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Port Reports - October 31

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet’s Roger Blough is back in service. It departed Conneaut on Thursday and is due at Calcite on Saturday. The Blough’s return leaves the fleet, for the time being at least, with all vessels but one (Philip R. Clarke) in service. Edgar B. Speer is due in Two Harbors Oct. 31 to load for Conneaut, Edwin H. Gott is due in Two Harbors on Nov. 1, Presque Isle is due at Duluth CN ore dock on Oct. 31 to unload stone, Arthur M. Anderson was due at Stoneport on Oct. 30, Cason J. Callaway was due at Stoneport on Oct. 31, and John G. Munson was due at Stoneport on Oct. 31 to load for Huron, Ohio. In the Twin Ports on Friday, Kaministiqua remained at General Mills in Superior and Victoriaborg was at the Peavey elevator. American Century was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal with Indiana Harbor expected to follow later in the day.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Despite gale warnings on Lake Superior, Manitowoc loaded taconite and departed the Upper Harbor ore dock Friday morning for Essar Steel at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Herbert C. Jackson was loading coal at the CSX Dock Friday. Peter R. Creswell was unloading stone at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. American Integrity was at the Midwest Terminal Dock unloading coal. The tug Joyce L. Vanenkevort with the barge Great Lakes Trader were at the Midwest Terminal Dock unloading cargo. Federal Miramichi was loading grain at the ADM Elevator. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was loading grain at the Andersons K Elevator. The next coal boats due in at the CSX Docks has American Mariner on Saturday, tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber on Sunday, Lee A. Tregurtha and Saginaw on Monday, Canadian Olympic Tuesday followed by John J. Boland on Thursday. The next scheduled stone boat for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock will be Algorail on Tuesday. The tugs William C. Gaynor and Manitou with their related dredging equipment are dredging the ship channel in Maumee Bay at several locations.


Mentor Headlands Lighthouse bought by businessman

10/31 - Mentor, Ohio – One of the most recognizable vacant properties on the Lake Erie shore had been sitting on a U.S. Government auction block until today. The General Services Administration announced that the Mentor Headlands Lighthouse has been purchased by Mentor business magnate Jerome T. Osborne.

In Painesville, on the rocky shores of the Mentor Headlands, the old lighthouse has been guiding fishermen and freighters safely off Lake Erie for generations.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, local historical societies just didn't have the cash needed to save the dilapidated lighthouse.

Resident Gerald Photo has admired the lighthouse since he was a child. Looking up at the tower, he said, "It's beautiful. It's the Eiffel Tower in Lake County."

From the slender circular staircase to the lighthouse lamp, the building just needed too much work and too much money to return to its former glory. But when 87-year-old Mentor construction magnate Jerome Osborne found out that bidders from out-of-state had been making inquiries, he decided to answer the call for help.

The GSA disclosed that in the last four days, a bidding war erupted for the historic building. Thursday, Osborne was declared the winner, with a bid of $77,000.

Bill Mackley, Secretary/Treasurer for the Osborne Company, said that his boss didn't want publicity. "Mr. Osborne has been quietly helping with public projects for years," said Mackley. "He just continues to do it. Right here is a good example."

At the Lake County Visitors Bureau, Bob Ulas was delighted that this icon on the shores of Lake Erie would be here for generations.

"This lighthouse is more than just romantic and part of our seafaring history," said Ulas. "It's become a real symbol of escapism and that's why its so important that it's been retained by Mr. Osborne."

On the sandy beach at the Mentor Headlands Park, word quickly spread that the lighthouse had been saved.

Phillip Deleon, walking with Stephanie Marchak, said, "Let's face it. Cleveland doesn't have that many beautiful landmarks."

Deleon added, "And with the history behind this lighthouse, that building needs to stay."

Park visitor Tom Fyfe agreed, saying, "Mr. Osborne is the dude. He buys up a lot of historic stuff and leaves it right where it's at. He's a good man."



Today in Great Lakes History - October 31

On this day in 1984, at approximately 10:30 p.m., the International Railroad bridge at Sault Ste. Marie 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.


Saginaw River dredging will clear a path for freighters next year

10/30 - Saginaw, Mich. – Lake freighters have lightened loads for years to snake through the Saginaw River to drop off cargo.

Burroughs Materials Corp. Manager William H. Kidder hopes dredging set for this spring will end that era. His company takes in limestone used to make asphalt at the Saginaw docks.

The federal government has earmarked more than $3.4 million to dredge the river in five spots next year between the Sixth Street turning basin into Saginaw Bay. All told, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to remove 339,000 cubic yards from the bay and 107,500 cubic yards from the bottom of the river along the 26-mile route.

Work crews will dump the material in both the Gull Island Confined Disposal Facility in the mouth of the bay and the Dredged Materials Disposal Facility along the river on Melbourne Road straddling Bay County’s Frankenlust and Saginaw County’s Zilwaukee townships.

“If they didn’t dredge at all, it would probably shut down operations on the Saginaw River,” Kidder said. “Without the freighters, the asphalt plants that are on the river would probably relocate to a different location.”

Moving inland would cost more to truck in materials, he said. “All that cost,” he said, “is passed onto the consumer, whoever that is.”

The Saginaw River Alliance, which represents business dock owners and more than 200 dockfront jobs, also has contributed to the project financially.

During the last year, the corps spent nearly $2 million to dredge 212,500 cubic yards of material. Yet with the dredging come concerns among environmentalists that the work could stir up pollutants that would migrate to Lake Huron.

In May, Luedtke Engineering Co. of Frankfort removed about 200,000 cubic yards of silt along points north of the Sixth Street turning basin to Bay City. Mostly sand and water was deposited in the facility, said Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner James A. Koski.

Michelle Hurd-Riddick, a Lone Tree Council spokeswoman, said the environmental group asked in April 2006 to have authorities require The Dow Chemical Co. to put sediment traps in the river to capture historic dioxin contamination.

“The sediment traps are still not there,” she said. “That’s four more years (by next spring) that these contaminated sediments have migrated out to Lake Huron.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tested water samples and awaits results, an agency spokesman said.

Dow spokeswoman Mary F. Draves said the situation remains under discussion with the state Department of Environmental Quality, “and nothing has been decided yet.”

She said a study showed the benefit of installing sediment traps at the Sixth Street turning basin. “Obviously, we do believe the sediment traps could be part of the solution when implemented effectively,” she said.

The state and EPA have a tentative agreement with Dow to address dioxin contamination in the Saginaw river and bay, and the traps remain a short-term option, said DEQ spokesman Robert McCann.

Koski has dismissed concerns about pollutants contaminating drinking water. The region draws drinking water from Lake Huron at Au Gres.

However, he said, he doesn’t oppose sediment traps or testing to find out what’s in waterways. “A sedimentation trap is a tool that may work,” he said.

The Saginaw News


First stage of new Soo Lock construction underway

10/30 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Construction of coffer dams is now underway on the American side of the St. Marys River as the first stage of a new $490 million superlock.

TAB Construction Company, Inc. of Ohio was awarded the $1.97 million U.S. contract this June.

John Niemiec, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' project manager in Detroit had told Sault This Week then, that the work would not begin until schedules, safety and environmental plans had received final approval.

A second contract valued at $6.915 million U.S. to excavate downstream of the location was awarded to Kokosing Construction Company, Inc., also of Ohio, according to Lynn Duerod, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit.

Duerod said Friday that Kokosing planned to start work in 2009, possibly with some test blasting.

Duerod said that the completion date for construction of the coffer dams is September 2010, and the expected completion date for the downstream excavation is November 2010.

The Corps was allotted $17 million from the U.S. Federal government toward construction of the new lock for 2009.

The cofferdams, consisting of two large steel cells, will be built at both ends of the closed Sabin Lock to allow for the water inside to be displaced.

The downstream excavation would provide the water depth needed for the 1,000-foot freighters.

Steven Rose, an engineer with the Corps based in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan, said Friday that the next stage in the superlock development would depend on approval from the U.S. Congress, and a second decision to allocate funding toward the project for the next fiscal year. He said that the decision-making authority to appropriate funding from fiscal year to fiscal year resided with Congress.

Both Duerod and Niemiec had acknowledged earlier in the spring that there was no assurance how much money the U.S. Federal government would allot to the lock project for 2010. "The project could stall if we're not funded," Niemiec had said. "If Congress doesn't provide the funding each year, then we can't proceed."

Niemiec had expressed optimism, however, that with the superlock's construction about to begin, the funding would continue.

Niemiec had predicted, "We could have the capability of spending about $123 million starting next year for upstream excavation and the installation of the guide walls if we we're given that kind of funding."

But he had added that any new congressional funding announcements likely would not be made until early in 2010.

He also had projected that the new superlock could take from eight to 10 years to complete depending on funding approvals.

The proposed new lock first received Congressional approval in 1986, and over the past 13 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has spent an estimated $20 million on engineering and design work.

Both the Davis and Sabin locks, built in 1918 and 1919, are permanently closed. They would be replaced by the new lock similar in size to the existing Poe Lock.

The MacArthur Lock, capable of handling vessels up to 800 feet in length, remains operational as well.

The Poe Lock is slated for an estimated $70 million upgrade over the next six years, including the complete replacement of its hydraulic system. That system was responsible for four unscheduled breakdowns and resulting shipping delays in 2008, according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report.

Jim Weakley, president of the U.S. based Lake Carriers Association, stressed in a Sault This Week article last January that 80 million tonnes moved annually through the Poe Lock. If something were to cause it to shut down, 60 million tonnes of that cargo could not be moved by ship because 70 per cent of the U.S. fleets' carrying capacity needs the 1,000 foot Poe Lock.

Brenda Stenta, manager of corporate communications for Essar Algoma Steel, had told Sault This Week last January, that while the company did not rely on the bigger 1,000 foot freighters for its shipping needs, the steelmaker would benefit from a twin lock for the Poe if it led to an extension of the shipping season.

"We hope a new 1,000-foot lock would open up the possibility of year round shipping, which would be of great benefit to our business," she had said then.

Currently, the lock system shuts down from Jan. 15 to March 25 to allow for scheduled maintenance work.

The Sault News


Salties not included in new emissions clause

10/30 - Duluth, Minn. – An exemption from low-sulfur fuel rules for Great Lakes ships would not apply to saltwater vessels.

Any salties calling on the Great Lakes still would be required to use low-sulfur diesel, which has some people in the industry concerned that the added fuel costs could discourage visitors from abroad from calling on the Twin Ports.

That could make an already tough situation even more difficult, said Scott Hilleren, a vessel agent for Guthrie Hubner Inc., a Duluth firm that regularly serves foreign-flag vessels that call on the Twin Ports.

“This year will probably go down as the worst year ever for both inbound and outbound saltwater cargo in our port,” he said, noting that fuel and ballast rules only provide additional disincentives for salties. “Vessel owners may say, ‘To hell with it. I’m not going to book cargo out of there any more.' ”

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - October 30

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
American Mariner arrived and loaded ore on a hazy Thursday afternoon at the Upper Harbor. After several weeks of no ore shipments to Essar Steel Algoma at the Soo, Manitowoc made two trips in recent days and is due back early Friday.

Green Bay ,Wis. – Scott Best
Thursday morning, the Arthur M. Anderson paid her third visit of the season to Green Bay, arriving with a load of coal from South Chicago for the C. Reiss Dock in downtown Green Bay. Thursday evening the Anderson was still unloading, while the tug Bill G was returning up river to pick up another loaded stone barge. Algoway is expected at the Fox River Dock early Friday morning with another load of salt.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain Alpena loaded cement at Lafarge on Wednesday. Both tug and barge units were in on Thursday. The G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived in the afternoon and the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation came in later during the night once Integrity cleared the channel.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Traffic has been brisk on the Saginaw River. On Tuesday, the tugs Steven Selvick and Krista S arrived with two barges of equipment for the Consumers Energy dock. The pair departed on Thursday after unloading. This is the fourth delivery to Consumers by Selvick tugs in the past few months. Wednesday saw the arrival of the Calumet and and Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber. Calumet unloaded at the Bay City Wirt dock, finishing up early Thursday morning, turning off the dock and departing for the lake. Once she passed the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City, the Moore and Kuber backed from the slip where they had unloaded overnight and also headed for the lake behind Calumet.
Thursday morning saw the arrival of Algoma Central Marine vessels Agawa Canyon and Algorail. Canyon unloaded salt at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee while the Algorail tied up just behind her at the Burroughs dock to wait her turn to unload at Sargent. Agawa Canyon departed Thursday night headed for the lake and clearing the way for the Algorail to unload. This is Algorail's first visit of 2009 to the Saginaw River.

Toledo , Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Federal Miramichi was at the ADM Elevator loading grain and the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was at Andersons K Elevator loading grain. Algolake was at the CSX Docks loading coal. The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the Herbert C. Jackson on Friday, American Mariner and the tug Victory with the barge James L. Kuber on Sunday, Lee A. Tregurtha and Saginaw on Monday. Canadian Olympic on Wednesday followed by John J. Boland on Thursday. The next ore boats due into the Torco Dock will be American Mariner on Saturday, Lee A. Tregurtha on Sunday followed by the Canadian Olympic on Wednesday. The next stone boat due in at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock will be the Peter R. Creswell on Friday. The tug William C. Gaynor and related dredge equipment are dredging the ship channel in Maumee Bay. The tug Manitou and related dredge equipment are dredging the ship channel in Maumee Bay across from the CSX Dock complex. American Fortitude, American Valor, and American Republic remain in layup at Toledo.

Cleveland, Ohio - Bill Kloss
Sam Laud is on the Mittal shuttle run.

Conneaut, Ohio
The Roger Blough departed lay-up late Thursday heading upbound in ballast, they will load stone at Calcite, Mich.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian Wroblewski
Maumee was inbound for the Buffalo Main Entrance Channel at 10 a.m. Thursday; she was likely headed for the Sand Supply Corp. on the City Ship Canal.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Saltie Pochard arrived at Redpath Sugar overnight Oct. 28.


Province orders lease for Maids reopened

10/30 - Niagara Falls, Ont. – For the first time in years, the Maid of the Mist will have to fend off competitors to hold onto the right to run boat tours in the Niagara River.

Ontario Tourism Minister Monique Smith announced Wednesday the Niagara Parks Commission will solicit competing bids from companies interested in leasing the property needed to provide the tours.

"For once, the taxpayers have won. It's unbelievable," said Bob Gale, the former commissioner whose concerns about the attempt to renew the lease in 2008 led to a year and a half of intense scrutiny for Niagara Parks.

The Liberal government's direction to the parks commission stems from its reaction to the recent scandal at eHealth Ontario, where it was revealed the electronic health records agency issued millions of dollars in untendered contracts.

After the eHealth scandal, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced a new policy aimed at opening government-issued contracts to competitive bids more regularly.

"We think that this process aligns itself well with that," Smith said in an interview just hours after she recommended cabinet not give its approval to the deal the parks commission negotiated in 2008 with the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co.

"I think this is the appropriate course," Smith said. "It ensures all interested parties get the opportunity to submit proposals in a fair and open competition."

Parks commission chairman Jim Williams said his board will abide by the order.

"As a dutiful agency of government, we are not our own masters. We work for the government," Williams said. "They're wanting an open, transparent process. We will certainly follow that recommendation."

Officials with the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co., issued a statement calling it "very disappointing that the Ontario government has placed its longstanding and mutually beneficial working relationship with the Niagara Parks Commission in jeopardy."

The company will take "whatever actions are necessary" to continue operating.

The Maid of the Mist lease has been controversial since April 2008, when the 12-member parks commission voted to extend it. Then-commissioner Gale objected to renewing it before finding out if another company might pay more for the right to run tours.

Two others, including Ripley's Entertainment and Atlanta-based Alcatraz Media, had said they were interested.

Gale's complaint to Ontario's integrity commissioner led to an eight-month investigation, two government reviews and Smith's order for the parks commission to take a second look at its 2008 decision.

When commissioners reviewed that decision in September, they reached the same conclusion - extend the Maid lease -and asked the Liberal cabinet to approve it.

Gale said he was "pretty pleased" the lease was ultimately going to tender, something he pushed for a year and a half ago.

"It's the right first step ... I salute the government, I salute Monique Smith for putting it out to tender," said Gale, adding the commission needs supervision to make sure the bidding process is fair.

Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor, who backed Gale's call for openness, said he was happy with his party's new approach.

"I always felt that should have been tendered out," Craitor said.

It means the parks commission has less than five months to draft and issue a tender, give companies time to prepare their bids, consider the bids and award a contract.

There is a provision in the current lease for the Maid of the Mist to continue on a month-to-month basis. If the Maid company lost the contract, it could continue business until the winner takes over.

The Niagara Falls Review


Updates - October 30

Public 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.

On 30 October, 1971 - The PERE MARQUETTE 21 was laid up due to a 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


Waves knock out engine on Mackinac-bound cruise

10/29 - The U.S. Coast Guard’s inspection sector in Sault Ste. Marie has taken up the case of the Mackinac Island Arnold Transit ferry that became disabled in a storm Friday.

“We have issued a written requirement that he cannot use the vessel until proper operation is proven,” said Petty Officer Ezra Graham, a Coast Guard commercial vessel inspector. “Next spring when the vessel is back in the water we will run sea trials in conditions similar to the day it happened and make sure it will hold up.” Although the boat regained power before the Coast Guard arrived and safely made it back to port in Mackinaw City, Graham said that the Coast Guard must be notified whenever a boat on the Great Lakes loses propulsion.

Graham said he has already visited the Arnold’s ferry captain “and we have gone through what happened, its mostly likely cause and discussed ways to correct it.”  Coast Guard officials say the fast ferry headed to Mackinac Island partially lost power in a storm, stranding 226 passengers in rough waters for more than two hours last Friday. The Arnold Transit ferry, carrying mostly senior citizens, endured seas of up to 10 feet and winds of about 40 m.p.h. near Mackinaw City before regaining power and returning to dock.

Despite the bad weather, "we thought it was safe to run," Bob Brown, president of Arnold Transit, said Tuesday. No one was injured, though one passenger aboard called the incident, "some kind of adventure." "It's possible for any boat to lose its engine in rough weather," said Chief John Tracy, executive petty officer at the U.S. Coast Guard station in St. Ignace. The Coast Guard left it up to individual boaters that day to decide whether it was safe to be on the water, officials said.

After the incident, Arnold Transit shut its Mackinaw City service for the day but kept running from St. Ignace. Its ferries offer limited service through Jan. 3. The other two ferry lines are to reopen in May.

Winds stirred up water like a blender

They were five minutes out into the Straits of Mackinac late Friday morning when the waves hit the Arnold Transit fast ferry, shaking the catamaran and knocking out its propulsion in the storm.  There were 10-foot waves as 35-knot winds blew. The 226 passengers, most of them senior citizens on their way to Mackinac Island for the weekend, didn't know what had happened. The captain, Keith Dufton, radioed back to Mackinaw City for assistance.

And that was just the beginning.

"We hit a first heavy wave and all of a sudden you could hear the engines shut down," said Mark Jenks of Delhi Township, the coordinator for a group of 42 seniors, average age 70. "The weather was just horrifying. Windy, rainy, ice-sleet. It was some kind of adventure." Wylodean Overton, 91, of Lansing agreed. "Ninety-five percent of people were sick to their stomach. The waves were up. But when you are in that situation, you have to stay calm."

Crowded social calendar

Last weekend was to be a big one on Mackinac Island -- in addition to the senior gathering, there would be weddings, a half marathon and a big band event. "We had 900 people checking off the island," said Bob Brown, president of Arnold Transit. "It was crazy. ... There were probably a couple thousand coming over that day between the three boat lines."

But the weather didn't cooperate. A wicked storm came out of the southeast, winds whipping across Lake Huron and stirring up the water like a blender. Ferry operators are used to the fickle weather but Friday was the one of the roughest days they'd seen in 20 years -- although still safe to transit in their estimation. "We do put safety above everything else," said Star Line ferry general manager Mike North. "If at any point I felt it was not safe to go, we would have stopped."

But the rough seas left one of the Arnold catamaran fast ferries disabled. A jet drive nozzle, part of the propulsion and maneuverability system, conked out when the computer blew, Brown says. "The captain said one engine was working, but we couldn't get into port. We kept drifting toward the seawall," Jenks said. Arnold sent out another ferry to help, but it was unable to get close enough. Meanwhile, a technician on shore was trying to help the ship reboot its computer and regain power. After about 1 1/2 hours, "we had the announcement that the Coast Guard had been called," Jenks said.

Storm playing havoc

Up at the Coast Guard station in St. Ignace, they were having their own challenges. The station's marina was so unprotected officers had moved the aluminum gray hulled 47-foot lifeboat to the St. Ignace marina to ride out the storm.

"We got the call from the ferry line," said Chief John Tracy, executive petty officer, "and they reported they were in 8- to 10-foot seas with 35-knot winds. The captain was concerned the ship was not strong enough to get back to safe mooring because the electronics were out." The captain made a good call, he said. "When you don't have your full power or normal operating parameters, the wind and seas can throw a wrench into everything," Tracy said.

Back to normal

As the Coast Guard lifeboat drew near, the Arnold ferry's computer finally rebooted and its propulsion system sprang back to life -- and just in time. "I thought if we had to bring the ferry in" powered on only one side, "the Coast Guard boat might help steer us around the dock. We were going to come in one way or another," Brown said.

But with restored power, the ferry docked normally -- or as normally as possible in the weather. The waves were crashing over the break-wall, even over the tops of the senior citizen buses. Arnold and Star Line closed their Mackinaw City docks. The seniors re-boarded their buses and rode them with an escort over the swaying Mackinac Bridge to St. Ignace. There, they caught another Arnold ferry to Mackinac Island on the more protected route. "Everybody was going," Overton said. "Nobody wanted to stay back. It was senior citizen week."

And the trip off the island Monday was a whole different story. "The ride back home seemed so much smoother," Jenks said, in the understatement of the week.

All commercial vessels on the Great Lakes are inspected annually by the Coast Guard, Graham said. “I don’t want the public to think they are not. They are very well taken care of.”

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - October 29

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
The tug Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41 arrived in Green Bay to load a cargo of scrap iron at the Fox River Dock. John G. Munson arrived in the lower bay in the afternoon and went to anchor as she needed the same slip the Undaunted was in to unload her cargo of limestone for Great Lakes Calcium Co. Thursday morning, Arthur M. Anderson was expected at C. Reiss with a load of coal.

Menominee, Mich. – Lee Rowe
Nickelena departed with her tow, passing the James L. Kuber and Viking. The Kuber appeared to be getting work done.

St. Marys River
Kathryn Spirit, Edwin H. Gott, Puffin and Cason J. Callaway passed downbound, and American Mariner was upbound late in the day. Saginaw was unloading at Essar Steel.

Cleveland, Ohio – Bill Kloss
Manistee was loading salt at Cargill Wednesday.

Quebec , Que.
The tug Svitzer Bedford, leaving Quebec City upbound for Becancour, Que., to unload its barge carrying cargo from its Arctic run, caught fire in the engine room. The captain, estimating that the fire was beyond control, ordered the crew to abandon ship. Crew and pilots were picked up by Canadian Coast Guard cutter Cap Tourmente. All this took place Wednesday around 10 a.m. in front of the Old City. The 2005-built Svitzer Bedford is owned by Eastern Canada Towing Ltd., of Halifax, N.S.


Gale watch for Friday and Saturday on Lake Superior

10/29 - Marquette, Mich. - The National Weather Service has issued a Gale Watch for open waters of Lake Superior, which will be in effect from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon. Sustained gale force winds or frequent gale force gusts are possible from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon.

During the gale watch, plan on the strongest sustained winds of up to 34 knots from the west to occur around 6 p.m. Friday. Gusts of up to 43 knots are also possible. Look for the largest waves of up to 15 feet to occur around 1 a.m. Saturday.

A Gale Watch is issued when the risk of gale force winds of 34 to 47 knots has significantly increased, but the specific timing and/or location is still uncertain. It is intended to provide additional lead time for mariners who may wish to consider altering their plans.

Fox 21, National Weather Service


Updates - October 29

News Photo Gallery
Public 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, which 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 Lifesaving 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.


Deal struck on Great Lakes ship air pollution rule

10/28 - Traverse City, Mich. — Congressional negotiators reached a deal Tuesday that would effectively exempt 13 ships that haul iron ore, coal and other freight on the Great Lakes from a proposed federal rule meant to reduce air pollution.

The Lake Carriers' Association, which represents the 55 U.S.-flagged vessels that operate on the lakes, had asked for at least a partial exemption from rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency that would require large vessels operating within 200 miles of a U.S. coast to use cleaner — and costlier — fuel and improve engine technology.

Negotiators in Washington approved the exemption as part of a natural resources spending bill. The measure could be voted on in the House as early as Wednesday.

"This compromise will allow EPA to go ahead with a new clean air rule without sinking the Great Lakes fleet — and all the jobs it creates in the region," said Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The rules are designed to reduce emissions of airborne contaminants blamed for smog, acid rain, respiratory ailments and possibly cancer. Large ships are leading producers of nitrogen and sulfur oxides and tiny contaminated particles that foul the air near ports and coastlines and hundreds of miles inland, the EPA says.

Frank O'Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a Washington-based advocacy group, said he was disappointed that Obey and Rep. Jim Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat and chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, had sided with the shippers in talks with the Obama administration.

"They deservedly have a stellar record and reputation on environmental issues, but departed in this case to work essentially behind closed doors for a special interest fix for a favored industry," he said.

The industry group said the regulations would ground 13 aging steamships while forcing 13 others to use fuel 70 percent more expensive than the present blend. The added cost to Great Lakes shippers — about $210 million — would be passed to their customers, said Jim Weakley, president of the shipping association.

"We're very grateful that we've got some breathing room," Weakley said after the deal was announced. "It's a good balance between the environment and the economy."

The original rules would damage not only shippers, but Great Lakes industries that rely on them — including steel and auto manufacturers already battered by the economic downturn and foreign competition, said Rep. Candice Miller, a Michigan Republican.

Some officials in Alaska say the rules could deter visits to their ports by cruise ships, which are important to the state economy.

As written, they would require ships by 2012 to burn fuel with sulfur content not exceeding 1 percent, or 10,000 parts per million. In 2015, the limit would drop to 1,000 parts per million.

The 13 Great Lakes steamships are powered by a type of marine fuel that carries about 30,000 parts per million of sulfur.

"It's among the filthiest fuel known to mankind — literally the sludge at the bottom of the barrel after the refining process," O'Donnell said.

Under the compromise, the steamships will be exempt. Most were built in the 1950s and can't be switched to low-sulfur fuel without risking explosions, Weakley said.

Mothballing them would be self-defeating because much of the cargo would be switched to trucks or trains, which emit more pollution than ships, said Phil Linsalata, spokesman for Warner Petroleum, a marine fuel company in Clare, Mich.

The deal also will allow the 13 ships that use a mixture of fuels to apply to the EPA for waivers. It directs the agency to evaluate the rule's economic effect on Great Lakes shippers and report in six months.

The EPA rule would apply within 200 miles of a U.S. coast. Weakley said that unfairly singles out Great Lakes vessels because they're always within that zone, unlike ocean freighters.

Clean-air and health advocates urged the EPA to stand by its proposed rules, scheduled for final approval in December.

"Air pollution is not confined to state boundaries," Arthur Marin, director of a group representing northeastern state air quality agencies, said in a letter to Congress. "Through long-range transport in the atmosphere, pollutants emitted in domestic waters, such as the Great Lakes, affect air quality in the Northeast."

EPA estimates the regulations would prevent up to 33,000 premature deaths over the next two decades and hundreds of billions in medical costs.

Associated Press


Tug Ohio in Montreal; cargo headed for Indiana Harbor

10/28 - Cleveland, Ohio – On October 9, the tug Ohio departed Cleveland en-route to South Chicago, Ill., where it picked up the Canal Barge Company barge CBC 2762. The tug and barge then proceeded back through lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie, the eight Welland Canal Locks, Lake Ontario and the final seven St. Lawrence Seaway Locks to Montreal. They arrived in Montreal on October 22 where they moored at the MC4 Dock in Montreal awaiting their cargo from the saltie Regine. The cargo is a refinery vessel for the BP Amoco Whiting Refinery. Once loaded, the tug and barge will proceed to Indiana Harbor, Ind., to offload the refinery vessel from the barge before the tug Ohio returns to her home port of Cleveland.

The Ohio is a 118' x 24' ABS A1 Classed Tug owned and operated by The Great Lakes Towing Company. The barge CBC 2762 is a 276' x 55' deck barge owned by Canal Barge Company and currently chartered to Dawson Marine Service.

Great Lakes Towing


Former Gulf Coast tug Ares arrives in Duluth

10/28 - Duluth, Minn. – A tug that once supplied oil rigs on the warm Gulf of Mexico will soon be breaking ice and moving ships in the Twin Ports.

The 103-foot-long Ares entered Duluth around 10:45 a.m. Tuesday.

Heritage Marine owner Mike Ojard bought the Ares, which worked for years supplying oil rigs on the Gulf of Mexico out of Port Arthur, Texas. It’s the second tug owned by the two–year–old company.

“She had been out of service for about five years, and Mike learned about it,” said Paul Von Goertz, a family friend and Ares crewmember. “He felt it was a pretty good buy and would serve the needs he has, which are a bigger boat, more horsepower.”

The Ares was built in 1958 by Gulfport Shipbuilding. It is powered by a 1,950 horsepower, 16- cylinder diesel engine.

Ojard had a Port Arthur shipyard reinforce the Ares’ hull for icebreaking and install a bow thruster before the tug was towed to New Orleans. There it was made part of a barge tow and brought up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to Lemont, Ill.

“There we ballasted her down — darn near sank the thing — to get her under an old railroad bridge,” Von Goertz. “We cleared her by six inches. That was pretty exciting.”

The Ares was towed the rest of the way to Chicago, where her crew, mostly Knife River and Duluth residents, boarded her on Oct. 18.

“Now we’re just about home,” Von Goertz said. “Racing the witch of November, as we say.”

Ojard, two sons and a grandson formed Heritage Marine two years ago and bought the tug Forney in Manitowoc, Wis. They renamed it the Edward H. for Ojard’s father, who was chief engineer aboard the historic tug Edna G. An uncle was captain.

The Ares briefly entered Two Harbors Tuesday to pay tribute to the Edna G.

“We brought the boat within 60 feet of the bow of the Edna G. and laid on the whistle a while,” Von Goertz said. “It was pretty nostalgic.”

The Edward H., built in 1944 in New Orleans, is 86–foot–long and is powered by an 850–horsepower Enterprise diesel. It served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' fleet for many years. The tug had its first towing jobs for Heritage Marine in September 2008. Things became really busy when the harbor began to freeze last year, when it went out almost daily to break ice in slips and along docks. The Edward H’s first working season in the Twin Ports ended last January when it sprung a small leak, requiring a diver to enter the water through a hole in the ice behind to DECC to patch the hole.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - October 28

Muskegon, Mich. - Dick Fox
The Barge Innovation and tug Samuel de Champlain were unloading at the Lafarge Terminal on Muskegon Lake Tuesday afternoon. The tug Susan W. Hannah was tied up at the Mart Dock awaiting assignment from her new owners, Port City Tug Sand Products.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible returned Tuesday afternoon with the second load of coal for the week for the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island.

St. Marys River
Traffic Tuesday included the upbound Kathryn Spirit (docked at the Essar Algoma Export Dock), Pineglen, Cedarglen, Atlantic Huron, Robert S. Pierson, Canadian Transport and Victoriaborg. Downbound traffic included Mesabi Miner early and Charles M. Beeghly just after dark.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Walter J. McCarthy called on the Consumers Energy dock on Monday to unload coal. She finished her unload and backed out into the Saginaw Bay to turn at Light 12 before heading for for the lake. On Tuesday, Calumet called on the Sargent dock in Essexville to unload. She had finished and turned off the dock to head for the lake by late Tuesday afternoon.

Sandusky, Ohio - Greg Mayer
The John J. Boland departed lay-up in Toledo on Tuesday arriving in Sandusky that afternoon. She was loading coal for Wyandotte, Mich.


New Great Lakes icebreaker makes Coast Guard bill

10/28 - Duluth, Minn. – The new icebreaker that’s been on Great Lakes wish lists could soon become reality. Authorization for $153 million in funding for the vessel is contained in a Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill.

That ice breaker could be headed to the Twin Ports, if Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., has his way. The bill does not designate where the new ship would be stationed, but, as the busiest port on the Great Lakes, the Twin Ports may be in a strong position to make a play for a new ice breaker.

Before the new icebreaker is built, however, a similar bill would need to be passed in the Senate.

Assuming such legislation successfully comes to pass, a new vessel will be built in the mold of the 240-foot Mackinaw, which was launched in 2005 and is now stationed in Cheboygan, Mich.

The Great Lakes fleet sustains an average of about $1 million in ice damage a year, according to Oberstar’s office.

Duluth News Tribune


U.S. Coast Guard cutter Acacia finds its new home in Manistee

10/28 - Manistee, Mich. - Nearly three years after decommissioning, U.S. Coast Guard cutter Acacia found its new home in Manistee, approximately 180 miles south of Charlevoix.

Now, with the help of the American Academy of Industry, the fully-functional ship rests along side the S.S. City of Milwaukee, which was a long-time railroad car hauler.

“The Acacia is now a museum ship,” said Brandon Blackwell, a United States Coast Guard public information officer for the Coast Guard’s Ninth District in Cleveland, Ohio.

According to American Academy of Industry president Dan Hecker, politics prevented Acacia from being docked in his home state.

“Within the state of Illinois, we could not find one place that would allow us to open it up,” Hecker said. “Most of Illinois’s waterfront is in the city of Chicago, and politics precluded opening up because they don’t care, and the Navy pier wanted $27,000 a month in rent.”

Hecker said the Acacia’s fate came down to three choices: cut up for scrap metal, sold to a third-world country or become a museum ship.

The all-volunteer force at the Academy of Industry has personally funded the effort, but Hecker said he hopes the ship will eventually sustain itself financially.

“The plan is to open it up for overnight programs, tours and ceremonies,” he said. “It is seaworthy and the desire would be to keep it as an operational ship and sail it occasionally for different events.”

Charlevoix Mayor Norman Carlson Jr. said he is glad the ship can live on in some capacity.

“I think that’s great. It served Charlevoix well for many years,” he said. “I wish it was something we could have been able to do, but ... I’m glad that it just didn’t end up in a scrap yard somewhere.”

He added, “I’m glad people will continue to learn from it.”

The ship was taken over by the American Academy of Industry, a nonprofit group from Illinois which seeks to preserve, “historic artifacts significant to American industry.”

Blackwell said the Acacia was decommissioned on June 7, 2006 for various factors including its age, functionality and usefulness.

Blackwell said now that the ship is a floating museum, it cannot be called back to duty.

“Once a ship is decommissioned and transferred to another entity, the Coast Guard does not have any authority to call the ship back into service,” he said. “It would be like selling a vehicle and then asking for it back because you need a way to get to work.”

According to the academy, the Acacia as a museum ship will, “Serve as a tribute to the veterans — the most significant piece of national defense — of the Coast Guard, Navy and Merchant Marine; tell the intertwined story of Great Lakes’ maritime history, heavy industry and transportation; and tell the story of the Acacia and the Coast Guard’s 180s.”

The cutter sailed to its final destination on Saturday, Oct. 17.

So far, the Academy of Industry and a team of volunteers have spent $29,150 to get the vessel ready for passage.

Launched on Sept. 1, 1944, the 180-foot Acacia got her name from a lighthouse service ship which was sunk during World War II. She was equipped to handle search and rescue, buoy tending-navigational aids, ice-breaking and fire fighting and even law enforcement tasks among others.

Charlevoix Courier


U.S. steelmakers beat estimates but outlook gloomy

10/28 - New York, N.Y. - U.S. steelmakers reported better-than-expected third-quarter results on Tuesday but their shares fell as they restated their gloomy short-term views for the industry and the economy.

U.S. Steel Corp posted a smaller third-quarter loss than Wall Street had expected and AK Steel reported a profit as both steelmakers saw a pickup in shipments that had slumped in the past year.

U.S. Steel said it was still cautious about demand, especially for flat-rolled steel from U.S. automakers following the expiration of the "Cash for Clunkers" program and expects to report a fourth-quarter operating loss and idle two blast furnaces to lower production.

AK Steel, which has been operating at less than 60-percent capacity, said that while it expects to post an operating profit in the fourth quarter, it anticipates a decline in average selling prices.

Both companies' shares fell on the New York Stock Exchange. In afternoon trading, U.S. Steel was down 8 percent to $37.33 and AK Steel was down 8.6 percent at $17.17. The Dow Jones Steel Index was off 4.8 percent.

"Technically speaking, we may be out of the recession, but it certainly doesn't feel that way," James Wainscott, AK Steel's chairman, president and chief executive told analysts.

"Suffice to say we've bounced off the bottom, but we've got a long way to go from here."

He said AK Steel expects to ship more steel in the fourth quarter as it increases its capacity rate to around 65 percent from 55-60 percent in the third quarter.

Wainscott said he was optimistic that auto build rates would increase since carmakers currently had low inventories, due to the business generated by the clunker program.

The results came a day before the world's biggest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal (ISPA.AS) (MT.N) is expected to report its fourth quarterly loss in a row.

"U.S. Steel did better than expected, especially in its shipments. That shows orders came back, not necessarily demand," said analyst Charles Bradford, of Affiliated Research Group.

Last week, Nucor Corp posted a third consecutive quarterly loss and gave a negative outlook for any short-term improvement and Steel Dynamics Inc said it expected a sequential drop in fourth-quarter production and shipments, saying weakness in the construction market and falling scrap prices may continue till the end of the year.



Dossin Great Lakes Museum to remember mariners lost on the inland seas

10/28 - Detroit, Mich. - The Detroit Historical Society’s Dossin Maritime Group hosts its annual remembrance for sailors lost on the inland seas Tuesday, November 10 at 6 p.m. at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.

This moving event takes place on the 34th anniversary of the sinking of the Great Lakes ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald. This year’s event commemorates the 100th anniversary of the loss of the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2. This railroad car ferry set sail from Conneaut, Ohio on December 7, 1909. After encountering a fierce winter storm, the ship disappeared on Lake Erie, claiming 32 lives. The wreckage of this 350 foot ship loaded with 30 railroad cars full of coal has never been found. Since numerous search efforts have been attempted to find the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 over the past 100 years -- and failed -- it is considered the Holy Grail of shipwrecks in the Great Lakes.

For more information or reservations visit In addition, the event will be made available as a live webcast at for those unable to attend in person. The schedule of events is as follows:
6 p.m. A lantern ceremony at the Fitzgerald anchor remembers both the crew of the Fitz and the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2.
6:15 p.m. Lee Murdock, the renowned Great Lakes balladeer, performs in DeRoy Hall as guests enter the museum.
7 p.m. Assembly of the Lost Mariners honor guard, including members of the United States Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard, International Shipmasters Lodge #7 and a descendant of the Captain and First Mate lost on the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2. The honor guard will be escorted by bagpipers to the river’s edge with the Lost Mariners memorial wreath.
7:02 p.m. Reading of the lost crew roster of the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 by Kathy McGraw of the Dossin Maritime Group, with a bell toll for each name.
7:03 p.m. Out on the Detroit River, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter escorts and lights up a flotilla of U.S. and Canadian vessels as they approach the museum to receive the wreath. The ships include a 41-foot U.S. Coast Guard utility boat with uniformed crew at attention on deck, the Canadian Coast Guard cutter Cape Dundas, an Ontario Provincial Police Marine Division service boat and the mail boat J.W. Westcott.
7:06 p.m. The Reverend Gregory McComas, assistant rector of Mariners Church, offers a prayer for the lost mariners.
7:10 p.m. The wreath honoring those lost on the Great Lakes is laid out in the river with a salute of all water cannons by the Detroit Fire Department’s Curtis Randolph. Overhead, a helicopter from the Selfridge Air National Guard base lights the scene. In addition, there will be a playing of Taps on the river with a Canadian echo of Last Post.
7:12 p.m. Presentation by guest speaker, Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermilion, Ohio, on the loss of the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2.
7:45 p.m. The event concludes with a memorial prayer and benediction by Rev. McComas, followed by Lee Murdock’s rendition of Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and a video collage of the ship’s history.


Updates - October 28

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - October 28

On this day in 1939, the Pittsburgh steamer D. G. KERR, Captain H. D. Mc Leod, 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 October 28, 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 October 28, 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 October 28, 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.


Port Reports - October 27

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons came in at midnight and delivered a load of coal to the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island. They left at 7 a.m. Monday for Chicago to pick up another load and return late Tuesday afternoon.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Maumee arrived in Holland mid-afternoon on Sunday. It proceeded to the Brewer dock to deliver a cargo of stone.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Three vessels visited Lafarge on Monday morning. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity loaded cement for Green Bay, Wis. The Alpena left temporary lay-up from Muskegon on Sunday and arrived off its namesake port Monday morning. It waited until the Integrity departed and then headed in to tie up under the silos to load. Manitowoc pulled in to the coal dock and unloaded cargo into the storage hopper.


Updates - October 27

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public 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 October 27, 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 and MANITOWOC in 2008.

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

On October 27, 1973, the HENRY LA LIBERTE 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 October 27, 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 October 27, 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.


Great Lakes ships face choppy waters

10/26 - The St. Marys Challenger was built in 1906 and still plies the Great Lakes.

But critics of proposed federal rules regarding ship emissions say the venerable vessel and a dozen other steamships on the Great Lakes could be forced off the waters by the more stringent requirements.

The rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency have spawned a debate between environmentalists, who claim the changes are needed to combat air pollution caused by commercial vessels, and critics with ties to the shipping industry, who contend the rules would impose an unfair, costly burden on Great Lakes carriers and lead to lost business.

The EPA rules, which have yet to be finalized, are aimed at cutting harmful emissions near the U. S. coastline, as well as on lakes and rivers. The agency wants to force vessels traveling inside of a 230- mile buffer zone of the U. S. coastline, known as an emissions control area, to burn low-sulfur fuels, instead of the “bunker fuel” they now use.

The Lake Carriers’ Association, which represents 18 U. S. companies that operate ships on the Great Lakes, has raised a host of objections. It says the rules would disproportionately affect its members’ vessels, since they would have to comply with the toughest standards wherever they operated on the Great Lakes.

Oceangoing vessels, by contrast, for most of their trip to a U. S. port would be able to burn the less-expensive “bunker fuel” the EPA intends to crack down on, the LCA said.

Bad for business

The LCA and other critics of the proposed rules say U. S.- flagged ships on the Great Lakes would incur higher fuel costs, and risk losing cargo shipments to trucks and railroads. And they say unless the proposed rules are modified, the 13 U. S.-flagged steamships on the Great Lakes could be forced out of service.

The ships’ boilers are not equipped to safely burn the low-sulfur fuel, and the cost of altering the vessels’ systems to meet the new standards would be so high that the owners would likely scrap the ships, said Phil Linsalata, a spokesman for Warner Petroleum, a Michigan-based company that fuels vessels.

The 13 vessels represent about 19 percent of the cargo capacity of U. S.-flagged ships on the Great Lakes. The St. Marys Challenger is the oldest of the 13 steamers, while the newest vessel of the bunch was built in 1960.

American Steamship Co., which has its corporate offices in Amherst, owns and operates three steamships that would be impacted by the rules change: the American Valor, American Fortitude and American Victory. They are among 18 vessels in American Steamship’s fleet.

Interlake Steamship in Cleveland has two steamships in its nine-vessel fleet, including the Herbert C. Jackson, which calls on the ADM grain terminal in Buffalo. Under the proposed rules, those two vessels could be impacted as soon as 2012, said Mark Barker, Interlake’s president. “These boilers were not designed to burn light oil,” he said.

Matter of opinion

The LCA and an advocate of the stricter EPA rules for the Great Lakes disagree over the expense shipowners would face in converting their vessels.

The LCA said converting the steamers to diesel power would be lengthy and very costly, making it cost prohibitive. The organization cited the example of a vessel that was converted at a cost of $22 million and was in a shipyard for eight months.

But David Marshall, senior counsel for the Clean Air Task Force in New Hampshire, says the conversion cost would not necessarily be that high. Marshall said many of the systems changes made in such an extensive upgrade would not be required to satisfy the EPA rules, and he said a Canadian vessel was recently repowered at a lower cost, with an estimated payback period of three to four years.

And replacing the steamships’ engines with modern diesel engines could reduce their fuel consumption by one half, Marshall said.

James Weakley, the LCA’s president, counters that the U. S. Coast Guard requires shipowners to make a number of upgrades when it makes major modifications, and that engines are just part of the cost, and with more-expensive fuel, the payback period would not be the same. As for the Canadian example, Weakley said those vessels are smaller.

Good for environment

When the EPA announced the proposed rules last March, the agency said establishing an “emissions control area” around the nation’s coastline would save up to 8,300 American and Canadian lives each year by 2020, by curbing emissions near coastal communities.

The proposed rules fit into a U. S.-Canada plan to create a North American emissions control area on the coastline, which has been submitted to the International Maritime Organization.

The EPA says its new standards would cut sulfur in fuel by 98 percent, particulate matter emissions by 85 percent, and nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent from the current global requirements.

“EPA believes that diesel exhaust is likely to be carcinogenic to humans by inhalation,” the agency said.

Environmental groups such as Great Lakes United, a navigation watchdog, favor applying the EPA’s proposed tougher standards to the Great Lakes.

“We don’t want to see goods moved from lakers to rail, but you can’t burn dirty fuel,” said Jennifer Nalbone, a campaign coordinator for Great Lakes United. “This is the 21st century.”

Nalbone acknowledged the industry’s complaint that U. S.- flagged Great Lakes carriers would have to comply with the strictest standards whenever they operated.

“I guess we’d say, ‘That’s the point. You operate in close proximity [to people who live near coastal communities] all the time,’ ” Nalbone said.

Nalbone said the solution is to modernize the vessels, to address not only air emissions but other challenges they face on the horizon, such as new ballast discharge standards and the prospect of lower lake levels in the future.

“I think they would find a lot of support from the environmental community for upgrading their fleet,” she said.

Concerns about trade

Some members of Congress from the Great Lakes are concerned about the potential economic impact of the EPA rules.

One of those members, Rep. James Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat, is chairman of the House’s transportation and infrastructure committee. He asked EPA staff to meet with him and other members of his committee to talk about the EPA’s proposal.

The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, reported this month that the Canadian embassy in Washington, D. C., had asked the EPA to weaken the proposed rules, fearing a harmful effect on trade.

In a letter to the EPA last month, Weakley, the LCA’s president, said the agency lacked the scientific data and legal authority to extend the 230- mile buffer zone to the Great Lakes. He urged the EPA to “postpone implementation until the need has been substantiated.”

Weakley said the EPA had failed to fully understand the potential consequences for the Great Lakes.

But Nalbone, of Great Lakes United, worries that such major exceptions to the proposed EPA rules could “compromise” the larger U. S.-Canada agreement for an emissions control area.

“If you poke too many holes in this, it’s going to fall apart,” she said.

The Buffalo News


Meet Great Lakes authors at AuthoRama Nov. 21

10/26 - Make your plans now to attend the first-ever Great Lakes AuthoRama, Nov. 21 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron, Mich. Greet the writers of a variety of Great Lakes-themed books and DVDs and have them autograph their works.

Authors who are scheduled to be in attendance include Roger LeLievre "Know Your Ships", Chris Winters "Centennial", Ric Mixter "Cement Boat" DVD, Pat and Jim Stayer "If We Make it to Daylight" and others, Mark Thompson "A Sailors Logbook" and others, Ray Bawal Jr. "Ships of the St. Clair River", Andy Kantar "Deadly Voyage: The Daniel J. Morrell Tragedy", Marlene Miller "I Know Where the Freighters Go", John Paul and Brent Michaels "Collision Under the Bridge", Ed Spicuzza "A Great Lakes Adventure: The Journey Begins", Wayne Sapulski "Lighthouses of Lake Michigan" and others, shipwreck hunter David Trotter and Dennis Hale, sole survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell shipwreck.

The  Great Lakes Maritime Center is located at 51 Water Street in Port Huron. Admission is free; books and DVDs will be available for purchase at the event


Updates - October 26

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Cliffs Victory
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 26

On October 26, 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 October 26, 1882, the sunken schooner-barge NELLIE McGILVRAY 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 August 28, 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, 1,600 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 October 26, 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 October 26, 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.


Port Reports - October 25

Escanaba, Mich. – Dick Lund
The barge Joseph H. Thompson and tug Joseph H. Thompson, Jr., Wilfred Sykes and American Spirit were all in port on Saturday after arriving in Escanaba at various times on Friday during a storm that saw up to six-foot waves in the bay of Green Bay. The Sykes tied up at the ore dock and was partially loaded by noon on Saturday. American Spirit arrived later on Friday and went to anchor in Little Bay de Noc off the ore dock to wait for the Sykes to finish loading. Joseph H. Thompson went back into temporary lay-up at the C. Reiss North Dock after anchoring in Little Bay de Noc while waiting out the storm during the night. Sykes departed the ore dock around mid-afternoon Saturday and American Spirit took its place under the loader shortly after.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons came in through the pierheads at 9 a.m. Saturday. The pair docked at Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg where the barge was discharging cargo. The tug and barge are expected to depart for Chicago and return with a load of coal for the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven on Monday or Tuesday. Then it is supposed to go back to Chicago for another load of coal.

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
American Courage made her first visit of the season to the Saginaw River on Saturday, traveling up to the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. The Courage was expected to be outbound late Saturday night.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
English River departed Friday morning and Stephen B. Roman arrived in port shortly afterwards.


Navy's newest warships top out at more than 50 mph

10/25 - Bath, Maine – The Navy's need for speed is being answered by a pair of warships that have reached freeway speeds during testing at sea.

Independence, a 418-foot warship built in Alabama, boasts a top speed in excess of 45 knots, or about 52 mph, and sustained 44 knots for four hours during builder trials that wrapped up this month off the Gulf Coast. The 378-foot Freedom, a ship built in Wisconsin by a competing defense contractor, has put up similar numbers.

Both versions of the Littoral Combat Ship use powerful diesel engines, as well as gas turbines for extra speed. They use steerable waterjets instead of propellers and rudders and have shallower drafts than conventional warships, letting them zoom close to shore.

The ships, better able to chase down pirates, have been fast-tracked because the Navy wants vessels that can operate in coastal, or littoral, waters. Freedom is due to be deployed next year, two years ahead of schedule.

Independence is an aluminum, tri-hulled warship built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. The lead contractor is Maine's Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics.

Lockheed Martin Corp. is leading the team that built Freedom in Marinette, Wis. It looks more like a conventional warship, with a single hull made of steel.

The stakes are high for both teams. The Navy plans to select Lockheed Martin or General Dynamics, but not both, as the builder. The Navy has ordered one more ship from each of the teams before it chooses the final design. Eventually, the Navy wants to build up to 55 of them.

Speed has long been relished by Navy skippers. Capt. John Paul Jones, sometimes described as father of the U.S. Navy, summed it up this way in 1778: "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."

Eric Wertheim, author and editor of the U.S. Naval Institute's "Guide to Combat Fleets of the World," said speed is a good thing, but it comes at a cost.

"This is really something revolutionary," Wertheim said. "The question is how important and how expensive is this burst of speed?"

Early cost estimates for Littoral Combat Ships were about $220 million apiece, but costs spiraled because of the Navy's requirements and its desire to expedite construction. The cost of the ships is capped at $460 million apiece, starting in the new fiscal year.

Both ships are built to accommodate helicopters and mission "modules" for either anti-submarine missions, mine removal or traditional surface warfare. The goal is for the modules to be swapped out in 24 hours, and no later than 96 hours, allowing the ships to adapt quickly to new missions, said Cmdr. Victor Chen, a Navy spokesman.

While they're fast, they aren't necessarily the fastest military ships afloat. The Navy used to have missile-equipped hydrofoils and the Marines' air-cushioned landing craft is capable of similar speeds, Wertheim said. And smaller ships are capable of higher speeds.

Nonetheless, the speed is impressive, especially considering that other large naval vessels have been cruising along at a relatively pokey 30 to 35 knots for decades.

Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, noted that Independence sustained 44 knots despite a 30-knot headwind and 6- to 8-foot seas in Alabama's Mobile Bay. "For a ship of this size, it's simply unheard of to sustain that rate of speed for four hours," he said.

Associated Press


Updates - October 25

News Photo Gallery
Public 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 October 25, 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 October 25, 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 October 25,1874.

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 October 25,1866, 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 six. 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 October 25,1833, 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 October 25,1887, 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.


EPA proposal to cut Lakes ship emissions stirs waters

10/24 - Duluth, Minn. – A horn blasts, seagulls screech and tourists clap as the longest ship in the Great Lakes, the 1,014-foot Paul R. Tregurtha glides through Duluth's canal and heads into Lake Superior, loaded down with coal bound for Midwestern power plants.

Piles of crushed limestone, salt, iron ore and coal line the shores of the Great Lakes' busiest port, destined to forge steel, de-ice roads and build skyscrapers throughout the heartland. The towering grain elevators along the harbor's shores are stuffed with wheat and soy waiting for the trip out the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic Ocean, then on to Europe, North Africa or South America.

Underlying this show of commercial strength is a maritime industry many see as fragile, threatened not only by a weak economy but also by broader environmental initiatives. The emissions from these ships -- the only mode of transportation not under new federal air pollution regulations -- have been linked to increased levels of heart and lung disease.

Now, an Environmental Protection Agency proposal that would compel the vessels to burn cleaner fuel and upgrade their engines has sparked a furious behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign that has come to a head this week, pitting congressional Democrats against a Democratic administration as lawmakers allied with Midwestern and Alaskan shippers pressure the EPA to back down and protect jobs.

High stakes

The outcome of the battle -- which has delayed consideration of the EPA's budget -- has implications for a region battered by unemployment and one of the Obama's administration's key environmental strategies.

Large vessels rank second only to power plants as to the health risk their air pollution poses, and the EPA estimates the proposal will produce more health benefits than those it has applied to off-road vehicles, diesel trucks and other sources. Without further regulation by 2030, the agency projects that smog-forming nitrogen oxide emissions from the ships will more than double, to 2.1 million tons a year.

Environmental and health groups say the new standards, proposed in July and set to be finalized by Dec. 17, would prevent up to 33,000 premature deaths a year from problems such as heart disease, respiratory illness and cancer. Although coastal areas would reap the biggest clean air benefits, air quality would also improve for states hundreds of miles inland, including Nevada, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, and parks such as the Grand Canyon and the Great Smoky Mountains.

The proposal would limit air emissions from ships in the United States' exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from its coasts. This includes the 133 American and Canadian "Lakers" that spend their whole lives in the Great Lakes or St. Lawrence Seaway and the smaller "Salties" that go between foreign and Great Lakes ports.

The agency wants to require vessels to switch by 2015 from viscous bunker fuel, which contains about 30,000 parts per million sulfur, to fuel that contains no more than 1,000 parts per million. Trucks are required to use fuel with no more than 15 ppm sulfur, and by 2015 locomotives, bulldozers and barges will have similar limits.

Great Lakes shipping industry officials say the cost of the new fuel and the engine overhauls needed to burn it would undermine their competitive edge and shift commodity transport to rail and truck. Lake Carriers' Association President James H.I. Weakley said the rule would cost U.S. and Canadian ships an extra $210 million a year for fuel. Out of a U.S. fleet of 65, he predicted that 13 steamships with 429 mariners would be scrapped and that 13 ships with old diesel engines might face premature retirement.

Great Lakes shippers said the process is incomplete. The EPA analysis that the policy's health benefits would outweigh its compliance costs by at least 30 to 1, they said, fails to grasp the impact the rule would have on a region experiencing double-digit unemployment -- a problem that could spread to iron ore miners, farmers, salt miners and others if exports decrease. Iron ore shipments from Great Lakes ports are nearly half of last year's, with coal shipments falling by a third.

"We asked them to pause, go back, study the economic impact, work with industry," said Steven Fisher, executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association. "We applaud their goal of clean air, but how do we get there without wrecking this economy and wrecking this industry?"

The government has required businesses as small as bakeries, dry cleaners and auto body refinishing plants to curb emissions, said S. William Becker, executive director for the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. "How can all of these other industries be expected to clean up," asked Becker, "while this one, spewing all this stuff, be exempted?"

Lawmakers' doubts

In an economic downturn, however, many lawmakers appear to have little patience for such arguments. Led by House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), they are trying to soften the rule for Great Lakes shippers.

Neither Oberstar nor Obey would comment. But Rep. Candice S. Miller (R-Mich.) said she and others have asked the "EPA to really rethink what they're talking about. You can't imagine how bad it is in a state like Michigan. We're looking at this, and we could lose 50 percent of our shipping capacity -- that's what the shippers are telling us."

On Oct. 8, Oberstar arranged for EPA officials to meet with him, Miller, Obey and Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Dale E. Kildee (D-Mich.) and Don Young (R-Alaska). They raised the prospect of attaching language to the annual Interior and Environmental Appropriations Bill that could halt implementation of the rule, Kaptur and Miller said, and have delayed moving the bill as they seek to resolve the matter.

Kaptur said the lawmakers want "a realistic effort to assist our industry transition." Miller said the EPA could explore options such as exempting Great Lakes shippers temporarily as it studies the issue or permanently.

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the agency is aware of the industry's concerns and its international obligations to curb emissions. The EPA, he said, listens to public comments and prides itself on "taking them into account."

The Washington Post


Weather delays some lake ships

10/24 - High winds on Friday sent several vessels to anchor in the upper Great Lakes. American Courage dropped the hook in the lower St. Marys River Friday afternoon, Cason J. Callaway was anchored in the Straits and Wilfred Sykes, Joseph H, Thompson and American Spirit were anchored off Escanaba. Joseph L. Block sought shelter near the tip of the Door Peninsula. Winds were gusting near 30 mph at the Soo Friday afternoon,.


Coast Guard helicopter makes emergency landing in Alpena

10/24 - Alpena, Mich. – A Detroit U.S. Coast Guard helicopter made an emergency landing in Alpena after experiencing engine trouble while picking up a possible heart attack victim off a freighter in Lake Huron.

No one on the helicopter was hurt in the 6 a.m. incident Thursday, after the Peter R. Cresswell, underway in Lake Huron near Alpena, reported a 50-year-old crew member on board experiencing heart attack-like symptoms.

Two Coast Guard Air Station Detroit pilots, a mechanic and a rescue swimmer flew a HH-65C helicopter 160 miles and hoisted the man off the ship. But while en route to Alpena Regional Hospital, the helicopter experienced low oil pressure and landed with one working engine at the Alpena airport. The helicopter was met by Alpena Fire Rescue, and an awaiting ambulance then took the patient to the hospital.

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - October 24

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Manitowoc arrived Thursday night about 11:30 and anchored off shore to await favorable winds before entering the pier heads. It came in to Meekhof's D & M Dock on Harbor Island about 1:15 and was still unloading Friday afternoon. The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible were expected over night Friday at Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived in Holland on Thursday and delivered a load of stone to the Verplank dock. Upon finishing, they moved to the Padnos dock to load a cargo of scrap metal.


Sundew finally sold

10/24 - Duluth, Minn. – Twin Ports businessman Jeff Foster received the keys to the retired U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sundew on Wednesday, and he said he expects to see the vessel operating under its own power by early next shipping season.

Foster pledges to return the 180-foot Sundew to action for the first time since it was decommissioned in 2004, and he says he has received plenty of offers to help.

“Since this has been in the paper, I’ve been contacted by a number of folks who have been stationed on the vessel. There’s an enormous amount of knowledge in this area,” he said. “People have offered to help in any way they can because they want to see the Sundew remain here and to see it under its own power again.”

The Sundew was donated to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center for use as a floating museum, but poor attendance prompted the DECC’s board to put the ship on the market. It cost more to dock and care for the vessel than ticket admissions generated, said Dan Russell, the DECC’s executive director.

Foster, owner of Jeff Foster Trucking Inc., offered to purchase the Sundew for just over $100,000, the minimum qualifying bid.

But the sale was delayed because of questions raised by the General Services Administration, a federal agency that oversees the sale of government surplus property. The Sundew was donated to the DECC with the caveat that it be placed on public display for a minimum of five years. While that time has passed, the agency questioned whether the DECC had fulfilled its obligation because the Sundew was open for tours for only about half the year. If the DECC received only half-credit as a result, it would have been forced to keep the cutter for another five years before it could consider selling it.

“Our attorney is drawing up the papers to transfer ownership right now,” Russell said Wednesday, after receiving the GSA’s go-ahead. “We’re just happy it’s staying in the Twin Ports.”

Foster plans to leave the Sundew at its location behind the William A. Irvin through the winter and then move it to a dock he owns in Superior next spring. Foster still won’t say exactly to what use he’ll put the vessel. Apparently he’s entertaining about 10 different options.

“For us, it’s kind of a burden we won’t have to bear any more,” Russell said. “I think it makes a lot of sense for the DECC and a lot of sense for Jeff, too.”

Duluth News Tribune


Great Lakes Regional Ocean Policy Task Force public meeting in Cleveland

10/24 - Cleveland, Ohio – Administration officials will hold a regional Ocean Policy Task Force Public Meeting on October 29. The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, led by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, consists of senior-level officials from Administration agencies, departments, and offices. The Task Force is charged with developing a recommendation for a national policy that ensures protection, maintenance, and restoration of the oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes. It will also recommend a framework for improved stewardship, and effective coastal and marine spatial planning. The public is encouraged to attend and an opportunity for public comment will be provided.

The public can access the meeting in three ways: by attending in person at the Cleveland Marriott; by calling (800-369-2133; participant code: 8314284); or via the web at Public comment can also be submitted online at:


Coast Guard seeks marine investigator

10/24 - The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for qualified candidates to apply for the civilian positions of Marine Investigator, GS-1801-12 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Announcement #: 09-2094-WE-DM-D-R1
Who May Apply: Open to all U.S. Citizens
Open Period: Oct 20, 2009 to Nov 03, 2009
Salary Range: $67,613.00 - $87,893.00
Position Information: Full time, permanent
Duties: Assists and advises field units in conducting marine investigations and statutory requirements.

Please review the full vacancy announcement at for additional duties, the qualification requirements, and how to apply for this position.
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Today in Great Lakes History - October 24

On October 24, 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 October 24, 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 October 24, 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 October 24, 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 October 24, 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 October 24, 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.


Port Reports - October 23

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic early Thursday included Canadian Transport outbound off the Duluth piers with a load of coal and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. inbound destined for Midwest Energy Terminal. Tug-barge combo Pathfinder was making a rare call at Midwest Energy Terminal to load coal bound for Harbor Beach and Monroe, Mich. Adam E. Cornelius was docked at CHS grain terminals berth 2 while saltie Utviken was loading in berth 1. Irma was loading at the Peavey elevator.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Sam Laud arrived early Thursday morning at Georgia Pacific to unload coal. She departed mid afternoon. .


Updates - October 23

News Photo Gallery


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 October 23,1887, 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 October 26, she was broken up by the waves.

The CARL GORTHON, was launched October 23, 1970, for Rederi A/B Gylfe, Hsingborg, 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 October 23, 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 October 23, 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 October 23, 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.


U.S. Marshal auctions off Hannah Marine fleet

10/22 - Shipbroker Marcon International reports that seven vessels and barges of the former Hannah Marine fleet have recently been delivered to new owners, after being sold by the U.S. Marshal to the highest bidders at an August 18 auction at the U.S. Courthouse in Chicago

All of the vessels and barges were located in Lemont and Chicago, Illinois, at the time of the sale. The 13,388 bbl 147.5 foot x 54 foot double hull, inland black oil / asphalt box barges HMC-502, HMC-503 and HMC-504, which had not operated since early 2006, were sold to Mohawk Transportation of Houma, Louisiana, while the larger double-hull tank barges HMC 510, Hannah 2901, Hannah 3601 and Hannah 5101 were purchased back by the creditors and are offered for sale on a negotiated basis.

Susan W. Hannah (ex-Kings Challenger, ex-IMT No.1, ex-Lady Elda), a 121.5 foot x 34.5 foot, 4,300 BHP articulated pusher tug with a Bludworth coupling system, was bought at the auction by Port City Tug / Sand Products of Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. The twin-screw Susan W. Hannah was built by Toche Boat Builders, Inc. of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and in 1994 repowered from Brons diesels with a pair of turbo-charged EMD 12-645E5s. The tug worked for St. Marys Cement on the Lakes prior to being laid up and sold at the auction.

Kindra Lake Towing of Chicago, Illinois, purchased the 95 foot x 29 foot Donald C. Hannah, a 1962 built twin- screw tug powered by a pair of EMD 12-567Cs for a total of 2,400 HP. Originally built by Main Iron Works of Houma, Louisiana, and rebuilt in 1975, the tug is fitted with a retractable pilothouse with a 17 foot lift, a single push knee, barges winches and a tow winch and is a good fit with Kindra's existing fleet of three lake tugs and two river boats which have provided service on the Calumet River and Lake Michigan since 1992.

Warner Petroleum Corp. / Fuel Boat Holdings of Clare, Michigan, bid on and was awarded the 980 BHP, 86 foot twin screw tug Hannah D. Hannah (ex-Betty Gale) which had been built in 1955 by Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding. Tug is powered by a pair of Cummins KT-2300 diesels and fitted with a retractable pilothouse with a 10-foot lift. Warner presently owns and operates four terminal facilities for liquid commodities located in the Detroit area, upstate Michigan and Southern Lake Michigan (Chicago). The company transports fuels and liquid asphalt commodities throughout the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and inland river system.

The 2,000 HP, 100 foot x 24 foot single screw tug Peggy D. Hannah (ex-William A. Whitney) which was built in 1920 by Whitney Bros. Co. of Wisconsin, was bought by Calumet River Fleeting of Chicago. The Peggy is powered by a single 2,000HP Fairbanks Morse 38D8-1/8 diesel and fitted with two manual barge winches and a single drum tow winch.

Also purchased back by creditors and still available for negotiated sale were the 3,400HP AT/B tug James A. Hannah (ex-Muskegon, ex-LT-820) which is fitted with a JAK linkage system and the 1,640 BHP retractable pilothouse, inland river pushboat Daryl C. Hannah (ex-Katherine L).

There were no bids made for the 150 foot, 4,500 HP David E (AKA Kristen Lee Hannah and ex-Henry Foss, ex-LT-815). The tug remains available for sale.

The 3,200 BHP, Bludworth-fitted AT/B tug Mark Hannah (ex-Challenger, ex-Gulf Challenger, ex-Lead Horse), built in 1969 by Burton Shipyard of Port Arthur, Texas, was sold by the U.S. Marshal at the Port of Oswego, New York on October 14. The 128 foot x 32 foot raised forecastle bow tug is powered by a pair of EMD 16-645C diesels, Western 4.68:1 gears and 4-blade 115 in x 91 in props.

The U.S. flag, 8,000 dwt double hull, ice strengthened, ocean tank barge Hannah 6301 was bought back by creditors and remains for sale.

Two auctions remain to be held. The 3,000 BHP twin screw tug Kay Lynne Hannah, AKA Rio Bravo (ex-Gus Candies) is to be sold by the U.S. Marshal in Mobile, Alabama on the U.S. District Courthouse steps on October 21. This sale is expected to draw a lot of interest.

The U.S. Marshal's Sale for the 3,200HP push boat Kristin Lee Hannah, located in Vicksburg, Mississippi, still remains to be scheduled.

Marine Log


Alpena enters temporary lay-up

10/22 - Tuesday afternoon the steamer Alpena arrived at the Mart Dock in Muskegon for a brief lay-up. She is expected to return to service early next week.

Herm Phillips


Port Reports - October 22

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
Wednesday was a busy day for the Port of Green Bay. The Tug Bill G is continuing to shuttle stone barges from the South Leitch Dock up to the Egg Harbor Marina project. St. Marys Conquest and tug Prentiss Brown were in port unloading, and departed just afooter 5 p.m. Cason J Callaway arrived with a load of coal for C. Reiss and met the outbound Bill G just past the East River turning basin, and afooter both vessels cleared that location the St. Marys Conquest got underway to turn around in the turning basin and depart the Fox River. Sam Laud is expected at Georgia Pacific on Thursday morning.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Lee A. Tregurtha was unloading ore at the Torco Ore Dock Wednesday. Algolake was loading coal at the CSX Docks. Canadian Prospector was at the ADM Elevator loading grain. Canadian Provider was at Andersons K Elevator loading grain.
The next coal boats due into the CSX Dock will be Lee A. Tregurtha late Wednesday evening, Calumet on Thursday, Charles M. Beeghly and American Mariner on Friday followed by Algolake on Sunday. The next ore boat due into the Torco Ore Dock will be CSL Laurentien on Monday. The next stone boats due into the Midwest Terminal Stone dock will be Algomarine on Friday followed by Peter R. Creswell on Sunday.


Keetac changes course, surprising workers

10/22 - Duluth, Minn. – Workers at Keewatin Taconite Co. who thought the mine was about to reopen learned Monday that it could be closed well into winter.

Keetac began recalling about one-quarter of its 400-person work force last month in preparation for the restart of the mine, which had been idle since December. At the time, Steelworkers Union 2660 President Jack Thronson said he expected the work would lead to the return of 325 union members in the near future.

But on Monday, workers said they learned of an unwelcome change of plans. They were told to begin winterizing the taconite plant in anticipation of the shutdown lasting well into the winter, with no restart date on the horizon, multiple employees told the News Tribune.

The workers, who asked that their names be withheld, citing fear of retribution, said they were told weakened market conditions were to blame.

Both Thronson and Danny Pierce, vice president of Local 2660, said they were not at liberty to discuss the situation.

Keetac’s ownership provided no greater insight. “We do not provide updates on our operations,” said Courtney Boone, a U.S. Steel spokeswoman. “We continue to adjust production at our facilities to stay in line with customer demand.” She declined further comment.

Tom Sampson, mayor of Keewatin, said the town’s 1,100 residents were rejuvenated when U.S. Steel indicated in September that operations would pick up over the next couple of months.

“It was buzzing again,” he said. “Everyone was talking about it.”

But Monday’s reversal deflated the rural town about 80 miles north of Duluth. “It’s a big letdown, of course,” Sampson said. “We will keep our fingers crossed, but if the market isn’t there, the market isn’t there.”

Rumors swirl about the future of the workers, Sampson said, referring to them being laid off or shifted to work at Minntac.

Keetac workers often meet at Vene-Qua Bar and Lounge, where owner Annette Gilbert called them “confused and frustrated.”

“They don’t know what is going on right now,” she said. “There is not a lot of info now.”

Duluth News Tribune


Today in Great Lakes History - October 22

On October 22,1903, 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 October 22, 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.

On 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 October 22, 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 October 22, 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.


Port Reports - October 21

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Monday night Mississagi brought another load of salt to the Alpena Oil Dock. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity was at Lafarge Tuesday morning. McKee Sons unloaded coal at Lafarge on Saturday.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Robert S. Pierson finished unloading grain at the Kraft Food Elevator and departed Tuesday afternoon. About 10 minutes later, Manitowoc finished unloading stone at the Midwest Terminal Dock and followed the Pierson outbound Maumee Bay. Mapleglen finished loading grain at Andersons K Elevator and departed during the evening. The tug William C. Gaynor and related dredge equipment were dredging the ship channel in Maumee Bay. The tug Kathy Lynn appears to be undergoing repairs at the George Gradel tug base. The tug Manitou from Marysville, Michigan, has come down and taken over the towing duties and working the related dredge equipment for the ship channel dredging project in front of the CSX Coal Docks. The next coal boats due in at the CSX Docks will be Algolake and Lee A. Tregurtha on Wednesday, Calumet on Thursday followed by Charles M. Beeghly and American Mariner on Friday. The next ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock will be Lee A. Tregurtha on Wednesday followed by CSL Laurentien, CSL Niagara and Canadian Progress on Monday. The next stone boats due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock will be Algomarine on Friday followed by Peter R. Creswell on Sunday. Other vessels due in port soon will be Canadian Provider coming over from Hamilton to load grain at one of the elevators, and Algoway bringing in a cargo of oats to unload at one of the dock sites in port.

Cleveland, Ohio - Bill Kloss
Victoriaborg delivered steel coils to Port of Cleveland docks Tuesday. American Mariner arrived to deliver taconite to Cleveland Bulk Terminal.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Monday, Canadian Provider arrived at 10:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco. John D Leitch arrived at 7 p.m. with iron ore pellets also for Dofasco.
Tuesday the saltie LS Christine arrived at 8 a.m. with coal tar from Belgium for Pier 23. John D Leitch departed at 8:15 a.m. from Dofasco for Fairport, Ohio. The bunkering ship Hamilton Energy arrived at 8:30 a.m. from Port Weller. Canadian Provider departed Dofasco at 10 a.m. after requiring the assistance of a tug to turn around in the harbor due to high winds. Quebecois departed at 4:30 p.m., also from Dofasco. Tug Tony McKay and barge arrived in port at 7:30 p.m. and J.W. Shelley departed at 7 p.m. for Sorel.


Coast Guard begins Operation Fall Retrieve

10/21 -Cleveland, Ohio - The Ninth Coast Guard District has begun its annual retrieval of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System seasonal aids to navigation, the largest domestic buoy recovery operation in the United States.

Operation Fall Retrieve, which includes lighted and unlighted buoys and beacons, began on Oct. 14 with a goal of retrieving 1,284 navigational aids, and should be completed by Dec. 21. The aids, approximately half in the region, are taken out of service during the winter months due to decreased vessel traffic and to minimize damage from ice and inclement weather.

The Ninth Coast Guard District's aids to navigation system facilitates safe and efficient maritime activity in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway region by marking safe passage for domestic, international, commercial and recreational vessel traffic. The Coast Guard manages 2,628 federal aids in the region.

The waters of the United States and its territories are marked to assist navigation by the U.S. Aids-to-Navigation System. This system employs a simple arrangement of colors, shapes, numbers and light characteristics to mark navigable channels, waterways and obstructions adjacent to them.

To accomplish the aids to navigation mission, the Ninth Coast Guard District employs six Coast Guard cutters, five Aids-to-Navigation Teams; five small boat stations with aids-to-navigation duties; the Lamplighters, civilian employees who manage the inland waters of Northern Minnesota, and partner with the Canadian Coast Guard and the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

In addition, the Ninth District Coast Guard Auxiliary helps inspect approximately 3,000 privately-owned aids to navigation in the region.


Updates - October 21

News Photo Gallery
Public 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 West 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. 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 October 21, 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 October 21, 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.



Great Lakes shippers fuming over EPA fuel proposal

10/20 - Duluth, Minn. – Federal efforts to clean up laker emissions are fueling a heated debate throughout the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“It’s a threat to the economics of shipping on the Great Lakes,” Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said of rules recently proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA wants to wean older lakers off their diet of inexpensive No. 6 “bunker” fuel to reduce sulfur levels 50 percent in 2012 and help prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths. The entire fleet would convert to low-sulfur marine diesel by 2015.

But lake carriers say the effort could backfire if it drives more cargo to trucks and trains, which burn more fuel and emit more pollutants per ton of cargo than ships do. And they say the transition may well shrink the fleet of freighters serving the Twin Ports and other Great Lakes communities.

“We foresee 13 steamers potentially being retired,” said Glen Nekvasil, a spokesman for the Lake Carriers Association, a trade organization that represents companies operating freighters on the Great Lakes.

That would include such iconic Duluth visitors as the Alpena and the Edward L. Ryerson, vessels that are powered by older steam engines instead of more modern diesels.

In all, 13 U.S.-flagged steamships remain in active service — 20 percent of the U.S. laker fleet — and Nekvasil said the cost of repowering these vessels could run in the neighborhood of $22 million apiece. Even if fleet operators choose to make this hefty investment, it would require ships to be taken out of service at least temporarily.

“Marine engines like these don’t come off the shelf,” Nekvasil said.

Mark Barker, president of Interlake Steamship Co., based in Richfield, Ohio, said he would have little choice but to quit operating the two remaining steamers — the Kaye E. Barker and the Herbert C. Jackson — in his eight-vessel fleet and write them off as obsolete in 2012 if the proposed rules are adopted.

Environmentalist assails “dirty fuel”

But change is overdue, said Jennifer Nalbone, a campaign director for Great Lakes United, an environmental advocacy group.

While she described the domestic fleet of lakers as a mixed bag, Nalbone said: “Many of them have engines that are decades old and that burn dirty bunker fuel. It’s time for them to do their part.”

The United States and Canada have been working together to establish North American “emission control areas.” Newly proposed rules would regulate the type of fuel ships can use when operating within 200 nautical miles of the coastline.

The EPA projects its proposed regulations annually would eliminate 1.2 million tons of domestic nitrogen oxide emissions and would slash the quantity of particulate matter released into the atmosphere by about 143,000 tons by 2030. Regulators say that’s beneficial not only for the environment but for the welfare of humans.

The agency predicts that if its proposed new rules are adopted, by 2030 we could annually prevent 13,000 to 33,000 premature deaths associated with exposure to particulates and 220 to 980 premature deaths related to ozone.

“To the extent that shipping companies will be required to clean up the fuel they burn, I think this will be a step in the right direction,” said Mary Marrow, a staff attorney at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy.

She said that reducing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions also should help in the battle against haze that has besmirched once-pristine views of Isle Royale and the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area.

“Anything that can be done to improve the airshed is greatly needed,” Marrow said. “This requires a regional effort, because air has no boundaries.”

Shift away from lakers?

But Ojard fears the EPA has given inadequate consideration to the possible repercussions of applying the proposed fuel rules to the Great Lakes.

The new rules would hit the Great Lakes especially hard when fully implemented, because vessels operating in the 2,342-mile St. Lawrence Seaway system will be compelled to use more expensive marine diesel instead of bunker fuels.

In contrast, ocean-going vessels calling on coastal ports will only need to switch to more costly marine diesel when within 200 miles of their destination. For most of their journey they’ll be allowed to operate on cheaper bunker fuels.

If the new rules take effect, Ojard predicts salties may think twice about entering the St. Lawrence Seaway, given the higher operating costs they will face there.

Should costs rise, domestic shippers also may shift their cargo from lakers to trains or trucks, said Dave Podratz, general manager of the Murphy Oil USA refinery in Superior. Barker considers a shift of freight from the lakes to land quite likely if the EPA rules are enacted. He said vessels now burning intermediate fuels would need to switch to distillate fuels costing at least $1 per gallon more, and carriers could not absorb this added expense without adjusting rates.

“Haulage or freight contracts can be lost to shipping and railroad competitors for just pennies a ton,” he said.

Since trains provide a less fuel-efficient means of transportation than ships, Ojard said, shifting freight to rail will dump far more greenhouse gases and pollutants into the atmosphere than lakers currently do.

“It may do more harm than good,” he said. “I think it would be detrimental to both the environment and the economy.”

Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., has shared his concerns about the proposed rule changes with the EPA, said John Schadl, his communications director. Representatives of Great Lakes states met with the EPA last week, he said.

If laker rates climb, Schadl fears it could hurt demand for taconite and slow the pace of economic recovery.

“We’re finally at a point where the recession looks like it could be turning around,” he said. “We’re not going to jeopardize a recovery just because the EPA has made a rule that is ill-considered.”

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - October 20

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Lee A. Tregurtha arrived Monday afternoon at the Upper Harbor ore dock and loaded taconite into the evening.

South Chicago - Lou Gerard
Alpena came into the Calumet River late Saturday afternoon heading for the Lafarge dock in Lake Calumet. She departed Lafarge Sunday afternoon under sunny skies at 12:45 and cleared the Calumet Harbor breakwall after 3 p.m. heading for St. Joseph, Mich.


Fish habitat completed in Detroit River

10/20 - Riverview, Mich. - A new habitat for walleye, bass and lake sturgeon in the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River has been established near land that was used decades ago as a chemical dump.

Chemical giant BASF Corp. recently constructed the one-acre fish habitat near property the company owns in Riverview, southwest of Detroit, officials with the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge said.

BASF spent about $100,000 on the habitat, Refuge Manager John Hartig said. It's one of several efforts along the Detroit River to restore fish habitat lost to shipping channels and riverfront development.

BASF acquired the property near the Grosse Ile toll bridge and the Riverview boat dock in the 1960s. The land was used as a dump site by its previous owner. In 1998, mercury, PCBs and dioxin were found to be contaminating the groundwater.

BASF last year completed an environmental cleanup at the site.

Associated Press


Wind turbine research heads into Lake Michigan

10/20 - Allendale, Mich. - Grand Valley State University's wind turbine testing project is heading into Lake Michigan.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports the school's Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center is planning to put a floating platform on the lake with instruments to examine how a turbine would work on one of the Great Lakes.

Organizers say this project won't put a turbine in Lake Michigan.

The university has received $1.4 million in federal funding for research into wind turbines. Researchers hope to have the platform installed by fall 2010. Muskegon Chronice


Carl "Buttsy" Cramer crosses the bar

10/20 - – Carl Richard "Buttsy" Cramer of Birmingham, Mich. died peacefully after a long battle with cancer on October 15, 2009 at the age of 80. He was born September 1, 1929 in St. Clair, MI and raised in Marine City, MI. Upon graduation from Marine City High School, he spent a season as a coal passer aboard the Pittsburgh Steamship Company bulker Richard V. Lindabury. He then joined the U. S. Coast Guard and spent the next 20 years at the Fort Gratiot Light Station, aboard the Light Vessel 103 HURON, and the ice breaker Mackinaw. Upon leaving the Coast Guard, he began a second career as a photographic specialist before retiring at the age of 70. Funeral services will be held at St. Columban Church in Birmingham on Tuesday, October 20, 2009, followed by burial along side his wife at Hillside Cemetary in St. Clair MI.


Updates - October 20

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Pinedale updated


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.


John Sherwin enters layup at DeTour dock

10/19 - The John Sherwin arrived in DeTour, Mich., for continued layup Friday night. The tow passed Martins Reef light around 6 p.m. Friday, which put her out of Detour about 10 miles. They went by the DeTour ferry dock around 8 p.m. She eventually arrived in DeTour Passage, escorted by the Linda Jean pilot boat, with the tugs Empire State and Drummond Islander II securing a line on her aft end. The tug Mary K. Hannah towed her in and the tug pushed her towards the dock. Around a dozen boatwatchers brought their cars and trucks and parked in the weeds lining the old dock and used their headlights to light up the night and help guide the Sherwin in. The vessel was pulled by a Kabota tractor holding her lines, bow in all the way, to the end of the dock and run right into the mud bottom.

Previously the long-inactive carferry Arthur K. Atkinson had been moved aside to make way for the Sherwin. The dock is owned by the Interlake Steamship Co., which also owns the Sherwin.

The Sherwin was towed from Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, where plans to convert her to a self-unloader and install diesel engines were put on hold last fall due to the economy.

Cathy Kohring


Canada asks EPA to weaken anti-pollution measures

10/19 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed tough new measures to reduce the health toll from air pollution around the Great Lakes by forcing lake freighters to stop burning dirty bunker fuel.

But the plan has an unusual opponent: The Canadian embassy in Washington has quietly asked the EPA to weaken the measures, arguing that they could harm trade. It wants ships to be allowed to continue using the high-polluting fuel and to instead install smokestack scrubbers that would clean up their emissions. The Canadian recommendation, if accepted, could delay the clean-air measure for years, because the technology for the scrubbers does not yet exist.

The embassy asked the EPA to make the changes in a letter last month, marking a rare instance in which Canada has lobbied the United States to weaken air-pollution controls designed to reduce health problems linked to breathing dirty air. Because winds carry contaminants back and forth across both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, the EPA proposal would also lead to air-quality improvements in Canada.

The Canadian position is supported by the Great Lakes shipping industry, which is warning that the costs of complying with the proposed environmental regulations are so high that they will force companies to scrap some of the iconic steamers that now ply the lakes carrying everything from salt to iron ore.

But environmentalists, who have been waging a campaign against bunker fuel, a thick, gooey asphalt-like material laced with impurities such as sulphur, are outraged.

Canada's letter to the EPA was written by Paul Robertson, the embassy's economics minister. Mr. Robertson did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

The EPA wants ships to use fuel with a sulphur content under 1,000 parts per million starting in 2015. The average in the Canadian lake fleet is currently 17,000 ppm. As well, starting in 2016, new engines on boats will have to have improved emission controls.

Both Canada and the United States have agreed to apply the EPA proposals on ocean-going vessels within 200 nautical miles of most parts of their non-Arctic coasts, but Canada isn't extending the same measures to domestic freighters on the lakes.

Although the rules wouldn't apply to freighters on the Canadian side of the lakes, domestic vessels will have to comply anyway because shipping lanes frequently criss-cross the border on the waterway.

The EPA said in a background paper that ship-diesel exhaust, which can travel hundreds of kilometres from shorelines, is a likely human carcinogen, and contributes to heart and lung disease, particularly for children and the elderly. It says the new controls, including those on ocean vessels, will prevent 8,300 premature deaths annually, although it didn't give specific figures for the Great Lakes region.

The embassy didn't dispute the EPA's health findings, but expressed concerns about the economic impact of the measures.

Low-sulphur fuel costs 70 per cent to 250 per cent more than what is now being used, and the letter warned that the extra costs might lead to some freight now moved by ship to be switched to rail cars or trucks, with the environmental drawback of increased greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Canadian Shipowners Association has also written to the EPA, proposing that the industry be given until 2020 to comply with the proposals. The letter said scrubbers are a possible solution, but are still under development.

Association president Bruce Bowie defended lake freighters, saying they are the “greenest” type of transportation because they are a highly fuel-efficient way of moving bulk cargo. He predicted the EPA's move could lead to more road congestion.

“If they go ahead as it is now, a lot of our ships will have to be taken out of business and somebody is going to have to build more roads to accommodate it,” he said.

Globe and Mail


Port Reports - October 19

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
At noon Sunday the tug Bill G. with an empty stone barge (Luhr Bros.) was downbound on the Fox River, Green Bay. She was returning from Egg Harbor in Northern Door County where there is a marina project underway. The tug has been a frequent visitor to the Port of Green Bay over the past several weeks. The stone is being loaded at the Lower Leicht Dock just above Georgia Pacific. It took about 30 minutes for the tug to drop the empty barge and head out with a loaded stone barge for Egg Harbor.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
St. Marys Challenger came in at 7:30 Saturday night with a load for the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. It backed out about 4 p.m. on Sunday, blowing two salutes on its way out into a calm lake under clear skies.

Goderich, Ont. - Jon Stuparyk
On Sunday, Robert S. Pierson was in port loading at the grain elevators.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Manitowoc was inbound during the early morning hours on Sunday, headed upriver to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. She completed her unload and was outbound during the afternoon.

Port Huron, Mich.
A busy day saw downbound traffic that included Algoma Spirit, Atlantic Erie, Canadian Transport, McKee Sons, Isa and the tug John Selvick and barge. Maumee, Algosteel, Algoway, John G. Munson and Arthur M. Anderson were all upbound during daylight.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
U.S. Coast Cutter Bristol Bay with her barge departed from the City Dock Sunday morning. Catherine Desgagnes was loading coal at the CSX Dock. American Integrity was at the CSX#2 Dock but was not scheduled to load coal. Walter J. McCarthy was at the Midwest Terminal Dock. The tug Michigan with the barge Great Lakes were at the B-P Dock. Kaministiqua was at Andersons K Elevator loading grain. CSL’s Mapleglen was at anchor in western Lake Erie, she was scheduled for the Andersons K Elevator when the Kaministiqua finishes loading grain and departs.
The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be Manitowoc on Tuesday, Algolake on Wednesday, Lee A. Tregurtha, Charles M. Beeghly and Calumet on Thursday followed by American Mariner and Herbert C. Jackson on Friday. The next ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock will be Lee A. Tregurtha on Wednesday followed by CSL Laurentien on Sunday.
The next vessels due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock will be Algomarine on Friday followed by Peter R. Creswell on Saturday.


Acacia arrives at new home in Manistee

10/19 - Manistee, Mich. – The decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard vessel Acacia arrived in Manistee, Mich., from Chicago on Friday at 5 p.m.

It will join the museum ship S.S. City of Milwaukee and be open for tours and overnight stays.


Treasure hunters seek Lake Superior's “Holy Grail”

10/19 - Toronto, Ont. – Ninety years after their disappearance in a Lake Superior blizzard, shipwreck hunters are trying to find two French warships that vanished without a trace, taking two Canadian Great Lakes captains and 78 French sailors with them.

The wrecks of the Inkerman and Cerisoles, newly-built at the Canada Car foundry in what was then called Fort William, Ont., caused the greatest single loss of life in a marine accident on Lake Superior.

No one knows what happened to the 50-metre ships and their crews after they left Thunder Bay in late November 1918.

Shipwreck hunter Tom Farnquist has taken up the challenge of finding the two minesweepers, the last warships to be lost on the Great Lakes. He wants to answer one of the great mysteries of the Great Lakes: how could two warships built for the Atlantic Ocean simply disappear?

The ships were Navarin-type minesweepers designed for clearing the thousands of German and Allied mines laid along the French coast and in the English Channel during World War I.

Canada Car had a contract to build 12 of the ships under supervision of French naval engineers. Each ship carried two 100 mm guns with a range of 20 kilometres.

The Inkerman, the Cerisoles and their sister ship the Sebastopol, which left Thunder Bay with them, were named after famous French victories. The ships' crews were reluctant conscripts pulled from the trenches of Flanders, who arrived at the Lakehead by train shortly before their ships were to make their maiden voyages.

They left Thunder Bay less than a month after the war ended, sailing together into what Farnquist, executive director of the Great lakes Shipwreck Museum in northern Michigan, calls "a classic Lake Superior storm."

Canadian Great Lakes skippers Capt. R. Wilson and Capt. W.J. Murphy were on the two ships as advisers. The storm that hit them was packing dense snow pushed by 80 km/h winds that whipped up waves the size of houses. The few ships still on the lake raced for safe harbors while the minesweepers struggled southeast toward Sault Ste. Marie.

Two days after the storm hit, the Sebastopol emerged from the storm on the Michigan side of the lake, but the Inkerman and Cerisoles disappeared.

Marius Mallor, a French sailor on the Sebastopol, later wrote, "We had to get out the life boats and put on lifebelts ... the boat almost sank – and it was nearly `goodbye' to anyone hearing from us again. "You can believe me, I will always remember that day. I can tell you that I had already given myself up to God." 

Water had poured into the Sebastopol, flooding part of her engine room and nearly putting out the coal fires in her boilers. After taking shelter near Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, the Sebastopol struggled through pounding seas for two days before finally reaching Sault Ste. Marie.

Capt. De Vaisseaux Leclerc, overall leader of the expedition, waited in vain for the other two ships.

The search for the missing ships began Dec. 3, 10 days after the three ships left the Lakehead. Fort William's mayor at the time, Hy Murphy, hinted the two ships might still be sailing somewhere on the Great Lakes, under a shroud of censorship and official secrecy.

In the next few days, rumors swept Fort William that the ships could have secretly moved through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie without being registered because they were naval vessels

Stories that the two lost ships had been seen together at Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior by the crew of the steamer Osler also spread along the city's waterfront.

There were false reports that the ships were on Lake Huron or Erie, or headed for the Welland Canal. The speculation has never ended.

Here's what we do know. In the few weeks between the disappearance of the Inkerman and the Cerisoles and the winter freeze-up, tugboats searched the islands and shoreline of northern Lake Superior. On the U.S. side of the lake, searchers were misled by wreckage cast ashore by the storm that turned out to be from another ship.

After that initial search, neither Canada nor France lifted a finger to try to find the resting place of the ships and their crews. Presumably, the two are French war graves.

Even in those early days, people connected with the wreck acted mysteriously. Leclerc, the expedition commander, sent a telegram to Thunder Bay suggesting the ships had turned up at the Lake Erie end of the Welland Canal.

People in Thunder Bay wondered what was in the sealed orders given to each captain by French authorities as they left Thunder Bay. They were not allowed to open them until they cleared the harbor.

If the French government, the Canadian navy and the bureaucrats in charge of investigating shipwrecks did take any interest in the wrecks, their correspondence has been purged from Canadian archives.

The federal government's Great Lakes shipwreck registry book, now held in the collection of Library and Archives Canada, has a one-line entry saying the ships disappeared on Lake Ontario.

Except for photographs of their construction, Canada Car's records of them have disappeared.

Outside of Thunder Bay, there was virtually no press coverage of the loss of the ships. Wartime censorship lasted in Canada until late 1919.

Rumor replaced fact. People in Thunder Bay said the ships were built poorly, and a rumor persists that, because of wartime shortages, they were held together with wooden pegs instead of steel bolts.

Peter McCorkindale, representative of Lloyd's Insurance Co., which held a policy on the ships until they left Canadian waters, watched the construction project and denied the ships were unseaworthy.

"The French minesweepers built at the Canadian Car and Foundry Co.'s shipyards were structurally strong and seaworthy, and as perfect a type of boat that I have ever inspected," he told a Thunder Bay reporter.

In 1918, there were even wilder rumors: somehow a German U-boat had made it into Lake Superior; the minesweepers had been seized by the Americans.

In recent years, attention has shifted to UFOs and the so-called "Lake Superior Triangle" that consumes ships and airplanes.

Meanwhile, marine historians have tried to find the two ships.

Some have speculated they foundered on Lake Superior Shoal, a patch of shallow water near the middle of the lake that was not charted until more than a decade after the minesweepers were lost.

Most, however, like Farnquist, believe the ships foundered in U.S. waters near the spot where the Sebastopol emerged from the blizzard.

"It must have happened fast. They had wireless radios, but they had no chance to use them," said Farnquist, known for salvaging the bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1996.

The discovery of the minesweeper wrecks would be a career-making achievement for shipwreck hunters, who have scoured French and Canadian archives for clues.

They've also tracked down rumor after rumor, some of them published, that parts of the wrecks have been found and that bodies have been discovered. So far, all have been dead ends.

There is a range of opinions on the site of the wrecks. Some sailors said at the time they saw the Inkerman and the Cerisoles near Manitou Island, Mich., in the southwest part of the lake, which could place them near the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Farnquist believes they are further to the north and west, off the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Farnquist, who also heads the Great Lakes Shipwreck Society, is determined to find the two warships. He has led one attempt to hunt them down and plans to try again, using state-of-the-art underwater scanning.

That search will likely take place in August 2010. Early August is usually the most tranquil time on the temperamental lake.

"This is the Holy Grail of Lake Superior, to find two 155-foot brand spanking new minesweepers with 5-inch guns fore and aft," he says.

"One might have got into trouble and the other went to help it and was swamped when it turned its side into the wind. If we're lucky, they'll be close together."

Farnquist is pinning some hope on Ottawa, which will send frigates into the Great Lakes next summer in celebration of the centennial of Canada's navy. He hopes they can help him "mow the lawn," using high-tech equipment to do grid searches of the lake bed.

"This would be a good project for a partnership between the Canadian, French and U.S. navies, since the ships were built in Canada for the French and were lost in U.S. waters."

Toronto Star


Updates - October 19

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery and more News Photo Gallery updates


Today in Great Lakes History - October 19

At 2 a.m. October 19, 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 60 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 October 19, 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 to traffic 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 October 19, 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 October 19,1876, 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 a.m. when they were rescued by the tug VULCAN.

On October 19, 1873, JOHN F. RUST (wooden schooner-barge, 161 foot, 347 gross tons, built in 1869, at East 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.


Port Reports - October 18

Sault Ste. Marie. Mich. -Tom Lindholm
Saturday afternoon was the Cason J. Callaway downbound and the Drummond Islander II and barge down to the Detour coal dock. Atlantic Erie was downbound and Sacre Bleu upbound to MCM Marine.

Toronto, Ont. - David Robinson
The saltie Puffin was tied up at Redpath over the weekend.


Today in Great Lakes History - October 18

On October 18, 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, the vessel 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 October 18, 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 p.m., on October 18, 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 October 18,1876, 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.


John Sherwin heading for Detour

10/17 - Detour, Mich. - John Sherwin departed Sturgeon Bay under tow Friday, headed for her new home in Detour, Mich. Selvick's tug Mary Page Hannah is towing the vessel.

On Thursday, the long-inactive rail car ferry Arthur K. Atkinson was moved from where it had been docked for nearly five years to make room for the arrival of the Sherwin. The Coast Guard gave approval for the Atkinson to be moved over and tied to the inside of the outer dock, which is owned by Interlake Steamship Company, which also owns the Sherwin.

Crews had to pump 80,000 gallons out of the Atkinson’s bilge before she could be moved. Special waste disposal tankers came from Bark River, Mich., to pump and haul it all away. It was expected to take about 24 hours for the tow to reach the dock on Spring Bay.

The Sherwin had been in long-term lay-up since Nov. 16, 1981 in Superior, Wisc., and S. Chicago, Ill. In August 2008 it was moved to Sturgeon Bay and for refit and conversion to a self unloader. The economic slump cancelled the scheduled work and the Sherwin re-entered lay-up.

Cathy Kohring and Mike Phillips


All Great Lakes surpass last year's water levels

10/17 - Water levels in all of the Great Lakes are at least 1 inch higher than year-ago levels, according to a new report.

The weekly report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says that lakes Michigan and Huron are 7 inches above last year's levels, Lake St. Clair is 6 inches higher, and Lake Erie is 4 inches higher than in the same period last year, aided by higher-than-average precipitation across the region. Lakes Superior and Ontario are both 1 inch higher.

Levels in all the lakes are predicted to decline over the next month, part of the yearly cycle that peaks in the summer months.

Although higher than last year, Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron remain 6-7 inches below their long-term averages, while St. Clair and Erie remain above their monthly average. Ontario is at its average level for this time in October.

Experts continue to watch the lakes as they rebound from historically low levels in 2007.

The Detroit News


Port Reports - October 17

Twin Ports Report – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic early Friday included Federal Shimanto loading at CHS elevator in Superior and Atlantic Erie loading at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal bound for Nova Scotia. James R. Barker departed early in the morning with coal for St. Clair. Salties Rega and Utviken were anchored on the lake waiting to load grain.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived late Thursday night with a load for the Verplank Dock in Ferrysburg. They departed around daybreak.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Sam Laud unloaded coal at Lafarge Wednesday night. Thursday the tug G.L Ostrander/barge Integrity took on cement at Lafarge and the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation tied up at the coal dock to get repair work done. Alpena was in port early Friday morning loading cement for South Chicago. Innovation was tied up under the silos Friday afternoon but it is not known when it will depart.

Buffalo, N.Y. –Brian W.
Adam E. Cornelius was still unloading at General Mills Friday morning at 10 a.m. after arriving late Wednesday night. At 2 p.m. she was headed out into the lake.

Welland Canal – Paul Beesley
It was a gathering of “glens” in the Welland Canal Friday. Birchglen (ex Federal Richelieu), downbound from Lock 2, passed the upbound Mapleglen. The Oakglen (ex Federal Danube) was also in the canal.


Updates - October 17

News Photo Gallery


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 October 17, 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 October 17,1871, 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 October 17, 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 October 17, 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.


Carferry Badger returns to Ludington

10/16 - Ludington, Mich The SS Badger was back at its dock Thursday morning after its annual 5 year inspection in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. She was towed by the Mary Page Hannah and Jimmy L. The Badger was winterized before it left Ludington and was towed by the tugs.

The carferry will be maintained and repaired during the winter months to get ready for next year's season, beginning in May.

Bob Kalal and Ludington Daily News


Acacia to depart today

10/16 - The retired Coast Guard buoy tender Acacia is scheduled to sail under its own power from Chicago to its new home in Manistee, Mich. It is expected to depart at 4 p.m. Friday. It will be moved to its berth beside the museum ship SS City of Milwaukee on arrival. Plans are to have the Acacia ready for tours and overnight stays by next summer.

Bob Strauss


New Toledo Port Authority President

10/16 - After only six months on the job, Michael Stolarczyk has resigned as president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

During a special meeting Thursday morning, the port authority board accepted the resignation and named Paul Toth as the new president, effective immediately and permanently. He had been the interim president before Mr. Stolarczyk took over the job on April 1 and is currently the vice president of finance and technical services for the port authority.

The only explanation for Mr. Stolarczyk's resignation was "family reasons."

Board chairman William Carroll said after the special meeting that the resignation "has come as a surprise ... we were moving along quite nicely," but added that family considerations have to come first.

Mr. Stolarczyk was 45 when he was tapped for the port position. At the time, he was senior director for business development in the Americas for Exel, Inc., an international contract logistics company with more than 500 sites in the western hemisphere. He was based in the Columbus suburb of Westerville, Ohio.

The plan had been for him to sell his home in the Columbus area and move his family, but he had been living in temporary housing in Toledo.

Mr. Carroll said Thursday morning that terms of Mr. Toth's promotion have not been worked out but he did not expect the departure of Mr. Stolarczyk to be "disruptive to the port's ongoing initiatives because of Mr. Toth's 20-plus years with the port."

The port's appointed Mr. Toth as interim president following the Aug. 1, 2008 firing of the former president.

But early this year when the board announced it had narrowed its search for a new president to three candidates who would be granted final interviews, Mr. Toth was not one of the three.

The finalists were Mr. Stolarczyk, Ricci L. Gardner, who had most recently been an executive for Dana Corp. and is now the economic development chief for the city of Toledo, and Sean T. Connaughton, who had been the maritime administrator in Washington for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Though Mr. Toth applied for the permanent position and proved a "very viable candidate," the three finalists offered "broader experiences" that the port authority can draw upon, Mr. Carroll said at the time they were announced.

"We just felt that these individuals can bring something to Toledo and to the port authority with the outside experiences that they have," he said. "Paul has done a tremendous job for us in the interim."

By a 10-1 vote, with two members absent, the port board chose Mr. Stolarczyk in February after a 90-minute closed-door discussion about the choice between him and Mr. Gardner.

At the time of the choice, Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, who made the motion to authorize board leaders to negotiate an employment contract with Mr. Stolarczyk, said, "He is a great candidate with leadership skills."

He added: "I think he'll carry the port authority forward into the 21st century."

"He will be the CEO and president to take us to the next level," William Carroll, the board's chairman, said at the time of the announcement.

Mr. Stolarczyk started his job in April and was the first full-time port leader since the Aug. 1, 2008, when the board fired long-time President James H. Hartung.

From 1988 until 2004, he climbed the career ladder with A.P. Moller-Maersk, a major international container-ship company that is involved in oil production, shipyards, and other businesses.

When he started in the port job on April 1, Mr. Stolarczyk described the agency as an "aggregator of assets" and "above all, an engine for growth," and pledged to ask many questions of local business and political leaders and head in new directions as appropriate.

Toledo's confluence of water, air, and land-based transportation assets ideally situate it for growth in a world economy, and "the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority will ensure that all of these assets will be deployed to create an open source environment, that will be the incubator for new ideas, businesses, and revenue streams," Mr. Stolarczyk pledged during an introductory news conference at the agency's downtown headquarters. "Let's get started."

The Toledo Blade


Port Reports - October 16

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock Thursday morning. The pair unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock overnight.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Barbara Andrie with her tank barge called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City on Wednesday. She was followed by the Indiana Harbor, who called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. Once unloaded, the Harbor backed from the dock and out to Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay to turn and head for the lake. The Barbara Andrie and her barge were outbound early Thursday morning after finishing their unload.

Cleveland, Ohio - Bill Kloss
The Stephan B. Roman was unloading at Essroc and the Algoma Guardian was unloading at the Port Authority docks.

Kingston, Ont. - Brian Johnson
The carferry Wolfe Islander III departed Kingston for Heddle Marine drydock in Hamilton Tuesday night. In her place on the Kingston to Wolfe Island run is the Amherst Island ferry Frontenac II. In turn, the Quinte Loyalist is now providing service at Amherst Island to Millhaven, Ont. The Quinte Loyalist normally runs at Glenora, Ont. providing service between Adolphustown and Glenora. Service continues there with the one ferry, the Glenora.
The Wolfe Islander III is undergoing her five year inspection with some modifications planned. She is expected to return sometime mid December.


Seaway traffic sinks

10/16 - Cornwall - Traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway has dropped significantly this year due to the sluggish economy, but the downturn isn't expected to result in staffing cuts.

"I'm not aware of any plans to change employment levels," said Andrew Bogora of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC), the Crown agency which oversees the Canadian section of the waterway.

As of the end of September, ship transits on the Seaway were down 25%, while cargo volumes were down 35%.

The drop in business can be directly tied to the economy, and more specifically, the ailing auto sector. Shipments of iron ore -- which is used to make steel -- were down 54% at the end of September to 4.3 million tonnes, compared to 9.5 million tonnes at the same time last year.

Overall, 19.3 million tonnes of cargo had been shipped on the Seaway up to the end of September, which is down about 10 million tonnes from the same time last year.

"We've seen an impact on our revenues, there's no doubt about that," said Bogora, the communications officer for the SLSMC.

Typically, the Seaway can fully cover its operating costs through the toll revenues it raises, but in light of this year's situation, Transport Canada may have to chip in financially to help cover the revenues that have been lost as a result of the drop in business. Bogora was unable to provide a figure for the amount of revenue that's been lost this season, and he said those numbers will be made public at year's end.

For its 2008/09 fiscal year, the Seaway generated revenues of $70.9 million and operating expenses of $65.2 million.

Although it has been a challenging year, Bogora said the statistics for October have seen a slight improvement compared to the previous months.

Also, the steel mills in Hamilton -- a big client for the Seaway -- are beginning to see a bit of a resurgence, Bogora said.

"There's been an uptick in traffic (recently), and if that trend continues, we could see a pretty strong finish for this year," he added.

The Seaway employs roughly 575 workers throughout its network in Ontario and Quebec, including 62 at its head office in Cornwall.

There's another 130 employees working for the American portion of the Seaway in Massena.

The Seaway navigation season typically ends around Christmas, however the closing date for this year's season has yet to be announced.


Construction completed on connector to William G. Mather

10/16 - Cleveland, Ohio - Great Lakes Science Center broke ground in September 2008 for a physical connector to link the building to the Steamship William G. Mather Museum. On October 22 a ribbon cutting ceremony will celebrate the completion of this physical and thematic link between the two organizations. This is the first step to providing year-round access to the Mather and the stepping stone to a major redevelopment of exhibits aboard the steamship.

The Connector poises us to begin major redevelopment of exhibitions on either side of it, at the Steamship William G. Mather and Great Lakes Science Center, says Jeanette Grasselli Brown, Chair, Board of Directors. The Connector positions the Great Lakes Science Center to take the lead in interpreting the future of freshwater in the region and beyond.

The 400 Connector begins at the ground level of Great Lakes Science Center in the recently opened MC2STEM High School, unveiled this past August. Glass walls open the view beyond and through the Connector; as guests walk through the Connector toward the Mather, they will approach a gathering point in the structure with a raised roof to give a full height view of the prow enhancing the first glimpse of the ship.

The tallest section of the Connector is designed to act as a symbolic portal into Northcoast Harbor from the west. The exposed truss work above the opening at this point is white to provide a striking contrast against the dark hull of the ship. Industrial materials were used, not only to endure lakefront weather conditions, but also to connect the new structure to the mining and industrial roots of the Mather and Clevelands port.

The newly completed Connector is a continuation of several objectives of the Science Centers strategic plan. First, the plan outlined water and the environment as crucial content areas. In addition, the plan called for the Science Center to be a non-profit leader for collaboration and consolidation among Northeast Ohio organizations.

The Mather combined with Great Lakes Science Center in 2006. Since that time, the Science Center has integrated the Mather into its programming and camps program and elevated awareness of and attendance to the Mather. The Connector solidifies this connection and will help to make the Mather an eventual year-round experience. The next step is to redevelop the cargo holds of the Mather, integrating more exhibits which will outline not only the history of Lake Erie shipping, but also the technology and industries that have and will lead Northeast Ohio. In addition, freshwater exhibits will be created for the Great Lakes Science Center, allowing the Science Center to continue to be a leader in fresh water education.

An accessible pass-through allows bicyclists and pedestrians through the structure without having to open a door the area is marked with gold panels as a visual cue. In addition, overhead doors permit large crowds to pass through the Connector during large public events on Northcoast Harbor.

The Connector is made possible from a generous lead gift from Cliffs Natural Resources and the State of Ohio through the Cultural Facilities Commission, as well as funding from ArcelorMittal, The Cleveland Foundation, The Elizabeth Ring and William Gwinn Mather Foundation, Jones Day, James D. Ireland, III, The Murch Foundation, The Reinberger Foundation, The Sherwick Fund, Thompson Hine LLP and Ulmer & Berne LLP.


Titanic event Cancelled

10/16 - The program planned for Oct. 22 in Marine City, Mich. has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. The group hopes to hold this event in the future.


Updates - October 16

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - October 16

On this day in 1950, the JOHN M. McKERCHEY 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 October 16,1855, 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 and now serves as a marine museum.

On October 16, 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 October 16, 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 October 16, 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.


Seaway Demand Plunged 35 Percent

10/15 - Iron declines 61 percent, coal 42 percent as steel industry comes to standstill

Demand on the St. Lawrence Seaway-Great Lakes system fell off a whopping 35.3 percent to 19.3 million metric tons of cargo for the season to date through Sept. 30. And improvement, say operators, is not likely very soon.

"It’s pretty ugly," Mark Barker, president of Interlake Steamship Co., told the Journal of Commerce. His nine-vessel bulk commodity carrier headquartered in Richfield, Ohio, handles primarily coal, iron ore and some limestone.

"Iron ore and coal for the steel and power plants (along the Great Lakes Basin) are down for Interlake from about 89 percent capacity utilization late last year to about 38 percent now,” he said.

"The steel industry literally came to a screeching halt starting last fall," Barker said. "It’s slowly coming back, there’s some restarting of furnaces, but the steel companies are not going to bring capacity back until they see their back order books beginning to fill up and demand increasing. They’ve been slowly ramping up, but demand is still weak."

For the year through Sept. 30, iron ore shipments carried by the U.S.-flag fleet total only 14 million tons, down 61 percent from the period last year, the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers’ Association reported. The coal trade, for power plants along the Great Lakes Basin, is down 42.5 percent for the year thus far to 42.6 million tons. "Nobody expects to see a significant turnaround before this season ends, or soon next year," said Glen Nekvasil, LCA vice-president.

"This time last year we had recorded 22.3 million tons in vessel shipments and this year it is 19 million tons," said Fred Schusterich, president of Midwest Energy Resources Company, the largest coal terminal on the lakes. "That was almost entirely due to a Canadian utility company reeling under the effects of the recession and the very cool summer: it took almost half the coal it has taken before," he said.

"I don’t think the situation is going to reverse quickly," Schusterich said. "This is going to be a longer haul than most people would like."

"The key challenge is the iron ore trade for North American mills, down 54 percent from the same period last year," said Andrew Bogora, spokesman for Canada’s St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. "Associated with that, steel imports are down significantly."

The Journal of Commerce Online


Big Dip in Lakes Coal Trade in September

10/15 - Coal shipments on the Great Lakes in September totaled only 2,752,691 net tons, a decrease of 34 percent compared to a year ago. It is rare for the Lakes coal trade to total so few tons in a month unless impacted by heavy ice or frequent storms that force the fleet to go to anchor for extended periods of time.

The largest decrease came in shipments from Superior, Wisconsin. Superior Midwest Energy Terminal loaded 1.5 million tons in September, a decrease of 35 percent compared to a year ago. The decline primarily reflects decreased demand from a Canadian power plant. However, vessel availability issues and a couple weather-related delays also were a factor.

Year-to-date, coal shipments stand at 20.6 million tons, a decrease of nearly 27 percent compared to a year ago. The trade is more than 29 percent off the 5-year average for the first three quarters.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - October 15

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic early Wednesday included Cason J. Callaway arriving for a busy day around the harbor. It was scheduled to unload at the Reiss Inland dock on the St. Louis River and then shift to Hallett 5 to load a partial cargo of sinter before departing for Two Harbors to complete its load for Gary. Elsewhere in port, Olympic Mentor was loading at CHS elevator and saltie Orla, which had loaded at CHS, was anchored on the lake, apparently for maintenance or repairs. Later in the day, American Century was due at the Midwest Energy Terminal and John B. Aird and Gordon C. Leitch were expected at the CN/DMIR ore dock to load.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The Manistee came in light on Tuesday afternoon and took a load out from the Construction Aggregates Dock in Ferrysburg. She returned Wednesday for another load, this will complete the season for the dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The Calumet finished unloading cargo at the Midwest Terminal Dock and departed Wednesday morning. The tug Samuel De Champlain and barge Integrity finished unloading cement at the Lafarge Dock and departed during the afternoon. The H. Lee White finished loading coal at the CSX Docks and departed during the afternoon. The salt water vessel Stefania 1 finished loaded grain at Anderson's K Elevator and departed during the late afternoon. Cedarglen was waiting at the layby slip, when the Stefania 1 departed she proceeded over to Anderson's K Elevator to load grain. The salt water vessel Maxima was at the Midwest Terminal Dock. The tug Sea Eagle II with the barge St. Marys Cement II were at the St. Marys Cement Dock unloading cement. The Robert S. Pierson was unloading grain at the Kraft Food Elevator. The USCGC Bristol Bay and barge were at the City Dock. Kaministiqua was anchored in western Lake Erie waiting for a berth at one of the dock sites in Toledo.
The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the Robert S. Pierson when finished unloading grain at the Kraft Food Elevator late Wednesday evening. The Lee A. Tregurtha on Thursday, Michipicoten on Friday followed by the Catherine Desgagnes on Sunday. The next ore boat due into the Torco Ore Dock will be the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Saturday. The next stone boat due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock will be the Algomarine on Monday.
The tug William C. Gaynor and related dredge equipment are dredging the ship channel in Maumee Bay. Tug Kathy Lynn and related dredge equipment are dredging the ship channel at the entrance to the Maumee River.


Detroit hopes to become Midwest cruise-ship capital

10/15 - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other leaders painted a vision Monday of Detroit developing as a Midwest cruise-ship capital thanks to a new port facility taking shape on the Detroit River.

The $21-million Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority headquarters and customs facility is to include a dock for cruise ships and water taxis. The facility, now under construction, should be finished in late 2010.

Detroit Free Press


Port Security Position with USCG

10/15 - - The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for qualified candidates to apply for the civilian position of Port Security Specialist, GS-0080-11/12 in San Pedro, California.

Announcement #: 09-2420-WE-DM-D
Who May Apply: Open to all U.S. Citizens
Open Period: Oct 9, 2009 to Oct 30, 2009
Salary Range: $62,678 - $97,658
Position Information: Full time, permanent
Duties: The incumbent will serve as a port security planner and Subject Matter Expert (SME) for Maritime Security, MTS infrastructure recovery including salvage response, and resumption of maritime commerce, and related preparedness planning and incident management.

Please review the full vacancy announcement for additional duties, the qualification requirements, and how to apply for this position. Click here


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 October 15, 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. McKELLAR 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 October 8. 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 October 15, 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 October 15,1871, 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 October 15, 1900, the wooden 186 foot freighter F. E. SPINNER was sunk in a collision with the steamer H. D. COFFINBERRY in the St. Marys 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.


U.S.-Flag Lakes Float Off More Than a Third in September

10/14 - With Americas economy still not hitting on all cylinders, the U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleet continued to struggle with slumping cargo demand in September. Shipments in U.S. bottoms totaled 7 million net tons, a decrease of 36.2 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings were down 39 percent compared to the months 5-year average.

The year-long slump in iron ore and limestone cargos continued in September. Loadings were off 57 percent and 15 percent respectively.

The coal trade in U.S.-Flag lakers experienced one of its biggest drops of the season. The 2 million tons loaded represented a decrease of 24 percent. Shipments of low-sulfur coal from Superior, Wisconsin accounted for most of the fall-off. Several factors were at work: reduced demand from an Ontario power plant; vessels down for maintenance; and vessels being delayed by heavy weather at the end of the month.

For the year, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 42.6 million tons, a decrease of 42.5 percent compared to a year ago. Compared to the 5-year average for the first three quarters, loadings in U.S. bottoms are down 44.3 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


$5 million sought in ship’s partial sinking

10/14 - American Steamship Co. could seek as much as $5 million in damages for the partial sinking of the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. at a Superior dock two winters ago.

The McCarthy arrived at Hallett Dock No. 8 in Superior on Jan. 14, 2008, with the 1,000-footer’s crew planning to tie up for the season. But while they were maneuvering the laker into place, it struck a piece of submerged concrete that punctured the hull. Water poured into the ship, flooding its engine room and causing the vessel to come to rest in about 20 feet of water.

As reported last week, American Steamship has filed suit against both Hallett Dock Co. and Fraser Shipyards, also of Superior, claiming that their negligence led to the accident. But the amount being sought remained a question mark.

On Monday, Brent Reichert, attorney for American Steamship Co., provided details about the expenses his client will seek to recover. He reported it cost about $4.3 million to repair the McCarthy. But repairs also kept the vessel from getting out of the gates quickly at the start of the next shipping season, and Reichert calculates the laker lost $500,000 to $600,000 in revenue as a result.

Tack on another $135,000 spent to contain and clean up prospective pollutants from the wounded ship, and the total bill could run from about $4.9 million to $5 million.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - October 14

Holland, Mich - Bob VandeVusse
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons arrived at the Brewer dock in Holland about 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon to deliver a combination load of stone and agricultural lime. The ag lime was giving some trouble and they were still working at 11 p.m. to finish.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore with the Lewis J. Kuber arrived on the Saginaw River on Monday with a split load. The pair lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville before moving upriver to finish at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. The Moore and Kuber then turned in the Sixth Street basin and headed outbound for the lake. On their way out, they passed the inbound Algoway who was headed to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload. Once finished, the Algoway also turned at Sixth Street and headed for the lake Monday evening. The tugs John M. Selvick and Krista S. were both outbound with their barges on Monday after calling on the Consumers Energy dock early on Sunday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Monday morning the English River was backing into Lafarge.


Obey measure could block new EPA ship pollution regulations

10/14 - Washington - The Obama administration is seeking to enact strict air pollution controls for ships that navigate both along the coasts and on the Great Lakes.

But federal regulators could see their efforts undercut by an unlikely detractor: U.S. Rep. David Obey, a veteran Democratic lawmaker and avid environmentalist.

Obey, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is crafting language that would allow Great Lakes ships to escape some of the tougher regulations proposed for large vessels by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Federal regulators say the new rules could save thousands of lives a year and help millions of people better cope with asthma and other respiratory problems. But shipping companies and others who do business on the Great Lakes - including Murphy Oil, which operates a refinery in Obey's district - say the proposals would pose an economic burden on lake vessels that could force some ships out of business.

Obey said through a spokesman he had no comment on the issue.

But congressional sources and environmental activists say Obey is trying to lessen the regulatory burden for Great Lakes ships through a new provision in an upcoming energy and water spending bill that is expected to be signed into law.

The EPA is proposing a ban on the use of high-sulfur fuel within 200 miles of U.S. coasts as well as along rivers and lakes. The agency also wants to require nitrogen oxide controls on new engines in U.S. ships.

Agency officials say the new rules are needed because big ships emit vast amounts of nitrogen and sulfur oxides that contribute to acid rain, particulate matter and ground-level ozone. Poor air quality from these emissions can be especially harmful to children, the elderly and people with respiratory disorders. And diesel exhaust is classified by the EPA as a likely carcinogenic substance.

Ships make up about 17% of the air pollution from what is known as mobile sources, such as cars, trucks and ships.

The Lake Carriers' Association, which represents 17 American companies that operate 61 vessels on the Great Lakes, argues that the EPA proposal discriminates against lake carriers because they are always within 200 miles of land, which triggers the strictest regulations under the agency proposal.

"Many vessels in the ocean trades spend the predominant part of their time far from shore and would be able to use the higher-sulfur fuels," association president James Weakley wrote to the EPA. "We do want cleaner air, but feel that vessels are being singled out too much, at least on the Great Lakes."

Weakley estimates that a typical 1,000 foot-long cargo vessel could see its annual fuel costs double from a current price tag of $5.7 million if the cleaner fuel regulations go into effect.

Murphy Oil, which supplies what's known as bunker fuel to domestic and foreign ships operating in the Great Lakes, agrees that providing vessels with cleaner fuel would come at a price that some carriers may find prohibitive. They say water-borne transport might dwindle as a result as firms seeking to ship cargo switch to ground transportation, which is less fuel-efficient.

"Duluth and Superior is really tied to the shipping industry," said David Podratz, refinery manager for the company. "We just don't want the economy to take a hit."

But environmentalists argue that the regulations should also have to apply to vessels on the Great Lakes and that the rules could help prevent 450 deaths a year in the region. They are also taking Obey, known for his commitment to the Great Lakes and the environment, to task for his efforts to help the shipping industry, a big employer in his district.

"His name is synonymous with progress and environmental protections," said Frank O'Donnell, president of the nonprofit group Clean Air Watch. "It would be highly disappointing if he ends up essentially fronting for a special interest polluter."

Other activists say that while shipping is typically more fuel-efficient than ground transportation, ships often burn dirtier types of fuel that are more harmful to human health.

"Fuel efficiency doesn't mean they're burning clean fuel," said Jennifer Nalbone, of Great Lakes United, an environmental watchdog group. "That doesn't mean they shouldn't take the steps necessary to clean up their act."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Cliffs seeks to add to taconite interests

10/14 - Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. on Monday demonstrated its faith in the future of demand for taconite.

North America’s largest producer of iron ore pellets announced plans to become the sole owner of the Wabush Mines, with operations in Newfoundland, Labrador and Quebec. Cliffs will pay about $88 million to buy out partners U.S. Steel Canada and ArcelorMittal Dofasco, which own 44.6 percent and 28.6 percent shares of Wabush, respectively. Cliffs already holds a 26.8 percent stake in Wabush.

Consolidated Thompson offered Friday to buy Wabush for $120 million and was poised to complete the acquisition, but Cliffs announced Monday it will exercise its right of first refusal, meaning it will complete the transaction under the same terms negotiated by Wabush.

Tony Robson, an analyst for BMO Capital Markets, views Cliffs’ decision to buy Wabush as a sign of industry confidence.

“Especially since it’s a relatively high-cost producer versus the Minnesota mines, you need a pretty positive price environment to make Wabush work,” he said.

Peter Kakela, a professor at Michigan State University and a taconite industry expert, referred to Cliffs’ announcement Monday as “a pretty strong statement.”

Robson saw Cliffs’ plans to purchase Wabush as “somewhat surprising,” given its prior attempts to sell its stake in the Canadian mine operations.

Wabush Mines has a rated annual capacity of 5.5 million tons.

Kakela noted that while Wabush is the smallest Canadian taconite operation, it enjoys special access to the European market because of its location at the far eastern end of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Cliffs has been a managing partner at Wabush since it began operating in 1965. Wabush employs about 770 people.

As of the end of 2008, Wabush had proven reserves sufficient to produce at least 75 million tons of pellets.

In Minnesota, Cliffs owns United Taconite Co., with operations in Forbes and Eveleth; and Northshore Mining Co., with operations in Silver Bay and Babbitt.

The company also manages and has an ownership stake in Hibbing Taconite Co.

Wabush Mines includes the Sully Iron Ore Mine near Wabush, Newfoundland, Labrador; the pellet plant and ore dock facilities at Point Noire, Quebec, plus related rail facilities. Wabush Mines also owns an equity position in a Newfoundland power plant that serves its mining operations. News of Cliffs’ pending Wabush acquisition met with little reaction on Wall Street. The stock rose 35 cents or about 1 percent from its opening price to close Monday at $35.89 per share.

Duluth News Tribune


Seaway traffic down 35%; no layoffs planned

10/14 - Massena — Despite traffic numbers that have been down by about 35 percent this season, St. Lawrence Seaway officials say there will be no layoffs at the Massena facility.

"Nothing is planned; no layoffs are planned," said Nancy T. Alcalde, director of congressional and public relations for the Seaway.

There were about 130 Seaway employees in Massena at the end of last month, according to Ms. Alcalde. That number is not firm, however, as temporary workers can influence the figure. At this time of year, contracts are beginning to expire and most are not extended.

The Seaway is in contract negotiations with the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1968, the union that represents the hourly workers in Massena and throughout the Seaway system.

"There are absolutely no layoffs planned. They are not part of the negotiations," Ms. Alcalde said.

Fred Carter Jr., the president of the union, could not be reached for comment.

Since the shipping route opened in March, 35 percent less cargo has made its way through the system, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. By the end of September 2008, nearly 30,000 tons of grain, iron ore, coal and other bulk had floated through, compared with fewer than 20,000 tons this year.

The traffic downturn is a result of the economy, especially in the struggling auto industry, which is one of the shipping route's biggest customers, Seaway officials said. Since the shipping season opened in March, shipments of iron ore are down to less than half of what they were at this time last year.

The end of the shipping season has not yet been announced, but it is usually at the end of December. All summer, Seaway officials have declined to predict whether the rest of the season, or next year, will see resurgence in shipping on the channel.

Watertown Daily Times


Historic lighthouse paint-smeared, trashed

10/14 - Holland, Mich. – Someone has trashed a local icon and authorities want to know who.

Sometime between Wednesday after dark and Thursday morning last week, a suspect or suspects used a 16-foot ladder to break a second story window and enter the nearly 100-year-old Big Red lighthouse.

They tipped over displays and smeared red and white paint stored there for a maintenance project, said Bob Bernecker, president of Holland Harbor Lighthouse Commission, which owns the structure.

Bernecker believes the culprits were youths who walked up from the beach as there is no evidence the suspects came through the Macatawa Hills gate.

Many footprints were found in the paint, he said. Police are still looking for suspects, who may have been on foot. Its not really easy to get to. You can get to it, but you have to do a lot of walking. You cant just drive up to it, said Lt. Mark Bennett, of the Ottawa County Sheriffs Office.

Although it is a crime to deface the lighthouse, subject to jail time, the commission isnt likely to press charges, he said. I hope anyone who has knowledge of this event will call the sheriff, including the parents, Bernecker said. Some parents have to know. These kids walked in red and white paint. Their shoes are evidence.

The ceiling, floor and walls will have to be repainted, the historic furnace refurbished and the window replaced. The displays were also damaged, and it all adds up for the nonprofit group taking care of the lighthouse, Bernecker said.

The Holland Sentinel


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 MC GILVERAY 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.


Port Reports - October 13

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic early Monday included Walter J. McCarthy Jr. departing after loading at Midwest Energy Terminal and saltie Orla loading at CHS elevator. Mesabi Miner and Paul R. Tregurtha were due later Monday to load at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Hancock, Mich. - Danielle Adams
Algosoo arrived around noon at the Portage lift bridge, traffic was backed up for about 25 minutes. They docked right around 2 p.m. at Mattila’s on the Hancock side of the Portage Canal. About 5,000 tons of salt was unloaded. The Canadian Olympic had paid a visit on October 4 and unloaded about 27,000 tons of salt.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Canadian Navigator finished unloading ore at the Torco Dock and departed Monday evening. The tug Rebecca Lynn with her barge were at the new oil dock north of the Shipyard. Tug Lucia with the barge Caribbean were at the Hocking Valley Dock. The Coast Guard cutter Bristol Bay with her barge were at the City Dock. The Stefania 1 was at Anderson's K Elevator loading grain. Canadian Olympic was at ADM Elevator loading grain. The William C. Gaynor and related dredge equipment were dredging the ship channel in Maumee Bay while the tug Kathy Lynn and related dredge equipment were dredging the ship channel in the Maumee River below the CSX railroad bridge. The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the H. Lee White and Robert S. Pierson on Wednesday, Lee A. Tregurtha on Thursday, followed by the Michipicoten on Friday. The next ore boat due into the Torco Ore Dock will be the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Saturday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Herbert C. Jackson was towed out Monday at 10:30 a.m. Adam E Cornelius should be arriving early this week with more grain for General Mills.

St. Lawrence Seaway south shore canal - Kent Malo
 Michipicoten was downbound Monday, the first time under this name. The last time the vessel came down the Seaway was 1977 as the Elton Hoyt 2nd.


Updates - October 13

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Pinedale
Public 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 October 13, 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, 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


Port Reports - October 12

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic late Sunday afternoon included Quebecois unloading at St. Lawrence Cement in Duluth and Adam E. Cornelius making rare call at CHS elevator. Arthur M. Anderson and Presque were both due in with stone.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger came in about 11:30 a.m. on Friday with a load for the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. After a slow start she unloaded and was gone by Saturday morning.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug John M. Selvick & Krista S were back on the Saginaw River on Saturday with their third visit of the season to the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. The tugs and their barges have been delivering equipment to the facility since early in September. Both vessels were still at the dock as of late Sunday evening.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The Herbert C. Jackson arrived off Buffalo Sunday morning and went to anchor off the traffic buoy. The tug Washington went out to get her around 10 a.m. and she was towed up to the ADM Standard Elevator.


Historic Ohio River towboat

10/12 - Dayton, Ohio - Steam-driven paddle wheel towboats once plied Midwestern rivers by the hundreds, pushing barges to feed the nation's industrial appetite for coal and steel.

Those days are long gone, though. And the only intact, steam-driven sternwheel towboat still on the nation's river system is in danger of sinking unless preservationists can tow the vessel to a repair yard downriver to patch up its rusting hull, limboing under low bridges along the way.

For the last 54 years, the W.P. Snyder Jr. has been moored in the southeastern Ohio city of Marietta, displacing a section of the Muskingum River half the length of a football field. "This is an important boat," said Kevin Foster, chief of the National Park Service's maritime heritage program. "It really matters in American history."

The Snyder represents the last remnant of the age of river steam power, said William Judd, a longtime river captain. "She's just a one-of-a-kind thing," Judd said.

Driven by steam engines with a paddle wheel on the back, or stern, the Snyder was among 600 to 700 such towboats around the country in the early 20th century. The Snyder was built in Pittsburgh and took coal from the mines to the steel mills.

Many mills built and owned such towboats because they wanted control over the coal, said Jeff Spear, president of the Sons & Daughters of the Pioneer Rivermen. "They were the workhorses," Spear said.

The largest steam-powered sternwheel towboat was the Sprague. Called the "Big Mama," it was built in 1902 to haul coal primarily from Louisville, Ky., to points south. In 1907, it set a world record, towing 60 barges of coal. As they were replaced by diesel-powered vessels, steam towboats began to fade away. By the mid-1950s, only about a dozen still operated, and by 1960 they had all but disappeared.

In 1955, the Snyder -- named after the president of the Crucible Steel Co. of America -- was sold for $1 to the Ohio Historical Society to be exhibited next to the Ohio River Museum in Marietta.

Moored in Brownsville, Pa., at the time, the Snyder was given a fresh coat of paint and then embarked on a spirited cruise on the Monongahela, Ohio and Muskingum rivers through Pittsburgh; East Liverpool, Ohio; and Wheeling, W.Va., before arriving in Marietta.

Joseph W. Rutter, 86, of Marietta, was among the 100 passengers for the last leg of the five-day voyage. People lined the banks and exchanged waves, cheers and whistles with the passengers, he said. "It was a fun trip," Rutter recalled. "There was some banjo strumming and some singing."

Now, the Snyder's steel hull is rusting from the inside, and the boat cannot be saved if it sinks, Spear said. "A boat like that with as many structural problems that are cropping up now because of the hull -- you'd never get her up in one piece," he said. "That would be the end."

Preservationists are preparing for the crucial hull-repair voyage to a shipyard in South Point, Ohio, about 150 miles from Marietta. The trip could begin as early as this week. The Snyder will have to slip under several low bridges on the narrow Muskingum and squeeze by a pivoted railroad trestle before hitting smooth sailing on the broad Ohio River.

Once the towed paddle boat arrives at the shipyard, the hull will be replaced with plates that will maintain historical accuracy. The project could take as long as eight months "They're going to have to be tender with her," Spear said of the 91-year-old boat. "You don't want to put any more tension on her than they have to."

The preservationists are also racing the weather. If the river swells too much from the fall rains, the boat would not be able to clear the lower bridges and could be blocked for months from getting home and resuming its role as a museum display.

At the museum next door, schoolchildren and other visitors can enter to stroll the decks and quarters, admire the china in the galley and peek into the engine room, where bins still overflow with spare parts. Replacing the hull will cost $1.18 million, a project funded by a Save America's Treasures grant from the Park Service, state funds, a pledge of $85,000 from the rivermen group and other private donations.

Preserving the Snyder is preserving the past, and the project will keep the memory of steam-powered paddle boats alive, said Judd, 74, of New Richmond.

"The whistles they had were beautiful melodious whistles. They would give you goosebumps on your arms," Judd said. "It was the last of the romantic era of river traffic."

Columbus Dispatch


Updates - October 12

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public 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 October 12, 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 eight 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.


Seaway Tonnage Slumps

10/11 - Cargo tonnage sagged in September on the St. Lawrence Seaway, according to numbers released Thursday by the Seaway’s U.S. and Canadian administrations.

From the season opening March 31 through Sept. 30, total tonnage is off 35 percent, sliding to 19.2 million metric tons from 29.7 million metric tons during the same period in 2008.

Shipments of iron ore, feedstock for U.S. and Canadian steel plants, are off 54 percent, to 4.3 million metric tons from 9.5 million metric tons during the previous period, and coal shipments are off 27 percent at slightly less than 2 million metric tons.

Iron ore numbers reflect a slightly increasing margin from Aug. 31, when they were down 60 percent. Some regional steel mills have begun re-firing blast furnaces in recent weeks and steel prices have shown some firming. However, many analysts attribute this to restocking of depleted inventories and a small uptick in demand due to the “cash for clunkers” program. The jury is still out on whether there has been an increase in real demand for steel.

As of Sept. 30, Seaway grain shipments were off only 2 percent, to 4.6 million metric tons from 4.7 million metric tons during the previous period.

The Journal of Commerce Online


Port Reports - October 11

Alpena. Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Mississagi arrived Friday night with another load of salt for the Alpena Oil Dock. On Saturday the tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity were tied up under the silos at Lafarge. The Alpena is expected in port on Sunday afternoon.


Updates - October 11

News Photo Gallery and Carferry Photo Gallery
New pictures added in the Lighthouse Gallery  - Lake Huron - Gravely Shoal and Charity Island, Lake Michigan - Point Betsie and Frankfort.


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 Parisienne 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 October 11, 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 amidships 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 October 11, 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 October 11, 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.


Lakes ore still stuck in low gear

10/10 - The Great Lakes iron trade remained in its now nearly year-long slump in September. Shipments from U.S. and Canadian ports totaled only 3,160,932 net tons, a decrease of 51.5 percent compared to a year ago. The trade fared only slightly better when compared to September’s 5-year average; shipments were off 49.1 percent.

Higher water levels did allow for several cargos of 67,000 tons or more, but even these top loads were trimmed as much as 5,000 tons from the largest vessels payloads each trip due to inadequate dredging.

For the year, the Lakes iron ore trade stands at 19,250,148 tons, a decrease of 57.8 percent compared to a year ago. The decrease is only slightly less when compared to the trades 5-year average for the January-September timeframe 55.4 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - October 10

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Calumet arrived on the Saginaw River on a very rainy Friday morning, calling on the Sargent dock in Essexville to unload. By early evening, she had completed her unload, turned and was headed outbound for the lake. On her way out, Calumet passed her fleetmate, Manitowoc, who was inbound for the GM dock in Saginaw. Manitowoc was expected to be finished unloading and back outbound early Saturday morning.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The Manistee finished unloading salt at the A.R.M.S. Dock and departed Friday morning. The Mckee Sons finished loading coal and departed from the CSX Docks during the afternoon. The American Mariner finished unloading ore at the Torco Dock earlier in the day, when the Mckee Sons left the Mariner proceeded over to the CSX Docks to load coal and is expected to depart late Friday evening. The tug Rebecca Lynn and her barge were at the new oil dock facility north of the shipyard. The tug Lucia with the barge Caribbean were at the Hocking Valley Dock.
Cuyahoga departed from Anderson's E Elevator around 11:15 p.m. Friday evening and was headed outbound on the Maumee River.
Tug William C. Gaynor and dredge equipment continue dredging the ship channel in Maumee Bay while the tug Kathy Lynn and equipment are dredging the ship channel in the river below the CSX Railroad bridge.
The next scheduled coal boats for the CSX Docks will be the Lee A. Tregurtha on Saturday, H. Lee White and Robert S. Pierson on Wednesday followed by the Lee A. Tregurtha and Michipicoten on Thursday. The next ore boat for the Torco Ore Dock will be the Canadian Navigator on Monday.


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 October 10, 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 October 10, 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.


Boom control failure on the Cuyahoga

10/9 - The incident last night regarding the Cuyahoga was a result of a failure in the vessel’s boom swing controls. There were no explosions on the vessel. Crews are presently working on repairs to secure the self-unloading boom of the vessel. The vessel is not taking on water and any signs of listing are due to ballasting and stabilizing the vessel, which is a standard procedure. One minor injury occurred. Further information will be provided when available.

Thursday night local media outlets in Toledo had incorrectly reported that the ship was taking on water and that an explosion may have been involved. Toledo fire and rescue units, including the water rescue unit, responded to the vessel about 10:15 p.m.

Check back for updates as more information is available.



Federal Agno freed

10/9 - Thursday the Federal Agno was pulled free from her grounding about 3:30 p.m. Three tugs from Ocean Group were able to pull her off in only five minutes, the tugs Ocean Henri Bain, Ocean Intrepide, and Duga assisted. The vessel was not lightered as reported earlier, the Federal Agno went to anchor not far from where she grounded for hull inspection.

Divers found no damage and the vessel was cleared to continue on to her destination, Heulva, Spain. The vessel is expected to depart at 7 a.m. Friday morning.

Kent Malo


Lakes limestone trade struggled again in September

10/9 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of limestone from U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes ports were again weak in September. The trade totaled 2,983,855 net tons, a decrease of 21 percent compared to a year ago.

September was down even more compared to the months 5-year average - 29 percent.

The blame for some of the erosion lies squarely with the inadequate dredging . The largest limestone cargo loaded in September totaled 50,222 tons. If the waterways were maintained to their authorized depth, the vessel would have carried about 54,000 tons. The 3,800 tons of limestone left at the quarry represents enough product to build 10 houses.

For the year, the limestone trade stands at 16,351,880 tons, a decrease of 32.5 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments are 38.7 percent below the 5-year average for the first three quarters.

Lake Carriers' Association


Fight Brewing Over Possible Rider to Weaken Air Pollution Regs for Ships

10/9 - Clean air advocates are girding for a battle over a possible amendment to the annual U.S. EPA spending bill that would weaken the agency's ability to regulate air pollution from oceangoing vessels.

Five advocacy groups yesterday urged the House and Senate overseers of the fiscal 2010 Interior-EPA appropriations bill to oppose any possible rider that would "weaken, delay or limit" EPA's ability to implement proposed engine and fuel standards for ships.

It remains unclear what such an amendment would entail, but sources on and off Capitol Hill say that House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) and House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) are backing the language. Spokesmen for the congressmen were not immediately available for comment.

At issue is EPA's proposed strategy to address emissions from oceangoing vessels. The plan would slash U.S. nitrogen oxide emissions by 1.2 million tons and particulate matter emissions by about 143,000 tons by 2030. EPA says the program would prevent between 13,000 and 33,000 premature deaths per year by 2030.

Yesterday, EPA's Clean Air Act Advisory Committee -- a stakeholder advisory group -- approved a resolution recommending that EPA carry out its proposal and "decline requests for any geographic exemptions including, but not limited to, the Great Lakes."

The spending bill has cleared both chambers, but changes are possible when House and Senate conferees meet to hash it out. It is unclear exactly when that conference will occur.

Shipping industry representatives have argued that the rules would be particularly harmful to ships that operate exclusively in the Great Lakes and U.S.-Canadian waterways, and urged EPA to craft separate rules for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Several shipping groups urged EPA to extend the timeline so that shippers can conduct more thorough reviews, especially in light of the regulations' estimated price tag of more than $1 billion.

The comment period on the draft rule ended Sept. 28.

New York Times


Port Reports - October 9

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Calumet arrived at Lafarge after 11 p.m. Wednesday night to unload. The Alpena returned Thursday morning to load cement for Green Bay, Wisc.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Undaunted, pushing the barge Pere Marquette 41, entered the Saginaw River Thursday afternoon calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The pair were unloading late into Thursday evening and were expected to be outbound very late Thursday or early Friday morning.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman The Federal Kushiro finished loading grain at the ADM Elevator and departed Wednesday morning. Canadian Progress finished loading coal at the CSX Docks and departed during the morning. CSL Niagara finished unloading ore at the Torco Ore Dock and departed during the evening. Manitowoc was at the CSX Docks loading coal. Walter J. McCarthy was unloading coal at the Midwest Terminal Dock. The tug Lucia and the barge Caribbean returned back to the Hocking Valley Dock to load cargo. Cuyahoga was at Andersons E Elevator loading grain. The Canadian Prospector was at Andersons K Elevator loading grain. The tug William C. Gaynor and related dredge equipment were dredging in Maumee Bay while the tug Kathy Lynn and related dredging equipment were dredging the Maumee River by the Midwest Terminal Docks.
American Fortitude, American Valor, John J. Boland, and American Republic remain in layup at their respective dock sites.
The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the McKee Sons and American Mariner on Friday, Lee A. Tregurtha on Saturday followed by the Robert S. Pierson on Monday. The next ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock will be the American Mariner late Thursday evening followed by the Canadian Navigator on Monday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Wednesday the James Norris departed the Burlington Bay anchorage at 7 p.m. for Clarkson. The Kathryn Spirit departed Hamilton at 7:30 p.m. and anchored Five miles from the Burlington Piers near the north shore. She had all her hatch covers open.
Thursday the Saginaw arrived in ballast at 5:30 p.m. to load coke at US Steel. Maritime Trader arrived at 6 p.m. for pier 25 from Sorel in ballast. John D. Leitch arrived at 6:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco.


Dredging planned for turning basin

10/9 - St. Joseph, Mich. - The Army Corps of Engineers plans to dredge the turning basin of the St. Joseph River harbor before the end of the year, an important step to help commercial shippers, officials said.

Earlier this year the Corps allocated $741,000 in economic stimulus money for the project. The work will involve removing 60,000 cubic yards of material from the bottom of the turning basin to increase its depth to 18 feet.

The area of the inner harbor has not been dredged for years and is too shallow for ships to use to turn around. Vessels must back out of the harbor from the commercial docks. Some shippers will not deliver commodities to the harbor because of the difficulty in getting out.

Berrien County Planning Director John Gruchot said Thursday that the funding has been carried over into the federal government's new fiscal year, which means it's still available.

Speaking to the St. Joseph River Harbor Authority, Gruchot said some obstacles must be worked out, but the Corps wants the project to go forward. The Corps has received bids but has not awarded a contract.

Gruchot said approval would be sought to dispose of the dredged material at the Southwest Michigan Regional Airport in Benton Harbor. Developers of the Harbor Shores project are also interested in looking at some of the dredged soil to see if it is suitable for fill material, he said.

Pete Berghoff, who operates Dock 63 on Marina Island in St. Joseph, said he has been told the dredging, once started, will go on seven days a week for about a month.

The work will be done by a mechanical dredge, which scoops soil from the river bottom and deposits it on a barge. Berghoff, who is seeking subcontract work for the project, said the material would be removed from the barges and loaded in trucks for transport to the disposal site.

With extensive dredging work done in the outer and inner harbor over two years, including extensive emergency work in 2008, Berghoff said ships are not having trouble getting into the harbor.

Although business is down in the slumping economy, ships are able to carry in the largest loads of slag, salt and other commodities since 2000, Berghoff said.

The harbor is supposed to be maintained at 21 feet of water, and the turning basin at 18 feet.

Berghoff said getting the turning basin returned to use will attract more shippers to the harbor, creating competition and lowering prices.

For example, two companies deliver road salt to Great Lakes ports, and one of them will not enter the St. Joseph River harbor because of the inability to turn around, he said. With the turning basin dredged, that company would be likely to return.

Funding for maintenance dredging of the harbor in 2010 appears to be secure.

On Thursday, the U.S. House approved an Energy and Water bill appropriating $718,000 for the work. The Senate is expected to act on the legislation next week.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, who got the harbor funding included, said thousands of jobs depend on the ability to move cargo on the Great Lakes.

He said the St. Joseph River harbor is an important part of the system, keeping down the cost of moving bulk materials for highway projects and other infrastructure.

"This funding is so important to our region and comes at a time when we could really use a lift," Upton said in a press release.

Keeping the commercial harbor in operation during the shipping season has a wide ripple effect on the local economy and keeps costs down for residents, he said.

During the harbor authority meeting, Gruchot said dredging should begin next week on a section of the river upstream from the federal navigation channel to improve conditions for recreational boaters.

Herald Palladium


Historian Charles Hyde Discusses His Lighthouse Book October 29 at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum

10/9 - Detroit, Mich. - The Detroit Historical Society continues its Scholar Series with Charles K. Hyde, author of The Northern Lights: Lighthouses of the Upper Great Lakes, published by Wayne State University Press, on October 29 from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. The event is presented in conjunction with current Dossin Museum exhibit, L is for Lighthouse.

The first lighthouses in North America were built during the 18th century. Lighthouses on the Great Lakes, known as the northern lights, opened the region to settlement and commercial trade. More than 160 lighthouses still exist on Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior and the straits of Mackinac. Today, these lighthouses continue to light the way for thousands of mariners each year. This book details the histories of the regions remaining lighthouses and their changing design, explores the lives of the early lighthouse keepers and provides a history of the United States Lighthouse Service and its descendants.

Hyde is a history professor at Wayne State University. He has published eight books including Riding the Roller Coaster: A History of the Chrysler Corporation, The Dodge Brothers: The Men, the Motor Cars, and the Legacy and Historic Highway Bridges of Michigan. Hyde has also done a significant amount of work in the field of industrial archeology.

The cost for the event is free for Detroit Historical Society members and $10 for the public. For more information or to register for the event, please visit


Updates - October 9

News Photo Gallery
New pictures added in the Lighthouse Gallery  - Lake Ontario - Braddock Point, Charlotte-Genesee, East Charity Shoal, Fort Niagara, Main Duck Island, Oswego West Pier, Pigeon Island, Selkirk, Sodus Pier, Sodus Point, Stony Point and Tibbetts Point.
St. Lawrence River - Cape Vincent, Crossover Island, DeWatteville Ranges, Four Mile Point, Knapp Point, Nine Mile Point, Ogdensburg, Prescott, Rock Island, Sisters Island, Sunken Rock and Windmill Point. DJW


Today in Great Lakes History - October 9

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 to her formal christening at Thunder Bay, Ontario. Sold off the lakes and renamed b.) LADY HAMILTON in 1995. Brought back to the Lakes as VOYAGEUR PIONEER in 2006. Renamed KAMINISTIQUA in 2008.

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.


Federal Agno remains aground

10/8 - Federal Agno remained aground on Wednesday in Lake St Louis below the Beauharnois locks. Wednesday evening no tugs had been dispatch to attempt to pull the vessel free. This will be done after Federal Agno has lightered some of her cargo of scrap iron into barges.

Kent Malo


Wind and water levels delay shipping again

10/8 - Around the lakes a low pressure system moving over Michigan and southern Ontario brought high winds and lowered water levels Wednesday. These conditions delayed many vessels around the lakes. Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario were covered by Gale warnings for most of the day.

The Lee A. Tregurtha waited in White Fish Bay until about 11 a.m. before continuing upbound. The downbound Joseph L. Block was tied up at the South West Pier waiting for water levels to rise in the Rock Cut. The Rock Cut was plus 22 inches above datum at mid night and dropped to minus 2 inches by mid morning. This two-foot drop in water level made it unsafe for many vessels to pass.

Block was expected to be joined in waiting by the downbound American Mariner. As the Mariner came closer to the locks Wednesday afternoon the levels were steadily rising. The Mariner passed downbound through the MacArthur Lock. The Spruceglen, following close behind the Mariner, locked downbound through the Poe Lock. Joseph L. Block followed behind the two, at this time the water level in the Rock Cut had returned to plus 7 inches.

Anchored south of the Soo in the Hay Lake area near Nine Mile were the Canadian Olympic and Algosteel, also waiting for water levels to rise. Both vessels joined the downbound convoy behind the American Mariner and others.

Off Detour, the Frontenac and Montrealais waited in the anchorage. Montrealais departed ahead of the downbound convoy after 7 p.m. leading the way into Lake Huron.

In lower Lake Huron the Canadian Transport waited out the weather in the anchorage north of Port Huron. They departed upbound about 1:15 p.m.

Traffic continued moving on Lake Michigan with many vessels hugging the western shore.

In Western Lake Erie the water level had dropped to minus 30 inches at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, a drop of 60 inches from the previous morning. In Buffalo the water rose to plus 87 inches from the previous day’s plus 25 inch reading.

Algomarine, Quebecois and Capt. Henry Jackman were waiting in the Colchester Anchorage. The Indiana Harbor was waiting nearby for water levels to rise so they could deliver coal to Monroe, Mich. The tug Sea Eagle II and cement barge waited farther west about half way between Toledo and the Detroit River.

Near Sandusky the tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons waited along with the Canadian Progress, Manistee and Sam Laud.

By 6 p.m. water levels had returned and traffic was again moving with the exception of Frontenac in the Detour Anchorage, she departed downbound around 10:30 p.m.


Great Lakes Trader brings stone for lock project

10/8 - The Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader arrived in the Soo harbor Wednesday around 5 p.m. She headed towards the front of the Edison Sault powerhouse, by the time she got all her headway off she was inside the dock line. She then completed a 180 degree turn and backed upstream towards the Locks.

She backed all the way up into the approach for the fourth lock and was moored to the North East Pier by 5:15. She swung her boom out over the port side and started discharging an unknown quantity of limestone on the Pier for the cofferdam project. Durocher was reported to have started drilling as they are preparing blast holes for placement of explosives in the North Canal to break up the rock before dredging begins.


Port Reports - October 8

Goderich, Ont. - Bruce Douglas
Algosoo was loading salt on Wednesday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Greg Munger
Wednesday the James Norris was waiting for winds to die down in Burlington anchorage.


Port could reap $1 billion from redeveloping current site, consultant says

10/8 - The city of Cleveland and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority could reap $1 billion over the next 20 years by redeveloping the roughly 100 acres now occupied by the port of Cleveland, consultants told Port Authority board members Tuesday.

However, much of that money would be spent on moving the port to a new, 200-acre site along Lake Erie at East 55th Street. Port Authority board members were updated on the amount of the local share of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' cost to create the land that would eventually become the new port. That cost — only a part of the total cost to create the docks and transportation connections that would become the new port as it is built out over the next two decades — is pegged at $157.6 million by the Army engineers.

Joshua Kahr of Kahr Real Estate Group of New York City, one of the Port Authority's consultants, explained the business case for redevelopment to Port Authority board members. He said the consultants believe the regional economy during the next 20 years could support construction of 1.8 million square feet of office space, 3,000 hotel rooms, 2,100 units of housing and 1.6 million square feet of retail space.

The Port Authority paid $130,000 for advice from Mr. Kahr's firm, PA Consulting Group of London and Rebel Group of Amsterdam.

The Army Corps regularly dredges the Cuyahoga River and the shipping lanes leading to the docks and needs a place to dump the muck. The current dump, called a confined disposal facility, or CDF, is off Burke Lakefront Airport. That site will be completely filled in the next few years, and the Corps of Engineers has selected the East 55th Street site as site of the next CDF.

The federal government pays 75% of the cost to dredge the shipping channel. The local community must come up with the rest, as well as any additional money it takes to build anything on the new land.

Balancing the money earned by redeveloping the downtown port land against the local share of the dredging cost and the cost to build the new port is essential for the Port Authority, which has only limited income from property taxes and its dock activities.

A clear estimate of the cost to build the new port — and whether any state or federal money will be available to assist in building the new port and its essential infrastructure — is still unknown, though the Port Authority is crunching numbers and talking to state and federal transportation and maritime officials. A ballpark estimate by Port Authority officials, however, has put the total cost at roughly $500 million.

Crain’s Cleveland Business


Updates - October 8

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - October 8

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


Tugs on way to free grounded Federal Agno

10/7 - Tugs were headed for the grounded Federal Agno late Tuesday in hopes of freeing the vessel, which went aground on Lac St Louis above Montreal the previous night.

Federal Agno, bound for Spain, had finished loading scrap metal at the Cote wharf, but due to her draft she had to go up to Lake St Louis, just below the Beauharnois lock, to turn. She went aground north of Point Fortier anchorage roughly 2 cables outside the channel. Divers were at the scene inspecting the hull, however no word on damage was released and no details are available as to what caused the vessel to go aground.

The tug Duga left Sorel Tuesday afternoon to take two barges from Quebec City that will be used to lighten the ship. Ocean Group tugs from Montreal will take part to the salvage with the Duga

Kent Malo


American Steamship, union to return to talks

10/7 - Duluth, Minn. – As a strike against American Steamship Co. by Great Lakes Seamen Local 5000 enters its third week, the two sides have tentatively agreed to resume talks Oct. 21 and 22.

About 80 members of Local 5000, a division of the United Steelworkers, last worked Sept. 17 and refused to return to their posts when American Steamship attempted to impose a new contract in the face of stalled negotiations.

“I’m willing to meet with them any time anywhere,” said Dave Sager, president of Local 5000, who expressed frustration at being unable to restart talks sooner. He explained that until Monday, his calls to American Steamship had gone unreturned, despite public assertions by the company more than a week ago that it intended to resume discussions with the union.

Rhonda Johnson, director of communications for GATX Corp., American Steamship’s parent company, maintains that throughout the dispute little has changed.

“We have been negotiating in good faith,” she said

Assuming the talks come to pass Oct. 21 and 22, American Steamship should have three of the six vessels previously crewed by members of Local 5000 back in operation and staffed by non-union replacement workers.

The American Century has been running with replacement workers for the past couple of weeks, and the American Integrity was to set off Monday from Sturgeon Bay bound for the Midwest Energy Resources Co. coal terminal in Superior.

Johnson expects the American Courage will return to service by Oct. 15, also with a crew of replacement workers.

Sticking points in the negotiations so far have involved pay, the amount of staffing required aboard lakers and health insurance benefits.

Great Lakes Seamen Local 5000 also represents workers at three competing lake carriers and has reached tentative agreements with them all. Sager explained that historically, these carriers, including American Steamship, have all agreed to similarly structured deals so that no one would be placed at a comparative competitive disadvantage.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - October 7

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Early morning vessel traffic in the Twin Ports included Spruceglen, completing its load of coal at Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior. Paul R. Tregurtha was waiting right off its stern to move into the dock to begin loading. The Spruceglen is bound for New Brunswick and the PRT to Monroe, Mich. Nearby, the J.W. Shelley was ready to resume loading grain at CHS elevator. Mesabi Miner was due later in the day for the coal dock, and Herbert C. Jackson and saltie Tuscarora were both due at CHS terminal.

Ashland, Wis. – Chris Mazzella
On Monday, American Mariner arrived at the Reiss Coal Dock in Ashland around 2:30 p.m. The dock may be shutting down, ending shipping in Ashland.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 made a vist to Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg last weekend.

South Chicago – Steve B.
The Arthur M. Anderson arrived at Calumet Harbor about 10:50 a.m. Tuesday. She turned in the harbor and then backed down river to KCBX to take on a load of coal, arriving there about 1 p.m.

Goderich, Ont. - Bruce Douglas
Agawa Canyon was loading salt at Sifto Mine on Monday.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Cason J. Callaway finished unloading stone at the Midwest Terminal Dock and departed Tueday morning. Algomarine was at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock unloading cargo. The tug Sea Eagle II and barge St. Marys Cement II finished unloading cement at the St. Marys Cement Dock and departed, anchoring in western Lake Erie off the ship channel due to gale warnings posted for Lake Erie. Gale warnings and a low water level warning for western Lake Erie had the tug Lucia and barge Caribbean depart from the Hocking Valley Dock and go to the Midwest Terminal Dock to wait out the weather. The grain shipping season is underway at Toledo with the Federal Kushiro arriving at the ADM Elevator Tuesday morning followed by the Canadian Prospector arriving at the Anderson's K Elevator late Tuesday afternoon. The tug William C. Gaynor and Wolverine and related dredging equipment were still dredging the ship channel in Maumee Bay. The tug Kathy Lynn and related dredging equipment were dredging the ship channel in the Maumee River entrance area by the Midwest Terminal Dock.

The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the Canadian Progress on Wednesday, Manitowoc and McKee Sons Thursday, American Mariner and Lee A. Tregurtha Friday followed by the Robert S. Pierson on Monday. The next scheduled ore boats for the Torco Ore Dock will be the CSL Niagara on Wednesday, American Mariner on Thursday followed by the Canadian Navigator on Sunday.
Vessels scheduled into the docksites during the next few days will most likely be delayed due to weather.


Badger towed to Sturgeon Bay

10/7 - Ludington, Mich. – Many people turned out Monday afternoon to watch the SS Badger leave Ludington’s harbor for the last time in 2009.

The 56-year-old carferry was towed by the tug Mary Page Hannah pulling and the tug Jimmy L. bringing up the rear because the Badger has already been winterized, its engines shut down until spring.

The Badger headed for dry dock in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., for an inspection that is to take place every five years. That inspection is expected to take 10 days, then the carferry will be towed back to Ludington for repairs and maintenance during the winter months.

The tow arrived via the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Tuesday morning and entered the graving dock.

Ludington Daily News


New owner, tasks ahead for Sundew?

10/7 - Superior, Wis. – If Superior businessman Jeff Foster has his way, the former U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sundew will be back in action, cruising under the Aerial Lift Bridge next season.

Foster recently tendered the only qualifying bid for the Sundew when the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center put it up for auction. He offered to buy the retired buoy tender for just over $100,000 — the minimum acceptable bid.

“It’s still not a done deal,” Foster said Monday.

The Sundew was donated to the DECC in 2004 with the understanding that it would be placed on public display for a minimum of five years. That amount of time has elapsed, but the General Services Administration, which oversees the sale of surplus government property, as of Monday had not signed off on the deal, said Dan Russell, the DECC’s executive director.

Russell said a GSA representative questioned whether the DECC has fulfilled its obligations with the Sundew open for public tours only half the year, suggesting the cutter may need to be on display for 10 years before it can be sold.

Last week, the DECC’s board of directors authorized the sale, contingent upon approval by the feds.

The old buoy tender has failed to attract a sufficient number of visitors to cover the costs of docking, maintaining and staffing it during the tourist season.

Foster said he has been peppered with questions since he came to light as a likely owner of the vessel.

“I can’t tell you how many people have asked me: ‘What are you going to do with the Sundew?’ ” he said.

So far, however, he’s provided few clues, except to say that should he become its owner, the vessel will again be operating under its own power next year.

“This vessel will be used on the water,” he said. “We plan to use it for several applications in, around and outside the harbor. … The Sundew is capable of a huge range of industrial operations.”

The 180-foot vessel is equipped with heavy cranes that were used to handle buoys and other aids to navigation. The Sundew also boasts a heavy welded hull, enabling it to break ice.

“People on the waterfront have come up with some spectacular ideas of work the vessel would be suited for,” he said.

The owner of Jeff Foster Trucking Inc., Foster considers himself an informed buyer.

“When I learned it was for sale, I took a group of folks from our mechanical crew to look at the Sundew, and they examined it from one end to the other,” he said. “What we found showed the Coast Guard must have loved that vessel. They took great pains to keep it in good shape.”

Although Foster said the Sundew can be returned to productive use, he said nostalgia also played a role in his effort to buy it.

“It’s a beautiful vessel that admittedly needs some TLC,” he said, noting that the 65-year-old ship has a lot of significant local ties, having been built in Duluth and operated out of the city for much of its life.

“It’s an icon of the harbor,” Foster said.

An avid boater, Foster said he’s eager to do what he can to preserve the Sundew as part of the Twin Ports’ history. His roots run deep in the maritime community. He noted that his grandfather served as captain of the Joseph H. Thompson, a 706-foot laker.

Foster has a Coast Guard license to operate up to a 100-ton vessel, but he’ll need to upgrade that if he hopes to captain the 1,200-ton Sundew.

Until he gets the Sundew ready for action, Foster at least has a place to tie up the cutter. He owns the former Georgia Pacific facility in Superior, a property with its own dock.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates - October 7

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Pinedale updated
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 7

On October 7, 1968, the NORMAN P. CLEMENT was damaged in a grounding off Britt, Ontario. The Canadian boat was towed to Collingwood for repairs. However, while in dry dock, an explosion occurred on October 16, that injured 11 workers and further damaged the hull. Rather than repair her, the owners had the CLEMENT towed out into Georgian Bay where she was intentionally sunk on October 23, 1968.

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 October 7, 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 Kelleys Island Line & Transport Co. Dock. The blaze spread so quickly that those on board barely escaped. She was towed from Kelleys 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 October 7, 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 October 7,1873, 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 October 7, 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.


Federal Agno grounds

10/6 - 4 p.m. update - Federal Agno went aground over night on Lac St Louis above Montreal Tuesday. Federal Agno finished loading scrap iron at Cote Ste Catherine wharf above lock 2, went up to Lac St Louis to turn and headed back down the Seaway. It is normal for vessel to turn around before or after docking at Cote Ste Catherine wharf. Tuesday afternoon divers were in the water to inspect the hull. Federal Agno was bound for Heulva, Spain. It is unknown what caused the grounding.


Port Reports - October 6

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic early Monday included John G. Munson upbound on the St. Louis River to unload at the Reiss Inland dock, American Mariner outbound after loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal and Mapleglen at the CHS terminal in Superior completing its load of grain. Numerous other vessels were expected later in the day, including Joseph L. Block, Mesabi Miner, Canadian Olympic, J.W. Shelley and Algosteel.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson unloaded stone Monday morning at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, and fleetmate Mesabi Miner remained at the Upper Harbor ore dock after unloading coal on Sunday.

Ludington, Mich. - Bob Kalal
The carferry Badger left Ludington under tow around 2:30 p.m. on Monday. She will be towed to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. for her annual five-year survey.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Monday was a busy day in the area. The Alpena loaded cement at Lafarge on Monday morning and departed for Whitefish, Ont. Tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived during the afternoon. Mississagi tied up at the Alpena Oil Dock around 6 p.m. to unload a cargo of road salt.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River has seen a number of passages the past week. On Wednesday, the tug Zeus and her tank barge departed the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City after unloading and were outbound for the lake. The pair passed the inbound Manitowoc, which was headed upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw. To start off October, the Calumet was inbound with a split load for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone Docks on Friday. Late Saturday saw Agawa Canyon inbound for the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. She stopped briefly at the Essroc dock in Essexville on her way in to wait for water levels to come back up. The Olive L. Moore/Lewis J. Kuber were inbound on Monday with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay Aggregates dock before heading upriver to finish at the Buena Vista dock. The Moore and Kuber were outbound Monday night.
The crew of the Manitowoc witnessed a man jump from the I-75/Zilwaukee Bridge in Saginaw. After getting closer, they reported to U.S.C.G. Station Saginaw River the man had swam to shore and was lying on the ground.
Commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River for the month of September totaled 23. This is equal to the number of passages for the same month last year and down eight passages compared to the 5-year average. Looking at the year to date, there have been 119 passages in 2009. This is 36 fewer passages as compared to the same time period in 2008, and 68 fewer passages as compared to the 5-year average of 187.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Capt. Henry Jackman arrived at 3 p.m. with sand for Pier 23 from Brevort, Michigan. Canadian Progress departed at 7 p.m. in ballast from Dofasco. Kathryn Spirit arrived at 8 p.m.


Training exercise to be held in Sarnia

10/6 - Port Huron, Mich. – Several emergency response organizations will engage in a mutual aid responsive exercise Tuesday on land near the Shell dock on the St. Clair Parkway in Sarnia, Ontario.

Training will continue Wednesday in the St. Clair River.

The two-day training event will involve fire, ambulance and police responders from the St. Clair Township area as well as the Eastern Canada Response Organization, Harmac Transportation, the Shell Sarnia Manufacturing Center and others.

Port Huron Times Herald


Titanic actor coming to Marine City; Author also on the program

10/6 - Lowell Lytle, an actor and speaker who has been in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean to explore the Titanic, will speak Oct. 22 from 7-9 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall 6385 King Road, Marine City, Mich.

Lytle, who has played the part of Captain Smith at Titanic events all over the globe, will offer a lecture on Titanic and talk about what it is like to actually visit the ship.

Capt. David G. Brown author of “Last Log of the Titanic,” “White Hurricane” and others will also speak. Brown has worked as a television news producer and won an Emmy in 1979 for his coverage of the Agent Orange story. He writes monthly columns for Boating World & Offshore magazines and is a regular contributor to many other maritime publications.

Tickets are $15 in advance ($20 at the door), available at the Knights of Columbus Hall 6385 King Road. Marine City, Mich. For more info contact Maggie at 586-306-5765. A percentage of the profit will be donated to the Marine City Historical Society. Click here for more information.


Make reservations now for BoatNerd Detroit River Lighthouse cruise

The Second Annual BoatNerd trip to Detroit River Lighthouse aboard the passenger vessel Diamond Belle is scheduled for Saturday, October 10. The Diamond Belle will depart Bishop Park in Wyandotte, Michigan, heading up river into Nicholson's slip to view the historic passenger steamers Columbia and Ste. Claire. The cruise will then turn downbound at Fighting Island North Light, heading down the Fighting Island and Ballard’s Reef shipping channels. A hot beef tip buffet luncheon with all the trimmings will be served as the vessel continues down the Livingston Channel out into Lake Erie to the Detroit River Lighthouse. At that point the Diamond Belle will head upbound in the Amherstburg Channel past Bob-Lo Island and its lighthouse and old steamer dock and the town of Amherstburg, Ontario. The trip will also pass Grosse Ile and the Grosse Ile Lighthouse, arriving back at Wyandotte about 4 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person.

Click here for more information


Updates - October 6

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - October 6

On October 6, 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 1,000- 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 October 6, 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 October 6, 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.


Miller Boat line awards contract for 40 foot mid-body extension of ferry

10/5 - Cleveland, Ohio - Great Lakes Shipyard, a division of The Great Lakes Group, has been awarded a contract by Miller Boat Line, Put-in-Bay, Ohio, to fabricate and install a new 40 foot mid-body extension in the passenger/vehicle ferry Put-in-Bay.

The contract was awarded on August 17, 2009, and all work is underway at Great Lakes Shipyard's state-of-the-art facilities on the South Bank of the Old River Channel, on Cleveland's Cuyahoga River. The project is slated for completion by year end.

Miller Boat Line operates a fleet of four all-steel passenger/vehicle ferries, each approximately 96-feet in length, which run on Lake Erie from Catawba to the islands of Put-in-Bay (South Bass Island) and Middle Bass Island, Ohio.

The mid-body extension of the Put-in-Bay will make the vessel 136-feet overall in length and will enable it to carry up to eight additional full size automobiles or an additional 100 passengers. The project also includes the installation of new rudders, a new steering system, and a new main engine keel cooling system.

Miller Boat Line principal Scott Market said "After a thorough source selection process, Great Lakes Shipyard was our clear choice. We are especially pleased to be working with an Ohio-based company."

The Great Lakes Group has been in Cleveland since 1899. In 2007, the company built a new fabrication and repair facility on the Cuyahoga River for the construction of unique custom designed marine products, such as the mid-body section, and for tug and barge construction.


Port Reports - October 5

Hancock, Mich. - Ryan Greenleaf
Canadian Olympic arrived this morning at the Yalmer Mattila dock in west Hancock and unloaded road salt for the upcoming winter.

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
It was a busy weekend for the Port of Green Bay. Saturday the Cason J. Callaway delivered a load of coal to the C. Reiss Dock. On Sunday morning, Sam Laud and Cuyahoga arrived right behind each-other, the Laud going to Georgia Pacific with coal and the Cuyahoga stopped at Fox River Dock with salt to lighter, and once the Sam Laud departed the River she headed up river to finish her unload at Georgia Pacific. Late Sunday night the tug Prentiss Brown and St. Marys Conquest were heading in to St Marys Cement.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Canadian Progress departed for Hamilton at 6 p.m. Sunday evening.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Canadian Transport arrived in port Saturday afternoon and began unloading the first winter storage cargo of raw sugar for Redpath, unto the dock at Pier 51. The Transport departed Sunday afternoon.


Updates - October 5

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery new feature for October Pinedale
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 5

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 October 5,1876, 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 7 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 West Bay City, Michigan, by West 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 October 5,1889, 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 October 5,1877, 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 October 5, 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 October 5,1904, 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.


Port Reports - October 4

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Canadian Progress entered port around 1 p.m. and loaded coal at the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna.


Updates - October 4

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - October 4

On October 4, 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 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 October 4,1877, 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 October 4, 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.


Port Reports - October 3

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessels in the Twin Ports early Friday morning included Beluga Fascination at CHS elevator in Superior. Mesabi Miner appeared to be nearly finished loading at Midwest Energy Terminal about 7:30 a.m. but it was unclear whether it would depart in the face of a gale warning with 35-40 mph winds forecast for Lake Superior. John D. Leitch was tied up at the Duluth Port Terminal early Friday, apparently waiting for the winds to subside. The vessel came into port Thursday afternoon amid stiff northeast winds and a following sea. Although riding high in the water and broadside to the wind, it appeared to enter the CN/DMIR ore dock in good order.


Updates - October 3

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - October 3

On October 3,1887, 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 October 3,1887, 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 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 October 3, 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 October 3,1887. 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.


Pickets fail to delay coal-loading in Superior

10/2 - Duluth, Minn. – Striking Steelworkers union members were unable to delay the loading of an American Steamship Co. laker at Superior’s Midwest Energy terminal this morning.

“We didn’t have as much success as last week,” said Bryan Toderick, a striking wheelsman for the American Victory. “The boat came in and they loaded it.

“We’re disheartened,” he said. “Without support of the other unions there, we can’t stop the loading of coal. All we can do is show our disapproval that the company has replaced its union workers with scab workers.”

About 80 members of United Steelworkers Local 5000 went on strike two weeks ago after they were locked out of the six former Oglebay Norton ships they now staff for American Steamship.

American Steamship has staffed the American Century with replacement workers and has been hiring others to take the place of striking crew members on other vessels. The company plans to return the American Integrity and the American Courage to service within the next two weeks, Steelworkers picketed Midwest’s gates on Sept. 23. Longshoremen and railroad workers didn’t cross the line, delaying the loading of the American Century for a couple of hours before the pickets left.

However, the strikers didn’t follow federal regulations when they picketed more than one entrance to Midwest Energy on Sept. 23. Because the union’s dispute is with American Steamship Co. and not Midwest Energy Resources Company, strikers are restricted to informational picketing at Midwest Energy. In informational picketing, workers can picket at only one entrance, though they can hand out fliers at other entrances.

With Steelworkers picketing only one entrance today, Midwest Energy employees reported to work. They began the 6.5-hour process of loading approximately 66,000 net tons of coal aboard the American Century around 2 a.m., Midwest Energy Resources Company President Fred L. Shusterich said. The American Century is taking the coal to St. Clair, Mich., for Detroit Edison.

Shusterich declined to talk about the labor dispute.

“That’s between the Steelworkers and American Steamship,” he said.

USW Local 5000’s contract with American Steamship expired in July, and negotiations bogged down over disagreements about plans that could allow the carrier to further reduce staffing on ships and begin charging crew members for health insurance costs formerly covered by the company.

Last week, American Steamship Co. said it was willing to resume contract talks with Steelworkers. Toderick said the company has talked to the international union, but members on the local level haven’t heard what is happening.

Duluth News Tribune


Iron ore shipments on the rise

10/2 - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes are improving, which means vessel traffic is on the rise. More lakers – such as the Arthur M. Anderson, which fit out recently – are taking to the waters again, in response to an increase in steel production. Taconite pellet reserves are being used up by the different steel mills in the Midwest, so more pellets are being ordered from our plants.



Crewman evacuated from Frontenac

10/2 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard evacuated a 51-year-old Canadian male from the Frontenac, near DeTour Passage, Mich., Thursday about 11 a.m.

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie received notification from the 730-foot bulk carrier stating a crewmember was suffering from kidney stones at approximately 9:15 a.m.

Station Sault Ste. Marie launched a 25-foot response boat and recovered the man, who was taken to an awaiting Emergency Medical Services ambulance.

“The man was conscious and alert when we recovered him, but suffering from abdominal pains," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Corey Cole, a Station Sault Ste. Marie crewman aboard the Coast Guard response boat. “The transfer was made easy due to very calm waters. The Frontenac lowered an accommodation ladder, the patient walked onto our boat and we transported him to shore."


Port Reports - October 2

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Charles M. Beeghly loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock on a cool, brisk Thursday evening. Fleetmate Lee A. Tregurtha was due for ore well after sunset.


Dry September leads to lower level on Lake Superior

10/2 - Duluth, Minn. – Lower-than-normal rainfall and warm temperatures that spurred more evaporation probably led to Lake Superior’s level dropping more than usual in September.

The big lake dropped two inches during the month, compared to the average half-inch drop for September, the International Lake Superior Board of Control reported Wednesday.

Lake Superior sits six inches below the Oct. 1 average but still a half-inch above the Oct. 1 level of one year ago. The lake usually declines from September to April until winter snows begins to melt and spring rain falls.

The levels of Lakes Huron and Michigan each dropped three inches in September compared to the usual two-inch decline. The lakes are six inches below their long-term average but still nine inches higher than Oct. 1, 2008.

Duluth News Tribune


Wind pushes Lake Erie water from Toledo to Buffalo in seiche effect

10/2 - Cleveland, Ohio – Sometimes Lake Erie acts just like a big bathtub. Jump in - and then watch the water slosh back and forth for a while until it settles down again.

"That's pretty much what happened over the last several days - except it was a big wind that pushed the water all the way from Toledo up toward Buffalo," said Dan Leins, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service station at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

"Parts of western Ohio had sustained winds of between 30 and 40 miles per hour for about 12 hours through Monday and then only slightly less than that through [Tuesday] morning."

The result: a water level drop of six to eight feet along the shallow shoreline of the western basin - and an equal rise in water level hundreds of miles away in Buffalo, N.Y.

In Cleveland, because of the central location and deeper water, the water exchange was barely noticed, except for places west of Cleveland like Rocky River, where observers could walk out some 10 feet farther than usual.

Scientists call the phenomenon a seiche, named in the 1730s by a Swiss engineer who noticed Lake Geneva seemed to be sloshing back and forth.

Boaters and marina owners, however, probably have less wholesome words to describe the effect a seiche can have.

The strong and steady winds - peaking at more than 50 mph in some places - pushed water out of the shallow western basin, leaving dozens of boats stuck in the muck at marinas from Toledo to Port Clinton, officials and observers said.

Worse, when the water began to return to the western basin by midday Tuesday, some of those boats stayed suctioned to the lake bottom and filled with water. A spokeswoman for Meinke Marina in Oregon County said it had lost several boats that way.

"The problem is that the clay at the bottom is like glue and it holds the boat in place," said John Hageman of the Ohio State University Stone Laboratory on South Bass Island in western Lake Erie. "This is the beginning of a typical autumn wind pattern, but it sounds like it was an especially strong one."

Because of its southwest-northeast orientation, its shallow western basin and its location on the North American continent, Lake Erie is particularly suited for seiches, said Frank Litchkoppler of the OSU Ohio Sea Grant college program, which studies lake issues.

"A lot of our winds, especially as fall comes, are blowing in from the southwest and toward the northeast," he said. "Then, if you have one that blows hard for a day and a half, you're going to get a seiche effect, and that's what happened."

Seiches have even been deadly: A May 1942 surge - this one a north-to-south seiche from Canada - killed seven people in Northeast Ohio from Bay Village to Ashtabula.

Others in history were worse: Buffalo historians say an 1844 seiche wiped out a shantytown on the shore of that city, killing at least 78 people. Another surge in 1926 took 11 lives, newspaper accounts say.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


River surfing on the St. Lawrence becoming more popular

10/2 - Montreal, Que. – Montreal's St. Lawrence River is actually home to quite a thriving surfer culture. The Habitat 67 standing wave in the Lachine Rapids in Montreal, named for the Habitat 67 housing complex across the street, has become the destination for Montreal's newest, and most surprising, sport. Not to be confused with ocean surfing, river surfing is an increasingly popular form of surfing that is being practiced in places like Germany, New Zealand and the Midwest United States.

While paddling out and floating in the St. Lawrence river waiting to catch the perfect wave sounds like a recipe for hypothermia, river surfing actually involves a standing wave - a wave caused by a large amount of water constricted by flowing over underwater boulders. A river surfer can catch this wave and have the feeling of traveling fast over water, without even moving. It's a great way to practice standing up on a board, or doing tricks for whenever you do go on that tropical vacation.

As the first official river-surfing school in the world, 2Imagine - founded by Olympic whitewater kayaker Corran Addison - offers a surfing opportunity to any courageous soul willing to fall and make mistakes. 2Imagine teaches you both the techniques and the safety knowledge of how to swim the current and control the specially designed river surfboard. Lessons are about $200 for two days, but you can do it with a group and board, life jacket, and helmet rentals are all included. The only prerequisites are being a competent swimmer and the having the courage to fall into the choppy waves - hence the helmet.

And while autumn does not seem like the ideal time for surfing - particularly in a city that expects snow in October - the water is actually warmest in fall and waves are at their peak.

The McGill Tribune


Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City open house

10/2 - Traverse City, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City will host an Open House and Coast Guard Appreciation Day on Sunday, October 4, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

This is an opportunity to get an in-depth look at multi-mission Coast Guard assets and capabilities, tour the facility, learn about the different rescue equipment and learn first-hand why they are known as the “Great Lakes Guardians.”

There will be several information booths describing the varied missions and responsibilities of the Coast Guard to include environmental response and measures to address aquatic nuisance species, rescue swimmers, Coast Guard recruiters and others.

There will also be an informative ‘State of the Coast Guard’ presentation by the unit’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Jon Spaner, as well as a search-and-rescue demonstration by the Air Station’s HH-65C Dolphin helicopter and crew at 3 p.m.

The following multi-mission Coast Guard assets and booths will be on display:

HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter
HC-144 “Ocean Sentry” Maritime Patrol Aircraft from Mobile, AL
Coast Guard Recruiter
Environmental Protection and Response
25’ Response Boat - Safe (RBS)
Coast Guard Auxiliary Surface Boat
Coast Guard Auxiliary Air Piper Cherokee 180 and Cessna 180
Cherry Capital Airport’s Striker 3000 Crash/Fire Rescue Truck


$275,985 in stimulus funding for port security grants

10/2 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) has announced two grants for Northern Michigan totaling $276,985 to protect critical port infrastructure.

The funding was awarded to Chippewa County and to the Beaver Island Boat Company in Charlevoix County by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Port Security Grant program as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The projects are as follows:
Sault Ste. Marie - Chippewa County $246,985 - Purchase of a response boat
Charlevoix - Beaver Island Boat Company - $30,000 Infrastructure to support Transportation Worker Identification Credential program

The Port Security Grant Program helps protect critical port infrastructure from terrorism; enhances maritime domain awareness and risk management capabilities; and supports the implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, a tamper-resistant biometric credential issued to workers who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports and vessels.

Soo Today


Updates - October 2

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 2

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 October 2,1901, 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 14t 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 cutter’s torch.

October 2, 1954 - The PERE MARQUETTE 21 sailed into Ludington, Michigan, on her second maiden voyage of her career.

On October 2,1888, 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 Mackinaw; 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: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Duluth dock company, Superior shipyard sued over freighter sinking

10/1 - Superior, Wisc. – American Steamship Co., owner of the Walter J. McCarthy Jr., has sued a Duluth dock company and a Superior shipyard over the McCarthy's January 2008 sinking in Duluth-Superior Harbor.

After hitting a submerged concrete structure, the McCarthy took on water and settled to the bottom. Fortunately, "the bottom" was only 20 feet below, but the vessel still had to be pumped dry and repaired.

The McCarthy resumed sailing last spring.

In a suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, American Steamship claims negligence by Hallett Dock Co. and Fraser Shipyards Inc. led to the sinking. The company is suing for unspecified damages not only in repairing the vessel but also for cleaning up pollution caused by the sinking.

A spokesman for American Steamship, based in Williamsville, N.Y., did not return a call for comment. But Jerry Fryberger, CEO of Hallett Dock Co. in Duluth, said the suit was news to him.

"We were wondering what they were going to do," he said of the ship's owners. "They never talked to us." He declined to comment about the incident itself, though.

"I certainly don't want to get into what happened," Fryberger said. "It's premature at this point."

A spokesman for Fraser Shipyards, based in Superior, did not return a call for comment.

The sinking occurred Jan. 14, 2008, as the McCarthy was being directed into Hallett Dock No. 8, a 37-acre berth along the St. Louis River on the south shore of Duluth-Superior Harbor. According to the lawsuit, American Steamship had negotiated contracts with Hallett and Fraser in the fall of 2007 to berth the McCarthy for the winter.

The suit alleges that under the contracts, "certain and specific knowledgeable Hallett and Fraser employees/representatives would be present at Hallett Dock No. 8 to oversee guiding, spotting, tie-up and/or other operations when the McCarthy arrived."

But that didn't happen, the McCarthy's owner claims. As some employees from the two defendants were directing the ship as it backed into the dock, the ship struck a "large hidden obstruction of concrete debris," the suit claims.

The crash punched a hole in the hull, flooding the lower engine room. Crew members stopped the engines and sealed the engine room, but not before the room had flooded with 15 feet of water, according to the ship enthusiast Web site

The water, combined with ballast water the ship was carrying, caused the McCarthy to settle to the bottom.

Among other things, American Steamship accuses Hallett and Fraser of failing to maintain its dock properly, not taking regular soundings and failing to know about the obstruction.

The incident was investigated by the U.S. Coast Guard, but the inquiry is still open, said Petty Officer William Vaughn of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Unit in Duluth.

"Because it's an open and active case, we cannot comment on it," Vaughn said.

Superior Telegram


Shipping could be devastated by proposed new EPA regulations

10/1 - Sarnia, Ont. – Thirteen American steamships and another seven Canadian freighters would be banned from the Great Lakes if proposed regulations from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency are approved.

And an additional 13 U. S. Great Lakes vessels and 53 Canadian ships powered by heavy blended fuel would have to switch to a more costly fuel, says the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

If that happens, it's possible a combined carrying capacity of more than one million tons, or 52 per cent of the American Great Lakes fleet's carrying capacity, could be lost, according to the GLSLCI.

That's got Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley concerned, particularly when he found out the period for public consultation passed without his knowledge.

"Our location as a winter berth and the millions of dollars spent to upgrade Great Lakes vessels here makes this important to the Sarnia economy," he said.

No municipalities surrounding the Great Lakes were aware that public consultation ended Monday, Bradley said.

A notice from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative was circulated Monday, as soon as the GLSLCI became aware of it.

It was widely expected the regulations would pertain only to freighters traveling near the east and west coasts, but a reference to the Great Lakes was made on page 44,481 of the proposal.

"It's a cliche but the devil is always in the details, and to find the details about the Great Lakes you have to turn to page 44,481," Bradley said. "This doesn't leave room for any debate or discussion on such a significant issue."

He appealed to the EPA to extend the period for public input but has not received a response.

The EPA is proposing more stringent exhaust emission standards for the largest marine diesel engines impacting U. S. air quality.

The new strategy is part of the Clean Air Act and, if approved, would reduce annual emissions of nitrogen oxides in the U. S. by about 1.2 million tons and particulate matter emissions by 143,000 tons by 2030.

"I really don't have any difficulty trying to protect the Great Lakes but we want to understand the repercussions," Bradley said.

Sarnia Observer


Port Reports - October 1

Goderich, Ont. - Dale Baechler
CSL Tadoussac departed winter layup in Goderich on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
CSL Laurentien was docked at the coal loading dock at the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna. The inbound American Mariner was asked to check down so that the Laurentien could get her unloading boom swung back over the centerline of the ship to allow the second vessel to pass by within the confines of the Bethlehem Slip. The Mariner responded and held position outside the breakwater until the Laurentien was ready, then entered the Buffalo Outer Harbor via the South Entrance, turned up the channel, stopped, and then backed into the slip past the Laurentien to unload.


Lake Erie boats mired in mud after high winds cause water levels to drop

10/1 - Cleveland, Ohio – Small boat owners in northwest Ohio are taking stock of their losses from high winds that pushed Lake Erie water east, toward Buffalo, N.Y.

Officials say water levels dropped Monday at Ohio marinas from Toledo to Port Clinton, and boats got mired in muck on the lake bottom. Some remained stuck and were flooded with water when the lake level eventually rose again.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Leins in Cleveland says 30-40 mph winds that lasted about 12 hours displaced the lake water in a phenomenon called a seiche. Just west of Cleveland, in Rocky River, some people reported they could walk out from the lake shore 10 feet farther than usual.

Columbus Dispatch


DECC peddles a sinking enterprise

10/1 - Duluth, Minn. – If you haven’t already toured the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sundew, you may have missed your chance.

The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center is considering a Superior businessman’s bid to purchase the vessel. Jeff Foster of Jeff Foster Trucking Inc. has offered to pay just more than $100,000 for the cutter. But the prospective sale of the ship could become tangled in federal red tape.

“The Sundew’s attendance has been dismal,” said Dan Russell, executive director of the DECC, explaining the rationale for putting it on the market. “Only 964 guests purchased tickets to tour the ship last year, as compared with about 50,000 tickets sold for the William A. Irvin. The bigger boat wins.”

This year, the Sundew has done a better job of pulling in visitors, drawing 2,175 people to date, thanks in part to an online marketing campaign. But at $3 to $5 a pop, those ticket sales generated only about $9,100 in revenue.

That’s not even enough to cover the $13,332 cost of leasing dock space for the floating museum.

Russell said staffing the Sundew with tour guides adds another $21,500 in costs to the equation. Still more expenses are tied to maintaining the vessel, periodically pumping out the head and supplying it with electricity. Throughout the winter, the DECC also foots the bill to operate a bubbler to protect the hull from ice damage.

With the cutter continuing to ring up losses, the DECC’s board of directors authorized staff to begin shopping it around more than a year ago.

Russell said the vessel was listed in Boats & Harbors, and while the ad generated significant interest, Foster was the only person to submit a qualified formal bid above the minimum threshold of $100,000.

“We were thrilled, because all the other interested parties were from outside the community,” Russell said. Board members hope to keep the well-known cutter in the Twin Ports if possible.

Foster could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon on his plans for the vessel. Russell said he and the board are excited by the prospect of seeing the vessel return to work in the harbor.

Still, it’s not clear Foster will be successful in his quest to acquire the Sundew. Russell said he recently informed the General Services Administration, which oversees the sale of federal property, of prospective plans to sell the ship and discovered a possible issue.

After the Sundew was decommissioned in 2004, it was donated to the DECC under the condition that the cutter be placed on public display for a minimum of five years. While five years have elapsed since that time, Russell said a representative of the GSA recently questioned whether the DECC has fulfilled its obligation since the vessel is closed to tours between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Following this line of logic, the DECC might be required to operate the Sundew as a floating museum for a decade before it could contemplate selling the vessel.

Nevertheless, the DECC’s board of directors voted Tuesday afternoon to authorize staff to proceed with the sale of the Sundew, assuming federal authorities sign off on the deal.

Regardless of the ship’s disposition, Thom Holden, director of the Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center, hopes it will remain in the Twin Ports.

“It’s an important part of the Duluth-Superior harbor and its history, having been built locally, having operated here and having retired in the same home port,” Holden said. The 180-foot vessel was launched in 1944, and Holden said the craft was distinguished by its solid construction, with a welded hull that was novel for the day.

The primary mission of the Sundew was as a buoy tender maintaining aids to navigation. But the vessel also worked as an icebreaker. On top of that, the Sundew participated in numerous search and rescue missions, saving 28 crewmen from the sinking freighter Jupiter and scooping up the only two survivors of the 35-man crew of the Carl D. Bradley amid 30-foot seas.

Proceeds from the sale of the Sundew could help cover the cost of repainting the Irvin, which Russell said remains a profitable exhibit.

If the DECC is required to keep the cutter on display, however, it can expect its costs to mount. Russell pointed out that the vessel is carrying 24,000 gallons of fuel as ballast. He explained that the useful life span of such fuel is typically five to seven years. If the vessel is to remain on static display for another five years, Russell said that fuel would likely need to be pumped out and replaced with a glycol solution to stave off rust.

Duluth News Tribune


Drummond Island ferry services to receive $56,430

10/1 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority will receive $56,430 to upgrade the docks and facilities for the Drummond Island ferry services.

The funding, announced by U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee), was awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportations Federal Transit Administration.

Upgrading the infrastructure of the Drummond Island ferry service will improve safety for passengers as well as provide a boost to the local economy, Stupak said. With the Great Lakes playing such a critical role in economic well-being of Northern Michigan, I am pleased to see the Department of Transportation investing in our waterways.

The grant to the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority was one of $2,462,049 in bus and bus facilities grants awarded to the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) by the Federal Transit Administration.

MDOT will distribute the grant money to the awarded transit agencies.


A labor of love on Boblo boat: Dockside tours could be as early as next summer

10/1 - Detroit, Mich. – Thanks to years of volunteer work and new investment, the one-time Detroit River passenger boat Ste. Claire appears closer than ever to being ready to welcome visitors for dockside tours as early as next summer. Once its restoration is complete, a full menu of moonlight cruises, day sails and special events could follow, probably in four or five years.

Dr. Ron Kattoo, a Henry Ford Hospital physician who is the principal owner of the Ste. Claire, is overseeing the restoration work. He sailed on the Boblo boats as a child growing up in Detroit, and would like to give that same pleasure to today's families.

"We've lost so much," Kattoo, 41, said last week aboard the Ste. Claire. "Tiger Stadium is gone. The state fair is in question. What is there for kids? There's nothing that compares with the Boblo boat. As a child, that was the greatest thing I looked forward to every summer."

Volunteers help owners bring back Boblo boat

Standing aboard the Boblo steamer Ste. Claire last week, Dr. Ron Kattoo sounded like any other happy boat owner.

"She's in great shape," he said. "She just needs some work."

Well, perhaps a little more than "some." When Kattoo, a Henry Ford Hospital physician, and his partners bought the Ste. Claire from its previous owners three years ago, they started by hauling away more than 40 Dumpsters worth of trash and debris. Since then, they've been chipping paint, scraping rust and otherwise working to restore a vessel that sailed deep in the memories of Detroiters.

One of those was Kevin Mayer of Livonia, who worked on the Boblo boat Columbia as a concessions manager in the early 1980s and recalls it as one of the best jobs he ever had. It was one long party, he said.

Now Mayer assists Kattoo as coordinator of the dozens of volunteers who are working on the restoration of the Ste. Claire. Like Kattoo, Mayer finds the pull of nostalgia too strong to resist. "We don't have anything left in Detroit anymore," Mayer said last week aboard the vessel. "Everything's gone, the Hudson's and Tiger Stadium, possibly the train depot. This is it, and we have a chance of bringing back something that people have enjoyed over a hundred years."

Built in 1910, the Ste. Claire, along with its sister ship Columbia, carried millions of Detroiters on excursions to Boblo Island before the boats stopped running in 1991. Today, the Ste. Claire is docked at a U.S. Steel Co. facility in Ecorse, with the Columbia docked just astern.

A New York investor hopes to restore the Columbia for cruises there, but, unlike the Ste. Claire, the Columbia shows no signs of any recent work.

After buying the Ste. Claire three years ago for an undisclosed sum, Kattoo and his partners began what he estimated will be a $3-million restoration. The work is funded by himself and his partners, by contributions from the public, and by lots and lots of sweat equity.

Much of the work so far has involved cleaning out the debris of the past century and demolishing rotted walls and rusted-out decking. Underneath the rust and the dozens of layers of paint applied over the years, the wood below appears fresh and clean.

Pat Klavitter and her husband, Rich Klavitter, of Trenton have been volunteering on the project for seven years, since previous owners had the Ste. Claire.

"It's so great to see the progress that's being made and see the potential that's there for the boat to come back again," she said. "It's going to be so exciting." Kattoo plans to wrap the Ste. Claire in coming weeks so that work can continue this winter. By next summer, he hopes to have rebuilt the stern, which he has dismantled down to its structural ribs, and to have restored the first and possibly second decks.

That'll be enough to bring the Ste. Claire back downtown for dockside tours next summer, he said. Kattoo plans to offer those tours for a couple of years as a way to raise some cash and reacquaint Detroiters with the boat.

"For next year, I'll be more than happy with that," he said. "The public will be really happy to see that the boat is semi-restored and on its way."

In four or five years, he hopes to have the Ste. Claire sailing again, offering a full range of moonlight cruises, day sails, and rentals for weddings and other special events.

By then, he said, the Ste. Claire will feature its traditional white-and-blue color but will have new plumbing, electrical and power plant.

For the first year of operations, Kattoo said, the public can donate $100 and get a season pass for the dockside tours. Alternatively, donors can have their names engraved on a plaque that will be mounted on board.

For more information on the project, go to

Detroit Free Press


Updates - October 1

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Thomas Wilson gallery updated
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - October 1

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 October 1,1888, 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 October 1, 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 October 1, 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 October 1,1869, 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.


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