Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Port Reports -  October 31

Suttons Bay, Mich. - Al Miller
Barge St. Marys Conquest and tug Prentiss Brown anchored off the mouth of Suttons Bay, Michigan, on Wednesday afternoon, apparently waiting for the dock at Charlevoix.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Interlakes' tug Dorothy Ann and the barge Pathfinder loaded Wednesday at the Lafarge stone dock.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River departed Buffalo for the Welland Canal around 6 a.m.

Welland Canal
On October 24, both main engines on the John B. Aird failed while transiting between locks #1 and #2 on the Welland Canal, St. Catharines, Ont. Engines were restarted and vessel resumed its voyage. No damage, injuries or pollution reported.

Kingston, Ont. - Ron Walsh
On Wednesday the tug W M Twolan made a stop in Kingston. She left an empty "BIG" barge at the old elevator site. She then continued down the Seaway pushing two barges. She actually went down the Canadian Middle Channel from Kingston to Quebec Head before returning to the main Seaway channel. This was the first commercial traffic there for quite some time.


U.S. Steel to close Hamilton iron and steel operations

10/31 - Hamilton, Ont. – United States Steel Corp. will permanently discontinue its iron and steel making at Hamilton Works in Ontario, Canada, on Dec. 31, CEO Mario Longhi said Tuesday.

"Decisions like this are always difficult, but they are necessary to improve the cost structure of our Canadian operations," he said.

It wasn't immediately clear how many employees would be impacted at Hamilton Works, however, Executive Vice President and CFO David Burritt said the impact would be minimal, as the hot operations have not been active in recent years.

U.S. Steel idled the Hamilton blast furnace in October 2010. Sarah Cassella, a spokeswoman for the company, said the company will continue coke and finishing operations that are currently active at the plant.

As a result of the closure, Longhi said U.S. Steel will record a noncash charge in the fourth quarter of approximately $225 million to write down these assets, but it will ultimately result in annual savings of roughly $50 million.

Longhi also announced U.S. Steel will be ceasing operations at two of its oldest coke batteries at its Gary Works in Gary, Ind., and dissolving Double Eagle Steel Coating Co., its joint venture with Severstahl North America. Additionally, the company will not renew two iron ore purchase agreements, one ending in December and the other in 2014.

These actions are part of the Longhi-led Project Carnegie, a value-enhancement initiative aimed at creating drastic improvements on cost and revenue. Burritt said the company is tightening up and being careful where it spends its money.

"These actions represent just the beginning of the project," Longhi said.

Hamilton Spectator


Demolition of Muskegon's B.C. Cobb plant up for consideration by commission

10/31 - Muskegon, Mich. – Consumers Energy has asked the Michigan Public Service Commission to approve a special bond issue that will allow it to close down and demolish the B.C. Cobb Generating Plant beginning in April 2016.

The firm date and demolition plan for the two coal-fired units remaining in operation at the 65-year-old plant outline a different posture than previously signaled by the Jackson-based public utility. The same closure and demolition plans are being made for Consumers Energy coal-fired units at the J.R. Whiting plant in Luna Pier in Monroe County and J.C. Weadock plant in Hampton Township on Saginaw Bay, company officials said.

The plants receive coal by Great Lakes freighter.

Consumers officials initially announced in late 2011 that the B.C. Cobb plant was slated to be mothballed early in 2015 but that date was extended to 2016 in September. Such a suspension of operations would have allowed the plant to be brought back on line in the future.

The Cobb plant is the largest taxpayer in Muskegon County, representing 17 percent of the city of Muskegon’s property tax base in 2011 along with employing approximately 115 workers.

The three coal-plant closures are being driven by stricter federal environmental protection standards for such facilities. Consumers officials have said the company will not invest new environmental technology into its aging coal plants during a time that electrical use in Michigan has stabilized and the company is preparing to build a new natural gas generating plant in Thetford Township in Genesee County near Flint.

If the MPSC approves a $454 million securitized bond issue Consumers is seeking from the states utility regulators, the company is prepared to move forward with its April 2016 closure and plans for demolition of the three plants, company spokesman Dan Bishop said.

The specific closure and demolition plans for B.C. Cobb and the other two plants were disclosed Monday, Oct. 28 in company filings with the MPSC in the bond case before state regulators. Bishop said Consumers officials expect a MPSC decision on the bond issue before the end of the year.

Part of the process will be planning for redevelopment of the property, in total about 1,000 acres on a site where the Muskegon River flows into Muskegon Lake, Marvin said. Community leaders have been told of the company’s current decision for closure and demolition of the Cobb plant, Marvin said.

The Cobb plant has the newest deep-water access to Muskegon Lake, a dock built about a half dozen years ago that can serve 1,000-foot lake freighters the largest on Lake Michigan that bring coal to the plant. Those docking facilities and eventually a cleared Cobb site provide plenty of opportunities for redevelopment, community economic developers have said.


Early 20th century Canadian steamer Roberval discovered in Lake Ontario

10/31 - Rochester, New York – The National Museum of the Great Lakes has announced the discovery of the lost Canadian steamer Roberval, which foundered in 1916 when struck by a rogue wave in Lake Ontario. The Roberval is one of only two undiscovered steel-clad ships still in the lake and has been heavily sought after by shipwreck hunters.

In mid-October, shipwreck explorers Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski and Roland Stevens located the steamer off Oswego, NYm while surveying a section of Lake Ontario for historic ships. The National Museum of the Great Lakes helps underwrite Kennard and his crew’s operational expenses for shipwreck searches in a collaborative effort to fully discover the submerged history of Lake Ontario.

In late September 1916, the Roberval carried a load of 248,000 board feet of lumber destined to be made into matchsticks and boxes by the Diamond Match Company in Oswego. The steamer departed Cape Vincent along the St Lawrence River in the early afternoon and within an hour was on Lake Ontario heading south to its final destination. As the afternoon progressed, northwest winds on the lake increased to over 30 miles per hour. These winds were not typically excessive for this ship but the large stack of lumber piled on deck was acting as a sail making it very difficult for the steamer to stay on course. As the winds increased so did the waves, reaching heights of over 8 feet, which continually hit the Roberval, rolling her from side to side. Eventually, several waves combined into one huge rogue wave that caused the steamer to roll over on its starboard side spilling a portion of the deck cargo. This was followed by another large wave, which caused the remaining loose cargo to slide off the deck and into the cabin at the aft portion of the steamer.

Everything happened so fast there was little time to know just what was going on. The waves smashed the galley window and flooded the gangway. The upper structure of the cabin area was bashed in and one of the lifeboats was smashed. As water filled the engine room the stern slowly sank. Four sailors were attempting to man the remaining lifeboat when suddenly the Roberval took another list, throwing three men into the water and the Chief Engineer into the lifeboat.

First fireman Messenau opted to stay with the pile of floating lumber while the other men climbed into the damaged lifeboat. The second fireman, Seguin, who had been down in the firehole, managed to reach the deck just as the ship plunged under. While he stood on the port side bewildered, a pile of sliding timber struck him in the back and head, knocking him into the lake where he drowned. His body could be seen about five feet below the surface of the water when the three sailors started to pull away from the wreck. The cook, Miss Patent, was hanging on for dear life at the bow rail. Captain Eligh brought her aft where he told her to hang on to the iron railing running around the cabin structure. However, as the stern of the ship sank deeper into the water she was thrown over the starboard side into the lake. Following her, the captain grasped several timbers, slid down the deck and then leaped, landing in the water within a few feet of where the cook had sunk several feet underwater. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to a nearby timber for support. A short distance away the first mate was struggling to get enough lumber to make a raft. The three of them combined their efforts to build a larger raft to float on. Above them in the forward deckhouse of the sinking ship, which was now nearly vertical in the water, appeared the wide-eyed young deckhand, Leroy, in one of the porthole windows. His calls for help could not be heard over the roar of the wind and waves.

It was nearly sunset when the Roberval lost its deck load and began to slowly sink below the surface of Lake Ontario. It was temporarily stopped in a near vertical position by the floatation provided by150,000 board feet of dry spruce lumber in the hold of the steamer. The Glen Allen, a sister ship 7 miles behind the Roberval at the time of the accident, saw what they thought was the sun reflecting off the cabin windows. In fact, it was a reflection of the sun off the vertical wet hull that was now protruding high out of the water.

The bow of the lifeboat had been severely damaged and was leaking badly. The three men in this small craft bailed water and rowed for nearly 9 hours all the way to the port of Oswego, a distance of over 16 miles. For the next 22 hours, Captain Eligh and three crewmembers tried to hold their makeshift raft together. The winds abated by morning and then shifted from out of the southwest blowing the mass of lumber and raft away from the eastern shore of Lake Ontario and out into the open water of Lake Ontario. For nearly a day the Coast Guard from Oswego and the Big Sandy Life-Saving Station searched for survivors of the Roberval. In mid-afternoon the following day a flock of birds resting on debris in the water were sighted by the crew of the Big Sandy life-saving station boat. They headed to that location to find the four survivors of the Roberval alive and sitting on top of the pile of lumber that constituted their life raft. By the next day the deck load of lumber could be found from the east shore of Lake Ontario all the way to the St. Lawrence River.

The Roberval was built by the Polson Iron Works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1907 and was owned by Captains Eligh and Hall of Ottawa. The steamer had a registered length of 128 feet, a beam of 24 feet and a capacity of 344 net tons. The Roberval was known as one of the staunchest steel boats on Lake Ontario at this time. She was built for the salt water trade, but had been on the lakes for years carrying lumber between Ottawa and Oswego, and returning with coal back to Canada from the Oswego terminal.



Goderich’s proposed performance stage cover pays tribute to shipping heritage

10/31 - Goderich, Ont. – The final element in the post-tornado rebuild of Goderich’s downtown park will pay tribute to the harbour town’s strong shipping history.

After nearly two years of searching for an appropriate structure to cover the concrete pad that was once the base of the Business Improvement Area’s bandshell, the rebuild oversight committee (ROSCO) has settled on a design by local architect Allan Avis, of Allan Avis Architects Inc., that conjured up an image of a ship’s hull.

“It’s absolutely brilliant as far as I’m concerned. He’s taken a piece of our history – shipping – and he’s designed it in a way that if you can imagine a ship lost at sea and broken apart. He’s taken what you would find as a partial hull of a ship, turned it upside down and created a roof or a cover over the entire stage area,” said John Grace, the town’s deputy mayor and chair of the ROSCO committee.

He expects the design will be presented to Goderich’s council for approval on Monday, Nov. 18, with the request for tenders issued early in the new year and the project completed mid-June.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. And it will be an outstanding addition to the park as we see it today,” he said.

The committee spent some time looking for a tensile structure, which was suggested during community consultation, but a search that took them as far as England couldn’t uncover a design that all the committee could agree would fit into the design for the Court House Park.

The water feature is complete and the rest of the new elements are about 90 per cent finished, with two more picnic tables ready to be placed around the park, lighting and planting added at the gazebo, two new benches installed and six planters completed at the cenotaph in the spring.

“All in all it’s coming together really well,” Grace said.

He hopes for a grand opening mid-summer 2014. Already the response from tourists and the community has been “outstanding”, he said.

Huron News Now


Great Lakes museum at Toledo on track

10/31 - Toledo, Ohio – The Great Lakes Historical Society’s 160-year-old Kelleys Island lifesaving boat is the oldest Great Lakes boat known to exist in its original construction, but at the society’s old museum in Vermilion, Ohio, it was just too big to display.

Not so at the new National Museum of the Great Lakes the society is developing in the Toledo Maritime Center on Front Street, where the boat was one of a handful of lakes artifacts already in position when the society opened the building today to about 120 invited guests to update them on the projects progress.

Building retrofits to accommodate museum exhibits are about 85 percent complete and should be finished within two weeks, said Christopher Gillcrist, the societys executive director.

By the first week of December, he said, about 90 percent of the exhibits should be in place. “It’s going to happen quickly, going to happen dramatically over the next few weeks,” Mr. Gillcrist said during a short Maumee River cruise aboard the Jet Express II ferry boat, an opportunity he also used to pitch an $85-per-plate fund-raising dinner scheduled for Dec. 14 and a $100-per-ticket raffle drawing to be held at that event.

The society so far has assembled $10,475,000 of the museum project’s $12,875,000 estimated cost, including $1 million in private donations or in-kind support and $6,075,000 in state grants. Its fund-raising campaign has a $2.5 million goal, with donors of $10,000 or more offered naming rights to facilities or exhibits at the museum.

Public opening is planned for April, although special events may be held before that. “There’s no point in opening the museum during the dead of winter,” Mr. Gillcrist said.

But once it opens, local leaders expect it to be a significant cultural asset for Toledo and the surrounding area.

"I like what I see. It seems to be coming along nicely," said Toledo Deputy Mayor Paul Syring, noting an original schedule that called for opening two months ago but agreeing with the society's decision to wait until spring "considering the project's size and scope."

"It will undoubtedly be a point of destination for young and old alike," Mr. Syring said.

"These are real artifacts, not a visitor's center with reproductions, and it will be very interactive," said Mark Sobczak, a society board member and business manager for Teamsters Local 20. "It will be another good reason to come to Toledo."

"It's going to be great for the region," said John Jennewine, a Sylvania Township trustee, "and I can't think of a more appropriate place to have it than on the greatest tributary to the Great Lakes."

Jodi Johns, principal of the Toledo Maritime Academy, said the museum will be “an amazing resource” for her school’s students, for whom it will be a short boat trip away from their downtown Toledo classrooms.

“It’s an instant field trip,” she said. “This backs up and reinforces everything we teach about the maritime industry.”

The society anticipates $250,000 in donations, $150,000 in memberships, and $100,000 in grants annually to support a $1,225,000 annual budget at the museum. A museum feasibility study estimated at least 41,000 annual visitors spending $12.50 each for admission and gift-shop purchases to produce $500,000 in direct income.

The museum’s centerpiece, moved from International Park about a year ago to a new slip on the Maumee River’s east bank just upstream from I-280, is the restored lake freighter S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker. The city of Toledo owns the 1911-vintage freighter but has entrusted it to the historical society’s management after being on the verge of abandoning it for financial reasons a decade ago, which likely would have led to scrapping.

“This project started as a significant challenge of managing the Schoonmaker and the Maritime Center for the [Toledo-Lucas County] Port Authority,” said Paul C. Lamarre III, a society board member and the Schoonmaker’s director. “It has been a humble honor to be involved in this project from its inception to its final stages of initiation.”

Besides the museum ship outdoors and a handful of artifacts already on-site inside the building, the society set up for the event computers and televisions showing several of the museum’s audio-visual exhibits explaining elements of Great Lakes history. A number of interactive activities also are planned.

The Maritime Center was originally built by the port authority during the early 2000s as a local terminal for passenger ferries and cruise ships, but since its opening only a scattering of ferry charters and no cruise ships have called there.

Port authority president Paul Toth said the museum exhibits will not interfere with the center’s original intended use. They will be laid out “so we can still process passengers through here as that opportunity presents itself,” he said.

The ferry cruise during the event today was donated by Jet Express, and company president Todd Blumensaadt said one of its vessels likely will return to the site for the museum’s spring opening.

“There’s a lot of history on the Great Lakes, and we want to be a part of it,” he said.

Toledo Blade


Updates -  October 31

News Photo Gallery


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 Nov. 2. Twelve boats were delayed up to 41 hours by the incident, costing 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 to 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 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.

1885: WILLIAM T. GRAVES stranded at North Manitou Island, Lake Michigan, and was a total loss.

1911: The wooden lumber carrier D. LEUTY hit a squall off Marquette. The wooden steamer ran on the rocks off Lighthouse Point while trying to return to the harbor and was a total loss. The crew was saved and later the machinery was salvaged.

1929: SENATOR and MARQUETTE collided in fog on Lake Michigan and the former sank with the loss of 10 lives.

1952: The Swedish vessel RYHOLM was hit portside ahead of the bridge by the Swiss freighter BASILEA and beached 23 miles below Quebec City. The former had been a pre-Seaway visitor to the Great Lakes and was not salvaged until June 6, 1953. It became CARLSHOLM in 1957 and last came inland in 1967. The ship was scrapped at Aviles, Spain, as d) ARCHON in 1972.

1975: The tug JESSE JAMES operated on the Great Lakes from 1923 to 1966. It caught fire and sank as c) BALEEN about 30 miles southeast of Boston. All on board were saved.

1991: The MAHOGANY visited the Seaway in 1978 and as b) CARDIFF in 1981. It was sailing as f) PANAGHIA PHANEROMENI when in collision with the AQUILLA off Piraeus Roads. The ship was repaired at Perama, Greece, before it returned to service in January 1992.

2005: The Canfornav bulk carrier EIDER was only one year old when it ran aground near Famagusta, Chile, while inbound to load copper ore. The ship was damaged but refloated and repaired at Balboa, Panama. It was back through the Seaway in 2006 and has been a frequent caller since then.

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


New projects – including Challenger conversion – have Bay Shipbuilding hiring

10/30 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Bay Shipbuilding Co. is hiring. An influx of new projects has put the Sturgeon Bay shipyard in a position where it needs in excess of 200 people over the next several months, and hiring is likely to continue into 2014, Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse said Tuesday.

“This is across all disciplines of shipbuilding and manufacturing,” Thayse said — the company needs hands-on workers like fitters and welders as well as engineers, purchasers and support staff.

The various projects were announced to the staff on Friday. “We wanted them to hear it from us first,” Thayse said.

Bay Ship has been successful in negotiating four significant repowering projects with Canada Steamship Lines (CSL). The first vessel is expected to arrive on or about Dec. 7 and the second vessel will arrive in later December. Both are scheduled for completion in April 2014. The third and fourth repowering projects for CSL are planned to start in December 2014 and expected to complete in spring 2015. These are diesel to diesel repowerings similar to projects Bay Ship has completed in the past.  The vessels’ two existing Crossley Pielstick engines will be removed and new MAK 6M32 engines will be installed, complete with new gear boxes and Shottel CPP propulsion shafting and control systems.

The company also has an option for a fifth CSL vessel that has not yet been exercised, Thayse said.

The company has also reached an agreement with Port City Steamship Holdings Co. to convert the steamer St. Marys Challenger to an articulated tug barge (ATB) that will be mated with a tug for future operations. This project has been a long time in the works going back to 2005 or so, Thayse said. At 107 years old, the St. Marys Challenger is the oldest vessel actively transiting the Great Lakes and is a riveted hull. The vessel is expected to arrive on or about Nov. 7 to begin the conversion process.

The conversion involves removing the existing stern end and its existing steam propulsion plant, fabricating and installing a new Bludworth-style ATB notch and modifying the forward end accommodations to allow for a forward-end machinery area that will house new ship service Generators and switch gear.

BSC has agreed to complete the conversion by end of May 2015.

Bay Shipbuilding has reached an agreement with a currently unnamed customer to build its next ATB barge, which will be designated as BSC hull 774. The barge will be 491 feet in length overall with a 78-foot beam and 41-foot depth, with a design draft of 28 feet 3 inches. It will have a 150,000-barrel gross capacity and is designed to haul petroleum product, Thayse said.

The barge is currently in process of being engineered by Guarino and Cox. “We expect to begin receiving steel in house by December 2013 with construction slated to begin in January 2014,” he said. Vessel hull will begin erecting midsummer of 2014 with delivery scheduled for May 2015.

Bay Shipbuilding Co. is a part of the Fincantieri Marine Group, a subsidiary of one of Europe’s largest shipbuilding companies that also includes Marinette Marine and ACE Marine of Green Bay. “The investments Fincantieri has made in our yard over the last four or five years have put us in a position to be very competitive as we seek these projects,” Thayse said.

The company has built 22 ATBs since the late 1990s. “It’s a niche market we’ve become very good at,” he said. “It highlights the core competencies of our yard.”

Bay Ship also has a full slate of 16 winter vessels lined up for this winter, Thayse said. The company’s “winter fleet” has become a familiar sight as giant Great Lakes cargo vessels are parked at and near the yard for maintenance and repair during the off-season.

Door County Adovcate


Future of 107-year-old St. Marys Challenger uncertain

10/30 - Chicago, Ill. – Future of 107-year-old St. Marys Challenger uncertain Chicago, Ill. – The rust-streaked freighter, once notorious for snarling downtown traffic, steamed into Chicago on Monday on what could be one of its final trips in its current form.

Mark Wolodarsky said he flew from his home in New York City to photograph the St. Marys Challenger as it moseyed, slowly but surely, down the Calumet River and into port. Though the ship's owners say they won't know until next month what its future holds, Wolodarsky feared the worst for the 107-year-old freighter.

"It's a fantastic vessel," he said. "It doesn't deserve the fate that it's going to meet. They're going to chop it down into a barge."

Older than the Titanic and longer than a football field, the venerable ship is soon heading to dry dock for an inspection. The Challenger's owner said that inspection will help determine whether it is outfitted with a new diesel engine costing perhaps $15 million to $20 million and returned to Lake Michigan as a freighter, or instead transformed into a barge.

"The condition of the hull under the engine room could be subject to a lot of scrutiny for repairs," said Chuck Canestraight, president of Port City Steamship Holding, which owns the ship. "If that's the case, it makes it much more likely we'd remove the hull and convert it to a barge. It's one thing if we just have to put in a new diesel engine and another if we need a new diesel on top of the new stern section."

Once called the Medusa Challenger, the giant ship became a tired sight in Chicago in the 1960s and '70s. The 562-foot vessel was the longest ship to use the Chicago River, and navigating the downtown bustle often proved a challenge. The Tribune reported at least 20 instances of bridges malfunctioning while the vessel was nearby from 1968 through 1979, often stranding drivers and earning the freighter a nickname as Chicago's "jinx ship."

The bad luck became a running joke. "It's the Medusa Challenger again, and she's in the Chicago River again, and a bridge is stuck again," reads a Tribune caption from New Year's Day 1977. In the photo, the freighter is seen spewing steam as stabilizing locks on the Franklin Street Bridge were thawing.

The Challenger, which enthusiasts say is the oldest ship still trading on the Great Lakes, long ago switched to using the Calumet River. As the freighter steamed through the city's Southeast Side on Monday, a small but enthusiastic fan club gathered to pay its respects.

"I've been following this ship since it was on the Chicago River back in the 1970s," said Mike Garza, who was using a marine radio to track the vessel and traveling from bridge to bridge to watch as it moved inland. "It was unreal back in the day."

Jim Bartke, who used to work downtown, said he also remembered the days the Challenger would come through the city center and leave suspended bridges in its wake. Bartke, who wants it to remain a freighter, spent about four hours waiting for the Challenger to cross under the 95th Street bridge Monday on one of its final runs this shipping season. Weather permitting, company officials said, the ship could make up to three more trips to Chicago before heading to dry dock.

Canestraight, whose company owns the St. Marys Challenger, said he understands the nostalgia but will have to weigh whether restoring it as a freighter would be cost-effective. If the ship becomes a barge, he said, its 25-person crew would be about halved.

"It's hard to balance between the history and the need for ongoing business capacity," Canestraight said. "We want to be mindful of history, but to us, even though it's old, it's still a working asset in an industrial trade. We know that's hard for some fans."

Chicago Tribune


Port Reports -  October 30

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker unloaded stone into the Upper Harbor hopper in the morning and loaded ore in the afternoon.

South Lake Michigan
Monday evening the Alpena steamed up the Calumet River at the same time the John D. Leitch arrived at Indiana Harbor with a load of mill scale.

About 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, the St. Marys Challenger cleared the Calumet harbor breakwall headed for Charlevoix. Later on, the Buffalo departed KCBX with a load of coal for Muskegon, and the Alpena left for her home port.

By Tuesday evening, the Leitch had cleaned out her holds and with tug assistance backed up the Calumet River for a dock below 100th st.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
CSL Niagara sailed for Hamilton Monday, after loading at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock Sunday night and Monday.

Marblehead , Ohio - Jim Spencer
The American Courage lay alongside the Lafarge quarry stone dock Tuesday evening, continuing to load. Crewmen said the 636-foot vessel was bound for Cleveland, a port known familiarly among Great Lakes sailors as "Crooked Crick", or "Crooked River".

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson departed at 2 a.m. Tuesday

Sorel, QC
Sunday the CSL Assiniboine had a close quarters situation with a 20-foot pleasure craft off Sorel that required it to take evasive action to avoid a collision.


Thunder Bay divers discover historic wreck

10/30 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Two shipwreck hunters have discovered the wreck of the first ship to be registered in Canada. David Shepherd and Robert Valley recently discovered the tugboat Mary Ann, which they say was registered the same year as Confederation — 1867.

The wreckage of the tug, which was intentionally sunk in the 1930s, is located in waters near the Welcome Islands, just a few kilometres from Thunder Bay.

"This was the 'No.1' ship for Canada," Shepherd said. "To actually have a chance to dive on it is phenomenal."

Shepherd said he's not sure why the ship was scuttled so close to shore, as it was supposed to be located closer to Sleeping Giant. Nevertheless, he said it was a thrilling find.

"As someone who looks for shipwrecks, it's just this feeling of overwhelming awe that we were the first divers ever to be on this shipwreck,” he said.

Shepherd said he and other area divers hope to connect with the organization Save Ontario Shipwrecks, to ensure wreck sites such as the Mary Ann are properly protected.

CBC News


Updates -  October 30

News Photo Gallery


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 crewmember 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.

1918: The bulk carrier VULCAN went aground off Point Abbaye, on Lake Superior and the pilothouse caught fire and burned. The ship was enroute to Hancock, MI with coal and, after being released, was towed to Houghton, MI. The vessel was repaired and became b) VINMOUNT in 1919.

1960: JOHN SHERWIN went aground several miles above the Soo Locks and received serious bottom damage. The vessel was pulled free on November 7 and went for repairs.

1973: AIGLE MARIN, enroute to Thorold with 600 tons of ferrous chrome, went aground in the Seaway near Cornwall, ON. The tug ROBINSON BAY helped pull this small coastal freighter, a product of the Collingwood Shipyard, free on October 31.

1974: JOHN O. McKELLAR of the Misener fleet went aground in the St. Marys River and had to be lightered before being refloated. It was stuck for 3 days.

1978: The Cypriot freighter KARYATIS came through the Seaway in 1973. The ship, later under the Greek flag, was damaged in a collision on the Western Mediterranean with the SPRING. The latter, as a) IRISH ROSE, had made been a Great Lakes visitor from 1956 through 1958, and was declared a total loss after the collision. It was scrapped at Santander, Spain, in 1979. KARYATIS was repaired and was later broken up at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as e) NOURA after arrival on April 7, 1987.

1980: The wooden-hulled former coastal freighter AVALON VOYAGER II, enroute to Owen Sound for planned use as a restaurant, had pump problems, lost power and struck bottom off Cape Hurd. The anchors failed to hold. The ship drifted into Hay Bay and stranded again. All on board were saved but the ship was a total loss.

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


Port Reports -  October 29

St. Marys River
Cuyahoga was upbound in the evening, headed for Essar Steel, followed a few hours later by Burns Harbor. Earlier in the day, Cason J. Callaway and the tug Leonard M and her barge also locked up. Joyce L. VanEnkeovort and barge Great Lakes Trader were downbound in the late evening.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Calumet departed Lorain Monday around midnight.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River was on Lake Ontario and approaching the Port Weller piers Monday, headed up bound for Buffalo. She will probably arrive some time Tuesday morning. Herbert C. Jackson came in around 5 a.m. Monday for the ADM Standard Elevator on the Buffalo River and was still unloading at 2 pm.


Northshore Mining to reopen idle lines in Silver Bay

10/29 - Silver Bay, Minn. – Cliffs Natural Resources reported Thursday that it plans to sell up to 10 percent more U.S. taconite iron ore in 2014, and on Friday they made it clear where that will come from.

Cliffs announced in a teleconference with investment analysts Friday morning that it would reopen two idle production lines at its Northshore Mining operations in Silver Bay.

About 80 Northshore workers were laid off in January when two of four production lines were shut down. Some were recalled over the year, while 54 remain on layoff.

It wasn’t announced how soon the laid-off workers would be brought back. Taconite is shipped from Silver Bay by Great Lakes vessel. “A start-up schedule and workforce plan for the production increase at Northshore Mining will be developed over the coming months,” Sandy Karnowski, Cliffs spokeswoman in Duluth, told the News Tribune. The taconite operation has 591 employees.

Cliffs had reported Thursday that it expects U.S. taconite iron ore sales in 2014 to be between 23 million and 24 million tons, which would be up significantly from the 21 million tons expected to be sold this year.

“This is primarily attributable to a new supply agreement with one of our North American steelmaking customers,” Cliffs said, apparently referring to a deal announced in August with AK Steel to provide taconite to the steelmaker through 2023.

The callback at Northshore brings all six of Minnesota’s major taconite producers up to full capacity and full employment as demand and production remain strong for the raw material used mostly by U.S. steel mills.

In addition to Northshore, Cleveland-based Cliffs operates United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes and also is part owner and manager of Hibbing Taconite. The company also owns and operates the Empire/Tilden taconite operations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and multiple iron ore mines in Canada and Australia, as well as coal mines and other ventures.

Duluth News Tribune


Quebec's Davie Shipyard launches new ship Cecon Pride

10/29 - Lévis, Que. – The historic Davie Shipyard in Lévis, Que., broke out the champagne Friday for the Cecon Pride, the first ship fully built in the yard in years.

The Cecon Pride is the first in a series of three large offshore construction vessels being built for Norwegian offshore installation contractor Cecon ASA. The ship, the largest built in Canada in 20 years, according to the company, floated in dry dock Oct. 19 ahead of its naming ceremony Friday.

"This is a great day for Davie. There are only a handful of shipyards across the globe, mainly in Europe, capable of building a vessel to this specification and with this level of technology," said Davie CEO Alan Bowen.

"Our high quality vessel construction capabilities and low cost base means we are the only North American shipbuilder competing internationally, exporting vessels to European shipowners, something Davie has done for over a century."

It was the 717th ship built at the yard. The 130-metre vessel soon will begin sea trials prior to final delivery to the client in February 2014.

"It's used for multi-purpose applications. From pipe laying to subsea construction, to deep sea well intervention, it's really about deep sea,” said Alex Vicefield, chairman of the shipyard.

Since being bought by Zafiro Marine of Britain last year, the Davie Shipyard has recalled 500 workers. The potential for offshore oil and gas development and the ships to support construction, means more opportunities.

Up until the new owners took over, Davie spent years in troubled waters. Since being sold by Canada Steamship in 1976, it has been in and out of bankruptcy.

In 2010, it was under creditor protection. Davie had ended operations, putting nearly 1,600 people out of work.

There was hope in 2011 when a consortium involving SNC-Lavalin, Upper Lakes Groups Inc. and South Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering took on restructuring of the yard in order to bid on ships being built for the Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Forces.

In the end, the federal government did not choose Davie Shipyard to build any ships and the joint venture fell apart, leaving Upper Lakes as the sole owner.

Zafiro Marine, which manages and operates a fleet of specialized offshore vessels involved in topside and subsea construction, took over in November 2012.

While work on new Canadian warships went to the Irving Shipyards in Halifax and Seaspan in Vancouver, Davie is considering bidding on smaller government contracts.

"It's very difficult to ignore Davie in this situation. As I said, Davie is a significantly larger shipyard with a much higher capacity than the other shipyards," Vicefield said.

CBC News


It's full steam ahead for SS Badger

10/29 - Ludington, Mich. – A collective sigh of relief could be heard on both sides of Lake Michigan earlier this month when a federal judge cleared the way for the SS Badger to continue its car ferry operation beyond next season.

After nearly 60 years of hauling families and their cars across the lake during the summer months, the Badger’s run appeared last year to be ending. Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had targeted the operation for its production of coal ash — material that is dumped into the water during each crossing.

For Ludington on the Michigan side and Manitowoc on the Wisconsin side, the stakes were high. The economies of both communities are bolstered each year by an influx of tourist dollars that are directly attributable to the Badger — an estimated $7 million in Wisconsin and an estimated 700 jobs in the Ludington area.

But on Oct. 10, U.S. District Judge Janet Neff approved a consent agreement between Lake Michigan Carferry and the EPA that would allow the company to continue operating while it makes technological changes to the Badger during the next year. The modifications would allow the Badger to capture coal ash generated during a crossing instead of pumping it into Lake Michigan.

It’s welcome news for people like Tom Holly, owner of the Jamesport Brewing Company, which sits three blocks north of the Badger’s dock in Ludington.

“We know that the Badger has an impact on our business here,” he said. “It’s a seasonal impact, but we estimate between 15 and 20 percent of our business comes from the Badger during the summer months.”

Holly described the Badger as a “big part” of the Ludington community and an “icon.” Across Lake Michigan, it’s more than that.

A year ago, with the Badger facing an uncertain future, officials with the Manitowac County Chamber of Commerce were bracing for the worst. The ferry service contributes an estimated $7 million a year to the region’s economy.

“There are a cross section of businesses that are impacted — the downtown businesses, restaurants and hotels,” said Karen Szyman, the chamber’s executive director. “In addition, we have a number of different companies that transport things via the ferry.”

As an example, she pointed to Broadwind Energy, which transports massive wind turbine pieces across the lake on the ferry. This year, Lake Michigan Carferry extended its season a few weeks to allow the company to ship more parts.

Last year’s concerns have given way to a new sense of optimism. The approved consent agreement requires the Badger’s operators to gradually reduce the amount of coal ash released during the 2014 sailing season and to have a capture system on board by the start of the 2015 season.

Back in 2008, Lake Michigan Carferry’s outlook for such a system was pessimistic. In a letter to the EPA, a company consultant wrote: “... there currently exists no available off-the-shelf plan, system, technology or process that would allow the vessel to operate but contain its ash.”

Earlier this month, company officials greeted the consent agreement with much more optimism. “(LMC) has also been proactive working toward eliminating the ash discharge during the Consent Decree review process by starting the engineering and design work necessary for the installation of a sophisticated ash retention system — a technology never before implemented on a steam ship,” the company said in a press release.

This week, a company spokesperson said two contractors are tackling the dual issues of creating a combustion system and a retention system for the ship, which was built in 1952.

“LMC’s main focus at this time is on the combustion system,” said Terri Brown, the company’s director of marketing and media relations, in a response to questions. “In the next couple of weeks we hope to be purchasing components for the combustion controls. The new combustion system will allow the ship to burn less coal and generate less ash.”

Brown said the potential costs of the upgrades are “not available at this time.”

For John Henderson, however, the costs will undoubtedly be worth it. Last year, Ludington’s mayor estimated a total of 700 jobs in the region — 200 directly and 500 indirectly — were affected by the Badger’s operation. Had the car ferry stopped operating, he anticipated the local unemployment rate jumping by 5 percentage points.

“We would have survived — that’s not in doubt — and you have to roll with the punches ... ,” he said. “But we’re very excited to have the ferry and have Ludington by the home port for it.”

Detroit News


National Museum of Great Lakes holds Boo on the Boat for kids on Schoonmaker

10/29 - Toledo, Ohio – On Saturday, Oct. 26, The National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio held Boo on the Boat aboard the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship for nearly 400 school age-children. The program included traditional trick or treating throughout 10 stations on the boat as well as arts and crafts. Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director for the Museum stated, History museums often struggle to attract a younger family audience.

“Unlike science museums or the more specific children’s museums, there still exists a perception that history museums are only for older people,” said Gillcrist. “The National Museum of the Great Lakes hopes to shatter this myth with its exhibits and this program was the perfect way to introduce ourselves to the family market.”

The National Museum of the Great Lakes will open to the public in the spring of 2014 and will feature nearly 300 original artifacts, 45 interactive hands-on experiences and hundreds of images great and small. The museums interpretive program focuses on how the Great Lakes shaped American history and it delivers that focus using a great blend of original artifacts and interactive experiences that a family can enjoy. The National Museum of the Great Lakes is owned and operated by The Great Lakes Historical Society


Today in Great Lakes History -  October 29

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 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 ALGOMA 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 upbound 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.

1887: VERNON, enroute from Cheboygan to Chicago, foundered off Two Rivers, Wisconsin, in a sudden and violent Lake Michigan storm. Only one on board was saved while another 36 lives were lost.

1907: CITY OF GRAND RAPIDS, a wooden passenger steamer recently brought into Canadian registry, caught fire while stopped at Tobermory for the night while enroute from Wiarton to Manitoulin Island. The blazing ship was cut loose, drifted into the bay and sank

1917: RISING SUN stranded at Pyramid Point, Lake Michigan, in snow and the 32 on board were rescued before the ship was broken apart by the surf.

1924: GLENORCHY sank in Lake Huron, six miles ESE of Harbor Beach after a collision with the LEONARD B. MILLER. Dense fog mixing with smoke from forest fires were blamed for the accident. All on board were saved. No lives were lost but the GLENORCHY sank and the estimated damage to the two vessels was $600,000.

1926: TORHAMVAN, built at Midland as CANADIAN LOGGER, was wrecked off Newfoundland after going aground in fog enroute to Montreal. Area residents rescued the crew.

1929: The passenger and freight carrier WISCONSIN foundered off Kenosha, Wisconsin, with the loss of 16 lives.

1942: NORLUNA, built at Chicago in 1919 as LAKE GETAWAY, stranded in Ungava Bay, off the coast of Labrador near Fort Chimo, and was a total loss.

1951: After unloading grain at Buffalo, the PENOBSCOT was in a collision on the Buffalo River with the tanker barge MORANIA 130, pushed by the tug DAUNTLESS NO. 12. The barge was carrying gasoline and a terrible fire broke out. A total of 11 sailors, including two on the freighter, died from burns.

1959: MARISCO had visited the Great Lakes as a) MOYRA and b) HEIKA. The ship foundered in the Gulf of Laconia, off Gythion, Greece, after developing a leak in the engineroom. It was enroute from Varna, Bulgaria, to Genoa, Italy, with iron ore.

1968: GLOUCESTER CITY began Great Lakes trading in 1966. The ship was sailing as b) ST. JOHN when it put into Fort Dauphin, Malagasy Republic, with engine trouble on a voyage from Montreal to Djakarta, Indonesia. Two days later the vessel broke its moorings in a gale and was blown on a sandbank as a total loss.

1978: The Swedish freighter FREDBORG, b) FREDRIK RAGNE, a Great Lakes visitor under both names before and after the Seaway was opened, returned as c) ANASTASSIA in 1968. The vessel was towed out of Tema, Ghana, as e) GAYTA on this date in 1978 and scuttled in the deep waters of the Atlantic.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Seaway reopens

10/28 - Sunday night the Seaway reopened as crews replaced the ship arrestor cables and frame on Lock 4, repairs were delayed as a crane was toppled by high winds. The Seaway shut down Saturday morning at Beauharnois, Quebec after the Algoma Discovery hit the arrestor.


Port Reports -  October 28

St. Marys River
Downbound traffic Sunday included Anglian Lady and barge, American Century, Stewart J. Cort, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, Hon. James L. Oberstar Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Cedarglen and CSL Tadoussac. American Integrity, Edgar B. Speer, Federal Mattawa and Lee A. Tregurtha were upbound.

Burns Harbor, Indiana
Algoma Progress loaded coke breeze on a very windy Saturday. Wilfred Sykes finished unloading limestone at ArcelorMittal, and the Burns Harbor arrived in the afternoon to unload taconite at the steel mill.

Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Cedarville, the Wilfred Sykes loaded on Sunday and was expected to depart sometime in the afternoon. Great Republic is due in on Monday in the morning. Rounding out the Cedarville lineup will be the Wilfred Sykes, due back again on Wednesday during the early morning.

At Port Inland, the tug Undaunted and the barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived in the morning and were expected to depart just before noon on Sunday. Also arriving at Port Inland Sunday at noon was the Manistee. Great Lakes Trader is due to arrive on Monday in the late evening and the Buffalo follows them on Tuesday in the late afternoon. Rounding out the schedule is the Wilfred Sykes, due on Wednesday very late in the evening.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
A very busy Sunday at Stoneport saw the Kaye E. Barker loading, with an ETD of 6 P.M. The Manitowoc was also expected to arrive in the early afternoon Sunday. Both the Arthur M. Anderson and Manistee were expected to arrive in the late evening on Sunday. Due on Monday is the Great Lakes Trader very late in the evening. Two vessels are due for Tuesday, with the Joseph H. Thompson arriving in the late morning and the Lewis J. Kuber in the late afternoon. Two more vessels are due on Wednesday, with the Pathfinder in the late evening and the Presque Isle with no time given. Rounding out the Stoneport lineup are three vessels on Halloween – Cason J. Callaway arriving during the late morning followed by the Joseph H. Thompson in the early afternoon and the Philip R. Clarke in the early evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Traffic has been very slow on the Saginaw River the past few weeks. With the first commercial deliveries since October 20th, the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber and Indiana Harbor were both recent visitors. The Moore - Kuber arrived with a split cargo on Saturday, unloading at both the Bay Aggregates Dock in Bay City and the Buena Vista Dock in Saginaw. The pair were outbound early Sunday morning. Indiana Harbor arrived on Sunday, unloading at the Consumers Energy Dock in Essexville. She was outbound later in the evening.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
American Spirit arrived early on Sunday morning at the Torco Dock in Toledo. Also in port was the Algorail, unloading limestone at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Further upriver the salty Federal Maas and the Whitefish Bay were still loading grain at the elevators. The tug Kurt R. Luedtke was also in port as well. Due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock is the John B. Aird in the evening on Sunday. Both H. Lee White and Sam Laud are due to load from the CSX Dock on Monday. H. Lee White is due in the early morning, while the Laud is due in the early afternoon. Cason J. Callaway loads Tuesday in the late morning, while American Courage is due on Halloween in the early morning. Due to load on Friday, November 1 will be the H. Lee White and the James L. Kuber, both due in the early evening. At the Torco Dock, Algoma Mariner is due in on Wednesday in the early morning. There are four vessels presently due at the Torco Dock with iron ore on Thursday, November 7. Due to arrive first is the Whitefish Bay in the early morning and then later in the morning will be the Algoma Progress. The Algoma Navigator arrives in the early afternoon and the Atlantic Erie is due in the late afternoon. Rounding out the Torco Dock lineup is the Lakes Contender, due on Friday, November 8 in the early evening.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Calumet arrived in Lorain Sunday, passing under the Charles Berry bridge about 8 a.m. headed for the Jonick Dock.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
CSL Niagara was loading at the NS coal dock on Sunday.


Coast Guard helicopter crew airlifts man from Algoma Enterprise

10/28 - Cleveland, Ohio – A U.S. Coast Guard air crew airlifted a crewman Sunday afternoon from a commercial vessel in the Pelee Passage of Lake Erie.

The Coast Guard is not releasing the man's name, as they were assisting Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, Ontario.

Shortly after 2 p.m., a search-and-rescue controller at the Coast Guard 9th District command center, was contacted by a SAR controller at JRCC Trenton, requesting assistance with the medevac of a 57-year-old man aboard the motor vessel Algoma Enterprise. The man was reportedly suffering from severe bleeding. After conferring with the on-duty flight surgeon, the 9th District's SAR controller directed the launch of an air crew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, located on Selfridge Air National Guard base in the Northern suburbs of Detroit.

The air crew launched from Air Station Detroit at 2:38 p.m. and arrived on scene with the Algoma Enterprise at 2:55 p.m. The air crew lowered a rescue swimmer, who is a trained emergency medical technician, to the ship to facilitate the airlift. After the safe airlift of the patient, the air crew transported him to the Windsor, Ontario, Airport where emergency medical services were awaiting. The medevac was completed just after 4 p.m., with the man in stable condition.


Great Lakes coal shipments down

10/28 - Duluth, Minn. – Coal has been one of the largest exports in the Northland for decades, but recent energy-saving measures and stricter air pollution policies across the United States have taken a toll on coal exports.

The Great Lakes has seen a 13% decrease from a year ago, forcing ports across the states to adapt to the changes.

"What's happened in recent years is as Ontario, as a province of Canada, has moved towards renewable energy, they've been cutting their orders for coal," said Adele Yorde of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Those cuts could have had a devastating economic impact on the Duluth-Superior port, but a new market has opened up easing the hit. While the demand for coal has gone down in the States it has increased in Europe.

"Midwest Energy is using the Great Lakes Seaway system to actually export that coal to Spain, the Netherlands, and other places in Europe," said Yorde.

Shipping companies in the area have decided to utilize the Canadian ports that were once the coal's destination as the new middle-man for overseas shipping... strengthening Duluth's reputation as an international port.

"Europe is very receptive to low sulfur coal," said Yorde.

Yorde says it's exciting to see our inland port used as a northern corridor to Europe.

"It bodes well for some future developments for export business," she said.

Port Trade Development Director, Ron Johnson, says Europe is also moving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and says changing from Europe's high sulfur coal to the low sulfur of Western coal is a step in the right direction.

"They're burning a lot of wood pellets along with their existing supplies of coal. The thing about European coal, it's not low-sulfur coal like we have available here," said Johnson.

Johnson says this is a market that could be around for quite a while.

"Europe has a need and they were able to put together a sale, and the freight rates were okay and competitive, and so they started shipping coal to Europe last year and then it's increased this year," said Johnson.

Yorde says future coal shipments are dependent on a number of factors including stable freight rates, prevailing international attitudes toward Greenhouse gasses, and the United State's ever changing energy policies.

Northland’s News Center


Cheboygan moves ahead with port project

10/28 - Cheboygan, Mich. – Mark Lorenz, chair of the City of Cheboygan Port Action Committee, updated the Cheboygan City Council about the City of Cheboygan Port at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The City of Cheboygan took the lead role in the port project in early August and has made progress in its mission of developing the port through growth of existing businesses and fostering future development of jobs in Cheboygan.

The Cheboygan port meets all four functions of a port as identified by the Michigan Port Collaborative. The collaborative is a nonprofit organization that seeks to unite port communities working to develop the Great Lakes coastline.

The functions needed are a cargo port, ferry port, commercial port and a recreational port, according to Lorenz.

Cheboygan is also home to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw and the headquarters for the Great Lakes U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Geological Survey operations, which are favorable for growth of the port.

Members of the Cheboygan Port Action Committee visited with the Detroit Port Authority in September to learn how to engage and inform manufacturers from Detroit about the Cheboygan Port area and its importance in shipping and manufacturing in Michigan.

The committee also attended the Michigan Municipal League annual convention in Detroit, where local leaders learn strategic lessons in placemaking, civic engagement, entrepreneurism, urban planning and socioeconomic development.

Members of the committee have also met with Peter Astor of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, MEDC, in Lansing.

“(Astor) said that we've done more in Cheboygan than anyone else that’s come forth in front of the MEDC,” said Lorenz.

“He saw what we have to offer and the possibilities,” added Dale Stuart, city manager.

According to Lorenz, a feasibility study has been completed along with a Michigan State University Port study. Zoning for the Port District is complete, and marketing brochures have been developed.

The Port District is also close to Cheboygan's industrial park, making manufacturing another large part of the plan to promote the port.

“We would like to make Cheboygan part of Michigan's logistics and supply chain,” said Lorenz.

The group is continuing to move forward with its strategic plan to develop the port. The City will utilize Kokosing/ Durocher Marine as Port of Cheboygan until future development is in place. Dredging the mouth of the Cheboygan River into Lake Huron is very important to the success of the port, said Lorenz.

On Tuesday, the Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners awarded a bid for the dredging of the Cheogyan County Marina harbor to Koskosing/Durocher Marine.

Those grant funds from the state were approved by the legislature for emergency dredging in communities with low water levels across the state.

The Port Action Committee also will need to review a study by Thomas Biehl to determine the use of city owned property as it applies to wetlands versus uplands.

Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Updates -  October 28

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Flevogracht, HHL Amur, Rio Dauphin, Sloman Hermes, and Susana S.
New Video on our YouTube Channel


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.

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

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

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.

1901: The wooden schooner JULIA LARSON sank in a gale a half-mile northeast of Grand Marais, MI. The ship was later recovered and returned to service.

1928: The newly built DEEPWATER ran aground at Sugar Loaf Point, west of Port Colborne, in fog. The ship was lightered and released four days later and went to Montreal for repairs. The vessel later sailed the lakes as b) KEYMONT and c) HAMILDOC (ii) before being scrapped at Port Dalhousie in 1962.

1939: The tug R.P. REIDENBACH, with E.A.S. CLARKE (ii) under tow at Ashtabula, rolled over and sank with the loss of 2 lives. It was refloated, became b) CONNEAUT in 1941 and was scrapped at Ashtabula about 1964.

1959: The tug BROWN BROTHERS, enroute to Port Burwell under tow of the tug LUKE, was overwhelmed by the waves and sank off Long Point with no loss of life. Originally a fish tug, the vessel served as the b) IVEY ROSE from 1946 to 1950 pushing the barge T.A. IVEY in the Lake Erie coal trade.

1964: BORGFRED, a Great Lakes visitor in 1952, caught fire in the engine room as g) GIANNIS and sank off Malta two days later while on a voyage from Romania to Algeria.

1970: WEARFIELD, a British freighter began Great Lakes visits in 1964 as the largest saltwater ship to yet use the Seaway, was blown aground at the entrance to the Soo Locks due to high winds on this date in 1970. It took over 5 hours to release the vessel. Service ended on arrival at Shanghai, China, for scrapping as f) FAIR WIND on March 15, 1985.

1979: PIERSON INDEPENDENT ran aground in the St. Lawrence near Brockville while downbound with a cargo of corn. The ship was released but then beached as it was taking on water. Temporary repairs allowed the vessel to be refloated again on October 31 and it sailed to Trois Rivieres to be unloaded. 2007: SEA MAID, a small Danish freighter, came through the Seaway in 1997 with steel for Cleveland. It was wrecked as d) OMER N. 18 miles west of Gedser, Denmark, and was dismantled in sections at Grenaa, Denmark, in 2008.

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


Weather bests lakes boats

10/27 - Great Lakes freighters were moving inshore along the Western shore of Lake Huron in an effort to avoid the remnants of gale force westerly winds which continued to blow across the entire lakes region Saturday night. Lake Erie sailors we handling the reduction of lake water levels caused by continuing west winds.

Lake Erie experienced a seiche, a weather phenomenon where the water is push from one end of the lake to the other.

The water level at Gibraltar, Michigan in the western basin dropped 15 between midnight and noon before returning at to normal levels at 9 p.m. On the opposite end of the lake in Buffalo levels raised an equal amount over the same time period.

Half-a-dozen vessels were tucked in behind Long Point in Eastern Lake Erie, while others were anchored in the open lake near Port Colborne and Sandusky.

The winds were expected to diminish overnight Saturday.

Jim Spencer


Seaway Shut Down at Beauharnois Lock

10/27 - The Seaway shut down about 8 a.m. Saturday morning at Beauharnois, Quebec. Algoma Discovery, which was downbound hit the ship arrestor in Lock 4, collapsing the frame holding the cables that stop the ship from hitting the gates. Waiting in Lock 3 upbound is the new Wagenborg ship Exeborg. Several ships are waiting above and below the Beauharnois Canal for the ship arrestor to be replaced. High winds may slow the progress as craning heavy loads in these conditions may be unsafe. As of 10 p.m. Saturday the crane has yet to arrive.

Ron Beaupre


Suttons Bay report

10/27 - The steamer St. Marys Challenger and tug-barge Prentiss Brown and St. Marys Conquest remained at anchor Saturday in Suttons Bay, Michigan, after arriving late Friday afternoon to wait for weather to ease on Lake Michigan. With a storm warning posted Friday night for the upper half of Lake Michigan, the St. Marys Challenger anchored at its usual spot in deep water at the mouth of the small bay. The Brown and Conquest dropped anchor near shore a short distance north of the bay. Manistee spent the night in Grand Traverse Bay. At mid-afternoon Saturday, the vessel poked its nose out of the top of the bay but then reversed course and went into the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay.

Al Miller


Today in Great Lakes History -  October 27

On this day in 1979, the MESABI MINER delivered her first cargo of coal to Port Washington, Wis. 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, Wis.), 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.

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 upbound 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.

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.

RED WING and 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 snowstorm 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.

1937: EASTON, of the Misener's Colonial Steamship Co., arrived at Meaford, ON with a cracked cylinder in the engine. The ship was there to load a cargo of baled hay for Fort William and bushels of apples. The trip was canceled and the vessel was sent for repairs.

1965: The Liberty ship PANAGATHOS traded through the Seaway in 1962 and 1963 under Greek registry and was back in 1965 under the flag of Liberia. The vessel ran aground off Ameland Island, 4 nautical miles from the Hollum Lighthouse, Holland, enroute from Amsterdam and Hamburg to the U.S. East Coast with a cargo of steel. The ship was abandoned as a total loss and the hull remained there until at least 1970.

1965: A fire broke out aboard the Egyptian freighter STAR OF SUEZ while upbound in the Seaway east of the Snell Lock. The ship was docked at Cornwall and the local fire company doused the blaze. The cargo of cotton in #3 hold was mostly offloaded. The ship lasted until scrapping at Split, Yugoslavia, in 1980.

1976: A fire in the bilge of the tug CHRIS M. at Toronto destroyed the ship's wiring. The vessel had become unpopular at the waterfront area but was rebuilt as the powered 3-masted schooner EMPIRE SANDY in 1983.

1982: The French ore carrier FRANCOIS L.D., a regular Great Lakes caller since 1962, struck the breakwall at Cape Vincent, NY while westbound in fog. There was heavy damage to the structure and the ship had a dent in the bow.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Gale Blowing Across the Lakes

10/26 - Four of the five Great Lakes were posted with Gale Warnings Saturday, sending many freighters traversing the Inland Seas to anchor in the lee various islands and in bays. Forecasters said only Lake Superior was not included in the warnings.

Half a dozen vessels were anchored near St. Ignace in the Straits of Mackinac, and nearly as many were 'on the hook' in southern Lake Huron near the beginning of the St. Clair River.

At mid-morning winds on lakes Huron and Erie were gusting to more than 40-knots.

The end-of-October blow is expected to ease Saturday night and Sunday morning as a low pressure moves over and away from the Great Lakes.

Mariners on Lake Erie were also confronted by a warning of low water as a result of the storm which was pushing water toward the eastern end of the shallowest of the five Great Lakes.

Jim Spencer


Port Reports -  October 26

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Hon. James L. Oberstar loaded ore Friday evening at the Upper Harbor. Tug Duluth remains at the Lower Harbor at Mattson Park.

Buffington, Indiana - Lou Gerard
Friday the Arthur M. Anderson was unloading stone at Buffington.

Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Cedarville, the Lewis J. Kuber was expected to arrive on Thursday in the late afternoon to load. Due on Saturday in the late evening is the Wilfred Sykes, and on Sunday in the late evening the Great Republic is on the schedule.

At Port Inland, Wilfred Sykes was expected to finish during the afternoon hours on Thursday. Manistee was at anchor in Charlevoix and expected to arrive early on Friday morning weather permitting. Also due on Friday in the early evening, depending on the weather, was the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41. Following the Pere Marquette 41 will be the Buffalo, which is due in on Saturday in the late evening. Rounding out the lineup at Port Inland will be the Great Lakes Trader due on Monday in the early morning.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
A very busy week saw the arrival of the Great Lakes Trader early on Friday morning. They were expected to dock around 4:15 a.m. and depart around 4:30 p.m. There are four vessels scheduled for Saturday. The Pathfinder is expected to arrive in the late morning hours followed by the Cason J. Callaway in the mid-afternoon along with the Kaye E. Barker and Arthur M. Anderson both in the early evening. There are no vessels scheduled for Sunday. Due to load on Monday will be the Joseph H. Thompson in the early morning. Lewis J. Kuber expected to load Tuesday morning. Manitowoc and Pathfinder are expected late evening Wednesday.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Philip R. Clarke and Lakes Contender loaded cargoes at Calcite's stone docks on Friday. The Clarke was expected to depart around 2:30 p.m. while the Lakes Contender was expected to depart around 8 p.m. Also due in on Friday in the early evening was the Great Republic for the North Dock. Due on Saturday in the morning will be the tug Defiance and the barge Ashtabula for the North Dock.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Great Republic arrived at Lafarge late Thursday night. It unloaded coal overnight and departed Friday morning. The Alpena was also in port Friday morning, loading cement under the silos.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
The next vessel due to load at the CSX Coal Dock will be the Saginaw on Saturday morning, followed by the John B. Aird, also due on Saturday in the late evening. The H. Lee White is due to load on Sunday in the early morning followed by the Sam Laud also due in on Sunday at noon. Cason J. Callaway is due to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Monday in the morning. Both the American Courage and Lakes Contender are due to load at the CSX Dock on Thursday. At the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock, the Algorail is due in late on Saturday to unload stone. Vessels due to arrive at the Torco Dock with iron ore cargoes include Algoma Mariner due in on Wednesday in the early morning. The Whitefish Bay is due to arrive on Tuesday, November 5 in the late evening. Algoma Navigator is due in on Wednesday, November 6 in the early morning]. Atlantic Erie is due on Thursday, November 7 in the late afternoon. Rounding out the Torco Dock lineup are Lakes Contender and Algoma Progress, both of due on Saturday November 9 during the early afternoon. Two other vessels were in port at the time of this report, both upriver at the grain elevators. The salty Federal Maas and CSL's Trillium laker Whitefish Bay were loading grain at the elevators.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Cuyahoga arrived at the Marblehead stone dock Friday evening and began loading. Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived in Cleveland overnight Thursday and sailed Friday morning. The Interlake fleet pair was upbound in the St. Clair River Friday night.

Conneaut, Ohio - Tom Heagerty
Friday afternoon the Algosteel continued loading at CN Dock, she arrived in port on Wednesday.


Crew of Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock to return home, begin Operation Fall Retrieve

10/26 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock is scheduled to return to its homeport of Port Huron, Mich., after four months away, Saturday at about 3 p.m.

The cutter and its crew are returning from a dry dock maintenance period at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore.

"Four months away from home was a challenge for our crew and community, but we performed important maintenance and training in that time," said Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Justin Kimura. "We ran 55 drills during our voyage home over the past two weeks, and return to port ready for some time with our families, followed by a busy fall buoy season."

Cutter Hollyhock returns just in time to begin Operation Fall Retrieve, a large-scale buoy maintenance operation in which most of the Coast Guard-maintained buoys across the Great Lakes are replaced with smaller, seasonal marks to prevent ice damage to the aids. Hollyhock is a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender.


Updates -  October 26

News Photo Gallery


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.

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, 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.

1900: The consort barge MARTHA sank in Lake St. Clair after a head-on collision with the E.P. WILBUR. The vessel was refloated, repaired and was last known as the grain storage barge C.S. BAND of the Goderich Elevator Company before being scrapped at Toronto in 1976-1977.

1912: KEYSTORM stranded in the St. Lawrence on Scow Island Shoal near Alexandria Bay, NY due to a navigational error in fog. After about 5 hours, the ship slid off into deep water and sank. The coal-laden freighter was enroute from Charlotte, NY to Montreal.

1915: The former wooden steamer GLENGARRY was operating as a barge when it sank at Montreal on this date following a collision with the J.H. PLUMMER. It was later pumped out only to sink again at Quebec City in 1920.

1917: PORT COLBORNE, a Great Lakes canal ship serving overseas in World War 1, was wrecked near Land's End, England, while enroute, in ballast, from Rouen, France, to Barry Roads, U.K. The hull could not be salvaged and was broken apart by the elements.

1924: E.A.S. CLARKE, anchored in the Detroit River due to fog, and was hit by the B.F. JONES (i), holed and sunk. The ship was eventually refloated and, in 1970, became c) KINSMAN VOYAGER before going to Germany for brief service as a storage barge in 1975.

1926: The first NEW YORK NEWS broke loose in a storm at Shelter Bay, QC and, without radio contact, was feared lost. The vessel was later found, with all hands safe, hard aground. The ship was refloated, repaired and survived until scrapping at Port Dalhousie as c) LABRADOC in 1961.

1961: STEEL PRODUCTS, under tow for scrapping, broke loose and stranded in Lake Erie near Point Abino, ON. The ship was unsalvageable and had to be dismantled on site.

1967: The barge WILTRANCO broke loose in a storm and was blown hard aground west of Buffalo. The hull was refloated two days later only to strand once more.

1968: R. BRUCE ANGUS was hard aground in the St. Lawrence and had to be lightered to P.S. BARGE NO. 1, a former fleetmate, as a) EDWIN T. DOUGLASS, before being released October 29.

1979: URANUS, a former West German visitor to the Great Lakes, had to be beached on the River Schelde as d) MARIANNE GEN following a collision with the EMPROS. The vessel was a total loss and was cut in pieces for removal in 1983.

2008: BALSA II first came through the Seaway in 1982. It was inbound for New Georgia, Soloman Islands, to load logs when it stranded on a reef. While refloated, the ship was detained as the area of the strand had been a marine protected site.

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


St. Marys Challenger barge conversion looking likely

10/25 - Chicago – Ask any Chicago-bred baby boomer to name a freighter that traversed the Chicago River in the past 50 years, and you will probably be told, “the Medusa Challenger.”

WBBM Newsradio has learned exclusively that time may be running out on the venerable cement hauler.

Back in the day, between 1968 and 1979, the ship was infamous for tying up downtown traffic. She was so long that three bridges at minimum had to be raised at once, and the fit was so tight that her passage often left bridges out of joint on her trips between Charlevoix, Mich., and Goose Island.

Problems were so frequent that the Chicago Tribune once published an article when no bridge leafs became stuck.

At 552 feet in length, the ship known today as the St. Marys Challenger remains the longest and largest ever to navigate the Chicago River. Since 1979, she has berthed at Lake Calumet, making the three-day round trip at a speed of 10.5 knots 70 or more times a year.

The Challenger wears another badge of distinction — at 107 years, she is the oldest U.S. flag merchant vessel in active service. Enthusiasts — and the ship has many of them — say the next oldest merchant ship on the Great Lakes is 36 years younger. But in weeks, the Challenger could be sliced down to a barge.

She is due for a five-year federal inspection, and owner Port Cities Steamship Services President Chuck Canestraight said at the very least she needs to be re-engined. He said the aging Skinner Marine Unaflow steam engine, which burns bunker oil, is no longer cost effective to maintain. Two nearly identical engines power the car ferry S.S. Badger, and Canestraight said the federal government has mandated that all such engines be replaced no later than 2025.

The final straw could be related to the engine, although Canestraight said it continues to run well. Canestraight said that over the past century, the vast majority of the ship’s steel plating and superstructure has been replaced with one exception — the plating and steel in the engine room area. He said if the inspection turns up no sizable problems with the engine room-area steel, at the rear of the ship, the cost of installing a modern diesel engine and cutting down the ship to a barge become virtually equal, in the $15-20 million range. But he said any mandate to replace that steel makes the decision easy — and one that preservationists won’t like.

“If the authorities were to say restore that entire hull under that stern and re-power it, we’d certainly be looking at a conversion to a notched, unmanned barge,” he said.

Canestraight said maintaining any piece of machinery that old can be interesting, and calls some of the repairs that have been made to the St. Marys Challenger “near misses.”

“On a year-to-year operating basis, I will say that it’s always interesting to have some old DC electric converter or some switch generated in the ’30s or what-not go bad on you and then hand it over to some contractor as you smile and look for a solution,” he said.

The ship was threatened with conversion to a barge once before, but the nosedive in the economy in 2008 postponed any change.

Those who have ridden aboard the Challenger — it has several aft passenger cabins — say it is a study in contrasts, with a modern satellite navigation and weather radar units sitting inches from a hand-crank phone linking the wheelhouse with the captain’s quarters. The phone system still works.

The Challenger is expected to make three more round trips before heading to dry dock at Bay Shipbuilding Co., in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. in early November, and the way Canestraight speaks makes preservationists take pause.

“If anyone wants to be assured to see her in her original shape as a 1906-built steamship, they ought do that” during one of this fall’s remaining trips, he said.

The Challenger would retain value as a barge for its main customer, St. Marys Cement Co., because of its size. Although small by today’s Great Lakes freighter standards, Canestraight said it transports an amount of powdered cement equal to what silos at Lake Calumet’s South Chicago Terminal can hold at any given time.

Port Cities operates another veteran cement hauler that was converted from ship to barge. The Challenger has a crew of 25, but a tug would have half the crew.

Fans of the ship have set up a Facebook page in recent days in an attempt to build support for its preservation, and have told WBBM a re-engined Challenger would suit them fine.

“It doesn’t look good at all,” one backer wrote WBBM.

The fan noted that the Challenger weathered a killer storm in 1913 in which 19 ships sank and 250 people died.

“This historic ship deserves a better fate than being a barge,” he wrote

CBS Chicago


Port Reports -  October 25

Suttons Bay, Mich. - Al Miller
Manistee departed its anchorage in Suttons Bay, Michigan, at mid-morning Thursday and steamed up Grand Traverse Bay. The vessel returned to Suttons Bay by mid-afternoon Thursday and dropped anchor in the same spot where it spent the previous night.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded overnight Wednesday and most of Thursday at the Lafarge stone dock. The duo sailed for Cleveland late Thursday afternoon.

Conneaut, Ohio - Tom Heagerty
Wednesday the Algosteel was under the coal loading rig at CN Dock Co., Conneaut, Ohio.

Sept-Iles, QC.
On Tuesday the CSL Laurentien was towed into Sept-Iles after reporting a severe water leak in the engine room due to a damaged ballast pipe while transiting in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off Cloridorme, QC.


Port at highest pace since recession began

10/25 - Shipments at the Port of Indiana - Burns Harbor are on pace to hit a new high since the recession, as the navigation season is winding down.

Last month's total tonnage that passed through the port in Portage jumped 16 percent, largely because of a bustling steel trade. The deepwater port on Lake Michigan's southern shore is on pace for its highest annual total in more than six years.

"Steel and steel-related byproducts continue to drive strong shipment numbers through the port in conjunction with a steady increase in other bulk commodities such as coal, fertilizer and limestone," port Director Rich Heimann said. "Looking ahead, we expect this trend to continue next month, as we already have on the books a shipment of distillery tanks from Germany bound for a brewery expansion in Chicago."

Steel is driving tonnage at Burns Harbor, but September shipments of iron ore and coal at U.S. ports were down by 18 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Iron ore and coal are the main raw materials in the steelmaking process.

Scrap metal shipments to the Great Lakes ports were up 22 percent in September, but grain posted the biggest gain. About 700,000 metric tons of U.S. grain passed through the ports, making a 27 percent year-to-date increase over the same period last year.

Year-to-date cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes are down 11 percent, as compared to last year. About 23 million tons have been shipped between March 22 and Sept. 30.

The shipping season ends soon.

"At least a dozen ships from Europe unloaded steel products at the ports of Cleveland, Milwaukee, Burns Harbor and Detroit over the past month – a clear sign that the end of the navigation season is approaching and shippers are working diligently to get products out of the mills and into the Seaway System before the end of the year," said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.

"Although overall cargo tonnage is down, September provided many positives signs that the next three months will be extremely busy for our ports and terminal operators in the Great Lakes-Seaway System."

Northwest Indiana Times


Maid of Mist ends an enduring run in Canada

10/25 - Niagara Falls, Ont. – At the end of the day today, workers will start packing up the ponchos for the final time at the small dock near the base of the Rainbow Bridge on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. This is the last day the Maid of the Mist boats will set sail from here.

The company has operated the attraction in Canada and the United States without interruption since 1885, and has been under the management of the Glynn family of Lewiston since the ’70s. Its departure from the Canadian side of the river comes with Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission’s signing of a new contract with a California company to run its tour boat concession – and the change is not without hard feelings.

Niagara Parks issued a statement on Wednesday thanking the Glynn family “for its 41 years of dedicated service,” and noted, “For more than a century, privately owned tour boats have operated from NPC lands ... and since 1972, NPC has been pleased to work with the Glynn family and Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. ... ”

Management at Maid of the Mist did not return the niceties. It contended Niagara Parks was downplaying its place in building Falls tourism, and expressed its “disappointment” by issuing its own statement:

“Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. is one of the oldest companies in Niagara Falls, Ont., and the only company to have ever operated below Niagara Falls, doing so for 128 consecutive years. This great history cannot be reduced to 41 years of ownership or by being referred to as simply ‘privately held tour boats,’ ” the statement said.

Hornblower Cruises of San Francisco won the rights through competitive bidding in early 2012 to operate boat cruises on the Canadian side of the falls – the side where the boats have traditionally been stored over the winter – starting next year. Under the 30-year contract with Hornblower, the Niagara Parks Commission will make $300 million more than it did from its long-standing deal with the Maid of the Mist. Hornblower reportedly will bring in new boats with “dry zones,” restrooms and on-board concessions and add a viewing deck with a dining area to an existing administration building.

But Maid of the Mist is not sailing into the sunset. Under a deal reached with New York State in December, the company has kept its contract to run the excursions from the U.S. side of the river and agreed to pay for construction of a $32 million storage facility for its vessels at the site of the former Schoellkopf Power Station.

The company also will increase its annual rent payments to the New York State Parks office to $105 million over the remaining three decades of the contract.

Hornblower objected to the company’s deal with the state and has said it was willing to pay the state $100 million more than the Maid over the same period. It challenged the agreement in court, but in August, a state judge dismissed the suit. Hornblower has said it plans to appeal.

Maid of the Mist spokesman Kevin Keenan on Wednesday said that construction of the storage facility is on schedule and that it will be ready to hold two of the 600-passenger Maids when they are removed from the water a few days after the season on the New York side ends Saturday. The two older, smaller Maid of the Mist boats will no longer be used by the company, he said.

Ridership on what is usually called “the American side” of the falls has increased in the past decade since tighter border-crossing regulations have gone into effect, and the U.S. departures cost less than on the Ontario side because of Canadian taxes and park fees.

“With the construction of a new drydock and maintenance facility in New York, the state and the Maid of the Mist will now have total control over operations,” Keenan said in an email. “In addition, the prospect of the enhanced hiking trails, public observation deck and possible future rock-climbing and rappelling that will be offered at the site will be unique to the New York side, as will the iconic Maid of the Mist boat rides.”

The company owns its world-famous name, which it announces every day as its boats pull away from the dock with decks full of passengers in blue plastic ponchos. They come from all over the world, and the behind-the-scenes drama means little to them compared with the vista they are heading into.

On Wednesday, riders took turns capturing water-spotted images of each other with the cataract plunging in the background.

Earlier this week, Maid of the Mist leadership announced that it will extend its season by two days on the U.S. side this year as a “thank you” and will offer free rides from Niagara Falls State Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The Buffalo News


2013 Notice to Shipping: Work at Beauharnois Lock

10/25 - Mariners are advised that work is presently ongoing to take readings of the lock valve stop plugs at Beauharnois lock N°4. This work, continuing for the next three weeks, could result in occasional slow fills or dumps. Ships of 185 meters or more that cannot use the hands free mooring system will be required to use a special tie up procedure where lines 1 and 2 are leading astern and lines 3 and 4 are leading ahead

Seaway / Maisonneuve Region


Updates -  October 25

News Photo Gallery


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.

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

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

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.

1911: The wooden schooner AZOV began leaking on Lake Huron. The ship came ashore north of Goderich and was broken up by the elements.

1980: The former SILVAPLANA, a Swiss saltwater vessel, was abandoned by the crew after going aground 125 miles SW of Pyongyang, North Korea, as d) HWA HO. The hull later broke in two and was a total loss. The vessel had traded through the Seaway beginning in 1959 and returned as b) CAPE MISENO in 1969.

1985: MAXI PORR first came inland under West German registry when new in 1965. It went aground on this date as b) LUANA while inbound at Port Sudan from Naples and heavily damaged. The vessel was refloated on November 20 but declared a total loss, sold to Pakistani shipbreakers and later arrived at Gadani Beach for scrapping.

1994: OCEAN LUCKY, an ocean going freighter registered in St. Vincent, sank following a grounding off the southern tip of Taiwan. All on board were rescued. The ship had begun Great Lakes trading in 1977 as b) FEDERAL ST. CLAIR and returned as c) TRANSOCEAN PEARL in 1981.

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


Port Reports -  October 24

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Wednesday at the harbors in Marquette, Tug Duluth was secured at Mattson Lower Harbor Park. At the Upper Harbor, Kaye E. Barker unloaded coal and fleet mate Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore.

St. Marys River
Vessels in the river system Wednesday morning were greeted by the season’s first snowfall. The saltwater vessel Puffin is at the Essar Export Dock. Other traffic included the downbound Pineglen and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. as well as the upbound Radcliffe R. Latimer and Joseph L. Block.

Suttons Bay, Mich. - Al Miller
The Manistee dropped anchor late Wednesday afternoon in Suttons Bay, Michigan, apparently seeking a sheltered spot to ride out the night or to wait for entry to a nearby port. On this blustery fall day, the vessel's slow approach to the anchorage took it through periods of rain, snow and sleet before it dropped the hook and enjoyed a few minutes of bright sunshine before the weather shut down again.

Sarnia, Ont.
CSL Tadoussac left her layup berth at Sarnia Wednesday and headed upbound for Duluth to load pellets.

Toledo, Ohio
On Tuesday the Tecumseh touched the bottom while entering Lake Erie from the Toledo channel. No damage, injuries or pollution was reported.

Erie, Pa. - Jeffrey Benson
Frontenac was in Erie unloading a stone cargo then went into Presque Isle Bay and turned to back into the drydock at Donjon for its five-year inspection.

Port Colborne, Ont. – Denny Dushane
The remains of the Maumee’s hull (minus after cabins and part of the stern, self unloading bridge and most of forward cabins) were moved Wednesday over to the south scrapping berth at IMS in Port Colborne harbor. After moving the Maumee, the tugs Vac and Seahound headed to Port Maitland to tow the long-idled canaller D.C. Everest to IMS for likely scrapping after they are done with the Maumee.


Great Lakes coal trade down 13 percent in September

10/24 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 2.7 million tons in September, a decrease of 13 percent from a year ago and the preceding month.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports totaled 1.6 million tons, a decrease of 13.5 percent compared to a year ago. Coal transshipped from Superior, Wisconsin, to Quebec City, Que., for loading into oceangoing colliers totaled 96,000 tons. Exports to Europe from Superior total 1,253,000 tons through September.

Loadings in Chicago totaled 262,000 tons, a decrease of 13 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Lake Erie ports totaled 777,000 tons, a decrease of 11.7 percent compared to a year ago.

Year-to-date the Lakes coal trade stands at 17 million tons, a decrease of 3 percent compared to a year ago.

Lake Carriers' Association


We Energies told it can’t shut down Presque Isle Power Plant

10/24 - Marquette, Mich. - The Presque Isle Power Plant should remain operating through at least 2014 to maintain reliability of electric service in the Upper Peninsula.

That was the conclusion of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc., which oversees the electrical grid in the Upper Midwest and part of Canada. The plant receives its coal shipments by Great Lakes freighter.

"MISO recently completed its reliability assessment related to the request to suspend operations of the Presque Isle Power Plant," MISO spokeswoman Jennifer June Lay said. "The assessment determined that a suspension of the plant would result in violations of applicable reliability criteria."

The Presque Isle plant's largest customer, Cliffs Natural Resources, told Wisconsin Electric in July that the mining company was switching its electric provider service to Integrys Energy Services Inc. of Chicago effective Sept. 1.

State officials estimated the switch would save Cliffs roughly $25 million annually, assuming a three-year deal. Cliffs spent about $120 million with We Energies last year.

In September, in response to the Cliffs decision, We Energies filed a request with the MISO to suspend operations at the Presque Isle plant beginning in February.

Michigan's utility choice law allows customers to choose their energy provider, but the amount of departing customers is capped at 10 percent of a company's state retail sales. In 2008, Cliffs' mines were exempt from that cap.

Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman John Quackenbush said earlier this month that when Cliffs switched, We Energies' cap was filled and Cliffs was 75 percent of the company's Michigan load. Cliffs consumed 270 to 280 megawatts of power from the Presque Isle plant each day.

The MISO may now agree to offer "system support resource payments" to We Energies in exchange for keeping the plant operating.

"MISO will now begin a stakeholder process to determine whether any alternatives exist that would mitigate violations of the applicable reliability criteria. If no alternatives are identified, Presque Isle will be designated as a system support resource pursuant the MISO tariff," Lay said.

The long-term future of the power plant remains uncertain.

In October 2011, We Energies officials planning long-range to contend with federal environmental pollution regulations had said there was a likelihood the plant could be retired in 2017.

Last November, a deal was announced between We Energies and the Cadillac-based Wolverine Power Cooperative. Wolverine agreed to invest up to $140 million in pollution control upgrades at the plant in exchange for a one-third interest in the facility. Ratepayers would not fund any of that cost.

The Cliffs' supplier switch has also prompted We Energies to rethink its contract with Wolverine. The utility said that unless changes to the agreement can be made, it may result in "the full or partial death of the plant."

With the MISO ruling now handed down, We Energies is expected to finalize its talks with Wolverine.

A Wolverine spokeswoman told the Platts financial trade publication the cooperative is weighing the possible purchase of the Presque Isle plant with a final decision expected before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, talks with We Energies continue.

In the long-term, MISO can't order We Energies to run the plant indefinitely and must provide an alternative, but MISO can't order generation solutions, only transmission solutions, according to state officials. All of the players involved have only limited authority to influence the issue and must work cooperatively if a satisfactory solution is to be found.

The Presque Isle plant employs 170 workers. The facility was built from 1955 to 1979, originally with nine operating units, five of which remain, producing a combined 431 megawatts of power.

The Mining Journal


Burns Harbor reports shipping uptick

10/24 - Washington, D.C. - The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period March 22 to September 30 were 23 million metric tons. While this number is down 11 percent over the same period in 2012, U.S. ports continue to beat the odds with increased tonnage in several cargo categories.

"At least a dozen ships from Europe unloaded steel products at the ports of Cleveland, Milwaukee, Burns Harbor and Detroit over the past month; a clear sign that the end of the navigation season is approaching and shippers are working diligently to get products out of the mills and into the Seaway System before the end of the year," said Rebecca Spruill, Director Trade Development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

"Although overall cargo tonnage is down, September provided many positive signs that the next three months will be extremely busy for our ports and terminal operators in the Great Lakes-Seaway System."

In September, the Port of Cleveland moved 66,812 metric tons of general cargo, almost doubling the amount moved in August, and more than doubling the amount moved in September of 2012.

"This is the most cargo that we have moved in any one month since November 2006," said David S. Gutheil, Vice President of Maritime & Logistics. "The increase in cargo can be attributed to a high demand for imported steel by local manufacturers and processors in addition to machinery unloaded by our heavy lift crane destined for Pennsylvania. The Port, and our terminal operator, Federal Marine Terminals, work together to compete globally as the first major U.S. port on the Great Lakes; our multi-modal capabilities allow us to provide customers all-water access to and from international markets."

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor saw a 16 percent increase in total tonnage through the month of September, putting it on pace for its highest annual total in over six years.

"Steel and steel-related byproducts continue to drive strong shipment numbers through the port in conjunction with a steady increase in other bulk commodities such as coal, fertilizer and limestone," said Port Director, Rick Heimann. "Looking ahead, we expect this trend to continue next month as we already have on the books a shipment of distillery tanks from Germany bound for a brewery expansion in Chicago."

For the past three years, Midwest Energy Resources Company (MERC) has been exporting coal from Superior, Wisconsin, to Western Europe via the Great Lakes-Seaway System. On September 3 they welcomed Canada Steamship Lines’ new vessel, Baie Comeau, to its terminal.

"We utilize a transshipment facility in Quebec City to take full advantage of this northern marine corridor," said Fred Shusterich, MERC president. "In our trade, we are excited about the advent of these new Canadian ships - the high caliber of these state-of-the-art vessels equates to increased efficiency and lower costs for our customers, all of which bodes well for continued export business."

MERC has been able to capitalize on the increased demand for U.S. low-sulfur coal in new international markets, seeing growth in exports to the Netherlands and Spain. "We are pleased to have CSL as a partner with us in the export business," added Shusterich.

In addition to the uptick in general cargo traffic at the ports, U.S. grain remained a bright spot for the month. Nearly 700,000 metric tons of U.S. grain moved through the System, representing a 27 percent increase year-to-date over 2012. Overall, cargo categories were down. As noted above, steel is driving tonnage for some U.S. ports, but iron ore and coal shipments remained down in September by 18 and 2 percent respectively. Within the dry bulk category, scrap metal was up 22 percent. The liquid bulk category posted an 8.6 percent jump over the same time in 2012.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry supports 227,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada, and annually generates $14.1 billion in salary and wages, $33.5 billion in business revenue, and $4.6 billion in federal, state/provincial and local taxes. North American farmers, steel producers, construction firms, food manufacturers, and power generators depend on the 164 million metric tons of essential raw materials and finished products that are moved annually on the system. This vital trade corridor saves companies $3.6 billion per year in transportation costs compared to the next least-costly land-based alternative.

Indiana Business


Courtright generating station ran out of fuel last month

10/24 - Courtright, Ont. - The Lambton Generating Station at Courtright, Ont., stopped burning coal in September. It had been scheduled to shut down at the end of 2013 but hasn't been generating electricity since running out of coal last month.

Ontario's Energy Ministry said that leaves Nanticoke Generating station as the last operating coal-fired power station in southern Ontario, and puts the government a step closer to meeting its pledge to stop burning coal.

September 20 was the last time the Lambton station burned coal, said Ted Gruetzner, spokesperson for the plant's operator, Ontario Power Generation. Coal hadn't been purchased in some time for the station, he said.

Gruetzner said the plant is now classified as being in a long-term outage, and is still scheduled to close at the end of 2013.

"If there was a sudden change in system demand, we could get coal and bring it back in, if needed, to run to the end of the year," he said.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said Ontario is one step closer to being the first jurisdiction in North America to eliminate coal as a source of electricity.

"Ontario is committed to building a clean, modern reliable electricity system to replace dirty coal fired generation," he said. This initiative will leave a healthier environment, cleaner air for our children and grandchildren.”

Last March, notice of the coming shutdown went out to the station's then 300 employees. Ontario Power Generation said workers willing to relocate would be guaranteed a job at one of its other sites. Ontario has said that converting the Lambton plant to another fuel, such as natural gas or bio-mass, is an option and it two remaining units will be put into a condition allowing them to start up again, if needed.

"There's no plan to convert them, right now," Gruetzner said. "There's not the system need, today."

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said the disappointing part of Wednesday's announcement is that the community has spent a decade urging the province to convert the Lambton station to natural gas.

"There's got a massive piece of infrastructure there that probably has $1 billion to $2 billion put into it over the decades," Bradley said.

Sarnia Observer


Annual Gales of November coming up Nov. 1-2 in Duluth

10/24 - Duluth, Minn. – The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA), in conjunction with Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, presents its annual maritime conference and fundraiser benefit The Gales of November.

Funds raised support the Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center and help in its mission to celebrate and preserve Lake Superior maritime heritage.

The two day educational, fundraising and networking event begins Friday, November 1 with a joint luncheon with the Duluth-Superior Propeller Club at Grandmas Sports Garden, 425 Lake Ave. S. in Canal Park in Duluth. The luncheons keynote speaker is Lee Radzak, Historic Site Manager Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota Historical Society. Friday afternoon provides various tour options including behind-the-scenes tours at of the Lake Superior Maritime Collections at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, Superior Public Museums Fairlawn Mansion and at the Great Lakes Aquarium. The day concludes with an Opening Gala reception, sponsored by Lake Superior Magazine, at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center in Canal Park at 600 S. Lake Ave.

Gales of November festivities resume at 8:30 am on Saturday, November 2 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center- Lake Superior Ballroom. he day is filled with maritime related educational breakout presentations, a trade show, and a silent auction. Saturdays keynote luncheon presentation features Steve Elliot, Minnesota Historical Society Executive Director.

One of the highlights of the day will be the drawing of the winners in the Cruise of a Lifetime Raffle. Two winners will have an opportunity to sail the Great Lakes aboard the 1,000-foot Edwin H. Gott. The drawing will take place at 5 p.m. at the DECC in the Lake Superior Ballroom at the main stage. A representative from Great Lakes Fleet/Key Lakes Inc. will be there to draw the winning names. A closing reception will be held at Grandmas Saloon & Grill in Canal Park.

Tickets to Gales of November are required. Immediate Gales of November details and registration information can be found at


“The Great Storm” a mind-blowing production, says its playwright

10/24 - Goderich, Ont. - Most people can predict what happens in “The Great Storm,” the first Goderich Little Theatre production of the 2013-14 season.

They know that in this play, based on the historical facts of the Great Lakes Storm of 1913, a storm will whip up on the lakes, sinking ships trying to squeeze in one more trip before winter and killing a few hundred. They know families along the Lake Huron shoreline and elsewhere will be devastated by deaths, and an inquest will follow.

But this “historical faction” play – a blend of fact and fiction – is just so much more.

Since Warren Robinson first wrote a one-act play in 1975 that centered around a poor Irish family that ran a blacksmith shop on The Flats in Goderich and a wealthy Scottish family in the shipbuilding industry, the story evolved to a full-length play that was part of a Gairbraid Summer Theatre production, brimming with drama and dance – plus a touch of humour, carefully crafted costumes with historic details, a set that relies on a cyclorama of projections on a screen, and more than 30 scene changes.

The play is a husband-wife effort, with Warren writing and directing, and Eleanor producing, writing the opening music, playing with the five-piece band and even dabbling in costuming.

With assistance from the Great Storm of 1913 remembrance committee, the production budget was sufficient to hire professional actor Geoffrey Armour, who appeared in “The Great Storm” as part of the Gairbraid Theatre Company. Professional actors Tara Rowan and Susan Armstrong also play key characters.

“The effect they have on the cast is wonderful. They raise the bar. Because you have somebody strong acting against you, then you bring your A game,” Warren said.

The play will begin on the road, with a two-night performance at the Sarnia Library Theatre, Oct. 24 and 25. It returns to Goderich’s Livery Theatre on Oct. 31, with performances scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31 and Saturday, Nov. 1, Nov. 7 to Nov. 9. Afternoon 2 p.m. performances are scheduled Nov. 3 and Nov. 10.

Tickets are available by visiting the box office during regular hours: Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and; Wednesdays to Fridays from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets at the door 30 minutes before performances. Phone 519-524-6262 for reservations.


Updates -  October 24

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Zealand Juliana
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Scott Misener and Valley Camp galleries


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 four miles from the Vermillion Life Saving Station. The lifesaving crew rescued the two-man crew in the surfboat and took them to the Whitefish Point Lighthouse for the night since the storm was so severe.

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 / W. W. HOLLOWAY scrap tow arrived at Recife, Brazil. October 24, 1986.

THOMAS W. LAMONT and her former fleetmate, 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.

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. 1898: L.R. DOTY foundered off Kenosha in high winds and waves with the loss of 18 lives. The vessel was enroute from Chicago to Midland with a cargo of corn and towing the schooner OLIVE JEANETTE. The latter broke loose and survived.

1948: HARRY T. EWIG stranded off Point Abino, Lake Erie. The ship was lightered to fleetmate BUCKEYE and released with about $40,000 in damage.

1959: WESTRIVER, under tow of the tugs LAURENCE C. TURNER and AMERICA, headed down the Seaway for repairs after being damaged in an earlier explosion on Lake Superior.

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


Port Reports -  October 23

Kingston, Ont. - Ron Walsh
The Canadian Empress returned from her final trip of 2013 on October 18. She is at the Crawford Wharf being prepared to go to her winter berth in Kingston's inner harbor.


Port of Cleveland to offer the first scheduled cargo service

10/23 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is ready to announce direct, scheduled cargo service between Cleveland and northern Europe, a new transportation link that could swell Ohio exports and vastly increase the volume of cargo handled at the Port of Cleveland.

With the spring debut of the Cleveland-Europe Express, Cleveland will become the first Great Lakes city to offer regularly scheduled cargo and container shipping to Europe.

Details of the plans, long in the making, are scheduled to be announced at a press conference Wednesday.

"For freight, this is like announcing Cleveland to Heathrow air passenger service," said Will Friedman, the port's president and chief executive officer. "It's a game changer for us. We'll suddenly be competing in a market we never competed in before."

The recent call of the Dutch-owned Kwintebank to Cleveland harbor typifies trade at Ohio's busiest port. The Seaway-class ocean freighter left empty Monday after unloading specialty steel from Sweden, bound for other Great Lakes ports to pick up grain for Europe.

The pattern of steel in, steel out, makes Cleveland a busy but import-laden port in a state with increasing exports. Many Ohio manufacturers must truck and rail their products to East Coast ports to reach Europe, as there are seldom ships available to them in Cleveland, Friedman said.

That's going to change. The agreement between the port authority and a private European shipper calls for a regular cargo run between Cleveland and Antwerp or Rotterdam, monthly at first, later increasing to every two weeks. The trip takes 12 to 14 days.

A study by a maritime consulting firm determined the port should attract at least 10 percent of Ohio's European exports, which would increase the amount of cargo handled at the port by about 250,000 tons annually.

That would result in about 125 new jobs in and around the docks, according to the study, and more than $3 million in new state and local tax revenues.

Meanwhile, Ohio manufacturers will have a new option for exports of their machinery, paints, polymers, medical devices and airplane parts; a regularly scheduled ship that they can rely on.

"That's the most important feature of all," Friedman said. "We believe this service will save time and money for companies that are moving goods between the Midwest and Europe" and make them more competitive.

He acknowledged that no private shipper has sought to offer the connection on its own because of the challenges that Great Lakes shipping presents: including locks, tolls and a Seaway that closes for winter.

"What was needed was a public-private partnership to address the barriers," Friedman said. "We're not waiting. We took the initiative."

David Gutheil, the director of maritime and logistics at the port, noted Cleveland is well positioned to take a leadership role as the first major U.S. port on the Great Lakes. Ocean freighters steaming on to, say, Chicago, face three more days of sailing.

"We're probably in the best place geographically to make this work," he said.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Lake Michigan - Huron water level is higher than last year

10/23 - Lake Michigan and Lake Huron water levels in September are higher this year when compared to last September.

The lake level is 7.2 inches higher this September when compared to last September. The lake levels are going down now, which is the normal seasonal cycle of Great Lakes water levels. Normally the lake levels will start going down in July, and continue to fall until March.

Although lake levels are higher than last year, Lake Michigan-Huron is still 18 inches below its long-term average.

Lake Michigan-Huron is the only Great Lake lower than its long-term average. All of the other lakes are at or above their long-term average, including Lake Superior. Lake Superior has been rising sharply over the past year due to heavier than normal precipitation.

What would it take to make Lake Michigan-Huron continue to gain water levels? It will take two pieces of the water level puzzle. The first piece is more water being put into Lake Michigan-Huron from Lake Superior. That is happening now. The second piece of the puzzle would be a cold, wet winter and next spring. Right now there is very cold air building in Canada, and it looks like winter may start earlier than recent years. Early cold, combined with warmer lake water, usually spells heavy lake effect snow for Michigan.

We will just have to wait and see if the early cold will continue through the winter. If the cold continues, and we get above normal snowfall, Lake Michigan-Huron will be closer to the long-term average next summer.

So if you want higher lake levels, you have to hope for a really nasty winter here in Michigan.



NOAA-certified Print-on-Demand partners will continue to sell up-to-date paper nautical charts

10/23 - NOAA's Office of Coast Survey, which creates and maintains the nation's suite of over 1,000 nautical charts of U.S. coastal waters, today announced major changes ahead for mariners and others who use nautical charts. Starting April 13, 2014, the federal government will no longer print traditional lithographic (paper) nautical charts. Coast Survey will continue to create and distribute other forms of nautical charts, including Print-on-Demand paper charts as well as electronic and digital formats.

"Like most other mariners, I grew up on NOAA lithographic charts and have used them for years," said Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA's Office of Coast Survey. "We know that changing chart formats and availability will be a difficult change for some mariners who love their traditional paper charts."

Mariners increasingly use NOAA-certified Print-on-Demand nautical charts that are up-to-date to the moment of printing.

Since 1862, those lithographic nautical charts -- available in marine shops and other stores -- have been printed by the U.S. government and sold to the public by commercial vendors. The decision to stop production is based on several factors, including the declining demand for lithographic charts, the increasing use of digital and electronic charts, and federal budget realities.

"With the end of traditional paper charts, our primary concern continues to be making sure that boaters, fishing vessels, and commercial mariners have access to the most accurate, up-to-date nautical chart in a format that works well for them," said Capt. Shep Smith, chief of Coast Survey's Marine Chart Division. "Fortunately, advancements in computing and mobile technologies give us many more options than was possible years ago."

NOAA will continue to create and maintain other forms of nautical charts, including the increasingly popular Print on Demand (POD) charts, updated paper charts available from NOAA-certified printers. NOAA electronic navigational charts (NOAA ENC) and raster navigational charts (NOAA RNC), used in a variety of electronic charting systems, are also updated weekly and are available for free download from the Coast Survey website. NOAA announced a new prȋS oduct as well: full-scale PDF (Portable Digital Format) nautical charts, available for free download on a trial basis.

The world of navigation is benefiting from advances in technology, Smith explained. He said that NOAA will consult with chart users and private businesses about the future of U.S. navigation, especially exploring the use of NOAA charts as the basis for new products.

"Customers frequently ask us for special printed features, such as waterproof charts, special papers, or chart books containing additional information," he explained. "We are investigating new opportunities for companies to fill these market niches, using the most up-to-date information directly from NOAA."


Waterspout spotting record shattered

10/23 - Welland, Ont. – Storm chasers across southern Ontario and western New York had no clue what they were in for Sunday when they headed out to watch lakes Ontario and Erie for waterspouts. It turned out to be a record-setting day, with 67 waterspouts documented.

“I’ve never seen anything like this … 67 in one day,” said Wade Szilagyi, director of the International Centre for Waterspout Research. “Not only is that a Great Lakes record, but that’s a world record. There’s never been that many documented in one day before.”

Szilagyi said there were probably more out there, but just not seen by anyone.

The advent of social media and increased number of storm chasers has led to more waterspouts being reported, and it means the numbers are approaching more of a “reality of what is out there,” Szilagyi said.

The meteorologist, with Meteorological Service of Canada, formed the International Centre for Waterspout Research in 2008. It came about after an Austrian professor, Alexander Keul, approached him about a paper he wrote on a waterspout outbreak in 2003. A Greek meteorologist, Michalis Sioutas, also got involved.

Szilagyi said forecasting waterspouts was not something that was done until just recently.

“I’d be working a midnight shift (in the weather centre) and we’d get a report of a waterspout … and a waterspout advisory would go out. It was always in a reactive way, never ahead of time.”

Using data collected over years of reported waterspouts, including photos and videos, he developed a forecast technique called the Szilagyi Waterspout Nomogram. The nomogram is based on factors that can create waterspouts. From the nomogram he derived the Szilagyi Waterspout Index (SWI), which is used by forecasters to predict when waterspouts will form 48 hours ahead of time. It’s being used worldwide.

With an accuracy rate of 82% in its forecast, Szilagyi said Canada is leading the way in waterspout forecasting.

“We’re about 10 years ahead of everyone …” he said.

The advantage of being able to predict ahead means people living along the lakes, the marine industry and even media can be warned earlier of waterspouts.

With that advance notice, more people are out looking for and reporting waterspouts.

People like Jack Matthys, CEO and founder of Storm Trackers Team based in New York state. Matthys and a team of spotters were strung out along Lake Ontario.

“One chaser was in Sea Breeze looking due north, another was looking north from Fair Haven and yet another was just east of Ontario, N.Y. It seemed like every cumulus cloud that formed produced a waterspout. The most reported at one time in a row was five.”

Matthys, who formed the team in September 2011, said the waterspouts had a much longer life span than a normal waterspouts members have seen.

“Some lasted almost 15 minutes. The real hot spot that we observed was at the very end of the band over central Lake Ontario. They just continued to form over and over, and often. One chaser reported six, another 15, and the winner was 33 waterspouts,” he said.

Welland Tribune


Last Call for tickets to Sunday's Great Lakes Maritime Institute Dinner

10/23 - Detroit, Mich. – Tickets are still available for the annual dinner of the Great Lakes Maritime Institute (GLMI), on Sunday, October 27 at Blossom Heath Inn, 24800 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores, Mich.

The dinner will focus on the Great Storm of 1913. That was the worst storm ever recorded on the Great Lakes. Over 40 boats were totaled, nine of which sank with a loss of all crew members, over 250. Marine artist and historian Robert McGreevy will give a presentation on the Howard M. Hanna Jr., which was a total loss but the crew survived. Wayne Brusate will discuss his salvage dive on the Regina whose crew was not so lucky.

Many of the salvaged artifacts from the Regina will be available by a silent auction including some rare, quarantined over 100 year old, Scotch that was part of the cargo.

Please call 313-530-6382 by noon on Wednesday, October 23 to reserve.


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 deckhouses.

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.

1906: The wooden steamer SHENANDOAH backed into a wharf at South Chicago and then went full ahead into the opposite wharf. The captain was found to be drunk and his certificate was suspended.

1917: KATAHDIN was built at West Bay City in 1895 but was sold off-lakes in 1899. The ship was damaged as b) EXPORT in a collision on this date with the Japanese freighter TOKAYAMA MARU in the Delaware River. As a result of the accident, the ship was scrapped in 1918.

1956: GREY BEAVER ran aground on Stoney Crest Island, near Alexandria Bay, NY while downbound with wheat from Toronto to Trois Rivieres, QC. The vessel was released with bottom damage and required a trip to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.

1968: NORMAN P. CLEMENT, damaged by a grounding and then an on board explosion, was scuttled in the deep water of Georgian Bay near Christian Island.

1987: CANADIAN ENTERPRISE stranded in the Amherstburg Channel. The ship was lightered of 1,840 tons of coal and then pulled free by 4 tugs before going to Thunder Bay for repairs.

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


Lakes limestone trade up more than 6 percent in September

10/22 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3.5 million tons in September, an increase of 6.2 percent compared to a year ago. The September total was, however, 4.9 percent below August’s tally.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 3 million tons, an increase of 8.1 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian quarries 467,000 tons dipped by the equivalent of one cargo in a 767-foot-long laker.

Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at 19.9 million tons, a decrease of 2.9 percent compared to a year ago, and 6 percent below the long-term average for the first three quarters.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  October 22

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Hon. James L. Oberstar loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Monday. The first snowflakes of Fall fell during her load.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Algosteel loaded a limestone cargo at Stoneport on Monday and they were expected to depart at 2:30 p.m. Loading next was the Philip R. Clarke, which had anchored waiting on the departure of the Algosteel. Manitowoc was also expected to arrive on Monday in the late afternoon. There are no vessels scheduled to load on Tuesday. Due Wednesday is Algorail and Great Lakes Trader, both for early morning arrivals. The Joseph H. Thompson rounds out the Wednesday schedule with a late evening arrival.

Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Cedarville, Presque Isle, making her first visit of the 2013 season, arrived Sunday morning to load. The Joseph H. Thompson was due to arrive in the early morning on Monday. Rounding out the schedule is the tug Leonard M. and barge Huron Spirit, due to arrive during the late evening on Wednesday.

At Port Inland, Wilfred Sykes was expected to arrive during the early morning on Monday. Following the Sykes was the Lewis J. Kuber, due in also on Monday in the mid-afternoon. Rounding out the schedule will be the tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula due on Wednesday in the early morning.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Great Republic loaded limestone on Sunday and was expected to depart during the evening. At anchor and waiting for the Republic to clear was the tug Leonard M. and barge Huron Spirit. The tug Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender were due to arrive on Monday in the early morning hours. There are no vessels due to load on Tuesday.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Mississagi loaded coal at the CSX Coal Dock on Monday. Due next at the CSX Coal Dock was the American Mariner, due to load coal during the early evening on Monday. Algoma Olympic unloaded limestone at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock also on Monday. Two vessels were due at the Torco Dock on Monday afternoon with iron ore cargoes. American Mariner and the CSL Niagara were both expected to arrive at the Torco Dock during the early afternoon on Monday. There were also three other vessels in port at the time of this report. The tug Wilf Seymour and barge Alouette Spirit were at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock, while Tecumseh and Algoma Spirit were further up river at the grain elevators.

Gravenhurst, Ont. - Jens Juhl
This past weekend marked the end of a busy season for Muskoka Steamship & Historical Society. On Sunday the Winona II closed out the season with a well-attended lunch cruise followed by a one-hour sightseeing cruise. The R.M.S. Segwun ended the season the previous weekend with its annual sold out Thanksgiving dinner cruise. Segwun is the only remaining coal fired passenger ship with the designation Royal Mail Steamship in North America. One can create a unique souvenir by buying a postcard of the ship, affixing a special issue Canada Post Muskoka Steamship stamp, addressing it to yourself and dropping it into the Royal Mail box located on the main deck. The engine room control platform, the gauge board and the engine telegraphs can be viewed from the main deck, as can the two-furnace Scotch boiler.


St. Lawrence Seaway provides seamless supply route for U.S. ports

10/22 - Washington, D.C. – The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period March 22 to September 30 were 23 million metric tons. While this number is down 11 percent over the same period in 2012, U.S. ports continue to beat the odds with increased tonnage in several cargo categories.

At least a dozen ships from Europe unloaded steel products at the ports of Cleveland, Milwaukee, Burns Harbor and Detroit over the past month; a clear sign that the end of the navigation season is approaching and shippers are working diligently to get products out of the mills and into the Seaway System before the end of the year, said Rebecca Spruill, Director Trade Development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. Although overall cargo tonnage is down, September provided many positive signs that the next three months will be extremely busy for our ports and terminal operators in the Great Lakes-Seaway System.

In September, the Port of Cleveland moved 66,812 metric tons of general cargo, almost doubling the amount moved in August, and more than doubling the amount moved in September of 2012.

This is the most cargo that we have moved in any one month since November 2006, said David S. Gutheil, Vice President of Maritime & Logistics. The increase in cargo can be attributed to a high demand for imported steel by local manufacturers and processors in addition to machinery unloaded by our heavy lift crane destined for Pennsylvania. The Port, and our terminal operator, Federal Marine Terminals, work together to compete globally as the first major U.S. port on the Great Lakes; our multi-modal capabilities allow us to provide customers all-water access to and from international markets.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor saw a 16 percent increase in total tonnage through the month of September, putting it on pace for its highest annual total in over six years.

Steel and steel-related byproducts continue to drive strong shipment numbers through the port in conjunction with a steady increase in other bulk commodities such as coal, fertilizer and limestone, said Port Director, Rick Heimann. Looking ahead, we expect this trend to continue next month as we already have on the books a shipment of distillery tanks from Germany bound for a brewery expansion in Chicago.

For the past three years, Midwest Energy Resources Company (MERC) has been exporting coal from Superior, Wisconsin, to Western Europe via the Great Lakes-Seaway System. On September 3 they welcomed Canada Steamship Lines new vessel, Baie Comeau, to its terminal.

We utilize a transshipment facility in Quebec City to take full advantage of this northern marine corridor, said Fred Shusterich, MERC president. In our trade, we are excited about the advent of these new Canadian ships the high caliber of these state-of-the-art vessels equates to increased efficiency and lower costs for our customers, all of which bodes well for continued export business.

MERC has been able to capitalize on the increased demand for U.S. low-sulfur coal in new international markets, seeing growth in exports to the Netherlands and Spain. We are pleased to have CSL as a partner with us in the export business, added Shusterich.

In addition to the uptick in general cargo traffic at the ports, U.S. grain remained a bright spot for the month. Nearly 700,000 metric tons of U.S. grain moved through the System, representing a 27 percent increase year-to-date over 2012. Overall, cargo categories were down. As noted above, steel is driving tonnage for some U.S. ports, but iron ore and coal shipments remained down in September by 18 and 2 percent respectively. Within the dry bulk category, scrap metal was up 22 percent. The liquid bulk category posted an 8.6 percent jump over the same time in 2012.

Marine Delivers


Recent vessel incidents along Seaway reported

10/22 - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada made the following notifications of recent incidents in its log of Oct. 21.

On 20 October 2013, the bulk carrier Federal Yukon experienced a steering gear pump failure while transiting on the St. Lawrence Seaway off Brockville, Ont. The vessel had to anchor for repairs.

On 15 October 2013, the motor vessel Algoma Navigator was stuck in the bottom alongside the dock in Bruce Mines, Ont. No injuries or pollution reported.

On 05 October 2013, a 2-inch crack in the No. 5 port side ballast tank was discovered on the motor vessel Atlantic Huron while transiting off Long Point, Lake Erie. Repairs were made and the voyage continued. No other damage/pollution/injuries were reported.

On 18 October 2013, the CSL Niagara made contact with the bottom off Lanoraie, Que. The vessel continued upbound. No damage was reported.


New Toledo Terminal near completion

10/22 - Toledo, Ohio – The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Midwest Terminals of Toledo and Finance Fund were joined today by area officials for a groundbreaking ceremony of a warehouse at Ironville Terminal. This ceremony commemorates the third and final phase of construction on the 180-acre site, making it ready for business this winter. The total project cost was approximately $18 million and when completed, the project will provide up 100,000 manhours of skilled construction labor for the community.

“The redevelopment of this land will provide new space for unloading ships and new lay down areas for cargo, which will allow the Port of Toledo to continue as a leader on the Great Lakes,” said Paul Toth, President and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “Without the help of local, state and federal agencies who believed in this project and administered the programs to help with its financing, the redevelopment of this riverfront site would have not been possible.”

The development of Ironville was financed with public and private investment; the port utilized a combination of state financing mechanisms along with new market tax credits to complete the multi-phased project. Finance Fund, a company that helps connect underserved communities with public and private sources of capital, provided $15.5 million in new market tax credits for the project, which made it possible to complete all three phases in such a short time frame.

The first phase of redevelopment included the installation of approximately 15,000 linear feet of rail, which were connected with the nearby Norfolk Southern rail line. Phase two included improvements to the river channel and shoreline to prepare a deepwater marine dock to accommodate barges, and lake trading and ocean vessels. Approximately 65,000 cubic yards of sediment have been dredged to provide access to the dock face, and 520 feet of the existing dock face has been improved.

Phase three includes the installation of a multi-modal delivery system. Once completed, the newly installed conveyor and material transfer system will create efficiencies through rapid freight unloading, and is capable of handling any dry bulk material. Self-unloading ships will discharge into a 65 cubic yard hopper, which will feed the conveying system. The conveyor terminates with a mechanized radial stacking system. Phase three also consists of the construction of a 19,000 square foot warehouse, which has a clear height of 39 feet and will contain two rail spurs and an overhead crane. The warehouse will allow Midwest Terminals to be prepared for nearly any type of business that may present itself. An additional 5,000 feet of rail for loading operations was also installed during phase three.

The addition of the Ironville Terminal to the Port of Toledos foothold is great news for this region, said Betty Sutton, Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. Once completed, the site will open up access to a second Class I railroad, which will provide customers with a more efficient and cost effective supply chain, and through this, will grow the Port of Toledo and generate more opportunity for job creation.

Ironville Terminal, formerly known as the Chevron property, was purchased by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority in 2008 for $3.4 million. The Port Authority formed a public-private partnership with Midwest Terminals of Toledo through a long-term lease for the property. This acquisition made the Port of Toledo the largest land mass seaport on the Great Lakes.


Updates -  October 22

News Photo Gallery we are caught up, please continue to send in your shots to


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

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.

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 a 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 towline 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.

1929: N.J. NESSEN, a wooden bulk freighter, stranded in Lake Erie off Leamington, ON. The ship had been anchored for weather but the wind switched to the south, leaving it exposed. The hull broke up, but all on board were saved.

1929: YANTIC, a former wooden naval reserve training ship tied up at Detroit for use as a heating plant, sank at the dock. All 3 on board got off safely.

1979: J.N. McWATTERS struck the lighthouse at the main entrance to Cleveland with heavy damage to the structure.

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


Port Reports -  October 21

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
American Mariner and Michipicoten loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Saturday.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
American Courage was alongside the Lafarge stone dock Sunday evening and began loading limestone. Nearly all the stone quarried at the Marblehead location is used for construction projects.


Detroit tug renamed to honor late William Hoey

10/21 - The Detroit-based tug Carolyn Hoey has been renamed William Hoey to honor the late founder of Gaelic Tugboat Co and Diamond Jacks River Tours. The 1951-built tug handles ship assist and vessel fueling on the Detroit and Rouge rivers.

William A. "Bill" Hoey died recently after a long battle with cancer. He spent much of his life running tugboats on the Detroit River.

A previous tug named William Hoey was sold by the company several years ago and is currently inactive at Sault Ste. Marie.


BP oil refinery waste piles up on Southeast Side of Chicago

10/21 - Chicago, Ill. – Just south of the Chicago Skyway bridge, a dusty byproduct of the Canadian oil boom is piling up in huge black mountains along the Calumet River. More is on the way. A lot more.

By the end of the year, the oil giant BP is expected to complete work on new equipment that will more than triple the amount of petroleum coke produced by its Whiting refinery on Lake Michigan. The project will turn the sprawling Indiana plant into the world's second-largest source of petroleum coke, also known as petcoke, and Chicago into one of the biggest repositories of the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste.

BP this week confirmed that all of its petcoke is shipped a few miles across the state border to sites in the East Side and South Deering neighborhoods. Residents say black clouds of dust blow off uncovered piles of petcoke and coal in the area so frequently that people are forced to keep their children inside with the windows closed.

"You can't have a picnic outside because you are going to get a mouthful of black dust," said Lilly Martin, whose backyard deck on Mackinaw Avenue offers a view of one of the coke piles a few blocks away. "It's so bad we have to power-wash the house every week to wash it off."

In response to complaints from neighborhood groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan are investigating. The Illinois EPA said it is reviewing permits for the storage piles "to determine if they are appropriate to each facility's current activities and if special conditions are needed to address site-specific concerns."

If the piles were at the Whiting refinery, BP would be obligated to enclose them under the terms of its Clean Air Act permit and a federal legal settlement. But the storage sites in Chicago aren't required to comply with the same stringent air pollution regulations, which are intended to reduce hazards from lung-damaging particulate matter.

The amount of petcoke generated by Whiting and other U.S. refineries has steadily increased during the past decade as the industry processes more Canadian oil that is thicker and dirtier than many other grades.

BP will produce more than 2.2 million tons of petcoke a year at Whiting, up from about 700,000 tons before the refinery was overhauled to process oil from the tar sands region of Alberta.

Pumping crude oil through a coker is one of the first steps in the refining process. Exposing it to intense heat draws out lighter oil that is further processed into gasoline and other fuels, leaving petroleum coke as a spongy residual concentrated with carbon, sulfur and heavy metals.

Most petcoke is shipped overseas and used as industrial fuel. Because petcoke emits more smog-forming sulfur dioxide and heat-trapping carbon dioxide than coal, U.S. regulations tightly control the amount that can be burned without elaborate pollution controls.

About five days' worth of petcoke can be stored at the Whiting refinery, BP said in an email response to questions. Under the company's federal permit and consent decree with the U.S. EPA, the waste is surrounded by 40-foot walls; an enclosed conveyor and loading system is equipped with wind screens and water sprayers to keep dust down.

"BP Whiting is complying with its permit regarding coke handling at the refinery," said Scott Dean, a company spokesman.

Such elaborate storage is temporary, though, and Dean said it is up to the companies that operate off-site storage terminals to comply with applicable environmental laws.

All of the petcoke from Whiting eventually is sent by train, truck or barge to sites on Chicago's Southeast Side owned by KCBX Terminals. The company is controlled by Charles and David Koch, wealthy conservative industrialists who back groups that challenge the science behind climate change and oppose many environmental regulations.

Last year, KCBX bought the larger of the two sites — between 108th and 111th streets on the east side of the Calumet River — from a subsidiary of Detroit-based DTE Energy. As part of the deal, the company obtained exclusive rights to store petcoke from the nearby BP refinery. The other storage site is across the river just south of 100th Street.

During warmer months, KCBX uses water cannons to spray down piles of petcoke and coal on the properties, records show. Paul Baltzer, a spokesman for Koch Companies Public Sector LLC, said the company is spending more than $10 million to upgrade its facilities, "including improvements to our dust suppression capabilities."

But in letters to the Illinois EPA, the company said "it is not feasible" to cover the piles because "stockpile locations and usage patterns are constantly changing."

"KCBX puts a priority on regulatory compliance and managing operations in a manner that protects the health and safety of employees, the community, and the environment," Baltzer said in a statement.

Another Koch company owns a site in Detroit that earlier this year became a towering repository of petcoke from a nearby Marathon Petroleum refinery. In August, Mayor Dave Bing ordered the piles removed in response to community complaints.

Other Koch companies sell petcoke for use as industrial fuel, often in countries with more lenient environmental laws. The largest independent petcoke marketer in the U.S., Oxbow Corp., is owned by William Koch, brother of Charles and David.

China is by far the largest buyer of American petroleum coke exports, which increased to 26 million barrels last year from 2.1 million barrels in 2007, according to federal records. Much of the coke is burned in coal-fired power plants and contributes to the country's air pollution problems.

Faced with increased competition from low-cost natural gas, several U.S. power plants are adding refinery waste to their fuel mix or testing whether it could be a less expensive alternative to coal. At least 13 percent of the 3.9 million tons of petcoke burned by power plants last year came from companies owned by the Koch Brothers, according to industry records compiled by the federal Energy Information Administration.

Petcoke is about 25 percent cheaper than coal. "It's priced to move," said Kerry Satterthwaite, a senior analyst at Roskill Information Services, a commodities analysis company based in London.

But it must be mixed with coal because it doesn't burn as easily. And questions remain about whether power plants can burn larger amounts without violating anti-pollution rules.

A website that tracks cargo ship movements shows that one power plant that has accepted shipments from the KCBX sites in Chicago is the TES Filer City Station, across Lake Michigan near Manistee, Mich. In 2008, the U.S. EPA fined the plant's owner for violating its air pollution permit by burning too much petcoke.

Lorne Stockman, who recently published a study on petcoke for the environmental advocacy group Oil Change International, said the surge of refinery waste is a largely unrecognized challenge to President Barack Obama's plans to reduce greenhouse gases linked to climate change.

Transporting more Canadian tar sands through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would create even more waste at U.S. refineries, Stockman said.

"It's cheap and attractive to industry, especially in China, Mexico and India," he said. "But it's horrible for the planet."

In Chicago, there have been uncovered piles of coal and petcoke along the Calumet River for years, a legacy of the now-shuttered steel mills, coke plants and blast furnaces that once dominated the area.

Community activists say dust problems have worsened since the storage terminals began acquiring more petcoke, though the specific source of the black grime seen on many houses is unclear.

Besides the two KCBX terminals, a third petcoke storage site on the river is owned by the Beemsterboer family, who in 2011 lost a bid to sell state pollution credits to a New York-based company that wanted to build a new power plant in the neighborhood. The plant would have burned a combination of coal and petcoke.

Air pollution already is a chronic problem in the neighborhood. A monitor at Washington High School routinely registers the state's highest levels of the toxic metals chromium and cadmium, as well as sulfates, which can trigger asthma attacks and increase the risk of heart disease.

Neighborhood groups want Illinois to adopt regulations similar to those in place in California, which requires piles of petcoke, coal and other raw materials to be enclosed or covered.

A handful of neighborhood representatives met last month with KCBX officials, who refused to include an attorney from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmental group that has been assisting local activists.

Peggy Salazar of the Southeast Environmental Task Force noted that city officials have long promoted the area as showcase for green projects. A few blocks north of the petcoke piles, the city has given significant support to a developer who wants to turn the former U.S. Steel South Works site into a mecca for energy-efficient housing and businesses.

"How is our neighborhood ever going to recover and attract jobs if these black clouds of dust keep blowing?" said Salazar. "We shouldn't have to live with this every day."

Chicago Tribune


Honoring 6 Coast Guardsmen lost on Lake Erie in the 1913 Great Storm

10/21 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The steam-powered Coast Guard ship chugged out of Buffalo to its station on Lake Erie between Sturgeon Point and Point Abino, where it was to anchor as a floating lighthouse for the Great Lakes shipping.

Light Vessel 82’s mission was to warn ships coming and going from the Buffalo Harbor of the treacherous rocky shoals beneath the lake’s northern shore.

But in the fall of 1913, as the six-member crew of the lighthouse vessel sailed out, two fronts collided over the warm lake waters, resulting in hurricane force winds that blasted the region for three days and nights. The crew aboard the lighthouse vessel was battling 35-foot waves, snow and sleet and 80 mph winds.

Hugh M. Williams, the Light Vessel’s captain, made a fateful decision. He lowered anchor so that his vessel would continue to warn other ships during the horrific storm. Although that decision cost him and his crew members’ lives, it also may have saved the lives of other sailors in the vicinity of Buffalo Harbor, one of the busiest ports in the world a century ago.

Exactly when the 100-foot-long Light Vessel sank in 60 feet of water some 2 miles northwest of Crystal Beach, is unknown, but when the “White Hurricane” stopped blowing, the six Coast Guardsmen were among some 250 others who died in the storm that raged from Nov. 7 to 10, 1913. Eighteen other ships also sank.

At 3 p.m. Friday, three descendants of Capt. Williams visited a memorial plaque at Crystal Beach’s Waterfront Park and participate in a service commemorating the sacrifices Williams and the other crew members made.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, aboard the USS Little Rock at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, they will take turns ringing the ship’s bell in honor of the lost shipmates.

“It will be very emotional. It’s not just about grandpa, but all who lost their lives on that ship,” said Bruce O’Connor, the 72-year-old grandson of Williams. “My grandfather is part of the history of the Williams family on my mother’s side. We heard all about grandpa losing his life in 1913 in that horrible storm.”

For O’Connor’s sister, 71-year-old Patricia Sharp, the two days of events will provide the family, who traveled here from Michigan, with a chance to formally recognize the crew’s heroism a century later.

“My mother would have been very, very pleased that this is happening, and I certainly will be there for her,” Sharp said of Hazel O’Connor, who died in the 1980s. “She was the oldest daughter of Mary and Hugh’s three children. It was horrible for my mother. She was 9. She secretly always suspected he was coming back.”

So distraught was the widow of LV-82’s captain, that Mary A. Williams traveled from their home in Manistee, Mich., to Buffalo to join in the search for her husband’s remains, scouring the lake and shoreline. His body was never found. In 1941, Mary was buried beside her husband’s empty grave.

On the tombstone, beneath the sea captain’s name, three words say it all: “Lost At Sea.” O’Connor and Sharp said they look forward to personally thanking the three local historians from Fort Erie, Ont., who eight years ago began a quest to raise $4,000 for the plaque that is now affixed to a massive stone at Waterfront Park, which also has maritime artifacts on display. It includes a propeller blade from the Canadiana, the vessel that transported many generations of Buffalonians to the amusement park at Crystal Beach.

The plaque was unveiled a year ago, but relatives of Capt. Williams only learned of it sometime after stories about the event were published in Michigan newspapers. Since then, they have been exchanging emails with the historians and working out arrangements for the visit here.

Calling themselves the “LV-82 Canadian Group,” John Robbins, Rick Doan and Paul Kassay Jr. say they dug through old records, mostly newspaper stories, to piece together an accurate account of how LV-82 sank for the inscription on the plaque, along with a likeness of the ship.

Robins said he had been troubled for years that there was no formal recognition for the heroics of the LV-82 crew. The ship was built in 1912 at Muskegon, Mich., by the Racine-Truscott-Shell Boat Co.

A 90-horsepower steam engine turned the vessel’s 5-foot iron propellers. Kerosene fueled the light beacon magnified by a cluster of lenses atop a 21-foot center pole. A fog horn and bells also sounded warnings to ships veering off course as they made their way in the waters off Buffalo.

“This was state-of-the-art technology for that time on those vessels,” Robbins said.

The floating lighthouse ships were operated by what was then known as the United States Light-House Establishment, later consolidated into the Coast Guard. No matter what nature presented, the ships were expected to be at their stations, key locations on Lake Erie and elsewhere on the Great Lakes, even in the roughest of seas.

“There was no question about manning a station. If you were on a Light Vessel, you had to be there,” Doan said.

Because of the “White Hurricane” conditions, heavy snow and sleet diminishing visibility, the ship’s horn and bells most likely served as alerts to other vessels caught in the storm, according to Robbins.

“The captain made a conscious decision to stand their ground when he ordered the anchor to be lowered, quite knowing they might die to save other sailors,” Robbins said.

And that is exactly what happened. The plaque lists the names of all six crew members lost to the storm: Williams; Chief Engineer Charles Butler of Buffalo; Assistant Engineer Cornelius Leahy of Elyria, Ohio; Mate Andrew Leahy, the brother of Cornelius; Seaman William Jensen of Muskegon; and Cook Peter Mackey of Buffalo.

Searchers located the sunken vessel on May 9, 1914, off Crystal Beach, but the bodies of the crew members were missing. Lake Erie gave up only one of the bodies, but much later.

A year after the catastrophe, Butler’s body washed ashore in Buffalo Harbor.

It took two years before workers recovered and managed to tow the ship into shallow waters not far from the Crystal Beach dock. Sand and water were pumped from its unscathed hull as workers made the vessel seaworthy to the point that it was recommissioned under a different name that has since been lost to time.

“I was shocked when I learned the ship was returned to service,” Doan said. “I certainly would not have wanted to be on that ship.”

The need for a Light Vessel near Point Abino was eliminated when the Canadian government responded to the tragedy several years later by building a light house in 1918, which continued to serve boats for decades until it was decommissioned in the 1990s and declared a National Historic Site in 1998.

“Ships today use satellite technology and other high-tech equipment to guide them,” Doan said.

Nature, though, still causes havoc.

Historians believe the 1913 superstorm was caused when two major weather fronts collided and drew moisture from the warm waters in the lakes, producing a fearsome November gale. Those same warm waters generate lake-effect snowstorms.

This weather dynamic in more modern times reared itself and contributed to the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald on Nov. 10, 1975, killing the crew as the lake freighter sank in more than 500 feet of water in Lake Superior. A year later, the event was memorialized in song by Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot, whose lyrics seem to touch on the events of 1913.

Buffalo News


Updates -  October 21

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the El Zorro, Federal Agno, Gadwall, Pilica, and Puffin.


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. 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.

1912: Two were lost when the wooden steamer PINE LAKE sank in the Detroit River near Belle Isle following a collision with FLEETWOOD (i). The hull was later dynamited as a hazard to navigation.

1913: C.W. ELPHICKE began leaking in a storm on Lake Erie and was beached near the Long Point lighthouse. The downbound, grain-laden wooden freighter was a total loss but the crew was saved.

1969: JOHN PURVES was towing Derrick Scow 43 bound for Rogers City when the latter was lost.

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


Port Reports -  October 20

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
The Joseph H. Thompson tug and barge came into Lorain Friday night about 10 p.m. and left Saturday morning a few minutes before 8 a.m.


Great Lakes Storm of 1913 Centennial memorial service Nov. 3

10/20 - Courtright, Ont. – Saint Stephen’s Anglican Church, located on Milton Street in Courtright, Ontario, will be offering a service on Sunday, Nov. 3 at 11 am to memorialize the sailors who lost their lives in November 1913 during the worst storm to hit the Great Lakes in recorded history.

Nineteen ships were sunk during the storm, and many more damaged, leading to a loss of over 250 lives. The same storm also wrecked havoc on land across the Great Lakes Basin and beyond.

The service will be taken from the worship forms used in those days. There will be the ringing of an historical ship bell for each of the vessels sunk. An old poem about the storm has been adapted as lyrics for a new song, which will be introduced during the service. Many marine groups are being invited, and it is encourage that people wear marine uniforms, or period clothing.

Refreshments will be served in the parish Memorial Hall after the service.


Obituary: Warren G. Benson

10/20 - Warren G. Benson, 92, of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., died recently at Freighter View Assisted Living Facility. A World War II veteran and POW in Germany, he sailed the Great Lakes in the 1940s and 1950s, advancing to first assistant engineer. He left the lakes for a period but returned in 1973, retiring in 1985 as Marine Assistant Engineer for the Ford Motor Co. Services have taken place. His wife Ruth survives.


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 or 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 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 that 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


Port Reports -  October 19

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Two vessels visited the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock on Friday. Herbert C. Jackson unloaded stone in the morning, and American Mariner arrived to unload coal later in the afternoon.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Mississagi came in early Friday morning with a load for Meekhof's D & M Dock on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. It unloaded and was gone before dawn. This was its fourth visit of the season.

Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Cedarville, Wilfred Sykes arrived during the evening to load on Thursday and was expected to depart sometime on Friday. Due to arrive on Saturday is the Presque Isle in the late evening. This will be Presque Isle's first visit to Cedarville for the 2013 season.

At Port Inland, the Great Lakes Trader arrived early in the morning on Thursday and was expected to depart sometime during the day. Also due in at Port Inland is the Wilfred Sykes on Friday during the mid-afternoon. The Mississagi follows the Sykes, arriving late in the evening also on Friday. Due on Saturday is the Lewis J. Kuber in the early morning and the Wilfred Sykes returns on Sunday in the late evening.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Calumet was expected to arrive at Stoneport late in the evening on Friday to load a limestone cargo. There are four vessels scheduled to load on Saturday. Expected first is the Algoma Progress in the early morning followed by the Manitowoc in the early afternoon. There are two evening arrivals on Saturday, with Great Lakes Trader and Cason J. Callaway expected. For Sunday, three vessels are expected, with Pathfinder arriving early in the morning, followed later on by the Algosteel in the late morning. The Philip R. Clarke is expected in late in the evening on Sunday. Due on Monday is the Joseph H. Thompson for an early evening arrival.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Algosoo was expected to arrive in the late morning on Friday to unload iron ore at the Torco Dock. Other vessels due at Torco with iron ore cargoes include Hon. James L. Oberstar on Saturday in the early morning along with Lakes Contender, also on Saturday in the early afternoon. CSL Niagara is expected to arrive at Torco on Monday in the early morning followed by the American Mariner also on Monday in the early morning. There is nothing scheduled or due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Several vessels are due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock in the next week. The James L. Kuber and the Mississagi are both due in on Sunday with the Kuber arriving in the early evening and the Mississagi in the late evening. American Mariner and the John B. Aird are both due to load coal on Monday with the Mariner arriving during the late afternoon and the Aird arriving in the early evening. Following them will be the H. Lee White on Thursday, October 24 in the late afternoon and the John B. Aird returns to load at the CSX Dock on Friday, October 25 in the early morning hours. There were also four other vessels in port at the time of this report. The Dutch salty Fairlift was at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock, Algocanada was tied-up along the Maumee River while further upstream at the grain elevators were the Birchglen and the Algoma Spirit.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Kaye E. Barker loaded for Detroit overnight Thursday. The vessel sailed as the sun began to lighten the Lake Erie sky.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The saltwater vessel Flevogracht departed Lackawanna around 10 a.m. Friday for Sturgeon Bay. The sailing vessel Peacemaker was back in town for more tours during mid-October at the Central Wharf.

Welland Canal
On Tuesday, Atlantic Erie experienced flooding in a starboard ballast tank caused by a hull fracture on the starboard bow while transiting the Welland Canal. Repairs were made and the vessel continued on its voyage.


Great Lakes Coast Guard's Operation Fall Retrieve gets underway

10/19 - Cleveland, Ohio – In anticipation of the coming ice season and to ensure the safety of vessels transiting the Great Lakes Basin, earlier this week the Coast Guard 9th District began its annual retrieval of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System seasonal aids to navigation, the largest domestic ATON recovery operation in the U.S.

Operation Fall Retrieve, which affects lighted and unlighted buoys and beacons, commenced Tuesday with a goal of retrieving 1,278 navigational aids. The operation is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 28.

The 1,278 aids, approximately half in the region, are taken out of service during the winter due to decreased vessel traffic and are replaced with smaller, lighter and more buoyant buoys, known as wintermarks or ice hulls, that are designed to actually ride underneath the ice when it comes, but still stay on location.

The 9th District's ATON 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.

“Properly marked waterways are essential to keeping commerce moving on the Great Lakes during the winter,” said William Sharp, a marine information specialist with the 9th Districts Waterways Management Branch. “Safe navigation is crucial no matter the season.”

The Coast Guard manages 3,127 fixed and floating federal aids in the region. The waters of the U.S. 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. ATON can provide a boater with the same type of information drivers get from street signs, stop signals, road barriers, detours and traffic lights. These aids may be anything from lighted structures, beacons, day markers, range lights, fog signals and landmarks to floating buoys.

“There is still a lot of vessel traffic throughout the Great Lakes during the winter months,” Chief Warrant Officer Ralph Kugel, the ATON manager with the 9th Districts Waterways Management Branch. “It is important to maintain the navigational channels.”

Each aid has a purpose and helps mariners determine their location, stay out of danger, and provide safer navigation from one place to another.

To accomplish Operation Fall Retrieve, the district will employ six Coast Guard cutters, five ATON Teams; five small boat stations with ATON duties; the Lamplighters, civilian employees who manage the inland waters of Northern Minnesota; Canadian Coast Guard crews; and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

In addition, members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary help inspect about 3,000 privately-owned aids to navigation in the region.


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. Scrapped in Turkey in 2011.

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.

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

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, 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 - 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 towline and went ashore a few miles north of Lakeport, Michigan.

1901: The wooden freighter STATE OF MICHIGAN, a) DEPERE sank off Whitehall, MI enroute to Manistee to load salt. A piston rod had broken and fractured the hull the previous day and the vessel went down slowly. All on board were saved.

1905: KALIYUGA foundered in Lake Huron with the loss of 18 lives. The ore laden steamer was enroute to Cleveland.

1905: SIBERIA sank in a storm on Lake Erie while eastbound with a cargo of grain. All on board were saved.

1916: The wooden schooner D.L. FILER, loaded with coal and enroute from Buffalo to Saugatuck, MI, became waterlogged and sank near the mouth of the Detroit River 3.5 miles east of Bar Point Light. The vessel settled in shallow water with the crew clinging to the masts. The forward mast cracked throwing the sailors into the water and all 6 were lost. Only the captain on the after mast survived.

1947: MANCHESTER CITY went aground off Cap Saumon, QC, while inbound from the United Kingdom with freight, 12 passengers and a crew of 50. The ship stranded in fog and the passengers were removed safely before the vessel was lightered. The vessel made 17 trips through the Seaway from 1959 to 1963 before being scrapped at Faslane, Scotland, in 1964.

1981: ELSIE WINCK first came through the Seaway in 1962. It was bombed and sunk at Bandar Khomeini, Iran, as e) MOIRA on this date and was a total loss.

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


Port Reports -  October 18

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Lakes Contender loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Thursday.


With Great Lakes stuck at historic lows, talk turns to adapting

10/18 - C -

In September, Lake Michigan's average water level was 577.56 feet, or 18 inches below its long-term average for the month, according to data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1998 was the last year that Lake Michigan water levels were at their long-term average height.

The 14 years of below-average levels on Lake Michigan is "the longest in its period of record," the corps said in its September Great Lakes Water Level Summary. Earlier in January, Lake Michigan dropped to its lowest average level ever recorded.

The implications of lower water levels are numerous for Michigan. The Great Lakes provide much of the state's drinking water and are used for commerce ranging from shipping to fishing, recreational boating and tourism.

"We were really going into a crisis situation come spring," Alan Steinman, director of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University's Muskegon campus, said about the water levels earlier in the year. "The good news is since April, … we're no longer near that crisis level, but we have to remain vigilant. We can't get complacent because we are still well below the long-term mean."

A mix of evaporating water and minimal ice cover due to warmer temperatures over the winter has contributed to the record-low levels, according to the corps. Heavy rainfall throughout April, which resulted in significant flooding in downtown Grand Rapids, as well as water flowing in from Lake Superior, has helped raise Lake Michigan, Steinman said.

"If we have another winter where we don't get much ice cover, we are going to be right back where we started last year," he said. "That's a place where nobody wants to be."

As MiBiz previously reported, low levels in Lake Michigan make navigating West Michigan harbors difficult for some larger cargo vessels. The shallower the port, the less a ship can load over fears of running aground. For every inch the water level drops, a freighter has to decrease its cargo by 50-270 tons, industry sources said. This leads to companies paying for space they are unable to use on ships.

Although seasonal dredging provides a short-term fix for the shallow harbors, the practice is expensive, and funding for dredging has become a political issue in recent years.

"Assuming that climate-related impacts are going to continue — and there's no reason to believe they won't — I think we need to change our mindset so that rather than reacting to these issues every time, we need to start thinking about how we can be adaptive to these issues," Steinman told MiBiz.

"When we start looking at our infrastructure, we need to start to thinking about how we can be more nimble. … (We need to start) thinking about how we can translate these challenges into opportunities."

Grand Rapids is working on water sustainability

The city of Grand Rapids embraced climate adaptation as part of the five-year sustainability plan it passed in 2010. Each year, the city tracks, measures and reports data related to progress on the plan.

Specific to water resources, the city has reduced its consumption of water, which it draws from Lake Michigan, and has focused on removing pollution from combined sewer overflows into the Grand River, a Lake Michigan tributary.

It's also looking at water conservation measures, such as reducing losses in the city's water system, updating plumbing and reusing gray water for irrigation, said Haris Alibasic, director of the city's office of energy and sustainability.

Grand Rapids' current municipal water intake system off Grand Haven Township is safe, even given the historical fluctuations in water level, he said.

Specific to fluctuating Great Lakes water levels, Alibasic said it's an issue that likely won't affect the city in the short term. But the municipality can't afford to ignore the trends.

"We're looking at something 40-50 years down the road, and it will not necessarily impact all of the Great Lakes ecosystem," he said. "But that's not to say we haven't already started taking adaptation and mitigation measures."

Grand Rapids is a member of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, which challenged members to reduce water consumption a total of 15 percent by 2014. As of last year, Grand Rapids has slashed its annual consumption by 16.6 percent or almost 2.25 billion gallons of water since 2000.

The city also invested $300 million to separate sanitary sewers and storm sewers, resulting in a 99.97 percent reduction in combined sewer overflows to date, Alibasic said.

The infrastructure piece of climate mitigation "is really something that governments — national, state and local — have to focus on," he said.

Steinman said that under an early-stage initiative at the state level, headed by the Office of the Great Lakes within the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, a number of water experts from different fields have submitted white papers he hopes will result in a long-term strategy to address water-related issues in the state. Steinman is among the experts involved.

"Ultimately, we want this to translate into policy because that is how it will make a long-lasting impact," he said. "Every environmental issue we face boils down to an economic issue. We need to get the economics right when we start figuring out what the solutions are to these environmental challenges. …

"As this gets more definition — and hopefully it will, whether it's on the port side or the water strategy side for the state — then you can start drilling down to specifics, but we're just not there yet."

In the meantime, Grand Rapids continues to execute its sustainability plan and focus its climate adaptation strategy on the resiliency of the city's infrastructure, Alibasic said.

"Our systemwide approach takes into consideration all the varying elements, and climate change adds an unpredictability level," he said. "To be resilient, we need to take into consideration the existing conditions and external factors, including the financials."

Crain’s Detroit Business


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.

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 to 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.

1905: The schooner TASMANIA became waterlogged while under tow of the steamer BULGARIA and sank in the Pelee Passage

1911: ARUNDELL had been laid up at Douglas, MI, for about 2 weeks when fire broke out, destroying the iron hulled passenger and freight vessel.

1917: ABYSSINIA had been under tow of the MARUBA when both ships stranded at Tecumseh Shoal in heavy seas. The grain-laden vessels had been following the north shore due to high winds when they struck bottom. The barge began leaking and was pounded apart but there was no loss of life but the steamer was refloated.

1933: The wooden steam barge MANISTIQUE caught fire on Lake Huron and the remains either sank or was scuttled.

1973: The AGIOS ANTONIOS first visited the Seaway in 1972 and, as a) SILVERWEIR, had come inland beginning in 1964. The ship had loaded iron ore at Coondapoor, on the southwest coast of India, and went aground leaving for Constanza, Romania. The vessel was abandoned as a total loss.

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


Port Reports -  October 17

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded Tuesday at the Lafarge stone dock.


Lake Metroparks gets grant for observation tower at Lake Erie Bluffs

10/17 - Cleveland, Ohio – Lake Metroparks administrative offices were abuzz with excitement Monday as they announced the award of a $100,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation for construction of an observation tower at the agency’s newest park — Lake Erie Bluffs in Perry Township.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Cleveland Foundation, the addition of this 50-foot-high coastal observation tower will serve as a cornerstone of this amazing 600-acre Lake Erie Bluffs Park,” said Paul Palagyi, Lake Metroparks executive director, in a news release.

“This tower will give visitors an impressive panoramic view of Lake Erie, the shoreline and the landscape of central Lake County.” The tower will comprise multiple viewing platforms along a staircase that will culminate in a deck featuring 360-degree views, according to a news release.

“The height and location of the tower will provide visitors with a unique view of the lake and the surrounding woods, fields and wetlands along with the associated wide range of wildlife — particularly the large number of bald eagles that are regularly seen at the park,” Palagyi said. “The south shore of Lake Erie is known worldwide as an important corridor for bird migration.”

Construction is scheduled for spring. Total cost of the project is estimated at $200,000 to $250,000. The balance is expected to come from the Metroparks’ 2014 capital improvement budget.

The News-Herald


New wind turbines coming to Lake Huron

10/17 - Huron County, Mich. – The number of wind energy turbines in Huron County next summer is set to more than double in size from the 2012 totals, Jeff Smith, director of the Huron County Building and Zoning Office said Friday.

“By sometime next year, we should have 328 wind turbines in Huron County because of what has been approved and what is under construction,” Smith said. “Ninety-eight turbines are currently under construction.”

At the end of the year in 2012 there were 160 wind turbines in Huron County.

Smith said of the new wind parks, Pheasant Run Wind I and II, will contribute the most turbines to the area with 88 new units in production. The project is located south and west of the Village of Pigeon and includes Windsor, Oliver, Brookfield, Fairhaven and Sebewaing townships. The two sites are being completed for use by DTE Energy.

Smith said DTE Energy and Consumers Energy are on track to reach their goal of 10 percent renewable energy by 2015. Because of wind power, both companies should be in compliance with the Michigan Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy Act that was signed into law in 2008 by then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The act requires Michigan electric providers to generate at least 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015.

Wind parks in Huron County should bring in an average of 542.4 megawatts of energy production a year, according to Smith. The new parks mean that 10 of Michigan’s 21 wind farms will be located in Huron County, according to a map at The region has been designated as Michigan’s primary wind energy zone.

Wind power is the largest source of renewable energy in Michigan, but the Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy Act also allows that the 10 percent energy rate can to be reached other ways, such as solar energy, hydroelectric power, geothermal energy and biomass.

Despite the influx of new turbines in Michigan’s Thumb, the state still is behind many others in the percentage of power generated from wind turbines. According to, South Dakota and Kansas receive 20 percent of their energy production from wind power.

In terms of power generated, Texas leads the way for most energy created by wind farms. According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state should produce 11,255 megawatts of wind energy in 2013.

Michigan produced more than 980 megawatts in 2012, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s annual market report.

“We’re behind a lot of states on wind production in the country,” Smith said. “But we’re on track to meet the standards put in place by the federal government.”

Smith said residents of Huron County first met wind turbines in the area with some skepticism, but the trend in the area seems to be moving forward for renewable energy.

“The first projects came through with about a 60 percent vote,” Smith said. “The latest projects that have been approved tend to be at participation levels with landowners around 85 to 90 percent. That’s where the turbines are located.”

Smith said he is neither for nor against wind development.

“But when you have 80 to 90 percent of people wanting wind energy, we’re happy to work with them on the zoning ordinance,” he added.

Huron Daily Tribune


Goderich event Nov. 8-10 marks Great Storm of 1913 centennial

10/17 - Goderich, Ont. – On November 8, 9 and 10, Goderich, Ont., will remember and honor the sailors and ships lost 100 years ago in the Great Storm of 1913.

This three-day tempest wrought havoc, and brought a legacy of death and destruction to the shores of the upper Great Lakes, in particular Lake Huron. It was an event that affected the lives of hundreds of families and friends in communities around the lakes.

Goderich’s commemorative efforts – organized by a small group of dedicated volunteers – will acknowledge the lives and ships lost in the disaster, in which 19 ships were either total or constructive losses and over 270 lives were lost in one overnight “white hurricane.” Most of the losses occurred on Lake Huron, and many of the bodies and much of the wreckage came ashore in the Goderich area.

One of those vessels, the Wexford, was lost just shy of Goderich harbor, and it is her likeness that appears on many of the remembrance’s literature.

Other steamers lost in the tempest included sisterships Argus and Hydrus, the almost new James Carruthers, the Charles S. Price, Henry B. Smith, Leafield, Regina, Isaac M. Scott and John A. McGean.

Activities at the remembrance will include a exhibition combining Heritage & Education Displays with a broad Marine Trade Show & Job Fair Exhibition. Great Lakes balladeer Lee Murdock and singer-songwriter David MacAdam will perform and a play, “The Great Storm on 1913” will also commemorate the event. A permanent memorial sculpture will also be unveiled.


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 crewmembers 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. Scrapped in 2009 at Aliaga, Turkey.

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.

1923: The bulk carrier LUZON went aground in Lake Superior, northeast of Passage Island, due to poor visibility from the dense smoke of local forest fires. The vessel sustained serious bow damage but, fortunately, the bulkhead held. It was enroute from Fort William to Buffalo with grain at the time. The ship returned to service as b) JOHN ANDERSON in 1924 and was last known as G.G. POST.

1936: SAND MERCHANT sank in Lake Erie about 13.5 miles off Cleveland with the loss of 19 lives. The ship began taking on water faster than it could be pumped out and only 7 sailors survived.

1951: GEORGE F. RAND and HARVEY H. BROWN collided just below the Huron Cut at Port Huron and the former was beached with a starboard list. After being refloated, this vessel unloaded its cargo of silica sand at Port Huron and then went to Toledo for repairs. The latter later sailed as PARKER EVANS and MARLHILL.

1980: The Canadian tanker GULF CANADA and MEGALOHARI II collided at Montreal with minor damage. The former had been built at Collingwood as a) B.A. PEERLESS in 1952 and was scrapped at Alang, India, as d) COASTAL I in 1990. The latter had begun Seaway trading in 1965 and was scrapped at Alang as b) AGIOS CONSTANTINOS in 1985.

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


Port Reports -  October 16

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
After six days of inactivity on the Saginaw River, two vessels called on docks along her banks Tuesday evening. Alpena was the first to arrive, calling on the Lafarge Cement Dock in Essexville to unload. She was followed a short time later by the tug Undaunted and her barge, Pere Marquette 41, which called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. Both Alpena and Undaunted/PM 41 were expected to be outbound on Wednesday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The saltwater vessel Flevogracht was tied up in Lackawanna Tuesday to load air compressor components from Cobey Manufacturing at the Gateway Metroport Main Dock.


Steel production rises by 16,000 tons in Great Lakes states

10/16 - Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region rose to 692,000 tons in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Production rose by about 16,000 tons, or about 2.3 percent from the week prior, marking the second straight week the volume increased. Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Indiana and the Chicago area. Production in the Southern District was estimated at 665,000 tons, down from 678 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.85 million tons, down from 1.87 million tons a week prior. Steelmakers made about 1.4 percent less steel last week than they did over the same period last year.

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 77.1 percent last week, which is down from 78.2 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 68 percent at the same time last year.

So far this year, domestic steel producers have had a capacity utilization rate of 77.2 percent, which is up from 76.1 percent during the same period in 2012.

Domestic mills have produced an estimated 75.8 million tons of steel this year, down 2.8 percent from the same period last year. The mills had made about 78 million tons of steel by Oct. 12, 2012.

Northwest Indiana Times


American Steamship, Shedd Aquarium work to protect Great Lakes

10/16 - Chicago, Ill. – American Steamship Company and Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium are proud to share their common goal of protecting the Great Lakes – and now they’re taking that message to communities along the shores. One of ASCs 1,000-foot vessels, the Indiana Harbor, is displaying each organization’s logo along with the slogan Working Together to Keep the Lakes Great. The vessel travels throughout the Great Lakes region including ports in western Lake Superior, southern Lake Michigan, Detroit and Cleveland.

ASC is actively involved in researching ways to stop the spread of non-native aquatic species on the Great Lakes. In an effort to understand and address the issue, ASC has been exploring methods for treating ballast water on ships that operate exclusively on the fresh water of the Great Lakes. Working with Lake Superiors Isle Royale National Park, the United States Geological Survey, the Northeast Midwest Institutes Great Ships Initiative and other support agencies, full-scale trials have been conducted aboard the Indiana Harbor over the past three years.

Shedd is committed to protecting the Great Lakes by conducting science and research through collaborative efforts with other Great Lakes organizations, facilitating work between Great Lakes leaders that develop solutions for tomorrows conservation challenges, and offering immersive learning programs and outreach for all ages. Shedd focuses on four key Great Lakes issues, seeking to build awareness of ecological separation, contribute to solution-oriented invasive species research, accelerate habitat restoration, and protect and promote native wildlife.


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 crewmembers 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.

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 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.

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.

1880: ALPENA, a wooden sidewheel passenger steamer, was lost in Lake Michigan in a violent storm. All 67 on board perished.

1928: PARKS FOSTER ran aground, due to fog, in Lake Huron near Alpena. The ship was lightered, pumped out and refloated. While declared a total loss, the vessel was rebuilt as b) SUPERIOR and eventually dismantled at Port Weller in 1961.

1940: TREVISA was torpedoed and sunk by U-124 while 600 miles off the coast of Ireland. The ship had become a straggler from convoy SC-7 that had been attacked over a period of 3 nights. Seven lives were lost when TREVISA was hit in the engineroom by a single torpedo.

1968: The NORMAN P. CLEMENT was at Collingwood for examination of the grounding damage of earlier in the month when an onboard explosion on this date injured 11. The hull was contaminated with chemicals and declared a total loss.

1969: FREDEN V. came to the Great Lakes in 1958 and returned through the Seaway in 1959. The small tanker was heavily damaged as c) YARIMCA in an engine room fire at Sinop, Turkey, but that was repaired in 1972 and the ship survived until scrapping at Aliaga, Turkey, as f) ORTAC in 2004.

1971: The Cypriot freighter UNION came through the Seaway in 1971 after prior visits as c) MICA beginning in 1965. Fire broke out in the engine room and the ship was abandoned 130 miles off Freetown, Sierra Leone, on October 10, 1971. The vessel sank on October 16 and had been enroute from Gdynia, Poland, to Chittagong, Bangladesh.

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


Crowd welcomes SS Badger home for winter

10/15 - Ludington, Mich. – Forty minutes late was worth the wait Sunday evening as dozens of people lined the walkway along the Ludington channel to watch the SS Badger dock for the final time of the 2013 sailing season. It's become a tradition of late to wrap up the sailing year just prior to Columbus Day, Monday.

The carferry will be sailing in the future now that the consent decree between Lake Michigan Carferry and the Environmental Protection has been signed and accepted by U.S. Western Michigan District Court Judge Janet T. Neff. It allows LMC until the start of the 2015 sailing season to create a means to store ash on board from the coal burned by the Badger to power its steam engines. Currently the carferry discharges the ash into Lake Michigan, as it was designed to do.

Ludington Daily News


Nice weather for Lighthouse festival

10/15 - Alpena, Mich. – Great weather and lots of activities brought in lots of visitors to this year's Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival.

The 18th annual festival wrapped up Sunday after four days of celebrating and working to preserve these iconic maritime structures. Local lighthouses had tours, vendors sold food and others had pictures of ships and lights from all around the Great Lakes. There were even helicopter rides to enjoy the fall colors, or to fly over some of the more inaccessible lighthouses in the area.

The Mina family stopped by a table where Estella Frantz talked about Middle Island Lighthouse. Parents Alvin and Eleanor brought Sophia and Gabe to see what the festival was all about.

Eleanor said she and her and family moved to the area a few years ago after coming from the Philippines, so they wanted to learn more about the area, including its lighthouses. They've been to a few, including both Old and New Presque Isle lighthouses and Forty Mile Point, as well as passing Round Island Lighthouse on their way to Mackinac Island.

"Here in America, you have all these programs going on to protect lighthouses, and preserve and restore them," she said. "We'd really like to get involved."

There were ample opportunities. While some of the tables in the APlex had things to sell, others had information about lighthouse preservation groups both near and far. Plus, the festival itself raises money for preservation efforts through various means.

One repeat visitor and vendor was Tim Harrison, Lighthouse Digest editor. His magazine has sponsored the festival from the very beginning, and he's seen it grow immensely over the years. Its numbers took a hit, as did many festivals, during the economic downturn of the 2000s. Judging by his sales Friday and Saturday, this year's attendance was very good.

The festival is well-known among lighthouse fans, and while they do their share to help these historic structures, the general public needs to be drawn in as well, Harrison said. They were built to save mariners as they helped grow the nation to what it is today, and now it's time to save them and the memories of those who worked in them.

"I always tell people, you can learn more about our county's early history by studying lighthouses than any other single source," he said.

Festival organizer Melanie Kirn echoed Harrison's positive assessment of this year's turnout. The warm, sunny weather helped, as did having more than 20 exhibitors from across the country.

Along with the weather, the festival also had help from The Sanctuary Inn, which handled festival dinners, APlex staff and festival volunteers, Kirn said.

Next year's is set to be even better, with a bigger family day and a trip on a Great Lakes freighter as an auction item, festival President Joyce Brilinski said.

The Alpena News


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. bowthruster 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, 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 JOHN T. HUTCHINSON at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, by Li Chong Steel & Iron Works Co. Ltd.

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

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.

SCOTT MISENER of 1954 struck bottom on October 15, 1973, near Whaleback Shoal on the St. Lawrence River reportedly damaging 60 of her bottom plates. She proceeded to the Port Arthur shipyard for drydocking 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.

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 was 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 that 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.

1916: The wooden bulk freighter L. EDWARD HINES was sold to Nicaraguan owners and left the Great Lakes in 1916. The ship had loaded coal in New Orleans for Venezuela for its maiden voyage on this date in 1916 but got caught in a hurricane and sank with the loss of 17 lives while 45 miles east of Belize, British Honduras.

1971: SINGAPORE TRADER was upbound with general cargo from Japan to Detroit, on its first trip to the Great Lakes, when it ran aground in the Thousand Islands. The vessel was released on November 29 and towed back to Montreal on December 16. The ship was arrested there and offered for sale, by court order. The successful bidder for the 27-year-old vessel was a shipbreaker at Santander, Spain, and the ship arrived there for dismantling on June 22, 1972.

1977: The three-year old Panamanian bulk carrier GOLDEN STAR damaged its rudder when it struck the opposite bank while backing from the dock at Huron, Ohio. The vessel, bound for the United Kingdom, needed four tugs when it was towed out of the Seaway for repairs at Sorel, QC. The vessel was last noted as c) FUN JIN under the flag of Panama in 1993.

1978: The West German freighter FRANCISCA SARTORI made 21 trips through the Seaway from 1959 through 1967. It was lying at Piraeus, Greece, as f) GIOTA S. when the engine room flooded on this date in 1978. The ship departed for Chalkis on October 24, 1979, but further leaks developed and the vessel had to be beached at Laurium, Greece.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Port Reports -  October 14

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger arrived Sunday evening with cement for the St. Mary's terminal in Ferrysburg.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday two vessels called at Lafarge. The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula unloaded at Lafarge and the Alpena came in to load cement. The G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived on Friday to load under the silos. Early Sunday morning the Cuyahoga was unloading salt from Goderich, Ont. at the Alpena Oil Dock.


Cleaner, greener Cuyahoga River has a new problem: Popularity

10/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – The sun beamed down upon the muddy brown waters of the Cuyahoga River as the Holiday, a venerable tour boat, rounded a bend carrying downtown office workers on an autumn clambake.

The 65-foot craft honked a greeting to a passing sailboat as its wake splashed water into a pair of bright, slender shells -- dousing rowers fresh out of class at nearby St. Ignatius High School.

The rowers, the captains and the beer-sipping tourists -- along with three men fishing from shore -- all stole glances at the heavyweight on the scene. A 700-foot freighter was spilling its load onto one of the ore piles that rise like pebbly mountains along the hard-working river.

There was room enough -- just enough -- for everyone.

"It's what we call the messy vitality of the shipping channel," Jim White observed from the pilothouse of Flotsam, a debris-clearing workboat for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. "Now, how do we make sure it works for everyone?"

That's a question being asked more pointedly since last month, when a pair of Canadian-flagged freighters blocked the river during a well-publicized, multi-state regatta, drawing howls from the rowing community.

The U.S. Coast Guard judged the blockade an accident, the result of bad luck and a rookie captain. But there's more than a marred regatta churning the waters in the flatlands of Cleveland.

Since the demise of the Flats as a nightlife nexus a decade ago, tug boats, barges and freighters have had the crooked river largely to themselves as they ply a six-mile channel from Lake Erie to the steel works of ArcelorMittal.

Now, recreational users are re-emerging, leading a trend that's expected to accelerate as new parks, restaurants and marinas open up on both banks.

The rowers are the most obvious addition. What was once a scattering of sculls has become a fleet of hundreds as area high school, college and adult teams practice and compete on the winding river.

Meanwhile, more motor and sail boats are venturing upstream, where armored banks now give way in places to innovative fish playgrounds, some with landscaped shores and view piers, with traces of the Towpath Trail curving past.

"One of the goals was to provide more public access to the river," said White, who helped design the pocket habitats as director of sustainable infrastructure for the port.

Kayaks have joined the carnival, spilling out of an emerging Metropark next door to the huge boathouse of the Cleveland Rowing Foundation.

On the horizon is the $500 million Flats East Bank development, which is expected to bring nightlife, boaters and jet skiers back to the mouth of the river and maybe beckon more upstream.

The Cuyahoga, once renowned for catching fire, has benefited greatly from the environmental movement it ignited. A cleaner, greener river is becoming a place to be. And that's causing some friction among the people who work there and the people who play there.

"The tension, if it grew any more, it would explode," said Jane Goodman, executive director of the Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization, an environmental advocacy group working to restore the river and its habitats.

Goodman thinks the river valley could be made even more accessible by giving the public access to roads and drawbridges domineered by heavy trucks.

"There are ways to share these resources, the bridges and the roads, just like there are ways to share the river," she said.

Jim Cox grows anxious to hear such talk. He represents the industrial players in the valley, from cement makers to salt miners, as director of the Flats Industry Association.

"This is an industrial river, and if recreation wants to share it, they have to understand the risks," Cox said. "It's not the Olentangy in Columbus. It's a federal navigation channel. And it's narrow. And it's winding"

And it's busy.

Wednesday afternoon presented a glimpse of what's routine and what's to come. Four lake freighters, each about the size of the Terminal Tower turned on its side, were unloading bulk cargo after threading the channel.

After school let out, rowing teams swarmed the docks of Rivergate Park. Soon, their artful shells flitted among the freighters and the pleasure boaters.

Despite the hectic scene, a practiced choreography was at work. Marine channel 16 crackled with communication between the motley crafts. Not long after a freighter radioed for a tug, Capt. Wayne Bratton announced the Holiday was disembarking "from beautiful Collision Bend" and the Shaker Heights High School crew team alerted river traffic to its location in a blind turn.

Protocols have emerged to guide the crew teams, which wait out passing freighters at safety zones and know to look out for bow thrusters that can flip a shell like a leaf. The rules of navigation apply to all crafts, and everyone knows the big ships have the right of way.

"Actually, I think it's working pretty well," said Lt. Commander Jerrel Russell. As commanding officer of the Coast Guard's Cleveland Marine Safety Unit, he's the nearest person to a referee on the river. Most of the shipping channels in America's coastal cities are busy, Russell said. The Cuyahoga is narrower than most, closing to 113 feet at one point, but the people navigating the river regularly know what they're doing. It's newcomers he worries about.

"There's certainly safety and security issues we need to look for, but actually it's being shared pretty well right now," Russell said.

Alas, even the best-laid plans go awry.

Patrick Connor was at the river by 5 a.m. Sept. 21st to set up for the rowing community's big event, the annual Head of the Cuyahoga.

Connor, coach of the St. Ignatius crew team and the regatta chairman, knew that some 2,000 rowers were in town for the races. The Coast Guard had ordered the river closed to boat traffic. Bad weather had cleared.

He heard about the disaster before he went and saw for himself. A pair of freighters had slipped in the night before and inexplicably parked on opposite banks, parallel to one anther, virtually blocking the middle of the race course.

Anxious calls to the Coast Guard and to the tugboat docks revealed the worst. The freighters were moored, much of the crew was away, and the ships could not get moving anytime soon.

"That's when we knew we were in deep trouble," Connor said.

Some races had to be drastically shortened and many crew teams left disappointed.

After an informal inquiry, the Coast Guard determined a captain new to his role and delayed by weather had mistakenly moored in the wrong place, near the I-90 bridge instead of the I-490 bridge farther south.

He was not found to be in violation of any navigation laws or the decree that closed the river, Russell said, adding "Really, the stars just lined up wrong."

Connor agrees the blockade, while devastating, was not purposeful.

"About four or five things came together to cause this, but it highlighted the tension on the river," he said. "It also gives us an opportunity to address some of these issues."

Last year's regatta was marred as well, when another freighter arrived unexpectedly and bulled its way up river, delaying the race.

Connor wants the Coast Guard to close the river for a longer time span around the regatta and ask businesses to "voluntarily not schedule deliveries" during boat races.

That's a precedent that makes some uneasy.

Glen Nekvasil, whose Lake Carriers' Association represents U.S.-flagged vessels on the Great Lakes, has a competing idea. He wants a "transit window" that allows ships to pass through races on their appointed rounds.

He argues the freighters operate at a cost of $900 to $1,800 an hour, and have deliveries to make and schedules to keep.

"We realize the Great Lakes are a shared waterway. We're not trying to lord over everybody," Nekvasil said. "But we have a product to deliver. We're bringing iron ore that keeps the steel mill going."

Nekvasil, like Cox, is vexed by the idea of kayaks. Jet skis give him nightmares.

"The Cuyahoga River is a federal navigation channel," he declared.

With the new interests has emerged a new group, Flats Forward, which aims to design a collective vision for the river valley that's acceptable to all. Mark Lammon, the group's director, expects that to take awhile.

"It's probably the most diverse neighborhood in Cleveland, in terms of land use," Lammon said. "I think there's plenty of space down there for everyone. It's just a question of doing it safely and doing it fairly."

Meanwhile, the rowers, the park lovers, the shippers and the industrialists need a forum to air concerns, and they have one. Their representatives gather quarterly at meetings of the Coast Guard's Cuyahoga River Safety Task Force.

The next meeting, in November, figures to be animated. In fact, the agenda will likely be busy for months and years to come.

That's not all bad, Patrick Connor observed.

He was in college in the mid-1990s, when the Flats riverfront roared as one of the top tourist attractions in Ohio, and the Coast Guard posted restrictions on rowers for their safety. No shells were allowed past the Center Street swing bridge after 5 p.m. on Fridays.

"We liked that," Connor said. "If we have to put it back in place, that might be a sign that Cleveland has come back."

The Plain Dealer


Toronto council votes to seize Captain John's ship

10/14 - Toronto, Ont. – The odyssey of Captain John’s restaurant drifted a bit further toward a conclusion on Friday. City council voted to begin the process of seizing the ship owned by John Letnik and moored at the foot of Yonge St. But the fight between Letnik and his many opponents may well end up in court: under maritime law, a ship can only be seized for arrears and sold if there is a court order.

“It’s maybe the beginning of the battle,” Letnik said at city hall after the vote. He said he will “definitely” mount a legal challenge.

Letnik owes about $1 million in taxes and fees. His 55-year-old ship, the Jadran, once housed a popular restaurant, but it is now a relic: the city turned off the water and shut down the restaurant in 2012.

The city has taken a hard line with Letnik in recent years, but councillors Doug Ford and Joe Mihevc praised him Friday as a contributor and immigrant success story. Council passed a motion to honour Captain John’s with a plaque.

“I appreciate that they recognized me as a contributor in the early days on the waterfront,” Letnik said.

Mihevc, who worked on the boat upon its arrival in 1975, as a university student making $4.50 per hour, voted against the proposed seizure “in solidarity” with Letnik. He said he knew the proposal would pass anyway.

“I’m filled with sadness about it,” Mihevc said. “But at the end of the day the taxman gets his pound of flesh, and that’s what we’re seeing here today.”

The complex negotiations with Letnik have involved the Toronto Port Authority and Waterfront Toronto. Letnik, who owns an apartment building in Scarborough, says he still sleeps on board many nights

. “We’ll see what happens,” he said Friday. “But I’m not leaving the ship yet.”

Toronto Star


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 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 were the captain, his wife and three children. A few crewmembers 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 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 towline 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.

1895: The wooden steamer AFRICA struck a reef near Cove Island enroute to Georgian Bay, broke up and sank with the loss of all 13 crew.

1922: ARROW, a steel sidewheeler, partially burned at the dock in Put-in-Bay.

1954: The Dutch freighter PRINS WILLEM V. sank off Milwaukee after a collision with the barge SINCLAIR XII pushed by the SINCLAIR CHICAGO. All 30 sailors on board were rescued but the overseas vessel was never salvaged. It was replaced in 1956 by another PRINS WILLEM V.

1966: The STONEFAX and ARTHUR STOVE collided in the Welland Canal between Allanburg and Port Robinson. The former, a member of the Halco fleet, sank with its cargo of potash and remained on the bottom until November 25. The latter subsequently visited the Seaway as b) TIARET and was scrapped at Nantong, China, as c) CLARET in 1984-1985.

1983: The British freighter HOUSTON CITY visited the Great Lakes in 1966. It ran aground at Mayotte Island, part of the Comoros, while enroute from the Far East to South Africa as c) ALPAC AFRICA. The ship was stuck until October 22 and scrapped at Shanghai, China, in 1984.

1985: FURIA was trapped in Lock 7 when a section of the lock wall collapsed. The Welland Canal was closed until November 7. The vessel arrived at Shanghai, China, for scrapping as b) YRIA on November 1, 2001, after it made a final trip inland as such in 2000.

1987: GEORGE A. SLOAN sustained major bottom damage going aground in the Amherstburg Channel and was repaired at Toledo. The ship is still sailing as c) MISSISSAGI.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore Saturday afternoon into the evening at the Upper Harbor.

Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Cedarville, Cason J. Callaway was expected to arrive in the early evening on Saturday to load. Following the Callaway will be the Kaye E. Barker on Sunday morning. Wilfred Sykes is due on Monday in the mid-afternoon. At Port Inland, the Sykes loaded on Saturday and was due to depart during the day. Kaye E. Barker is expected to arrive at Port Inland on Sunday at about noon. Following the Barker will be the tug Undaunted & barge Pere Marquette 41, due on Monday during the early afternoon. Great Lakes Trader is also due in Monday during the early afternoon as well.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Sam Laud loaded a limestone cargo at the South Dock and was expected to depart around 8 a.m. on Saturday. Also loading at Calcite on Saturday in the morning was Lakes Contender at the North Dock. There are three vessels scheduled on Sunday, with the Philip R. Clarke due in first in the early morning for the South Dock. James L. Kuber is also due in the early evening on Sunday for the North Dock and late in the evening Great Republic is due also for the North Dock. On Monday, the American Mariner is scheduled for the South Dock in the early afternoon.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
There were no vessels scheduled to load for Saturday. Due on Sunday is the Lewis J. Kuber in the morning. For Monday, two vessels are scheduled in the evening – the Joseph H. Thompson and the Manistee. On Tuesday, Pathfinder is scheduled for an evening arrival. There are no vessels scheduled for Wednesday to load.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
American Mariner is expected to arrive at the Torco Dock to unload a cargo of iron ore pellets early on Sunday. Following the American Mariner will be the Baie Comeau, due on Monday (Columbus Day) in the morning. Following Baie Comeau will be Algosoo on Thursday, October 17 during the early afternoon. Hon. James L. Oberstar is due at the Torco Dock Friday, October 18 in the morning. CSL Niagara and American Mariner are both due at the Torco Dock on Sunday, October 20 in the evening. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Vessels scheduled to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock include Ashtabula on Sunday in the late evening, followed by the James L. Kuber on Monday in the early afternoon. Saginaw is due to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Thursday, October 17 in the early morning, followed by the James L. Kuber on Saturday, October 19. John B. Aird rounds out the CSX Coal Dock schedule with an arrival on Sunday, October 20 in the mid-afternoon. Both Cedarglen and the salty Federal Satsuki arrived in Toledo in the past couple of days to load grain cargoes. Manitowoc was also in port on Saturday.

Marblehead and Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded Saturday at the Lafarge stone dock at Marblehead. At the NS coal dock in Sandusky, Atlantic Erie was loading Saturday night.


‘Storm of 1913’ Centennial Dinner to include silent auction of Regina artifacts

10/13 - Detroit, Mich. – The Great Lakes Maritime Institute Annual Dinner commemorates the tragic ‘Storm of 1913’, bringing together four elements to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this event. The storm enveloped the Great Lakes region between November 8 to 11, 1913 and was the most destructive in recorded navigation history. Over 40 freighter and hundreds of smaller boats were total losses. The number of lost crewmembers was about 275.

The GLMI Centennial Dinner is on Sunday October 27 at 2 p.m. at the Blossom Health Inn, 24800 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores. Blossom Heath was constructed in 1911 on the shore of Lake St. Clair. The venue is appropriate since the windows afforded a view of the passing traffic in the freighter channel on Lake St. Clair a century ago.

Maritime artist Robert McGreevy will recount the tragic voyage of the steamer Howard M. Hanna Jr. from Lorain, Ohio, loaded with coal. The hatch covers were battened down, covered with tarpaulins and secured with hatch bars, and the vessel passed into Lake Huron on November 9. As the wind and waves increased the vessel was thrown on the reef near the Port Austin light. In addition to this presentation, Mr. McGreevy will also have a new piece of artwork that depicts the Howard M. Hanna Jr. on the Great Lakes.

The commercial diver Wayne Brusate has a most unusual presentation chronicling the last voyage of the Canadian steamer Regina, which passed from Sarnia, Ontario. out into Lake Huron. The vessel was carrying mixed merchandise and after battling the storm her crew abandoned ship near Port Sanilac. It was Brusate who reported the discovery of the Regina on July 1, 1986, and worked with a Michigan Department of Natural resources permit to recover a number of artifacts from the wreck site.

A number of Regina artifacts were donated to the Great Lakes Maritime Institute, including full bottles of Whyte & McKay scotch and champagne. A special silent auction of Regina artifacts will be held at this dinner, providing guests an opportunity to own a part of Great Lakes maritime history from the ‘Storm of 1913’.

The full-course dinner will be served at the cost of $40 per person. Tickets can be obtained through or by calling 586-777-8300. In order to accommodate patrons, an October 20 dinner reservation deadline is necessary. Please note that in order to bid on the silent auction of steamer Regina artifacts a dinner reservation is necessary. For additional information, contact


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, and now sailing as c.) KAMINISTIQUA for Lower Lakes Towing.

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. 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-masted 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.

1902: The wooden steamer C. B. LOCKWOOD was swamped in a storm and sank on Lake Erie with the loss of 10 lives.

1927: The ONTARIO, once the largest carferry on the Detroit River, was later reduced to a barge and it foundered on Lake Superior, near Outer Island, while carrying 1100 tons of pulpwood. It had been under tow of the tug BUTTERFIELD and all on board were saved.

1973: SCOTT MISENER damaged 60 bottom plates when it hit bottom near Whaleback Shoal in the St. Lawrence.

1976: The former T2 tanker and now bulk carrier SYLVIA L. OSSA, remembered on the Great Lakes as the MARATHONIAN that was in a head-on collision with ROLWI in Lake Michigan, disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle with the loss of all 37 members of the crew.

1990: ERNA WITT first visited the Great Lakes in 1958 and returned through the Seaway in 1962. The vessel sank off Port Sudan as k) SHIBA after a collision with the ALTAAWIN ALARABI while inbound from Aqaba, Jordan. Three members of the crew were lost.

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


Port Reports -  October 12

Marblehead and Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Calumet continued loading at the Lafarge Marblehead stone dock as the sun set over windswept Lake Erie Friday night. A few miles away, in Sandusky Bay, the Michipicoten was loading at the NS coal dock. Earlier Friday, Manistee completed loading at the dock and sailed upbound.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
The saltie Bluewing departed Friday evening assisted by the tug Omni Richelieu.The handysize bulker carried sugar in holds one to five with hold number six empty and in ballast. This eliminates the cost of hiring two tugs and line handlers required to turn the bulker around in order to unload only one hold. The same procedure was used with the previous handysize bulker, Blacky.


Updates -  October 12

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Flevogracht, Jan S, and Sloman Hermes.


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 It was scrapped in 2011.

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.

1912: MARENGO, a wooden schooner under tow of the LLOYD S. PORTER, broke loose in a storm, came ashore west of Port Colborne and was pounded to pieces by the waves. The anchor was salvaged and now sits on the lawn of Port Colborne High School.

1912: S.K. MARTIN began leaking in heavy weather and sank in Lake Erie off Harbor Creek, NY. The coal laden wooden steamer ran for shore but the effort fell short. The crew took to the lifeboat and were saved. The ship went down bow first and rested on the bottom in 56 feet of water.

1918: The wooden tug ELLA G. STONE was destroyed by a brush fire that swept through the town of Cloquet, MN. Several scows, tugs and a dredge as well as over 400 lives were lost.

1941: ENARE, a Great Lakes visitor in 1932-1933, sustained heavy damage in an air attack in the North Sea as h) GLYNN. The ship was subsequently sunk by a convoy escort as a hazard to navigation. It had also been a Great Lakes trader as f) FLAKS in 1933 and 1934.

1991: ZIEMIA GNIEZNIENSKA hit the wall at Lock 7 and dislodged a chunk of concrete. The Welland Canal was closed for three days.

2002: STELLANOVA and CANADIAN PROSPECTOR were in a head-on collision on the Seaway near Cote St. Catherine and both ships sustained considerable damage. The former was repaired at Les Mechins and the latter at Port Weller Dry Docks.

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


Badger to operate while making modifications

10/11 - Ludington, Mich. – Federal District Court Judge Janet T. Neff has signed the consent decree needed to allow the SS Badger to continue to operate as it makes modifications, Lake Michigan Carferry announced late Thursday.

The consent decree was filed with the U.S. Department of Justice as an agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Lake Michigan Carferry over coal ash discharged into Lake Michigan as part of the coal-fired ship's operations.

When the EPA began permitting what ships could discharge in 2008, it did not allow for coal ash. Thus began the legal battle to keep the carferry operating.

LMC studied its alternatives to using coal but found none feasible. Now the carferry and the EPA have an agreement to have the carferry create storage onboard for the ash created while crossing the lake. It will be disposed of once the ship is in port, but it will still take some time for the modifications to be made to the SS Badger.

In the meantime, the consent decree allows the Badger to operate, discharging a specific allowed amount of coal ash during the season, giving LMC a year to make the modifications.

“This consent decree offers the fastest and most certain path available to EPA to stop the discharge of coal ash from the Badger into Lake Michigan,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman when the proposed decree was announced early this year. “The enforcement agreement reduces the discharge of coal ash more quickly and with greater oversight than would occur during the appeal of a decision to issue or deny a permit – a process that often takes several years.”

A comment period on an initial proposed decree drew more than 7,000 comments, split between those supporting it as written, and those wanting it toughened or not approved.

On Sept. 13, a revised consent decree with tougher potential penalties if LMC doesn’t comply was agreed to and sent to Neff for review.

The agreement has stronger reporting requirements, limits the mercury content in coal used by the SS Badger during the 2014 sailing season, and requires LMC to report information on the quantity of coal ash discharged by the SS Badger.

“This ensures that the Badger will be sailing long into the future,” Bob Manglitz, LMC CEO and president, said in September.

LMC, under terms of the consent decree, will have to store the coal ash on board by the start of the 2015 sailing season — or in some other way eliminate it. LMC has been ordered to file its plans and to reduce the discharge before that date.

LMC had already started taking action to reduce and ultimately eliminate the ash discharge prior to the start of the consent decree process by using coal that produces less ash, LMC states. It also has been working toward eliminating the ash discharge during the review process by starting the engineering and design work necessary for the installation of a ash retention system — a technology never before implemented on a steamship.

Manglitz previously had told the Daily News he wanted the consent decree in place before spending large amounts of money to comply with the storage provisions. The carferry will end this year's season Sunday, Oct. 13.

The Ludington Daily News


Port Reports -  October 11

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Herbert C. Jackson loaded Thursday at the NS coal dock. She sailed for Detroit. At Marblehead, the tug Dorothy Anne and barge Pathfinder loaded at the Lafarge stone dock.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
Wednesday the Toronto Port Authority ropax ferry David Hornell VC was back on standby status at Billy Bishop Airport after completion of the four-day main engine and duty generator swap out at Terminal 52. The tug Sea Eagle II and barge St .Marys Cement II and tug Petite Forte and St. Marys Cement sat out this past Monday’s westerly blow at Terminal 52. Both vessels departed on Tuesday.


Algoscotia makes rare Great Lakes visit

10/11 - The Algoma tanker Algoscotia entered the St. Lawrence Seaway on October 10 and is making a rare Great Lakes visit. Algoscotia was built in 2004 at the Qiuxin Shipyard in Shanghai, China for Algoma Tankers Ltd. Most of her time has been spent though trading along Canada's East Coast ports and the only visit she has ever made to the upper Great Lakes area was in August 2007 when she visited Sarnia, Ontario. Since that time, the vessel has kept busy trading on Canada's East Coast. Algoscotia will be calling at Nanticoke, Ontario, and is due there late in the evening on October 11.

Denny Dushane


US Brig Niagara at Great Lakes Shipyard for drydocking and repairs

10/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – The US Brig Niagara, Erie, Pennsylvania’s Flagship, has arrived at Great Lakes Shipyard for routine drydocking and repairs. The vessel was hauled out using the Marine Travelift, and the work on the vessel will be completed in approximately two weeks.

This marks the first time Great Lakes Shipyard has hauled out a tall ship using its Travelift, as well as the first time the US Brig Niagara has been hauled out with a Travelift.

Owned and maintained by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, an agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Flagship Niagara is a reconstruction of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perrys ship that led the Battle of Lake Erie victory on September 10, 1813.

To learn more, visit


Updates -  October 11

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Alaskaborg, BBC Rushmore, El Zorro, Flevogracht, and Susana S.


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.

1923: The canal-sized steamer GLENGELDIE, enroute from Killarney to Welland with a cargo of quartz rock, hit bottom in Georgian Bay and had to be towed to Collingwood for over $15,000 in repairs to the starboard side. The ship later sailed for Canada Steamship Lines as b) ELGIN.

1924: SENATOR DARBYSHIRE, a wooden bulk carrier upbound and in ballast, was destroyed by a fire on Lake Ontario, and sank near Point Petre Light. The crew fought the early morning blaze but eventually had to abandon the ship and was picked up by MAPLEBAY. Capt. J.W. Scarrow was later a master for Canada Steamship Lines.

1942: WATERTON was lost due to enemy action in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The former Misener freighter, operating for the Bowater Steamship Co., was attacked with 2 torpedoes from U-106 and went down in the Cabot Strait in 8 minutes. All on board got off safely. The ship was traveling from Cornerbrook, NF, to Cleveland with newsprint and pulpwood.

1982: The Israeli freighter DAGAN made 18 trips to the Great Lakes from 1959 to 1967. It ran aground on Cay Sal Bank, north of Cuba, as f) CORK and was abandoned the next day as a total loss.

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


Port Reports -  October 10

St. Marys River
Algoma Montrealais was upbound in the lower river as night fell. Philip R. Clarke, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin and Hon. James L. Oberstar were downbound.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Ken Kemper
Sikuliaq was on sea trials Thursday on Green Bay. The research vessel is being built by Marinette Marine for the University of Alaska.

Erie, Pa.
The saltwater tug Eagle arrived at Donjon Marine Wednesday for a refit.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson departed at 7 a.m. and went to anchor off Buffalo Harbor.


Premiere-elect says he will keep promise to remove Canadian Miner wreck

10/10 - Sydney, N.S. – Premier-elect Stephen McNeil says his government will keep a promise to have the derelict ship Canadian Miner removed from the rocky shore of Scatarie Island, where it has sat, to the growing concern of local residents, since breaking free of a tow line two years ago.

After a sweeping victory for the Liberal party in Tuesday's election, McNeil reaffirmed in an interview Wednesday morning his commitment to having the wreck removed.

"Hopefully, the federal government will be part of that," he said. '"If not, we will remove it and try to receive that payment from them.

"We will be looking to have that done in the most cost-effective way. It is something that has to be dealt with. Then, the levels of government can figure out who pays what."

Fishermen and other local residents living in Cape Breton coastal communities near Scatarie Island appealed to both the former NDP provincial government and the federal government without success for the removal of the derelict bulk carrier, which has been breaking apart while being battered by the ocean.

A New York-based company attempted to salvage the Miner before walking away from the job, claiming government bureaucratic hurdles.

Cabinet ministers that are appointed to the Liberal government will take on responsibility for the removal of the Miner, McNeil said, although he couldn't say exactly how long that will take.

"We are not going to let it go on forever," he said. "We have to go in there and do an assessment, and once we appoint our ministers, that will be one of the things they deal with as soon as they can.

"The challenge, potentially, right now is you are heading into October; what does winter look like and how much of it can we do then."

Cape Breton Post


Steel production rises by 28,000 tons in Great Lakes states

10/10 - Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region shot up to about 676,000 tons in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Production rose by about 28,000 tons, or about 4.3 percent from the week prior. Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Indiana and the Chicago area.

Production in the Southern District was estimated at 678,000 tons, up from 661,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.87 million tons, up from 1.85 million a week prior. Steelmakers made about 9.6 percent more steel last week than they did over the same period last year.

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 78.2 percent last week, which is up from 77.3 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 68.7 percent at the same time last year.

So far this year, domestic steel producers have had a capacity utilization rate of 77.2 percent, which is up from 76.8 percent during the same period in 2012.

Domestic mills have produced an estimated 74 million tons of steel this year, down 3 percent from the same period last year. The mills had made about 76.3 million tons of steel by Oct. 5, 2012.

Steel imports rose 13.9 percent in August over July. So far this year, total steel imports are 21.1 million tons, or about 9 percent less than during the same period in 2012.

Northwest Indiana Times


Oceanex Connaigra is shipping company’s nod to economic good fortune

10/10 - St. John's, Nfl. – Capt. Sid Hynes said that looking at the future of Newfoundland and Labrador, he decided Oceanex was going to need a bigger boat.

The Oceanex Connaigra, moored in the St. Johns harbor for its official unveiling Tuesday, represents a big bet for the company that the economic future of the province is bright.

“We didn’t build just for today; we planned for many years into the future. We’re confident that this vessel will be a vital piece of this province’s transportation infrastructure,” said Hynes, CEO of Oceanex. “We look at it over the long term; this ship is good for years.”

The ship is absolutely huge. At 210 metres long, its cargo decks cover about four acres — approximately the size of nine regulation NHL rinks, Hynes said.

It can carry more than 1,400 cars at a time, which all together would create a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam more than six kilometres long. It’s the largest vessel of its kind flying a Canadian flag.

It has an adjustable deck that can move up and down, to carry different sizes of cargo, and it can sail from Montreal to St. John’s in 60 hours. The Connaigra is also certified as environmentally friendly, with state-of-the art emissions technology and fuel-efficient engines.

It was enough to make Transportation Minister Paul Davis jealous.

“I’ve got to be honest up front, Capt. Hynes, as the minister for transportation and works and ferry services in Newfoundland and Labrador, I’m just a little bit jealous of this vessel,” he said. “It is, no doubt, a captivating vessel.”

Davis said the new ship is a witness to the power of the province’s economy.

“Increased demand for service and the addition of this new vessel is a testament to our thriving economy,” he said. “Construction is booming, the oil-and-gas sector continues to expand as the construction of the Hebron project ramps up, and we have a thriving mining sector as well.”

Mayor Dennis O’Keefe, who was also on hand for the unveiling of the ship, said it was so big that when he first saw it, he mistook it for a cruise ship.

“We’ve had a lot of ships sail into our port city. We’ve had them all: We’ve had pirate ships, we’ve had cruise ships, we’ve had battle ships,” he said. “Today, what we’re seeing is another level of ship serving our harbour and serving our city.”

The Telegram


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. 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.

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.

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.

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

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 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.

1923: HURONTON, a Canadian freighter, sank in Lake Superior off Caribou Island following a collision on the foggy lake with the CETUS. The vessel went down in 800 feet of water in 18 minutes but all on board were rescued.

1927: MICHIPICOTEN, of the Owen Sound Transportation Co., was destroyed by a fire at Gore Bay, on Manitoulin Island.

1963: The wooden freighter VAUQUELIN caught fire and sank in the St. Lawrence northeast of Quebec City off Cap Saumon. The vessel had previously sailed as a) LA RIVIERE MALBAIE.

1969: The T-2 tanker CARIBBEAN SKY visited the Seaway for 3 trips in 1960-1961 before being converted to a bulk carrier. The engine exploded and disintegrated during dock trials after repairs at Antwerp, Belgium, as f) LAKE PLACID, with the loss of one life. The hull settled but was pumped out and declared a CTL. It was towed to Rotterdam in 1971, repaired and returned to service as g) GARANDA. The after end again proved to be troublesome and was cut off and scrapped. The bow was joined to after end of the Panamanian tanker AKRON and the ship returned to service under this name. It was finally dismantled in Pakistan during 1981.

1987: The wheat-laden WILLOWGLEN went aground on the north side of Ogden Island in the St. Lawrence. The ship was released on October 13 and later went to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.

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


Port Reports -  October 9

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
There were a number of vessel passages on the Saginaw River in the past week. Algoway unloaded at the North Star dock in Essexville on Sept. 30th. On October 1, Manitowoc unloaded at an unknown Saginaw River dock. Indiana Harbor unloaded at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville on October 5. On October 6, Alpena unloaded at the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville and the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber delivered a split cargo to the Burroughs North dock in Essexville and the GM dock in Saginaw.

Commercial vessel deliveries to the Saginaw River totaled 16 during the month of September. This was five more deliveries then during the same period in 2012 and just one less than the five-year average of 17. Looking at year-to-date numbers, through the end of September 2013, there were 100 commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River. That was four more than the same period in 2012 and just three below the five-year average of 103.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Algoma Transport loaded Tuesday at the NS coal dock. She followed the Monday visit of Thunder Bay, which is underway for Hamilton. At Marblehead, Calumet loaded and sailed Monday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson was inbound for the North Entrance Channel at 7:20 a.m. on the way to the ADM Standard Elevator. Rebecca Lynn and barge- A-397 arrived through the North Entrance around noon Tuesday.


Algoma Central Corp.: New ship on its way to Canada from China

10/9 - The first of a new class of dry-bulk ship is on its way to Canada from China.

The Algoma Central Corp. announced Tuesday that the Algoma Equinox has set sail from the Nantong Mingde Heavy Industries shipyard in Nantong, China. The voyage will take about eight weeks.

Construction of the Algoma Equinox began in 2011. Seven additional Equinox-class vessels are expected to join the Algoma fleet by the end of 2014. Algoma will own six of the ships; operating the other two for CWB Inc.

At 740 feet long, the Equinox ships are “Seawaymax” vessels — the largest that can fit through the canal locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.

The ships, which cost about $50 million each, have the latest engine technology and hull design to decrease air pollution and increase fuel efficiency. Algoma Central Corp. estimates its Equinox vessels will be 45 percent more energy-efficient than its current fleet average.

Modern engines will last longer with less maintenance. Exhaust scrubbers reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by up to 97 percent, allowing the vessels to use lower-cost fuel while meeting air-quality standards.

Algoma is not the only Canadian firm building new ships. Canada Steamship Lines has ordered four Trillium-class self-unloading lakers from Japan. And the Montreal-based Fednav Limited announced earlier this year the planned addition of six new vessels capable of international trade and work on the Great Lakes.

The 34,000-ton bulk carriers are sized to use the St. Lawrence Seaway and are specially equipped for navigating in ice. They will be built at Oshima Shipyard in Japan and delivered between May and November 2015 as part of a series of 27 new ships (including 14 lakers) added to Fednav’s fleet since Jan. 1, 2012.

In all, about 30 new Canadian ships for the St. Lawrence Seaway have been built recently, are under construction or under contract for construction. The building boom is fueled in large part by Canada’s 2010 repeal of a 25 percent duty on ships built abroad.

The American laker fleets are not seeing a similar expansion. American ship owners do not have the option of having lakers built overseas — the Jones Act requires that cargo transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships built in America.

Additionally, since American lakers stay in freshwater, they avoid saltwater corrosion and their hulls last longer. So rather than building new, American ship owners often upgrade their vessels as needed.

Duluth News Tribune


Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival in Alpena highlights Michigan preservation efforts, history

10/9 - Alpena, Mich. – This week's annual Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival in Alpena features a session highlighting a program that funds preservation efforts in Michigan.

The festival runs Thursday to Sunday and is expected to draw hundreds of lighthouse enthusiasts to Michigan's northeastern Lower Peninsula.

On Friday, a session will offer information about the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program, which is supported by the sale of Save Our Lights license plates. Since 2000, the State Historic Preservation Office has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants through the program.

"Lighthouses symbolize the Great Lake State and draw visitors to Michigan each year," Bryan Lijewski, an architect in the State Historic Preservation Office at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, said in a statement. Their maintenance and preservation is a continual project, he noted.

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival includes displays of photography, artists, crafters and authors. Participants may visit a number of area lighthouses. If weather permits, there will be boat tours to Middle Island Lighthouse and Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse, and helicopter


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 pilothouse and engine room. Upon completion Upper Lakes Shipping renamed her b.) CANADIAN RANGER.

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.

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.

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.

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, with her original name recently restored.

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 plowed 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. AFRICA broke up in the storm, all 11 of her crew were lost. SEVERN went ashore near Bradley Harbour and broke up. The crew was rescued by a fish tug from Stokes Bay.

1907: CYPRUS cleared Superior with a cargo of iron ore for Lackawanna, N.Y., on only the second trip. The vessel sank two days later and there was only one survivor. The hull was found on the bottom of Lake Superior in 2007 in 460 feet of water.

1922: TURRET CROWN ran aground off Cove Island, Georgian Bay, but was later salvaged.

1944: The German freighter LUDOLF OLDENDORFF, a Great Lakes trader as a) WESTMOUNT (i) and as e) TRACTOR, was sunk by British aircraft at Egersund, Norway.

1968: BUCKEYE, under tow for scrapping overseas, began drifting in rough weather when the anchors were unable to hold off Port Colborne. The ship was blown aground west of the city and the hull remained stuck until November 29.

2001: The Maltese flag freighter SYLVIA ran over a buoy below the Eisenhower Lock and the mooring chain was wrapped around the propeller. The cable was freed and the ship proceeded to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs arriving October 19 and returning to service on October 27. The ship had previously been inland as a) CHIMO when new in 1981 and first returned as d) SYLVIA in 2000. The vessel was noted as h) INTERCROWN and registered in Cambodia as of 2010.

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


Port Reports -  October 8

St. Marys River - Herm Klein and Stephen Hause
On Monday afternoon, John D Leitch arrived at the Soo with the first load of road salt for the season.


Surf's up on Lake Michigan, with 7-foot waves at South Haven

10/8 - South Haven, Mich. – Fall weather has arrived in Southwest Michigan, and with it waves of up to seven feet high along the beaches of Lake Michigan Monday, according to the National Weather service in Grand Rapids.

The National Weather Service said waves would reach up to 7 feet near South Haven Monday. From South Haven to Holland, a small craft advisory was in effect through late Monday night, with west winds from 15 to 25 knots. Isolated water spouts were possible, with waves of 4-7 feet.

Farther south, a small craft advisory on Lake Michigan also applied from St. Joseph to South Haven, where west winds were forecast to reach from 20 to 25 knots.



Feds' proposal for shipwreck sanctuary could inadvertently block commercial shipping

10/8 - Washington, D.C. – Northwestern Lake Huron can be fickle and treacherous, with at least 45 Great Lakes-plying ships succumbing over the years to its gales, fog and rocky shoals. There's an 1844 side-wheel steamer in the water, and a modern 500-foot German freighter.

This so-called Shipwreck Alley delights divers and feeds a tourism industry with glass-bottom boat rides in the 448-square-mile Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary off Alpena, Mich. And now, 13 years after its creation, the federal government wants to expand that sanctuary ten-fold, to cover 4,300 square miles and protect at least 47 more shipwrecks.

But unless changed, the expansion plans – hugely popular in the towns of northeastern Michigan, to judge from letters of support – could choke off shipping of the iron ore and limestone used to make steel and other products in cities like Cleveland. That, at least, is what maritime interests such as the Lake Carriers' Association, based in Rocky River, Ohio, say.

"It is no exaggeration to say that if iron ore could not move in ships, America's steel industry would fade into a mere shadow of its former self," James Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers' Association, said in a 17-page letter of concern to the federal government last week.

The proposed expanded sanctuary covers "some of the most heavily trafficked shipping lanes on the Great Lakes," he said. Vessels that have loaded iron ore from ports on Lake Superior "must transit the Sanctuary when bound for steel mills in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Ontario," he said. Just restricting shipping around the expanded sanctuary itself could put three major Michigan ports – Alpena, Calcite and Presque Isle – off limits, the association says, and rob other Great Lakes ports of the materials that fuel Midwest industries.

That never appeared to be the intent.

Supporters of expanding the sanctuary, one of only 13 national marine sanctuaries nationwide, say they just want to make a rich historical and cultural asset better.

"It's a heritage issue for us," said Marie Twite, supervisor of the Alpena Township trustees, whose community was part of the original preserve and who backs the expansion. "It's part of the shipping of the Great Lakes and what happened with the vessels and how that all impacted us. We are very interested in preserving that and letting people come out and experience it."

Technically, nothing in the expansion proposal by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, would pose specific barriers to currently navigable waters. NOAA does not say it wants to restrict Great Lakes shipping. If anything, it wants more people visiting the water and protecting its treasures from scavengers' plunder.

But under a matrix of federal rules, the Coast Guard polices NOAA sanctuaries. That means the Coast Guard must enforce numerous regulations, including those promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act and incorporated into Coast Guard rules.

And those rules, say shipping and industry interests, restrict ships from anchoring or taking on or discharging ballast water in federal marine sanctuaries.

Ships add or discharge ballast water to distribute weight as they prepare to load or offload cargo. They use ballast to better maneuver, and to gain stability when they fear foul weather. But discharging ballast has potential to harm sensitive marine life and coral, as does anchoring, which is why both are generally prohibited in marine sanctuaries.

One big difference between most marine sanctuaries and the one on Lake Huron: The latter was created in 2000 to protect sunken ships, not coral reefs. Ballast operations would make no difference to a sunken ship, Weakley said in a telephone interview.

"It makes absolutely no sense if the resource you're trying to protect is a sunken vessel," he said.

Kevin Whyte, vice president and general counsel for Carmeuse Lime & Stone, which extracts limestone in Rogers City, Mich., and ships it throughout the Great Lakes, told NOAA in a letter that if ballasting is prohibited, "it could be a serious safety concern for the vessels entering and exiting the port during high-wind events, which are quite common in Northern Michigan throughout the shipping season."

It could even result in more shipwrecks, said Weakley.

Shippers could "end up in a situation where our vessels cannot safely operate in the area that's known as the crossroads of the Great Lakes," he said in an interview. "And you have to appreciate the irony that the marine sanctuary, which is designed to protect sunken vessels, is creating the potential of more sunken vessels by encouraging vessels that operate there to operate in an unsafe manner."

That's why he hopes NOAA will carve out a shipping exemption if it expands the Thunder Bay sanctuary. It has done so once before, in the Gray's Reef National Sanctuary off the coast of Georgia, he said.

The Lake Carriers' Association says it supports expanding the Great Lakes Sanctuary. It just wants ongoing shipping interests protected. Congress members from Michigan, including Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, appear to support such a balance, as does Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

Snyder wrote to NOAA last month enthusiastically supporting the expansion, but he added that "an adverse affect on businesses that utilize docking facilities to move products would be an unintended consequence of boundary expansion that must be avoided."

NOAA, the Coast Guard and the EPA were unavailable for comment. All but their essential operations are shut down due to lack of congressional funding.

NOAA's public comment period for the expansion runs through Oct. 18. For now, the shippers say that despite their worries, they are optimistic the sanctuary will be expanded without curtailing commercial maritime operations.

"At least at the Congressional level everyone appears to be on the same page with us: celebrate the region's maritime industry while allowing it to continue to operate safely," Weakley told The Plain Dealer in an email. "So it appears that everyone is trying to get to the same place and it is a matter of the regulatory agencies getting there."

"I don't think," said Whyte, of Carmeuse Lime & Stone, "that we are at all opposed to the expansion of the sanctuary. We just want to make sure that this would continue the normal vessel operations, and we don't really think that the normal commercial vessel operations have a negative impact on the sanctuary, whether it's releasing ballast water or regular shipping."

After all, said Weakley, the expanded sanctuary could indirectly benefit the shipping industry and its vessels. That is, he said, it "celebrates our industry and our heritage."

Cleveland Plain Dealer


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 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.

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.

On October 8, 2000 the tug UNDAUNTED and barge PERE MARQUETTE 41 departed Calumet Harbor loaded with pig iron for Marinette, Wis., under favorable conditions and were later caught by the heavy weather. During the storm, the 5,000 tons of pig iron and the barge's four pieces of heavy loading equipment were washed into Lake Michigan. Both the tug and barge suffered damage in the incident.

1899: The tug RECORD sank at Duluth after a collision with the whaleback steamer JAMES B. NEILSON and one life was lost.

1906: The barge PASADENA, loaded with iron ore for Cleveland and under tow of the steamer GLADSTONE, was cut loose approaching the Keweenaw Waterway. The anchors fail to hold. The ship smashed into the east pier of the waterway and broke up on the rocks. Seven sailors were rescued but two were lost.

1964: A fire aboard West German-flag freighter ERATO at Detroit left two dead when they were trapped in their stern quarters. Another three sailors were injured. The 2-alarm blaze was brought under control and the ship was eventually repaired at Toledo. It arrived at Bombay, India, and laid up as d) VIJAYA DARSHANA on May 26, 1983, and eventually scrapped there beginning in May 1986.

1971: DIDO went aground leaving Goole, U.K. for Porsgrunn, Norway, but returned to Goole the next day after being refloated. The 22-year-old Norwegian freighter was listed as a total loss and sold for scrap. It was taken to Hull, U.K., a year later and dismantled. The ship had been a pre-Seaway trader as early as 1951 and made 14 voyages to the Great Lakes from 1959 through 1963.

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


Port Reports -  October 7

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Frontenac and Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Sunday.

Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Cedarville, the tug Undaunted & barge Pere Marquette 41 loaded on Saturday and departed during the day. American Courage was expected to arrive on Sunday in the mid-afternoon. Both Joseph L. Block and Wilfred Sykes are due in on Monday, the Block in the morning and the Sykes in the late evening. At Port Inland, Joseph L. Block was expected to arrive Sunday in the early evening. The Buffalo is due Tuesday in the early morning and Mississagi rounds out the schedule on Tuesday.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane and Dan McNeil
A busy Sunday saw four vessels arriving to load limestone. The first was the Kaye E. Barker in the late morning, followed by the Manistee in the early afternoon. Also arriving on Sunday was the H. Lee White in the early evening and the Joseph H. Thompson also during the evening. Three vessels are on the schedule for Monday with the Pathfinder and Arthur M. Anderson both due in the morning and the Great Republic in the mid-afternoon. There are no vessels scheduled for Tuesday. Due on Wednesday at around suppertime is the Michipicoten.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Lakes Contender loaded at the South Dock on Sunday. There are no vessels scheduled for Monday and on Tuesday. Two vessels are due on Wednesday, with Lee A. Tregurtha making a rare visit to the South Dock in the morning to load limestone. American Mariner is also due on Wednesday in the morning for the North Dock. There are two vessels scheduled on Thursday, with the Lakes Contender returning in the late afternoon for the North Dock and the Mississagi in the evening also at the North Dock. Due on Friday is the Philip R. Clarke in the early evening, loading at the South Dock.

Saginaw River - Dan McNeil
The Alpena arrived very early Sunday morning to unload cement at Lafarge cement in Essexville. She is due to depart sometime late Sunday evening or early Monday morning. Also arriving Sunday was the Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber, they unloaded at the Bay City Wirt stone dock.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Algoma Transport loaded coal from the CSX Coal Dock on Saturday. She will be followed by the Ashtabula on Friday, October 11 during the evening. James L. Kuber is due on Tuesday, October 15 and will be followed by the H. Lee White on Wednesday, October 16. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Vessels due at the Torco Dock with iron ore cargoes include the Algowood, due on Thursday, October 10 in the early afternoon. Atlantic Erie is due in on Friday, October 11 in the late evening. CSL's new Baie Comeau will make her first appearance on Sunday, October 13 in the early afternoon. Algosoo is due at Torco on Thursday, October 17 in the early morning. Scrapping is wrapping up on the Phoenix Star at Ironhead Marine's large drydock.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algoway arrived at Lorain at 11:22 a.m. and departed at 7:15 p.m. Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived about 12 Saturday morning and left about 6:30 a.m.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner was unloading at General Mills Sunday and should be departed at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
Last week the Port Authority technical team had swapped out the David Hornell VC'S two main engines plus the duty generator by Wednesday. Sea trials were completed on Thursday. The ferry remains alongside at terminal 52 with the passenger deck tarped in as workers complete the paint work. The handy size bulker Blacky departed early Friday after taking only four days to discharge its sugar cargo. The saltie Bluewing arrived at Redpath Saturday morning but no unloading was taking place. The tug Petit Fort and barge St Marys Cement were alongside terminal 52.


Shipwreck hunters find sunken Scotiadoc in Lake Superior

10/7 - Duluth, Minn. – For 60 years, after it sank beneath the surface of Lake Superior in a pea-soup fog near Thunder Bay, the wreck of the freighter Scotiadoc slumbered undiscovered in the shadow of the Sleeping Giant.

But now a group of shipwreck hunters have capped off a memorable year by confirming they’ve located the lost vessel resting in more than 850 feet of water, making it in all likelihood the deepest shipwreck ever found in the Great Lakes.

That follows the group’s discovery of the long-lost, long-sought-after wreck of the Henry B. Smith offshore from Marquette, Mich., in May, a find that drew widespread attention.

“Finding the Henry B. Smith was the entrée; the Scotiadoc was the dessert,” said Jerry Eliason of Cloquet, part of the group that had searched for the Scotiadoc for years. The 424-foot ship sank after colliding with another freighter in June 1953, resulting in one death.

Ships Collide

The Scotiadoc was launched in 1904, and spent most of its career, as the Martin Mullen; as the Mullen, it made frequent trips to and from the Twin Ports. In 1947, it was sold and renamed the Scotiadoc.

The Scotiadoc departed Port Arthur, Ontario — part of what’s now Thunder Bay — with a crew of 29 and nearly 260,000 bushels of wheat just before 4 p.m. on June 20, 1953. At that time, the 451-foot freighter Burlington was passing Passage Island, in ballast en route to Port Arthur, according to documents from a post-wreck court of investigation. Eliason obtained copies of those documents to aid in the search for the Scotiadoc.

About two hours later, the two ships were in the vicinity of Trowbridge Island, off the tip of the Sleeping Giant — and each ship, the court ruled, made crucial errors as they navigated through thick fog and driving rain.

The captain of the Scotiadoc, George Edgar Morris, later testified that he picked up the Burlington on radar when it was about 5 miles away. He kept watch on the radar screen as the Burlington drew closer, and he sounded the Scotiadoc’s fog signals — but, inexplicably, he failed to make radio contact with the rapidly approaching vessel and failed to reduce his ship’s speed.

First mate William Crosson testified that he thought the Burlington was going to run parallel to the Scotiadoc, off the ship’s starboard side — but the ships never exchanged passing signals. On the bridge of the Scotiadoc, the fog signals of the Burlington grew louder and louder. Morris watched it get closer and closer on radar. And then, Crosson later testified, he “saw a shadow in the fog.”

Meanwhile, aboard the Burlington, Captain George Stephen Ward said he had slowed his vessel’s speed and was switching his radar screen between long-range — to monitor another vessel, the Secord — and short-range, which had “an awful lot of interference and sea clutter.” Then, from amid the clutter, “this object appeared on the radar screen” about a mile and a half away. It was the Scotiadoc.

Visibility was a few hundred feet, and Ward later testified that he initially could not hear a fog signal from the Scotiadoc. He made some course alterations, but — like Morris on the Scotiadoc — failed to use his radio to contact the nearby ship. Then, finally, “we heard the whistle off on our port side, a blast of the whistle, (and) immediately (after) I heard the blast I was pumping the telegraph full astern,” in an attempt to avoid a collision, Ward later testified. “Then I ran for the window, and I just saw this object coming out across our bow.”

The Scotiadoc tried to evade the approaching ship, but it was no use. The Burlington plowed into the starboard side of the Scotiadoc at an angle near the stern, gashing a hole in the smaller vessel as its bow scraped along the side. The collision crumpled the bow of the Burlington, pushing it in 4 to 8 feet.

After the Collision

Edward Quail, third mate on the Scotiadoc, was off-duty, lying in bed reading a comic book, when he heard the collision.

“As soon as I heard it hit I jumped, grabbed my boots and ran, grabbed a life belt and went to put her on and went to the deck, taking steps 10 feet long,” Quail later testified, adding that he “didn’t have time to look (at the damage), just run.”

Up on the bridge, it was quickly clear that the Scotiadoc was fatally stricken. As the ship started to list, Captain Morris testified, he “was sending out S.O.S. calls.”

“And I was talking to the steamer Burlington and he said he was going to turn around,” Morris testified.

By that time the Burlington had faded back into the fog. Radar indicated the ships were three-tenths of a mile apart. As the crew readied the Scotiadoc’s two lifeboats, Morris took one last look at the radar. Then “the mate came running up the deck across the hatches, calling, ‘Come on, come on, everything is ready,’ ” Morris testified. “So I went right from the bridge there right down across the hatches, got a hold of the life line and shinnied right down into the boat.”

Morris, and most of the crew, went to the port-side lifeboat, which was launched successfully. But about a half-dozen crew members went to the starboard-side lifeboat, where a mishap in the launching led to the sole fatality of the collision.

“Quite a number of the crew of the (Scotiadoc) who should have reported to the starboard boat did not report, and there were an inadequate number of crew to properly launch the boat,” the court of investigation reported. “Owing to some mischance, the reason for which is not entirely clear … the after falls of the starboard lifeboat were let go and as a result of this the stern fell to the deck.”

Then, in heavy seas and with several crew members in the lifeboat, the stern slipped from the deck over the side of the sinking ship, dropping five people about 15 feet into the frigid lake. Four of them, including two women on the kitchen staff, grabbed onto ropes and were hauled out of the water, some in shock.

Others threw a “punt,” a small raft, to the fifth crew member in the water — Wallace McDermid, 39, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

“(We) hollered, ‘Wally, grab a hold of the punt,’ but he — at that time we hollered at him he was all right, (but) the next time we looked it was so foggy we couldn’t see whether he was hanging on to the punt,” testified third engineer Austin Proulx, who was commended for his actions in saving his four crewmates and trying to save McDermid.

McDermid, who may have had some physical limitations, apparently did get a hold of the raft, but he disappeared into the fog and was not seen again.

After McDermid vanished, the waterlogged lifeboat rowed away from the sinking ship and was met by the port-side lifeboat. Everyone transferred to the port-side boat and the 28 surviving crew members shouted and fired flares in the fog. They were picked up by the Burlington about an hour later and returned to Port Arthur. The Scotiadoc descended into the depths of Lake Superior.

The court of investigation later found the Scotiadoc 75 percent to blame for the collision, and the Burlington 25 percent — with poor communication and excessive speed given the weather conditions as contributing factors. Captain Morris of the Scotiadoc had his master’s certificate suspended for a year; Captain Ward of the Burlington had his certificate suspended for two months.

Finding the Wreck

Eliason said the Scotiadoc first came to the group’s attention as they searched for the Theano, another shipwreck in the area. Thanks to the court testimony and other accounts, there was a well-defined point from which to start looking.

With the Henry B. Smith wreck the group found earlier this year, Eliason and his wife, Karen, had acquired a trove of raw data from government archives that they analyzed to accurately pinpoint its location.

But with the Scotiadoc, it was old-fashioned “mowing the lawn” with a sonar unit developed by Eliason’s son, Jarrod — running a grid pattern over a defined search area, hoping to turn up something. The group set its search area after taking into account how the Scotiadoc may have drifted after it was hit.

Beginning in the early 2000s, the group — which, through the years, also has included Ken Merryman of Minneapolis, Kraig Smith of Rice Lake, Wis., and Randy Beebe of Duluth, all veterans of decades of Great Lakes shipwreck hunting — made periodic trips to search for the Scotiadoc, eventually acquiring a good “target.”

But it was only in early September of this year that the many factors involved in this wreck search — time, correct gear, permits from Canadian authorities and above all favorable weather — came together to allow for the group’s camera to get the video footage needed to confirm the wreck’s identity: the name “Scotiadoc” spelled out along the side.

The confirmation came late on the night of Sept. 7, with Eliason, Merryman and Robert Nelson of Eau Claire, Wis., a seasonal resident of the Northland, aboard Merryman’s boat Heyboy to see the footage. The ship rests upright, and largely intact near Trowbridge Island, about 20 miles southeast of Thunder Bay, with the bow at a depth of 850 feet and the stern at 870 feet. Eliason said it appears the previous record-holder for deepest wreck found in the Great Lakes is the Isaac Jenkins, discovered in Lake Ontario in about 750 feet of water.

The Scotiadoc’s pilothouse broke off as it sank and came to rest beside the ship; the stern appears to be mangled.

“It looks to us like it sank stern-first,” Eliason said. “The stern is very chaotic.”

While that is not a definitive conclusion, Merryman said, it would make sense. The Scotiadoc was struck near its stern, and that’s where water would have poured into the ship.

The Henry B. Smith rests in about 535 feet of water and proved a challenge to film. The Scotiadoc, at more than 300 feet deeper, put the group’s skills and technology to a far greater test.

They had to take into account the tremendous pressure the lights and camera would face at that depth, and ensure the gear was up to the task. And they had to rely on years of experience to guide that camera, tethered to a cable trailing off from the Heyboy, to the right spot 850 feet below — not to mention hauling it up again each time.

But the season was a good learning experience, Merryman said, that should bode well for future explorations.

“It let us take the next step in evolving our technology,” he said. “It opened up some new avenues for us. We can hunt for deeper stuff.”

Duluth News Tribune


Big ship coming to Canada

10/7 - St. Catharines, Ont. – A St. Catharines-based shipping company is awaiting the arrival of its first Equinox-class vessel, Algoma Equinox, after it set sail from Nantong Mingde Heavy Industries shipyard in China Tuesday.

The Equinox class consists of four gearless bulk carriers and four self-unloading bulk carriers. The ship is designed to optimize fuel efficiency — a 45 percent improvement in energy efficiency over Algoma’s current fleet average. A fully-integrated exhaust gas scrubber will remove 97 percent of all sulphur oxides from shipboard emissions, said Greg Wight, Algoma’s president and chief executive officer.

The vessel is 226 metres long with five 31,200-ton capacity cargo tanks.

The Algoma Equinox is the first in a series of eight Equinox class vessels being built at Nantong Mingde shipyard. Algoma will own six of the series. CWB Inc., formerly the Canadian Wheat Board, will own the other two gearless bulkers, which will be operated and managed by Algoma.

Algoma has invested $300 million into its six Equinox class vessels.

Niagara Falls Review


Obituary: Captain Hugh McDowall

10/7 - C Captain Hugh McDowall of Port Colborne, Ont., passed away on Thursday, October 3, after a battle with cancer in his 80th year. From the HMS Conway to Canada Steamship Lines and Algoma Central Marine, Captain McDowall was well known in world marine circles. The McDowall family will receive friends at the Davidson Funeral Home, 135 Clarence St., Port Colborne, on Wednesday October 9, from 1-4 p.m., when a memorial service will be held in the chapel. Memorial remembrances to AIDS Niagara or the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated by the family. On-line condolences and guest register at www.davidsonfuneralhome.com12589981


Updates -  October 7

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Rushmore, Bum Eun, Federal Fuji, and Sloman Hermes  


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.

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

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).

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.

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 near the Marine City Salt Works wharf."

1902: ANN MARIA hit a sandbar approaching Kincardine while inbound with a cargo of coal and broke up as a total loss. Four crew and a volunteer rescuer were reported lost.

1917: GEORGE A. GRAHAM was wrecked off Manitoulin Island, Georgian Bay, when the cargo shifted when turning in a storm. The ship ran for the safety of South Bay but stranded on the rocks. All on board were saved but the ship was a total loss.

1919: The wooden steamer HELEN TAYLOR was damaged by a fire in the pilothouse near Hessel, Mich., but was repaired.

1937: M & F DREDGE NO. 14, Hull 39 from the Collingwood shipyard, foundered in the St. Lawrence off Batiscan, QC as b) D.M. DREDGE NO. 14.

1956: The consort barge DELKOTE of the Hindman fleet was adrift for 9 hours in a Lake Superior storm with 13 on board and waves up to 20 feet. The ship had broken loose of the GEORGE HINDMAN but was picked up by the CAPT. C.D. SECORD.

1968: EDWARD Y. TOWNSEND, under tow for scrapping in Bilbao, Spain, broke in two about 400 miles southeast of St. John's, NF, and the bow sank. The stern was apparently retrieved and towed into Santander, Spain, for scrapping on October 28.

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


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 under tow of 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.

1910: The wooden freighter MUSKEGON, formerly the PEERLESS, was damaged by a fire at Michigan City, IN and became a total loss.

1958: SHIERCLIFFE HALL hit bottom in the St. Marys River and was intentionally grounded off Lime Island with substantial damage. The ship was refloated and repaired at Collingwood.

1966: EMSSTEIN and OLYMPIC PEARL collided south of St. Clair, MI and the former had to be beached before it capsized. This West German freighter made 19 trips to the Great lakes from 1959 through 1967 and arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping as d) VIOLETTA on May 28, 1978. The latter, on her first trip to the Great Lakes, had bow damage and was also repaired. This ship arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping as b) AL TAHSEEN on May 6, 1985.

1972: ALGORAIL hit the pier inbound at Holland, MI with a cargo of salt and settled on the bottom about 12 feet off the dock with a gash in the port bow. The vessel was refloated in 24 hours and headed to Thunder Bay for repairs.

1982: CONTINENTAL PIONEER made 8 trips through the Seaway from 1960 through 1964. A fire broke out in the accommodation area as c) AGRILIA, about 20 miles north of Porto Praia, Cape Verde Islands and the heavily damaged ship was abandoned before it drifted aground in position 15.06 N / 23.30 W.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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 5

Toledo, Ohio
On Monday, the Wicko arrived at the ADM elevators. Loading began on Tuesday, continuing into the evening and she left early Wednesday. Algoma Spirit arrived Wednesday at noon and proceeded to Anderson elevators. She appears to have loaded during the day Thursday, as she was noticeably lower in the water.


How Steeltown transformed into a booming agrifood hub

10/5 - Hamilton, Ont. - At Pier 16 in Hamilton Harbour, another chapter in the sad decline of the city’s once-dominant steel industry is playing out as cranes load huge mounds of unwanted iron ore onto a ship, bound for mills in China.

Carting off the vital steel-making raw material from United States Steel Corp., which idled its blast furnace here three years ago, suggests the mill won’t be restarting any time soon, if ever.

And yet across the harbour a second ship highlights an emerging economic engine for Hamilton – the booming agrifood sector. The Federal Yukina is waiting to dock alongside Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd.’s newly built dome-shaped grain silos, where it will begin loading up the fall harvest of Ontario soybeans for export to the Netherlands.

From near-obscurity five years ago, agrifood has become a mainstay of Hamilton’s port, and the regional economy. Agricultural tonnage shipped through the port doubled between 2008 and 2012 to a record of more than 1.6 million tonnes, led by exports of one million tonnes of soybeans last year. Agricultural products now account for 16 per cent of everything shipped in and out of the port, up from less than 10 per cent in 2009.

This year is expected to be even better as a bumper crop of soybeans, corn and wheat is harvested across Ontario. So far, grain shipments are up 30 per cent from last year. Fertilizer is up 80 per cent.

Steel shipments, on the other hand, are down 35 per cent so far this year, compared to 2012. Shipments of coke, a key steel-making input, are down 92 per cent.

“Agriculture is the new steel for Hamilton,” said Ian Hamilton, vice-president of the Hamilton Port Authority and head of real estate development. “Five years ago, the market for steel collapsed. And that’s when it hit home that we had to diversify.”

Since then, the port has attracted $200-million in new investment, including $40-million in various agriculture-related projects, such as new and expanded storage and handling for grains and fertilizer. In 2007, Bunge Ltd. expanded its canola processing plant and Biox Corp. opened a 67-million-litre biodiesel plant at the port.

“Everything you can see from here down to there is alive and well,” said Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina, pointing out over the harbour toward the Burlington Bay Bridge. “We’re running out of space. That’s probably our biggest problem. We don’t have enough space to put people who want to be here.”

So the port authority is looking for additional land to feed future expansion, much of it linked to agrifood – already a $1.3-billion industry in the city. Among other things, the port is eyeing U.S. Steel’s underused 400-hectare site that dominates the waterfront.

“If the land mass is there, they will come,” said Bruce Wood, president and chief executive of the port authority. “If U.S. Steel ever gave up or sold some of their property, that’s a game changer.”

The port has ambitious plans to boost tonnage capacity by expanding rail links that would double the length of trains that can access the harbour, to 100 cars from 50. Efforts are also under way to attract new value-added manufacturers, such as margarine makers, distilleries and breweries plus a flour mill to help feed a nearby Maple Leaf Foods mega-bakery, opened in 2011.

“A lot of the flour mills in Canada are old,” Mr. Bratina said. “You have grain. You have a bakery. Why not make flour?”

Parrish & Heimbecher, one of the port’s newest tenants, invested $20-million to build two 30,000-tonne multi-use storage domes, capable of handling everything from soybean and sugar to fertilizer. It’s now exploring the possibility of adding substantially to that capacity. “We have plans to grow our business on this site,” said Matthew Gardner, operations manager for Eastern Canada.

Ontario consumes less than half of the province’s swelling production of wheat and soybeans. The surplus needs to find a way to hungry markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America, Mr. Gardner pointed out.

Across the harbour at grain merchant Richardson International Ltd., a steady stream of double tractor-trailers is unloading wheat from as far away as Owen Sound and Trenton, Ont. At the peak of the harvest, as many as 240 trucks per day are weighed in, their load tested for quality and then cycled through three unloading pits.

Thanks to a $5.5-million expansion in 2008, tonnage has grown 35 per cent. “As agriculture has boomed, we’ve benefited too,” explained Riley Verhelst, Richardson’s director of operations.

Hamilton Harbour is also becoming a key conduit for fertilizer, including potash from Saskatchewan and urea from the Baltics. Handlers such as Agrico Canada Ltd. have seen inbound tonnage more than double since the recession, buoyed by demand from Ontario farmers, who have vastly expanded corn acreage.

The Globe and Mail


Port Robinson's winter shuttle service discontinued, summer ferry remains

10/5 - Thorold, Ont. - There will no longer be a shuttle service connecting the east and west sides of Port Robinson in the winter months.

Thorold city council decided Tuesday to eliminate the winter shuttle service that previously offered residents access between the two ends of the community, which is divided by the Welland Canal.

The shuttle ran from November until the end of April, taking passengers from the east side of the canal across the Allanburg Bridge to access services on the west side, such as the Post Office.

But due to low ridership, city staff recommended ceasing the winter shuttle, and council voted in favour of the recommendation. Coun. Sergio Paone was the only councillor to vote against it. “According to our staff, it’s the same dozen people that use it all the time,” said Thorold Mayor Ted Luciani. “It cost us $30,000 annually to operate it, and we have to find efficiencies.”

The summer ferry, however, which runs from May through the end of October and carries pedestrians and cyclists directly across the canal, will remain in service.

The city has been in talks with the St. Lawrence Seaway and Niagara Region on the possibility of working together to ensure the viability of the shuttle and ferry service, but Luciani said neither feel the shuttle is crucial enough to subsidize.

“Nobody wants to touch the shuttle part – they only want the ferry,” he said. “Because of the amount of cyclists – many of them tourists – that use it in the summer, it’s viable from that perspective.”

Last year, 5,455 passengers used the ferry in either direction throughout the summer months, according to a city report. Only 758 passengers used the winter shuttle.

“The statistics that we have gathered through the years suggest that there is limited use in the shuttle months,” Thorold CAO Frank Fabiano wrote in a report. “Unlike the ferry service provided during the summer months, the shuttle service is used infrequently by the community.

“It is my understanding that future funding, if any, by either party will be for the ferry operations only.”

Fabiano said the city will be notifying Port Robinson residents about the shuttle cancellation, which takes effect this November.

Thorold Niagara News


Heddle Marine Service Inc. is expanding

10/5 - Heddle Marine Service Inc. of Hamilton, Ont., is in the process of finalizing engineering so that construction of its fourth drydock can commence. The drydock will be 406 feet long by 114 foot 6 wide, with an estimated capacity of 9000 tons. Used in conjunction with H.M.S.I.s existing drydock HM 2, the shipyard will be capable of drydocking any Seaway Max size vessel.

Although in the planning stages for many years, the recent announcement of the Randle Reef Project commencement which will include extensive dredging of Hamilton Harbour and the bankruptcy of Seaway Marine & Industrial have created an attractive opportunity for expansion.

H.M.S.I. has also expanded into Eastern Canada by opening a division in Mount Pearl NFLD. Currently the focus of work at that facility is on top side repairs with the potential of dry-docking capabilities coming on line in the near future.

Heddle Marine Service Inc.


Help wanted: Lower Lakes seeks marine engineers

10/5 - We are looking for competent, practically skilled Marine Engineers with 2nd, 3rd and 4th Class Motor TCMS certification to join our team. Canadian Great Lakes dry bulk experience or related experience, a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment are considered prerequisites for this position. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a must, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order.

If you are a leader or potential leader that is looking for a change we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, and a positive work environment.

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


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.

Upbound with a load of limestone on Lake Superior on October 5, 1965, the PETER A.B. WIDENER reported broken steering gear and possible damage to steering mechanism and screw after encountering gale force winds and high waves near Isle Royale. Fleetmates HENRY PHIPPS and HENRY H. ROGERS responded to the vessel, and dumped oil on the 10-foot seas to calm them. The USCG WOODRUSH arrived from Duluth, and towed the vessel to Duluth.

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 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 on 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. The former was repaired, operated through 1980 and was scrapped at Port Colborne in 1987. The latter was also repaired and eventually towed into Cadiz, Spain, for scrapping as f) CRYSTAL on December 2, 1981, when the tailshaft fractured on November 25, 1981.

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 southbound 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.

1904: HUNTER, a wooden passenger and freight steamer, was destroyed by a fire at Grand Marais, MI. There were no injuries.

1932: JOHN J. BOLAND JR., enroute from Toledo to Hamilton with coal, took on water and sank after the cargo shifted. Four lives were lost when the vessel went down about 10 miles off Barcelona, NY.

1941: MONDOC stranded off the east coast of Trinidad on her first trip on the bauxite run. The crew took to the lifeboats and was saved.

1964: DENMARK HILL went aground off the Porkkala Lighthouse in the Baltic Sea enroute from Nicaro, Cuba, for Porkkala, Finland. The vessel was refloated October 7 with considerable bottom damage.

1988: ENERCHEM REFINER struck the #1 East Outer Light while upbound in the Detroit River and received major damage that was repaired at Lauzon.

1999: MONTE AYALA, a Seaway caller in 1975, began to leak in #1 hold and then list while anchored at St. Brieuc Bay while inbound for Brest, France, as d) JUNIOR M. The cargo of ammonium nitrate was unloaded. The ship was arrested, abandoned by the owners, auctioned off for scrap and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, on August 21, 2000.

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


Port Reports -  October 4

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Algorail loaded at the Lafarge stone dock and sailed for Goderich on Thursday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
At 7 a.m. Thursday, the Robert S. Pierson was on her way up the Buffalo River to Lake & Rail. The English River departed Thursday around 5 a.m. with the Rebecca Lynn - A-397 right behind them. The Pierson departed at 7 p.m.


Great Lakes levels keep catching up

10/4 - The upper Great Lakes continue to edge closer to normal water levels, even during their seasonal decline, continuing a trend this year that has Lake Superior more than 1 foot above last year’s level and Lakes Michigan-Huron more than 2 feet higher than 2012.

The International Lake Superior Board of Control on Wednesday reported that they are allowing so much water to leave Lake Superior down the St. Mary’s River into Michigan-Huron that they’re warning anglers in the river to be cautious of extremely high flow and water levels.

The river had been a problem, with low water levels forcing some freighters to carry lighter loads.

The board reported Lake Superior fell about an inch in September, a month it usually drops a half-inch. The lake is 6 inches below its long-term normal level for Oct. 1 and is 13 inches above the level on Oct. 1 last year.

Lakes Michigan-Huron dropped the usual 2 inches in September but are 25 inches higher than the Oct. 2, 2012, level and 17 inches below their long-term normal.

Duluth News Tribune


General Manager of bankrupt Seaway Marine and Industrial alleges scuttled lease

10/4 - St. Catharines, Ont. – A general manager of St. Catharines’ bankrupt dry docks alleges the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. knowingly scuttled lease negotiations.

Charles Payne says that also affected the company’s chance to access millions in federal funds to refurbish the dry docks. Payne of Seaway Marine and Industrial Inc. — now in receivership — also sent an open letter to Canada’s federal transport minister calling for an investigation into the SLSMC conduct.

“It is our belief that SLSMC has knowingly and constructively orchestrated an environment where by (Seaway Marine) would have no alternative but to declare bankruptcy,” says the letter by Payne, on behalf of former non-union employees.

In an interview, Payne adds another concern is ensuring the approximately 160 former Seaway Marine workers get priority in wages owed as bankruptcy proceedings continue.

Payne fears this may not happen if the Seaway gets a priority claim in back rent, and other payments, that could trump severance to employees paid by the bankrupt company’s assets.

A statement through SLSMC spokesman Andrew Bogora says the corporation strongly disputes the lease-scuttling charges, stressing it has always wanted to reach a long-term lease with Seaway Marine.

“In no way did the SLSMC seek to orchestrate events in a manner that would lead to the demise” of Seaway Marine, it said.

The SLSMC says it entered into lease negotiations with Seaway Marine between 2009 and 2010. That resulted in a tentative agreement about the terms of a long-term lease, to replace one that expired March 31, 2009.

However, Seaway Marine withdrew from the lease negotiations in the summer of 2010, while they sought federal government funding.

The SLSMC agreed to allow Seaway Marine management to continue to operate as a month-to-month tenant, while it pursued that money.

In spring 2013 budget, the federal government also announced up to $5 million for the rehabilitation of the dry docks, subject to any amount being matched by a tenant.

Due to federal funding provisions, a request for proposal was required, with Seaway Marine eligible to participate. This summer, Seaway Marine advised it was filing for bankruptcy prior to submitting any proposal.

In the meantime, the the SLSMC says it’s moving fast to find another tenant for the facility, and has solicited expressions of interest from other parties, in a process that closes Friday. Qualified applicants can then enter a more detailed request for proposal.

In a further response, Payne insists there was a verbal agreement in principle in April 2008 to extend Seaway Marine’s lease from 2009 until 2018. He says “once this agreement moved through the bureaucracy of (the SLSMC) it was killed.”

Payne believes any inquiry “will reveal an environment of inappropriate conduct, a culture of abuse and a complete lack of accountability in the senior ranks of the SLSMC.”

As for the severance, the SLSMC said Seaway Marines’ receiver Ernst and Young is the best authority to speak about where the employees stand.

A receiver representative Amanda Olliver said the distribution priority of claims filed following a sale will be determined by the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. The largest creditor listed in original bankruptcy documents is Upper Great Lakes Group, owed about $6.9 million.

According to bankruptcy documents, the firm owed its 208 creditors more than $12 million, with the largest creditor its parent company Upper Great Lakes Group.

“The union wants to see what happens with potential buyers and leasees there,” said Kyle Groulx, business representative for International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 128, representing about 130 workers at the docks.

“At that point we’ll know better where we stand.”

St. Catharines Standard


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 ALGOMA NAVIGATOR in 2012. She sails for Algoma Central Corp. She was converted to a self-unloader in 1997.

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.

1904: CONGRESS burned at the dock at South Manitou Island, Lake Michigan while loading lumber. The ship was towed away, abandoned, burned to the waterline and sank.

1966: ROBERT J. PAISLEY ran aground in heavy weather off Michigan City, IN. The ship was released the next day but went to Sarnia with hull damage and was laid up.

2008: MERKUR BAY came through the Seaway in 1984. It hit a rock as m) NEW ORIENTAL in heavy weather off Tuy An, Vietnam, and settled on the bottom with a large hole in the bow. The crew abandoned ship on October 18 when it showed signs of sinking. It was enroute from Thailand to China with iron ore and was a total loss.

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


Eemsborg awaits inspection after St. Lawrence River grounding

10/3 - At 2:25 p.m. Wednesday, with the bow anchors pulled, the Eemsborg proceeded west, turned around 180 degrees and headed downriver, passing Crossover Island at 3:25. She traveled the short distance to the Bay State Anchorage area (near river marker 154) where she dropped the hook to await an inspector, who is expected to arrive sometime on Thursday.

On Tuesday the Eemsborg, a 452-foot Wagenborg Shipping general cargo vessel, was upbound in the St. Lawrence River when she lost power around 10 p.m.

Initial reports the the vessel went aground was incorrect. The vessel did lose her engine propulsion while sailing on the Crossover Range but avoided going aground by deploying the port and starboard anchors. The vessel brought up on her anchors and was afloat on the starboard side of the channel.

Stephen Trenton


Port Reports -  October 3

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Cuyahoga loaded Tuesday at the Lafarge stone dock. She was moored in Detroit Tuesday night. The barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann loaded Wednesday, also at Lafarge.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Robert S. Pierson departed overnight and was inbound at the Port Colborne piers at 7:20 a.m., where she will load more Canadian red wheat for Lake & Rail in Buffalo. She was still tied up at the Port Colborne elevator piers at 6:42 p.m. English River arrived at 7 am Wednesday for Lafarge and was still there in the evening. Rebecca Lynn - A-397 were still unloading at the Noco Product Terminal in Tonawanda Wednesday evening.


Great Lakes cruising expected to grow in 2014

10/3 - The Great Lakes cruise industry is about to experience a substantial increase in berths for 2014 - with the entry of six quite different ships, including the new Pearl Seas Mist and the return of C. Columbus, under the new name Hamburg. In 2014 five cruise ships will offer 6000 guest-berths - 52 departures - and visit 67 different ports.

The Pearl Seas Mist - based in Guilford, Ct. - is part of a firm that operates a fleet of American Cruise Line coastal ships, as well as a riverboat on the Mississippi river. At 335 feet long, offering 108 suites with outside balconies, Pearl Seas’ Mist will accommodate 210 guests in an atmosphere of refined comfort. For 2014 the ship will offer six round trip enrichment voyages between Toronto and Chicago. The firm has already developed their 2015 cruises, which will offer 25 percent increase in its inventory over 2014.

The German firm Plantours, which operates cruise ships and river boats, will be cruising the 420-guest capacity MS Hamburg in the Great Lakes for 2014. Formerly named C. Columbus and operated by Hapag Lloyd, the renamed MS Hamburg will cruise between Montreal, Toronto and Chicago with mostly German guests.

Travel Dynamics the creative New York-based firm, will return for another season with the 138-guest capacity Yorktown - one of the few US-flagged cruise ships in service. The Yorktown will operate 12 enrichment cruises in all five of the Great Lakes between May and October.

Blount Small Ship Adventures, formerly known as American Caribbean Canadian Cruise Line (ACCL), is one of the most versatile cruise firms in the Great Lakes. This fleet of 100-guest capacity purpose-built shallow draft vessels can slide into many small ports that are inaccessible to the larger vessels. Blount will be cruising the Grand Mariner and the Grand Caribe to ports between Chicago, Toronto, Quebec City, Kingston and along the Erie Canal between Lake Ontario and New York City.

St Lawrence Cruise line is the boutique firm that operates the family-owned, 64-guest capacity Canadian Empress along the St. Lawrence River between Kingston Ontario and Quebec City, North America’s only walled city. The Canadian Empress was designed to replicate a typical river boat and cruises The St. Lawrence River visiting ports in the Thousand Islands, Kingston, Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City.

The Great Lakes Cruising Coalition


Dunes at Holland State Park being leveled to protect channel wall

10/3 - Holland, Mich. – Work is underway to level the sand hills along the channel at Holland State Park, leaving Mike Mooney to shake his head.

“That will be sorely missed,” he said as he stowed his fishing gear in the back of his pickup this morning. “That’s so picturesque.”

Crews hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began Monday to remove the trees and dune grass so the 18,000 cubic yards of sand can be spread along the shore. The work should be done in about three weeks.

The sand on the north side of the channel is putting pressure on the sea wall and engineers are afraid the structure could collapse, said Tom O’Bryan of the Grand Haven office of the Corps.

“It’s not meant for that kind of load,” he said.

The work will cost $182,000 and is funded from last year’s budget so it is not affected by the U.S. government shutdown, O’Bryan said.

The mature trees, mostly cottonwood, are being ground into chips to be used in natural areas and the dune grass is being harvested so it can be transplanted, said Jody Johnston, park supervisor. The clean sand will then be pushed onto the state park beach.

Plans are also in the works to widen the walkway along the channel.

The Holland Sentinel


More dredging for the Great Lakes

10/3 - Lexington, Mich. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says dredging work is planned at harbors in Michigan along Lake Huron and Lake Superior.

The Corps' Detroit District said Tuesday that a $334,000 contract with Sault Ste. Marie-based MCM Marine Inc. will dredge Lexington Harbor in Sanilac County along Lake Huron.

Separately, the Detroit District said a roughly $283,000 contract with Muskegon-based Great Lakes Dock & Materials LLC will dredge Big Bay Harbor and Lac La Belle Harbor along Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula.

Work on the projects is expected to begin in mid-October and be completed by mid-November.

The Associated Press


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 surfboat. 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.

1907: The wooden tug PHILADELPHIA dated from 1869 and briefly served in the Algoma fleet. It was wrecked at Gros Cap, Lake Superior, on this date in 1907.

1911: The wooden freighter A.L. HOPKINS had cleared Bayfield the previous day with a full load of lumber and foundered in a storm on this date near Michigan Island, Lake Superior. Buoyed by the cargo, the hull floated a few more days before it disappeared. All 15 on board were picked up by the ALVA C. DINKEY.

1928: The steel bulk carrier M.J. BARTELME ran aground at Cana Island, Lake Michigan. The bottom was ripped open and the ship was abandoned. It was dismantled on site in 1929.

1953: The superstructure of the idle passenger steamer PUT-IN-BAY was burned off in Lake St. Clair and the remains of the iron hull were later dismantled at River Rouge.

1963: The Liberian flag Liberty ship TRIKERI, on her only trip to the Great Lakes, swung sideways in the Welland Canal near Welland, blocked the waterway and delayed traffic for 4 hours. The ship arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for scrapping as e) DAHLIA on December 27, 1967.

1963: A fire broke out in the cargo hold of the FRED CHRISTIANSEN while downbound at Sault Ste. Marie. The stubborn blaze took 4 hours to put out and was believed caused by some of the grain igniting as it was close to a steam line. The Norwegian freighter began Seaway trading in 1959 and returned as b) HERA in 1964. It arrived at Pasajes, Spain, under this name for scrapping on May 30, 1974.

1969: JOSEPH H. ran aground at Bic Island, in the St. Lawrence while enroute from Milwaukee to Russia with a cargo of rawhides. The Liberian-flag vessel sustained heavy bottom damage. It was refloated on October 6, taken to Levis, QC, and subsequently broken up there for scrap. The ship was operating under her fifth name and had first come through the Seaway as a) GRANADA in 1959.

1980: POLYDORA first came inland for four trips as a) FERNFIORD in 1963 and returned under her new name in 1964 on charter to Canadian Pacific Steamships. The ship had been at Marina di Carrara, Italy, and under arrest as d) GEORGIOS B., when it sailed overnight without permission. A fire in the engineroom broke out the next day and, while taken in tow, the ship foundered east of Tavolara Island, Sardinia.

1999: MANCHESTER MERCURIO traded through the Seaway in a container shuttle service beginning in 1971. It was abandoned by the crew and sank off the coast of Morocco as f) PHOENIX II on this date in 1999.

2000: The tug KETA V. usually operated on the St. Lawrence for Verreault Navigation but came to the Great Lakes with barges for Windsor in 1993. It ran aground and sank near Liverpool, NS on this date in 2000 but all on board got away safely on life rafts.

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


Eemsborg loses power in St. Lawrence River

10/2 - On Tuesday the Eemsborg, a 452-foot Wagenborg Shipping general cargo vessel, was upbound in the St. Lawrence River after reporting in to Seaway Clayton as having passed Crossover Island. The vessel lost her engine propulsion while sailing on the Crossover Range but avoided going aground by deploying the port and starboard anchors. The vessel brought up on her anchors and was afloat on the starboard side of the channel.

Stephen Trenton


Algoma Central: Algoma Equinox has begun her voyage to Canada

10/2 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Algoma Central Corporation announced Tuesday that the Algoma Equinox set sail from the Nantong Mingde Heavy Industries shipyard in Nantong, China on her way to Canada.

This vessel marks the third vessel to be built in China for the company’s domestic dry-bulk fleet. These dry-bulk vessels include the Radcliffe R. Latimer (delivered in 2009) and Algoma Mariner (delivered in 2011). In addition to these vessels, Algoma has also built the Algoscotia, a domestic tanker, and the Honourable Henry Jackman, an ocean-going dry-bulk vessel, in China. These vessels were delivered in 2004 and 2007, respectively.

Algoma Equinox is the first in a series of eight Equinox Class vessels being built at Nantong Mingde shipyard. The series consists of four gearless bulk carriers and four self-unloading bulk carriers. Algoma will own six of the series, consisting of two gearless bulkers and four self-unloading vessels. CWB Inc., formerly the Canadian Wheat Board, will own the other two gearless bulkers, which will be operated and managed by Algoma.

"Today, 20 Algoma crew members pushed away from the Nantong dock and began the long journey home," said Greg Wight, Algoma President and CEO. "The journey is expected to take eight weeks, during which time the crew will put the new ship through her paces. I know I speak for everyone from Algoma when I say that I look forward to seeing the Algoma Equinox and the crew arrive back in Canada in mid-November."

The Equinox Class represents the next generation of Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Waterway bulk cargo vessels. Algoma's $300 million investment in six Equinox Class vessels demonstrates the corporation's commitment to operating in a sustainable manner.

The ships have been designed to optimize fuel efficiency and operating performance thus minimizing environmental impact. A 45% improvement in energy efficiency over Algoma's current fleet average is expected, resulting from the use of a modern Tier II compliant engine, increased cargo capacity, and improved hull form. In addition, a fully-integrated IMO approved exhaust gas scrubber will remove 97% of all sulphur oxides from shipboard emissions. The use of exhaust gas scrubbers represents the first application of an IMO-approved integrated scrubber on a Great Lakes - St. Lawrence vessel class. In conjunction with the sailing of the Algoma Equinox, Algoma has published its first Sustainability Report. This report replaces the Algoma Environmental Report and is substantially broader, providing a detailed report card on all aspects of the corporation's sustainability performance. The 2013 Sustainability Report highlights performance against metrics for safety, community involvement, environmental impact and governance.

"Marine transportation is the most sustainable way of moving cargo, as was confirmed by the recent study Environmental and Social Impacts of Marine Transport in the Great Lakes—St. Lawrence Seaway Region, but we know that we must continue to improve our performance and are continually looking for ways to do so,” wrote Wight in the introduction to the report.

Read the 2013 Algoma Sustainability Report at In addition, if you wish to follow the progress of the Algoma Equinox on its journey home, a crew member on the vessel will be maintaining a blog of the voyage, a link to which can be found on the home page of our website.

Algoma Central Corporation


Bridge malfunction at Buffalo stalls freighter

10/2 - Buffalo, N.Y. – A Canadian freighter was stuck along Buffalo's waterfront for four days waiting for repairs to be made to the Ohio Street lift bridge.

The bridge is more than a half-century old and things occasionally go wrong. This time, a circuit board with a memory card was the cause of the problem. "The computer talks, actually to the motors, which allows it to lift, and unfortunately that was malfunctioning,” Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak explained.

The wheat-laden Robert S. Pierson couldn't pass under the bridge when it arrived in Buffalo early Friday evening. Jim Watkins, who manages Silo City, says it's odd that a bridge failure could last four days.

"It cost us all-in-all close to 90 hours of lost time,” said Jim Siddall, Vice President of Operations for Lower Lakes Towing.

The Pierson was supposed to be making its second trip to Buffalo by now. But Tuesday, it was just reaching the huge Lake and Rail silos on Childs Street to unload its haul. Stepniak says it would have happened sooner, but there was a second malfunction.

"The spare one, the brand new spare one we had in place didn't effect and kick on, so that's why we had to have a new one shipped in this morning."

The bridge is now functioning properly and the Pierson will soon be on its way. Siddall said his company doesn't plan on taking any action against the city for the delay.



Arrangements set for late Captain William Hoey

10/2 - Detroit, Mich. – On Saturday, September 28, 2013 Detroit Lodge No. 7 lost one of its senior members when Captain William “Bill” Hoey passed away at the age of 75 after a nine-year battle with multiple myeloma. Born and raised in the Detroit area, Captain Hoey grew up in Ferndale, the son of Winston A. and Florence Hoey.

As a youngster he spent summers at his uncle's cottage in northern Canada, which nurtured his interest in boats. Through a neighbor who was involved with the Detroit Historical Society, he was introduced to their museum ship at the time, the J.T. Wing. At a young age, he joined the Great Lakes Maritime Institute, and served as an early editor of their publication, the Telescope.

After graduating from Ferndale High School in 1956, Captain Hoey spent a brief period in the U.S. Navy before returning to Detroit and going to work for the Michigan Bell Telephone Co. At the same time, he worked part-time on the Fuller and Becker tugs and began what was to be his permanent career. In 1964, he formed the Gaelic Tugboat Co. and purchased his first tug, the Tipperary. When Warren Fuller retired in 1965, he acquired Fuller Marine Towing Company, and in June 1968, he obtained his master’s license. Shortly thereafter, he left Michigan Bell so he could devote all of his time to Gaelic, which continued to grow with the 1971 acquisition of the Frank Becker Towing Co. By the late 70s, the Gaelic fleet had grown to number 15 tugs.

In 1982, he achieved a life-long ambition when his tug William A. Whitney captured the overall prize in the International Freedom Festival Tugboat Race.

During the 1983 ISMA Grand Lodge convention at the Northfield Hilton in Troy, Captain Hoey was elected to the office of Grand Lodge President. One of the notable accomplishments of his time in office was the establishment of Niagara District Lodge No. 20.

In 1991, he began a new venture, Diamond Jack's River Tours, with the purchase of a 65-foot former Arnold Line Mackinac Island ferry that was renamed Diamond Jack. The company has since grown to a fleet of three vessels.

In 1992, the Great Lakes Maritime Institute recovered an anchor that the Edmund Fitzgerald lost in the Detroit River in 1974, one year before the Fitzgerald sank on Lake Superior. Captain Hoey played a major role in the recovery of the anchor, donating both his time and the assets of his company. Along with Mal Sillars, Captain Hoey was active in planning the live TV broadcast of the anchor recovery, which aired on July 20th, 1992 from the bottom of the Detroit River. "Live Dive: the Legend of the Edmund Fitzgerald" was the talk of the town. Today, the anchor is on display on the grounds of Dossin Museum thanks in no small part to his efforts.

Now managed by Bill's daughter, Patty Hoey-Carrothers and her husband Steve, the vessels of Gaelic Tugboat Company and Diamond Jack's River Tours continue to be familiar sights on the Detroit waterfront.

Captain Hoey was preceded in death by his son, William A. Hoey IV, who passed away in 2001. He is survived by his wife Katy; two daughters, Patricia (Steve) Carrothers, and Susan Pomerleau; grandson Nicklaus Carrothers; and sister Catherine (Michael) Roberts.

Thanks to the Marine Historical Society of Detroit and the Great Lakes Maritime Institute for providing some of the above bibliographical information. He was a member of both organizations for over 50 years.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, Oct. 5, at the John Molinar Funeral Home - Brownstown Chapel, 23700 West Road, Brownstown, MI 48183. Visitation at 3 p.m., followed by a service at 4 p.m.


Port Reports -  October 2

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
H. Lee White unloaded western coal at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock on Tuesday. Herbert C. Jackson, loaded with stone, waited at anchor for White's departure.


Chicago’s plan to privatize port still afloat

10/2 - Chicago, Ill – Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to privatize, improve and market one of Chicago’s greatest untapped assets — the nation’s largest inland general cargo port — is still afloat, a top mayoral aide said Tuesday.

One day after the Colorado-based Broe Group “amicably suspended” exclusive negotiations on a 62-year master lease, Port Authority Board Chairman Michael Forde vowed to forge ahead with negotiations with Broe’s competitors.

The Broe Group, which had pledged to invest $500 million in port facilities over the next decade, could not be reached for comment.

“We had several very compelling proposals. Those bidders remain interested. We’re going to continue to negotiate with everybody who made good proposals in response to the RFP. That may include the Broe Group. Their press release left that possibility open. All that stopped was exclusivity,” Forde said, refusing to identify the snag.

“We remain very optimistic that we’ll be able to get a very good deal that maximizes economic development on the Southeast Side. If we can’t, we’re not going to do a deal. No deal is better than a bad deal.”

Last month, Emanuel grounded plans to privatize Midway Airport after one of only two remaining bidders dropped out. On Tuesday, Forde stressed the difference between the port and airport deals.

“This transaction we hope to achieve is not about monetizing the asset. What we are most concerned with is maximizing job creation at the Port District and attracting capital investment,” he said.

What happens if negotiations bog down again? Forde said there is no Plan B.

“I remain optimistic that we’ll get Plan A. People in the industry have said what a unique asset this is [because of] its access by rail, road and maritime and its proximity to downtown Chicago,” he said.

When the mayor announced his privatization plan in late July, he told reporters that it would create up to 1,000 permanent jobs and 3,000 construction jobs.

The Port District, which has roughly $30 million in outstanding debt, would have received $1 million in annual revenues, along with ten percent of new revenue that came into the port.

Chicago Sun Times


Steel production drops by 6,000 tons in Great Lakes states

10/2 - Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region slipped to about 648,000 tons in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Production fell by about 6,000 tons, or about 0.9 percent from the week prior, marking the second straight week of decline. Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Indiana and the Chicago area.

Production in the Southern District was estimated at 661,000 tons last week, down from 685,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.85 million tons, down from 1.88 million a week prior. Steelmakers made about 5.8 percent more steel last week than they did over the same period last year.

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 77.3 percent last week, which is down from 78.3 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 70.4 percent at the same time last year.

So far this year, domestic steel producers have had a capacity utilization rate of 77.2 percent, which is up from 77 percent during the same period in 2012.

Domestic mills have produced an estimated 70.3 million tons of steel this year, down 3.6 percent from the same period last year. The mills had made about 72.9 million tons of steel by Sept. 21, 2012.

Steel imports rose 13.9 percent in August over July. So far this year, total steel imports are 21.1 million tons, or about 9 percent less than during the same period in 2012. Reinforcing bars posted the biggest increase in August, raising 117 percent as compared to July.

North West Indiana Times


Shipwreck site dedicated as state's first underwater preserve

10/2 - Chesterton, Ind. – Indiana officials dedicated the state's first-ever underwater preserve at the Indiana Dunes State Park on Monday at the site of the shipwreck of the J.D. Marshall.

"It's in honor of the men who served on the J.D. Marshall that we dedicate this preserve today," said Mike Molnar, program manager for the Lake Michigan Coastal Program.

The Natural Resource Commission approved the creation of the preserve on Sept. 17. The 100-acre J.D. Marshall Preserve is due north of the pavilion at the Indiana Dunes State Park.

The site is open for diving and fishing but precautions will be in place to try to prevent treasure-hunters from removing items from the wreckage and to keep boat anchors from damaging it.

Dan Bortner, director of Indiana State Parks and Reserves, said the J.D. Marshall is a preserve dedicated to preserving and teaching about the maritime history on Indiana's Lake Michigan shores.

"We're here today to honor that history in a way that's never been done before," Bortner said.

The J.D. Marshall was built in 1891 in South Haven, Mich., and converted from a timber hauler to a sand barge in 1910 after its sister ship, the Muskegon, burned and sank near Mount Baldy in Michigan City.

On June 11, 1911, the J.D. Marshall was taking on water, capsizing in a storm and sank, trapping three crew members beneath it and killing them along with one other crew members.

At the dedication ceremony, Molnar read the names of each crew member killed and a bell tolled with the reading of each name. Mate Martin Donahue, Fireman Gus Jake, Assistant Engineer Charles Langeman and Seaman John Wisemann died in the wreck.

Cameron Clark, director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said park staff developed the program "Tragedy Beneath the Waves" to tell the story of the J.D. Marshall. Plans are underway for the site to be part of Duneland Chamber of Commerce's Beyond the Beach Trail as well, Clark said.

The wreckage was discovered in 1970 by an early explorer of Lake Michigan shipwrecks. The ship was raised in 1982 by salvage crews from Michigan who planned to sell it for scrap. The crew was stopped by conservation police, but not until after the propeller and other pieces had already been removed.

As conservation officers were investigating the scrapping operation, the lines holding the ship broke, sending it plunging back into Lake Michigan.

The rudder and deck were recovered and have been preserved in Michigan City. The propeller is on display outside the pavilion at Indiana Dunes State Park.

Chesterton News


Seaway trails take travellers on a trip through history

10/2 - Travellers interested in America’s War of 1812 history now have a new 72-page, illustrated guidebook to lead them to historic sites in New York and Pennsylvania. Seaway Trail Inc. (Sackets Harbor) has published “Waterways of War: The War of 1812, A Traveller’s Guide to the War of 1812 Forts, Battlefields and Historic Sites along America’s Byways in New York and Pennsylvania,” by Steve Benson and Ron Toelke.

The book highlights sites on two federally designated National Scenic Byways: the 518-mile Great Lakes Seaway Trail along the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York and Pennsylvania; and the 225-mile Lakes to Locks Passage along Lake Champlain and the Hudson River in New York.

Sixteen community-specific chapters highlight historic 1812 sites in Erie, Pa., as well as Buffalo, Lewiston, Youngstown, Rochester, Pultneyville, Sodus Point, Oswego, Sandy Creek, Sackets Harbor, Clayton, Alexandria Bay, Ogdensburg, Massena, Plattsburgh, Troy and Greenbush, N.Y.

Walter P. Rybka, senior captain of the U.S. Brig Niagara based at the Great Lakes Seaway Trail port of Erie, wrote the introduction. Early chapters offer a 16-page overview of the war and the Great Lakes Seaway Trail and Lakes to Locks Passage byways.

Written in easy-to-read vignette style, “Waterways of War: The War of 1812″ includes many stories, e.g., a description of the real “Uncle Sam” and the battle fireworks behind the Star-Spangled Banner, plus a timeline, how-to tips for historic re-enactors, and a books and websites resource section.

Noted maritime artist Peter Rindlisbacher provided his painting of “The Oneida off Sackets Harbor” for the cover. War of 1812 artifacts collector Robert Bodnoff contributed many of the historic images among 132 colorful illustrations and photos and 11 maps. The guidebook retails for $14.95 and is available at historic sites and through

Seaway Trail, Inc. has just released the second printing of a companion book, “Waterways of War: The Struggle for Empire 1754-1763, A Traveler’s Guide to the Forts and Battlefields along America’s Byways in New York and Pennsylvania.” Federal Highway Administration funding administered through the New York State Department of Transportation to Seaway Trail Inc. supported the development of the heritage theme guidebooks and a series of War of 1812 and French and Indian War Great Lakes Seaway Trail “Outdoor Storyteller” interpretive panels installed at historic sites along the byway.

For more information, call Seaway Trail Inc. at 315-646-1000, ext. 203, or visit

Bullet News Niagara


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 honored the Olympic Games that were held at Montreal that year.

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 sandsucker AMERICAN last operated in 1956, and laid up at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She was scrapped in S. Chicago in 1984.

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, E. G. GRACE cleared Lorain, Ohio, bound for Superior, Wisconsin, to load iron ore.

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.

1891: WINSLOW ran aground in fog while inbound at Duluth. The hole in the wooden hull was patched and the ship was released and able to be docked. The vessel caught fire while unloading the next day and destroyed.

1938: The first WINDOC was struck when Bridge 20, a railway bridge across the Welland Canal, was lowered prematurely and removing the stack, spar and lifeboats of the N.M. Paterson steamer.

1953: A collision occurred between PIONEER and WALLSCHIFF in the St. Clair River on this date and the latter, a West German visitor to the Great Lakes, rolled on its side and settled in shallow water. One crew member perished. PIONEER, a Cleveland-Cliffs steamer, was repaired for further service and was later scrapped at Genoa, Italy, in 1961. WALLSCHIFF, on her first and only trip to the Great Lakes, was refloated and departed for permanent repairs overseas in 1954. The vessel was still sailing as g) GOLDEN MERCURY in 2011.

1973: A head-on collision in fog off Gull Island, Lake Michigan between the T-2 tanker MARATHONIAN and Norwegian freighter ROLWI left both ships with massive bow damage. The former had begun Seaway service as f) MARATHON in 1960 and was repaired at South Chicago. It disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle as h) SYLVIA L. OSSA in October 1976. ROLWI, a Norwegian salty, was also repaired and returned inland as b) DOBERG in 1974 and c) LORFRI in 1976. It arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping as e) PEROZAN on February 6, 1996

1992: The Canadian coastal freighter SIR JOHN CROSBIE was built in St. Catharines by Port Weller Dry Docks in 1962. It sank in the Gulf of Mexico off the west coast of Florida as c) HOLSTEN on this date but all on board were rescued.

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


Obituary: Captain William Hoey

10/1 - Captain William “Bill” Hoey, a long-time Detroit River master mariner and tugboat captain, passed away on Saturday, Sep. 28 after a nine-year battle with multiple myeloma.

He was owner and operator of Diamond Jack's River Tours and the Gaelic Tugboat Company on the Detroit River.

A strong supporter of BoatNerd since the beginning, and a member of its board of directors, Captain Hoey was also a member of a multitude of maritime history groups and was on the advisory council of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit. He was particularly knowledgeable about the Detroit River, with wisdom gained from a lifetime spent navigating its waters, and was always willing to share information and photographs with others.

Captain Hoey had been a member of International Shipmasters Association Detroit Lodge No. 7 for nearly 50 years and served as Grand Lodge President in 1983.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.


Port Reports -  October 1

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Whitefish Bay – one of the new Trillium class boats introduced this summer by Canada Steamship Lines – loaded Monday at the NS coal dock. She sailed for Nanticoke.


Great Lakes Shipyard replaces main propulsion controls on USCG Cutter Mobile Bay

10/1 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard is completing the replacement of the main propulsion control system on the United States Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay.

This work marks the final installation under a five-year contract with the USCGs Engineering Logistics Center, Baltimore, Md. This contract included installation of new main propulsion control systems for the entire fleet of nine 140-foot Bay Class of ice breaking tugs.

The shipyard’s mobile vessel crew is conducting the work on-site in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. It is to be completed in early October.

To learn more, visit


More cruises due on Great Lakes, but they won’t stop at Toledo

10/1 - Toledo, Ohio – Next summer, the on-again, off-again Great Lakes cruise industry hopes to begin the renaissance it has envisioned for decades. But, for now, Toledo has done virtually nothing to be part of it.

Little, if any, of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s $283,000 marketing budget is dedicated to courting Great Lakes cruise ships. The port authority has rejected invitations to rejoin the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, a Kingston, Ont.-based group that markets member communities for a mere $3,700 to $7,000 in annual fees.

Stephen Burnett, the coalition’s executive director, said he sees a bright future for the Great Lakes cruise industry because as many as five cruise lines are expected to offer new trips in 2014, the most in several years. All are to be smaller vessels, holding 100 to 400 people, with the Great Lakes seeing a net increase of 6,000 passengers.

Much of the buzz begins with a new company called Pearl Seas Cruises, of Guilford, Conn.

Pearl Seas is an affiliate of American Cruise Lines, a small-ship cruise line established in 1991 that has offered cruises throughout New England, the South, Chesapeake Bay, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest.

Pearl Seas Cruises has announced on its Web site,, that it is taking orders for a trio of Great Lakes cruises, as well as one that will go between the St. Lawrence River and the Canadian Maritimes. Fares range from $5,000 to $9,000 for itineraries of 10 to 14 days, with 9 to 12 ports of call.

The excursions will be aboard a luxury liner, the newly built Pearl Mist cruise ship. The Web site said the ship has been limited to 100 oversized staterooms, all with private balconies.

The Web site states the Pearl Mist, made of six decks and 335 feet long, is small enough for those aboard to cruise into “scenic areas inaccessible to larger ships and make new friends with 200 like-minded passengers as we dock in the heart of small, welcoming coastal towns.”

The ship, in the final phases of construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, Md., has 108 staterooms and a capacity of 210 passengers. All of its staterooms have private balconies. Its staterooms range in size from 302 to 580 square feet, according to the Web site.

None of the stops is planned in Toledo or any other Lake Erie ports, including Cleveland.

Joe Cappel, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority director of cargo development, said the agency’s focus has been almost exclusively on cargo shipments in recent years because the cruise industry has never regained the foothold it once had in the Great Lakes region.

“With our limited resources at the port, we try to focus on things that have the most bang for the buck, which means cargo. But, no, we haven’t been aggressive in marketing Toledo to the cruise-ship industry,” Mr. Cappel said.

Toledo’s best spot for docking cruise ships is likely along the Maumee River, next to the future National Museum of the Great Lakes in East Toledo. The building was initially built by the port authority as a passenger-vessel terminal.

The museum, being developed by the Great Lakes Historical Society, is to open next spring. It will replace the group’s museum in Vermilion, Ohio.

The 300-foot-long dock is used by ferry charters operated by Jet Express, which require less clearance than cruise ships. The Pearl Mist needs at least 12 feet of water, Ms. Rabinovici said.

The last cruise ships to visit Toledo called during the late 1990s. The 100-passenger M.V. Nantucket Clipper used Toledo as a starting or ending point for Great Lakes cruises from 1996 through 1998, and the 400-passenger C. Columbus took on a shipload of German tourists for a voyage to Quebec City in 1997.

But the C. Columbus took a 45-minute delay at one of Toledo’s railroad bridges, and so the origin of a similar cruise the following year was moved to Detroit. The Nantucket Clipper’s revised itineraries in 1999 came no closer than Windsor, Ont.

Toledo Blade


Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival a family event

10/1 - Alpena, Mich. – The 18th annual Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival will be coming to Alpena Oct. 10-13 with plenty of events on the schedule for the whole family. The festival promotes the historic lighthouses and lifesaving stations of the Great Lakes, and is the only place where the public can meet with such a large concentration of lighthouse groups.

"When the sun is shining and the weather is good, we can bring around 3,000-5,000 people out along the shoreline," festival organizer Melanie Kirn said. "There are helicopter tours, glass-bottom boat tours and plenty of exhibitors with lighthouse items for sale and auction."

Kirn said there are many new crafters this year from out of state, and there will be a new lighthouse photography workshop with a teacher from Lansing who will take classes to different lighthouses and working with them.

"The workshop will be available every day," Kirn said. "Each day students will be able to photograph a different lighthouse."

The APlex will house over 20 lighthouse exhibits from around the Great Lakes including the featured lighthouse this year, Big Sable Point Lighthouse. Photographers, artists, crafters and Dennis Hale, the sole survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell shipwreck, will be available for book signings, and working replicas of historic lighthouses will be on sale. There also will be a film company accepting face shots and resumes for a movie about lighthouse keepers.

"There is no other place with such a large concentration of lighthouse groups, things to purchase and just people interested in lighthouses," Kirn said. "Families will get a sense of pride knowing more about the lighthouses and lifesaving stations around the area. They learn a part of history, and it's fun!"

Dinners with free live entertainment and silent auctions will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at the Sanctuary Inn. There will be a video on the 1913 storm on Friday night, and on Saturday a virtual tour of the lighthouses of Door County, Wis., will be presented.

Saturday at the APlex will be a live auction with over 75 nautical items up for bids, with the money raised going to help lighthouse organizations with restoration efforts.

"Family day is Sunday," Kirn said. "Children can pick up a lighthouse passport and visit each lighthouse to get a stamp. Once they get all the stamps, they get a prize."

Sunday is also "Shine a Light on Hunger" day, and those attendees who donate two or more nonperishable food items will get in for free on Sunday. All of the items collected will be donated to Saint Bernard's soup kitchen.

"The festival is a great time for everyone," Kirn said. "Many people who have been here keep coming back. Alpena is a beautiful place and we really want the community to get involved and enjoy the festival."

The Alpena News


Updates -  October 1

News Photo Gallery Special Gallery featuring the conversion of the former rail ferry Viking
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Champlain Gallery


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.

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.

1918: The Canadian bulk carrier GALE STAPLES was blown ashore Point au Sable about 8 miles west of Grand Marais. All on board were saved but the wooden vessel, best known as b) CALEDONIA, broke up.

1942: The former CANADIAN ROVER, Hull 67 from the Collingwood shipyard, was torpedoed and sunk as d) TOSEI MARU in the Pacific east of Japan by U.S.S. NAUTILUS.

1946: KINDERSLEY, loaded with 2074 tons of excess munitions, was scuttled in the deep waters of the Atlantic. The former C.S.L. freighter had been on saltwater to assist in the war effort.

1984: ANNEMARIE KRUGER arrived at Finike, Turkey, as e) BANKO with engine damage on this date and was laid up. The ship, a frequent Seaway visitor in the 1960s, was sold for scrap and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, under tow on August 3, 1986, and was dismantled.

1998 The tank barge SALTY DOG NO. 1 broke tow from the tug DOUG McKEIL and went aground off Anticosti Island the next day. The vessel was released and it operated until scrapping at Port Colborne in 2005.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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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