Great Lakes NEWS & RUMOR Archive

* Report News

M/V Utviken aground in Seaway

The M/V Utviken (Bahamian-registry 17,191-gt, 30,052-dwt bulk carrier built in 1987, operated by Viken Shipping) sailing from Richards Bay, South Africa, to Detroit with titanium slag, ran aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway, near Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada, on 26 Nov. The ship suffered electrial problems in her steering console, which is believed to have caused the grounding. The M/V Utviken is hard aground with damage to her port side forward and amidships. The forepeak tank and the No. 1 double-bottom tank flooded.

Reported by: Steve Schultz

Welland Canal Closed

The canal was closed around 1300 today after a road accident between lock 1 and lock 2 sent a vehicle into the water. Fire and police are there and at the moment no further information is available. I will update this when I can.

Reported by: Roger Tottman

Two ships collide in the Welland Canal

On Monday two ships collided in the Welland canal below lock 1. The Mallard up bound apparently bounce off the wall and into the path of the Canadian Enterprise. It was a sideswipe rather than a head on collision. The Enterprise was repair at Port Weller DD. The repairs to the gangway and ballast vent pipes took six hours. The Mallard proceeded to Port Colborne to be repaired there.

Reported by: Roger Tottman

Reserve Delivers Coal to Marquette

Oglebay Norton's RESERVE made her first ever delivery of coal to Marquette on November 25. She then loaded taconite for Toledo which she has done many times before. Before this trip, coal had been delivered to Marquette this season by Interlake vessels. Before this season, ASC delivered most of the coal in the late 80's and early 90's.

Reported by: Rod Burdick

Twin Ports Report

Two reminders of winter's proximity are now clearly in evidence in the Twin Ports.

Ice has formed across the harbor in depths ranging from 4 to 10 inches, according to the Coast Guard, and from 6 to 8 inches, according to estimates from some vessel masters. No vessels have needed icebreaking assistance, although the Sundew reportedly has been at work in the channels.

With the end of the season looming, grain traffic remains brisk, especially among salties. Maria SJ, Peter Strolfok and Rixta Oldendorf are all arriving, departing or loading today. The clearest sign that the end of the season is nearing, however, was evident Nov. 23 when Kinsman Independent and Maria SJ were busy loading on a Saturday at the General Mills and Cargill grain elevators, respectively.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Reports come from the Society's monthly publication the Detroit Marine Historian

More on Duluth's Lift Bridge Shutdown

Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge is back in service Nov. 26 on a limited basis, the bridge will open for outbound deep-draft vessels. Inbound light are requested to use Superior entry. Yesterday the bridge operators requested the master of Paul R. Tregurtha give a 60- to 90-minute advance notice of departure so they could clear the bridge of repair workers before lifting for the vessel.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit
Reports come from the Society's monthly publication the Detroit Marine Historian

More on the Viking I

There was much more of a story behind the move from Port Stanley to Erie then originally reported. According to a story in the Erie Daily Times, Captian Gerry Matherne sailed the vessel in the middle of the night from Port Stanley, Ont. to Erie on his own volition because of threats of violence made to him and at least one other crew member. Viking I was to be used for a ferry service between Port Stanley and Cleveland but the investor group behind the venture, apparently underestimated the cost of renovating the 71-year old vessel and fell behind on payments to previous owner Contessa Cruise Lines, for whom Matherne worked. It was apparently under the pretense of repossessing the vessel that Matherne took command and sailed her from Port Stanley, claiming that a telephone caller has threatened bodily harm to him if he tried to take back the ferry. Matherne had previously called Raymond Schreckengost, executive director of the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority, to seek permission to berth the ferry there. Upon arriving in Erie, the U.S. Coast Gurad cited Matherne and Contessa with numerous violations, including lack of radar and a gyrocompass, lack of a pilot licensed for the Great Lakes and failure to notify the Coast Guard of Viking I's arrival in Erie.

Reported by: Robert D. Kennedy

First cut at Interlake's lay-up ports

J R Barker          Duluth/Superior area
Mesabi Miner        Duluth/Superior area
Paul R. Tregurtha   Duluth/Superior area
Stinson             Duluth/Superior area
Beeghly             River Rouge
Jackson             River Rouge
Hoyt                Fraser
Kaye Barker         River Rouge
Lee Tregurtha       Fraser 

*First cut is subject to change

Reported by: Lake Carriers Association

Duluth's famed Aerial Lift Bridge Shutdown

Engineers and operators of Duluth's famed Aerial Lift Bridge decided Nov. 22 to idle the bridge's lift span for several days until they repair a cracked steel rod in the lift mechanism.

The shutdown has forced vessels to enter and leave port through the Superior Entry, about six miles from the Duluth ship canal. For most vessels, this means a slow journey down the harbor's "front channel" instead of making the relatively quick turn for the Duluth entry.

The bridge was being inspected in preparation for work scheduled to be done over this winter. The discovery of the cracked rod prompted the shutdown to avoid the possibility, however slight, that the bridge might become disabled in either the "up" or "down" position. The lift bridge is the only means of access to Duluth's Park Point area for the hundreds of people who live there.

The bridge was expected to be reactivated in several days after temporary repairs are made. The bridge will operate on a limited basis for the rest of the shipping season, when it will be idled and long-term repairs made to the rod and other areas.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Reports come from the Society's monthly publication the Detroit Marine Historian

Grampa Woo Breaking Up

The stranded excursion boat Grampa Woo appears to be breaking up off Passage Island. Meanwhile, its owner plans to be back in business next spring with a different.

A salvage crew boarded the 110-foot Grampa Woo on Nov. 20. They removed a small quantity of fuel and other potential pollutants that were left aboard the boat when it blew aground on Passage Island late last month. Electronic gear aboard the boat was too badly damaged to be salvaged. Kollars also reported the vessel's bow has moved and that parts of the vessel are scattered about the area.

The same day, Kollars purchased another vessel of similar size. He plans to bring the vessel into the lakes next spring and resume his excursion business along Lake Superior's North Shore.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Reports come from the Society's monthly publication the Detroit Marine Historian

Saltie aground in Duluth Harbor

The saltie Seadaniel was blown aground in Duluth harbor Nov. 17 but tugs from Great Lakes Towing Co. were able to free the vessel with little difficulty later that day.

The empty vessel had anchored in the harbor's anchorage area Nov. 15. A sudden shift in the wind and strong gusts from the south west freed the Seadaniel's anchor and blew the vessel across the harbor and into a mud bank of Minnesota Point, which protects the harbor from Lake Superior.

Tugs Vermont and Minnesota were summoned to free the saltie. After a couple hours of work, they were able to maneuver the ship to a berth at Duluth's port terminal. The ship suffered no apparent damage.

Seadaniel's encounter with the mud bank came exactly 11 years after the saltie Socrates was blown aground on the lake side of Minnesota Point. That ship was aground for about a week while as many as seven tugs and dredging equipment worked to free it.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Reports come from the Society's monthly publication th e Detroit Marine Historian

U.S.-Flag Float Surges In October

Aided by good sailing conditions, U.S.-Flag carriers moved 13.2 million net tons of cargo on the Great Lakes in October, an increase of 1 million tons compared to the same period last year. The increase has nothing to do with the number of ships in service; vessel utilization rates were essentially unchanged. The difference was the weather; October 1995 was characterized by high winds and storms which forced the fleet to go to anchor an inordinate number of times.

The U.S.-Flag ore float totaled 6.4 million tons in October, an increase of 7.8 percent. Stone cargos totaled 3.2 million tons, an increase of 14.3 percent. Coal loadings were up by 100,000 tons.

Reported by: Lake Carriers Association

Visit the LCA's home page for Complete details

St. Lawrence Seaway on Course for Another Strong Shipping Season

Cargo volumes passing through the St. Lawrence Seaway during the 1996 shipping season as of October 31 are currently running at 38,635,000 tonnes. The combined cargo for the period is as follows:

Iron ore9,785,00010,840,000
Other Bulk10,080,00010,703,000
General Cargo3,799,0004,347,000

Some notable increases are in the movements of iron ore, coal, other bulk (stone, salt, sugar, coke,etc.) and general cargo (value-added, steel products, imported steel slabs, etc.). Iron ore and coal traffic have increased substantially thanks to the healthy economy in North America. Bulk cargo is up because of important movements of salt and sugar, and general cargo has risen due to the vigour of the steel industry.

Reported by: The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority

Myron C. Taylor Aground CORRECTION

The Myron C. Taylor did not run aground as reported on 11/12. She arrived at lay-up safe and sound. The ship did go to anchor in the harbor to wait out the weather.

Correction by: Lake Carriers Association

Myron C. Taylor Calls it a Season

The Myron C. Taylor went into winter layup on Tuesday November 11,1996. She is laid-up in Sturgeon Bay

Reported by: Industry Source

Grampa Woo Doomed

Owners, insurance officials and the Coast Guard generally agree the 110-foot excursion boat Grampa Woo is doomed. Now it's just a matter of determining where and when to dispose of the boat.

The Grampa Woo remains stranded at Passage Island in Lake Superior. A Coast Guard photo published in the Nov. 13 Duluth News-Tribune shows the vessel's decks awash.

Owner Dana Kollars and his insurance company agree the $1 million boat is a total loss. Kollars has indicated he wants to pull the vessel offf the rocks and allow it to sink in about 100 feet of water.

The National Park Service, however, is not ready to agree to that plan. NPS officials want to make sure pollutants are removed from the vessel before it is sunk. They also are unsure whether the Grampa Woo should be allowed to sink in the park and say it might be better to tow the vessel to shore for scrapping, if possible.Efforts to remove the boat from Passage Island are unlikely to occur this fall.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Reports come from the Society's monthly publication the Detroit Marine Historian

David Z. Norton in tailings trade

David Z. Norton made three straight trips to Escanaba on November 3, 7, and 10. She loaded taconite tailings for Alpena's Lafarge Cement Plant. Oglebay Norton has normally used the smaller, venerable Joseph H. Frantz for this trip since only about 10,000 tons are moved a trip.

Reported by: Rod Burdick

Closing of the 1996 Navigation Season

Mariners are reminded that the clearance date for the 1996 navigation season is 2400 hours,December 20, 1996.

For the Montreal-Lake Ontario Section, vessel demand, weather and ice conditions will dictate the final closing date. It will be announced no later than December 15 whether or not, based upon operating conditions, vessels will be subject to operational surcharges after December 20.

Vessels will be accepted to transit the Welland Canal upbound at CIP15 and downbound at CIP16 up to 0800 hours December 24, 1996. The Welland Canal may be kept open beyond this date depending on vessel demand and weather conditions. However, vessel transits after 0800 hours December 24, 1996, will be allowed subject to Agents/Owners signing a written agreement with the Authority.

Mariners are reminded that there is always a possibility that severe climatic conditions may occur during the closing period. Should this happen, there is a chance that the above-noted dates, for the Montreal-Lake Ontario Section or the Welland Canal, may not be met.

The Seaway entities will monitor weather conditions and demand, and the final closing dates for both sections will be confirmed when better information is available.

The Canadian Sault Ste. Marie Canal is closed to navigation.
2.United States
The official closing date for the Sault Ste. Marie Locks (U.S.A.) is 2400 hours January 15, 1997.

Vessel owners and operators are advised that there are a number of ports east of the Seaway (St.Lambert Lock) on the St. Lawrence River that remain open to navigation during the winter months.

Reported by: The St. Lawrence Seaway Authority

Duluth/Superior News

On Nov. 9-10, J.A.W. Iglehart made its first call in the Twin Ports since the labor dispute began to unload at the LaFarge terminals in Superior and Duluth. Alpena has made several trips here since replacement crews were hired. There have been no incidents at either of the terminals.

Atlantic Hickory and Sarah Spencer have made a couple of unusual calls in Duluth over the past few days. The tug/barge combo has unloaded at Cargill B2 and at General Mills. This could possibly be the first calls ever for the vessels at those elevators.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Reports come from the Society's monthly publication the Detroit Marine Historian

Personnel Changes At Canada Steamship Lines Continue

After loosing several key executives over the past few weeks Canada Steamship Lines has announced the appointment of Gerry Carter to the position of Vice President Administration. Carter, having served many years with the company will have responsibility for labour relations, accounting, information systems, and human resources.

Canada Steamship Lines is the world's largest owner/operator of continuos belt self unloadingvessels. Their head office is in Montreal, Canada.

Reported by: Ocean Wide

Busy day for the Harvest States grain Terminal

Superior's Harvest States grain terminal is playing host Nov. 8 to rare "full house." Both loading berths and the layby berth are occupied today, an event that has occurred only one other time this season. Paterson's Cartierdoc is loading at HSC 1 while Upper Lakes' Canadian Provider is loading at the Gallery, which is a long, spindly legged conveyor system extending from the main elevator. Sitting in the layby spot ahead of the ULS boat is saltie Nikolay Novikov. The terminal sits alongside the I-535 bridge between Superior and Duluth, giving motorists a good view of all boats, but particularly the berth occupied today by Cartierdoc.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit
Reports come from the Society's monthly publication the Detroit Marine Historian

Grampa Woo Remains Stranded

The fate of the 110-foot excursion boat Grampa Woo remains uncertain November 6 as the vessel remains stranded at Passage Island off Isle Royale.

Winds and 6-foot waves prevented Dana Kollars, the boat's owner, from boarding it Nov. 5 to salvage equipment. He returned to Thunder Bay with the tug Glenada. There's no word on when another attempt might be made to board the boat.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Reports come from the Society's monthly publication the Detroit Marine Historian

Captain Promoted at Algoma Central Marine

Peter Schultz, captain of ALGOVILLE who this year split his time between ALGOLAKE and ALGOCAPE, has been promoted to Marine Superintendent Deck Operations.

Reported by: Jim Zeirke

Great Lakes Fleets Respond Quickly To New Ruffe Threat

Cleveland--U.S.- and Canadian-flag Great Lakes vessel operators have instituted new measures to slow the spread of the European Ruffe, a nuisance fish introduced to the Great Lakes by ocean-going vessels in the 1980s. Beginning today, all U.S. and Canadian lakers loading and discharging cargo at terminals in Alpena, Michigan, will take extraordinary steps to limit the chances that Ruffe discovered in that harbor will be transported to other locations on the Great Lakes.

Three Ruffe were discovered in Alpena harbor in 1995. However, recent sweepings of the area by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service indicate that a reproducing population now inhabits Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay River. The concern is that vessels taking on ballast water in Alpena can transport these Ruffe to subsequent ports of call.

Reported by: Lake Carriers Association

Visit the LCA's home page for complete details

Grampa Woo Update

Insurance and salvage officials may decide Nov. 5 whether to try salvaging the stranded excursion boat Grampa Woo or to scuttle it.

The 110-foot vessel was swept from its moorings in Grand Portage, Minn., last week by a storm. Two men were rescued from the boat before it smashed against a cliff at Passage Island off the northern tip of Isle Royale.

Capt. Dana Kollars, Grampa Woo's owner, and insurance officials boarded the boat Nov. 4 to assess the damage. They reported the vessel is stranded on a rocky bottom. The port side of the hull is badly damaged, and holes as big as 6 feet have let in enough water to reduce buoyancy to a minimum. Photographs of the vessel show it's hard against the base of a cliff that appears to be about 100 feet tall. It's stranded on the opposite side of the point which is the site of Passage Island Light.

Kollars and others plan to return to the vessel Nov. 5 to remove electronic equipment from the pilothouse and to salvage other gear. They'll also try to pump out about 300 gallons of fuel that remains on board. At that point, they may decide whether to try saving the vessel or to pull it free and allow it to sink.

Reported by: Duluth Shipping News

Calcite II First to Lay-Up

Calcite II is scheduled to be the first boat to go into winter layup in the Twin Ports. The vessel is due to unload at the Hallett 5 on Nov. 4 stone dock in Duluth before going into Fraser Shipyards.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Woo may Remain Until Spring

The last word on the Grampa Woo, the 110-foot excursion vessel aground at Passage Island, is that it may remain stranded there until spring. Seas were too rough Nov. 2 to attempt salvage operations. Seas have calmed considerably since then, but there's been no word on whether an attempt to retrieve the vessel will be made. People who have flown over the site report the vessel's hull appears to be badly damaged and water is surging in and out of broken windows.

Reported by: Al Jackman

Delays on the Upper Lakes

Heavy weather on Lake Superior caused delays in Marquette. FRED R. WHITE JR. and PHILIP R. CLARKE were at the LS & I ore dock all day Friday, November 1. They were both loaded and waited until Saturday morning to depart. If the weather delays weren't enough, the Union Pacific ore dock in Escanaba was broken down on Sunday, November 3. ST. CLAIR and DAVID Z. NORTON were waiting to load. The NORTON was waiting to load tailings for Alpena -- a trip normally handled by JOSEPH H. FRANTZ.

Reported by: Rod Burdick

Walter J. McCarthy Aids in Rescue

The 110-foot excursion boat Grampa Woo is aground on Passage Island off the northern tip of Isle Royale after breaking free from its moorings in Grand Portage, Minn., on Oct. 30.

Meanwhile, the two men who were aboard the vessel when it went adrift are alive thanks to a combination of good luck and good seamanship and bravery by the crews of the Walter J. McCarthy, the Canadian tug Glenada and the Canadian Coast Guard boat Westfort. The vessels braved winds up to 70 mph and seas to 15 feet to save the two men from their ice-covered boat.

The adventure began about 9 a.m. Oct. 30. The tour boat was tied to a mooring buoy in Grand Portage harbor when 50 mph winds pulled the buoy loose from its 4,000-pound anchor and blew the boat into Lake Superior with Capt. Dana Kollars and his first mate aboard. The Grampa Woo was powerless to save itself because its propellers and rudders had been removed for repairs. Eight-foot waves in the harbor prevented small boats there from getting a line aboard the tour boat.

About 11 a.m., Kollars contacted the 1,000-foot Walter J. McCarthy, which was sailing the North Shore route to avoid 20-foot waves on the open lake. The coal-laden McCarthy was the last vessel to leave Duluth before a major storm blew across Lake Superior and brought vessel traffic to a halt. The McCarthy was likely the only vessel off the North Shore that morning - an amazing bit of good luck for the Grampa Woo's crew.

The McCarthy's master, Capt. Lawrence Smyth, declined a request to tow the Grampa Woo into Grand Portage - an impossibility given the McCarthy's size. Instead, Smyth offered to tow the Grampa Woo to Thunder Bay, about 40 miles away. The McCarthy spent three hours and made two passes before putting a line aboard the tour boat about 2 p.m. Oct. 30.

"You don't turn tight circles in a 1,000-footer, and you don't just stop it. I was worried they'd get blown into us and then pulled under and I'd end up killing the people I was trying to rescue," Smyth told the Duluth News-Tribune. "Our crew was running around on icy decks, in what was 8 foot seas and building...That boat (the Grampa Woo) was rocking like a bucking horse."

A Coast Guard official in Duluth called the McCarthy's work "amazing seamanship" under the weather conditions that existed.

The McCarthy towed the tour boat for four hours until reaching the entrance to Thunder Bay. But in the open waters of the bay, the vessels encountered winds to 70 mph and waves of 15 feet and higher. The tow line parted and the Grampa Woo was adrift again.

Meanwhile, the tug Glenada and the 38-foot buoytender Westfort had been hovering in the lee of Pie Island in case assistance was needed. When the tow line parted, the vessels went into action. Because of heavy ice buildup and the imminent threat of capsizing, the Westfort had to turn back. The Glenada continued on through dropping temperatures and snow squalls to approach the tour boat.

Unable to get a line on the tour boat, Capt. Gary Dawson of the Glenada decided to save the two men. He put his tug alongside the Grampa Woo about 7 p.m. and the two men, wearing survival suits, somehow managed to leap aboard the tug despite the high seas. The men were saved minutes before a Coast Guard helicopter was to be dispatched from Traverse City to rescue them.

"With it pitching like that and with the waves and the ice on the decks, I don't know how anyone could stand up on the deck to jump," Smyth said. "I thought it was bad for us. I can't imagine what they were going through."

The Glenada and Westfort sought shelter in the lee of Thunder Cape and the "Sleeping Giant" formation. The vessels were still in shelter late on Oct. 31.

A Coast Guard helicopter spotted the Grampa Woo about 2:30 p.m. Oct. 31, aground on Passage Island. The vessel was intact but being battered against 30-foot cliffs.

Reported by: Duluth News Tribune

Oglebay Withdrawing as Mine's Manager

Oglebay Norton Co. has filed a notice that Eveleth Mines, a 31-year-old Minnesota taconite producer employing 650 people, will close Dec. 31 unless a management agreement with the mine's other three owners is reached within 60 days.

Oglebay Norton officials said the notice doesn't necessarily mean the plant will close. It is simply required because Oglebay is withdrawing as the mine's manager and co-owner at the end of the year.

The mine's three remaining owners - Rouge Steel, AK Steel and Stelco - want to keep the mine open and increase production. Negotiations among the steelmakers and Oglebay Norton are continuing, although it's unclear when a new management agreement will be reached.

Eveleth Mines is located near Eveleth, Minn. It ships taconite pellets through the DM&IR dock in Duluth.

Reported by: N. Schultheiss

More News from Duluth/Superior

Few vessels were moving in Duluth-Superior on Oct. 31 as a massive fall storm moved across the upper Great Lakes. Storm warnings remained in effect on Lake Superior, with westerly winds at 35 mph and expected to rise. Waves were predicted at 16 to 20 feet.

The coal-laden Walter J. McCarthy apparently was the last vessel to leave the Twin Ports, departing early on Oct. 30. Edgar B. Speer remained at anchor off Duluth Oct. 31, unwilling to attempt entry into Two Harbors. Algomarine loaded in Superior Oct. 30 but went to anchor off Duluth on Oct. 31 until the wind subsides. Inside the harbor, the Algoriver was loaded with grain but remained in port. John J. Boland was loading coal but also expected to remain in port.

Reported by: N. Schultheiss

Edward L. Ryerson to see Service Next Season?

Inland Steel has officially declared they are not buying the HERBERT C. JACKSON, but may run the EDWARD L. RYERSON next year.

Reported by: Industry Source

Inland Still looking to Replace Striking Workers

Scott Feldmeyer reports that Inland Lakes Management placed another ad in the October 28th Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a help-wanted display ad for masters and mates, chiefs, 1st, 2nd and 3rd assistant engineers, for steam and motor vessels.
B. Schroder, reports seeing the same add in the Sunday (10/27) Detroit News

Weather Closes the Welland Canal

The Welland canal was closed at noon today due to high winds gusting to 100Km/Hr. As of 1700Hrs there were 14 ships either at anchor or on the wall at various locks. I'm told that the canal may remain closed until tomorrow morning.

Reported by: Roger Tottman

Storm Warnings Cause Delays

A nasty autumn storm Oct. 29-30 sent many boats to anchor on Lake Superior and prompted others to stay in port. Winds in Duluth at 8 a.m. Oct. 30 were gusting to 20-25 knots, down considerably from the 40 knot winds recorded about 4 a.m. Winds at the Soo were reported to be around 55 knots. Waves were low off Duluth because winds were from the west and northwest, but currents were strong in the Duluth ship canal. A vessel master at the BN ore dock reported breakers going past the stern of his boat. Walter J. McCarthy left Duluth on tuesday afternoon and was reportedly encountering slow going and was only off Grand Marais by Wednesday morning. Algomarine and Algoriver apparently were staying in port for several more hours Wednesday morning waiting for the winds to ease. One master said he could avoid most of the winds by taking the northerly course around Lake Superior, but he didn't want to get caught in the high seas that a west wind tends to build off Coppermine Point.

Forecasts call for Storm Warnings to continue on Lake Superior through Oct. 30, with winds to 50 knots and waves building to 12 to 14 feet. Wind and waves are expected to diminish to gale force tonight. At least one master in Duluth harbor is now saying he won't leave port until the Storm Warnings are dropped.

A weather buoy in eastern Lake Superior recorded winds gusting to 40 knots and a 21.3' wave at 20 UTC

Reported by: N. Schultheiss

News From Duluth/Superior

Six of Northeastern Minnesota's seven taconite plants plan to maintain or increase next year's production over 1996 levels. If that holds true, Iron Range taconite production could exceed 48 million tons for the first time in 16 years.

National Steel Pellet Co. in Keewatin is the only plant anticipating lower production next year. However, the company plans to improve the quality of its pellets. NSPC ships pellets through the Burlington Northern dock in Superior.

Despite the rosy forecast, industry watchers, union leaders and government officials are concerned that the Iron Range is not taking part in the next generation of iron production -- direct-reduced iron. Approximately 14 plants are being built in the United States and the Caribbean to produce direct-reduced iron. Unlike taconite pellets, the highly concentrated direct-reduced iron briquets can be used in mini-mills, which are capturing a growing share of the steelmaking market.

Reported by: N. Schultheiss

News from the Welland Canal

N.M. Paterson's Cartierdoc (Car-she-a-doc) has been idle at above warf 12 in the Welland Canal (Port Colborne) since Sat. Oct 19th. The firm of E.G. Marsh Port Colborne is handling the repairs to the engine. Word has it the timing gear is "all chewed up and caused much damage") Rumor has it repairs should be finished yesterday---but everytime I have talked w/ the crew in the last week they said it should not be too much longer. This ship was the former Montcliffe Hall (Halco) before they went out of business and acquired by the present group out of Thunder Bay, Ontario---at the lake head of Surperior.

Last night the ship Cuyhoga was loading stone just below the idle ship at warf 12. While Paterson's Matadoc proceeded to tie up on the west wall a waiting entrance to Lock 8 which was occupied by the Capt Henry Jackman---The salty Luckyman tied up on the west wall above the lock also a waiting the lock downbound.

Reported by: J. Joseph Van Volkenburg

Legal fallout from log spill

Some 44 businesses and individuals, including Lake Michigan boat owners, have filed claims against Woodlands Harvesting Inc. of Alpena, Mich., after an incident 22 May that left 30,000, eight-foot-long pulp logs floating in Lake Michigan. As of 3 Oct., the claims, named in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Milwaukee, Wis., total U.S.$142,289 with more expected, including U.S.$30,000 for salvage of the logs.

Woodlands Harvesting, the owner of the logs, filed the suit and is asking a federal judge to either find the firm not at fault or limit its liability to U.S.$175,000, the value of the barge and logs.

The barge was being towed from Michigan to Manitowoc, Wis., by SelvickMarine Towing Corp. when it spilled its cargo more than two miles from Point Betsie, Mich. Most logs were apparently recovered, but the U.S. CoastGuard in July said about 1,000 were still drifting in a 200 square mile area between Frankfort, Mich., and Door County, Wis. There were several reports of boats hitting logs near Michigan.

In the lawsuit, Woodlands Harvesting said the accident was caused through negligence and misconduct of Selvick Marine Towing, which itself is filing a lawsuit in a federal court in Michigan over a towing contract with Woodlands Harvesting. Selvick Marine Towing is seeking U.S.$36,162 in damages in the log case, the largest claim.

Anyone seeking damages from Woodlands Harvesting must file a claim with the clerk of the federal court in Milwaukee by 23 Dec.

Reported by: Steve Schultz

First Forecast For Late-Season Sailing Plans

To assist the U.S. Coast Guard in planning for the ice season, LCA surveyed its members for a first projection of lay-up dates. According to current plans, approximately 50 LCA-registered vessels will be in service on January 1, 1997. The smaller, low-horsepower self-unloaders will, as usual, be home by Christmas.

Of the 50 ships expected to be operating on January 1, most will complete their tonnage commitments by January 15. Iron ore shipments from Escanaba, Michigan, are expected to be completed by January 31.

This is just the first forecast. Much will depend on how many delays the fleet experiences in November. The U.S. Coast Guard reports that all icebreakers will be in service when ice ops begin. The MACKINAW will be out of the shipyard in early November.

Reported by: Lake Carriers Association

News From the Welland Canal - Algoville Conversion Completed

Algoville has finished its conversion and is due to be returned to service this Tuesday (Oct 29.) The side tank renewal and widening was performed by Port Weller Dry Docks, it brings Algoville to maximum canal beam and I believe increases cargo capacity by about 3500 tons. In related news, the cost of converting Canadian Navigator to a self-loader this winter is now placed at $15 million Canadian.

The Welland Canal will be drained between Lock 1 and Lock 2 this winter to rebuild the west wall and widen the channel to allow ships to pass in this area to speed up traffic.Taffic note: Bridge 1 will be closed for the first three months of 1997

Reported by: Roger Tottman

Deal Falls Through for the Viking I

The Viking 1 was not officially purchased by the Port Stanley Ferry Corporation from Contessa Cruise Lines Inc. of Minnesota, and the deal has now fallen through. This is the reason why the Viking 1 was moved from Port Stanley Ontario, to Erie Pa. According to articles published in the London Free Press, the Ferry Corporation "had begun renovating the boat when key steps such as finalizing the sale had not been completed."

Chairperson of the ferry corporation, Bob Henderson said "the ferry sailed away because of our relationship with Contessa." It is believed Gerry Matherne of St. Louis Mo. was at the helm of the vessel. Matherne was originally to be the captain of the boat when the ferry service begins, however, Matherne quit just three weeks before the vessel vanished. The Port Stanley Ferry Corporation has said it will look into purchasing a new vessel to replace the Viking 1. The corporation is looking into ferrys that are now in service to Prince Edward Island, but will become unnecessary, after the bridge to the island opens.

Reported by: Grace Goetheyn

Repairs Completed on the John J. Boland

John J. Boland was scheduled to take on fuel Oct. 25 at Fraser Shipyards, then shift to Superior Midwest Energy Terminal to load coal (left port Oct. 26.). The Boland has been in the yard for more than a week undergoing repairs in the forward hold that appear to have been related to its unloading system.

Reported by: N. Schultheiss

Yankcanuck Running Again

Yankcanuck has made several trips into Nanticoke Ontario with gypsum from Alabaster Michigan and synthetic gypsum from Conneaut Ohio. Material is being off-loaded via the vessel's own crane and loaded onto dump trucks for the trip to the Canadian Gypsum Co. in nearby Hagersville Ontario. Two visits in 3 days for the Yankcanuck. She arrived here Saturday morning October 19th, offloaded, sailed for Conneaut and back in the Bay at anchor last night October 21st and is just finishing up offloading tonite (10/22).

The James R. Barker has become a regular to Nanticoke this year at the Stelco Dock and the tug Stephen Reinhauer with barge Geo. A. Morris has become a regular caller about every other day hauling gasoline and diesel products stateside from Nanticoke. In the last 24 hours we've had the Algowood, Yankcanuck,Stephen Reinhauer and barge, Imperial St. Clair, Tarantau, and Canadian Olympic. Some tug assists by the venerable old Miseford.

Reported by: Dave Otterman

Kapitonas Stulpinas Makes Contact with the Viking I

This is an update to the story dated 10/16
On October 10 it was agreed that ms Viking I was to be removed from its berth at the west side of the harbor since that was the spot for Kapitonas S. However due to pressure of its owners, no insurance for the vessel, no captain or other qualified crew, Transport Canada agreed to put her at the far southern end of the west dock, without notifying the owners/charterers of Stulpina.

On arrival the captain and pilot of Stulpina made in my opinion an error of judgment of coming in, since Viking I was obstructing the slip and safe passage to the elevator. While being towed in by two small tugs, we observed the Viking moving out due to suction between both vessels, a normal occurrence between ships in limited waters. Although the mate on the Viking appeared to be heaving on the lines it proved not to be enough and the bow of the Stulpinas rubbed the Viking on her ps wing. On the radio there were only commands to tug holding the bow until after the occurrence. The master has a nice video of it all. Later the Stulpinas docked.

On Saturday the winds turned to SW 4 gusting to 5, and the Viking was still in port obstructing the passage. The pilot thought he could make it but the captain was now being very careful, and did not want to go out until the morning. In the morning the wind was the same and the captain still did not want to go out, so he lost the pilot.

Due to the holidays there were no pilots until Tuesday. The Viking left with two tugs, and the Stulpinas on her own steam, while digging her way out since the wind now was N at the available water only 22ft+ and draft was 23. After an emergency drop of the anchor she too made it safely out of port.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Port Weller Dry Docks fined

Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd., a unit of Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd., has been fined C$80,000 for a violation of the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Port Weller Dry Dock pleaded guilty in St. Catharines Provincial Court, Ontario, on 15 Oct. to failing to take every reasonable precaution to protect a worker's safety (Section 25[2][h] of the C.O.H.S.A.). Justice of the Peace Donna Cowan took into consideration that the firm is seasonal, mid-sized, had no previous safety violations and had improved safety precautions after the accident.

Thomas Quinn, 45, a supervisor, was working outside a ship under repair at the dry dock in St. Catharines on 10 June, 1995. As an 8,500 kilogram/19,000 pound steel plate was being cut out of the hull from inside the ship, it fell and killed Quinn as he was retrieving hoses in the area where the plate was to fall.

Quinn was to have kept people away when the plate was about to drop. No other safety precautions were in place.

Reported by: Steve Schultz

Viking moved

The Viking was towed from her dock in Port Stanley on October 17th at 12:13am. It is now docked in Erie,PA.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Rumor Mill

Please note: these are rumors, I've heard them from several different folks, but the are just RUMORS.

1) Herbert C. Jackson has been sold to Inland Steel, transfer to take place at end of season. Adam E. Cornelius to be returned to ASC. George A. Stinson has been sold to ASC again end of season transfer.

2) There are 2 1000 footers up for sale*. The Oglebay Norton and possiblly the James R. Barker or Mesabi Miner. Coal contract at St. Clair is up for grabs again.

3) S. T. Crapo on charter to Medusa. Inland strike getting nasty. Some of the ships will be converted to barges with tugs. Medusa Chanlanger may be a conversion candidate.

4) Canadian Navigator will receive a different type of s/u gear. Jackman conversion was late and did not work out as well as planned.

5) CSL to lay-up the Tarantau, Manitoulin and Halifax at end of season. They are bring back the Lakers that went to Saltwater. A couple of them are now running into Lake Ontario.

6) Socnav is bankrupt and people taking over are the old board people. The ships need serious repairs and will still not qualify under new tanker rules. Their days are numbered. The tankers coming in from the East Coast are really making hay.

Reported by: Al Jackman

*could mean just that the mortgage is up

Icebreaker Mackinaw to be Modernized

Congress has decided to modernize the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw. The Coast Guard Authorization Bill of 1996 (S. 1004) directs the Coast Guard to develop plans and a cost estimate for re-engineering and other modifications which will permit the Cutter to continue to operate with a reduced crew while maintaining its ability to break ice round-the-clock when necessary. S. 1004 requires the Coast Guard to submit its plan and cost estimate no later than May 1 of next year.

Reported by: Lake Carriers Association
Visit the Lake Carriers Association page for complete details

Proposed Great Lakes Piloting Rates

The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) is proposing to amend the Great Lakes Pilotage Regulations by increasing Great Lakes Pilotage Rates by: 6% in Area 1 (St. Lawrence River) ; 20% in Area 2 (Lake Ontario) ; 7% in Area 4 (Lake Erie) ; 35% in Area 5 (South East Shoal to Port Huron, MI) ; 11% in Area 6 (Lake Huron and Michigan); 44% in Area 7 (St. Mary's River); 12% in Area 8 (Lake Superior); and 17% for mutual rates.

The proposed pilotage rate adjustments are different in each area because the rates have not been set on an area-by-area basis since 1967. In the interim years pilotage rates were increased by a single percentage across areas and this led to disparities between areas and between districts. The rates proposed above were calculated by applying the same formulas uniformly to each area.

The increase in Great Lakes pilotage rates is necessary because pilot compensation has fallen below established compensation targets. The compensation target for pilots providing service in the designated waters of the Great Lakes is the approximate average annual compensation for masters on U.S. Great Lakes vessels and the compensation target for pilots providing service in the undesignated waters of the Great Lakes is the approximate average annual compensation for first mates on U.S. Great Lakes vessels.

Reported by: St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.

Click here for a detailed look at the proposed changes

John J. Boland in for Repairs, Gain Rush Continues

John J. Boland remains in Fraser Shipyards on Oct. 18. Work on aboard appears to be related to the self-unloading system.

John J. Boland paid a rare visit to the Twin Ports, arriving Oct. 15 to enter Fraser Shipyards for unspecified repairs. The boat is reportedly due to be in the yard a short time, then load at Midwest Energy Terminal.

The always-busy Harvest States Cooperative elevator in Superior has been loading ships this year using only its "gallery" berth while the No. 1 berth remained idle. That changed Oct. 16 when Makeevka was tied up in Harvest States 1 to load.

Also starting to see an increase in business is the General Mills elevator in Duluth. The elevator has seen little use this year, but in the past few days has loaded Docegulf and, on Oct. 16, the Kinsman Independent.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Sketchy News

I caught part of this one on the scanner, I'm hoping someone can add more details.
One of the Kapitonas fleet ran into the Carferry VIKING in Port Stanley Sunday, radio chatter described the collision as "rubbing paint".

The VIKING, former Ann Arbor Railroad Co. ferry was moved in June this year and restored with hopes of starting Port Stanley to Cleveland service April 1, 1997.

The real trouble came when the crew aboard the Kapitonas ship refused to move from the dock fearing another collison. Tugs were brought in (the bill going to the government with repayment by the VIKING owners when funds are available) to move the Kapitonas vessel and free up the dock. The refusal of the Kapitonas' crew to move caused other ships to be delayed.

Sorry I don't have more information, please e-mail if you can add to this story.

Reported by: N. Schultheiss

News on the Status of the George A. Stinson

The rumors reported on 10/14 have been comfirmed...the George A. Stinson is indeed up for sale. The contract held by Interlake Steamship Co. (since March 1992) will expire at the end of this season. A number of other companies are interested in operating the Stinson, the rumor mill puts the deal to American Steamship Co. but this HAS NOT been confirmed.

Reported by: Al Jackman

ZiemiaTarnowska - Repairs Complete

Apparently the Ziemia Tarnowska has completed temporary repairs and is underway passing by the Ren Cen the morning of 10/15/96. (See story below for details on accident)

Reported by: Tom Lauterbach

Update on the Algonorth, Duluth Superior News

Algonorth was out of drydock on Oct. 14. Still no word on why it was drydocked. The vessel is due to load grain possibly on the 14th.

The Alpena is scheduled to arrive in Duluth-Superior Oct. 14 to unload cement. This is its second trip here since fielding a replacement crew.

On the afternoon of Oct. 11, the saltie Docegulf left its anchorage off Duluth and entered port to load soybeans at the General Mills elevator. This marked the first time since the fall grain rush began in early September that no ships were lying at anchor off Duluth. It was a short-lived phenomenon, however, as the Mina Cebi arrived later that night to go to anchor while waiting for a grain berth.

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Ziemia Tarnowska Crew Stuck on Board

According to a waitress at the Antlers bar in Sault Ste. Marie, the crew of the damaged Polish vessel have no visa's and have been stuck on board since the mishap.

Reported by: Mike Woityra

Rumor Mill has Two Self-Unloaders up For Sale

Persistent rumors around Toledo have the George A. Stinson and the Herbert C. Jackson for sale. Further, American Steamship Co, is interested in the Stinson. No other details are available at ths time.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Strike Continues, Two More ILM Boats Running Again

PAUL H. TOWNSEND was in Muskegon yesterday morning (10/9), riding high in the water. Thursday (10/10) evening at 1800 hours the slip was vacant.
In related news: the J.A.W. IGLEHART is running again with a new crew, she has been out since October 6.

Reported by: George Micka

Sauniere in Dry Dock

Sauniere is now in the Port Weller Dry Dock undergoing repairs to the damage caused by grounding last month. (See story dated 10/7)

Reported by: Roger Tottman

Algonorth in for Repairs

Algonorth docked at Duluth's port terminal on Oct. 9 and ballasted down by the stern so the vessel's bow could be inspected. Later that day, the boat moved into Fraser Shipyards and is reportedly going into drydock.
Apparently the damage is not accident related.
If you can add to this story please e-mail

Reported by: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Ziemia Tarnowska Suffers Heavy Damage

The Polish-flag Ziemia Tarnowska remains at the Carbide Dock in the Soo as of 10/9 undergoing temporary repairs sustained 10/2 after the vessel lost power while downbound at the Soo Locks West Center Pier and struck the West Centerpier. U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Tom Cafferty was quoted in the Soo Evening News as saying the ship's submerged bubous bow was heavily damaged (about 12 feet below the surface) by the impact. So far, the plan calls for welding a temporary bulkhead across the damaged section, with the bulb's remains being filled with concrete. She is loaded with wheat.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Yancanuck Back in Lay-Up

The Yancanuck is back in lay-up at her usual Sault, Ont. wharf. Date of arrival unknown.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Soo News

Despite rumors earlier this year regarding her impending demise, Paterson's Comeaudoc is still running. She passed up at the Soo Oct. 9 for grain (although she is sorely in need of a coat of paint). Also downbound at the Soo Oct. 8 was the newly-painted Lady Hamilton (ex. Saskatchewan Pioneer), possibly her first visit to the Soo under that name.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Port Washington Report

The Str. MIDDLETOWN docked at Port Washington, Wisconsin at 11:15 am CDST on October 6, 1996, marking the first time in over two months that the ship has been in the Port. On an average year the MIDDLETOWN is a regular visitor to the local Wisconsin Energy electric generating dock. This trip, however, marked only the fourth visit of the year for the steamer.

The Port Washington power plant received upwards of one million tons of coal per year on average during the 1950's and 60's. However, this tonnage diminished dramatically during the 1980's and early 90's as the plant was used only on a part time basis. However, major improvements at the facility have resulted in increased usage of coal, and resulting in considerably larger tonnages of coal receipts in 1996.

Since the MIDDLETOWN's last visit on July 15, 1996, the following vessels have been in Port Washington's small harbor to deliver coal:


Reported by: Paul G. Wiening

Cement Boat Strike News

It has been one month since licensed officers of the Inland Lakes Mngt.fleet left their vessels and went on strike. The rumor mill has it that I.L.M. has almost rounded up enough people to crew the m/v Paul H. Townsend. she is expected to leave Alpena any day.

Reported by: B. Schroder

Sauniere Grounding

On Sept. 15, the Sauniere was at midlake bound for Hamilton. I was informed that she had grounded in the St. Lawrence, east of Haskell Shoal. She is supposed to have holed one or two tanks on the starboard side and port tanks had to be flooded to correct a list.

Reported by: Ron Walsh

Salty Hits Lock Pier

Sault Ste. Marie-The grain loaded Ziemia Tarnowska was holed below the waterline as a result of an collision with the west pier of the St. Marys Ship Canal about 2pm Tuesday (10/1). The ship reportedly lost power in high winds and narrowly missed the loaded tanker Jade Star before plowing into the pier. The ship's master and pilot ordered an anchor dropped to halt the powerless vessel's movement, but high northwesterly winds and strong currents at the western end of the canal made it difficult to control. Two tugs dispatched to the ship were not able to keep it under control.

Reported by: John Morrison

Alpena Keeping Busy

One of the first trips made by the newly crewed Alpena apparently was to replenish cement silos in Duluth-Superior. The vessel was reported unloading in the Twin Ports over the weekend of Sept. 21-22.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Duluth-Superior News

The fall grain rush continues in Duluth-Superior, accented by the fact that only three of seven elevators are loading vessels. On Oct. 2, five salties were anchored off Duluth while three vessels were in port loading. Adding to the spectacle were a 1,000-footer and another vessel lying at anchor waiting to load at the BN ore dock in Superior and the USCGC Sundew apparently drilling off shore. In addition, some vessels must remain at anchor until their cargoes are finalized. The saltie Trias, for instance, was waiting Oct. 3 for its charterers to finish lining up a cargo to load.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Cement Boat Strike News

As the strike against Inland Lakes Management continues, it would appear that news paper advertisements for crew members was successful. On October 1, the Alpena was underway through the Detroit River system, radio traffic had the Mail Boat crew explaining how to arraign service. The new crew headed out on their first trip September 15. Other ILM news has the EM Ford up for sale, the 98 year old vessel is currently being used for cement storage in Saginaw (see story below dated 9/16).

Reported by: N. Schultheiss

Milwaukee News

Lewis Harriman (smallest cement carrier owned by ILM) departed Milwaukee 9/25 for Green Bay, WI under tow of the Selvick tugs 'Mary Page Hanna' & 'Bonnie Selvick'. It is either going to LaFarge dock to replace the E M Ford for add't. storage or St. Marys Cement may have bought it for the same purpose.
'Mapleglen' arrived Milwaukee this morning for boiler repairs.

Reported by: Andy LaBorde

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