Ltd.

On 21 October 1941, AMERICA (steel tug, 80 foot, 123 gross tons, built in 1897, at Buffalo, New York) was on a cable along with the tug OREGON off Belle Isle in the Detroit River trying to pull the steel bulk freighter B F JONES off a bar. The cable tightened, pulling AMERICA out of the water and spinning her upside down. Six of the crew of 13 lost their lives. AMERICA was later recovered. Still owned by Great Lakes Towing Co., AMERICA was renamed b.) MIDWAY in 1982 and c.) WISCONSIN in 1983.

October 21, 1954 - Capt. Allen K. Hoxie, skipper of the MILWAUKEE CLIPPER, retired.

On 21 October 1886, W L BROWN (wooden propeller freighter, 140 foot, 336 gross tons, built in 1872, at Oshkosh, Wisconsin as NEPTUNE) was carrying iron ore from Escanaba for DePere, Wisconsin. A storm struck while she was on Green Bay. She sprang a leak one mile from Peshtigo Reef and went down in 76 feet of water. No lives were lost. All of her outfit and machinery were removed the following summer. This vessel's first enrollment was issued at Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 22 April 1873, as NEPTUNE, but this enrollment was surrendered at Milwaukee on 30 September 1880, endorsed "broken up." However she was re-enrolled as a new vessel at Milwaukee on 15 June 1880, having been rebuilt by A. L. Johnson at Green Bay, Wisconsin as the W L BROWN.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Group investigating water loss in Great Lakes

10/20 - Ottawa - In response to worries that the Great Lakes have sprung a giant leak, the Canada-U.S. organization that oversees the world's largest storehouse of fresh water says it is speeding up its investigation into claims the lakes are losing unusually large amounts of their water. The International Joint Commission announced yesterday that it now expects to be able to verify or disprove the allegations of excess water loss by February, 2009 - a full year ahead of schedule.

The commission made the decision to expedite its study of the lakes yesterday in Ottawa, and expects to have some preliminary information on the outflow problem next year.

The decision to hasten the study reflects the huge pressure the IJC has been under in both Canada and the United States following the release of a report by the Georgian Bay Association in August. The report contends that dredging near Sarnia, Ont., in the early 1960s is causing Lakes Huron and Michigan to lose an enormous amount of water - estimated at about an extra 10 billion litres a day, or enough to fill 4,000 Olympic-size pools.

In 2005, the group commissioned a study that estimated the erosion had caused an extra daily outflow out of the St. Clair River, which drains the two lakes, of about 3.2 billion litres. But the update this summer, using more recent estimates on lake levels, more than tripled the estimated loss, which was so large it has led to concerns that the integrity of the lakes was being damaged. Since 1970, the extra drainage has lowered the levels of the lakes by an estimated 60 centimetres, the group says.

"The commission understands the urgency of getting answers based on sound science as soon as possible," Herb Gray, the Canadian co-chair of the IJC, said in a statement on the announcement.

Lakes Huron and Michigan share the same water level because they are connected at their northern tip by the Straits of Mackinac. Levels on the lakes have been falling for years. But it isn't clear if this is due to the existence of a larger drain hole, or part of a natural fluctuation due to the drought around Lake Superior, which itself is now at a record low for this time of year and supplies much of the water in the two downstream lakes.

When concerns about the possibility of a leak in the lakes surfaced, the IJC had said it wouldn't be able to have a panel of scientific experts confirm or disprove the claims of water loss until 2010. The lengthy period alarmed and angered residents around the two lakes, where plunging water levels are already leaving marinas high and dry and causing many shallow areas to turn into meadows.

The St. Clair River was dredged in the early 1960s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allow it to accommodate larger ships. The Georgian Bay Association based its conclusions on a theory that the dredging made the river bed more susceptible to erosion, which over time has deepened it and caused more water to flow into Lake Erie. At the time of the dredging, there were plans to reinforce the river bottom to reduce the possibility of erosion losses, but the work was never carried out. The association said one way to staunch the water losses would be to line vulnerable parts of the St. Clair River with giant rocks.

If the IJC concludes that the dredging has been causing an excessive outflow, it will be up to the Canadian and U.S. governments to fund any remediation actions - steps that would be years away at the earliest.

Although the commission has been grappling with the problem of the alleged excessive outflows from the St. Clair River, it's also under pressure to deal with low water levels on Lake Superior. There are control locks near Sault Ste. Marie that could be used to raise Superior's water levels. However, any action to help Lake Superior would exacerbate the low-water problems on Lakes Huron and Michigan.

The IJC said it decided to leave unchanged the current plan governing the amount of water being released through the control locks.

From the Toronto Globe and Mail


Light Loads Contribute to 7 Percent Drop
In U.S.-Flag Cargo Movement on Lakes in September

10/20 - Cleveland — Less-than-full cargo holds again cost U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleets hundreds of thousands of tons in September. With scores of ports not maintained to project dimensions, and a plunging water level on Lake Superior, the major U.S.-Flag operators saw their loadings slip to 11.1 million tons, a decrease of 7 percent compared to a year ago.

The September float was also more than 3 percent behind the month’s 5-year average.

No trade was immune to the impacts of the dredging crisis and falling water levels. In the iron ore trade, vessels that were designed to carry approximately 70,000 tons per trip often left port with less than 64,000 tons on board.

The coal trade fared no better. In fact, shoaling outside Muskegon, Michigan, produced the worst light load of the month. A vessel capable of hauling more than 68,000 tons of coal per trip was limited to 57,169 tons when she took a load to the power plant at Muskegon at month’s end.

The largest limestone cargo loaded in September totaled 49,307 tons. However, had the vessel in question been able to carry a full load, the cargo would have approached 54,000 tons.

Through the third quarter, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 73.8 million tons, a decrease of 5.4 percent from the same point in 2006, but essentially on par with the 5-year average for the January-September timeframe.

More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Today in Great Lakes History - October 20

On this day in 1916, the whaleback JAMES B COLGATE sank off Long Point in Lake Erie with a loss of 26. The lone survivor was Captain Walter J. Grashaw who was picked up two days after the sinking. Captain Grashaw had sailed as First Mate on the COLGATE for ten years and was conducting his first trip as Captain. The "Black Friday" storm also claimed the MERIDA, D L FLYER, and M F BUTTERS.

On 20 October 1875, the wooden schooner F C LEIGHTON was loaded with ore when she struck a rock in the St. Marys River and sank a few miles from Detour, Michigan. A tug was sent right away to raise her.

On 20 October 1916, MERIDA (steel propeller bulk freighter, 360 foot, 3,261 gross tons, built in 1893, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was heavily loaded with iron ore when she encountered the "Black Friday" Storm on Lake Erie. She sank about 24 miles east of Erieau, Ontario. All 24 onboard were lost. A few days later the wheelhouse was found floating 15 miles south of Port Stanley. 21 bodies were eventually found, but not the bodies of Capt. Harry L. Jones nor crewman Wilfred Austin. The wreck was found in 1975, by Larry Jackson, a commercial fisherman.

The SCOTT MISENER of 1954, proceeded to the Port Arthur shipyard for dry docking and repairs on October 20th, after striking bottom October 15, 1973, near Whaleback Shoal on the St. Lawrence River.

The JAMES S DUNHAM was launched October 20, 1906, for the Chicago Navigation Co. (D. Sullivan & Co., mgr.) Duluth, Minnesota. Renamed b.) LYNFORD E GEER in 1926, and c.) OTTO M REISS in 1934. Scrapped at Castellon, Spain in 1973.

PETER A B WIDENER was launched October 20, 1906, for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. (later the U.S. Steel Corp. in 1952), Cleveland, Ohio.

The tug RESCUE was sent from Port Huron to Tawas, Michigan to release the 246 foot barge OCEAN that was grounded. After pulling the barge free, Capt. Fitch of RESCUE began towing her down Lake Huron, but the storm got so bad that he was about to turn back and run for Tawas. However, the captain of OCEAN yelled that they were all right and to go ahead down the lake. Soon the seas got the better of the barge. The tug kept with her until she was about to sink. Then the line was cut, the tug turned about, ran under her lee, and rescued her crew of 9 from the lifeboat. The barge then sank. On the way down Lake Huron, opposite Port Sanilac, the RESCUE picked up 6 men and 1 woman from the wrecked barge JOHN F RUST. In this one trip, the RESCUE earned her name by rescuing 16 persons!

October 20, 1898 - The SHENANGO NO 2 (later PERE MARQUETTE 16) was arriving Milwaukee when her steering gear failed, causing her to crash into a grain elevator which was under construction.

October 20, 1926 - The keel was laid for the twin screw lake passenger and railcar ferry WABASH (Hull#177) of the Toledo Shipbuilding Co.

On 20 October 1863, E S ADAMS (3 mast wooden bark, 135 foot, 341 gross tons, built in 1857, at Port Robinson, Ontario) was carrying 18,500 bushels of wheat on a clear night when she collided with the American bark CONSTITUTION resulting in the loss of the ADAMS. One life was lost. Neither vessel was blamed for the accident.

On 20 October 1854, JOHN J AUDUBON (wooden brig, 370 tons, built in 1854, at Black River, Ohio) was carrying railroad iron from Buffalo to Chicago when she was struck amidships by the schooner DEFIANCE on a dark night, halfway between Thunder Bay and Presque Isle, Michigan. AUDUBON was cut almost in half. Both vessels sank quickly. No lives were lost.

On 20 October 1844, DAYTON (2-mast wooden schooner, 69 foot, 85 tons, built in 1835, at Grand Island, New York) capsized and sank in Lake Erie off Dunkirk, New York in a terrific gale. All onboard were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - October 19

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Duluth and Superior were blasted by the first nor’easter of the fall on Thursday, with wind gusts predicted to reach 50 mph and waves up to 12 feet expected on western Lake Superior. The National Weather Service issued a gale warning for the western end of the lake. In port, American Mariner was loading at CN/DMIR ore docks after arriving Wednesday afternoon, Beluga Efficiency remained at the port terminal with wind turbines to unload and Federal Weser was at AGP. In Superior, Kamenitza was at CHS grain elevator and American Integrity was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal. A saltie that may have been BBC Elbe was anchored well off shore.
Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Algorail arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor just after 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, bringing a load of salt to the bulk cargo dock. Algorail backed down to the outer harbor and turned onto Lake Michigan at about 7:30 p.m.
St. Marys Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah arrived shortly after 8:00 p.m. and proceeded up the Kinnickinnic River to their terminal. Conquest was still unloading dry cement Thursday morning.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On a rainy Thursday at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Michipicoten and Algocape loaded taconite. Algocape's visit was her first to Marquette since the Summer of 2005 and before that, as Richilieu in the 1980's.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Calumet unloaded overnight at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She then turned and headed outbound Thursday afternoon. On her downbound trip, the Calumet passed the tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber, who was lightering at the Sargent dock in Essexville. Later, the Victory & Kuber started their upbound trip to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to finish their unload, but due to high winds and low water levels, the pair tied up at the Wirt dock in Bay City to await more favorable weather and water conditions. By Thursday evening, the Victory & Kuber were again moving upriver towards Sargent Zilwaukee. They are expected to be outbound on Friday.


Duluth conference to draw Lake Superior experts

10/19 - Duluth - What’s going on with Lake Superior?

It’s a big question with a lot of answers, but scientists, natural resources managers, teachers, artists, anglers and the public will give it a try this month during a four-day conference at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

Experts on Lake Superior’s ecology, biology and sociology from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario and other regions will gather for the event set for Oct. 28-31. The conference is aimed at sharing information — including the results of scientific studies — as well as sharing what’s currently under investigation and what remains unanswered. Almost 300 experts from state, federal and tribal resource agencies, as well as municipal conservation officials, university and lab researchers and teachers from across the region are enrolled for the conference.

It’s hoped that new networks will sprout among various groups across the Lake Superior region who otherwise might not share ideas or information, the event’s planners said. But the event isn’t just about research. It’s also about taking action to stop problems plaguing the big lake — including a warming climate and water temperatures, declining water levels, loss of habitat along shorelines, erosion near development, and urban runoff and continued pollution from the sky and in harbors.

The concept came from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes office in Chicago. “Lake Michigan has had biennial state-of-the-lakes conferences since 1999; Lake Erie, too. And Lake Huron has them. But we’ve never done one like this for Lake Superior,’’ said Liz LaPlante, who heads the Lake Superior efforts of the EPA. “There are some common problems across all the lakes, like water levels and climate change and invasive species. But a lot of the problems, and the solutions, are local. We need to make our efforts as local as we can,’’ she said.

The conference is a chance for researchers to hear what issues are most important from people who live on and manage the lake. Jesse Schomberg, Minnesota Sea Grant coastal communities and land-use educator, said the Duluth event will be less scientific than past events. “It’s not going to be a stuffy, research kind of conference. It’s mostly for folks who are extremely interested in Lake Superior, but there are events that pretty much everyone might be interested in,’’ Schomberg said.

That includes a presentation by renowned Northland nature photographer Craig Blacklock and a Lake Superior art exhibit that includes work from artists across the region. There also are events for children, scholarships for teachers and students to attend and various field trips.

“We have a lot of conferences that focus on issues,’’ Schomberg said. “This one is going to focus on the lake.’’

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - October 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 19

At 2:00 a.m., 19 October 1901, the Barry line steamer STATE OF MICHIGAN (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 165 foot, 736 gross tons, built in 1875, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) sank in sixty feet of water about four miles northwest of White Lake harbor on Lake Michigan. The crew and captain reached shore in boats with the assistance of the White Lake Life Saving crew and the tug MC GRAFF. The vessel was sailing in good weather when a piston rod broke and stove a hole through the bottom of the boat. The water came gushing in. By the time the tug MC GRAFF came and took on the crew, the STATE OF MICHIGAN was in serious trouble. She went down shortly after the tug began towing her toward shore.

On 19 October 1871, ELIZA LOGAN (2-mast wooden schooner, 130 foot, 369 gross tons, built in 1855, at Buffalo, New York) foundered in rough weather about 12 miles off Erie, Pennsylvania on Lake Erie. She was sailing from Toledo, Ohio to Buffalo, New York with a load of wheat when she sank. Captain Lawson and one sailor were lost, but the six others scrambled up the rigging and held on to the crosstrees for 42 hours until they were rescued by the schooner EMU at 6:00 a.m. on the morning of 21 October.

GEORGE A SLOAN ran aground off Bob-Lo Island in the Amherstburg Channel on October 19, 1987. She was released when she unloaded part of her cargo to the CALCITE II. SLOAN was repaired in Toledo. Purchased by Lower Lakes Towing in 2001, renamed c.) MISSISSAGI.

ALGOSEA, a.) BROOKNES, was christened on October 19, 1976, at Port Colborne, Ontario. She was renamed c.) SAUNIERE in 1982.

The BUFFALO was able to leave the Saginaw River once it opened on October 19, 1990. The river was closed after the tanker JUPITER exploded as the BUFFALO passed.

The KINSMAN VOYAGER was launched October 19, 1907, as a.) H P BOPE for the Standard Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio.

The WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE of 1908, had the honor on October 19, 1912, of being the first vessel to navigate the opening of the Livingstone Channel named after the man who helped conceive the idea of a separate down bound channel on the east side of Bob-Lo Island in the lower Detroit River. Mr. Livingstone, President of the Lake Carriers Association at the time, piloted his namesake vessel in the channel on that historic trip. Renamed b.) S B WAY in 1936 and c.) CRISPIN OGLEBAY in 1948. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1974.

The crew on the stranded WILLIAM C MORELAND was removed in gale force winds on October 19, 1910, by the Portage life saving crew.

On October 19, 1923, the SAMUEL MATHER was driven onto Gull Rock on Lake Superior near Keweenaw Point during a snowstorm and gale winds. The crew was safely removed from the badly exposed steamer on October 21st by the Eagle Harbor life saving crew. Renamed b.) PATHFINDER in 1925, sold Canadian in 1964, renamed c.) GODERICH, d.) SOO RIVER TRADER and e.) PINEGLEN in 1982. Scrapped at Port Maitland, Ontario in 1984.

Michigan Limestone's self-unloader B H TAYLOR sailed from Lorain on her maiden voyage on October 19, 1923. She was renamed b.) ROGERS CITY in 1957, and scrapped at Recife, Brazil in 1988.

On 19 October 1868, PARAGON (wooden schooner, 212 tons, built in 1852, at Oshawa, Ontario as a brig) was being towed up the St. Clair River by the tug WILLIAM A MOORE with a load of lumber in the company of four other barges. During a gale, the tow was broken up. While the tug MOORE was trying to regain the tows, she collided with PARAGON causing severe damage. Four were drowned, but two were rescued by the Canadian gunboat/tug PRINCE ALFRED. PARAGON was then towed into Sarnia, but she sank there and was abandoned in place.

October 19, 1919 - The ANN ARBOR NO 4, while on the Grand Haven to Milwaukee run, got caught in a gale stretching the normal 6-hour crossing to 27 hours.

On 19 October 1876, MASSILON (3-mast wooden schooner with foretop and topgallant sails, 130 foot, 298 gross tons, built in 1857, at Cleveland, Ohio as a bark) was sailing from Kelley's Island for Chicago with limestone when she sprang a leak 20 miles above Pointe aux Barques at the mouth of Saginaw Bay. She was abandoned at about 2:00 a.m. and then sank. The crew was in an open boat until 7:00 a.m. when they were rescued by the tug VULCAN.

On 19 October 1873, JOHN F RUST (wooden schooner-barge, 161 foot, 347 gross tons, built in 1869, at E. Saginaw, Michigan) was carrying lumber in tow of the steamer BAY CITY in a storm when she broke her tow line and went ashore a few miles north of Lakeport, Michigan.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Barge McNally Olympic lost

10/18 - Labrador - On October 8, while in tow of the tug Jerry Newberry, a line parted and the barge McNally Olympic drifted ashore 10kn southwest of Hebron Labrador and is a total loss.

She was on a return trip from Deception Bay (far north Quebec) to Sorel. She was carrying quantities of fuel and waste oil which is believed to have been dispersed by the 15 to 20 foot seas. At last report the deck house has broken free of the hull.

Click here to view photos

Reported by Charlie Gibbons


Port Reports - October 18

Sarnia - Frank Frisk
David Z left long term lay up in the North Slip dock for Calcite, MI at 3 p.m. Wednesday. She had been in Sarnia since May of this year.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Maumee came in late Tuesday night for the second time in as many days to take a load out of the Construction Aggregates dock in Ferrysburg. This is the final shipment of the season from the dock.
The St. Mary's Challenger came in about noon Wednesday with a load for the St. Mary's Terminal in Ferrysburg. At 9 p.m. it was still unloading

Menominee - Dick Lund
On Sunday, the BBC Elbe arrived with another load of windmill parts. The ship has been on a shuttle run from Becncour, Quebec to Menominee since Aug. 11, and this is supposed to be their last trip here.
On Monday, the Federal Pioneer arrived with a small load of windmill parts, but was forced to anchor out in the bay of Green Bay until Wednesday because of weather. The Great Lakes Towing tugs, Indiana and Texas, arrived from Green Bay, WI to aid the Federal Pioneer into port; they too had to wait until early Wednesday morning to complete their mission.
Wednesday, the Federal Pioneer, with the assistance of the Texas and Indiana, finally makes port.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Earl W. arrived in Holland late Tuesday evening and delivered a load of coal to the James DeYoung power plant. It departed at about 7:30 Wednesday morning.

Saginaw River Todd Shorkey
The Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville Wednesday afternoon to unload. She was expected to be outbound late Wednesday night.
The Calumet was also inbound passing the Pump-Out Island around 11 p.m. She did not give a destination in her security call.


Emil Pagel passes at 100 years of age

10/18 - Algoma, WI - Emil Pagel, age 100 years, died Tuesday evening. Emil was an inspiration to be long remembered within the commercial fishing industry on Lake Michigan. He fished commercially and charter most of his life out of Algoma, Wisconsin.

Reported by Wendell Wilke


Updates - October 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 18

On 18 October 1869, GERALDINE (3-mast wooden schooner, 232 tons, built in 1856, at Wilson, New York as a bark) was carrying coal from Buffalo to Detroit in heavy weather. During the night, she collided with the schooner E M PORTCH five miles below "The Cut" at Long Point on Lake Erie and sank in 5 minutes. The PORTCH stood by while the GERALDINE's crew got off in the yawl. No lives were lost.

The ALVA C DINKEY departed Quebec City, October 18, 1980, in tandem with her former fleet mate GOVERNOR MILLER towed by the FedNav tug CATHY B, in route to Vigo, Spain for scrapping.

Tragedy struck on the WILLIAM C MORELAND's fifth trip October 18, 1910, loaded with 10,700 tons of iron ore from Superior for Ashtabula, Ohio when she stranded on Sawtooth Reef off Eagle Harbor, Michigan on Lake Superior. Visibility had been very limited due to forest fires raging on the Keweenaw Peninsula and the Lake was blanketed with smoke as far as one mile off shore. The MORELAND hit so hard and at such speed that she bounced over the first reef and came to rest on a second set of rocks. The stern section was salvaged and combined with a new forward section she became b.) SIR TREVOR DAWSON in 1916. Renamed c.) CHARLES L HUTCHINSON in 1920, d.) GENE C HUTCHINSON in 1951, sold into Canadian registry in 1963, renamed e.) PARKDALE. Scrapped at Cartagena, Spain in 1970.

On 18 October 1896, AUSTRALASIA (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 282 foot, 1,829 gross tons, built in 1884, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was carrying 2,200 tons of soft coal when she caught fire, burned to the waterline and sank 3 miles east of Cana Island in Lake Michigan. The Bailey's Harbor Lifesavers saved her crew.

At 8:00 p.m., on 18 October 1844, the steamer ROCHESTER left Rochester, New York for Toronto. She encountered a severe gale about halfway there. Captain H. N. Throop had the vessel put about and return to Rochester. The gale was so severe that all thought they were lost. When they finally arrived in Rochester, the passengers were so grateful that they had survived that they published a note of gratitude to Almighty God and Captain Throop in The Rochester Daily Democrat on 19 October 1844 -- it was signed by all 18 passengers.

On 18 October 1876, the schooner R D CAMPBELL filled with water and capsized on Lake Michigan about 10 miles from Muskegon, Michigan. The crew clung to the vessel's rigging until rescued by the tug JAMES MC GORDAN. The schooner drifted to the beach some hours later.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Carferry deal postponed
Council accepts appraisal, shelves carferry offer

10/17 - St. Ignace - City Council moved ahead on a land appraisal but opted to hold off on a carferry deal and a suggested change in the City Charter Monday night.

Looking over recommendations from the Council's Real Estate Committee, the panel eventually agreed to accept one of two appraiser bids to set a value for 2.1 acres of Star Line property offered to the city. In a wide-ranging discussion, Council members batted around on possible outcomes of the land appraisal and its impact on state grant funding of a portion of the property's cost.

The panel earlier tentatively agreed to seek voter approval of a millage increase to furnish the balance of the land purchase price. Star Line is asking $680,000 for the waterfront property parcel. During discussion Council members noted that a hoped-for DNR Land Trust grant to defray part of the purchase price is based on a percentage of the appraised value of property, not the asking price.

In the end, the panel agreed, on a 6-1 vote to accept the bid of appraiser GR Gotshall Associates to put a value on the Star Line tract for $3,300. As a kind of afterthought, the panel appeared to agree with City Manager Eric Dodson, who urged extreme caution on a proposed lease of city dock space to the owner of the derelict carferry.

“At this time I cannot say that you want this thing on your waterfront,” Dodson said. He added that even if the long-retired carferry Arthur K. Atkinson were in better condition, he would have difficulty justifying storage of up to one million used tires on the vessel.

Dodson's appraisal appeared to be persuasive, inspiring Councilman Tom Della-Moretta to pronounce that the City Council is not interested in the dock lease proposal. The old carferry currently lies at the DeTour Coal Dock, where it has lain unused for several years.

From the Soo Evening News


Port Reports - October 17

Twin Ports - Al Miller
American Valor was at the Murphy Oil dock Tuesday morning.
Beluga Efficiency was at the port terminal to unload wind turbines.
Indiana Harbor was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal. Elsewhere in port, several vessels were at elevator berths waiting for the rain to stop so they could begin loading. Among them were Federal Weser at AGP and Whistler at CHS.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski

The English River was unloading at LaFarge on Tuesday.


Port Huron Transportation Memorabilia Flea Market scheduled for Saturday

10/17 - The annual fall Transportation Memorabilia Flea Market will be held at the Port Huron Seaway Terminal, 2336 Military St., Port Huron, Michigan, beginning at 9 a.m., on Saturday, October 20.

This flea market will feature Great Lakes marine items, as well as items from other forms of transportation.

This event is sponsored by the Port Huron Museum, Acheson Ventures, and the Lake Huron Lore Marine Society. For further information -  or phone 810 982-0891.


Updates - October 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 17

On this day in 1889, the whaleback 103 completed her maiden trip by delivering 86,000 bushels of Duluth wheat to Buffalo.

On this day in 1936, the 252 foot sand sucker SAND MERCHANT rolled over and sank when a 50 mph gale swept across Lake Erie. The steamer THUNDER BAY QUARRIES, Captain James Healey, rescued three survivors and the steamer MARQUETTE & BESSEMER NO 1, Captain George Wilson, rescued four additional survivors. Eighteen crew members and one female passenger drowned in the accident.

On 17 October 1887, Henry McMorran and D. N. Runnels bought the engine and boiler of the tug GEORGE HAND at the U.S. Marshall's sale in Port Huron, Michigan for $500.

The CARLTON (Hull#542) was launched October 17, 1963, at Sunderland, England by Short Brothers, Ltd., for Chapman & Willan, Ltd. Renamed b.) FEDERAL WEAR in 1975. Purchased by Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. in 1975, renamed c.) ST LAWRENCE PROSPECTOR in 1975. Lengthened to Seaway size and renamed d.) CANADIAN PROSPECTOR in 1979.

The EMS ORE was launched October 17, 1959, for Transatlantic Bulk Carriers, Monrovia, Liberia. Purchased by Hall Corp. of Canada in 1976, reconstructed for lake service and renamed b.) MONTCLIFFE HALL in 1977. Renamed c.) CARTIERDOC in 1988, she sails today as d.) CEDARGLEN.

With an inexperienced Taiwanese crew, boiler problems and the collapse of Lock 7's west wall in the Welland Canal on October 17th, SAVIC's (CLIFFS VICTORY) departure was delayed until December 17, 1985, when she departed Chicago under her own power.

The carferry PERE MARQUETTE 19 was launched October 17, 1903.

In 1893, the FLINT & PERE MARQUETTE NO 1 was damaged by fire while in Ludington.

In 1988, the Society for the Preservation of the S.S. City of Milwaukee purchased CITY OF MILWAUKEE from the City of Frankfort for $2.

On 17 October 1871, CASCADEN (2 mast wood schooner, 138 tons, built in 1866, at Saugeen, Ontario) was carrying much needed supplies for the Cove Island Lighthouse keeper and his family who were in desperate straits. But she went ashore 3 miles below Cape Hurd near Tobermory, Ontario in a storm and was wrecked.

On 17 October 1843, the wooden schooner ALABAMA collided with a pier during a storm at the mouth of the Grand River at Fairport, Ohio and was a total loss.

On 17 October 1871, the 42 ton wooden schooner SEA HORSE stranded on Fitzwilliam Island at the mouth of Georgian Bay in a storm. She was a total loss.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Chi Cheemaun arrives home

10/16 - Owen Sound - After a two year absence, the Chi Cheemaun arrived home at about 3:45 Monday afternoon with 600 passengers. On the docks were cheering throngs of well wishers, a piper and fire department trucks pumping a triumph arch over the harbour. The Chi Cheemaun was accompanied by two local tugs, the Pankhurst M fully flagged out for the occasion.

The Chi Cheemaun normally spends winters in Owen Sound but in each of the past two years she has wintered in Sarnia, receiving replacement generators and engines.

Although not an official homecoming event, the celebrations of the150th anniversary for Owen Sound were resurrected by a local resident. Jay Adamson felt The Chi Cheemaun was away for two whole winters and now she was coming home too. It's a homecoming for her.
The city agreed and Monday's dockside welcoming was set up. There was even a ribbon stretched across the inner harbour to ensure that she found her mooring.

The 111-metre Chi Cheemaun was built in Collingwood. She has provided daily summer service for vehicles and passengers between Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula and South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island since 1974.

Reported by Peter Bowers, Ed Saliwonchyk, Wayne Brown and Philip de Kat


Port Reports - October 16

Marquette - Lee Rowe & Rod Burdick
Monday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Saginaw was loading taconite, and Charles M. Beeghly was waiting to load.
While the Beeghly was loading, Michipicoten arrived to take on ore.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Victory came in at 4 a.m. with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. It left about 9 a.m.
Late afternoon the Maumee came in light for a load from the Construction Aggregates dock. It was scheduled to leave later Monday evening and return for another load late on Tuesday.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
St. Marys Challenger arrived in Milwaukee at around 7 p.m. on a rainy Sunday evening. Challenger continued unloading at its Kinnickinnic River terminal on Monday morning.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Early morning boat watchers in the Twin Ports on Monday were treated to the sight of American Fortitude steaming down the front channel to unload stone at the CLM dock in Superior.
Elsewhere, John B. Aird was arriving to load coal at Midwest Energy Terminal, Presque Isle was unloading stone at Hallett 5, Beluga Efficiency continued to unload wind turbines at the port terminal, and Whistler and Julietta were beginning to load grain at CHS elevator in Superior.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
The Mississagi paid a late night visit to Kingsville Ontario, entering the harbour at midnight on Monday. She was unloading gravel from Marblehead Ohio. The Cuyahoga is expected Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday all with stone from Marblehead.


Lakes Stone Trade Off 10 Percent in September

10/16 - Cleveland---Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes slipped to 3.9 million tons in September, a decrease of 10 percent compared to both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average. Shipments were again impacted by a sluggish construction industry, especially in Michigan.

However, the dredging crisis did factor in the decrease. The largest limestone cargo loaded in September totaled 49,307 tons. However, had the vessel in question been able to carry a full load, the cargo would have approached 54,000 tons. Another vessel that was able to deliver 19,000 tons per trip to lakefront docks in Ohio and Indiana had to trim its load by 5,000 tons when serving a customer along the Saginaw River in Michigan.

Through September, limestone shipments stand at 24.6 million tons, a decrease of 10.3 percent compared to a year ago, and 8.5 percent behind the 5-year average for the first three quarters. As noted before, the comparison to a year ago does in part reflect low inventories at several quarries when shipping resumed in late March.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Updates - October 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 16

On this day in 1950, the JOHN M MC KERCHEY of the Kelley's Island Lime and Transport Company sank at 2:30 a.m. while returning from the pumping grounds with a load of sand. Captain Horace S. Johnson went down with the boat but the remaining 19 crew members were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

On 16 October 1855, SENECA (wooden propeller tug, 92 foot, 73 tons, built in 1847, at Buffalo, New York) was towing the brig LANSING past the foot of Randolph Street at Chicago, Illinois when her boiler exploded. Her skipper and engineer were killed instantly and several others were injured. The vessel was later recovered.

On October 16, 1990, the JOHN B AIRD's loop belt caught fire while loading mill scale at Inland Steel Mill, East Chicago, Illinois. Fueled by coal dust left over after unloading coal at the mill, 1,400 feet of the rubber conveyor belt burned causing nearly $500,000 in damages.

The ALGOWEST set a cargo record carrying 27,517 tons of grain down the Seaway October 16, 1982, to Port Cartier, Quebec. She was converted to a self-unloader in 1998, and renamed b.) PETER R CRESSWELL in 2001.

The Cayman Islands registered tanker RIO ORINOCO grounded off Anticosti Island, Quebec on October 16, 1990, and was abandoned. Later she was salvaged by Le Groupe Desgagnes (1981) Inc., refloated, repaired and renamed d.) THALASSA DESGAGNES.

Sea trials of the MERTON E FARR were successfully completed October 16, 1920.

On October 16, 1954, the SCOTT MISENER of 1954, became the first laker to load a record 800,000 bushels of grain on the Great Lakes when she was loaded with barley at Fort William, Ontario for delivery to Port Colborne.

The WILLIAM G MATHER of 1925, was towed from her Cuyahoga River berth on October 16, 1990, by the Great Lakes Towing tugs IDAHO and DELAWARE, she was placed next to the 9th Street Pier of Cleveland's North Coast Harbor.

On 16 October 1912, JAMES BUCKLEY (2 mast wood schooner-barge, 161 foot, 442 gross tons, built in 1884, at Quebec City) was carrying coal and being towed by the tug WILLIAM PROCTOR in consort with the barges H B and MENOMINEE in Lake Ontario. The BUCKLEY separated from this group in a storm and was driven into the shallows off the coast of Jefferson County, New York. The tug PROCTOR delivered MENOMINEE to Cape Vincent, then returned in time to take BUCKLEY's crew out of the rigging - hand over hand on a heaving line - before BUCKLEY finally sank.

On 16 October 1855, the brig TUSCARORA was carrying coal from Buffalo to Chicago. She anchored off Chicago's Harrison Street, but a storm dragged her in. Volunteers from shore were unable to get to the stricken vessel. A group of 9 ship captains and 4 seamen then organized a rescue party and took two new "Francis" metal lifeboats out and rescued the entire crew of eleven. By 21 October, TUSCARORA was pounded to pieces.

On 16 October 1853, PHILO SCOVILLE (2-mast wooden brig built in 1853, at Sheboygan, Wisconsin) was carrying flour, wheat, pigs and barreled fish when she encountered a gale in the eastern Straits of Mackinac. She was dismasted and drifted ashore where she was pounded to pieces. Her crew was saved by floating ashore while clinging to the floating main mast.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Cutter returns from yard; buoy season nears

10/15 - Cheboygan - The busiest ship in the Coast Guard is back at work.

After a lengthy yard stay in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw has returned to its Cheboygan homeport to undergo training prior to its first buoy-tending runs of the 2007 fall decommissioning season. “We had an incredibly intense yard period with warranty work beginning immediately after being dry-docked,” noted Cmdr. John Little, the Mackinaw's captain. “They (the yard crew) were on those Azipods before they were dry.”

Manufacturer's warranty work was done on the giant azimuthing propeller pods to repair an electrical problem and to replace the bearings. Little said the pods had to be turned around to access the hatches to the interior. “We had some electrical current running along the shafts but that's fixed now,” he explained. “We also got a new coat of paint along the ice belt of the hull.”

According to Little, the yard period is scheduled to be the ship's last for quite some time, so varying areas of chipped paint were dealt with along the area where the hull cuts the ice when icebreaking. The work added an additional five days to the stay in Wisconsin.

During the ship's stay in the yard, 15 members of the crew went to a firefighting school in Toledo, Ohio, and others attended range training or sea school in Yorktown, Va. Three new crewmembers were also welcomed aboard. Since Tailored Annual Cutter Training, known as TACT, was due to begin Little accommodated a team of six trainers under the command of Bosun's Mate 1st Class James Jordan from Mayport, Fla., and the training began before the ship even arrived in Cheboygan.

“We got them to meet the ship in Sturgeon Bay and we held navigation drills along the way,” Little said. The current training is due to conclude on Saturday, with more training for buoy-tending season due to begin Monday when five members of a team from the National Aids to Navigation School will board for four days of work.
Little said that there are more than 2,000 buoys on the lakes with the 9th Coast Guard District, and that the Mackinaw handles approximately 50 of those on an annual basis. The ship's first buoy-tending run is expected to commence Oct. 22.

By Mike Fornes for the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Port Reports - October 15

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Wilfred Sykes came in early Sunday morning with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. It was still unloading at 7:45 a.m. and gone by noon.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Saturday morning the tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity was in port loading at Lafarge.
Sunday the other two cement carriers arrived, with the Alpena coming in around noon and the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation later in the day.
At Stoneport on Sunday the Cason J. Calloway was loading product on a beautiful fall day.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Indiana Harbor was outbound the Saginaw River early Sunday morning after unloading coal at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville overnight.
Inbound on Sunday was the Tug Mark Hannah and her tank barge, bound for the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City.


Federal Patroller update

10/15 - The Federal Patroller is presently at Trois Rivieres Quebec being off loaded of its cargo of a cereal product that was destined for Kristiansand, Norway.

This will enable the vessel to be dry docked and further repairs made. Where she will dry docked is not known at this time.

Reported by Kent Malo


Museum tug Lake Superior sets sail for good

10/15 - Duluth - On Saturday, the retired 114-foot museum tug Lake Superior was towed from its berth in Minnesota Slip, downtown Duluth, for the last time. Zenith Tugboat Company's Anna Marie Altman made the tow, dragging the former Corps of Engineers tug across the bay to the Duluth Timber Company slip.

The Lake Superior was retired from the Corps in 1995 when it was replaced with a former U.S. Navy 2150-HP 109-foot "YTB" tug. Ownership of the Lake Superior was transferred to the City of Duluth - Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC) for use as a museum vessel.

Painted up in Corps livery and looking pretty sharp, the new display was well received while tourists and locals alike enjoyed seeing the monster ocean-going tug sit behind the museum ship William A. Irvin.

The giant tug was one in a series of ocean-going tugs built for the U.S. Army Transportation Corps during WW-II. The Lake Superior began life as the MAJOR EMIL H. BLOCK at the Tampa Marine Corporation in Florida. It was renamed LT-18 in 1947, an Army designation meaning simply "Large Tug".

After decommissioning, the tug was transferred to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, given her current name, and made its way into the Great Lakes. The Lake Superior served on all five Great Lakes lugging dredges and scows to and from dredging and construction projects for the U.S. Government.

In recent years, the tug turned out to be only an additional expense for the DECC, with not many visitors actually wanting to tour the interior. As with most smaller museum vessels, folks tend to be content with an up-close glimpse from simply walking by. In 2005, the DECC cut a large window into the cabin of the tug's starboard side (galley) and made it into an ice-cream shop. Tourists were then able to stop, not for a tour, but for a place to purchase an ice cream cone on a hot summer day.

The tug served this purpose for two years and this past August, the DECC made the decision to part with the tug, putting it up for auction, via sealed bid. Three bids were received, the winning bid of $56,662.00 being from Bob Billington (Billington Contracting, Inc), of Duluth.

Earlier reports indicated the tug would be returning to commercial service, replacing the tug Seneca, which was damaged in a storm last December. This report turned out to be false. The Seneca had been already removed from service and replaced by the tug Anna Marie Altman (ex-Susan Hoey) five months prior to its loss.

The Lake Superior's new owner, Bob Billington said on Saturday that he purchased the vessel "because I've always liked that tug. It's the prettiest tug in the harbor." Billington, who is in the sand and gravel business, has been known to buy and sell a lot of marine equipment, acquired from government auctions.

Other ex-Corps of Engineers vessels purchased by Billington in recent years include, the dipper dredge Col. D. D. Gaillard (which was mostly towed by the tug Lake Superior), Scow No. 10, Fuel Barge No. 16, tug Hpughton, tug Au Sable, and the hydraulic dredge Pearl.

The Lake Superior is powered by a monstrous Enterprise diesel which is "direct drive", meaning there's no neutral position. When the engine starts, the propeller is turning. The captain signals the engine room on a large bell and the engineer responds by running the engine by hand. The tug is inadequate in today's world of twin screw or Z-drive tractor tugs.

While the Lake Superior faces an uncertain future in the long term, crews from Billington Contracting at least intend on making an attempt to get the tug running for a spin around the harbor.


Doug Fairchild/Boatnerd Memorial Fund

The Board of Directors of Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supporting this website, has approved the establishment of a Memorial Fund to have a memorial bench installed in Rotary Park, at Mission Point, in Sault Ste. Marie in memory of the late Douglas Fairchild.

Fairchild, who died unexpectedly in March, was a dedicated boat watcher and supporter of the Boatnerd website. He also had a great interest in the aviation industry, and shared his experiences and information with everyone he met.

The permanent bench will be similar to the present memorial benches in Rotary Park and will be installed in this location favored by boat watchers and photographers from all around the Great Lakes.

Donations should be made to the Boatnerd Memorial Fund, and mailed to Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping, 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Donations may be tax-deductible depending upon your individual circumstances.


Updates - October 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 15

On this day in 1893, according to reports in Buffalo newspapers, First Mate Ben Lewis was washed off the decks of the JAY GOULD during a storm. A succeeding wave picked him up and dropped him back on the deck of the GOULD.

On 15 October 1871, LA PETITE (wooden schooner, 94 foot, 122 gross tons, built in 1866, at Huron, Ohio) was carrying lumber from Alpena, Michigan to Huron, Ohio when she was caught in a terrific gale on Lake Huron. The heavy seas carried away the lumber strapped on deck. Then the vessel sprang a leak and turned on her beam ends. Capt. O. B. Smith, his wife and four other sailors rode out the storm on the wreck until found by the tug BROCKWAY. The schooner was towed to Port Huron and repaired.

On her maiden voyage Branch Lines new tanker LEON SIMARD was spotted traveling eastward on the St. Lawrence River on October 15, 1974. Renamed b.) L'ORME NO 1 in 1982. Sold off the lakes, renamed c.) TRADEWIND OCEAN in 1997 and d.) AMARA in 2001.

The self-unloader WOLVERINE departed the American Ship Building Co., October 15, 1974, on her maiden voyage from Lorain, Ohio light to load stone at Stoneport, Michigan for delivery to Huron, Ohio.

HERBERT C JACKSON cleared Fraser Shipyard on October 15, 1988, after having the 1000 h.p. bow thruster motor installed from the JOHN SHERWIN. The motor from the JACKSON was later repaired and placed in the SHERWIN's cargo hold for future use.

The PAUL H CARNAHAN came out on her maiden voyage October 15, 1961.

On October 15, 1984, the JOHN O MC KELLAR of 1952, was sold to P.& H. Shipping of Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd., Mississauga, Ont. and renamed b.) ELMGLEN.

Scrapping began on October 15, 1988, of the JOHN T HUTCHINSON at Kaohsiung, Taiwan by Li Chong Steel & Iron Works Co. Ltd.

The C H McCULLOUGH JR was laid up on October 15, 1969, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

The COVERDALE (Hull#34) was launched at Midland, Ontario on October 15, 1949, for Canada Steamship Lines, Montreal, Quebec. Renamed b.) GEORGE HINDMAN in 1973 and c.) MELDRUM BAY in 1979. Scrapped at Lisbon, Portugal in 1985.

The SCOTT MISENER of 1954, struck bottom on October 15, 1973, near Whaleback Shoal on the St. Lawrence River reportedly damaging sixty of her bottom plates. She proceeded to the Port Arthur shipyard for dry docking and repairs from October 20th through the 28th.

On October 15, 1980, the NIPIGON BAY, loaded with ore for Hamilton, Ontario, grounded at the "crossover" near Brockville, Ontario on the St. Lawrence River and sustained a 100-foot rip in her bottom plates. She proceeded to Thunder Bay arriving there on October 24th where repairs were made at an estimated cost of $500,000.

The R P MASON (3 mast wooden schooner, 115 foot, 155 gross tons, built in 1867, at Grand Haven, Michigan) was bound from Chicago for Detroit when she struck a rocky reef near Waugoshance Point in the Straits of Mackinac on 8 October 1871. Water gushed in an 8-foot hole. However, she was temporarily patched and her cargo of grain, flour and meat was taken off over the next few days. The tug LEVIATHAN took her in tow, going to Little Traverse Bay, when, on 15 October, they encountered a gale near Cross Village, Michigan. The MASON broke free and capsized. 5 died and 4 were rescued. The MASON drifted ashore upside down. She was eventually salvaged and sailed for another 46 years. She ended her days when she burned in Lake Michigan in 1917.

The tug DOUGLAS caught fire near Wyandotte while going down the Detroit River and sank. The crew all jumped overboard and were saved by the steam yacht JOSEPHINE, except for John Cassidy, one of the firemen, who drowned. A few days later, plans were made to raise and rebuild the DOUGLAS.

On 15 October 1871, R G COBURN (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 193 foot, 867 tons, built in 1870, at Marine City, Michigan) was carrying 15,000 bushels of wheat, 3,500 barrels of flour and 30 barrels of silver ore from Lake Superior to Detroit. As she came down Lake Huron, she encountered a terrific gale which had driven most vessels to seek shelter. The COBURN fought the wind at Saginaw Bay throughout the night until she lost her rudder and turned broadside to the waves. Her large stack fell and smashed the cabin area and then the cargo came loose and started smashing holes in the bulwarks. About 70 passengers were aboard and almost all were terribly seasick. As the ship began her final plunge beneath the waves, only a few lifeboats were getting ready to be launched and those were floated right from the deck as the ship sank. 32 people perished, including Capt. Gilbert Demont. No women or children were saved.

On 15 October 1900, the wooden 186 foot freighter F E SPINNER was sunk in a collision with the steamer H D COFFINBERRY in the St. Mary's River. She was raised from 125 feet of water, one of the deepest successful salvage operations to that time. She was later renamed HELEN C and lasted until 1922.

October 15, 1910 - After the sinking of the PERE MARQUETTE 18 of 1902, built at Cleveland, Ohio, the previous September, a new PERE MARQUETTE 18 of 1911, was ordered by the Pere Marquette Railway from the Chicago Ship Building Co.

On 15 October 1871, the EXCELSIOR (3-mast wooden schooner, 156 foot, 374 gross tons, built in 1865, at Buffalo, New York) was struck by a gale near Thunder Bay on Lake Huron. She sailed through the early morning hours only to sink about 4:30 a.m. Only Charles Lostrom survived. He was on the cabin roof which blew off when the vessel went down. Mr. Lostrom remained on the floating roof-raft for two days and two nights until he was rescued by fishermen near South Hampton light on the Canadian side of Lake Huron.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho, James Neumiller, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Minor Accident at the Soo

10/14 - Sault Ste. Marie - It appeared from the Soo Locks web cams on Friday that the Edward L. Ryerson bumped the Edwin Gott while both vessels were down bound entering the locks. The Gott was about halfway into the Poe while the Ryerson was just outside the Mac.

The rear of the Ryerson came away from the piers and the bow followed. The bow of the Ryerson appeared to come in contact with the starboard aft corner of the Gott. Both ships locked through after the Ryerson got back along the wall.

The Gott tied up on the wall below the Poe for a time with the Ojibway alongside. It appeared as though the Ryerson sustained some damage to the port bow as it exited the Mac.

Reported by Ross Ruehle


Federal Patroller on the move

10/14 - Montreal - Federal Patroller was downbound from Montreal to Three Rivers Saturday morning under her own power. The saltie is heavily damaged as she raked her bottom over the rocks when she left the channel in Lake St. Louis on October 6 while loaded with a cargo of grain from CHS 2, Duluth.

She is expected to be unloaded at the next port as this cargo was to be delivered to Norway. She was patched in Montreal harbour after being towed there by Group Ocean tugs.

Reported by Ron Beaupre


Port Report - October 14

Marquette - Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
Saturday afternoon at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Canadian Leader arrived and loaded taconite for Quebec. The visit was her first to Marquette since the Summer of 2005, and she became the first straight-decker in Marquette during 2007.


Updates - October 14

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 14

On this day in 1953, Boston Metals Company of Baltimore, Maryland, submitted a successful bid of $118,111 for six retired lakers to be scrapped by the U.S. Maritime Commission. The six boats were the CHACORNAC, COLONEL, MUNISING, NEGAUNEE, YOSEMITE, and the AMAZON.

On 14 October 1871, the LEVANT (2-mast wooden schooner, 91 foot, 115 tons, built in 1854, at Chicago, Illinois) was loaded with lumber when she was overtaken by a severe gale and went over on her beam ends off Sheboygan, Wisconsin on Lake Michigan. The 6-man crew lashed themselves to the vessel so as not to be washed away by the waves. Throughout the night the men died one by one. At daylight, the schooner D P DOBBINS found the wreck with floating bodies tied to it and three still alive (two of them were barely alive). One died during the rescue attempt and another died within minutes of being rescued. Only Peter J. Thornum survived.

DEAN RICHMOND (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 238 foot, 1,432 gross tons, built in 1864, at Cleveland, Ohio) sailed from Toledo, Ohio on Friday the 13th of October 1893, with a load of bagged meal, flour, zinc and copper ingots. She encountered hurricane force winds of over 60 mph and battled the storm throughout the night. She was seen on 14 October 1893, off Erie, Pennsylvania, missing her stacks and battling the wind and waves. The following day, wreckage and bodies were washing ashore near Dunkirk, New York. Among the dead was the Captain, his wife and three children. A few crew members managed to make it to shore however all but one died of exposure. The only survivor was found on the beach near Van Buren Point two days later. During the search for bodies, three volunteers lost their lives. The wreck was found in 1984.

The keel to the JAMES R BARKER was laid on October 14, 1974. She was to become Interlake's first 1000 footer and the flagship of the fleet for Moore McCormack Leasing, Inc. (Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio, mgr.).

On October 14, 1983, the CHI-CHEEMAUN encountered 48-knot winds after departing Tobermory with 113 passengers bound for South Baymouth. Due to high wind and waves the captain decided to find shelter rather than to continue on or return to port. The ferry made her way around the Bruce Peninsula southeast to Dyer Bay where she dropped anchor for the night, however she had no overnight accommodations. Complimentary meals were served and activities were organized by the crew. The anchor was lifted the next morning and the ferry returned to Tobermory.

The GEORGE A STINSON departed Detroit on her maiden voyage October 14, 1978, light for Superior, Wisconsin to load iron ore pellets for delivery to the Great Lakes Steel Division of the National Steel Corp. at Zug Island in River Rouge, Michigan. Renamed b.) AMERICAN SPIRIT in 2004.

On October 14, 1966, loaded with potash bound for Oswego, New York, the STONEFAX collided with the Norwegian salty ARTHUR STOVE and sank in the Welland Canal between Locks 7 and 8.

On 14 October 1875, it was discovered that thieves had completely stripped the canvass and rigging from the schooner FORWARDER owned by Little & Brown. The schooner was lying about three miles below Port Huron.

On 14 October 1822, APPELONA (wooden schooner, 45 foot, 37 tons, built in 1814, at Henderson, New York) was bound from Oswego for Genesee, New York when she was struck by lightning in Lake Ontario and sank about 15 minutes. All hands were injured but abandoned her for shore and all survived.

The tug NELSON burned at Chicago on Saturday, 14 October 1876. She was one of the smaller class of tugs and the damage was so great that she was not considered to be worth repairing.

October 14, 1911 - The ANN ARBOR NO 4 ran aground while enroute to Manistique, Michigan at full speed, damaging several plates. The ANN ARBOR NO 3 pulled her off.

On 14 October 1876, NEW YORK (wooden propeller freighter, 183 foot, 704 tons, built in 1856, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying lumber and towing the schooner BUTCHER BOY and barges NELLIE McGILVERAY and A J CORREY from Cove Island in Georgian Bay to Buffalo when they encountered a severe storm near Pointe aux Barques. The tow line parted and the NEW YORK could not regain it in the heavy seas. She then sprang a leak and the water rose rapidly enough to put out her fires. The crew (15 men and one woman) abandoned in the yawl as NEW YORK was overwhelmed and sank. The open boat was adrift for five hours when the 74 foot schooner NEMESIS came upon it. NEMESIS tried twelve times to approach the yawl in the rough seas, losing a portion of her deck load of tanbark each time that she came about, but at last she got alongside the yawl. The NEW YORK's crew managed to get aboard the NEMESIS except for Fireman William Sparks who fell between the yawl and the schooner and was lost. The other vessels in the tow all made it to Port Huron safely.

On 14 October 1883, NELLIE GARDNER (wooden schooner-barge, 178 foot, 567 gross tons, built in 1873, at Marine City, Michigan) was loaded with 39,000 bushels of corn while being towed by the steamer JOHN PRIDGEON JR in a storm on Lake Huron. The GARDNER released herself from the tow in the heavy weather to run for the shelter of Thunder Bay under sail. However, she was unable to make it, and turned back for Tawas, Michigan but struck a reef, broke in two and was wrecked 1 mile SE of Scarecrow Island. Her crew made it to shore in her yawl.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


A good season for carferry S. S. Badger

10/13 - Ludington - Only two cancellations and cooperative weather for the most part made the 2007 S.S. Badger sailing season a good one for Lake Michigan Carferry. The last sailing of the season is Sunday, Oct. 14.
Director of Media Relations for Lake Michigan Carferry Magee Johnson said commercial truck traffic was down a little bit this year, but ridership numbers were comparable to the last couple of years.

John Letts of Kalamazoo was off to Oshkosh, Wis., today to watch a collegiate cross country meet his son is in. “Since I have been in Iraq I haven’t been on the boat in about four years,” Letts said. Before he went overseas, he used to ride at least once a summer.

Cathy Wickens of Tustin and her family were heading to Canada today and said she rides the Badger about once a year or when the family wants to go on a trip out West. “It saves time and we don’t have to make long trips in the car with the kids,” Wickens said. Wickens said it is nice to bring the children aboard because there is something for them to do on the Badger.

This winter, the Badger will receive the usual fresh paint job and maintenance work, but in addition, it will have work done on the compressor tubes, a $200,000 project. “We could wait another year, but we want to be proactive and get it done this year,” Johnson said.

Johnson said some of the tubes are originals from 1953. She said the tubes eventually can become plugged or develop holes, as the water, sand, zebra mussels and other debris are filtered through them.

Johnson said that in addition to the repairs to the boat, a majority of the work done by the corporate office in the off season, will be spent working on the new theme for 2008. “We really want to focus on the historic element of the Badger, the last carferry operating as a steam-powered ship,” Johnson said. “We will make a new slogan and logo to reflect the changes.”

Johnson said Lake Michigan Carferry will focus on historical elements of the ship and incorporating the elements into other activities, like movies and the possibility of having someone telling the story of the Badger onboard. “The new stuff will probably come out right before the season begins,” Johnson said. “It will probably resemble the inspection plaque on the front of the Badger. That was the inspiration.”

Special events
There were several special functions aboard the ship this year, including a Habitat Beach Bash, two shoreline cruises and the Chamber Ambassadors association gathering. “We like providing our services for fundraising events like this,” Johnson said. “We hope to have more special events in the future.”

Special theme days on the ship were pirate days and an all-star Badger sports theme. Lake Michigan Carferry will be assessing whether to have the theme days and how to implement them in the future. “We felt like the pirate-theme days were well-received,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the warm, sunny weather this summer helped the season out, even though May and June were still slow. “I think more families either aren’t traveling or their kids are getting out of school later,” Johnson said. Ridership was highest in July and August, as usual, but slowed down this fall.

“There were probably a lot of factors involved,” Johnson said. “We feel it is a combination of people making later travel plans and not being as spontaneous.”

Lake Michigan Carferry is aware of the fact that the new sales tax on services and recent income tax increase may impact business and will keep an eye on it and adjust accordingly if it does, Johnson said. “Fortunately, it hasn’t been applied to car ferries, but we are going to continue to monitor how that tax will impact the tourism industry.”

From the Ludington Daily News


Port Reports - October 13

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Karen Andrie arrived with her barge A-397 in tow on the stormy Wednesday night. The tug brought the barge section behind her on the wire through the North Entrance Channel around 9:30 p.m. The Andrie then came under the breakwall to switch her tow around inside the protection of the Outer Harbor. They transitioned into push mode by going in the notch and taking the A-397 on the nose. The pair then transited the Black Rock Canal on their way to Tonawanda with asphalt from Detroit around 10:15 p.m.

Menominee - Dick Lund
The repairs were finished on the tug Victory around noon on Friday. The tug departed its berth at KK Integrated Logistics East Dock around 1 p.m. and headed over to Marinette Fuel & Dock to pick up the barge Lewis J. Kuber. They backed out of the Menominee River past Menominee North Pier Lighthouse about 4 p.m. and turned around out in the bay of Green Bay heading for Port Inland, as their next scheduled stop was supposed to be Green Bay, WI. They were originally scheduled to be there Friday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The James Norris was upbound the Saginaw River late Friday afternoon headed upriver to the Saginaw area to unload. No security call was given as to the dock she was to call on.

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Friday, Upper Lakes Canadian Transport was loading at the Sifto salt dock, and the Algosteel came into the Goderich Harbour. She was tied up at the old grain elevators to wait her turn at Sifto.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Algoisle left its berth with two tugs assisting after loading grain at Nidera and departed northbound on Lake Michigan bound for Quebec City at about 6:30 Friday morning.
The Alpena departed just after 8 a.m.
Algoway arrived very early Saturday and delivered salt to the bulk cargo dock in Milwaukee's inner harbor.


City plans a party as ferry comes home
Chi-Cheemaun returns to harbour after two winters away

10/13 - Owen Sound - When the Owen Sound Transportation Company ferry Chi-Cheemaun returns to her traditional winter berth in Owen Sound on Monday after a two-year absence, Jay Adamson wants a homecoming reception for the ship.

She wants flags flying, bands playing and a crowd on the jetty to welcome the Chi-Cheemaun home. With help from city hall, Adamson has the reception pretty much planned. Mayor Ruth Lovell has issued an invitation to area residents to join her and the City Band as Chi-Cheemaun arrives at about 3:30 p.m. Monday.

City firefighters are to provide celebratory plumes of water from their pumper trucks. Flags will wave. The band will play.
"I've missed her," Adamson said in an interview Friday. She normally spends winters in Owen Sound. In each of the past two years, however, the vessel has wintered in Sarnia to receive replacement generators and engines.

"This was the homecoming, the 150th anniversary for Owen Sound," Adamson said as she described the start of her idea to celebrate the ship. "The Chi-Cheemaun was away for two whole winters and I thought to myself, you know, the Chi-Cheemaun is coming home too. It's a homecoming for her."

Built in Collingwood, the 111-metre Chi-Cheemaun has provided daily summer service since 1974 for vehicles and passengers between Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula and South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island. A "repositioning cruise" to winter quarters for 600 passengers from Tobermory to Owen Sound sold out last week, operations manager Ian Dean said Friday.

The ship's crew expect to have the vessel fitted with signal flags from the bridge to the stack. "We'll blow a salute whistle when we come in, but we normally do that," Dean said. "We'll have 600 passengers on board and they'll all be outside, so the decks will be jam-packed with people. It should be good."

Her first full season with a new power plant has also been a busy one. Traffic increased just over three per cent, with 225,000 passengers and about 85,000 vehicles. "It's been a good year," Dean said. "The weather has co-operated and with the forecast we've got now, we won't have missed a single trip this year, which is kind of unusual."

Adamson is relatively new to Owen Sound but she has become a community booster in short order. A resident since 2004 of an apartment in the St. Francis Place tower, she enjoyed seeing Chi-Cheemaun through a window near the elevator during her first year in residence. She has been a frequent passenger on the spring and autumn relocation cruises and has missed the cruises and her winter view of the ship and has met plenty of others who feel the same way.

She also grew up on the River Clyde in Scotland and has a lifelong interest in sailing and ships. She was a child in 1934 with a bedroom window view of John Brown's Clyde Bank shipyard, the year the Queen Mary rose on the stocks. "The highlight of my life as a child was to watch the Queen Mary leave the tail of the bank in Scotland to go out. She was like a floating palace . . . During the war we saw a lot of her. She used to bring troops . . . 10,000 at a time. That's a lot of men."

Adamson's concept for a ship's reception arose from her pleasure taking part in this year's 150th anniversary Homecoming events in Owen Sound. "This is a very lively place," Adamson said of her adopted home. "I don't think there are any places more alive than what Owen Sound is and for one very good reason. "Owen Sound is a very well-knit community. When you look around Ontario I honestly don't think you'll find another place this size that is as active in so many ways."

From the Owen Sound Sun Times


Steel plant’s final permit in place

10/13 - Duluth - A $1.6 billion steel slab plant proposed on Minnesota’s Iron Range has the green light.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Thursday issued an air permit authorizing construction and operation of the facility near Nashwauk. A deadline of Wednesday passed without state or federal appeals being filed on the permit. With the permit, Minnesota Steel can move ahead with financial closure of the project, said John Elmore, Minnesota Steel president and chief executive officer.

“We’re really, really close to moving this forward.” Elmore said. “We have all the regulatory permits in place. What the permit does for us is allow us to proceed with financial closure and close the deal with Essar Steel of India.” For Essar Steel to assume control of the project, Minnesota Steel needed to obtain all the necessary permits, Elmore said. Financial closure could come in January, he said.

The plant, which would produce steel slabs, would be the only one of its kind in the nation. Steel slabs produced at the facility would be shipped to steelmakers and rolled into steel for products such as automobiles and appliances. The plant would produce about 2.5 million metric tons of steel slabs per year, and about 2,000 construction jobs would be created.

Minnesota Steel would employ about 700 full-time workers and create an estimated 2,100 spin-off jobs. The project’s economic impact estimated at more than $600 million annually. “This is great news for all of Minnesota,” Dan McElroy, commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development said in an Iron Range Resources news release. “This will be the first mine-to-metal complex in North America for steel.”

“It’s about a close as you can get,” Sen. Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids, said of the project’s chances of being built. “Today was a good day.” Saxhaug spent Thursday touring portions of Northeastern Minnesota with the Senate Capital Investment Committee. The committee is looking at potential projects across the state to be included in a $1 billion bonding bill. Among the projects the committee looked at is Minnesota Steel.

To help develop infrastructure for the steel plant, Itasca County and Northeastern Minnesota elected officials are seeking $60 million from the state, Saxhaug said. The money would go to Itasca County for infrastructure such as rail lines, roads and utility supply lines. “The key is that Itasca County is a poor county and we need some help from the state,” Saxhaug said.

Included in the facility would be an open pit taconite mine, crusher, concentrator, pelletizer, direct-reduced iron facility and electric arc furnace. Because mining and steel production would be done at the same site, Minnesota Steel officials say the plant would produce steel at a lower cost than any steelmaker in the nation. The plant would be built near the site of the former Butler Taconite mine, west of Nashwauk. The site contains some of the Iron Range’s highest-quality taconite.

At $1.6 billion, the steel plant would be the state’s largest industrial project.

Minnesota Steel expects construction to occur over a six years, according to the news release. Construction of the first production line would take 24 to 30 months, including a crusher and pellet plant, concentrator and one of two direct-reduced iron modules. Construction on a second line would expand the concentrator, and add a second direct-reduced iron module, a second steel mill line and a rolling mill.

“Minnesota’s Iron Range is taking another step into the future with the first facility in North America to include iron ore mining and steelmaking on a single site,” Iron Range Resources commissioner Sandy Layman said in a news release. “With all its permits in hand, Minnesota Steel can move quickly to finalize its financing and begin construction.”

Iron Range Resources provided a $5 million loan in 2005 to help fund initial development. The state has since provided $12 million from the 2006 bonding bill to Itasca County for infrastructure and another $11 million from the Minnesota Minerals 21st Century Minerals Fund.

State Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, chairman of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, said the project is a significant opportunity for Minnesota, giving the state the opportunity to make finished products from steel.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - October 13

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 13

On this day in 1893, Chief Engineer J. H. Hogan left the DEAN RICHMOND in Toledo to take care of some family business. One day later, the DEAN RICHMOND burned off Dunkirk, New York with a loss of 17 lives including the replacement Chief Engineer.

On 13 October 1909, GEORGE STONE (wooden propeller freighter, 270 foot, 1,841 gross tons, built in 1893, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was sailing from Ashtabula, Ohio for Racine, Wisconsin with cargo of coal when she stranded on Grubb Reef in the Pelee Passage on Lake Erie. She then caught fire and was destroyed. Five of the 18 crewmen were lost.

The SASKATCHEWAN PIONEER made her first trip out of Thunder Bay, Ontario with grain on October 13, 1983. Renamed b.) LADY HAMILTON in 1995, reported sold to Voyageur Maritime in 2006.

The tug GLENADA towed the BROOKDALE from Port Colborne to Newman's scrap yard at Port Maitland, Ontario the week of October 13, 1980.

On October 13, 1902, the MAUNALOA collided with her whaleback consort barge 129 on Lake Superior and sank it 30 miles northwest of Vermilion Point, which is between Upper Michigan's Crisp and Whitefish Points. The MAUNALOA had been towing the 129, both vessels loaded with iron ore, when the towline parted in heavy seas. While trying to regain control of the barge, they came together and the steamer's port anchor raked the side of the barge which started taking on water. The crew was taken off the barge before it sank.

On 13 October 1875, off Alpena, Michigan, the tug E H MILLER had her boiler explode while racing with the tug CITY OF ALPENA -- both in quest of a tow. The ALPENA, who was ahead of the MILLER when she blew up, immediately turned around to pick up survivors. The ALPENA sunk in minutes. The engineer, fireman and a boy were rescued, but the captain and cook were lost. The fireman was in such poor shape that it was thought that he would not live.

On 13 October 1877, The Port Huron Times reported that the tug PRINDIVILLE and the 2-mast schooner PORTLAND had both gone ashore at the Straits of Mackinac and been pounded to pieces.

On 13 October 1886, SELAH CHAMBERLAIN (wooden propeller steam barge, 212 foot, 1,207 gross tons, built in 1873, at Cleveland, Ohio) collided with the 222 foot wooden lumber hooker JOHN PRIDGEON JR in heavy fog off Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The CHAMBERLAIN had been towing the schooner FAYETTE BROWN. The CHAMBERLAIN sank quickly. Five of the crew went down with the vessel when the lifeboat davits became fouled and they were unable to launch the lifeboat. The rest of the crew made it to shore in the other lifeboat after a 3-hour pull through the fog.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Cleveland port wants in on container shipping

10/12 - Cleveland - Cleveland's port could win a bit of the nation's container-shipping market, but only with some hard work and investment, a consultant's report shows.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority wants to expand its maritime business. So it spent $75,000 to study whether it can be a player in handling container cargo on the Great Lakes. The port authority handles mostly iron ore, stone and steel, not container cargo.

A consultant told port officials Wednesday that the port has "some potential" to handle thousands of containers that otherwise arrive in Northeast Ohio by rail and truck, after delivery from big ships on the East and West coasts. Cleveland's best bet is a shipping line linked to a port in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the consultant said.

Ocean freighters from northern Europe, Singapore and India would drop their cargo in Halifax for transfer to smaller vessels that would ply the St. Lawrence Seaway and head on to Cleveland, according to scenarios studied by Martin Associates Inc., a port-planning consultant in Lancaster, Pa. Container shipping is light on the Great Lakes, but experts expect more. The nation's container traffic grows 6 percent a year.

East Coast ports are expanding. But they are expected to start reaching capacity by 2026, the consultant said, enhancing the prospect of "feeder" lines into Great Lakes ports. The shipping time and cost per container of a Halifax-Cleveland line are already competitive, particularly on shipments from India, the report showed.

But a Halifax-Cleveland line faces big hurdles. No shipping company works such a line now. The St. Lawrence Seaway shuts down two months a year. And railroad companies could be expected to drop prices or offer other incentives, to stave off competition for containers from Great Lakes shippers and ports.

Still, Cleveland port officials are intrigued with the container market. Some 115,000 containers from foreign countries are delivered yearly into Northeast Ohio, bearing everything from sporting goods to auto parts. Port President Adam Wasserman said he is "inquisitive and hopeful" about the prospects for a container market.

It's among a number of growth opportunities that the port's board of trustees is studying as it looks to relocate the port. The port board is looking at sites east and west of its operations, which lie near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. That land is considered prime for new neighborhoods and commercial districts.

Wasserman hopes the board will decide by year's end. A key to the move will be a decision by the Army Corps of Engineers on a new dike for Cuyahoga River dredgings. Crews dredge the river so lake freighters can reach industries up the waterway. The dredgings could form new land masses for a bigger port. Officials would like a 200-plus acre site, with room to handle container cargo.

Relocating the port could take 10 years or more, officials said. Wasserman believes container cargo could arrive here within the next five years, and the port could handle it. The consultant's study shows "it's going to be a challenge to make it work and a long-term endeavor," Wasserman said. "We'd like to work hard at taking a shot at it," he said.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Port Reports - October 12

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Wednesday, boat watchers afternoon were treated to the sight of the Herbert C. Jackson steaming under the Blatnik Bridge while Maritime Trader was outbound in the harbor.
Thursday morning, American Spirit was fueling at the port terminal before proceeding down the Front Channel to BNSF ore dock while Algolake was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Lake Michigan was preparing to load at CHS berth 2 while on the other side of the elevator Ziemia Lodzka was in berth 1.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday the Kaye E. Barker and tug Reliance with barge sought shelter from the weather in Thunder Bay off Alpena. The pair remained at anchor most of the day while it was rainy and windy. Early evening they left and disappeared over the horizon. The Kaye E. Barker was expected to go to Stoneport.
MCM Marine is still doing dredging work in the shipping channel.


Updates - October 12

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 12

On this day in 1976, three boats discharged a record 108,379 tons of cargo on a single day at the Pinney Dock in Ashtabula, Ohio. The three boats were the JAMES R BARKER (57,305 tons), the WILFRED SYKES (20,678 tons), and the JOSEPH L BLOCK (30,306 tons).

On the night of 12 October 1871, the grain laden schooner PLOVER struck a reef near Whitefish Point on Lake Superior, put a hole in her hull and sank in deep water. Captain Jones and the crew of 8 escaped in the yawl. They spent two days making their way to Sault Ste. Marie.

The JEAN PARISIEN suffered considerable bottom damage when she ran aground near Comfort Island about a mile west of Alexandria Bay, New York. She was released October 12, 1981, and returned to service after repairs were completed at the Canadian Vickers Montreal yard.

The CLIFFS VICTORY was sold October 12, 1985, to Hai International Corp. of New York for scrapping in the Orient and transferred to Panamanian registry. Her name was changed to c.) SAVIC, utilizing the "S" from CLIFFS, the "VIC" from VICTORY and inserting an "A". All the other letters were painted out.

The JOHN A KLING sailed on her maiden voyage for the Rockport Steamship Co. (Reiss Steamship Co., mgr.) on October 12, 1922, light from Manitowoc, Wisconsin to load stone at Rockport, Michigan. Sold into Canadian registry in 1981, renamed b.) LEADALE. She was scrapped at Ramey's Bend in 1983.

The keel was laid October 12, 1925, for the Interlake Steamship Co.'s steamer COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS.

The SYLVANIA returned to service on October 12, 1967. She sank at the Peerless Cement Co. Dock at Port Huron, Michigan in June of that year after being struck by the Canada Steamship Lines package freight steamer RENVOYLE.

The tug EDNA G remained at Two Harbors, Minnesota until October 12, 1993, when she was towed to the Fraser Shipyard at Superior, Wisconsin by the Great Lakes Towing Co. tug KANSAS. She is now on display as a floating exhibit for the city.

On October 12, 1967, the Papachristidis Company Limited's FEUX FOLLETS entered service with the distinction of being the last steam-powered vessel built on the Great Lakes. The vessel was renamed b.) CANADIAN LEADER when it was sold to Upper Lakes Shipping in 1972.

At 3:00 a.m., 12 October 1870, the 76 ton tug ONTARIO caught fire and burned to the waterline while lying at Harrow's dock in Algonac, Michigan.

On 12 October 1901, ALVINA (wooden schooner-rigged scow-barge, 89 foot, 95 gross tons, built in 1871, at Fair Haven, Michigan) was being towed by the steamer WESTON and had a load of 700 barrels of lubricating oil. They were bound from Cleveland for Manistique. The ALVINA was overwhelmed in a storm and sank near Thunder Bay Island in Lake Huron. Her entire crew made it to shore in her yawl. Her cargo was salvaged five days later.

On 12 October 1880, TRADER (wooden propeller, 115 foot, 169 gross tons, built in 1865, at Marine City, Michigan) was carrying lumber in a storm on Lake Michigan. She was battered severely and became waterlogged. Her crew abandoned her with water up to her decks. They were saved by the schooner GUIDE in a daring rescue. A few days later, in the "Alpena Storm", her wreckage washed ashore near Holland, Michigan and she was erroneously reported as another "all-hands" victim of that storm.

On 12 October 1874, on her maiden voyage, the tug MARY passed Port Huron down bound with the bark FAVORITE in tow. The tug was owned by William Hardison of Port Huron.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Federal Patroller grounding update

10/11 - At 10 a.m. Wednesday the Federal Patroller, with the tug Ocean Jupiter hooked on to the stern and the tug Ocean Hercule leading the way up forward, but not secured, began her voyage to Montreal.

They are heading to Section 44 Port of Montreal. Further inspections and possibly more repairs are in store for the Federal Patroller.

Reported by Kent Malo


Port Reports - October 11

Hancock - Danielle Adams
The Algomarine came in from the South Entry of the Portage Canal and made its way under the Portage Lift Bridge around 10 a.m. Wednesday morning. The passage stopped traffic between Hancock and Houghton for 15-20 minutes while it made its way over to the dock to unload a partial load of road salt.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Nanticoke unloading in Lackawanna on Wednesday.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge St. Mary's Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah have been in port since Sunday midnight. Unloading was finished late Monday but the vessel remained in port at 8 p.m. on Wednesday waiting weather. Departure depends on weather on Lake Michigan off Grand Haven as well as at her next port believed to be the plant at Charlevoix.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
A number of vessels visited the Saginaw River over the past week. The Indiana Harbor called on the Consumers Energy dock In Essexville on Saturday, and when finished with her coal unload, she then backed out of the river to Light 12 to turn and head for the lake later in the evening. The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were also in on Saturday calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload.
Sunday saw the CSL Tadoussac unloading at the Essroc dock in Essexville. She departed the dock on Monday, backing out to Light 12 to turn and head for the lake. The tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge were also in on Sunday, unloading at the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City.
On Monday, the H. Lee White called on the Consumers Energy dock to unload coal. She finished her unload and backed from the dock later in the afternoon to turn at Light 12 and head for the lake.
Tuesday saw the Calumet outbound the Saginaw River from a Saginaw area dock, it is not known for sure what dock she called on but it was possibly the GM dock.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Alpena entered the Milwaukee breakwater from a very rough Lake Michigan at about 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, turned in the outer harbor, then backed up into the inner harbor to berth at LaFarge to deliver dry cement.


Man who died on freighter identified

10/11 - Bay City - A freighter worker who collapsed and died after unloading cargo at an Essexville dock on Monday morning was identified as Ralph Croutcher, 53, originally from Newfoundland.

Croutcher, a non-permanent crew member of the Tadoussac, was helping to unload clinker – a cement ingredient – before he collapsed and fell unconscious.

“Mr. Croutcher was working in a cargo hold of the ship and while they were leaving the cargo hold, he just collapsed,” said Ernest Beaupertuis, crewing manager for V. Ships Canada, a maritime service agency based in Montreal, Quebec. “Crew members tried to reanimate him, but with no success.”

When Essexville Public Safety officers responded to the call, the man had to be removed from the cargo hold using ropes. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy was performed on Monday, but neither the company nor Essexville Public Safety could give details.

Beaupertuis said Croutcher was “medically fit” and didn’t have any known conditions.

From the Bay City Times


Updates - October 11

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 11

On this day in 1923, the HENRY STEINBRENNER, of 1901, collided with the J MCCARTNEY KENNEDY at 4:20 p.m. off Parisian Island, Whitefish Bay. The accident occurred during thick smoky weather and both boats were severely damaged.

MEDINA (wooden propeller tug, 66 foot, 57 gross tons) was launched by O'Grady & Maher at Buffalo, New York on 11 October 1890. She cost $12,000.

Quebec & Ontario Transportation's b.) BAIE COMEAU II cleared Sorel October 11, 1983, as c.) AGIA TRIAS, Panamanian registry #1355. Her Canadian registry was closed on October 12, 1983. Her mission was to carry grain from New Orleans, Louisiana. to Mexican and Caribbean Island ports. Subsequently she was renamed d.) OCEANVIEW in 1988, e.) SEA DIAMOND in 1989, f.) GOLDEN CREST in 1990, g.) ATLANTIC WOOD in 1991, h.) LONDON FURY in 1994 and i.) DONG SHENG in 1995.

Cleveland Tankers MERCURY scraped the South Grand Island Bridge in the Niagara River in heavy fog on October 11, 1974. Her forward mast snapped off, the mid-ship mast was tilted and her smoke stack was toppled. She proceeded after the mishap to G&W Welding at Cleveland, Ohio under her own power for repairs.

Upper Lakes Shipping's WHEAT KING, under tow, arrived at Chittagong Roads, Bangladesh on October 11, 1989, to be broken up.

In 1911, the rail ferry CHIEF WAWATAM arrived at St. Ignace, Michigan and began service shortly thereafter.

On 11 October 1913, THOMAS H CAHOON (3 mast wooden schooner-barge, 166 foot, 431 gross tons, built in 1881, at E. Saginaw, Michigan) was carrying lumber in tow of the steamer C W CHAMBERLAIN. They were bound from Sault Ste. Marie to Byng Inlet. However during a storm, the CAHOON stranded and went to pieces on "Kenny Shoal" by the southwest corner of Innes Island in Georgian Bay. No lives were lost.

On 11 October 1839, DEWITT CLINTON (wooden passenger/package freight side-wheeler, 147 foot, 413 tons, built in 1836, at Huron, Ohio) foundered off Milwaukee with the loss of 5 lives. She was recovered the following year and lasted until 1851. She and her near-twin ROBERT FULTON were reportedly the first Lake steamers built primarily as freighters with relatively few passenger accommodations.

On 11 October 1866, GREAT WEST (wooden 3-mast bark, 175 foot, 765 tons, built in 1854, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying wheat in a storm on Lake Michigan when she stranded on Racine Reef. She was reported to be a total loss but she may have been recovered and then lost near Chicago in 1876. When launched, she was the largest sailing vessel on the Lakes and much was made of her beautiful lines. She was diagonally braced with iron. She stood 174 feet tall from her deck to her masthead. So if she were sailing today, although she'd be able to sail under the Mackinac Bridge, she'd be stopped at the Blue Water Bridge whose roadway is only 152 feet above the water.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Federal Patroller grounding update


10/9 - 8:00 p.m. Update - The Federal Patroller has called for two Ocean Group tugs at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. According to Group Ocean, the decision will be made as to where the Federal Patroller will go after she leaves the emergency wharf at Kahnawake.

Kahnawake - The Limassol registered freighter Federal Patroller is said to have suffered a 21-foot long hole on her starboard side.

The vessel was loaded with a cereal product at full Seaway draft, ran over a high spot, then hit an unknown object in the channel between Beauharnois and St Nicholas Island. The vessel is being temporarily repaired at the emergency wharf in the St Lawrence Seaway which located above the Canadian Pacific Railway bridges.

Federal Patroller was due in Quebec City to load an additional 13,000 tonnes and proceed to her final destination, Kristiansand, Norway.

Reported by Kent Malo From Radio Station CKRK 103.7, Kanhawake.

Original Report - Federal Patroller remained at the emergency wharf in the St Lawrence Seaway at Kahnawake Mohawk reserve, above the Canadian Pacific Railway bridges on Monday. The vessel hit a high spot while downbound on Lake St Louis on Saturday. The vessel took a list to starboard, holed the engine room, flooding it. The vessel remained at the dock on Monday and will be for two more days while repairs are being made.


Port Reports - October 10

Toronto -Clive Reddin
Beluga Elegance departed unassisted from Toronto Harbour at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Menominee - Dick Lund
KK Integrated Shipping had nearly its entire fleet in Menominee/Marinette on Tuesday. The Reserve, Viking I and Manitowoc are based in Menominee,  around 7 a.m. Tuesday, the barge Lewis J. Kuber with the tug Victory in the notch paid an unexpected visit to the port. The barge was dropped off at Marinette Fuel & Dock and the tug disengaged from the Kuber and headed to the KK East Dock in Menominee for "a little tune up." They expect to be here overnight.

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Tuesday morning Upper Lakes Canadian Navigator came into the Goderich, it was loading at the Sifto Salt dock.


Early Erie Canal closure protects drinking water

10/10 - Utica, NY - The Mohawk Valley's water shortage will create ripple effects across the state now that the Canal Corp. announced Monday that the entire state canal system will close early. Originally scheduled to close Nov. 15, the system will now close Nov. 1 for recreational users and Nov. 7 for commercial users.

If substantial rainfall occurs before November, it's possible the canal could be kept open longer, said Canal Corp. Director Carmella Mantello, but when it comes to drinking water, a decision had to be made. “Drinking water has and will continue to be the No. 1 priority,” Mantello said.

A warm, dry summer contributed to record low water levels in the Hinckley Reservoir, which supplies water to the portion of the canal in the Mohawk Valley and the 130,000 Mohawk Valley Water Authority customers in Herkimer and Oneida counties. Closing the canal system early will lessen the drain from the canal's backup reservoirs and help ensure water remains available to the water authority customers, who have been dealing with restricted water use, Mantello said.

But there will be negative effects along the system, she said. “This will have an economic impact on the communities, the businesses, the marinas and certainly the boaters,” she said.

Commercial shipments
The canal will remain open until Nov. 7 for commercial business because a couple major shipments will take place in early November, Mantello said. “We need, obviously, to get those commercial shipments through,” she said.

Port Albany Ventures in Albany has some shipments scheduled for later in November that might now have to be cancelled, Manager Chris Gardella said. The cancellations could have a “considerable” economic impact on the company, Gardella said. “It's unfortunate,” he said, “but everybody needs the water.”

Rob Goldman, owner of New York State Marine Highway Transportation, a tug and barge company that transports goods out of Troy, said he'll be calling clients to see if they can reschedule for prior to the canal's closing. “We have some other work lined up, and I'm not sure if we're going to be able to do it or not,” Goldman said.

Some companies that provide canal tours would love to be able to keep taking visitors out on boats until Nov. 15 or later, Mantello said. But many tour boats stop business by the end of October, said Mike Murphy, owner of Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises in Lockport. Murphy's business closes Oct. 26, and insurance for tour-boat companies often runs from May 1 to Nov. 1, he said.

Boaters need time
The Nov. 1 closing date for recreational boaters was chosen because that's the earliest many boaters in the Great Lakes will be able to make their way out of the system, Mantello said. A few boaters and marina workers called the Canal Corp. Monday to say they're going to have to alter their plans, Mantello said.

Canal Corp. revenue
The Canal Corp.'s annual revenue is only about $2 million - compared to a $70 million to $80 million budget, Mantello said. Most of the revenue comes from permits and releases, so the early closing will have a minimal impact on the corporation's revenue, she said.

Marinas prepare to close
Although Mantello said several marinas on the canal system will be hurt by the early closing, some local marinas were going to close before November anyway. The St. Johnsville Marina will close Oct. 30, as the weather grows colder and traffic decreases, Harbormaster Bernie Brandow said. The Ilion Marina closes Oct. 27, Harbormaster Don Sterling said.

“Most of the boats have already gone through,” Sterling said. “There are a few stragglers left.”

From the Utica Observer-Dispatch


LaVoy takes the helm at Great Lakes Aquarium

10/10 - Duluth - A longtime Duluth business and civic leader will take the helm of the Great Lakes Aquarium.

The aquarium’s board of directors decided unanimously last week to hire Jack LaVoy as executive director. The board announced its decision Monday. “Jack fits,” GLA Board Chairman Pat Schoff said. “He has the breadth of experience and a wealth of local connections.” “Plus he’s very interested,” Schoff said, noting that LaVoy was Mayor Herb Bergson’s choice to lead the “Blue Ribbon panel” to re-evaluate the status of the Great Lakes Aquarium’s four-year-old plan to make it self-sufficient.

“I don’t think that Jack knew a whole lot about the aquarium going into that process, but it seems to me that during that process he grew to be extremely interested and enthusiastic about the prospects for the place,” Schoff said. LaVoy has been the director of business expansion for APEX, a private sector economic-development group, since August 2006. He’ll assume his new position on Nov. 1.

“I really like the work I’ve been doing at APEX, but when the board approached me about taking on this task, I thought it could be a very interesting, enjoyable, challenging opportunity,” LaVoy said Monday. “Some of my experience over the years might be helpful in helping to continue building upon the good foundation that’s been laid in the past few years in putting the thing on a sound financial footing.”

The GLA board’s decision to resume local control of the aquarium was in response to the decision by Ripley’s Leisure Entertainment to withdraw from its management of the Duluth attraction. Ripley’s and its GLA site director, Chad Netherland, were credited with stabilizing the world’s only freshwater aquarium and reducing its city subsidies by slicing staff and focusing on bringing in new attractions, as well as keeping those already there in working order. But in June, Netherland took a job as manager of the aquarium in Myrtle Beach, S.C. In July, Ripley’s, which was in the third year of a five-year contract, notified the GLA that it would terminate the contract Oct. 20.

“Ripley’s Leisure Entertainment and the employees of the Great Lakes Aquarium are to be applauded for the extraordinary job they have done over the past several years in reducing the facility’s costs and strengthening its operations; the move to local control will continue that progress,” Schoff said.

LaVoy said he will focus on operating the aquarium in a fiscally responsible manner. “I want to first focus on making sure all exhibits are in good working order, that all animal exhibits are fully stocked and in good health,” he said. “Then I want to engage the staff and the board and community stake holders in looking at the facility and helping develop a vision for how we might grow it over time.”

Before Ripley’s stepped in, the city partially closed the aquarium and had to take over management after it went broke because of construction delays, a huge staff and wildly inaccurate attendance projections. Experts say the aquarium, owned by the state, probably will always need a city subsidy.

The aquarium receives about $480,000 a year from the city for operating expenses and to pay off construction and other debts.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - October 10

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 10

On this day in 1891, the SUSAN E PECK collided with the schooner GEORGE W ADAMS above the Soo Locks. The PECK, loaded with wheat for Buffalo, sank in a matter of minutes and completely blocked the navigation channel. General Orlando M. Poe, in charge of the Soo Locks, estimated that 275 boats lost an estimated 825 days and 5 hours waiting for the wreck to be cleared.

On this day in 1956, two F-86 Saber Jets collided over Lake Michigan. The ERNEST T WEIR, Captain Ray R. Redecker, rescued one of the pilots (Lt. Kenneth R. Hughes) after he spent three hours in the water. The ARTHUR M ANDERSON, WILLIAM A IRVIN, and GEORGE W PERKINS participated in an unsuccessful attempt to locate the second pilot.

On 10 October 1902, GARDEN CITY (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 133 foot, 352 gross tons, built in 1873, at Ogdensburg, New York) caught fire on the Saginaw River between Bay City and Saginaw while sailing up the river for winter lay-up. She sank four miles above Bay City near the old interurban railroad bridge.

While downbound with coal in the St. Lawrence River on October 10, 1981, the JEAN PARISIEN suffered considerable bottom damage when she ran aground near Comfort Island about a mile west of Alexandria Bay, New York. She was rebuilt with a new forebody at Port Weller Drydocks and renamed b.) CSL ASSINIBOINE in 2005.

The BROOKDALE of 1909, was towed out of Toronto on October 10, 1980, by the tug GLENADA, assisted by the tug TERRY S. She was one her way to the cutters torch at Port Maitland, Ontario.

The CHAMPLAIN with her former fleet mate CADILLAC was towed past Gibraltar October 10, 1987, heading for Aliaga, Turkey for dismantling by Cukurova Celik Endustrisi A.S.

The SAVIC b.) CLIFFS VICTORY cleared New York on October 10, 1986.

The HULL NO 1, b.) KINSMAN ENTERPRISE, being towed by the Polish tug JANTAR arrived in Aliaga, Turkey on October 10, 1989, to be scrapped there.

October 10, 1906 - The PERE MARQUETTE 5 was sold to The Barry Transportation Co. for $75,000. The PERE MARQUETTE 5 was the last of the "break-bulk" boats operated by the Pere Marquette Railway Co.

On 10 October 1905, CHARLES H BURTON (3 mast wooden schooner, 158 foot, 514 gross tons, built in 1873, at Bangor, Michigan) was carrying coal in a storm in Lake Erie when she was driven ashore 4 1/2 miles east of Barcelona, New York and broke up. No lives were lost. She had been built on the hull of the bark GLENBULAH that had burned in the Chicago fire of 1871.

On 10 October 1877, ELIZA R TURNER (wooden schooner, 156 foot, 409 gross tons, built in 1867, at Trenton, Michigan) was carrying wheat from Detroit to Buffalo when a storm drove her aground nine miles west of Long Point on Lake Erie where she was wrecked. The skipper and cook drowned, but the remaining 8 were saved.

The tug CRUSADER of Oswego burned and sank in the middle of the Straits of Mackinac about 9:00 p.m. on 10 October 1878.

On 10 October 1877, ABEONA (wooden scow-schooner, 100 tons, built in 1863, at Lambert, Ontario) was carrying lumber and shingles down bound on Lake Huron when she stranded during a storm one mile west of Port Austin where she reportedly later broke up.

In 1877, PORTLAND (2-mast wooden schooner, 118 foot, 250 tons, built in 1847, at Pillar Point, New York) stranded and went to pieces north of False Presque Isle on Lake Huron. Salvage attempts only retrieved her anchor and chain.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - October 9

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
American Mariner backed up river into Milwaukee's inner harbor about 12:30 p.m. Monday, docking at the WE Energies yard on Greenfield Avenue to deliver coal. Just to the south, Algoisle continued loading grain at Nidera.

Green Bay, WI - Dick Lund
On Thursday the St. Mary's Conquest paid a visit to Green Bay's St. Mary's (Blue Circle) Cement. On Monday the tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived early afternoon with a load of limestone for Western Lime.

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Monday morning, Algoma's Algomarine was in Goderich loading at the Sifto Salt dock.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Hoping for a break in the rain to begin loading on Tuesday morning were saltie Gadwell at CHS 1 and straight-decker Maritime Trader on CHS 2, while BBC Russia was at AGP Duluth.
Elsewhere, Indiana Harbor was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Charles M. Beeghly and John G. Munson were scheduled to load at CN/DMIR ore dock.


Updates - October 9

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 09

On 08-09 October 1871, NAVARINO (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 184 foot, 761 tons, built in 1870, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was lying at a dock when the Chicago fire swept through the city. The vessel tried to pull away from the dock and get to the safety of Lake Michigan, but the wind which was being drawn into the fire held her against the dock. She burned to a total loss; no lives were lost. Her machinery was later salvaged and used in the new propeller MENOMINEE.

The CHIMO was moved onto the Port Weller Dry Dock on October 9, 1983, where workers began to cut her apart forward of her aft located pilot house and engine room. Upon completion Upper Lakes Shipping renamed her b.) CANADIAN RANGER.

The GULF MACKENZIE (Hull#435) was launched at Sorel, Quebec by Marine Industries, Ltd.on October 9, 1976. Renamed b.) L ROCHETTE in 1985, departed the lakes and renamed c.) TRADEWIND ISLAND in 1995 and d.) KEMEPADE in 2003.

The Pioneer Shipping, Ltd.'s SASKATCHEWAN PIONEER arrived in the Welland Canal on her delivery trip October 9, 1983, en route for her formal christening at Thunder Bay, Ontario. Sold off the lakes and renamed b.) LADY HAMILTON in 1995.

The JAMES DAVIDSON (Hull# 288) was launched at Wyandotte, Michigan by Detroit Ship Building Co. on October 9, 1920, for the Globe Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio (G. A. Tomlinson, mgr.)

On October 9, 1984, the PATERSON was sold to Shearmet Recycling, a Thunder Bay, Ontario ship breaker, and was broken up at their Mission River dock.

The COL JAMES M SCHOONMAKER sailed from the Great Lakes Engineering Works on her maiden voyage on October 9, 1911, to Toledo, Ohio where she loaded coal bound for Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The SCHOONMAKER was the largest vessel on the Great Lakes when she came out. For much of the decade this vessel either broke or held many bulk cargo records. Renamed b.) WILLIS B BOYER in 1969. Since 1987, the BOYER serves as a museum ship in Toledo, Ohio.

On 9 October 1820, ASP (wooden schooner, 57 tons, built in 1808, at Mississauga, Ontario) was carrying lumber and staves when she sprang a leak near Long Point in Lake Ontario. She waterlogged, then capsized. The upturned vessel was driven across the lake and finally went ashore off the Salmon River at Mexico Bay, New York and broke up quickly. 9 of the 11 onboard lost their lives. She was originally built as the British armed schooner ELIZABETH.

On 9 October 1931, CHARLES H BRADLEY (wooden propeller, 201 foot, 804 gross tons, built in 1890, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was carrying pulpwood and towing the barge GRAMPIAN. She was traversing the Portage Canal in the Keweenaw Peninsula when she ran onto a bar and stranded. The barge kept coming and ploughed into her stern. The Bradley caught fire and burned to the waterline. The wreck still lies in 6 to 17 feet of water just off the mouth of the Sturgeon River.

On 9 October 1895, AFRICA (wooden propeller steam barge, 135 foot, 352 gross tons, built in 1873, at Kingston, Ontario) was towing the schooner SEVERN in a storm on Lake Huron when she struck a reef, 15 miles south of Cove Island light on Lake Huron. She released SEVERN which rode out the storm. However, AFRICA broke up in that storm. All 13 of her crew were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Crewman Rescued from freighter's hold

10/8 - Bay City - It was a difficult early morning rescue after a ship's crewman on board the CSL Tadoussac suffered some type of medical problem while the ship was docked at the Essroc Cement plant in Essexville.

Essexville Public Safety officers called for the aerial from the Hampton Township fire department just after 2 a.m. Monday morning.

Hampton Township firefighters brought their 100-foot aerial ladder to the scene to lift the injured worker from the hold. The worker was placed in a metal basket and brought out of the ship by raising a rope attached to the aerial ladder.

The worker was taken to Bay Regional Medical Center.

Reported by Bill Hewitt from WSGM


Port Reports - October 8

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Adam E. Cornelius departed Sunday morning and was headed through Long Point by afternoon.
The John J Boland called in east bound for Lackawanna with an ETA of 9 p.m. Sunday night.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Paul Erspamer
Algoisle, in a rare visit, entered the Milwaukee breakwater just after 10 a.m. Sunday. With the help of the G tugs Arkansas and Virginia, Algoisle turned in the outer harbor, then backed upriver where it berthed at the Nidera elevator in the inner harbor. Algoisle will load for an undetermined St. Lawrence port.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Saturday morning the Cuyahoga arrived at 8 a.m. for a brief stop at Meekhof's dock in Ferrysburg. She was gone by 11:30. The St. Mary's Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah were due in late Sunday night for the St. Mary's Terminal in Ferrysburg.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The Toronto based tug M. R. Kane departed for the Welland Canal Sunday afternoon. It will pick up a grain barge and take it to Prescott.
Three salties remain in port in various stages of unloading. Beluga Elegance is at Pier 52 with windmill parts. Orfea is at Pier 51, and Kamenitza is at Redpath Sugar.

Soo - Roger LeLievre
Fog that threatened, but failed to close the St. Marys River Saturday night, succeeded on Sunday evening, after a day of spotty visibility throughout the system. Soo Traffic closed the river to traffic from the Locks down to the Mud Lake Junction Buoy just after 7 p.m. The downbound Presque Isle was tied above the locks and the St. Clair was tied up below. The Algosar (downbound), BBC Russia (upbound) and Malyovitza (upbound) are in the Hay Lake anchorage near Nine Mile Point. The fog is expected to last till mid-morning Monday.
Other traffic Sunday included the upbounders Ziema Lodzka, Mesabi Miner, American Valor, Odra and Saginaw. Downbound passages included Federal Elbe and Beluga Foundation.
Also at 7 p.m. Sunday, Soo Traffic put out a Notice to Mariners reporting that someone had jumped from the International Bridge into the rapids below. No other information was immediately available.

Hancock - Danielle Adams
Canadian Transport came to Hancock, Mi Sunday to unload salt. They split a load with the Soo.


Updates - October 8

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 08

On October 8, 2000, the barge Pere Marquette 41 rolled over on Lake Michigan, losing 5000 tons of pig iron and five pieces of heavy equipment. The tug Undaunted was run aground at Wilmette, Illinois. The next day, at day break, the barge was found by USCG helicopter 30 miles south of the Undaunted. The second mate was air lifted to the barge and dropped its anchor. The barge was later towed to the Calumet River by the tug Donald C Hannah. None of the tug/barge crew where injured.

On 08 October 1871, PHILO PARSONS (wooden side-wheel steamer, 221 tons, built in 1861, at Algonac, Michigan) burned to a total loss in the great Chicago fire. She burned so completely that her remains were not located in the Chicago River until 1877. She was the vessel commandeered by Confederate raiders in a plot to capture the iron gunboat U.S.S. MICHIGAN on Lake Erie during the American Civil War. The Chicago fire destroyed many fine vessels while they were docked in the harbor. These included the new propeller NAVARINO, the steamer PHILO PARSONS, the schooner GLENBULA, the schooner ECLIPSE, the schooner BUTCHER BOY, the bark VALETTA, the schooner ALNWICK, the bark A P NICHOLS, the bark FONTANELLA, the fore-and-aft schooner STAMPEDE, the schooner N C FORD, and the schooner CHRISTINA NEILSON. The only recorded casualties among the sailors were on the ALNWICK; her mate died and the captain burned his hands severely.

The keel was laid October 8, 1976, for the 660 foot forward section of the BURNS HARBOR, but was completed as b.) LEWIS WILSON FOY for the Bethlehem Steel Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Purchased by Oglebay Norton and renamed c.) OGLEBAY NORTON in 1991, and d.) AMERICAN INTEGRITY in 2006.

The MATHEWSTON (Hull#47) entered service on October 8, 1922. On her maiden voyage she sailed from Port Arthur, Ontario with 11,634 tons of barley and wheat. Renamed b.) RALPH S MISENER in 1954 and c.) MATHEWSTON again in 1967. Scrapped at Vado, Italy in 1970.

The Canadian registry for MENIHEK LAKE was officially closed on October 8, 1985, with the notation "sold Spain." She was scrapped at Gijon, Spain.

The WILLIAM G MATHER arrived on October 8, 1988, in tow of the Great Lakes Towing Co. tugs WYOMING and ALABAMA at the G&W Shipyard at Collision Bend in the Cuyahoga River to be refurbished.

On 8 October 1906, PASADENA (wooden barge, 250 foot, 1,761 gross tons, built in 1889, at Cleveland, Ohio as a propeller bulk freighter) was carrying coal, in tow of the steamer GLADSTONE, bound for Superior, Wisconsin. The PASADENA went out of control in a gale and her skipper had the tow line cut. She was thrown against a pier near the upper entry to the Keweenaw Waterway and pounded to pieces in a few hours. Two lives were lost, but 8 made it to shore on the floating wreckage.

On 8 October 1854, E K COLLINS (wooden passenger/package freight side-wheeler, 256 foot, 1,095 gross tons, built in 1853, at Newport, Michigan) caught fire and beached near the mouth of the Detroit River where she burned to the waterline. About 23 lives were lost. About 43 persons were rescued in small boats and by the steamers FINTRY and GLOBE. There was some speculation that arson was the cause. The hull was recovered in 1857, and rebuilt as the barge ARK.

Data from: Scott Badenski, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - October 7

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer & John Wilke
Ziemia Lodzka from the Polsteam line was berthed at terminal #2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor Saturday, unloading European steel.
St. Marys Challenger continued delivering cement through the day Saturday at its silo in the Kinnickinnic River.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Adam E. Cornelius pulled into General Mills Friday night around 10 p.m.

Soo - Roger LeLievre
The Canadian Transport docked at the Carbide Dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon to unload a partial cargo of road salt. She left at 8 p.m. and gave her next port of call as Hancock, Michigan.
Heavy thunderstorms moved through the area from early morning until mid-afternoon, and a dense fog advisory was issued for Saturday night/Sunday morning by the National Weather Service.
Traffic Saturday included the upbound Stewart J. Cort, Roger Blough, Maritime Trader and John G. Munson.
Downbound vessels included Edgar B. Speer, Kapitonas Domeika, Amalia, Voyageur Independent, Mississagi and American Courage.


Updates - October 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 07

On this day in 1939, the E G MATHIOTT collided with the steamer CORVUS on the St. Clair River. Damage to the CORVUS totaled $37,647.70.

On this day in 1958, the WALTER E WATSON, Captain Ralph Fenton, rescued the sailing vessel TAMARA on Lake Huron.

On 07 October 1871, GEM (wooden schooner, 120 foot, 325 tons, built in 1853, at Buffalo, New York) was sailing up bound in a storm on Lake Erie with a load of coal. She began to leak and was run to shore in an effort to save her. However, she went down before reaching shoal water and settled with six feet of water over her decks.

The ALGOWOOD was launched October 7, 1980, at Collingwood, Ontario for Algoma Central Marine, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

The PAUL THAYER was launched October 7, 1973, for the Union Commerce Bank Trustee, Cleveland, Ohio and managed by Kinsman Marine Transit Co., Cleveland. She was built under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970, for $12.6 million. Renamed b.) EARL W OGLEBAY in 1995.

The WILLIAM MC LAUCHLAN (Hull#793) was launched at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., on October 7, 1926, for the Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) SAMUEL MATHER in 1966, c.) JOAN M MC CULLOUGH in 1975 and d.) BIRCHGLEN in 1982. Scrapped at Sydney, Nova Scotia in 1988.

BLACK RIVER, a lake bulk freighter was built as a steel barge in 1897, by the F. W. Wheeler & Co., she was launched October 7, 1896, as a.) SIR ISAAC LOTHIAN BELL (Hull# 118).

The HUTCHCLIFFE HALL was raised October 7, 1962, and taken to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs. She had sunk after a collision a few days earlier.

October 7, 1923 - The ANN ARBOR NO 4 went back into service after being overhauled and having new cabins built on her main deck.

The MADISON suffered a fire on October 7, 1987, while lying idle at Muskegon, Michigan and was badly damaged.

In 1903, ADVENTURE (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 108 foot, 142 gross tons, built in 1875, at Detroit, Michigan as a schooner) caught fire while tied to the Kelley's Island Line & Transport Co. Dock. The blaze spread so quickly that those on board barely escaped. She was towed from Kelley's Island out into Lake Erie by the tug SMITH to save the dock and the adjacent schooner ANDERSON.

In a severe gale and rain/hail storm on 7 October 1858, the 247 ton schooner OSPREY approached Oswego, New York. As she was about to enter the harbor, the vessel struck the east pier broadside. Her masts and rigging were carried away and she started to sink. Capt. John Parsons got his wife and child out of the cabin to try to escape to the pier. His wife was washed overboard and drowned. Capt. Parsons held on to his child, but another wave struck the wreck and swept the child into the water. George Crine, the mate, was also swept overboard. Those three were lost, but the next wave swung the wreck about with her bowsprit over the pier and the captain and the six remaining crewmen scrambled to safety. The entire town and harbor mourned those deaths and held a dockside service two days later with many prayers and all flags at half mast. Donations were accepted for the surviving sailors since they escaped with only the clothes on their backs.

On 7 October 1873, the PULASKI was launched at the Archibald Muir yard on the Black River in Port Huron. Her dimensions were 136 feet x 26 feet x 11 feet, 349 gross tons. She was a three mast "full canaller", painted white and her private signal was a red M on a white ground bordered with blue. Her sails were made by Mr. D. Robeson of Port Huron, Michigan.

On 7 October 1886, The Port Huron Times reported that "The old side-wheel ferry SARNIA, which was a familiar sight at this crossing [Port Huron-Sarnia] for so many years, and which is said to have earned enough money in her time to sheet her with silver, the hull of which has been for some years back used as a barge by the Marine City Salt Company, has closed her career. She was last week scuttled and sunk near the Marine City Salt Works wharf."

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Rescue workers search for man swept overboard near Houghton, Mich.

10/6 - Houghton, MI - Rescue personnel resumed the search Friday for a 23-year-old man swept overboard in the Keweenaw Waterway near Houghton, Mich.

Witnesses said Jessie James Jaukkuri was looking over the bow of a commercial, sight-seeing vessel some time Thursday night, before he fell overboard, according to a U.S. Coast Guard news release.

Earlier Report - A pleasure trip on the Portage Lake Shipping Canal ended in tragedy Thursday night when one of the passengers on the Keweenaw Star fell overboard and was killed.

Houghton County Sheriff Brian McLean, whose office is investigating the incident, said the cruise boat was returning from a scheduled tour of the canal. Although the victim’s name is not being released yet, McLean said he was 23 years old and lived in Hancock.

McLean said information about what happened to the victim has been gathered by deputies, however he’s not revealing it yet.
“Those details haven’t come out yet,” McLean said. Although the victim went into the water at the front of the boat, McLean said if he got caught in the boat’s wake, he could have quickly been carried to the back of the boat to the propeller.

BM1 Dan Delaet of the Coast Guard Station Portage in Dollar Bay said a call was received at the station at 8 p.m. “The call was for a man overboard,” Delaet said.

A 25-foot boat and an 18-foot boat with a total of seven crewmembers were sent to the scene, which was about 400 yards west of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, he said. Later the station’s 47-foot boat was sent. A helicopter was sent from Traverse City, also, to aid in the search but it was quickly sent back. “They couldn’t get low enough to be effective,” Delaet said.

When the crewmembers arrived, Delaet said they found what were thought to be human remains. They were brought onto the Coast Guard boats and placed in bio-bags then taken to Portage Health where they were identified as that of the victim, said Caren Damon, a public information officer at the Coast Guard’s Sault Ste. Marie sector.

Crewmembers were on the scene searching until 2 a.m. Thursday, Delaet said.

The search for more remains resumed this morning at about 8 a.m. with the 47-foot and 25-foot boats, Delaet said, but the helicopter will not be returning. It’s uncertain how long the search will go on today. McLean said the Coast Guard has turned over the investigation, which is continuing, to his office.

“Now that it’s turned into a body recovery, it’s ours now,” he said.

A representative of the Keweenaw Excursions Inc., owners of the Keweenaw Star, could not be reached for comment this morning.


Port Reports - October 6

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On a gray Friday at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, a second cargo of natural ores was loaded on Purvis Marine barge PML 9000. Unlike the August trip when barge PML 9000 was pushed by tug Anglian Lady, tug Reliance provided power.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
On a dark, blustery morning Friday, Paul R. Tregurtha was backing under the Blatnik Bridge on its way to the Midwest Energy Terminal. It was to load for St. Clair. Elsewhere, Bluebill was at CHS grain elevator and American Spirit was fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal before proceeding to the BNSF ore dock.
Quebecois arrived overnight to unload at the St. Lawrence Cement dock.
For the past few weeks, a tracked-crane aboard a Marine Tech barge has been dredging in the Duluth inner harbor. It spent time near the turning buoy, and now for several days has been dredging off the mouth of the LaFarge Cement slip.
Philip R. Clarke was due in later to unload stone at CN/DMIR and Hallett dock and St. Clair was due at the Midwest Energy Terminal.

Milwaukee - Paul Espamer
St. Marys Challenger entered the Milwaukee breakwater at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, proceeding upriver towards its Kinnickinnic Avenue terminal to deliver dry cement.
On Friday, cement carrier Innovation and its tug Samuel de Champlain unloaded at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor.


Hope for Coast Guard relic?
Museum proposed for lakefront building

10/6 - Milwaukee - The former Coast Guard station on Milwaukee's lakefront would be preserved under a new proposal to convert the deteriorated building into a Great Lakes museum.

Area residents Scott Kuesel and Peter Scotland say the facility, which is near McKinley Marina, has an ideal location for a Great Lakes museum. Kuesel said Thursday that the museum would help preserve a historic building that is facing the possibility of demolition. "We hate to see the building go," Kuesel said. "Once it's gone, it's never coming back."

The museum would include exhibits on diving equipment, with a focus on Milwaukee's role in making that gear; the Coast Guard; shipwrecks on the Great Lakes; Milwaukee's role in the early shipbuilding industry; and the history of Milwaukee's port.

Kuesel and Scotland are both former commercial divers. Kuesel has a background in real estate and for several years operated a Century 21 franchise in the North Shore. Scotland owns Scotland Underwater Rescue Equipment Co., which sells gear to commercial divers. There are "lots and lots of hurdles" to making the proposal a reality, Kuesel said.

The biggest challenge is raising money to build and support the nonprofit museum, he said. Kuesel and Scotland will first seek support from city and Milwaukee County officials before approaching potential donors. The city Historic Preservation Commission is to review that proposal at its Monday meeting.

Milwaukee County, which owns the building, slated it for demolition in July. That decision came after Loonsfoot Inc., an American Indian group attempting to raise money for a restoration of the 92-year-old structure, missed a deadline for securing at least $1.2 million toward the $3.5 million project. Loonsfoot had proposed converting the Coast Guard station to a Great Lakes Indian education and cultural center.

County Executive Scott Walker's proposed 2008 budget includes about $1.5 million for the building's demolition, the construction of a picnic pavilion in its place and repairs to a nearby seawall, said Sue Black, county parks director. Black said the building is an eyesore. But she also said a credible effort to preserve the building could postpone its demolition. "If somebody comes up with the cash," Black said, "I think the County Board would hear them out."

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Ambitious plans for shipwreck;
Group hopes to raise millions of dollars to conserve, display The General Hunter

10/6 - Own Sound - A sunken warship used to fight naval battles in the war of 1812-1814 and found buried on the beach at Southampton may soon have a final resting place.

Bruce County has agreed in principal to permit the remains of The General Hunter to be permanently displayed at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre. "We're a ways away from anything definitive in terms of actually raising the General Hunter, but this is a first step. "We have to build a partnership here and partnerships with a number of organizations in order to build our business plan," Mike Sterling told members of Bruce County council Thursday.

Sterling is helping raise funds for a permanent display of the General Hunter. Ken Cassavoy, who gave a PowerPoint presentation at Thursday's meeting on the archeological work done in the past few years to uncover the ship, estimates it will cost between $3 million and $4 million to move the warship and build a permanent conservation and display space at the museum.

All of the money will have to be raised through donations. Cassavoy and Sterling are involved in preparing a business plan that they can take to international investors. "The museum is the ideal spot for it and we have this ongoing arrangement with them. Whether it will be physically right there, we don't know. It has to be a separate building or separate wing," Cassavoy said after meeting with county councillors.

Built in 1806 in Amherstburg, Ont., the British warship was defeated in the Battle of Lake Erie in the fall of 1813 as British and American forces fought for control over what would later become Canada.

Following its capture by American forces, the ship was turned into a supply ship sailing the Great Lakes. The General Hunter, as she was renamed, was blown off course in a storm in 1816 and onto rocks off the Southampton coast. Her crew survived, but the Hunter did not.

In 2004, with the retreat of the winter ice, the ribs of the ship became visible protruding up through the sand on the beach at Southampton. Then began a major undertaking headed by Cassavoy, a marine archeologist, to unearth and identify the vessel.

Several artifacts were recovered including military buttons and a cannon, which are now housed at at the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre along with archival records uncovered by historian Patrick Folkes which confirmed the ship's identity. It's considered by archeologists to be an unprecedented find on the Great Lakes.

"This is a very expensive project and the money will come from private investors," said Sterling. He said once the funding is in place, the entire project could be completed within five years. "Once we move the ship, the facility will have to be ready . . . to display it immediately," he said.

" It would be a very dramatic presentation . . . there is nothing like this in the world. It would be unique setting," said Cassavoy. It has yet to be determined whether the museum has the space and the electrical power needed to house and operate the display. "This would be a very important for the museum," said county chief administrative officer Wayne Jamieson, who expects such an exhibit would boost visitor numbers to the museum.

He noted that Sterling has an excellent track record when it comes to seeing a project through to completion. Sterling was the driving force behind the fundraising and restoration of the Chantry Island lighthouse and keepers quarters and a boat house at Point Clark. The county has given its support and agreed to provide the information needed to determine whether the museum is suitable for such a large project.

From the Owen Sound Sun-Times


Former Lakes Tug on Hudson River

10/6 - The former tug Waverly, originally owned by Sioux City & New Orleans Barge Lines, Inc., Houston, is now operating on the East coast. When owned by SCNO, it was likely to show up virtually at any location on the inland waterways, then was sold to the Great Lakes, then to Mobile, and just recently, to the Hudson River area.

The Waverly was an oddball in the SCNO fleet, being a true tug with pointed bow and rounded stern. It originally had a retractable pilothouse; this was changed to a stilted pilothouse in order to see over empty barges. When it went to the Great Lakes, it became a retractable pilothouse boat again.

The boat was built in 1956 by Parker Bros. Shipyard at Houston. SCNO operated the boat anywhere from Pittsburgh to Chicago to Morgan City. It was transferred in November 1971 to Great Lakes Towing Company, Chicago. Transferred back to SCNO in 1973; renamed Brother Collins in October 1974. It was sold in 1976 to Calumet Marine Towing Corporation, Chicago, and renamed Curly B. They sold it to Lake Michigan Contractors, Inc., Holland, Mich.

In November 2006 it left the lakes and went to Mobile where then owner Oris R. Ritter changed the name to The Chief. In August 2007 it was again sold, to Specialist LLC of Montauk, N. Y., who changed the name to Specialist II. It was seen at New York City on October 4.

Reported by Dan Owen


Updates - October 6

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 06

On 06 October 1893, DAVID STEWART (3-mast wooden schooner, 171 foot, 545 gross tons, built in 1867, at Cleveland, Ohio) foundered in a gale off Pigeon Bay, Ontario on Lake Erie. She crew clung to the frozen rigging for 14 hours until saved by the fish tug LOUISE of Sandusky, Ohio. The STEWART was carrying iron ore at the time of her loss.

Herb Fraser & Associates completed repairs on the ALGOSOO at the Welland Dock on October 6 1986. She had suffered a serious fire at her winter mooring on the west wall above Lock 8 at Port Colborne, Ontario on March 7, 1986.

The bow section of the barge PRESQUE ISLE arrived Erie, Pennsylvania on October 6, 1972. The section was towed from Defoe Shipbuilding at Bay City, Michigan by the tugs MARYLAND and LAURENCE C TURNER. The total cost to construct the tug/barge thousand footer was approximately $35 million.

October 6, 1981, the Reoch self-unloader ERINDALE's bow was damaged when she hit the Allanburg Bridge abutment running down bound in the Welland Canal. Built in 1915, as a.) W F WHITE she was renamed b.) ERINDALE in 1976.

In 1980, the LAC DES ILES grounded in the Detroit River just below Grassy Island, the result of a faulty steering mechanism. She freed herself a few hours later. The damage caused by the grounding ended her career. She was scrapped at Port Colborne in 1985,

This day in 1870, the schooner E FITZGERALD was launched at the Fitzgerald & Leighton yard at Port Huron, Michigan. Her dimensions were 135 feet x 26 feet x 11 feet.

In 1875, the MERCHANT (iron propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 200 foot, 750 tons, built in 1862, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying lumber on Lake Michigan when she stranded on Racine Reef near Racine, Wisconsin. Then she caught fire and was gutted before she could be refloated. She had stranded on that same reef twice previously. She was the first iron cargo ship built on the Lakes and the first one lost.

On 6 October 1873, JOHN A MC DOUGALL (wooden schooner-barge, 151 foot, 415 gross tons) was launched at Wenona, Michigan. She was built at the Ballentine yard in only five weeks.

On 6 October 1889, PHILO SCOVILLE (3-mast wooden schooner, 140 foot, 323 tons, built in 1863, at Cleveland, Ohio) was sailing from Collingwood for Chicago when a storm drove her into the shallows and wrecked her near Tobermory, Ontario. Her captain died while trying to get ashore through the rocks. The Canadian Lifesaving Service saved the rest of the crew. At first the vessel was expected to be recovered, but she broke up by 10 October.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Safety Concerns At Goderich Harbour

10/5 - Goderich - The president of the Goderich Port Management Corporation says they have some safety concerns in the Harbour.

The immediate concern is traffic around the Goderich Elevators dome and Al Hamilton says they're looking at closing off some areas of public access and opening up others to create more separation from the public and truck traffic.

Hamilton says the public will still have access to the Harbour and the water, but not necessarily at the same access they have now.

They're also looking at some long-term projects to create room for more industry in the Harbour but they don't have anything specific at this time.

From CKNX - am920


Port Reports - October 5

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
Kingsville Harbour was abuzz Wednesday with ships. For the first time there was a back up in traffic. First the Saginaw came in around 4:00 pm to finish unloading a split load.
Then the Maumee, who is making her first appearance in Kingsville, sat in anchor off Kingsville waiting for the Saginaw to depart. Southwestern Sales have been receiving 3-4 shipment of stone from various ports around the lakes. There is a massive highway expansion project going on and windmills are being erected in the Essex County area and Kingsville is the closest unloading port.
The Jiimaan was also making her regularly scheduled trips to and from Pelee Island, on this her 16th birthday.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The past three days have been busy in the area with vessel traffic. On Tuesday night the Cuyahoga brought a load of salt to the Alpena Oil Dock.
Wednesday afternoon the tug G. L Ostrander and barge Integrity came into port to load under the silos.
Tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation waited out in the bay come nightfall on Wednesday for the tug Manitou to assist it into Lafarge once the Ostrander cleared the channel. Around 1 a.m. on Thursday the Innovation finished loading and departed the dock with the help of the tug Manitou. The Innovation headed out while the Alpena was waiting nearby for it to pass.
Cuyahoga returned Thursday morning to deliver a load of sand at the Alpena Oil Dock for L&S Concrete Mix Co.
Later in the day the McKee Sons tied up at Lafarge to unload product into the storage hopper.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Edward L. Ryerson departed Fraser Shipyards in Superior overnight Wednesday-Thursday and proceeded to BNSF ore dock to load.
Great Lakes Trader departed CN/DMIR ore dock in Duluth at midday Thursday and departed through the Duluth ship canal. In port, Beluga Formation continued to unload at the Duluth port terminal, Ziemia Cieszynska continued loading at AGP elevator, Kapitonas Domeika was loading at CHS berth 1 in Superior and Vossborg was loading at Hallett 5 dock.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore in Marquette on a beautiful, unseasonably warm Thursday.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
On a dark, blustery morning Friday, Paul R. Tregurtha was backing under the Blatnik Bridge on its way to the Midwest Energy Terminal. It was to load for St. Clair.
Elsewhere, Bluebill was at CHS grain elevator and American Spirit was fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal before proceeding to the BNSF ore dock.
A ULS boat arrived overnight to unload at the St. Lawrence Cement dock.
For the past few weeks, a tracked-crane aboard a Marine Tech barge has been dredging in the Duluth inner harbor. It spent time near the turning buoy, and now for several days has been dredging off the mouth of the LaFarge Cement slip.
Philip R. Clarke was due in later to unload stone at CN/DMIR and Hallett dock and St. Clair was due at the Midwest Energy Terminal.


Canadian Coast Guard hoping to build new station in Goderich’s Snug Harbour

10/5 - Goderich - The Canadian Coast Guard, stationed in the Port of Goderich, is hoping to getting a new home.

John Hammond, of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, addressed council and a packed audience on Sept. 24 to discuss the proposed move. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is the lead federal government department responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada's economic, ecological and scientific interests in oceans and inland waters.

The Coast Guard is likely to remain in Goderich, but they desire a new, updated Search and Rescue (SAR) Station. Hammond said the Coast Guard members are currently dealing with a number of challenges at their current location. The SAR station does not meet standard size regulations. It also does not have an ideal layout. Employees, who are on-call for 24 hours a day during two-week long shifts, are subjected to rail car and truck noise. The area around the SAR station, which is currently located off of North Harbour Road, is also not well-suited for the Coast Guard’s new 47-foot cutters.

Hammond explained that three main options were identified for relocation: the west point of the pier, the south pier and the extreme south portion of Snug Harbour beside the loading/unloading boat ramp, which is the recommended site by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He said building a new SAR station in Snug Harbour will keep the employees away from the rail tracks. They will be closer to the trucks’ route, but he said a noise wall could be constructed to reduce the sound. Along with a noise wall, the new structure could potentially have a residence, workshop and dock.

Initial site plans were designed by BM Ross & Associates Ltd.

After Hammond’s presentation, members of the audience - which was standing-room-only and filtered into the hall - expressed various concerns with the proposed Snug Harbour site plan, including parking, interference with the loading and unloading of pleasure crafts, and reduced room in the harbour for boaters.

Goderich Clerk-Administrator Larry McCabe cautioned that the site plan presented was not the final site plan and that some of the issues would be dealt with before any final decisions were made. “For a lot of reasons this is the best location, but not necessarily the most ideal,” he said of the $1 million project. McCabe also stressed that the town was doing everything it could to ensure the SAR station remains in the Goderich harbour. “It could go to another port,” he cautioned.

Council - with Mayor Deb Shewfelt absent - unanimously approved a motion in principle to allow for the relocation and construction of the SAR station, subject to all the appropriate requirements being made, as well as public feedback.

Councilor David Yates said that the issue would be coming back to council and there would be more opportunities for the public to comment on the project. “This is just the beginning of the process,” he said.

The ideal timeline for the project, Hammond said, would be to have the design tender released in the spring of 2008 and to have construction begin in the spring of 2009. Occupancy of the new building would then occur in the summer of 2009.

From the Goderich Signal-Star


Michigan City explores ways to save its lighthouse

10/5 - Michigan City -- Uncle Sam no longer wants it but Michigan City does -- at least for now.

A final decision on the long-term future of one of the few lighthouses still remaining on Lake Michigan might boil down to dollars and cents. Right now, the city is trying to determine how much work might be needed to restore what many say defines Michigan City.

Mayor Chuck Oberlie says the hardest task will be weighing those costs against whatever value the lighthouse has in terms of attracting tourists, marketing and community pride. "The value, it's unimaginable," said David Dabagia, communications specialist with the LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "That is the landmark of LaPorte County, not just Michigan City," Dabagia said.

Currently, the city is in the process of filling out an application to acquire the lighthouse from the U.S. General Services Administration, which first offered the lighthouse "as is" in the spring to any government or non-profit agency. Michigan City was the only taker.

Now, before any ownership transfer can take place, Oberlie said the city must demonstrate in its application many things, such as its ability to afford the cost of long-term upkeep and prove that it's committed to future maintenance. Among the concerns of city officials is a recent inspection that discovered steel reinforcement rods in the concrete were exposed in some areas and potential costs of restoring any loss of structural integrity.

"Those are all questions we don't have answers to yet," Oberlie said. Oberlie said the city must also show in the lengthy application the future use of the lighthouse. The choices are restricted to education, park, recreation, cultural or historic preservation purposes.

Oberlie said the inside is narrow and basically consists of a ladder going straight up and down the 55-foot high tower. There are no living quarters. "It probably would not be open to the public but will strictly remain as a landmark of the city," Oberlie said.

From the Post-Tribune


Updates - October 5

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Welland Gathering Gallery

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 05

On this day in 1954, the GEORGE M HUMPHREY was christened at Lorain. The HUMPHREY successfully completed her sea trials on 10/6 and carried 191,214 tons of iron ore in nine trips before laying up for the season.

On 05 October 1876, GRACE GREENWOOD (3-mast wooden schooner, 124 foot, 306 tons, built in 1853, at Oswego, New York) was carrying iron ore from Escanaba, Michigan to Michigan City, Indiana when she foundered in a storm while coming in to St. Joseph harbor for shelter. No lives were lost. She was the first vessel built by George Rogers and her launch was initially sabotaged by someone jamming a file her into the ways.

On Saturday afternoon, October 5, 1997, while passing White Shoal Light on their way to Charlevoix, the MEDUSA CHALLENGER was hit by a waterspout. The only damage reported was a spotlight on the pilothouse bridge wing lifted out of its support and crews bikes stored on deck rose vertically. The 1906, built boat was also reported to have been vibrating in an unusual manner. Another boat in the area reported wind gusts of almost 100 mph in the brief storm. That same day the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan was hit with a violent storm that blew down trees a foot in diameter.

The ARTHUR B HOMER, loaded with ore, was in a head-on collision, October 5, 1972, with the unloaded Greek salty NAVISHIPPER at Buoy 83, in the Detroit River's Fighting Island Channel. NAVISHIPPER reportedly had no licensed pilot aboard at the time, a violation of Maritime law. There were no injuries, but the HOMER suffered extensive bow damage up to and including part of her pilothouse.

HUTCHCLIFFE HALL was in collision with steamer RICHARD V LINDABURY on a foggy October 5, 1962, off Grosse Pointe Farms in Lake St. Clair. The canaller suffered a 12-foot gash on her port side forward of her after cabins and sank. She was raised October 7th and taken to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.

On October 5, 1967, while outbound on the Saginaw River after discharging a load of limestone at Saginaw, Michigan, the J F SCHOELLKOPF JR's steering failed which caused her to hit the west side of the I-75 Zilwaukee Bridge. The SCHOELLKOPF JR incurred little damage but the south bound lanes of the bridge were out of service for several days until repairs were completed.

The ARTHUR H HAWGOOD (Hull#76) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan by W. Bay City Ship Building Co. on October 5, 1907, for the Neptune Steamship Co. (Hawgood, mgr.), Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) JOSEPH BLOCK in 1911, and c.) GEORGE M STEINBRENNER in 1969. Scrapped at Ramey's Bend in 1980.

On 5 October 1889, BESSEMER (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 178 foot, 436 gross tons, built in 1875, at St. Clair, Michigan) was carrying iron ore along with her consort SCHUYLKILL (wooden schooner, 152 foot, 472 gross tons, built in 1873, at Buffalo, New York) in Lake Superior. They were struck by a rapidly rising gale and ran for the Portage Ship Canal. It became obvious that BESSEMER was sinking. The two collided and went onto a reef at the mouth of the canal and they both broke up quickly. The crews were able to jump onto the breakwater. The wrecks partly blocked the canal until they were dynamited the next September.

On 5 October 1877, TIOGA (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 549 tons, built in 1862, at Cleveland) was towing two barges in a storm on Lake Erie when she caught fire. The high winds fanned the flames. Her crew escaped to the barges and were later picked up by the steamer BADGER STATE. The burned out hulk of TIOGA sank the next day in 30 feet of water off Point Pelee. This was her first year of service as a bulk freighter; she had been built as a passenger steamer and was converted in 1877.

On 5 October 1900, the lumber hooker SWALLOW was involved in a collision in the early morning hours and ended up ashore near Cherry Beach. A week later, she was lightered and freed, then taken to Detroit for repairs. She foundered in a storm one year later (18 October 1901).

On 5 October 1904, CONGRESS (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 267 foot, 1,484 gross tons, built in 1867, at Cleveland as the passenger vessel NEBRASKA) was seeking shelter at South Manitou Island on Lake Michigan when she caught fire. The fire spread quickly. To prevent it from destroying the dock, a courageous tug skipper got a line on the CONGRESS and towed her out on the lake where she burned for 13 hours and then sank in 26 fathoms of water. No lives were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Scrap tire carferry proposed - Again

10/4 - St. Ignace - Presented with a request for berthing space for the derelict carferry Arthur K. Atkinson, City Council members expressed considerable skepticism in a brief discussion on Monday.

City Manager Eric Dodson made no recommendation but briefly described a request received from the Atkinson's owner, Scotlund Stivers to tow the long-retired carferry to St. Ignace for use as a scrap tire barge. Dodson referred to a letter from Stivers describing a proposed tire salvage operation he apparently owns in Wisconsin.

The carferry owner claims to have a “pilot plant” in Wisconsin capable of converting scrap tire to oil or diesel fuel. The Atkinson, out of Lake Michigan service by the Ann Arbor Railroad since 1981, is currently moored at the DeTour Coal Dock.

The scrap tire proposal apparently envisions using the retired ferry as a barge for collecting old tires and later hauling them to Stivers' Wisconsin plant. The proposal is not new, the carferry owner reportedly purchased the old ferry with scrap tires in mind back in 2001 but has not managed to set up his collection-transportation project in the six years since.

Dodson warned the Council that a number of questions arise in connection with the proposal, not the least of which is the seaworthiness of the Arthur K. Atkinson. By some reports, the ferry's bilge is filled several feet deep with water at DeTour and would need to meet certain Coast Guard standards before a tow can be set up for St. Ignace.

Dodson also expressed concerns of local fire officials that stored scrap tires present a fire hazard should the vessel be moved to St. Ignace and loaded with old tires. He said there is some concern about an oil leak reported around her berth in DeTour.

The city manager declined to make a recommendation on the Atkinson proposal, saying instead that, “... a lot of fact-finding needs to take place.” He said Interlake Steamship Co., owner of the DeTour Coal Dock, is very interested in having the Atkinson moved somewhere else.

After a number of skeptical remarks about the proposal came from around the Council table, Councilman Don Gustafson suggested that the proposal be referred to the Real Estate Committee because Stivers' apparently suggested a lease of the city-owned Dock Three property.

Gustafson also suggested that the city take no further action on the proposal until such time as the Atkinson is made seaworthy for a tow from DeTour. The latter suggestion appealed to the balance of the skeptical Council and the panel voted unanimously to shelve the proposal pending the seaworthiness test and more answers.

From the Soo Evening News


Port Reports - October 4

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Edward L. Ryerson was in Fraser Shipyards in Superior on Wednesday morning for bow thruster repairs. The vessel had been scheduled to load at BNSF ore dock.
Elsewhere, Ziemia Ciesynska was at AGP elevator in Duluth while Elpida was at CHS in Superior.
Beluga Formation was at the port terminal to unload wind turbine parts.
Indiana Harbor was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal while Canadian Progress was fueling and waiting at the port terminal.

Buffalo Brian Wroblewski
The Rebecca Lynn and tank barge were at the Noco Terminal in Tonawanda on Wednesday.
Wednesday morning, the English River was on her way out of the Buffalo River and into Lake Erie.
Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Ocean bulk carrier Lake Michigan, from the Federal line, entered the Milwaukee breakwater at about 9:30 Wednesday morning, docking at terminal #2 in the outer harbor to deliver steel products.
BBC Italy continues unloading at the bulk cargo dock in the inner harbor.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Wednesday evening at the Upper Harbor, Charles M. Beeghly arrived to load ore under sunny skies which illuminated brilliant fall colors.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Algoway was inbound the Saginaw River Wednesday afternoon carrying a split load. She lightered at the Buena Vista dock before going upriver the rest of the way and finishing at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. She was expected to be outbound early Thursday morning.

Toronto Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Malyovitza got underway from Redpath late Wednesday, bound for the Welland Canal. The tour boat Mariposa Belle was refloated at Toronto drydock Wednesday afternoon and another tour boat belonging to the same company, Rosemary, went on the drydock for its five year inspection.


AES plans pier for Somerset power plant
Ships could supply coal and limestone

10/4 - Somerset, NY - AES Corp. plans to build a $25 million dock reaching into Lake Ontario to receive ships carrying coal and limestone to supply its power plant in Somerset in Niagara County.

The 3,200-foot-long dock also will be made available to other companies in Western New York that want to use freighters to import cargo by way of the Great Lakes. The coal-fired electric generating station in Somerset would use the unloading dock for 80 deliveries of coal and limestone over a nine-month period, and open it up to other companies during that time, said Jon Reimann, project manager.

The Welland Canal that links Lake Erie and Lake Ontario is closed for three months during the winter, blocking any traffic from the west on the Great Lakes.

Construction of the dock on the 1,800-acre property in northeastern Niagara County is expected to begin next year, and the first shipment of coal and limestone is scheduled to arrive at the plant in the fall of 2009, he said. The project will employ more than 100 construction workers and help retain more than 150 union and management jobs at the plant, said Kevin Pierce, the company president.

The project will bring global ship traffic to the company and funnel millions of dollars into the Western New York economy, said Reimann. “Most of the job calls I get are demo work,” said Robert Connolly, business manager of Laborers Local 91, referring to demolition jobs. “This construction project is great for the building trades of Niagara County.”

Sen. George D. Maziarz, (R)Newfane, welcomed the announcement about the pier. “This announcement today is about jobs. Jobs for construction workers and future jobs that will help keep our young people in the area,” he said. Henry J. Sloma, chairman of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, called it “one of the most important economic initiatives in Niagara County” in recent years.

AES, the largest property tax payer in Niagara County, received $43.3 million in tax breaks over 12 years from the county agency, a decision that riled taxpayers in the Town of Somerset. The company will be paying $192.6 million in combined school, town, county and special district taxes during that time.

Company officials said the pier, dubbed the Lake Unloading Project, will provide regional energy security benefits and new tax revenues for Niagara County, the Town of Somerset and the Barker Central School District. AES said it will market the unloading dock to area companies through the Niagara County IDA and Buffalo Niagara Enterprise. There are five such piers on northern shore of Lake Ontario in Canada, but this would be the first on American side.

Currently, AES receives 2.2 million tons of coal and limestone a year via rail. Freight trains from across the United States pull directly onto the property. Crushed limestone is used to extract sulfur from the gas generated in the coal burning process.

From the Buffalo News


Updates - October 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Welland Gathering Gallery

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 04

On 04 October 1887, ORIENT (wooden propeller tug, 60 foot, 37 gross tons, built in 1874, at Buffalo, New York) foundered three miles west of Point Pelee on Lake Erie in a storm. She was seen going down by the schooners LISGAR and GLENFORD but neither was able to help. All six on the ORIENT were lost. She was out of Marine City, Michigan.

On October 4, 1979, the ST LAWRENCE NAVIGATOR arrived at the Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catharines, Ontario where she was lengthened to the Seaway maximum length of 730 foot overall. A new bow and cargo section was installed including a bow thruster and was assigned Hull #66. New tonnage; 18,788 gross tons, 12,830 net tons, 32,279 deadweight tons. She was renamed c.) CANADIAN NAVIGATOR in 1980, and sails for ULS Corp. She was converted to a self-unloader in 1997.

The TEXACO BRAVE (Hull#779) was launched October 4, 1976, by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Shimonoseki, Japan for Texaco Canada Ltd., Don Mills, Ontario. Renamed b.) LE BRAVE in 1987, c.) IMPERIAL ST LAWRENCE in 1997, and d.) ALGOEAST in 1998.

On October 4, 1980, Bethlehem's ARTHUR B HOMER was laid up for the last time at Erie, Pennsylvania.

As a result of the collision between the PARKER EVANS and the SIDNEY E SMITH JR, four months earlier, alternate one-way traffic between the Black River Buoy and Buoys 1 and 2 in Lake Huron was agreed upon by the shipping companies. This happened on October 4, 1972

The JAMES E FERRIS' last trip before scrapping was from Duluth, Minnesota with a split load of 261,000 bushels of wheat for Buffalo, New York arriving there October 4, 1974.

The JIIMAAN, twin screw ro-ro cargo/passenger ferry built to Ice Class 1D standards had its keel laid October 4, 1991, at Port Weller Drydocks, Ltd. (Hull# 76).

On October 4, 1982, the BENJAMIN F FAIRLESS laid up for the last time in Duluth, Minnesota. She was towed out of Duluth, on her way to Kahoshiung, Taiwan for scrapping, on June 17, 1988.

October 4, 1940 - The Ludington Daily News reported "The Pere Marquette car ferries handled approximately 95,000 freight cars last year." (1939)

On 4 October 1877, BRITISH LION (3 mast wooden bark, 128 foot, 293 tons, built in 1862, at Kingston, Ontario) was carrying coal from Black River, Ohio to Brockville, Ontario. She was driven ashore at Long Point in Lake Erie by a storm and wrecked. She was the first bark on the Lakes to be wire rigged and she was built for the Great Lakes - Liverpool trade.

On 4 October 1883, JAMES DAVIDSON (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 231 foot, 1,456 gross tons, built in 1874, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was carrying coal and towing the barge MIDDLESEX in a storm on Lake Huron. She was driven onto a reef near Thunder Bay Island and ripped up her bottom. The barge was rescued by the tug V SWAIN. No lives were lost. Financially, the DAVIDSON was the most extensive loss on the Lakes in the 1883, season. She was valued at $65,000 and insured for $45,000. Her coal cargo was valued at $8,000.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Man stabbed aboard Mesabi Miner

10/3 - Duluth - A man was stabbed aboard the Duluth-bound laker Mesabi Miner 10 miles north of the Apostle Islands early Monday morning, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

A 3 a.m. altercation between two seamen in their lower 20s led to a stabbing that resulted in non-life-threatening injuries. The victim alerted the crew member on watch, who then told the captain. The man accused of the stabbing was detained and the victim received medical treatment on board, said Lt. Aaron Gross of the Duluth Coast Guard.

The laker arrived in Duluth about 6 a.m., and the victim was brought to St. Luke’s hospital. The suspect was interviewed by the Coast Guard and the FBI until 4 p.m., and was released from the ship. No arrest has been made, but the investigation is ongoing.

Gross said that alcohol was a contributing factor in the incident. The Coast Guard declined to identify the men.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Grain business bounces back in Twin Ports

10/3 - Duluth - After back-to-back years of record-low grain shipments, 2007 has brought a rebound to Twin Ports elevators. Just look at the steady stream of salties that have been calling on Duluth and Superior in recent weeks.

The export market for U.S. wheat has been stoked by poor crops in rain-soaked Europe and drought-stricken Australia. European grain dealers would typically turn to Ukraine and other former Soviet-bloc nations during an off year, but wheat production was poor there too this year. Meanwhile, favorable weather helped farmers in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota to produce a bumper crop of high-quality wheat this year.

Producers with wheat to sell are reaping the financial rewards. Dave Torgerson, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, said a bushel of spring wheat that would have sold for about $3.50 a few years ago now fetches farmers between $7 and $7.50. But Torgerson said many producers aren’t receiving the full benefit, as they were already under contracts to sell their latest wheat crop at lower prices than the spot markets now offer.

Some premium wheat, such as high-protein durum, has been selling for more than $10 per bushel. At such prices, grain has begun to flow briskly through the Twin Ports again, despite high transportation costs. Current international freight rates of about $100 per ton are about triple what they were five years ago.

Dan Sydow, general manager of Fedmar International, a Duluth ship agent, said marine transportation costs have been driven upward largely because of the growing economies of nations such as China and India and an ensuing rise in demand for vessels. “Rates have gone berserk for all sizes of vessels,” said Ron Johnson, trade development director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Rising shipping costs may actually create an incentive for people to move freight now, rather than later. “The outlook is that rates will only get worse,” Johnson said.

High transportation rates have depressed exports of relatively low-value commodities. But Sydow said wheat prices have reached a threshold where shipping costs represent a small enough percentage of the whole that Europe is buying again. “Our business really broke loose in July,” said Lance Helgeson, superintendent of the Cenex Harvest States grain elevator in Superior. “For the last few months, we’ve probably been as busy as we’ve ever been in the past 10 years,” said Helgeson, noting that demand for U.S. grain shows no signs of abatement.

Some elevators are running out of capacity to store all the grain heading their way. Grain has been piled on the ground outside the Peavey Co. elevator on Connor’s Point in Superior. “We haven’t seen piling like that since the early 1990s,” Johnson said. The Port Authority lacks up-to-date statistics on Twin Ports grain shipments, but Johnson remains confident the year-end numbers will show a solid increase in exports.

Sydow believes the benefits could spill into next shipping season, as well. “I have a strong inkling that business will be good through the spring,” he said, noting that he’s already booking grain orders for next year. Sydow said the resurgence of grain exports is good news for the Twin Ports’ economy. He observed that ton-for-ton, loading grain onto ships is a more labor-intensive and lucrative enterprise than handling other bulk commodities.

The relative strength of the euro relative to the dollar has certainly played a role in making American wheat more attractive to foreign buyers, but it’s not the primary motivator for this year’s sales, according to Torgerson of Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers. “The weaker dollar helps,” he said. “But that’s not as important as having high-quality grain to sell.”

While Sydow welcomes the recent rebound in grain sales, he said it may be short-lived, barring other crop failures abroad. “I don’t think we’ll see a return to the kind of grain business we saw in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s,” he said.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - October 3

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
English River arrived in the Buffalo Inner Harbor just after noon Tuesday. She was turned and pulled up the river by the "G" tug New Jersey.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Tuesday evening the Group Ocean tugs Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie arrive at 6:30 p.m. The James Norris arrived at 8 p.m. in ballast from Clarkson to load slag at Pier 26.
The Vega Desgagnes also arrived at 8 p.m. with jet fuel from Quebec City. Her next port is back to Quebec City. Algoisle arrived at 8:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco from Sept. Ile. Her next port is Milwaukee in ballast.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Wolverine returned to Holland Tuesday afternoon, delivering a load of stone to the Brewer dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber returned to the Saginaw River early Tuesday morning. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Saginaw Wirt dock. The Victory and Kuber then turned in the Sixth Street Basin and were outbound for the lake late Tuesday night.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Agawa Canyon unloaded salt at the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor Tuesday afternoon, before departing northbound on Lake Michigan in the evening.
BBC Italy continued discharging windmill parts at the heavy lift dock.
Ocean bulker Lake Michigan was expected overnight with steel.


Update on Lake Superior outflow
New record low level for September

10/3 - Detroit - The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,560 cubic metres per second (m3/s) (55.1 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month October. This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of October and is the same as the September outflow.

The October outflow will be released by discharging about 1,448 m3/s (51.1 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids. The gate setting of the control structure will be maintained at the existing setting equivalent to one-half gate open (four gates open 20 cm, or about 8 inches each). There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

This past month the water supply to Lake Superior was above the long-term average for September, while that for the Lakes Michigan-Huron basin was below average. The level of Lake Superior remains below its chart datum level. A new record low monthly mean level was set for September, at 183.02 m (600.46 feet) (the previous record low September level was 183.12 m (600.79 feet) set in 1926).

Note that this is NOT an all-time record low (which is 182.72 m set in April 1926; approximately 30 cm or a foot lower than the current level). Also, the beginning-of-October level of 183.06 m (600.59 feet) is also a new record (the previous record was 183.16 m (600.92 feet), set in 2006). The level of Lake Superior is expected to fall slightly in October, and Lakes Michigan-Huron are also expected to decline. Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 48 cm (19 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-October level, and is 10 cm (4 inches) below the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior rose 6 cm (2 inches), while on average the level of this lake falls by 1 cm (1/2 inch) in September.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron declined by 6 cm (2 inches) this September, while on average these lakes decline by 9 cm (4 inches) in September. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 59 cm (23 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-October level and is 10 cm (4 inches) lower than it was a year ago. The Board continues to monitor conditions both on Lake Superior and downstream and will advise the International Joint Commission accordingly on those conditions.

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

USACE News Release


Employment Opportunities

10/3 - Cleveland - Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Company is seeking a full compliment of Licensed Officers and unlicensed crew for its River Class Vessels.

For additional information please contact Pauline Glomski at (216) 228-7253.


Updates - October 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Welland Gathering Gallery

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 03

On 03 October 1887, EBENEZER (3-mast wooden schooner-barge, 103 foot, 158 gross tons, built in 1847, at Buffalo, New York) was driven ashore off the breakwater at Holland, Michigan during a storm. She had sprung a leak in the terrific storm, lost her deck load of shingles and struck the pier trying to get into the harbor. She broke in two but was later raised and rebuilt. She lasted until 1903.

On 03 October 1887, CITY OF GREEN BAY (3-mast wooden schooner, 145 foot, 346 gross tons, built in 1872, at Green Bay, Wisconsin) was carrying iron ore from Escanaba to St. Joseph, Michigan on Lake Michigan and having difficulty in a strong westerly gale. She sprang a leak and anchored four miles from South Haven and put up distress signals. The wind and waves were so bad that the crew could not safely abandon the vessel. She slipped her anchor and was driven on to a bar at Evergreen Point, just 500 feet from shore. The crew scrambled up the rigging as the vessel sank. The South Haven Life Saving crew tried to get a breeches buoy out to the wreck, but their line broke repeatedly. So much wreckage was in the surf that it fouled their surf boat. Soon the masts went by the board and the crew members were in the churning seas. Six died. Only Seaman A. T. Slater made it to shore. The ineffective attempts of the Life Saving crew resulted in Keeper Barney Alonzo Cross being relieved of his command of the station.

The E G GRACE was delivered to the Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland on October 3, 1943. The E G GRACE was part of a government program designed to upgrade and increase the capacity of the U.S. Great Lakes fleet during World War II. In order to help finance the building of new ships, the U.S.M.C. authorized a program that would allow existing fleets to obtain new boats by trading in their older boats to the Government for credit. As partial payment for each new vessel, a fleet owner surrendered the equivalent tonnage of their existing and/or obsolete vessels, along with some cash, to the Maritime Commission.

October 3, 1941 - The CITY OF FLINT 32, eastbound from Milwaukee collided with the PERE MARQUETTE 22 westbound. The PERE MARQUETTE 22 headed directly for Manitowoc for repairs while the CITY OF FLINT 32 continued to Ludington where she discharged her cargo, then headed for the shipyard in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

The barges BELLE CASH and GEO W HANNAFORD, owned by Capt. Cash of East China Township, Michigan, were driven ashore on Long Point in Lake Erie on 3 October 1875.

On 3 October 1900, the steel freighter CAPTAIN THOMAS WILSON left Port Huron on her maiden voyage for Marquette, Michigan where she loaded 6,200 tons of iron ore for Cleveland, Ohio.

ARK (3-mast iron-strapped wooden scow-schooner-barge, 177 foot, 512 tons, built in 1875, at Port Dalhousie, Ontario) was in tow of the steam barge ALBION (wooden propeller, 134 foot, 297 gross tons, built in 1862, at Brockville, Ontario) on Lake Huron when a terrific storm struck on 3 October 1887. Both were loaded with lumber. Both vessels were driven ashore near Grindstone City, Michigan. The U.S. Lifesaving Service rescued the crews. The ALBION was pounded to pieces the next day and the ARK was declared a total loss, but was recovered and was sailing again within the month.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Jody Aho,Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Schooner that sunk off Sodus Point identified

10/2 - Rochester, NY — Three local shipwreck enthusiasts have identified the remains of a 94-foot Canadian schooner about 10 miles offshore of Sodus Point.

The Orcadian sank after colliding with another ship about 3 a.m. on May 8, 1858, said Jim Kennard of Perinton. Its crew members were rescued. The wreckage rests about 250 feet deep on the bottom of Lake Ontario.

Kennard, Dan Scoville of Greece and Chip Stevens of Pultneyville, Wayne County, located the wreckage last year, but weren't able to confirm its identity until they used a remote operated vehicle to examine it. "We had a feeling what it might be last year," Kennard said. "We knew from the size of the original sonar image we had that this was a possibility."

The Orcadian departed Bayfield, Ontario, on Lake Huron and was headed to Oswego with 8,200 bushels of wheat. It collided with the Lucy J. Latham, which was carrying 800 barrels of Onondaga salt.

The New York state Office of Historic Preservation was contacted about the discovery. While recreational divers can go only about 135 feet deep, the exact location is being kept secret to discourage people who want to remove artifacts, which is illegal.

The team will talk about other findings they've made at 7 p.m. October 16 at the Chili Library, 3333 Chili Ave., and at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Fairport Library, 1 Fairport Village Landing. To learn more about their discoveries, go to

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Port Reports - October 2

Escanaba - Lee Rowe
The Burns Harbor loaded ore at Escanaba on Saturday.
The tug Olive L. Moore remains on the south side of the dock.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Late Monday found Joseph H. Thompson unloading salt at Cutler Magner dock in Duluth, Adam E. Cornelius was fueling at the port terminal before proceeding to General Mills S in Superior, Federal Patroller was at CHS terminal in Superior and Ziemia Ciesynska was at AGP elevator in Duluth. Elpida was anchored on the lake waiting for a grain berth. Beluga Formation was docked at the Duluth port terminal with a cargo of wind turbines to unload.

Toronto - Clive Reddin
Stephen B. Roman entered Toronto Harbour on Monday, just before 4 p.m. and berthed unassisted.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Maumee was outbound the Saginaw River after unloading overnight at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. She was outbound through Bay City around 9 a.m. Monday.
The Earl W. was also outbound through Bay City Monday afternoon after unloading overnight at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw.


Updates - October 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Welland Gathering Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 02

October 2, 1938 The first of its kind happened on the Welland Canal when a CNR lift bridge over the canal tangled with the Windoc(1). Captained by Be Odesse of Penetanguishene, several thousands of dollars were endured when the pilothouse was smashed like matchsticks. Luckily no reported injuries.

On her maiden trip in 1905, the PETER WHITE grounded outside the Lackawanna breakwall. After lightering 200 tons, she proceeded to the Lackawanna Steel mill where the remainder of the cargo was unloaded.

On this day in 1979, the ELTON HOYT 2ND unloaded her last cargo as a straight decker at the Ashtabula & Buffalo Dock, Ashtabula, Ohio.

On 02 October 1901, M M DRAKE (wooden propeller freighter, 201 foot, 1,102 gross tons, built in 1882, at Buffalo, New York) and her consort MICHIGAN (3-mast wooden schooner-barge, 213 foot, 1,057 gross tons, built in 1874, at Detroit, Michigan) were loaded with iron ore while sailing in a strong gale on Lake Superior. The MICHIGAN began to leak and the DRAKE came around to take off her crew, but the two vessels collided. Both sank off Vermilion Point, Michigan. One life was lost. As the vessels sank, the passing steamers NORTHERN WAVE and CRESCENT CITY stood by and rescued the crews.

Upper Lakes Shipping's new self-unloader CANADIAN OLYMPIC was christened on October 2, 1976, at St. Catharines, Ontario. Her name honors the Olympic Games that were held at Montreal that year.

The TADOUSSAC (Hull#192) departed Collingwood on her maiden voyage for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. on October 2, 1969, to load iron ore at Fort William, Ontario.

The sand sucker AMERICAN last operated in 1956, and laid up at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She was scrapped in S. Chicago in 1984.

The JOHN T HUTCHINSON and CONSUMERS POWER arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan on October 2, 1988, where dismantling began on October 14th by Li Chong Steel & Iron Works Co. Ltd.

On her maiden voyage October 2, 1943, the E G GRACE cleared Lorain, Ohio bound for Superior, Wisconsin to load iron ore.

The HOCHELAGA of 1949, departed Toronto October 2, 1993, in tow of the McKeil tugs GLENBROOK and KAY COLE for Montreal, Quebec and then to the cutters torch.

October 2, 1954 - The PERE MARQUETTE 21 sailed into Ludington, Michigan on her second maiden voyage of her career.

On 2 October 1888, OLIVER CROMWELL (wooden schooner-barge, 138 foot, 291 tons, built in 1853, at Buffalo, New York) was being towed by the steamer LOWELL in a storm in Lake Huron when she broke her towline. She rode out most of the storm at anchor, but then she snapped her anchor chains and she was driven ashore at Harbor Beach, Michigan where she broke up.

The 183 foot, 3-mast wooden schooner QUEEN CITY was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan on 2 October 1873.

The Port Huron Times reported the following shipwrecks from a severe storm that swept the Lakes over 2-3 October 1887: Schooner CITY OF GREEN BAY lost near South Haven, Michigan; the schooner-barge CHARLES L HUTCHINSON, lost near Buffalo, New York; the steam barge ALBION and her consort the schooner-barge ARK ashore near Grindstone City, Michigan; the 3-mast schooner EBENEZER ashore near Holland, Michigan; the wooden package freighter CALIFORNIA sunk in the Straits of Mackinac; the schooner HOLMES ashore at Middle Island on Lake Huron; the schooner GARIBALDI ashore near Port Elgin on Lake Huron; the barge MAYFLOWER disabled near Grand Haven, Michigan; the schooner D S AUSTIN ashore at Point Clark; and the schooner HENRY W HOAG ashore at Erie, Pennsylvania.

Data from: Chris Dunn, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - October 1

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Evans McKeil and the cement barge Metis got underway early Sunday morning after their extended layover in Toronto.
CCG Cape Commodore and other members vessels attending the Search & Rescue Contest departed late Saturday. CCG Griffon remained in port, as did the saltie Malyovitza.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel and Paul Erspamer
BBC Italy backed into Milwaukee's inner harbor on Sunday morning with one tug assisting, berthing at 10:30 a.m. at the heavy lift dock on Jones Island with a load of wind turbine components. Moments later the Algomarine passed, backing down river to Lake Michigan after unloading salt at the bulk cargo dock overnight.
Also Sunday, St. Marys Challenger was at its silo in the Kinnickinnic River, delivering a load of dry cement.
Earlier Sunday the Alpena departed at about 3 a.m. after arriving Saturday evening and bringing cement to LaFarge on Jones Island.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Transfer was in loading Saturday afternoon after waiting outside all morning. Agawa Canyon was just finishing loading and departed at 7 a.m. Sunday morning. Both picked up loads at Sifto Salt.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The CSL Laurentian arrived at 10 a.m. for the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Earl W. called on the Saginaw River Friday with a split load. She lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville then continued upriver to finish unloading at the old Valley Asphalt dock at the Sixth Street Turning basin in Saginaw. The Earl W was outbound early Saturday morning.
The Adam E. Cornelius was inbound early Saturday morning calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She completed her unload and was outbound around 7 p.m. Saturday evening. Inbound later in the evening was the tug Victory pushing the barge Lewis J. Kuber. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Saginaw Wirt dock Sunday morning. The Victory & Kuber were outbound Sunday evening.
Sunday also saw the tug Donald C. Hannah and her tank barge call on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City. The pair were outbound Sunday evening. The Maumee was inbound with a split load, lightering at the Bay City Wirt dock. She waited there for the outbound Victory & Kuber to pull over at the west end of the dock before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt dock in Saginaw. Also inbound Sunday night was the Earl W., back again for another trip up the river to unload again, according to her security call, at the old Valley Asphalt dock in the Sixth Street basin. She was to pass the waiting Victory & Kuber at the Bay City Wirt dock and follow the Maumee upriver to Saginaw. Finally, the Indiana Harbor was the last inbound late Sunday night, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. The Maumee, Earl W., and Indiana Harbor were all expected to be outbound Monday morning.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Cement carrier Innovation and its tug Samuel de Champlain arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor (with the help of one Great Lakes Towing tug) at about 5:30 Sunday evening, before turning and docking at LaFarge.


Tugboats Available to the Public in Adopt-A-Ship Program

10/1 - Duluth - The Northeastern Maritime Historical Foundation has recently announced the availability of four more historical tugboats from its collection of museum vessels. The tugs are now offered to the public on long-term charters as part of the Foundation’s “Adopt-A-Ship Program”. The program began three years ago as a tool for acquiring historic vessels which are still in service and to insure the on-going use of the vessels in the Foundation’s fleet which are still suited for commercial service.

Through the Adopt-A-Ship Program, an organization or individuals may submit a proposal to the Foundation, basically asking for permission to take one of the Foundation’s museum vessels for their own personal or commercial use.

The Foundation has recently allocated four of their historic tugboats for the Adopt-A-Ship Program. The fleet includes: the tugboats Islay (Kahlenberg B-3 engine, 1892, 60-footer), Mount McKay (Kahlenberg C-6 engine, 1908, 82-footer), Spirit of Algoma (triple expansion steam engine, date of build unknown, 27-foot tug/launch), and the 40-foot gill-net fish-tug Jane (Caterpillar D318 engine, 1929). Each of the vessels is in need of minor to average repairs and upgrades. Recent surveys with all repair recommendations exist for each vessel. The vessels are all located on Lake Michigan with the exception of the tug McKay which is at the Foundation’s restoration yard in Superior, WI. In the case of these four vessels, the three tugs are not likely fit for commercial service but would make excellent hobby tugs. However, the fish-tug is perfectly able to be operated commercially and still includes all its fishing gear including a net lifter, run by a PTO off the main engine.

Applications can be directed to Franz von Riedel by USPS mail to: Northeastern Maritime Historical Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 16687, Duluth, MN 55816-0687.

Please view the Foundation's web site for details


Doug Fairchild Memorial

The Board of Directors of Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supporting this website, has approved the establishment of a Memorial Fund to have a memorial bench installed in Rotary Park, at Mission Point, in Sault Ste. Marie in memory of the late Douglas Fairchild.

Fairchild, who died unexpectedly in March, was a dedicated boat watcher and supporter of the Boatnerd website. He also had a great interest in the aviation industry, and shared experiences and information with everyone he met.

The permanent bench will be similar to the present memorial benches in Rotary Park and will be installed in this location favored by boat watchers and photographers from all around the Great Lakes.

Donations should be made to the Boatnerd Memorial Fund, and mailed to Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping, 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Donations may be tax-deductible depending upon your individual circumstances.


Updates - October 1

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 01

In 1986, the HERBERT C JACKSON rescued Carl Ward and his nephew after they had been adrift on lower Lake Michigan for 80 hours.

On 01 October 1888, the ST CLAIR (3-mast wooden schooner, 156 foot, 296 gross tons, built in 1859, at Montreal as a bark) was carrying coal in a storm on Lake Huron as part of a 5-barge tow of the tug CHAMPION. She broke loose and came to anchor off Harbor Beach, Michigan. The anchor dragged and she sank near the mouth of the harbor. The crew was rescued by the U.S. Life Saving Service. However, this rescue was ill fated since all were taken in the Lifesavers surfboat and the boat was rowed 23 miles to Port Sanilac. 100 yards from shore, just a half mile from Port Sanilac, the surfboat capsized and five lives were lost. The wreck of the ST CLAIR was later lightered, raised and towed out into the lake and re-sunk.

The CHICAGO TRADER, a.) THE HARVESTER of 1911, was laid up on October 1, 1976, at the Frog Pond in Toledo, Ohio.

Dismantling commenced October 1, 1974, on the KINSMAN INDEPENDENT a.) WILLIAM B KERR of 1907, at Santander, Spain.

October 1, 1997 - The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was towed out of Ludington to be converted to a barge.

On 1 October 1843, ALBANY (wooden brig, 110 tons, built in 1835, at Oswego, New York) was carrying merchandise and passengers when she went aground in a storm and was wrecked just a few miles from Mackinaw City, Michigan.

The steam barge C H GREEN was launched at E. Saginaw, Michigan for Mason, Green & Corning of Saginaw on 1 October 1881. She was schooner rigged and spent her first year as a tow barge. The following winter her engine and boiler were installed. Her dimensions were 197 feet X 33 feet X 13 feet, 920 tons. She cost $70,000.

On 1 October 1869, SEA GULL (wooden schooner, 83 tons, built in 1845, at Milan, Ohio) was carrying lumber in a storm on Lake Michigan. She was driven ashore and wrecked south of Grand Haven, Michigan. The wreck was pulled off the beach a few days later, but was declared a constructive loss, stripped and abandoned. She was owned by Capt. Henry Smith of Grand Haven.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


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