Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Seaway strike deadline extended to Monday

10/31 - noon update - The union representing Canadian workers on the St. Lawrence Seaway says a strike deadline set for just past noon Friday has been extended through the weekend.

Unifor says the new strike deadline is 5 p.m. Monday. Notice of the new deadline was served to the Seaway on Friday morning during ongoing contract negotiations in Cornwall, Ontario.

Unifor National Representative Joel Fournier says the union remains hopeful that a deal can be reached.

The union says talks are expected to continue through the weekend under a media blackout, and that the two sides have been negotiating since Tuesday.

Five Unifor locals along the Seaway from Niagara to Montreal announced Tuesday they were serving 72 hours' strike notice along the waterway.

A strike would close down 13 Canadian locks and essentially shut down the Seaway.


Gales forecast for Friday; vessels seek shelter

10/31 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – A strengthening storm system will move straight over Michigan Friday, while deepening at the same time. A deepening storm means the wind speeds will increase.

The winds will be straight out of the north, which really builds the wave heights, especially on Lake Michigan. The flow of air down the entire length of Lake Michigan will cause waves to increase heading south on Lake Michigan. Winds are expected to gust over 40 mph on all of the Great Lakes shores. There is a storm warning in effect, and waves could build to 23 feet at the south end of Lake Michigan.

On Thursday evening, likely in anticipation of the blow, the lakers Joseph H. Thompson, CSL Assinibone and Stewart J. Cort were anchored in the lee of Seul Choix Point on northern Lake Michigan, while the Wilfred Sykes was headed to anchor off Manistique. Joseph L. Block was loading at the Port Inland dock.

Lake Huron and Lake Superior will also have big waves. The north wind on Lake Huron will make the tallest waves on the south end of Lake Huron from Harbor Beach to Port Huron, where 14 foot waves are expected. Lake Superior will have about the same situation with 14 foot waves along the southern shore of Lake Superior.

November is a famous month for dangerous storms on the Great Lakes. The basic reason is Great Lakes water temperatures are relatively warm, and the air aloft can turn much colder. The warm air over the lakes is light and wants to rise, much like a hot air ballon rises. The cold air aloft is heavier and wants to fall to the ground. The opposing movement of these different air masses causes part of the wind. This happens at the same time the strength of low-pressure systems is getting stronger.

The combination of stronger large-scale storm systems with the water-to-air temperature difference makes the wind on the Great Lakes a unique weather situation.

The cold air coming will also make it look like winter at times Friday afternoon and evening.

M Live


Strike threat on Seaway could impact most Great Lakes ports

10/31 - Toledo, Ohio – A threatened strike over automation of the locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway could cut off international traffic to Great Lakes ports, including Toledo. The strike, if it happens, could begin as early Friday afternoon.

Unifor, a Canadian union representing workers on the Seaway, recently served a 72-hour strike notice to Seaway management, according to news reports, most of which cited a Unifor news release.

At issue is the automation of the mooring process used in the locks along the Seaway, which includes the Welland Canal linking Lakes Erie and Ontario. The Welland locks raise and lower ships around Niagara Falls. Lock crews handle mooring lines, which secure the ships while they are raised or lowered.

In April, the Seaway announced it had received government funding to automate the process, effectively eliminating the jobs of the lock crews.

“We believe that having no one at the lock is not a good idea,” said Joel Fournier, Unifor national representative, in the news release. “The risk of an environmental disaster with all of the dangerous cargo going through the Seaway is very real.”

The earliest a strike could begin is 12:15 p.m. Oct. 31, according to the news release, which said 96 percent of workers had voted earlier to support a strike.

Increased cargo “throughput” — for example, cargo brought in on ships and sent elsewhere by other means — at Midwest Terminals, which handles most of Toledo’s overseas cargo, resulted in a 54 percent increase in general cargo through September, compared to the same period in 2013, according to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

Great Lakes shipping would be less affected, as lake freighter cargo for the most part stays in the four upper lakes. The locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., linking Lakes Huron and Superior, are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and so would not be affected.

Meanwhile, negotiations will continue with the assistance of a mediator appointed by the Canadian federal government, according to the Welland Tribune newspaper website.

Toledo Free Press


Labor inspectors to visit Canadian Miner cleanup site after worker hurt

10/31 - Sydney, N.S. – A laborer injured Tuesday in a fall at the cleanup site of the Canadian Miner on Scatarie Island will be back at work in a couple of days.

David Macdonald, general manager for RJ MacIsaac Construction of Antigonish, said Wednesday the worker was helping to remove equipment from the derelict freighter when he slipped on some rocks and broke two ribs.

Macdonald said the man, a general laborer from Sydney in his 50s, has been told by his doctor he can return to work after resting for two or three days.

He said work on dismantling the ship has been delayed due to weather, not because of the mishap, and that work would resume as weather permits.

“Operations were suspended due to high seas and wind conditions, and a couple of employees were removing some equipment from the Miner, crossing the breakwater road that we have to access the ship and … due to the high wind and sea conditions, the rocks were wet and one of our employees slipped and fell and broke two ribs,” Macdonald said.

A Cormorant helicopter from 14 Wing Greenwood flew the worker to hospital in Sydney.

On Wednesday, Labour Department spokeswoman Chrissy Matheson said the province has not issued a stop-work order “as of yet,” but inspectors are planning to visit the island as soon as possible to investigate the accident and to ensure the work-site safety plan is adequate.

Macdonald said staff trained in first aid are on Scatarie Island and the company has access to a helicopter, but it was away at the time of the accident.

By the time the company’s chopper arrived, the military helicopter was only a half-hour away, so staff decided to wait for it to arrive, he said.

Maj. Martell Thompson of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax said a call for medical evacuation was received at about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday and the helicopter from 14 Wing Greenwood arrived at Scatarie at about 3:20 p.m.

The patient was transferred to an ambulance and taken to Cape Breton Regional Hospital at about 4 p.m.

Earlier this year, the province awarded a $12-million contract to RJ MacIsaac Construction to remove the MV Miner from the shore of Scatarie Island after the former Great Lakes freighter ran aground three years ago.

The ship was being towed to Turkey for scrap when it came loose in heavy weather and drifted toward the island, about two kilometres offshore from the community of Main-a-Dieu.

Matheson said the province takes safety seriously at the site, especially since previous work was stopped over safety concerns. The Bennington Group, a New York company, ran afoul of provincial regulations and eventually walked away from the cleanup effort in 2012.

Macdonald said the company still plans to finish the cleanup in about a month. Most of the ship’s superstructures have been removed and work is progressing quickly.

“We’re still moving forward with trying to have it done by the end of November or early December,” he said. “We want to be out of there as contractors as fast as possible. We don’t want to get into winter conditions or winter work.”

The Chronicle Herald


Port Reports -  October 31

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algolake was at Dock 3 on Thursday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
The Luedtke dredger was working in the reach between the piers at the CSX River Bridge Thursday afternoon. While the bridge was in the raised position for the dredge, work crews were refacing the concrete on the counterweight, since it swings low to the ground when the draw is up. The tug Ohio remained at the vising ship dock. Vermont is now rafted alongside. Ohio brought the barge and derrick Farrell 256 from Erie to remove the old Black Rock Lock gates. The gates will be loaded onto the barge, and Ohio will be leaving with the gates headed to Cleveland. They were supposed to leave Thursday afternoon, but the lift of the gates was not yet complete. Weather may affect their departure. Vermont is now reassigned to Buffalo, and will take the place of the New Jersey. New Jersey has been resigned to Toledo. Washington will be staying in Buffalo due to her diesel electric versatility.


Left Behind #5 – Francisco Morazon – by Skip Gillham

The remains of the Francisco Morazon are likely still visible off South Manitou Island, Lake Huron. The vessel landed there while racing to clear the Seaway on Nov. 29, 1960. Since then, wind, waves, ice and occasional fires have added to the woes of this veteran saltwater ship.

The vessel had been built at Hamburg, Germany, and launched on Sept. 23, 1922. It was soon at work in the Hamburg-America line as Arcadia and was noted to provide fast service to shallow draft ports.

The 246 foot, 9 inch long freighter was equipped with a steam turbine engine. It was sold and renamed b) Elbing in 1934 and served as such until confiscated by the British Ministry of War Transport as a war prize in 1945. Renamed c) Empire Congress, the ship worked for the British until sold to Norwegian interests and renamed d) Brunes in 1946. Another sale led to a rename of e) Skuld in 1947 and then f) Ringas in 1948.

Ringas became a pre-Seaway saltie in 1952 and returned until at least 1956. Stops included Muskegon, Mich., with china clay, and Port Huron with what was listed as general cargo. At some point it also brought a load of pulpwood into the lakes.

Another sale in 1958 led to the rename of g) Los Mayas and this ship visited the Great Lakes again that year bringing more china clay to Muskegon. Now under the flag of Panama, the vessel hit bottom at some point and required a cement patch to stop the leak.

Sold again in 1959 and renamed h) Francisco Morazon, the then Liberian-flagged freighter came to Thunder Bay in 1959 to load grain and was back on the lakes with a stop at Chicago in 1960. It had left there with general cargo for Hamburg, West Germany, and Rotterdam, Holland, and was in a hurry to clear the Seaway when it landed securely on the bottom off South Manitou Island, Lake Michigan, on Nov. 29, 1960. What is left of the ship is still there.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #348 – Eider aground and damaged off Antofagasta, Chile on Oct. 31, 2005

Eider is one of the big, green-hulled ocean ships that come through the Seaway for Canfornav. The 656 foot, 2 inch long, 35,200 ton capacity bulk carrier was built at Xingang, China in 2004.

It came through the Seaway for the first time on Oct. 21, 2004, with a cargo of steel coils for Detroit before going to Thunder Bay to load canola.

The next year there were two more trips inland with Windsor as the destination before returning to Thunder Bay for a load of canola and a second time for peas.

Later that year, on Oct. 31, 2005, Eider ran aground near Antofagasta, Chile, while inbound to load copper ore for Hong Kong. A tank fractured and considerable fuel oil was spilled with reported damage extending along the coast.

Eider was refloated, fined and repaired. It resumed service after the accident of nine years ago today and was back on the Great Lakes later in 2006. It has returned on a regular basis making three trips inland in 2007 with steel and, on one occasion a cargo of sugar for Toronto.

Eider continues to trade for Canfornav and serves their customers along the Seaway and around the world.

Skip Gillham


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


Potential strike could close Seaway Friday

10/30 - St. Catharines, Ont. – The St. Lawrence Seaway could be facing a Friday strike at 12:15 p.m. that would close its shipping operations.

In a release, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. said it was served Tuesday with a 72-hour notice to strike by Unifor.

That union represents the Seaway’s 460 unionized employees in locals covering Niagara and elsewhere in Ontario and Quebec.

"We believe that having no one at the lock is not a good idea," said Unifor's national rep Joel Fournier. "The risk of an environmental disaster with all of the dangerous cargo going through the Seaway is very real."

Unifor says hands-free mooring will eliminate staff currently working at the locks, and is calling for minimum staffing to deal "with emergencies."

Lock staffing is an important source of jobs locally, Unifor says.

The Seaway counters the new technology will still allow shops to pass through locks in a "safe and secure manner."

"This program is essential to ensuring that the Seaway can operate on a basis that is both safe and sustainable," the Wednesday release said.

The Seaway received federal funding earlier this year to automate the locks.

Meanwhile, negotiations will continue with the assistance of a federally-appointed mediator.

The Seaway says the strike notification has prompted the implementation of "detailed plans for an orderly and safe shutdown of the system within the 72-hour notice period."

If the strike happens St. Lawrence Seaway will be closed to all its shipping traffic.

St. Catharines Standard and ErieMedia


Port Reports -  October 30

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
A busy day at the harbors in Marquette found Lewis J. Kuber loading ore and Mesabi Miner unloading coal at the Upper Harbor and Herbert C. Jackson unloading stone at the Lower Harbor. Kuber's visit was a first for 2014.

Drummond Island, Mich.
Wilfred Sykes loaded throughout the day and departed for a southern Lake Michigan port around 8 p.m.

Goderich, Ont.
Oakglen arrived Wednesday to load grain, an unusual port of call for this vessel.


Marina owner to move historic tug Reiss stuck in river

10/30 - Douglas, Mich. – A new effort is underway to remove a historic tugboat that's been stuck in the Kalamazoo River for years.

WZZM 13 went along on the water with a Douglas marina owner who is hoping to finally pull the Reiss out of the sand. It got stuck only a few hundred yards from land.

Tower Marine owner R.J. Peterson is making it his mission to get the Reiss unstuck. WZZM 13 followed along as he took us for an up-close look at the historic boat, which has some parts built more than a century ago.

"The engine is probably 1880, and the tug was built in the 20's sometime," says Peterson.

On-board, there was a one-of-a-kind steam engine, and the boiler room next to it.

"That's down about 15 or 16 feet, so you can understand why the tugboat is stuck in about 9 feet of water," says Peterson.

Peterson says the Reiss became stuck about a decade ago, on its way to a museum in Minnesota. Funding ran out, and it was left in the Kalamazoo River.

"Now, we're going back into a high-water period, so now it's time to move it to the dock," says Peterson.

Last week, Peterson used his own boat to push around the tug to see if it would move.

"We'll be able to spin it directly around so it's headed for the dock; right now, it's headed directly away from the dock," says Peterson.

"Pushed it back two or three times, had it moving pretty good," says John Kiss, the head of maintenance for Tower Marine.

Once the boat is turned around, the next step begins. Back on land, crew members are going to take about 200 yards of cable and tie one end to the boat and another end to the dock. Then, they plan to use a winch to bring the boat in.

Long-term, Peterson hopes to get the historic tugboat into a museum, "to get it someplace where it will be taken care of," he says.

Peterson says he may have a couple museums that are interested in restoring the tugboat. He hopes to have it on land in the next two weeks.



Now hiring: BayShip prepares for winter push

10/30 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Bay Shipbuilding is hiring. Of all the marine manufacturing companies in Wisconsin, Sturgeon Bay-based Bay Shipbuilding has the largest and most urgent need as winter closes in. The company is looking for 100 full-time workers and many seasonal workers for its ship repair business.

"We'll have 14 or 15 vessels stacking up like cordwood," human resources manager Bill Behme said of winter repair orders. "It will include all manner of repair and re-powering."

Bay Shipbuilding is one of the most significant large-ship repair yards on the Great Lakes.

"The beauty is, when we get into the winter months, anybody who would like to make lots more money based on overtime, there are ample opportunities," Behme said. "We work seven days a week. It's a narrow window (to get repairs completed). Boat owners don't want to miss deliveries."

Also, the company, which has 600 employees, most of them represented by one of four unions, has an order for nine new vessels in the next three years.

Bay Shipbuilding needs welders, pipefitters, electricians, engineers, CAD designers, supervisors and managers in its production area. It also needs semi-skilled and unskilled workers for its seasonal repair business. Wages range from $14 to $23 an hour.

"In a relatively short period of time, we will have to add on several hundred skilled workers," Behme said.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Left Behind #4 – Monrovia – by Skip Gillham

Monrovia, an Empire ship of the World War Two era, was lost on its first visit to the Great Lakes. It went down on June 25, 1959, following a collision with the Royalton about 11 miles off Thunder Bay Island, Lake Huron.

The accident occurred at 1450 hours after Monrovia had lost its way and wandered into the down bound shipping lane during a period of heavy fog. On board was a cargo of steel loaded at Antwerp, Belgium, and destined for Duluth.

Monrovia received a deep gash on the port side and remained afloat long enough for the crew to safely abandon the ship. As the holds and engineroom flooded, the 29 sailors on board took to the lifeboats and were picked up in about 20 minutes by the Norman W. Foy.

The ship had been built at Glasgow, Scotland, and launched for the British Ministry of War Transport on April 8, 1943, as Empire Falstaff. It carried valuable cargoes to assist the war effort and, when peace had been won, it was sold to the French Government and renamed b) Commandant Mantelet in 1945. The name was changed to c) Commandant Le Biboul in 1951 and it sailed as such until becoming Monrovia for the Eastern Shipping Co. in 1954. Registered in Monrovia, Liberia, the steamer Monrovia operated successfully on saltwater routes until its fateful visit through the newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959.

The hull of Monrovia rests upright on the bottom in about 140 feet of water. Some of the cargo of steel was salvaged in the 1970s but there would be no refloating the ship.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #347 – Aigle Marin ran aground near Cornwall on Oct. 30, 1973

The coastal freighter and occasional Great Lakes visitor Aigle Marin was built at Collingwood as Hull 88. The 160 foot long vessel was constructed as a minesweeper and commissioned for the Canadian Department of National Defense as H.M.C.S. Fundy on Sept. 1, 1938.

H.M.C.S. Fundy was based at Halifax for minesweeping and escort duty and, among other work, rescued survivors on January 15, 1945, from the torpedoed Liberty ship Martin Van Buren. The latter was on a voyage from Boston to France with vehicles and general cargo when attacked.

After being idle at Sorel for many years, the Fundy was rebuilt by Marine Industries Ltd. for coastal service and repowered. It began commercial trading as Aigle Marin and made occasional forays into the Great Lakes.

It was 41-years ago today that the ship ran aground in the Seaway near Cornwall while carrying 600 tons of ferrous chrome for delivery to Thorold. The vessel was released Oct. 31, 1973, with the aid of the tug Robinson Bay.

Aigle Marin was sold in 1978 and renamed Anne R.D. It also saw Great Lakes service, often in the steel trade out of Sault Ste. Marie and, on Oct. 20, 1981, there was a failure in the main gear box while crossing Lake Huron. As a result, the ship had to be towed to Alpena.

Anne R.D. was idle from 1983 to 1987 and scrapped at La Malbaie, Quebec, in the summer of 1987.

Skip Gillham


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


Seaway served with strike notice

10/29 - Montreal, Que. – Workers along the St. Lawrence Seaway from Niagara to Montreal could be on strike as early as this Friday, said the union which represents them.

Unifor, which represents 460 members in Locals 4212 and 4211 in Niagara and Cornwall, Locals 4319 and 4320 in Montreal and Local 4323 in Iroquois, served strike notice on the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. Tuesday.

A release from the union said the notice was served at the resumption of contract talks in Cornwall, the first time the two sides had met in months. Unifor filed for federal conciliation in August.

The earliest a strike could begin is Oct. 31 at 12:15 pm., and workers had earlier voted 96% in favor of a strike.

“Traffic is up along the seaway this year. It is difficult for us to understand why the seaway would risk a work stoppage at this point,” said Unifor national representative Joel Fournier.

At issue is a plan to automate the locks along the seaway, eliminating the staff currently working on them, said the union. In April, the seaway announced it had received funding from the federal government to automate the locks, eliminating the staff currently working.

Work has already begun to retrofit Lock 3 on the Welland Canal with the new hands-free system. All locks across the seaway are to be retrofitted by 2018. The union sees the hands-free system as s safety issue.

“We believe that having no one at the lock is not a good idea. The risk of an environmental disaster with all of the dangerous cargo going through the seaway is very real,” said Fournier.

Unifor, he said, is calling for minimum staffing levels on the locks to deal with emergencies.

“The communities along the Seaway benefit both from the good jobs it provides, and the work our members do to keep the waterway safe,” Fournier said.

Erie Media


Port Reports -  October 29

Drummond Island, Mich.
Wilfred Sykes, paying a rare visit to the St. Marys River, was anchored Tuesday evening north of Drummond Island, where she is scheduled to take on limestone. Federal Weser was also anchored there, but was spotted outbound at DeTour for Montreal at 10 p.m.

Vessel traffic, Seaway and Great Lakes ports – Andre Blanchard
Ships at Montreal heading to Great Lakes:
Victorious/John J. Carrick to depart on Wednesday for Detroit, Mich., Algoma Spirit to depart on Thursday for Thunder Bay, Ont., Vega Desgagnes to depart Wednesday for Oakville, Ont. , Pochard S to depart Wednesday for Hamilton, Ont.

Ships due in Montreal and onto the Great Lakes:
Maccoa due Oct. 31 for Ashtabula, Ohio, Muntgracht due Nov. 4 for Hamilton, Ont., Sarah Desgagnes due Oct. 28 for Oakville, Ont., Federal Mackinac due Oct. 30 for Burns Harbor, IL, Federal Hudson due Nov. 4 for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Michigan due Nov. 2 for Detroit, Mich., Great Lakes due Nov. 2 for Detroit, Mich., Adfines Star due Oct. 30 for Mississauga, Ont., Finnborg due Oct. 28 for Hamilton, Ont.

Ships at Quebec City but heading to Great Lakes:
Sedna Desgagnes to depart Oct. 31 for Hamilton, Ont., Cinnamon to depart Oct. 28 for Toronto, Ont.

Ships due in Quebec City but will proceed to the Great Lakes:
Capt. Henry Jackman due Oct. 29 for Chicago, IL, Energy Patriot due Oct. 30 for Montreal, QC, Mottler due Nov. 01 for Toronto, ON, Valle Bianca due Nov. 01 for Montreal, QC, Brant due Nov. 11 for Toronto, ON

Ships Expected in Hamilton, Ont.
Algoma Guardian - Bulk Carrier - Oct.28
Blacky - Bulk Carrier - Oct. 29
Algosteel - Bulk Carrier - Oct. 29
Algoma Progress - Bulk Carrier - Oct. 30
Mapleglen - Bulk Carrier - Oct. 30
Algoma Navigator - Bulk Carrier - Oct. 30

Ships Expected in Sarnia, ON
Sichem Melbourne - Tanker - Oct. 29
Jana Desgagnes - Tanker - Oct. 31

Ships Expected in Clarkson, ON
Algoma Transport - Bulk Carrier - Oct. 29

Ships Expected in Oakville, ON
Vega Desgagnes - Tanker - Oct. 29

Ships Expected in Thunder Bay, ON
Algoma Discovery - Bulk Carrier - Nov. 01
Strandja - Bulk Carrier - Nov. 03

Ships Expected in Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Undaunted - Tug/Barge Combo - Oct. 28-2104
Algosar - Bulk Carrier - Oct. 29
Sharon M I - Tug - Oct. 30

Ships Expected in Goderich, ON
Oakglen - Bulk Carrier - Oct. 29


Detroit voted in Top 10 best American riverfronts

10/29 - Detroit, Mich. – Readers of USA Today have chosen Detroit’s riverfront as one of the best in the nation. Detroit came in at number nine in the top 10 of cities chosen. Wilmington, North Carolina was voted as the top ranked riverfront in the country, while the riverfronts in Spokane, Washington and Davenport, Iowa round out the top three.

“The riverfront redevelopment in Detroit, a city with 14 miles of shoreline along the Detroit River, is one of the city’s most exciting initiatives,” according to the newspaper. “Stretching for 5.5 miles from the Ambassador Bridge to the Bell Isle Bridge, the Detroit International RiverWalk includes a cruise terminal, marina, several parks, restaurants, shops and hotels. In warmer months, the riverfront parks play host to festivals and community literacy and fitness programs.”

As reported by WWJ’s Edward Cardenas, the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy recently opened the new West RiverWalk located just west of Joe Louis Arena in mid-July, which has become a popular spot for running on the extra-wide RiverWalk along with fishing, running, soccer games and other outdoor activities.



Left Behind #3 – Prins Willem V

10/29 - The vessels of the Oranje Lijn began Great Lakes trading in 1938. When business conditions picked up after World War Two, they added more ships to their fleet.

Work on building the first Prins Willem V got underway at Hardinxveld, Netherlands, in 1940, but the hull was taken over by the German occupying forces and the uncompleted vessel was scuttled at Rotterdam on Oct. 5, 1944, to try and block the invading Allied ships seeking to liberate the country.

The ship was refloated in 1947, the accumulated mud was pumped out and the vessel completed in 1948. It began its maiden voyage as Prins Willem V on Jan. 8, 1949, and began Great Lakes service once the locks of the St. Lawrence had cleared of ice.

Prins Willem V made 25 trips to the Great Lakes before being lost, via collision, on Oct. 14, 1954. The vessel went down off Milwaukee after it met up with the barge Sinclair XII being pushed by the tug Sinclair Chicago. An 8 foot by 20 foot hole was punched in the starboard side and the Dutch ship went down in 90 feet of water.

The general cargo carrier had loaded at Chicago and the shipment included auto parts, juke boxes, twine, printing presses, musical instruments and televisions.

There was initial hope of salvaging the hull and this persisted for a number of years. It was sold as late as 1965 to a group wanting to use the vessel for storage and demonstration purposes but Prins Willem V never budged from the bottom.

A lawsuit over the sinking was settled out of court with Sinclair paying the Oranje Lijn a reported $200,000. Because of its depth, Prins Willem V proved attractive to some divers but there have been at least four casualties among those exploring the wreck.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #346 – Pierson Independent stuck in the St. Lawrence on Oct. 29, 1979

The Pierson Independent looked splendid painted up in the colors of the Soo River Company. The ship had been purchased by Robert Pierson for his fleet in 1979 and the vessel was upbound in the Welland Canal for the first time under this name on August 22.

Sadly, the ship would only carry a few cargoes. The final load of corn came aboard at Toledo and Pierson Independent headed for the Seaway only to run aground in the St. Lawrence near Brockville, Ont. on October 28, 1979.

The ship was able to release itself from the bottom but then was intentionally beached due to the damage. It was still stuck there 35 years ago today and had to be lightered and patched before being released. Pierson Independent was cleared to go to Trois Rivieres to unload and then returned to Port Weller Dry Docks on Nov. 11 for assessment.

The news was not good. The 552-foot-long bulk carrier was found to be beyond economical repair and sold to United Metals of Hamilton for scrap. The ship was tied up for the winter at Hamilton but was resold in 1980 and headed overseas as f) Company, passing down the Seaway on May 3 between the tugs Salvage Monarch and Cathy McAllister.

Company arrived at Santander, Spain, on June 11, 1980, behind the tug Fairplay X and the 74-year old vessel was dismantled.

Pierson Independent had been built at Ecorse, Mich., in 1906 as a) J.H. Sheadle. Thanks to great seamanship from Capt. Lyons, the vessel rode out the worst of the "Great Storm" of November 1913. It later sailed as b) F.A. Bailey and c) LaSalle before joining Upper Lakes Shipping as d) Meaford in 1966.

Skip Gilham


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.


Lakes ore surge continues in September

10/28 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes topped 7 million tons for the third straight month in September. The 7,014,295 tons moved represented an increase of nearly 14 percent compared to a year ago, and nearly 18 percent when compared to the month’s long-term average.

U.S. Great Lakes ports again powered the trade. Loadings totaled 6.5 million tons, an increase of 17.4 percent. Included in that total were 125,000 tons shipped to Quebec City, Quebec, where they were then loaded into oceangoing vessels.

Shipments from the two active Canadian iron ore ports in the Seaway totaled 500,000 tons, a decrease of 20 percent compared to a year ago. The closure of Wabush Mines has stopped ore loading out of Pointe Noire.

Year-to-date the Lakes ore trade stands at 40.7 million tons, a decrease of 2 percent compared to a year ago. After suffering staggering delays in March and April due to massive ice formations throughout the Lakes, shipments from U.S. ports are now down by less than one percent. However, loadings from Canadian ports in the Seaway have dipped by 14 percent.

Ore transshipments to Quebec City stand at 765,000 tons, a decrease of nearly 70 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Ohio salt supplier imports shipments from Morocco

10/28 - Toledo, Ohio – An Indiana company that supplies road salt to Ohio is importing shipments from the northern Africa nation of Morocco because of the short supply and high prices. Midwest Salt plans to bring in 171,000 tons through the port of Toledo.

"Typically, we're purchasing from domestic producers as well, but this was the next-best option," said Andrew Thiele, president of Midwest Salt, which is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Most of the salt that typically comes through the Toledo port is from mines in northeast Ohio or southern Ontario, not from overseas.

The Ohio Department of Transportation's first shipment from Midwest arrived earlier this month.

At least four more ships have been booked, said Joe Cappel, director of cargo development at the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

The state will provide a trucking service to get the salt to stockpiles as needed so that communities buying salt through the state will need only to pay for the salt itself, said Steve Faulkner, a spokesman for state transportation department.

"We're saving local communities potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in transportation" he told The Blade.

Ohio used more than 1 million tons of salt on state roads last year — a nearly 60 percent increase over the average. The average price per ton was $35 a year ago. This year, it's up to more than $100 per ton. A few counties received no bids from suppliers.

The state employs a complicated buying program that allows counties and communities to join in and receive bids from salt suppliers for their winter supply, although not all communities participate.

The prices, which are bid on by county, were higher than last year in the first round of bidding — between $36 a ton and $81 a ton, compared to the state average of $35 per ton last year. Some communities waited until the second round in hopes of getting a better price but prices went up, including one quote of $165 per ton.

Several loads were also delivered to Michigan.

Associated Press


Great Lakes shippers see sharp rise in Lake Michigan levels this year

10/28 - Muskegon, Mich. – Rising Lake Michigan water levels have translated into increased business for at least one Muskegon-based shipping company.

The reason: With Lake Michigan more than 20 inches higher than at this time last year, Great Lakes vessels can carry more cargo without the fear of running aground as they enter various ports around the lakes.

Port City Marine Services Inc. has picked up an average of 250 tons of extra cargo per trip this year compared to the last few years, said Vice President of Operations Edward Hogan. Over this season, in which the company expects to make 87 trips, the ability to haul additional cargo each trip amounts to five extra boatloads of cement that Port City Marine is able to haul this year at the same cost, he said.

“We’re as busy as I’ve seen it in many years,” Hogan said. “I can’t think of anybody that would be have bad feelings about higher water levels because so many people have suffered with low levels.”

Port City Marine operates two vessels on Lake Michigan, primarily transporting cement from northern Michigan to companies in Milwaukee, Chicago, Grand Haven and other regional ports.

Water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron — which are hydraulically the same lake because of their connection at the Straits of Mackinac — have hovered just north of 579 feet above sea level this month — almost two feet higher than last year, according to data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District.

While Lake Michigan levels have flirted with the long-term average at times in the last decade, the level surpassed the average in September for just the second time since 1998, according to data from the Corps of Engineers. In fact, just 20 months ago in January 2013, water levels on Lake Michigan set a new all-time record low at 576.02 feet — more than three feet lower than the current water level.

If the Corps of Engineers’ six-month projections in its October Great Lakes report hold, the water levels in Lake Michigan could be above the long-term average for the foreseeable future, perhaps breaking the 16-year cycle of below-average water levels.

“For the shippers, obviously this is a boon,” said Alan Steinman, director of the Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon. “They don’t have to light load their cargo, and it’s certainly advantageous for moving freight throughout the lakes with less dredging and a cascade of benefits.”

For every inch the water level increases, shippers can add between 50 tons to 270 more tons of cargo per load, industry sources said.

Year-to-date total U.S. dry goods cargo shipped on the Great Lakes reached nearly 11 million tons as of August — the latest data available — a 5 percent increase from 2013, according to the Lake Carriers’ Association, a shipping industry group based in Rocky River, Ohio. This year marks a 16 percent increase from the same time in 2012 when shippers moved approximately 9.5 million tons of cargo on the Great Lakes.

While the increased shipping activity has certainly been aided by the water levels — allowing certain freighters to carry an additional 10,000 tons in some cases — the uptick in shipments also reflects an improving economy and pent-up demand, said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers’ Association.

Although shippers have embraced the additional cargo capacity this year, 2014 started out with its share of challenges. Last winter, Lake Michigan set a record with over 93 percent of its surface covered in ice, and the conditions delayed the traditional shipping season on the lakes, Nekvasil said.

That led to a 45 percent reduction in cargo in March and April compared to last year, he said. Trips that were scheduled to take three days took as long as eight days, leading to spot shortages of certain commodities across the Great Lakes region, sources said.

“We really started the year late because of the ice buildup,” Hogan said. “Everybody was at the same point: Customers were out of product and the mills up north had a bunch (of product) but couldn’t move it.

Now we end up with the best water levels we’ve seen in a decade, and it’s really helping us get caught up.”

In recent years, low water levels posed navigational challenges for Great Lakes commercial vessels as silt choked off access to even deepwater ports such as Muskegon. In response, shippers had to light-load their freighters, meaning they couldn’t haul as much cargo per trip, which resulted in increased costs per ton for their customers, as MiBiz previously reported. On top of that, federal funding for harbor dredging has become a political football in recent years, effectively delaying action to open some ports for shipping activity.

Even with the higher water levels, the importance of dredging hasn’t been diminished, Nekvasil said. With 18 million cubic yards of sediment throughout the Great Lakes system, ports and shipping channels will still need to be dredged to meet the demand for cargo, he said.

“This is a welcomed development and we needed all the help we could get this year, but we have to recognize that this is Mother Nature,” Nekvasil said. “Water levels are going to go down again and dredging is still the most important thing.”

The same ice that clogged shipping channels and delayed cargo also played a crucial role in the higher water levels shippers are currently enjoying, Steinman said. The ice cover greatly reduced the amount of evaporation from the lake’s surface and kept levels higher than they would have been without the ice cover, he said.

High precipitation levels throughout the Great Lakes basin this year contributed to the increase in water levels as well, Steinman said.

Since numerous factors play into water levels, thinking about them in the context of a checking account makes it more simple, Steinman said. Direct precipitation and runoff represent money coming in, while evaporation shows money going out.

The coming winter will largely determine next year’s water levels, but scientists aren’t eager to forecast exactly what those may be.

“It’s a fools errand to predict what water levels will do in the future,” Steinman said. “One thing that we can be assured of is it’s not going to be stable. Water levels are affected by climate and the climate is changing every day. It’s the extremes that create problems.”


Great Lakes coal shipments up 12.2 percent from last year

10/28 - Coal shipments originated on the Great Lakes totaled nearly 3 million short tons in September, up 13.4 percent from August and up 12.2 percent from the year-ago month, the Lake Carriers Association said.

Year to date, coal shipments totaled more than 15.7 million st, down 7 percent compared with last year.

The Superior Midwest Energy Terminal, in Superior, Wisconsin, led all Great Lakes ports with September coal shipments of 1.7 million st, up 16.1 percent from the prior month and up 7.8 percent from the year-ago month.

Coal shipments were all strong from CSX’s coal pier in Toledo, Ohio, which shipped 521,448 st during September, up 33.6 percent from August and up 126% from last year. Attempts to reach the terminal’s manager were unsuccessful.

Joe Cappel, with the Toledo-Lucas Port Authority, attributed the increase in tonnage to a pick-up in overall economic activity through the port, which has seen increases in a number of different commodities this year.

“Coal goes up and down, and last year it was down pretty low, so I think it may be more of a return to normalcy than anything else,” Cappel said.

For vessels that stay within the lakes, a full load is typically around 70,000 st, the association said. Ocean-going vessels are constrained by the lakes’ lock system and have a maximum cargo size of roughly 25,000 mt, Cappel said.



Sewer overflows during storm hit 10 billion gallons

10/28 - Detroit, Mich. – Almost 10 billion gallons of sewer overflows poured into southeast Michigan's waters in the historic August flooding, according to a Free Press review of data from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

That number includes more than 44 million gallons of raw sewage from sanitary sewers and almost 3 billion gallons from combined sewer and storm water systems, all untreated, raising concerns about deteriorating water quality in the Great Lakes system.

A full accounting of the total was not available immediately, but the Macomb County Health Department had posted information after the storm indicating 1 billion gallons of overflows had poured into Lake St. Clair or its tributaries, according to an earlier Free Press report. The volume affecting the whole region was 10 times that total, and the number now reported by Macomb County is more than twice the initial estimate.

Detroit Free Press


Obituary: Andrew Francis Rajner Sr

10/28 - Andrew Francis Rajner, Sr., whose three decades sailing the Great Lakes included a voyage aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald just before the freighter sank in Lake Superior in 1975, and who testified at a Coast Guard inquiry into the disaster, died Thursday at Kingston of Perrysburg.

Mr. Rajner, 89, suffered from Parkinson’s and was under hospice care, said his son-in-law, J.P. Smith.

Twelve of those 30 years were as captain for eight Oglebay Norton Co. freighters. Mr. Rajner served on the Edmund Fitzgerald from Sept. 12 to Oct. 3, 1975. His role on the Fitzgerald was relief first mate, who filled in for the regular first mate, Mr. Smith said.

The Edmund Fitzgerald, the largest and fastest ship of its day on the Great Lakes, sank on Nov. 9, 1975, during a gale on Lake Superior. All 29 hands aboard were lost.

The following month he was called to testify in Cleveland before a Coast Guard maritime casualty inquiry. He was the highest-ranking officer with the most recent experience aboard the doomed ship, his son-in-law said.

Mr. Rajner was born in Toledo on Sept. 16, 1925, to Peter and Mary Rajner. He left Waite High School at age 16 in 1942 to serve as a deck hand and within a year joined the Merchant Marine, sailing in the Pacific Ocean supplying war materiel.

His post-war service in the Merchant Marine was sailing to Europe to repatriate German and Italian prisoners of war and to bring U.S. servicemen back home. He joined Oglebay Norton in 1957. He attended navigation school in Cleveland, becoming a first class pilot who was qualified for all five Great Lakes. He earned licenses as third, second, and first mates.

In 1976, a year after the Fitzgerald’s sinking, he received his master’s or captain’s license. He retired in December, 1987, at the end of the shipping season, with 30 years, 8 months with Oglebay Norton, Mr. Smith said. He held command of eight ships, all of which called regularly at the Port of Toledo, Mr. Smith said. He ended his service on the Fred R. White Jr.

A fellow Oglebay Norton skipper, Mike Capser, recalled attending winter meetings of ships’ captains with Mr. Rajner. Mr. Rajner had a reputation as a stern skipper “who followed the rules,” he said.

Although the two skippers never served together, they became friends on the golf course and from bowling leagues, Mr. Capser said. Mr. Rajner and Mr. Capser frequently would golf with other ships’ captains in a league at Collins Park Golf Course, a layout not far from the East Toledo docks where their ships were berthed.

He was a retired member of the International Ship Masters Association.

Toledo Blade


Left Behind #2 - Viator

The Norwegian freighter Viator has been on the bottom of Lake Huron since Oct. 31, 1935. The 231.7 foot long by 33.3 foot wide general cargo carrier went down after a collision with the Ormidale.

The accident occurred about 10 miles south of Thunder Bay Island Light. The saltwater ship was struck amidships, flooded and sank within five minutes. The Captain of the Ormidale held his vessel in place long enough for all on board the foreign ship to be rescued.

Viator had loaded a cargo of cod liver oil and sardines at Oslo, Norway, and was headed to Chicago for discharge.

The lost ship had been built at Stavanger, Norway, and completed in June 1904. It first came to the Great Lakes in 1932 and had always sailed under the flag of Norway.

Ormidale had been built at Manitowoc, WI in 1917 as Motor I and it had originally sailed for Norwegian interests before being requisitioned by the U.S. Shipping Board and renamed b) Lake Mohonk in 1918.

It returned to the Great Lakes as d) Ormidale in 1922 and was converted to a crane ship to carry pig iron and rip-rap stone in 1934. It was down bound from Duluth to Buffalo when the accident occurred.

Ormidale was sunk by U-576 as f) Bluefields on July 15, 1942, while on a voyage from New York to Havana, Cuba. One life was lost in the attack.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #345 – The tug R.P. Reidenbach sank at Ashtabula on Oct. 28, 1939

The tug R.P. Reidenbach was working at the stern of the bulk carrier E.A.S. Clarke when the small ship rolled over and sank 75 years ago today. Two members of the crew were trapped below deck and died in the accident.

The tug went down in about 25 feet of water and it is thought that wash generated by the larger vessel's propeller swamped the tug.

R.P. Reidenbach was part of the fleet of the Great Lakes Towing Co. The 68.8 foot long vessel had been built by the company at Cleveland in 1910 and had served well as a harbor tug for 29 years.

The vessel was refloated and eventually returned to service. The name was changed to b) Cornell in 1941 and the tug operated until about 1947 when it was laid up as too small and too light. It apparently remained idle until being scrapped at Ashtabula in 1964.

The freighter E.A.S. Clarke was part of the Interlake Steamship Co. fleet. It had been built as H.P. Bope in 1907 and was renamed in 1913. It was idle at Erie, PA from 1961 to 1970 when it was refitted for a brief return to service in the Kinsman fleet as c) Kinsman Voyager. It saw sporadic service and then tied up at Toledo on May 25, 1973. This vessel was towed overseas in 1975 but not scrapped until 1978 when it was broken up at Santander, Spain, after some work as a grain storage hull in Germany.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 28

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  October 28

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

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

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

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

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.


Lake Michigan Carferry prepares for Badger to store ash

10/27 - Ludington, Mich. – With the final day of the 2014 sailing season scheduled for Sunday, Lake Michigan Carferry is looking ahead to next season when the SS Badger will have to stop discharging coal ash into Lake Michigan.

The Ludington-based carferry service has submitted the order and what Bob Manglitz, LMC president and CEO, describes as a “substantial” down payment for a conveyor system as it prepares to complete renovations to the SS Badger during the winter so it can retain ash.

According to the terms of a U.S. Department of Justice consent decree between LMC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Badger cannot discharge ash into Lake Michigan starting with its 2015 season.

The conveyor system — estimated to cost $600,000 — will be built for the Badger by Hapman Conveyors out of Kalamazoo and was brought to the attention of LMC by Bill Payne of BHE Inc., a consultant for Hapman, who lives in Ludington.

Manglitz calls what is being purchased from the conveyor manufacturing company a better system than what LMC might have designed.

According to Chuck Leonard, LMC vice president of navigation, the conveyor system will move ash from the boiler room to retaining units on the main car deck which will be removed when the Badger docks in Ludington.

During the conveyance process, at some point the ash will be wetted to reduce dust and partially cool it.

Leonard said the conveyor system involves “pucks” being moved through a collection and transfer tube. Ash will fall on the pucks, be wetted and moved to the container units.

Manglitz said he believes the coal ash removed from the Badger in Ludington will be sold and he said he has a customer for it, though he didn’t want to state the name. The State of Michigan has rules, he said, that actually encourage the use of the ash in other products, which helps in finding a market, he said.

Manglitz emphatically said the Badger will sail in 2015 while retaining its ash.

LMC has notified the EPA that it has placed the purchase order for the conveyor and the down payment to make sure that happens.

The U.S. Coast Guard and likely the American Bureau of Shipping will be sent plans for review and approval. After installation, the system will go through an inspection. Leonard said the concept of storing hot ash on board the Badger is nothing new. It’s been done for years under the terms of the EPA’s orders regulating when and where the Badger could discharge the ash in a slurry into Lake Michigan. Those regulations stated a distance offshore and a speed the Badger has to maintain when discharging the ash.

Manglitz and Leonard say this will be a less extensive project than the about $1.8 million combustion control installation completed over the winter of 2013-14. That work has led to the Badger using about 15 percent less coal this season than in previous recent years, Manglitz said. The specific amount of reduction will be determined after the 2014 season is completed, Leonard said.

The consent decree required LMC to this season reduce the amount of coal ash discharged into Lake Michigan. Manglitz said that requirement will have been met due to the combustion control work.

LMC has been filing reports of estimated coal ash discharge with the EPA this season based on last season’s average daily coal use. The Badger’s 2013 amortized average coal use was pegged at 60.1 net tons per day.

The report estimates at that consumption rate using coal this year with 5.7 percent ash content would result in on average, coal ash discharge this year being estimated at 3.43 net tons. However, the equation doesn’t take into account efficiencies realized by the new combustion system so the actual average amount of discharge this year is expected to be lower, as required by the consent decree.

The SS Badger enjoyed a good season, though there were a couple disappointments.

The expected transport of wind component parts didn’t happen because the company that had been using the Badger instead this year had the parts made in Michigan for installation in Michigan, according to Manglitz.

Terri Brown, director of media relations, noted the season also got off to a slow start because of the cold spring.

“However, our data shows a notable increase during the summer months from last season in our adult passenger counts, which is the core of our business. Overall, we’re ahead of last season and we’re very pleased about that,” Brown said.

Nice weather in early October also was giving a nice boost to fall ridership.

Manglitz was especially happy that efforts to get more commercial traffic — oversized loads, tour buses, trucks and so forth — was paying off. It added a nice boost this summer.

“We certainly missed the wind tower business, but we refocused our efforts and resources in securing additional commercial business cargo,” Brown stated. “The new effort placed toward commercial business showed increased growth from last season overall — and especially with motorhomes and campers.”

He and Brown also cited increased travel by foreign tourists, likely in part due to Pure Michigan’s efforts to market to and attract more foreign visitors to explore Michigan.

During the past two months, visitors from Gibraltar, Canada, Holland, Great Britain, Germany, Poland, Luxemburg, Portugal, Thailand, Austria and Brazil have traveled on the Badger, according to LMC.

“I think this is a great representation of how the carferry has been connecting the United States to international travelers,” Brown said.

Ludington Daily News


Badger’s Rodney Ruell, a Great Lakes legend retires

10/27 - Sunday was the last sailing of the S.S. Badger for the 2014 season. The day was historic for the last coal-burning ship on the Great Lakes. After Sunday, the Badger will no longer discharge ash into Lake Michigan. But the significance of the day was more personal for 64-year-old Rodeny Ruell, the oldest maritime fireman on the Great Lakes.

It’s rather fitting that when the Badger arrived in port Sunday about 7 p.m. it marked the last crossing for Rodney. After 44 years he is retiring.

Ruell began his maritime career on the E.M. Ford, a steam-powered cement carrier. He was 19 and he quickly moved up to the rank of fireman. “I started out as a coal passer. We left Alpena and got as far as Muskegon when the fireman quit and got off the ship. So, I was moved up to fireman. I didn’t even have my ratings or anything.”

He worked on various coal-powered ships through the years. In 1997 he was hired by Lake Michigan Carferry.

Life in the lower decks of the Badger is a little different than above. Up above, passengers relax in lounge chairs, recliners or in a stateroom bed. They play Badger Bingo and enjoy the Lake Michigan air. The ship is quiet. Down below, in the area known as the “flicker,” the steam engines are loud. The area is dimly lit.

The coal burners are deep inside the ship. One has to go down a few flights of narrow stairs and then duck under large metal pipes into the noisy, hot, damp power center. This is the real deal. Old school. Flames shoot out of the burners as Ruell stokes the fire, keeping the Badger moving.

“You have to maintain steam pressure on the boiler,” Ruell says. “You need to make sure the steam levels are where they are supposed to be.” It sounds simple, but it’s an art. It’s a fine balance that keeps those passengers — and the captain — happy.

Ruell lives in Grand Lake, between Alpena and Roger City in Presque Isle County. Well, that’s where his house is. For the past 17 years, he has resided on the Badger from May to October. He rarely leaves the ship except to maybe grab a coffee at an establishment in Manitowoc.

When he does get home in October, he enjoys his vintage guitar collection. He has 44 of them. “I listen to a lot of music and do a lot of reading. When the winters aren’t too bad I like to travel,” he says.

This year’s vacation will be a lot longer.

“It’s time. My 64-year-old body has been telling me the past couple of years that it’s time to move on.”

Ruell says he would like to take a train ride across the U.S. “And then I want to go to Rio De Janeiro. I’ve always wanted to go there. I have spent 44 summers on these steamers and want to see a real beach.”

Reflecting back, Ruell has few words:

“I want to see the Badger burn coal forever,” he says. “I hope they get 100 more years out of her. Tree huggers be damned.”

He wanted to part with a short poem: “The captain, the chief, the devil said too: Good God all mighty that iron fireman got the fire aisle blues.”

Mason County Press


Port Reports -  October 27

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
It was great weekend for boat watchers as three boats came in on successive days all in daylight. Friday the Wilfred Sykes brought in a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. Saturday afternoon the Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted brought in another load for that dock. On Sunday morning the Manitowoc brought in a load of coal for the power plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity loaded cement at Lafarge on Saturday. On Sunday fleetmate Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were anchored out in the bay during the morning. The pair came into port early afternoon for its turn at the cement silos. Also anchored out in the bay on Sunday was the Kaye E. Barker. It was likely waiting out the gusty winds before heading over to Stoneport. The Alpena is expected to return on Monday.


Left Behind #1 - Wilhelmine

Wilhelmine is one of seven saltwater ships to come to mind that visited the Great Lakes but never made it back to the St. Lawrence due to a calamity on the inland seas. These vessels were either sunk on the freshwater lakes, abandoned to the elements, or sufficiently damaged that they were only fit for scrap.

What became Wilhelmine was one of the earliest deep-sea tankers. It was built by Armstrong, Mitchell & Co. at Newcastle, England, in 1888. The ship was launched as Caucase in April 1888 and soon at work under the British flag for L. Lambert.

The 250-foot-long by 35.2-foot-wide liquid cargo carrier was sold and renamed b) Ioannis Coutzis in 1898, c) Lille, under the flag of Norway, in 1915, d) Thor Minor in 1922 and moved to German registry, although Dutch owned, as e) Wilhelmine in 1933.

The latter was a Great Lakes trader in 1933 and 1934. It was the first ship of the 1933 season through the Strait of Belle Isle and was noted in July of that year as arriving at Toronto with a cargo of peanut oil and coconut oil from Liverpool, England. This liquid was pumped directly from the ship into waiting railway cars.

The last trip inland began in May 1934 and the ship ended up at Chicago where it took on 2,700,000 pounds of lard for delivery to Liverpool. While approaching Port Colborne on the outbound trip, Wilhelmine stranded off Morgan's Point to the west of the entrance to the Welland Canal and the crew and pilot were removed due to the danger.

Wilhelmine was holed and abandoned as a total loss. Later in the month, on June 23, the ship was refloated thanks to the efforts of the Pyke Salvage Co. and the loss was listed at $35,000. The initial plan was to repair the tanker at Port Dalhousie, but instead it was sold at auction to Allied Oil Terminals of Cleveland.

It is believed that Wilhelmine did not travel far and was either cut up for scrap at Port Colborne or may have been towed to Ashtabula, to face a similar fate.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #344 – The tug Chris M. caught fire at Toronto on Oct. 27, 1976

The long-idle tug Chris M. was considered an eyesore and at the end of its days when it caught fire at Toronto 38 years ago today. The ship had been laid up, pending reconstruction, but nothing was being done and it was becoming increasingly unpopular with area residents and businesses.

The blaze broke out in the bilge and destroyed the wiring system for the 143-foot- long, 33-year-old tug. But marine miracles do happen and the rusting, fire damaged hulk was rebuilt and today is the popular sailing ship Empire Sandy.

This was actually the original name of the tug when it was built for the British Admiralty and completed at Willington, England, on July 14, 1943. It was managed by the Overseas Towage and Salvage Co. until 1947 and then became Ashford for salvage work on the Indian Ocean.

Following a sale to the Great Lakes Paper Co. Ltd., the ship arrived at Montreal on Oct. 11, 1951, and was renamed Chris M. in 1952. The owners used the tug to tow log rafts on Lake Superior. It was later purchased by Gravel & Lake Services of Port Arthur but saw little, if any service, on their behalf.

Chris M. saw only a little more work for the Blue Water Towing Co. in 1971-1972 towing the barge Alfred Cytacki (previously the Shell Oil tanker Fuel Marketer) in the fuel trade. It was sold to United Metals for scrap in 1974 and taken to Hamilton for dismantling in September. Before that could be done, the tug was purchased by Norman Rogers and brought to Toronto in 1975 but remained there for years.

But, by 1983, the ship had been converted to a powered 3-masted sailing ship to provide charters, excursions and become a welcome addition to tall-ship festivals around the Great Lakes. It has also gone south to the Bahamas and Caribbean for winter cruise work but in recent years has remained on the Great Lakes.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 27

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Albanyborg, Chemtrans Elbe, Federal Satsuki, Harbour Fountain, Maccoa, Pochard S, Puffin, and TransHawk.


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.


Great Lakes Towing Co. stations upgraded tugs at Duluth

10/26 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Great Lakes Towing Company has replaced the tugs North Dakota and Kentucky with the recently upgraded tugs Indiana and Arkansas in preparation of the upcoming winter ice breaking season at the Port of Duluth.

The tug Minnesota will also be replaced before winter sets in. The tug North Carolina will remain in Duluth and will be the first tug out when ice breaking is needed.

North Dakota and Kentucky were recently towed to Sault Ste. Marie by fleetmate Missouri and are at the MCM Marine yard there.

Captain Dean Olson has called the Port of Duluth home for over 42 years. Olson remembers starting his career in Duluth as a deckhand on the Arkansas. It’s a true homecoming for Olson to see the Arkansas return to Duluth.

Great Lakes Towing Co.


U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay to host annual ghost ship

10/26 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay, homeported in Sturgeon Bay, is scheduled to host visitors during its annual free haunted ship attraction Thursday, Oct. 30. Times will be 5:30-6:30 p.m. for younger children and 7-10 p.m. for older kids and adults.

During the event, guests will be ushered through various haunted rooms throughout the ship and barge. Halloween treats, coffee and hot chocolate will be free. Guests are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food donation for a local food bank.

The ship is located at Sawyer Park Pier, just south of the Maple-Oregon Street Bridge in Sturgeon Bay.



Port Reports -  October 26

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner was done unloading at General Mills Saturday morning. She pulled back on the dock from the Frontier Elevator to bring the boom in and then secured along the old Dakota Elevator pier to wait for the wind to die down. Heavy waves were crashing over the Outer Harbor sea wall and even the Luedtke dredge tugs were tied up at the Cargill Pool Terminal Pier for the day.

Rochester, N.Y.
Stephen B. Roman arrived Friday at 11 p.m.


Lookback #343 – Martha sank in Lake St. Clair after a collision on Oct. 26, 1900

The steel consort barge Martha sank 114 years ago today. It went to the bottom of Lake St. Clair with 5,000 tons of iron ore destined for Lorain, Ohio, following a collision with the steel package freighter E.P. Wilbur. All on board were rescued.

Martha received heavy bow damage but it was salvaged and repaired. The four-year-old barge had been built at Chicago and served the Minnesota Steamship Co. until becoming part of the original Pittsburgh Steamship Division of United States Steel in 1901.

The 367-foot, 6-inch-long vessel was sold and renamed Florence in 1937 for work in the pulpwood trade. It was transferred to the Lakehead Transportation Co. and registered in Canada as Maureen H. in 1938 and then Florence J. in 1939. The ship joined the Paterson fleet as Owendoc in 1949, and worked in the grain trade to Georgian Bay, Lake Huron and Lake Erie ports, usually under tow of the first Quedoc.

Owendoc became a grain storage barge at Goderich and was renamed C.S. Band in 1962. It left there in 1975 and was sunk as a breakwall off Port Elgin until Sept. 1976. Raised, the hull was towed to Whitby and then Toronto arriving at the latter port on Oct. 20, 1976, under tow of the tugs Colinette and Terry S. Scrapping of the hull got underway there almost immediately.

E.P. Wilbur was renamed Bethlehem in 1904. This ship was cut in two and towed through the Welland and St. Lawrence Canals in 1917 and reassembled at Montreal. It provided coastal service during World War One and was then sold British and renamed Barbara about 1921. This ship was scrapped overseas during the 4th quarter of 1923.

Skip Gillham


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.


U.S.-flag lakers move 350,000 tons of cargo per day in September

10/25 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters moved 10.6 million tons of cargo in September, an average of 353,611 tons per day, and an increase of 6.8 percent compared to a year ago. The September float was also 9.1 percent better than the month’s long-term average.

Iron ore destined for the nation’s steel mills totaled 5.4 million tons in September, an increase of 13.8 percent compared to a year ago. Thanks to higher water levels, a few cargos approached 70,000 tons, but the decades-old dredging crisis still forced vessels to forfeit significant carrying capacity. Even the best loads were still about 3,000 tons short of what vessels were able to carry in 1997, a period of near record-high water levels.

Coal cargos totaled 1.9 million tons, a decrease of 8.7 percent compared to a year ago. Percentagewise, the decrease was pretty evenly spread across the three port ranges: Lake Superior; Lake Michigan; and Lake Erie.

Shipments of limestone increased 7.5 percent to 2.7 million tons.

Year-to-date, U.S.-flag cargo movement stands at 60 million tons, a decrease of 5.5 percent compared to the same point in 2013. The industry has yet to fully recover from the staggering delays encountered in March and April when heavy ice blanketed the Lakes. Iron ore cargos are down 4.6 percent. Coal loads are 8.9 percent off last year’s pace. U.S.-flag lakers’ limestone trade is down 5.7 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  October 25

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Daniel Lindner
After a stop in port for some quick repairs, the Arthur M. Anderson departed Sturgeon Bay very early on Friday morning.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Federal St. Laurent arrived early Friday morning with a cargo of sugar for Redpath. The Toronto Port Authority has begun a late fall dredging project of the Keating Channel. The tug M.R. Kane has been hired to move the dump scows. It appears that the TPA tug William Rest has joined the TPA mothball fleet consisting of the retired iconic workboat Kenneth A and the airport ferries Maple City and Windmill Point.

Montreal to Great Lakes – Andre Blanchard
Ships at Montreal but heading to Great Lakes:
Federal Rhine: due to depart Friday for Hamilton, Ont. Algonova expected to depart Saturday for Nanticoke, Ont. Pochard S due to depart on Oct. 28 for Hamilton, Ont.

Ships due in Montreal but will proceed to the Great Lakes:
Albanyborg due to arrive Monday then to Cleveland. Maccoa is due Oct. 31 then to Ashtabula, Ohio Victorious/John J. Carrick due Oct. 26 then to Detroit. Adfines Star due to arrive Oct. 30 then to Mississauga, Ont. Sichem Melbourne: due to arrive Oct. 25 then to Sarnia, Ont.


Lookback #342 – Former Silvaplana sank off North Korea as Hwa Ho on Oct. 25, 1980

Despite being a landlocked country, Switzerland has had several merchant fleets. A number came to the Great Lakes, particularly in the early years of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and one was Silvaplana.

This vessel had been built at Rijeka, Yugoslavia, and launched on July 20, 1955. It went to work for the Suisse-Atlantique Line and began Seaway trading with two inland visits in 1959. It was back from time to time and had made a total of 10 trips to the Great Lakes by the end of 1967.

Some were not without incident. On June 21, 1964, Silvaplana ran aground on a mudbank off Marysville, Mich., and had to be lightered and pulled free by McQueen Marine. Then, on Nov. 11, 1964, the ship stranded again. This time it grounded near Cape Vincent, N.Y. at 0430 hours. After over two weeks on the bottom, the ship was pulled free on Nov. 28 and found to have considerable bottom damage.

Silvaplana was sold and renamed Capo Miseno in 1969 and was back on the lakes that year and remained a frequent inland trader in the early 1970s.

Additional sales brought the names of Uniforce in 1976 and Hwa Ho in 1977. The latter was registered in Singapore until the ship was abandoned and sank 34 years ago today. It ran aground, broke in two and went down about 140 miles southwest of Pyongyang, North Korea, while traveling from Singapore to Chinnampo, North Korea, in ballast.

Skip Gillham


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.


Lakes coal up more than 12 percent in September

10/24 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 3 million tons in September, an increase of more than 12 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings were, however, 6.5 percent below the month’s long-term average.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports totaled 1.7 million tons, an increase of 7.5 percent compared to a year ago, but well off the month’s long-term average.

Loadings on Lake Michigan totaled 250,000 tons, a decrease of 5 percent compared to a year ago, and 26 percent below the month’s long-term average.

Shipments from Lake Erie ports totaled 1 million tons, an increase of nearly 28 percent compared to a year ago, and 8.3 percent better than the month’s long-term average.

Year-to-date the Lakes coal trade stands at 15.7 million tons, a decrease of 7.4 percent compared to a year ago. The gap between this year and last has narrowed considerably since ice released its stranglehold on the Lakes in May. At the end of April, shipments were nearly 50 percent behind the previous year.

Lake Carriers’ Association.


Great Lakes ports rebound to pre-recession levels

10/24 - Cleveland, Ohio – Business is booming at ports along the Great Lakes, a good sign for the economy, port operators said. Cargo volumes this year have reached amounts not seen since 2006, are bouncing back to pre-recession levels, according to the American Great Lakes Ports Association.

“People are buying and selling and there’s product that’s needed and wanted — and it’s being shipped,” said Laura Blades, a spokeswoman for the association.

The amount of international freight coming through the Port of Cleveland is up close to 20 percent over last year. Even smaller ports — like those in Oswego, New York, and Erie, Pennsylvania, are up this year, Blades said.

“It’s kind of the race to make up for the bad weather at the start of the season and the final push to get the shipping done before winter,” Blades said.

The amount of cargo moving through the St. Lawrence Seaway is viewed as a key indicator of economic activity. Seaway traffic is up 5 percent overall, compared to last season. Grain shipments are up by 15 percent.

Rising steel imports are a sign of increased manufacturing, David Gutheil, vice president of maritime and logistics at the Port of Cleveland, told The Plain Dealer.

The port has been handling an unusually large amount of project cargo, including heavy machinery, vehicles and manufactured goods. Exports have included heavy machinery headed to Europe, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Betty Sutton, the administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, said the busiest time of the shipping season usually begins in September. Increases in tonnage were reported by all ports and that is expected to continue through December, she said.

“The cargo moving through the U.S. ports serves as a positive indicator that the regional economy is healthy due in part to the maritime industry,” she said in a statement. “The numbers speak for themselves.”

Associated Press


Port Reports -  October 24

Thunder Bay, Ont. – Daniel Lindner
CSL's Thunder Bay arrived in her namesake port on Thursday evening at docked at one of the port's grain elevators. Also in port were the Pineglen and Mississagi, and the salties Ida and Wicko. Drawsko and Federal Weser were at anchor waiting to load.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Conlon, Daniel Lindner
Arthur M. Anderson arrived at Bay Shipbuilding Thursday for repairs. Men were observed working on the self-unloading equipment.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Cuyahoga departed Lorain harbor at 2:15 p.m. on Thursday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
American Mariner was due with grain for General Mills Thursday evening.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The Liberian tanker Chemtrans Elbe arrived early Thursday morning and was assisted by tugs Vigilant I and Lac Manitoba. La Prairie was also present in port but did not provide assistance in this case.


Water levels lift freighter loads, beach-goers

10/24 - Port Huron, Mich. – Rising Great Lakes levels could mean a faster current in the St. Clair River, less beach frontage for lakeside dwellings and heavier loads on freighters.

"There are some people on the lakes who I've talked to whose beaches are getting smaller and smaller," said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District.

"However, the commercial boaters like it because they can load to capacity and get much more bang for their buck."

Kompoltowicz said water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron are 19 to 20 inches above what they were last year at this time. The mean level for October so far is about 579.16 feet above sea level.

September was the first month since December 1998 that Lakes Michigan and Huron were above average.

Kompoltowicz said a six-month forecast predicts lake levels to stay about 15 to 19 inches above last year's measurements. He said those levels are about two to four inches higher than average for the same time period. That's a big change, Kompoltowicz said, considering the shallow waters that plagued the Great Lakes in January 2013.

"We've gone from setting record lows in January 2013 to being above average in September 2014," Kompoltowicz said.

Kompoltowicz said the higher levels are a combination of favorable weather: A wet spring in 2013, a cold 2014 winter whose ice cover and snowpack stopped evaporation and increased runoff, and six consecutive months of higher-than-average precipitation.

Kompoltowicz said the higher levels likely will affect the flow of the St. Clair River.

"Both those lakes are higher, so that would lead us to believe the flow and the levels in the St. Clair River also are higher," Kompoltowicz said. "We're seeing higher flow because of the higher water levels, and that would lead to a faster current."

Carl Wurmlinger, harbormaster for Lexington State Harbor, said rebounding water helps more boaters use the harbor.

"There's quite a few people that are border line whether they can get in or not," Wurmlinger said. "That extra one or two feet helps them get in."

But Wurmlinger said the higher water levels also present challenges this time of year when crews are preparing the marina for winter.

"Right now, what I'm finding at our harbor is its harder to winterize the docks because there's not much room between the dock and the water now," Wurmlinger said. He said the low clearance makes it difficult to get under the docks to winterize hoses and lines.

Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers Association, said higher lake levels are good news for Great Lakes shipping. He said freighters are playing catch-up after losing about a month to significant ice coverage on the Great Lakes this spring.

Weakley said for a 1,000-footer, an extra inch of water typically means about 250 additional tons of cargo.

For smaller lakers or ocean-going ships, an extra inch of water means the freighter is able to hold about 90 more tons of cargo.

While the higher water levels likely will lead to heavier cargo loads, Weakley said freighters still must contend with sediment that's at collected river mouths and the threat that lower water levels might return.

Weakley said money for maintenance dredging decreased when water levels rose in the 1990s. He hopes that doesn't happen again now that water levels are back up.

"It's been a hard slog to get maintenance dollars back to where they needed to be all along," Weakley said.

"We're not calling an end to the dredging crisis. We're having what we call a temporary reprieve."

Port Huron Times Herald


Two tugboats on order to break up ice jams on Niagara River

10/24 - Buffalo, N.Y. – Two new tugboats are on order to help keep winter ice away from power plants on both sides of the border. The tugs will replace older boats in a fleet of four that help with winter operations at the Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant and at Ontario’s Sir Adam Beck Pump Generating Station.

The tugboats install and remove an 8,800-foot-long floating ice boom made of steel pontoons at Lake Erie’s outlet to the Niagara River. The tugs play an essential role in keeping the water intake clear, said Harry Francois, a New York Power Authority regional manager, in a press release this week.

“So we look forward to christening the new boats, which are highly visible symbols of the power generating process,” he said in the statement.

Each winter the authority works with Ontario Power Generation to keep ice from flooding shoreline property and getting in the way of power production.

Great Lakes Shipyard of Cleveland won the $4.9 million contract to build the boats. One named the Daniel Joncaire II is scheduled for delivery in 2015, the other, the Breaker II, should arrive in 2017.

The New York Power Authority Board of Trustees approved the contract at their meeting this month after enlisting the Bristol Harbor Group of Rhode Island to design the new boats.

The decision to replace the older boats followed a study evaluating the condition of the 30-year-old Daniel Joncaire and the 50-year-old Breaker.

Buffalo News


County legislators endorse St. Lawrence River water level plan

10/24 - Canton, N.Y. – A new plan to better regulate water levels in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario was unanimously approved Monday by a committee of St. Lawrence County legislators.

The new regulations are known as the International Joint Commission’s Plan 2014. Creating the new plan has been a decade-long process that cost $20 million to develop.

Once adopted by officials from both Canada and the United States, the plan will replace Plan 1958D which has not been updated in more than 50 years.

County Planner Jason Pfotenhauer said the new plan will better control large fluctuations in water levels on the St. Lawrence River, which could, in turn, extend commercial and recreational activity on the river for a longer season.

“The biggest difference is the water level may be evened out,” he said. “This plan also addresses a number of other issues.”

Besides moderating extreme high and low water levels, the International Joint Commission hopes Plan 2014 will benefit the ecosystem, better maintain systemwide water levels for navigation, frequently extend the recreational boating season and slightly increase hydropower production.

Legislator Vernon “Sam” Burns, D-Ogdensburg, said he has spoken with marina operators who support the plan.

“It has been a long time coming,” Mr. Burns said. “I certainly feel 2014 is a much better plan. It allows for more natural increase and decrease in water levels — and that’s a good thing.”

Legislator Scott Sutherland, R-Pierrepont, said, “I believe this plan allows higher water levels in the fall of the year, which extends the water recreation season later in the season.”

Officials in both Canada and the United States have to sign off on the new plan before it takes effect.

Watertown Daily Times


Annual Gales of November begins Nov. 7 at Duluth

10/24 - Duluth, Minn. – The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA), presents its annual maritime conference and fundraiser benefit The Gales of November beginning Friday, Nov. 7. Funds raised support the LSMMA and its mission to celebrate and preserve Lake Superior maritime heritage at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center.

The two-day educational, fundraising and networking event begins with a joint luncheon with the Duluth-Superior Propeller Club at Grandma’s Sports Garden, 425 Lake Avenue South in historic Canal Park in Duluth. The luncheon’s keynote speaker will be Mark Gill, Director of Vessel Traffic Services ("Ice Ops") for the US Coast Guard at the Soo. 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 Museum’s 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 historic Canal Park at 600 South Lake Ave.

Gales of November festivities resume at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center- Lake Superior Ballroom. The day is filled with maritime-related educational breakout presentations, a trade show, and a silent auction. Saturday’s keynote luncheon presentation features James P. Delgado Ph.D., Director of Maritime Heritage, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Sanctuaries.

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 in style aboard the 1,000-foot Edwin H. Gott. Drawing will take place at 5 p.m. at the DECC in the Lake Superior Ballroom at the main stage. A closing reception will be held at Grandma’s Saloon & Grill in Canal Park.

For more information or tickets to Gales of November visit


Lookback #341 – Canatco wrecked off Labrador on Oct. 24, 1942

10/24 - The freight carrier Canatco was reported as wrecked at Hamilton Inlet, Labrador, on Oct. 24,1942. The ship had loaded machinery at Montreal for the trip and apparently there was an explosion on board. The next day, Canatco sank off Gannet Rock.

This 261-foot-long vessel had been built as Hull 64 at Collingwood and launched as Canadian Gunner on Oct. 14, 1919. The ship went to work for the Government of Canada in November sailing to Fort William to load grain for Montreal.

Canadian Gunner was often employed bringing sugar and molasses from the West Indies to Halifax. It was sold to the Canada-Atlantic Transit Co. in 1926 and brought 3000 tons of raw sugar to Toronto on its delivery trip.

The vessel was renamed Canatco and the hull was modified at Collingwood for the package freight trade. The number of hatches were increased from four to six and four cargo ports were cut in the side of the hull. In addition, accommodations were upgraded.

During World War II, Canatco was requisitioned by the Government of Canada and served as a supply carrier between St. Lawrence River communities, Newfoundland and Labrador until it became a casualty 72 years ago today.

It should be noted, however, that there is disagreement on the date of this accident. Another excellent source lists October 2 as the time of the incident but I am going with the Miramar Ship Index date of today for the purposes of this report.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 24

News Photo Gallery


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.


Tug John Marshall making stop in Sturgeon Bay

10/23 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – A new tugboat bearing a familiar namesake will make a stop in Sturgeon Bay this week on its way to Chicago to join the Calumet River Fleeting Inc.

The company, founded by John Selvick, now owned by Kim Selvick of Brussels and Chicago, said the new tug is named the John Marshall after her late husband, John. John Selvick became known as the "Legend" on the show, "Great Lake Warriors" on the History Channel. One of the oldest working tugboats on the Great Lakes, built in 1898, is named after him.

Kim Selvick said the John M. Selvick tug will eventually need to be retired and the new tug arriving in Sturgeon Bay Tuesday will likely be renamed the John Marshall Selvick in its place. It will be docked near Roen Salvage for about one week.

The tug, purchased in New York, was painted blue and white on the way to Sturgeon Bay. It will join the other nine in moving barges the company has in its Chicago fleet.

Calumet River Fleeting is a separate entity from Selvick Marine Towing in Sturgeon Bay.

Green Bay Press Gazette


New era of marine shipping discussed

10/23 - Goderich, Ont. – The future, present and past of marine shipping was discussed at length at luncheon held in Goderich last week.

The Huron County Chamber of Commerce hosted “Making Waves: The Marine Connection from Goderich to Global Markets” on Thurs., Oct. 16 at East Street Station.

The speakers were Stephen Brooks, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) and Rowland Howe, president of the Goderich Port Management Corporation (GPMC). Brooks said the chamber is made up of politicians from both Canada and the U.S. and members of the marine industry. Formed in 1959, it represents 150 companies from 10 provinces and 16 states.

The main focus of the GMC is on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Brooks said the CMC serves as an advocate on behalf of the marine industry. The CMC also researches issues such as the economic impact of marine shipping, its environmental impact and the safety of the industry.

Brooks said that according to CMC studies, shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway is responsible for approximately 227,000 jobs, including 1,770 in the Port of Goderich.

He also claimed shipping creates $35 billion in business revenue and is much more efficient in moving cargo than rail or trucks. He said one ship could potentially carry as much as 301 rail cars or 964 trucks.

Brooks said the picture wasn’t so bright for the industry about five years ago during the global recession. He said shipments were down and mounting environmental issues and regulations were affecting the industry. Also, aging infrastructure was taking its toll.

Brooks said in 2008-09, the average age of a Canadian fleet was 35 years old and no new ships had been built in Canada since 1985. He attributed this to a 1970s law that put a 25 per cent duty on foreign-built ships, which he said meant if a company bought four ships, they were essentially paying for five.

In 2010, the Conservative government did away with the 25 per cent duty and Brooks said in turn the industry responded with $2 billion in investments into new vessels.

Brooks said these new vessels are “greener, safer and more efficient.”

He also noted that since 2009, there has been a large amount of infrastructure modernization and improvements within the industry. He said without these investments, the industry might have not been able to recover.

The marine industry is in a “new era”, Brooks said, which is important not only for Huron County and the Port of Goderich, but “local businesses and the consumers who benefit from all the cargo that is transported” as well.

Howe spoke about the history of the Goderich port.

He said in the late ‘90s when the federal government was looking to download assets, the port was in bad shape. With the upcoming wharf expansion, Howe said he believes the port has recovered significantly under the ownership of the town.

He said being the only deep shore water port on the east side of Lake Huron makes Goderich very attractive to companies that are looking to move cargo over long distances.

Speaking on the wharf expansion, Howe said they are expecting to hear back from the Ministry of the Environment on an environmental assessment study in about a month. He said the next steps for the project are estimating the final costs and getting all the zone amendments and permits finalized.

He said construction may start in the spring, depending on the type of winter we experience, and they are hoping to have it finalized by 2017.

Goderich Signal Star


Port Reports -  October 23

Hancock, Mich.
Mississagi was unloading salt on Wednesday.

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic Wednesday included James R. Barker, Kaye E. Barker, the saltie Ida and Edwin H. Gott. Joseph L. Block, Orla and Whitefish Bay were downbound. As evening fell, Gadwall, Thunder Bay and Algoma Montrealais were approaching DeTour upbound. The latter is headed to Duluth with cement.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Rebecca Lynn - A-397 was still at the Noco Pier in Tonawanda Wednesday morning. Capt. Henry Jackman departed with salt Wednesday afternoon.


Lookback #340 – Grey Beaver aground on Stoney Crest Island Shoal on Oct. 23, 1956

10/23 - The canal-sized bulk carrier Grey Beaver spent most of its years in the fleet of the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. It had been built at South Bank on Tees, England, and completed in May 1929 as Southton for the Mathews Steamship Co.

The 259-foot-long freighter crossed the Atlantic to join in the canal trades between Lake Erie and Montreal. It could carry in the range of 3,000 tons of cargo or about 94,000 bushels of grain. The Mathews fleet went bankrupt in the Depression and Southton was repossessed by the builders.

It was sold to Beaver Industries Ltd. in 1931 and operated by the Hall Corporation in 1932 as Grey Beaver before being resold to Upper Lakes later that year.

Grey Beaver received major damage when it stranded on a reef about 2 miles east of Manitou Light, Lake Superior on April 21, 1941. The hull was not refloated until April 30 and proceeded to Port Arthur for repairs.

It was 58 years ago today that Grey Beaver stranded again. This time it struck Stoney Crest Island Shoal in the St. Lawrence near Alexandria Bay, NY. The steamship was carrying grain from Toronto to Trois Rivieres when it landed on the bottom. The shoal was scheduled to be removed for the development of the Seaway but the rocks were still there on Oct. 23, 1956.

Grey Beaver was released and headed to Port Weller Dry Docks. On November 1, 1956, the ship encountered fog in the western end of Lake Ontario and collided with fleet mate James B. Eads. This added bow damage to the bottom damage that required repairs.

Grey Beaver operated through the 1959 season but only saw brief service in 1960 in the pulpwood trade to Thorold. The ship was tied up at Toronto on July 7, 1960, and never sailed again. It was used as a grain storage hull until being sold for scrap in the summer of 1965.

The final trip, under tow, took Grey Beaver to the Turning Basin in Toronto and the ship was broken up for scrap at that location, along with long time running mate Brown Beaver, during the fall of 1965.

Skip Gillham


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.


Port Reports -  October 22

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
A busy Tuesday at the harbors in Marquette found Herbert C. Jackson loading ore in the morning at the Upper Harbor and in the afternoon, Michipicoten arrived to load ore and H. Lee White arrived with coal for Shiras at the Lower Harbor but anchored due to winds.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoway was at dock 3 and left the Lorain harbor at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. Rebecca Lynn - A-397 should be arriving for Tonawanda around 8 p.m.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Capt. Henry Jackman was backing into the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna at 10:44 a.m. Tuesday.

Hamilton, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
It appears that Hamilton is busy with activity. Monday night the tanker Sarah Desgagnes arrived and anchored in harbor waiting for a spot to dock. At the time of this report, the following ships were in port: Sarah Desgagnes, Resko, Federal Elbe, Shoveler, HHL Congo, Algowood, Algoma Olympic, Kurt Paul, Heloise, Emilie, Hamilton Energy, and Sterling Energy.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
Cuyahoga made a very brief stop in Oshawa early Tuesday morning and is now enroute to Soo.

Quebec City, QC – Andre Blanchard
Vessels in Quebec City port that will proceed to the Great Lakes Federal St. Laurent arrived Monday and was scheduled to depart for Toronto Tuesday. Birchglen arrived Tuesday morning and is to be heading to Hamilton next.

Vessels expected in Quebec City: High Nefeli is due to arrive on Friday and then proceed to Montreal. Cinnamon is due to arrive on Saturday for Toronto. Capt. Henry Jackman is due to arrive on Oct. 28, and then proceed to Chicago. Energy Patriot is due to arrive on Oct. 28 and then proceed to Montreal.

Montreal, QC – Andre Blanchard
Transhawk is expected to arrive on Thursday and then proceed to Hamilton.


Lookback #339 – N.J. Nessen stranded off Leamington, Ontario, on Oct. 22, 1929

The wooden steamer N.J. Nessen was built at Lorain, Ohio, in 1881. It was completed as H. Luella Worthington and capable of carrying 500,000 board feet of lumber.

The 156-foot, 9-inch long vessel was sold to the J.O. Nessen Lumber Co. in 1904 and renamed N.J. Nessen. Ice punctured the hull in Lake Charlevoix in April 1907 and the vessel sank.

Refloated, it was repaired and widened from 29 feet to 36 feet, 6 inches increasing capacity. It continued in the lumber trade but also handled other bulk cargoes from time to time.

The N.J. Nessen was sold to A.F. Morley in 1929 but did not last the year. It had a cargo of scrap steel on board and was bound for Cleveland when the vessel anchored in Pigeon Bay, near Leamington, Ont, due to threatening weather and offshore winds. These winds switched to the south and reached gale force leaving the ship exposed and in danger 85 years ago today.

Realizing the situation, the anchors were released and the ship drifted toward shore stranding within 500 feet. Rescuers made two trips to the stricken steamer and rowed out for the 13 sailors. All were saved with the captain the last to leave the ship.

The hull of the N.J. Nessen cracked ahead of the engine room and then broke up due to the pounding of the relentless seas.

Skip Gillham


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.


Autumn anomaly: Deepest Great Lakes' levels rising

10/21 - Detroit, Mich. – As leaves are falling, the deepest of the Great Lakes' water levels are rising. And that almost never happens.

The Midwest's brutal winter of 2012-13 is still impacting the Great Lakes — two seasons later. And it's contributing to water levels rising in the fall on Lake Superior and connected Lakes Michigan and Huron, something they've only done a handful of times in a century and a half or more.

"It is extremely rare for it to happen," said Drew Gronewold, hydrologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

The shallower Great Lakes, Erie and Ontario, as well as Lake St. Clair, are doing their more typical slow decline in lake levels as autumn takes hold. But Lake Superior's depths rose almost a half-inch from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1; Lakes Michigan and Huron rose almost 2 full inches. Averages calculated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers going back to 1918 show Superior's levels typically drop more than an inch from August to October; Michigan-Huron usually drops almost 5 inches.

Those measurements may not seem like much. But keep in mind how vast the lakes are. Lake Superior alone has 3 quadrillion gallons of water — that's 3 million billion gallons. Three with 15 zeroes behind it. Spread out, Superior would cover North and South America in a foot of water. Its surface area is the size of Maine. Lakes Michigan and Huron hold about 2 quadrillion gallons.

All Great Lakes are above their long-term average depths for the first time since the 1990s. It's a remarkable turnaround from record-low water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron as recently as January 2013.

"The rate of water level rise over the past two years on the Great Lakes is one of the most rapid rises we have ever seen — which is pretty amazing, because we have records going back to the mid-1800s," Gronewold said.

The water's not just unusually deeper; it's colder as well. Last winter was the snowiest — and one of the coldest — ever around the Great Lakes. It led to some of the widest-spread, longest-lasting Great Lakes ice cover ever — Lake Superior wasn't ice-free until June. And that had ongoing effects throughout the summer and into fall.

Lakes Superior and Michigan are about 6 degrees colder this fall than they were last year. Lake Superior on Wednesday had surface temperatures of 46.6 degrees, down nearly 3 degrees from its long-term average. Lake Michigan was down a degree from its long-term average, at 56.8 degrees; Lake Huron is down almost 1.5 degrees from its average temperature of nearly 55 degrees for mid-October.

But the cooler surface water temperatures are just one factor in this fall's rising lake levels, Gronewold said. It involves a complex set of contributing factors that includes a rainy spring; heavy snow-pack and high water content in the snow; ground saturation, and less lake evaporation and more rain over the past several months.

Colder water temperatures could affect weather going forward, said Michael Notaro, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin's Center for Climatic Research.

It's "likely the cold waters will lead to earlier ice development," he said. "Cool waters are not favorable for lake-effect snow, especially once extensive ice forms. The cool waters might also reduce evaporation, keeping water levels higher."

Is the corner turned on low Great Lakes water levels? Stay tuned.

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports -  October 21

Houghton-Hancock, Mich. - Tyler Rappi
The two Great Lakes Towing tugs that switched out in Duluth were in the Portage Canal and docked west of the lift bridge on Monday. They were with the G-tug Missouri.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Monday the McKeil barge Lambert Spirit unloaded aluminum bars. The tug Benjamin Elliot and her dump scow transited Lake Ontario for the N.Y.S. Barge Canal.

Massena, N.Y.
The New York Power Authority is removing docks and buoys along the St. Lawrence River for the winter. The authority, which runs a massive hydro-dam on the river at Massena, says the removals began Monday. It is expected to take two weeks, depending on the weather. The authority removes its docks and buoys each fall before it gets icy in northern New York.


NTSB report blames bridge operator for Herbert C. Jackson accident

10/21 - The NTSB has released its report on the bridge accident involving Detroit’s Jefferson Avenue Bridge and the Herbert C. Jackson in May 2013.  Click here to read the report


Drifting vessel towed to port

10/21 - The Russian freighter Simushir, formerly the Seaway trader Munteborg, which had been adrift on the Pacific off the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, was towed into Prince Rupert, B.C., on Monday morning. The American tug Barbara Foss succeeded in getting a line aboard the ship. The vessel broke down, due to engine failure, on October 17. Repairs are expected to take two days.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #338 – Former Athina Zafirakis sank in the Mediterranean on Oct. 21, 1991

The Greek-flag bulk carrier Athina Zafirakis was built at Hakodate, Japan, in 1968 and completed in July for the Southeast Mediterranean Shipping Co. The 593-foot, 2- inch long vessel operated on deep-sea routes before coming to the Great Lakes for the first time in 1977.

The vessel had four more names before it was lost on the Mediterranean, in severe weather, 23 years ago today. It had been sold becoming the Italian flag Rhode Island in 1985, Theonik of Cyprus in 1987, Gateshead of Malta in 1989 and finally Erato, also Malta, in 1990.

Erato had loaded a cargo of 25,894 tons of phosphate at Ashdod, Israel, and was bound for Rouen, France, when it got into trouble. Overwhelmed by Gale Force 8 winds and mounting seas, the ship went down southwest of the island of Sardinia on Oct. 21, 1991.

Despite the conditions, crewmembers were able to take to the lifeboats and only five sailors were lost. This is a busy shipping area, and nine were picked up by the Greek flag ore/bulk oil carrier Byzantion. Seven more were taken aboard an unidentified Polish vessel and three more by a Greek-flag freighter.

About 500 tons of bunker fuel leaked into the sea and the battered vessel rests on the bottom in extremely deep water.

Skip Gillham


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.


Lakes connection to West Coast drama

10/20 - There is a Great Lakes connection to the drama of a drifting cargo ship wallowing in four-foot swells off the West Coast of Canada. The Russian freighter Simushir broke down Oct. 16 while on a voyage from Everett, Washington, to China with a cargo of mining minerals.

The vessel was also carrying about 400 tons of Bunker C. fuel and 50 gallons of diesel oil. These caused considerable anxiety among officials and the local populace as the ship drifted towards the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia.

The powerless vessel had been a Seaway trader as Munteborg. It was built in 1998 at Lemmer, Netherlands, and joined Wagenborg Shipping. Munteborg came inland in November 1998 with steel for Cleveland and then loaded what was reported as 17,857,260 pounds of beet pulp pellets at Duluth for Ireland.

An article at the time noted that the ship was designed to carry containers general cargo, timber, newsprint or bulk commodities. There were two cargo holds, with moveable bulkheads, and the ship could operate with only a crew of from 8-11 sailors.

The 441-foot, 5-inch-long Munteborg was back inland for two trips in 1999. It was renamed MSC Baltic in 2000 before resuming work as Munteborg again in 2004. The vessel made another trip through the Seaway in 2008 with stops at Valleyfield, Cleveland and Duluth. It was sold to Russian interests in 2012, renamed Simushir and has not been back to the Great Lakes.

The Canadian Coast Guard ship Gordon Reid managed to get a towline attached to the vessel on Oct. 17 and was able to pull the ship away from the coast and farther out to sea helping alleviate the fear that the ship would go ashore and dump its Bunker C. fuel into the sea. Unfortunately, the line parted on three occasions and, while the situation improved, it was not the solution.

The U.S. Coast Guard ship Spar and the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Sir Wilfrid Laurier arrived to stand by until the powerful deep sea tug Barbara Foss reached the scene late on Saturday Oct. 18. The latter was expected to be able to connect a line and tow the powerless freighter to safety and enable it to get the needed repairs to resume its journey.

Spar and Sir Wilfrid Laurier were both built on the Great Lakes. The former was constructed by the Marinette Marine Corp. and passed down the Welland Canal on its delivery trip to Kodiak, Alaska, on April 6, 2001. Sir Wilfrid Laurier proved to be the last vessel built at Collingwood before that very productive shipyard closed. It was Hull 230 from that facility and it was completed for Canadian Government service passing down bound in the Welland Canal on Nov. 27, 1986. The ship initially was based in Quebec City but was transferred to the West Coast in 1996 and is based in Victoria, BC for patrols to the Western Arctic.

The 11-member crew of the Simushir were not considered in any danger although the captain had to be airlifted to hospital after suffering a possible heart attack.

Skip Gillham


G-tugs shuffled at Duluth

10/20 - On Friday, Great Lakes Towing made some adjustments to the Duluth harbor tugs. The four tugs based in Duluth until Saturday were the North Dakota, Minnesota, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

About noon on Friday, the tug Missouri arrived Duluth with fleetmates Indiana and Arkansas in tow. The three new tugs docked at Great Lakes Towing's slip in Duluth. Then on Saturday, the Missouri departed Duluth, taking with her the North Dakota and Kentucky, and a lot of history of breaking ice and assisting salties in the Duluth harbor. The tow was just off the Apostle Islands on Saturday night with no destination posted.

Daniel Lindner


Port Reports -  October 20

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Sunday morning at LS&I, fleet mates Hon. James L. Oberstar and Kaye E. Barker loaded ore.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes was at anchor outside of Port Inland Saturday, and arrived there to load in the late evening. Two vessels are due in on Monday, with the Calumet arriving first in the early morning followed by the Great Republic in the mid-afternoon.

Manitowoc, Wis.
Saturday, the Badger did not sail due to gales on the lake. The new Burger-built research vessel Articus was standing by for weather on her delivery trip to Cheboygan, Mich. Also waiting for weather was Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Conquest.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Cason J. Callaway loaded at Stoneport on Sunday and was expected to depart around 2 in the afternoon. There are two vessels scheduled in on Monday, with the Manitowoc due in first, followed by the Lewis J. Kuber.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John J. Boland loaded at Calcite on Sunday and was expected to depart around 7:30 in the morning. There are no vessels scheduled in for Monday. Due on Tuesday is the Hon. James L. Oberstar in the late afternoon for the South Dock. No vessels are scheduled for Wednesday. Due in on Thursday is the John G. Munson at noon for the South Dock. Rounding out the schedule is the Lewis J. Kuber due on Friday in the late morning for the South Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algoma Olympic arrived at the CSX Coal Dock on Sunday in the morning to load coal. Due next at the CSX will be the John J. Boland on Monday in the morning. Algomarine is due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Thursday, Oct. 23 in the late evening hours. Due at the Torco Dock is the James L. Kuber on Tuesday, Oct. 21 during the early afternoon. Several other vessels were in port at the time of this report. Among them were the tug Paul L. Luedtke off Toledo, and the tugs Huron Service and a barge, plus the Barbara Andrie and a barge were still in port. The saltwater vessel Fraserborg of the Netherlands remained tied-up at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. Upriver at the Lafarge Cement Dock was the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation unloading cement, while further upriver at the grain elevators were the Baie Comeau along with the Saginaw

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Defiance entered Lorain headed to #3 dock, at 1:15 p.m. Sunday.


Lookback #337 – The whaleback steamer James B. Colgate sank in Lake Erie on Oct. 20, 1916

The James B. Colgate was one of the victims of the storm that became known as Black Friday on Lake Erie. This was one of four ships lost in the wild fall weather of 98 years ago today.

The bulk carrier was one of the whaleback-designed steamers built in the late 1800s and it was launched at West Superior, Wis., on Sept. 21, 1892. It initially sailed for the American Steel Barge Co. but joined the Bessemer Steamship Co. in 1900 and the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. of United States Steel on its formation in 1901. It sailed on their behalf until becoming part of the Standard Transit Co. in 1915 and retained the same name for the various owners.

The 320-foot-long James B. Colgate took on a cargo of coal at Buffalo on Oct. 20, 1916, and steamed away for Fort William (now part of Thunder Bay) at the western end of Lake Superior. Sadly, it did not get far. The vessel took on water while crossing Lake Erie and sank around 10 p.m. west of Long Point. The ship went down with the loss of 26 lives. The only survivor was found in a lifeboat two days later.

The hull of the James B. Colgate was rediscovered in 1991. It rests upside down in about 78 feet of water some 12 miles southeast of Erieau, Ont.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 20

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Andean, Fairchem Yuka, Floragracht, Harbour Feature, Harbour Fountain, Ida, Lady Doris, and Puffin.


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


Busy Great Lakes ports thrum to a manufacturing comeback

10/19 - Cleveland, Ohio – In a sign of the growing strength of the Midwest economy, ports up and down the Great Lakes are experiencing a robust shipping season and many are hustling to keep up with cargo volumes that have returned to pre-recession levels.

Not since 2006 has there been so much action on the docks, according to numbers compiled by the American Great Lakes Ports Association.

The Port of Cleveland, the first major American port on the Saint Lawrence Seaway, illustrates the renewed activity. The volume of international freight coming through the port is up nearly 20 percent over last year.

Seaway tonnage, or cargo moving via the Seaway, is seen as a key indicator of economic activity as it tends to be products built or grown in the Midwest or needed in the Midwest to build more products.

"People are buying and selling and there's product that's needed and wanted -- and it's being shipped," said Laura Blades, a spokeswoman for the ports association.

"Even ports like Oswego (NY) and Erie (PA) are up," she said. "It's kind of the race to make up for the bad weather at the start of the season and the final push to get the shipping done before winter."

David Gutheil, the vice president of maritime and logistics at the Port of Cleveland, said rising steel imports are a sign of increased manufacturing. So are the mighty lakers, which have been arriving more frequently this season.

Shipments of bulk cargo are 13 percent ahead of last year's volumes due to strong demand for iron ore at the huge ArcelorMittal steel complex in the Flats, he said.

Meanwhile, the port has seen an unusually large volume of project cargo, like heavy machinery, vehicles and manufactured goods. The imports and exports have included crane parts destined for a rail yard in western Ohio, transformers for Illinois and heavy machinery going to Europe, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Gutheil said the port is on pace to reach its highest Seaway tonnage levels since the shipping season of 2006.

Boosting international trade is the Cleveland-Europe Express, the only regularly scheduled container shipping between the Great Lakes and Europe. While the fledgling liner service has lost millions, port officials think it could turn a profit next year, when the Spliethoff Group of Amsterdam adds a second ship to create bi-weekly sails.

"Right now, we're working to build momentum for the spring, when we go to two vessels," Gutheil said.

Meanwhile, most Great Lakes ports are busy keeping up with today.

Seaway traffic is up 5 percent overall, compared to last season. In some categories, like grain, shipments are up by 15 percent.

Betty Sutton, the administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., said the Seaway and the ports deserve some credit for the region's economic comeback.

"September marks the beginning of what is traditionally the busiest time of the shipping season, and the cargo moving through the U.S. ports serves as a positive indicator that the regional economy is healthy due in part to the maritime industry," she said in a written statement. "The numbers speak for themselves - increases in tonnage were reported by all our ports and they expect that trend to continue through December."


USS Detroit christened in Wisconsin shipyard

10/19 - Marinette, Wis. – The future USS Detroit was christened and launched Saturday.

The boat, built by Lockheed Martin, is the country's seventh Littoral Combat Ship, also called an LCS. It was launched into the Menominee River at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard in Wisconsin.

Barbara Levin, wife of U.S. Senator Carl Levin was the ships sponsor. She was on hand to christen the ship by smashing a champagne bottle across it's bow before the launch.

Now, Detroit will continue to undergo outfitting and testing. It's scheduled to be delivered to the U.S. navy in 2015. In 2011, the Navy awarded the contract to build Detroit. It's one of the five LCS' being build at the Marinette Marine.



Steel shipments up by 47 percent through September at the Port of Milwaukee

10/19 - Milwaukee, Wis. – Steel shipments are up at the Port of Milwaukee by 47 percent through September. The Port has handled just over 111,000 metric tons of steel and other general cargo from overseas and another 18,000 metric tons from the U.S. and Canada.

“In addition to our steel shipments, deicing road salt prices are up, and salt customers are looking for relief. Ordinarily, salt is supplied from mines on the shores of the Great Lakes. However, in September, the Port received a 21,000 ton shipment of salt from the North African nation of Morocco.” The vessel bringing that cargo traveled through the St. Lawrence Seaway and can truly be called a ‘saltie,'” Paul Vornholt, Director of Operations and Trade, Port of Milwaukee said.

Dry bulk cargoes moving through the Port totals 1.6 million metric tons and more than 40 million metric tons of grain year-to-date. These dry bulk cargoes, carried on U.S. and Canadian Laker vessels, are largely salt, limestone, cement, and coal.

Officials from the Port recently joined other Great Lakes seaport representatives at the Journal of Commerce annual BreakBulk Americas Conference in Houston, Texas. The conference offered many opportunities to further educate the global shipping community about the advantages of utilizing the Great Lakes as a portal for international cargoes to reach population centers in the interior of North America.

“September marks the beginning of what is traditionally the busiest time of the shipping season, and the cargo moving through the U.S. ports serves as a positive indicator that the regional economy is healthy due in part to the maritime industry. The numbers speak for themselves – increases in tonnage were reported by all our ports and they expect that trend to continue through December,” Administrator Betty Sutton of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation said.

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date cargo shipments of more than 24 million metric tons moved through the system for the period March 28 to September 30 – an increase of nearly 5 percent over September 2013. U.S. grain continued its upward trend posting a 15 percent increase over the same time last year. The general cargo category posted a 73 percent jump over 2013; and the dry bulk category was up 3.27 percent with stone and salt leading the numbers. Iron ore and coal were down 27 and 16 percent respectively.

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.



Port Reports -  October 19

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Manitowoc and Wilfred Sykes were both due to arrive on Friday, with the Manitowoc due in the early afternoon followed by the Sykes in the late evening. Manitowoc did load and depart, however the Sykes went to anchor for weather on Saturday. There are two arrivals for Monday, with the Manitowoc due back to load in the early morning followed by the Great Republic in the mid-afternoon.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Ken Boothe Sr./Lakes Contender remained at the South Dock due to high winds on Saturday after loading. Also expected to arrive on Saturday in the mid-afternoon was the John J. Boland for the North Dock, weather permitting due to high winds. There are no vessels scheduled to load for Sunday and Monday. Arriving Tuesday in the late afternoon will be the Hon. James L. Oberstar for the South Dock.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Cason J. Callaway was at anchor off of Stoneport late Friday night into the early morning Saturday due to high winds. Two other vessels were also expected to load on Saturday with the Joseph H. Thompson due in the morning followed by the Manitowoc in the early evening. Those two arrivals were pending weather and winds. Due to arrive on Sunday was the Lewis J. Kuber in the early afternoon. There are no vessels scheduled to load on Monday.

St. Clair River – Don Detloff, George Lee
Saturday around noon the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis K. Kuber were downbound on the St. Clair River preparing to make the turn to St. Clair Aggregates in Marine City. Olive L. Moore waited for traffic in the area to clear and while waiting, it appears the high winds pushed the tug and barge into shallow water on the Canadian side of the river just below Fawn Island. The small tug Andrew J had just arrived at St. Clair Aggregates, and it went over to help free the tug and barge, but without success and returned to the dock in Marine City. The pair were freed with assistance from the tug Manitou a short time later.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algoma Olympic is expected to arrive at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Sunday in the early morning hours. Also due to load at CSX is the John J. Boland on Monday in the morning. There are four ships scheduled to load at CSX on Tuesday, with the James L. Kuber due in first in the early morning followed by the Ashtabula/Defiance also in the early morning. Algolake is also scheduled in the morning Tuesday to load at CSX. John J. Boland returns to load at CSX on Tuesday in the late afternoon. Algomarine is due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Thursday, October 23 in the late evening. Vessels due to arrive at the Torco Dock to unload iron ore include the James L. Kuber on Tuesday during the early afternoon. H. Lee White is due on Thursday, October 23 in the morning, followed by the Mesabi Miner on Friday, October 24 in the morning. The James L. Kuber rounds out the schedule, returning to the Torco Dock on Monday, October 27 in the early morning. Several other vessels were in port at the time of this report including the tug Paul L. Luedtke, tug Huron Service and a barge along with the tugs Rebecca Lynn and a barge and the Barbara Andrie and a barge. Fraserborg, a saltwater vessel registered in the Netherlands, is tied-up at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock, while the Baie Comeau is upriver loading a cargo at the one of the grain elevators.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Saginaw arrived at Lorain Saturday at 10 a.m. She departed at 3:30 p.m.


Transits up at Eisenhower Lock

10/19 - As of Saturday the total number of transits made by saltwater vessels during the 2014 shipping season at the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y., totaled 308. This makes the fifth consecutive shipping season that transits by vessels at the Eisenhower Lock for saltwater ships have totaled at least 300 transits or more. A breakdown of the last four shipping seasons shows the total season by transits
2013 – 356
2012 – 365
2011 – 356
2010 – 380
The last time there was a season where there were less than 300 transits by saltwater vessels was in 2009, during the recession, to which there were only 280 transits. Also of note the last time there was a season to which there were 400 or more transits at the Eisenhower Lock by saltwater vessels was in 2007 in which there were 431. The transit information is for vessels making westbound passages.


Lookback #336 – D.L. Filer loaded coal, left Buffalo for final voyage on Oct. 19, 1916

10/19 - The wooden schooner D.L. Filer was built at Manistee, Mich. It was completed in 1871 and sailed on its maiden voyage May 24 for Chicago with a cargo of 352,531 board feet of lumber.

The vessel initially served the Pere Marquette Lumber Co. of Mr. D.L. Filer but was working as part of the Hamilton Transportation Co. at the end. The D.L. Filer loaded coal at Buffalo 98 years ago today and departed for Saugatuck, Mich. on what would be the final voyage.

The vessel was hit by stormy weather as it crossed Lake Erie. The seams of the 45-year-old ship opened up and the water logged D.L. Filer sank near the mouth of the Detroit River the next day.

Six members of the crew scrambled up the foremast as their ship settled in shallow water but the mast snapped, throwing the sailors into the lake. Only one reached the after mast and he died of exhaustion before rescuers arrived. The only survivor was the captain who had taken to the after mast at the beginning and remained there until help arrived.

Skip Gillham


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.


Duluth port expands to Europe via Dutch ship management company

10/18 - Duluth, Minn. – Europe has never been closer to Duluth. That’s the message the Duluth Seaway Port Authority is putting forth as it develops a relationship with a Dutch ship management company.

The Amsterdam-based Spliethoff Group has sailed its ships into the port authority’s Clure Public Marine Terminal twice already this shipping season. A third docking is scheduled for November. By spring, the outgoing Spliethoff vessels figure to carry a variety of smaller loads with them when they leave for overseas.

In a Great Lakes shipping industry that commonly moves cargo in increments of thousands of tons, allowing for smaller companies to ship as little as one or two cargo containers of its products is a potential game-changer for the port authority.

“This is not a common thing on the Great Lakes at all,” said Jon Lamb, president of the Lake Superior Warehousing Co. that operates the Clure terminal for the port authority. “This is a major change.”

The Clure terminal, with its two massive gantry cranes, is the port’s lone docking point for loading and unloading break-bulk and container cargo. As the industry is currently situated, most businesses that want to ship smaller loads overseas to Europe have to find a way to get their cargoes by truck or rail to the coastal ports on the Eastern seaboard. Lamb compared the development to affording businesses a direct flight to Europe versus having to use connecting flights.

As North Dakota oil clogs the Midwest rail lines with tanker cars, the time is right for a passageway to Europe that allows for niche cargoes, said Ronald Johnson, trade development director for the port authority.

“This is another option — as creative as any,” said Johnson, who added that the port authority has long wanted to “go back to the future,” when this sort of smaller-lot shipping was more common in the local port.

So far, much of Spliethoff’s business in Duluth has been discharging wind turbine components. By spring, the hope is that the outgoing service will be just as utilized. The port authority is busy gathering a database of potential users of the service. Initiating monthly, all-water transport between Duluth and Europe in 2015 is the plan.

“After speaking with some local companies around Duluth and hearing about their current logistics to move their cargo to Europe, we are looking forward to providing them with cost-effective alternatives and faster transit times,” said Spliethoff spokesperson Jamie Tolis, who is based out of the firm’s Montreal office.

Johnson said the customary one-way trip for one of Spliethoff’s transatlantic voyages is 21 days.

According to its Web site, Spliethoff is one of the largest ship management companies in the Netherlands, with a fleet of more than 100 multipurpose vessels. It’s the versatility of its vessels that makes Spliethoff so attractive. The entire fleet is made up of “tween-deck” vessels that feature systems that can shelve and segment off cargoes from one another, allowing for the consolidation of smaller lots.

The ships can even transport bulk cargoes like grain, an industry that is having a particularly difficult time finding its way onto the rail lines.

“Our vessels are well-equipped and a variety of cargo can be carried on the same voyage,” Tolis said. “We can accommodate all types of cargo from project cargo, agricultural products, smaller lots of break-bulk, machinery, containerized freight, steel and so much more.”

Because only American-flag vessels can ship between domestic ports, the Spliethoff endeavor with Duluth is strictly an international one.

The three Spliethoff vessels that will have called on Duluth this season originated from Antwerp, Belgium. Conceivably, Lamb said, lots could carry on to other parts of the world once having reached Europe. So far, Spliethoff vessels have sailed into Duluth Aug. 4 and Sept. 10.

Another feature of the arrangement between Spliethoff and the local port authority is that vessels headed back to sea won’t need to be full. Spliethoff could pick up cargoes at other Great Lakes ports to help make the voyage worthwhile.

Spliethoff has a history of this sort of small-lot shipping, Lamb said, having successfully established the practice within the Caribbean.

“From our perspective,” Lamb said, “we really expect this opportunity to create new things. It’s exciting to see what role this can play to support the regional economy.”

Duluth News Tribune


Captain John's seafood restaurant floats in limbo on Toronto's waterfront yet again

10/18 - Toronto, Ont. – The Toronto Port Authority has terminated a deal for Captain John’s Restaurant, and expects the rusting relic to remain tied up at the foot of Yonge Street.until at least spring.

It plans to return the $33,501 that Toronto entrepreneur James Sbrolla paid earlier this year in a court-ordered auction of the defunct Toronto landmark, after he failed to come up with a viable plan for removing the former seafood restaurant and tourist attraction.

The waterfront authority, which controls the slip where the ship has been anchored for decades, says that although it’s still negotiating with Sbrolla few other interested parties have come forward about a possible purchase.

A Federal Court had ordered that the 300-foot ship, named the Jadran, be removed from the waterfront by Aug. 22. The ship was shut down by civic officials more than two years ago and put up for auction last July because owner Captain John Letnik owes almost $2 million in back taxes, berthing fees and mortgages.

After Sbrolla won the bidding, he partnered with Priestly Demolition and came up with a plan,which had yet to get port authority or Federal Court approval, for towing the Jadran to a Parliament Street slip and beginning demolition on Toronto’s shoreline.

“We don’t feel comfortable proceeding with a plan at this point that involves tearing the ship apart in the harbour,” said port authority spokeswoman Erin Mikaluk in an interview Friday.

“We want to be sure we’re doing this right, mitigating risk and removing the ship in a manner that is safe from an environmental and public safety standpoint.”

Sbrolla beat out one other bidder, a third was deemed to have filed their bid four minutes after the court-ordered deadline. That bidder, veteran ship scrapper Wayne Elliott, had offered to tow and demolish the ship, but at a cost of $303,000 to the port authority, factoring in insurance, towing and the tricky work involved in removing and disposing of asbestos and other toxins on board.

Toronto Star


Port Reports -  October 18

Duluth, Minn.
The G-tug Missouri towed the tugs Arkansas and Indiana into port Friday noon.

Manitowoc, Wis.
The barge St. Marys Conquest and tug Prentiss Brown were in Manitowoc on Friday night.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Defiance - Ashtabula departed the Buffalo North Entrance Friday at 12:30 p.m. The English River is in the Welland Canal and bound for Buffalo. She should be arriving Saturday morning.

Hamilton, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The saltie Federal Shimanto left Hamilton Friday, destined for Detroit. Lakers currently in port include Capt. Henry Jackman, Algoma Montrealais, Sterling Energy, and Hamilton Energy. Salties currently in port include Federal Elbe, Kurt Paul, Emilie, Resko, and Heloise.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Early Friday evening the bulker Shoveler departed from Redpath. Tug assist was provided by the Toronto Drydock tug Radium Yellowknife. The tug cement barge combo Sea Eagle II/St. Lawrence Cement are sitting out he strong westerly wind conditions over at Terminal 52.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The Liberian bulk carrier Ida arrived early Friday morning. It appeared light as it was sitting quite high off the water and the propeller/rudder were visible. Also in Oshawa were the tugs La Prairie and Omni-Richelieu.

Seaway – Rene Beauchamp
The tug John Marshall was upbound in the Seaway near Montreal on Friday on its delivery trip to new owners at Chicago, believed to be Calumet River Fleeting.


Lookback #335 – The former Silverweir went aground leaving Kundapur, India, on Oct. 18, 1973

Silverweir had been a British bulk carrier. It was built at Sunderland, England, and completed for the Silver Line Ltd. in July 1961.

The 499-foot, 9-inch-long vessel began Seaway service with one trip in 1964 returning once each in 1965 and 1966 before making two calls to the Great Lakes in 1967.

The ship was sold in 1969 and registered in Greece as Agios Antonios. The new owners sent the vessel back through the Seaway in 1972.

It became a total loss the next year after loading iron ore at Kundapur, on the southwest coast of India, for Constanza, Romania. While departing the port on October 18, 1973, the ship stranded and had to be abandoned by the crew.

The former Seaway saltie was a total loss in the accident of 41 years ago today.

Skip Gillham


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.


Superior author chronicles Mataafa tragedy

10/17 - Superior, Wis. - Bob Abrahamson drew on traditional research for his new book, "Luck of the Draw – The Mataafa Story." The Superior man also left the libraries and archives to walk along the beaches and canals where ship crews fought to survive during the storm of Nov. 27-29, 1905.

He mentally sat himself down in the room where survivors gathered and spent hours gazing out over the waters near Canal Park where the Mataafa tragedy unfolded. The resulting book is a nonfiction story gently interwoven with Abrahamson’s imagination.

"It is hard to find an author that can be understood and appreciated by all who pick it up and he has captured the sights, sounds and emotion of the Twin Ports and what it was like to be a crew member on the Great Lakes," said Tony Tracy, executive director of the Douglas County Historical Society. "You can almost feel the icy spray on your face and the desperation in their hearts."

The storm was the worst ever recorded on Lake Superior at that time.

"The decisions that were made that day would pit the vessel captain’s instincts against gadgets and weather maps," Abrahamson wrote in his preface. "As a result, men would die, ships would sink and there would be hell to pay."

Abrahamson focuses on the Mataafa, a steamship that made it past the Apostle Islands, then sought to return to the Duluth harbor. A huge wave lifted the vessel up as it was about to enter the canal. The Mataafa struck the north pier, caving in the bow. The current caught the ship, pinning her to the north pier then pushing her back out. Waves brought her to rest parallel to the shoreline only 230 yards from land. There, waves would split her in two, coat the decks with ice and dictate who would live and who would die. The resulting drama played out in front of more than 10,000 Duluth residents who gathered on the shore.

"There were no heroes, just 24 men fighting to survive," wrote Abrahamson.

A passion for maritime history runs in the family. Abrahamson’s great-uncle William Scott wrote a 40-page book on "The Wreck of the Lafayette," which foundered north of Two Harbors in the same storm. Abrahamson himself wrote the 100-word story on the Mataafa that adorns a plaque in Duluth’s Canal Park. A retired nurse, Abrahamson has a knack for creative writing. He’s written numerous poems, including two on the Edmund Fitzgerald, that were sparked by emotion.

Writing a book, however, was a very different experience. Abrahamson spent four years digging into the story of the Mataafa and the 1905 storm. In some sections, the sailors tell their own story through interviews. Newspaper articles and other material provided additional information for the book.

"In four years, I learned a few things," Abrahamson said, and debunked a number of myths surrounding the wreck. "I had to tell the truth."

Not content to wait for a publishing house to snap the book up, Abrahamson chose to self-publish. On Sept. 29, the first copies arrived. "It felt so good to have it in my hands after so long," he said.

The book is available at Globe News in Superior, 1430 Tower Ave., and the Bookstore at Fitger’s, located at 600 E. Superior St., Duluth.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  October 17

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
The Upper Harbor hopper received two coal cargoes on Thursday. Lee A. Tregurtha unloaded in the morning and fleetmate James R. Barker took Tregurtha's spot in the afternoon.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Joseph H. Thompson entered the Lorain harbor at 8:20 p.m. Thursday.


Watching ships pass on the Welland Canal

10/17 - St. Catharines, Ont. – These are the places where you can see ships that pass in the night – and day – too.

Visitors to the Welland Canals Centre at Lock 3 in St. Catharines and Lock 7 in Thorold can view this historic example of engineering – Canada’s version of the Panama Canal.

This is the fourth route of the Welland Canal that first opened in 1829 between Port Weller and Port Colborne. It allows vessels to avoid both Niagara Falls and the mountainous escarpment so they can pass safely between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

The centre has an elevated observation platform that lets visitors see ships from around the world squeeze themselves into the lock on their way through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The season’s still in full swing as ships transit the canal 24 hours a day from April through December until the big freeze-up from January to March when it is drained and closed for maintenance.

Visitors can “witness ships travelling through the marvel of the man-made Welland Canal,” Mayor Brian McMullan said, as they gather on the platform as ships approach and enter the lock.

The afternoon of our visit, the bulk carrier Federal Mackinac was passing through en route to the upper Great Lakes. The ship, registered in Majuro in the Marshall Islands between Hawaii and Australia, was so large it barely settled into the lock with little space to spare.

Once the gates were closed and water was allowed in to raise the ship to the level of the canal ahead, it continued on its way.

It’s easy to know what’s coming and going as ship movements with expected times of arrival are detailed inside the museum and available online including Facebook.

The Lockview Lounge on the second floor of the centre provides a panoramic view of Lock 3 with comfortable seating and is especially popular in inclement weather. A special exhibit, The War of 1812, is now on display in this space, while the centre also has Merritt’s Mercantile, the museum’s gift shop, and Great Lakes Jake’s Snack Bar.

Outside is Discovery Park with a picnic area and playground filled with interesting artifacts and information about the canal.

The museum and centre can also be a starting and stopping place for walking, biking and rollerblading on the Greater Niagara Circle Route and paved multi-use trail.

Just down the road is the Lock 7 Viewing Complex in Thorold to continue watching the ships climb the mountain over the Twin Flight locks and into the highest and last lift up the canal.

There’s also an outdoor viewing platform and bleachers for a front-row view while inside is the history of the canal, gift shop souvenirs and tasty treats.

It’s also the spot for events including the Mountain Top Ceremony on the canal’s opening day in late March and the Best Decorated Ship contest during the Christmas season.

St. Catharines Standard


Lookback #334 – Sand Merchant rolled over and sank on Oct. 17, 1936

10/17 - After only nine years of service, the Sand Merchant plunged to the bottom on Lake Erie 78 years ago today. This Lake Erie-based sand carrier had taken on a full cargo and was bound for Cleveland when it began taking water faster than it could be pumped out.

The vessel had earlier been delayed by a steering gear problem and got caught in wilder weather than had been anticipated. The crew sought to abandon ship about 13.5 miles off Cleveland. That was just before the unstable freighter rolled over and sank at about 2200 hours on Oct. 17, 1936.

The lifeboats had overturned in the stormy seas and the survivors had been able to hang on until dawn when they were spotted and rescued. Two nearby vessels, the Thunder Bay Quarries and Marquette and Bessemer No. 1, picked up 7 survivors but a total of 19 sailors, 18 men and 1 woman, were lost.

Sand Merchant had been Hull 79 from the Collingwood shipyard. The 259 foot, 9 inch long steamer was originally a crane-equipped sandsucker but was converted to a self-unloading sandsucker back at Collingwood in 1930.

The vessel was idle at Port Dalhousie in 1933 but saw brief service in 1934 before resuming full operation. It spent some time on the East Coast earlier in 1936 before being lost.

Skip Gillham


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

Port Inland, Mich.
Wilfred Sykes was loading Wednesday in the morning.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Daniel Lindner
The American Integrity departed Sturgeon Bay at 2 p.m. Wednesday after receiving some type of repairs. At 9 p.m. she was eastbound off Port Inland, MI, heading for the Straits of Mackinac with no destination posted.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
The 1,000-footer Burns Harbor was unloading in its namesake port on Wednesday.

Buffalo, NY – Brian W.
Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender were unloading stone at the Gateway Metroport Terminal on the North East end of the Lackawanna Canal Wednesday.


Overloaded rails stymie pellet, coal businesses in Minnesota

10/16 - Duluth, Minn. – The titans of industry converged on the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Kirby Ballroom in the name of railway safety Tuesday. But all anyone wanted to talk about were the hardships brought to bear by Minnesota rail lines clogged with oil being transported from North Dakota’s Bakken oil field.

U.S. Steel said one of its Iron Range operations went 20 days between trains and that it is storing 250,000 tons of pellets it’s unable to transport by rail to the Duluth-Superior harbor.

Cliffs Natural Resources reported it was stockpiling 140,000 tons of taconite pellets in Hibbing, where “we’re not designed to have large quantities of stockpile,” said Terry Fedor, the company’s executive vice president of United States iron ore.

Minnesota Power said it would need 1.2 trains per day through the season to restock coal at its northern Minnesota power plants, but that its rail service is “on again, off again,” said Al Rudek, the utility’s vice president of strategy and planning.

At times, the heavyweights of coal, taconite and power didn’t sound titanic at all. They were frustrated, but appreciative for the opportunity to gather around Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.

“When a governor and a U.S. senator are paying attention, that’s very helpful,” said Christopher Masciantonia, U.S. Steel’s general manager-state government affairs, who was in from U.S. Steel headquarters in Pittsburgh.

Masciantonia was referring to a letter penned by Dayton and U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar on Monday to the federal Surface Transportation Board. In the letter, the state contingent of politicians addressed service problems and called on railroad companies like BNSF to provide things like “coal service recovery plans.”

“It feels like they’re running from one problem to the next,” said Rudek, who said Minnesota Power was caught up on coal last January only to fall so far behind it would now need nine full trains per week to catch up.

Fedor said Cliffs’ iron ore mining operations are being treated like “second-class” compared to the oil that’s coming out of the Bakken oil fields; 70 percent of that oil is crossing Minnesota by rail, the industry leaders were told. Figures used at the meeting said oil transportation on the rails has doubled since a year ago and figures to double again over the next nine years.

Larry Sutherland, U.S. Steel’s general manager for Minnesota ore operations, said his company’s operations produce 27 million tons of steel products annually — from sheet steel used in the automotive industry to tin cans used in food processing — and that its Minntac mine in Virginia is the largest taconite producer in the country. Almost a year ago, Sutherland said, U.S. Steel’s Keetac mine in Keewatin began to experience “a real decline in service performance to move our products out of that facility.”

To a person, the business leaders said the service deterioration began about a year ago. They mentioned BNSF repeatedly. They said they also have experienced difficulty with Canadian National Railway. Progress has been made through face-to-face meetings, but it’s been tough to keep rail leaders’ attention at times, they said.

Mary Tourville is a manager at the NewPage paper mill in Duluth. She said her company has experienced delays moving paper that are double and triple the normal delivery times. Costs for trucking its product have increased for NewPage by $250,000 per month, Tourville said, to make up for the delays in rail shipments.

“We’re a small peg, but we do matter,” she said. “There are a lot of paper suppliers in the state of Minnesota.”

With the Bakken oil boom threatening to shut out the rest of industry, Rudek called for solutions ranging from the creation of railway competition — he said there are only four transporters now compared to previous eras with up to 26 train transport companies — to installing pipelines along the same corridors already established by the utility’s power lines and their right of ways.

The governor convened the series of six statewide meetings originally to discuss railway safety, in particular legislative initiatives now in place to provide disaster response and preventative safety.

“The oil coming through our communities from North Dakota and Alberta (Canada) is particularly problematic if there is a fire or explosion,” said state Rep. Frank Hornstein, D-Minneapolis.

The meeting drew fire chiefs and other first responders from throughout the Northland. To hear the corporations talk, it was as if the emergency had already begun.

“I’ll keep redirecting their attention,” Dayton said of the rail industry. “I’m very willing to do that.”

There was no rail representation at the round table.

Duluth News Tribune


Oilsands supertanker Genmar Daphne in St. Lawrence awaits new fire pump

10/16 - Les Escoumins, Que. – A supertanker on its way to collect oilsands bitumen from a port in the St. Lawrence River is being held by Transport Canada because of a problem with the emergency fire equipment on board.

The Genmar Daphne — a 240-metre-long vessel — was on its way to a port at Sorel-Tracy, Que., before it was anchored at Les Escoumins by Transport Canada.

The government agency identified a problem with the emergency fire pump on the ship.

"The vessel will be authorized to resume its route only when the repairs have been carried out to the satisfaction of Transport Canada," reads a news release issued by the Transport Ministry.

The Genmar Daphne is one of 20 to 30 supertankers expected to travel the St. Lawrence River to pick up oilsands bitumen transported to the area by train.

Sorel-Tracy's mayor, Serge Péloquin, says it's a good sign that Transport Canada is reacting to the technical problems on the Genmar Daphne, But he says more needs to be done to make sure these ships are safe.

"It's good news that this was caught," said Péloquin. "But will Transport Canada catch all of these issues? I hope so, but I doubt it."

He says Transport Canada's vigilance is a good first step to establishing confidence in the system.

Since July, Suncor has been transporting diluted bitumen from Alberta by train to a storage facility in Sorel-Tracy owned by Kildair Services.

A year ago, ships wider than 32 metres weren’t allowed in that part of the St. Lawrence River, but the federal government increased the allowable size in December 2013.

The oil tanker flies the flag of the Marshall Islands, a North Pacific nation. It arrived in Les Escoumins — across the St. Lawrence from Rimouski — on Oct. 12.

In a statement, Suncor says the ships are subject to inspections by both Transport Canada and Suncor. It says Suncor found the problem during an internal investigation, and signalled the issue to Transport Canada as part of the requirements of travelling in Canadian waters.

The vessel has ordered new fire pump equipment which will be fitted and tested before receiving permission to enter the Sorel-Tracy port.



Cleveland Metroparks will revive water-taxi service

10/16 - Cleveland, Ohio – Cleveland Metroparks commissioners have approved purchase of a 26-foot boat that will become a water taxi on the Cuyahoga River next year.

The purchase would mark the return of a service that was popular in the 1980s and '90s, when the restaurants and bars in the Flats were at the zenith of their popularity.

According to the park board agenda, the vessel should go into service by Memorial Day 2015, ferrying people between the east and west banks of the river, with additional stops added "as opportunities develop."

The idea was a joint proposal advanced earlier this year by Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman; Kate Brown, Metrohealth Systems' vice president of foundation and system philanthropy; and other members of Leadership Cleveland.

He said a pontoon design was considered but the so-called yacht was preferred because of greater stability and maneuverability.

Zimmerman said "yacht" is a misnomer because "it really looks more like a modified tugboat." It will have bow thruster that will aid in traversing the river, in going up and down stream and in docking. It will also have a bike rack, he said.


Park Service considers fee to visit ice caves

10/16 - Duluth, Minn. – Tens of thousands of people parked their vehicles and walked out to the breathtaking ice caves along Apostle Islands National Lakeshore last winter — so many that it stressed the budget of the National Park Service property.

On Wednesday, Park Service officials announced a proposal to charge a $5 fee for visitors age 12 and older who walk out to the caves during the occasional winters that offer enough ice to make the trip.

During the unusually cold winter of early 2014, some 138,000 people visited the caves through the park’s Meyers Beach area.

“This unprecedented visitation received national and even international attention and was driven largely by the widespread use of social media to spread news of the ice cave phenomenon,’’ Apostle Islands officials noted in a news release Wednesday.

“We believe the Ice Caves Special Event has now entered the national and international consciousness in such a way that visitation of this magnitude will now be the norm, rather than the exception. The Ice Caves Event in 2014 brought in nearly 10 million dollars in revenue to the local communities.”

The $5 charge would help the small park recover some of the cost of directing traffic, policing the ice, providing portable toilets and cleaning up the debris left behind by the crowds.

Currently the park charges a parking fee at Meyers Beach of $3 per car. During the Ice Cave event the majority of cars parked on Highway 13 and in temporary lots, and thus paid nothing. As a result the park collected only $47,000, a fraction of what it actually cost to manage this event. The Friends of Apostle Islands contributed $16,000 to assure that toilets were brought in and kept pumped, the National Park Service Midwest Region contributed funding, and many local partners and agencies contributed in-kind services and staff.

“We are committed to keeping the park affordable but we also want to provide visitors with the best possible experience while not over burdening our partners,’’ said Chris Smith, acting superintendent.

Public open houses have been set for Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland and Oct. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Headquarters, 415 Washington Ave. in Bayfield.

Duluth News Tribune


Lookback #333 – Rio Orinoco went aground off Anticosti Island on Oct. 16, 1990

10/16 - The tanker Rio Orinoco first came to the Great Lakes heading up bound on July 5, 1984. The 431-foot-long vessel was registered in the Cayman Islands and was operating under her third name at the time.

The ship was been built at Fredrikstad, Norway, in 1976 and first sailed as Joasla. It moved from Norwegian to Swedish registry when it became Orinoco in 1979 and then became Rio Orinoco in 1982.

It was 24-years ago today, Oct. 16, 1990, that the asphalt-laden tanker stranded off Anticosti Island, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The crew of 25 was airlifted to safety by helicopter but the ship was securely on the bottom.

Attempts to release the ship failed and some cargo escaped but this did not become the ecological disaster that some had feared. The asphalt solidified in the cargo hold but it was not until Aug. 9, 1991, that the ship was refloated.

The salvors, Desgagnes Transports, were awarded the ship as payment for their efforts. After being refurbished at Lauzon, Quebec, the vessel resumed trading as Thalassa Desgagnes in 1993. It was initially on saltwater routes but began Great Lakes trading in 1996. It has been a frequent caller to inland ports since that time.

Skip Gillham


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.


Sure, there were pirates in the Caribbean, but the Great Lakes had them too

10/15 - Michigan Radio's M I Curious project is a news experiment where the station investigates questions submitted by the public about our state and its people. As part of the project, Shelly Scott asked Michigan Radio this question: Have there ever been pirates on the Great Lakes?

Scott is an engineer at Ford and she’s also a leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop. These 5th grade girls had some questions about freshwater pirates too:

“What do pirate ships look like? Was there any pirate treasure in the Great Lakes? How did they get away with stealing other people’s treasure?” asked Maria Kokko, Lilli Semel and Shannon Scott.

I took all of the Girl Scouts’ questions with me to Toledo to talk with Chris Gillcrist. He’s the executive director of the new National Museum of the Great Lakes.

“Although the pirates of the Great Lakes generally didn’t have parrots on their shoulder, and rarely walked with a piece of wood for their leg, there were pirates on the Great Lakes,” he says.

The most famous Great Lakes pirate operated around the turn of the 20th century. Gillcrist says Dan Seavey is the only man known to be formally charged with piracy on the Great Lakes.

“His most famous race is when he steals the Nellie Johnson, a little schooner, and is chased across Lake Michigan by the U.S. Revenue Cutter Services, and is eventually caught, put in irons — that’s something that’s very pirate-y — and brought to justice,” Gillcrist says.

Gillcrist says Seavey was known for putting up fake port lights so that ships coming in would crash on the rocks. Then, his people would board the ship and steal its cargo. Up until the mid-1800s, there was a Wild West mentality on the Great Lakes. Pirates stole beaver pelts, timber and sometimes entire ships.

He says pirate ships looked like every other boat sailing on the lakes: a schooner or a sloop. Back then, boats moved faster than the written word, so it was easy to get away with piracy.

“There’s no phone; there's no telegraph until the 1860s, 1870s and in that void, it was easy to steal a cargo and take it 20 miles down the road and sell it before word could get out,” says Gillcrist.

Should we break out our treasure maps? “Yes, there were boats that sank with gold on it,” says Gillcrist. Banks on the East Coast shipped gold to banks in Chicago and Detroit and other cities around the Great Lakes. But he says the people who insured that gold went to any length to get it back.

“The odds are all of that was recovered and there’s no need to run down and take a scuba lesson to go think you’re going to go make a lot of money finding gold on Great Lakes shipwrecks,” he says.

We had one more question from the Girl Scout troop: Carolyn Cheyne asked, “I was wondering why pirates talk like they do like in movies… like why do they say 'arrrgh' so much?”

Chris Gillcrist says Great Lakes pirates sounded just like everyone around them.

“You’re going to find pirates with a Scandanavian accent up in the Wisconsin area," he says. "You're going to have more of a German-Irish dialect down in Ohio.”

Gillcrist says pirates in our region were tough. But they were practical too. They wore knitted wool caps and mittens and sweaters. “It wasn’t usually a cardigan, it would’ve been a pullover, perhaps a turtleneck because it was cold in October-November,” he says.

And they were more domestic than you might’ve guessed. When the lakes iced over, the sweater-wearing pirates would head home until May.

Michigan Radio


Port Reports -  October 15

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
The Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender was expected in port late Tuesday.


Lookback #332 – Singapore Trader grounded among the Thousand Islands on Oct. 15, 1971

10/15 - The aging Singapore Trader did not get far on its initial voyage into the Great Lakes in October 1971. It was carrying general cargo from Japan to Detroit when it stranded off Blanket Island in the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence on Oct. 15, 1971.

The accident of 43 years ago today led to the eventual scrapping of the ship. It remained securely on the bottom for 44 days before being released. Instead of continuing its voyage inland, the vessel was unceremoniously towed to Montreal arriving on Dec. 16. The ship was arrested in an effort to recoup costs and offered for sale in May 1972 by a court order.

Singapore Trader was purchased by Spanish shipbreakers and the vessel arrived at Santander, under tow, on June 22, 1972, for dismantling.

I suspect that those who broke up the hull had no idea of the ship's historic past. The vessel had been built at Wilmington, North Carolina, and completed on Nov. 18, 1944, as the Torrance.

The 459 foot 11 inch long vessel was rebuilt as an “attack cargo ship” at Hoboken, NJ, and headed for duty in the Pacific. There it carried military cargo and landing craft as American Forces gradually recaptured the islands leading to the approach to Japan. The Torrance shot down two enemy aircraft and received one battle star for its work.

Skip Gillham


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.


Power companies low on coal supply for winter, blame rail delays

10/14 - Another major industry in Minnesota is feeling the effects of backlogged railroads due to a surge in traffic on Minnesota’s rails since North Dakota oil trains were added to the mix.

Companies say they’re unhappy with rail service because the supply of trains is no longer able to keep up with the demand for shipping.

The most recent industry to take the hit is the state’s power companies, which could mean higher prices for consumers. Coal generates nearly half of Minnesota’s electricity, and Xcel Energy officials say their coal inventory is about 57 percent of their target inventory for the weeks leading up to winter, MPR News reports.

Tom Imbler, Xcel Energy’s vice president for commercial operations, told MPR News that the company isn’t satisfied with the service, putting most of the blame on BNSF Railway, which delivers coal from the western U.S. to Xcel Energy’s central Minnesota plant.

Imbler told the station that although the inventory is lower than desired it’s not critical at this point, noting consumers will have the electricity they need this winter.

Xcel Energy isn’t the only utility company that’s feeling the effects of rail delays. Minnesota Power announced in September it’s shutting down four generators for three months in to preserve the limited supply of coal on hand as winter approaches.

Otter Tail power’s Big Stone power plant is about 20 percent below normal and the plant manager told MPR News that if coal supplies are too low this winter, companies will have to pay more to buy electricity on the open market, which will likely result in higher prices for consumers.

Some industries have criticized BNSF Railway for giving preference to oil trains, but officials said last month that even oil companies are experiencing a backlog in service, blaming delays on winter weather and increased traffic. Railroad officials say they’re aware of the problem and are spending millions to build more tracks, which is expected to speed up rail service.

Other industries are affected.

For months, Minnesota grain farmers have been critical of the backlogged trains. Famers have started harvesting one of the biggest harvests the state has ever seen, but much of it is likely headed for storage bins because there aren’t trains available to haul it to market. Any corn or soybeans loaded onto trains will cost farmers far more than they used to.

WCCO says numbers provided by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture showed the cost of shipping grain by rail is about five times more than it was a few years ago – rising from an average of $750 per rail car to nearly $6,000. It’s estimated that rail shipping has already cost farmers $100 million.

Minnesota’s construction industry has also expressed concern about the state’s railways, saying the demand for concrete is growing due to a building boom and the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. Some companies have had to switch suppliers to get fly ash – a byproduct of coal that’s used in making cement, an ingredient in concrete, to fill the demand, FOX 9 reported.

Taconite plants in northeastern Minnesota have been unable to ship what they’ve mined. Earlier this month, Cliff Natural Resources said rail delays have forced the company to ship iron ore pellets on trucks.

For the next two months, the company will load about 100 trucks every day to send the pellets from Hibbing Taconite to the Duluth-Superior harbor, where they’ll be loaded onto ships and sent to steel customers in states along the Great Lakes, the Star Tribune reported. Taconite producers are hoping to get this done before winter comes and shuts down lake shipping, which typically happens in mid-January, the newspaper said.

Last month, 40 legislators from five committees listened to hours of testimony about the money railroad delays are costing the state’s businesses. The hearing didn’t lead to any immediate action, but lawmakers are considering what steps they may take when the Legislative session begins in January.

More than 40 legislators from five committees heard four hours of testimony about the money and headaches railroad delays are costing farmers, mines, power plants and passengers.


Harbors, freighters benefit from high water levels

10/14 - Leland, Mich. – Water levels in the Great Lakes are higher than they've been in more than a decade and those levels are having an impact on those who work and live on the water.

The higher levels make it easier for boats to get in and out of harbors and allow freighters to carry larger loads.

“It's an asset for the harbor, the loss of beach is not so good,” said Leland Harbor Master Russell Dzuba.

Water levels in the Leland Harbor are up about two feet from last year meaning bigger boats can get in and out much easier.

“That means more traffic, more people coming to the village for all the merchants, not just a store here but the restaurants and all the business owners,” said Leland Mercantile Co. Manager, Dale Schaub.

On a larger scale-this is also having a major effect on the great lakes shipping industry.

“Because the water level has come up significantly here are ships are caring more cargo,” said Vice President for the Lake Carriers’ Association, Glen Nekvasil. “The biggest ships in the fleet have actually come close to 70 tons in a single trip this year and that is quite an improvement.”

That’s about 10,000 tons more per shipment, which is more than a 3 percent increase over the long-term average for September.

Higher water could help save money for towns on the shore. “It's entirely possible that we may go one year without being dredged,” said Dzuba.

Dredging costs about $200,000, but if the water levels remain, it won't be necessary.

“The negative in the Leland is our beaches we lost,” said Dzuba. “Our beach is just gone. Our water level goes right up to the dune grass now.”

But he said overall it will help the community. “High water is better than low water,” said Dzuba. “We’ll take it any day.”



Bowmanville plant looks into mining below Lake Ontario

10/14 - Clarington, Ont. – It’s still in the works but St. Marys Cement Inc. has plans to head below Bowmanville’s stretch of Lake Ontario to meet some of its mining needs.

The company has started meeting with the public on its plans to build a mine under Lake Ontario, a mine they believe could operate for up to 100 years.

St. Marys is seeking the limestone aggregate beneath the lake floor and the proposed mine would go approximately 170 metres deep and cover an area of 49 sq, km. According to Wilson Little, a consultant with St. Marys, mining operations would only take up a fraction of that area though and present “absolute minimal impacts” to the lake and surrounding area, with few safety issues.

“Our existing quarry is beside and below the lake level and we have had very little water come through the rock,” he said. “Because of its proximity to the proposed mine, we are confident we won’t have any problems.”

Chris Darling, a representative of the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, which has responsibility for the nearby wetlands, attended the company’s public meeting on Sept. 17. He said his group is seeking more information on the project and is looking to an environmental impact study done by the company.

“It’s too early to identify what the environmental concerns are,” said Mr. Darling of the project. “We have no idea the extent of the blasting or the impacts it could have.

“We are waiting for more information to determine what our concerns are.”

The mining project is being driven by how increasingly expensive mining operations are becoming in the Greater Toronto Area and the high costs of transporting material from more distant mines, said Mr. Little.

“It’s very difficult to get licensed to extract for new operations in the GTA,” said Mr. Little, who added St. Marys has had difficulties in the past. “We want to be close to the GTA so we’re going under the lake.”

According to information provided by the company, over the next 25 years Ontario will require four billion tonnes of aggregate. Mr. Little estimated, St. Marys could extract upwards of four million tonnes a year from the lake mine if it goes into operation.

The project is still a long way off, with the company just starting to hold public meetings on the subject. It still needs to go through some approvals by the municipality and licensing from the province.


Port Reports -  October 14

Houghton/Hancock, Mich.
Algowood brought in a load of road salt on Sunday.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Cuyahoga is expected to arrive on Tuesday during the early morning. Due on Tuesday in the early evening is the Wilfred Sykes. There are no vessels scheduled on Wednesday. Three vessels are expected to arrive on Thursday, with the Buffalo due first in the early morning, followed by the Joseph L. Block. Manitowoc is due Thursday in the early evening.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Frontenac, making a rare visit, loaded on Monday. There are no vessels scheduled until Thursday, when three are expected to arrive. Due in first will be the Joseph L. Block, followed by the Great Republic, both in the early evening. Rounding out the schedule will be the Lewis J. Kuber, due in the late evening on Thursday.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
ASC's 1,000-foot American Integrity arrived Sturgeon Bay over the weekend for unknown reasons. As of Sunday night, she was docked in port. Also, the USCG Mackinaw, which has been drydocked for most of the past summer, departed Sturgeon Bay last week, along with the James L. Kuber and her tug, Victory, which had been in port receiving repairs to its rudders.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Great Lakes Trader was expected to arrive on Monday in the early evening to load. Also due in the late evening was the Pathfinder. Lewis J. Kuber was expected to arrive at midnight on Monday to load. For Tuesday, due in the early morning is the Manistee. Two vessels round out the schedule for Wednesday with the Arthur M. Anderson due in first during the early afternoon followed by the Algorail in the early evening.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Due on Tuesday at noon is the Philip R. Clarke arriving for the South Dock. There are no vessels scheduled on Wednesday. Due in Thursday in the early evening is the James L. Kuber for the South Dock. Two vessels are due on Friday, with the Lakes Contender arriving first in the early morning for the South Dock. Adam E. Cornelius is due in the late evening for the South Dock. There are no vessels scheduled to load Saturday and Sunday. Rounding out the schedule on Monday, October 20th in the early afternoon is the Lakes Contender for the North Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
James L. Kuber is expected to arrive at the Torco Dock in the early morning on Wednesday to unload iron ore pellets. Also expected to arrive Wednesday in the early evening will be H. Lee White for the Torco Dock. Baie Comeau is due to arrive at Torco during the morning Thursday. Due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock will be Algomarine on Tuesday, October 21 in the early morning. Due to load coal at the CSX dock will be the John J. Boland on Wednesday in the morning. Catherine Desgagnes is also due on Wednesday just before midnight. Due on Thursday at CSX is the H. Lee White in the early morning. Rounding out the schedule are three vessels on Saturday at CSX, with Algoma Olympic arriving first in the morning followed by the Ashtabula / Defiance. Algoma Enterprise is also due on Saturday in the early evening. Vessels in port at the time of this report included Manitowoc at the Midwest Terminal Dock, Cedarglen and the saltwater vessel Puffin of Jamaica loading grain cargoes upriver at the elevators. Tug Huron Service and a barge remain in port. The tug Petite Forte with its barge the St. Marys Cement were also making their way into port to unload at the St. Marys Cement dock along the Maumee River.


Seaway saltie news

10/14 - As of October 1, the total number of transits by saltwater vessels at the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. totaled 278, made by 179 vessels. Of the 179 vessels making those transits during the period from March/April-September 30 there were 38 ships that have never visited before. The 278 transits also represent an increase by more than 60 transits from the same period in 2013 in which there were 218 transits by vessels during the same timeframe. Most of the increase in transits has to do with a good Canadian grain harvest, making for a busy year for grain movements out of Thunder Bay, Ont. The 278 transits also represents an increase of 53 transits from the 5-year average during the same timeframe from 2009-2013. The lowest total ever recorded for transits by vessel during the March/April-September 30 timeframe was during the 2009 shipping season, which saw only 170 transits by vessel which was during the recession. A breakdown of the monthly transits at the Eisenhower Lock shows the following figures for 2014: March/April=55, May=47, June=42, July=50, August=42 and September=42. It is also interesting to note that during the March/April timeframe that saw 55 transits in 2014, all of those transits occurred during the month of April and not once did a saltwater vessel make any transits in March due to severe ice conditions.

Denny Dushane


Model sale at National Museum of the Great Lakes

10/14 - Toledo, Ohio – The National Museum of the Great Lakes will hold a sale of models and other material on Saturday, October 18, at the museum in Toledo. Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director of the museum said “the museum’s policy with respect to models has been to transition our collection eventually to only owning and displaying models in the 1/8 inch to the foot scale. Models that are not Great Lakes or that are not of a quality set by the museum will also be sold.”

The sale of these models will be by a modified sealed bid auction. Participants will be able to submit a sealed bid above the stated minimum price. If a participant chooses to utilize a Buy It Now option they can do so at the stated Buy It Now Price.

Members of the Great Lakes Historical Society/National Museum of the Great Lakes can begin bidding at 9 a.m. The general public can begin bidding at 10 a.m. The bids for items not purchased through a buy it now option will be opened at 12 p.m.

Admission to the sale is included with the price of general admission to the museum. Members of the Great Lakes Historical Society/National Museum of the Great Lakes are admitted free as a membership benefit.

Other items offered besides models are the Pilothouse to the Canopus, an unknown ship’s wheel, some lithographs and other art. Go to to see photos of the items and for other information.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


Lakes Superior, Michigan 6 degrees colder than last year; How will that affect our winter?

10/14 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – Lakes Superior and Lake Michigan are currently six degrees colder than last year. If the water continues to remain colder than normal, it could have an impact on Michigan's winter in several ways.

Currently Lake Superior has an average surface water temperature of 47.6 degrees. Last year on this date Lake Superior was at 53.7 degrees. The long-term average water temperature on Lake Superior for October 11 is 51.1 degrees.

So Lake Superior is 6.1 degrees colder than this time last year, and 3.5 degrees colder than normal.

Lake Michigan has an average surface water temperature of 56.0 degrees, while last year at this time it was 62.1 degrees. The long-term average water temperature on Lake Michigan for October 11 is 58.4 degrees.

Lake Michigan is also 6.1 degrees colder than this time last year, and 2.4 degrees colder than average. Lake Huron is 5 degrees colder than last year, and only 1.5 degrees colder than normal.

The Great Lakes surrounding Michigan, especially Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, influence our winter temperatures and snowfall.

A warmer Lake Superior and Lake Michigan can really have a modifying effect on bitter cold temperatures. For example, in an early season cold outbreak, Green Bay, WI may have a temperature of 20 degrees. Traverse City, on our side of Lake Michigan, may hold in the mid 30s for temperatures. There is a 10 to 20 degree warming effect from Lake Michigan, and also Lake Superior.

But if the lake temperatures continue at this colder pace, cold air will have an easier time moving into Michigan. So the first impact of cold water could be earlier cold temperatures in November and December. If the lakes continue through winter colder than normal, freezing over of the lakes would happen earlier.

As for snow, part of Michigan's snow is obviously lake effect snow. Lake effect snow is heaviest when the lake waters are warm, and the air above is very cold. The bigger the difference in lake to air temperature, the more intense the snow can fall. Colder lake waters would mean lake effect snow could be not as intense. That is not to say we won't still have what some would call heavy snow. It means the 24 to 36 inch lake effect snows in one to two days would be harder to achieve.

The colder water, as mentioned above, could freeze earlier. This would end the lake effect snow season earlier.

So, to summarize, if the lakes stay colder than normal, our air could get colder earlier in winter, but lake effect may not be as heavy. But November is important.

If we went into an extended stretch of warmer than normal temperatures for the rest of October and November, the lakes wouldn't cool as fast as normal. So this whole situation above could actually be reversed by the time we get to December 1. There currently is some indication that the next two to three weeks will average slightly warmer than normal.

M Live


Lookback #331 – Furia trapped in Lock 7 of the Welland Canal on Oct. 14, 1985

10/14 - The Liberian freighter Furia was trapped in Lock 7 of the Welland Canal at Thorold when a section of the lock wall collapsed pinning the down bound ship against the east side. A 100-foot by 40-foot section of the chamber broke away leaving the 564-foot, 4-inch-long vessel stuck and forced the closure of the Welland Canal.

After evaluating the situation, the lock was re-flooded allowing Furia to float free and it backed out and moored on the wall above the lock. Seaway personnel devised a repair plan and contractors worked feverishly to get vessel traffic moving again. Finally on Nov. 7, Furia passed through the repaired structure and continued its journey to the Atlantic.

Furia had been built at Kudamatsu, Japan, and entered service in 1977. The ship first traveled through the Seaway in 1978 and continued regular inland trading until 1992. Its final Great Lakes cargo was a load of grain that came aboard at Sarnia in June.

The vessel was sold and renamed Yria in 1993 but did not return to inland ports until 2000 when it brought steel coils to Hamilton in September. It again departed with grain.

Following a sale to Chinese shipbreakers, Yria arrived at Shanghai on Nov. 5, 2001, and was broken up.

The troubles that began 29 years ago today led to a seven-year, $175 million refurbishing of the Welland Canal.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 14

News Photo Gallery


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

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph L. Block was expected to arrive at Port Inland on Sunday in the early evening. There are no vessels scheduled for arrivals on Monday. Wilfred Sykes is due to arrive on Tuesday during the late afternoon to load.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph L. Block was in port on Sunday. Also at Cedarville on Sunday was the Mississagi anchored and waiting for the Block's departure before taking the dock to load next. Due on Monday in a rare visit will be the Frontenac, in the morning. There are no vessels scheduled to load on Tuesday.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Stiefvater and Daniel Lindner
American Integrity docked at Bay Shipbuilding Saturday evening for unspecified repairs.  USCG Mackinaw, which has been drydocked for most of the past summer, departed Sturgeon Bay last week, along with the James L. Kuber and her tug, Victory, which had been in port receiving repairs to its rudders.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
American Mariner arrived on Saturday to load and was expected to depart around 2 a.m. on Sunday. Also due to arrive on Sunday was the Lakes Contender / Ken Boothe Sr. in the early afternoon for the North Dock. There are no vessels scheduled to load on Monday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John G. Munson loaded at Stoneport on Sunday and was expected to depart around 5 in the afternoon. Also expected to arrive on Sunday during the early afternoon was the Arthur M. Anderson. The Great Lakes Trader is due on Monday with no time listed.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The updated schedule for Toledo lists the James L. Kuber arriving on Tuesday in the early evening to unload an iron ore cargo at the Torco Dock. Also due at the Torco Dock is the H. Lee White, which is due on Wednesday in the early evening. The Baie Comeau is expected to arrive at the Torco Dock on Thursday in the morning hours to unload an iron ore cargo. Due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock is the Algomarine on Tuesday, October 21st in the early morning hours. Vessels due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock include the John J. Boland on Wednesday during the early morning. Also due at the CSX Coal Dock on Wednesday is the Catherine Desgagnes in the early morning. She will pump water for about six hours before loading. The H. Lee White is due at the CSX Coal Dock on Thursday in the early morning. Due at the CSX Coal Dock on Saturday, October 18th are the Ashtabula / Definace in the morning. Algoma Olympic is also due on Saturday, October 18th at the CSX Coal Dock in the early afternoon. Both the American Fortitude along with the American Valor remain in long-term lay-up at Toledo near the Lakefront Docks. Several other vessels were in port at the time of this report. Among them were the tug Huron Service with a barge. Adam E. Cornelius was at the Midwest Terminal Dock unloading a limestone cargo. Cedarglen was at one of the grain elevators upriver. Tecumseh departed Toledo after it had been at one of the grain elevators. Just outside and off of Toledo was the tug Paul L. Luedtke. The saltwater vessel Puffin, registered in Jamaica, was making its way into Toledo.

Toronto, Ont.
The passenger liner Hamburg (formerly Columbus) sailed in the Eastern Gap Saturday afternoon, turned and then docked at the former Rochester ferry slip.


Lookback #330 – Scott Misener damaged near Whaleback Shoal on Oct. 13, 1973

10/13 - Four ships have sailed the Great Lakes named Scott Misener but it is the third ship of this name that carried it the longest and is likely best remembered.

The 684 foot, 6 inch long bulk carrier was Hull 14 from the Port Weller Dry Docks shipyard in St. Catharines and it set sail July 8, 1954, to load grain at the Canadian Lakehead.

The Scott Misener was the first laker with a 10,000 horsepower engine and the first to load over 800,000 bushels of grain. The engine had been salvaged from the American tanker Markay that had caught fire and burned at Wilmington, California, on June 22, 1947.

Scott Misener began service for the Colonial Steamship Co. When the Misener fleet was reorganized as Scott Misener Steamships in 1959, it remained in their operation and this continued after the company became Misener Transportation in 1978.

It was on Oct. 13, 1973, 41 years ago today, that the vessel received damage to 60 bottom plates near Whaleback Shoal in the St. Lawrence. Once refloated, the Scott Misener went to Thunder Bay for repairs.

Size and fuel consumption made this ship less economical in the early 1980s and the vessel was idle at Hamilton from late 1983 until November 1986 when it was reactivated. There was some thought of repowering the steamer but this never happened.

Scott Misener passed down the Welland Canal, under her own power, on May 6, 1990. After unloading grain at Sorel, the vessel remained idle until June 7 when the Russian tug Leopard set out for the scrapping beach at Alang, India. The last voyage, via the Panama Canal, ended when the ship was beached on Oct. 31, 1990.

A retired chief engineer remembers the Scott Misener as “a very dependable ship, stable in a storm and excellent in ice often clearing the path for others.” It was broken up by the Rajesh Iron & Metal Co.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 13

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Colorado Star, Fraserborg, Harbour Fashion, and Kurt Paul

News Gallery will be updated tomorrow


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


Cliffs to ship Hibbing Taconite iron ore by truck

10/12 - Duluth, Minn. – Cliffs Natural Resources announced Friday that it will immediately begin using trucks to transport iron ore pellets from the Iron Range to the Twin Ports, citing “ongoing insufficient rail service.”

Trucks will carry about 100 loads of taconite a day — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — from Hibbing Taconite to the ore docks in Superior, where it will be loaded onto Great Lakes freighters. The trucking operation is set to last about two months, the company said, but that could be extended if rail service problems persist.

“This action will ensure (our) steelmaking customers on the lower Great Lakes will have an adequate supply of pellets to maintain steelmaking operations,” Cliffs said in a news release. “While efforts are underway to secure improved rail service and address the backlog of pellets at Hibbing Taconite and other taconite operations affected by rail service problems, Cliffs needs to take immediate steps to fulfill its commitment to supply iron ore pellets to its customers.”

The company is racing against time and the weather to reduce its backlog of iron ore pellets. The shipping season on the Great Lakes typically closes in early January for more than two months. If Cliffs can’t get the pellets loaded and shipped out on ore boats by then, its steelmaking customers in the eastern U.S. won’t get the raw material they need to make it through winter.

Cliffs’ announcement comes amid months of congestion on rail lines across the nation, and particularly in the Upper Midwest. The shortage of rail service is an unintended consequence of an increase in demand to ship crude oil from North Dakota by rail. Those oil shipments now are competing for rail space with coal, grain and other products.

Mike McCoshen, president of Hallett Dock Co. in Duluth, which serves the iron ore industry, told the News Tribune last month that while taconite pellets require special railcars that hadn’t been pulled away for other uses, shipments from Iron Range mines were being hindered by a shortage of locomotives and a logjam of other rail traffic.

Two other Iron Range mines, U.S. Steel’s Keetac operation and Arcelor Mittal’s Minorca Mine, already have sent product — a special taconite “pellet chip” — to Duluth harbor docks by truck.

McCoshen said last month that in 37 years in the business, he had not previously seen Iron Range mines transporting taconite to the Twin Ports by truck.

Cliffs said its trucks will travel south from Hibbing Taconite via U.S. Highway 169, St. Louis County Highway 5, Minnesota Highway 37, and U.S. Highway 53. As they approach the Twin Ports, some will continue through Duluth on Highway 53 and go over the Blatnik Bridge. Others will follow Midway Road, Becks Road and Minnesota Highway 23 before crossing the St. Louis River and heading to Superior. The trucks’ destination will be the ore docks in Superior’s Allouez neighborhood.

“I am optimistic that the recent dialogue with rail carriers that service Hibbing Taconite and other iron ore operations will help improve movement of iron ore pellets from Northeastern Minnesota,” Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs’ chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “Cliffs’ local management team recognizes that the additional truck traffic may impact the local community members who live and travel along the truck route. We appreciate the community’s patience as we implement this short-term solution to transport our product.”

Cliffs is part-owner and operator of Hibbing Taconite. It also owns United Taconite in Eveleth, and NorthShore Mining in Silver Bay and Babbitt, as well as the Tilden-Empire mining operations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  October 12

Muskegon, Mich.
Wilfred Sykes was unloading slag early Saturday morning before departing for Port Inland. American Integrity was in port before the Sykes.


Lookback #329 – Ziemia Gnieznienska hit the wall at Lock 7 on Oct. 12, 1991

The Ziemia Gnieznienska had loaded a cargo of soybeans at Sarnia for Europe when it got into trouble 23 years ago today while downbound in the Welland Canal. The 591 foot, 4 inch long bulk carrier, a regular Great Lakes trader, hit the wall above Lock 7 with such force that it tore out a chunk of concrete.

The ship was also damaged and the Welland Canal was closed for three days to repair the lock wall. The vessel was then able to post bond and to continue the voyage overseas.

This was not the only time the Polish owned vessel had trouble in the Welland Canal. Later, on Aug. 26, 1996, the ship lost power while approaching the Homer Bridge below Lock 3 and had to drop anchors. Potential damage was averted by the action as the wayward freighter stayed in the channel. The tug Otis Wack was called to assist and the ship was soon on its way again.

Ziemia Gnieznienska was built at Avellaneda, Argentina, in 1985 and was part of the Polsteam fleet. It began Seaway service that year and was a frequent traveler around the Great Lakes. Steel was the most popular inbound cargo while grain usually was on board for the trip back across the Atlantic.

The ship last entered the Seaway on Aug. 12, 2006, bound for Toledo and Duluth. After departing with grain, the vessel spent its final years in saltwater service. Following a sale for scrap, Ziemia Gnieznienska was beached at Aliaga, Turkey, on Aug. 23, 2012, and soon dismantled.

Skip Gillham


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.


September fourth straight month Lakes limestone up

10/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3.5 million tons in September, an increase of 2.3 percent compared to a year ago, and the fourth month in a row that loadings topped the corresponding period last year. Shipments also bettered the month’s long-term average by 3.1 percent.

Year-to-date, the Great Lakes limestone trade stands at 19.3 million tons, a decrease of 3 percent compared to a year ago. Since ice conditions eased in May, the gap between this year and last has continued to narrow. The delays experienced in April were so severe that limestone cargos were then down 55 percent compared to the same point in 2013.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Lookback #328 – Glengeldie hit bottom in Georgian Bay on Oct. 11, 1923

10/11 - The small, canal-sized bulk carrier Glengeldie, best remembered as Elgin, was only a few months old when it ran aground 91 years ago today. The vessel stranded on the rocky bottom of Georgian Bay while on a voyage from Killarney, with quartz rock, to Welland.

The vessel was damaged on the starboard side. Once refloated, the ship was towed to Collingwood and received repairs costing $15,316.24.

Glengeldie had been built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson, and was launched at Newcastle, England, on April 3, 1923. It came to the Great Lakes later in the spring and, at 261 feet long, it was a snug fit in the old locks of the St. Lawrence and Third Welland Canal.

The repaired ship resumed service and joined the George Hall Coal Co. and then Canada Steamship Lines in 1926. The latter company, now in its 101st year on the lakes, renamed the ship Elgin in 1927.

During World War Two, the vessel saw service on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and also spent time in the bauxite run from South America to the transshipment center on the island of Trinidad. Unlike some company running mates, the ship was unscathed from its wartime work.

Nearing the end of its working life, Elgin hit the Charlevoix Bridge in the Lachine Canal on Dec. 1, 1961, due to a faulty bridge mechanism. That section of the old canal was closed for several days but the ship was not damaged.

Elgin closed the Seaway for upbound navigation for the 1962 season heading for Lake Ontario on Dec. 5. The ship tied up at Kingston, west of the grain elevator, that day and never sailed again. Its final trip came in 1963 following a sale for scrap. Elgin arrived at Hamilton, under tow, on Sept. 18, 1963, and was broken up.

Skip Gillham


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.


Great Lakes water levels may do something only achieved 4 times in last 154 years

10/10 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – This time of year is normally the season when Great Lakes lake levels begin to fall. Typically evaporation is greater than precipitation and runoff from rivers and streams. So there is normally less water going into Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior at this time of year. On Lakes Michigan-Huron July is typically the high water month. Lake Superior usually sees peak water level in July or August.

This year is different. Lakes Michigan-Huron, and Lake Superior have continued to rise, even up to now.

Lakes Michigan-Huron have risen 3.1 inches since July. Normally those lakes would have dropped 2.8 inches since July. Lake Superior has risen 1.8 inches, while normally dropping 1.2 inches since July.

When we look at the current rise in levels on Lake Michigan-Huron versus the normal fall, we may have just gained almost six inches. In other words, if all of the rest of fall and winter go exactly normal, Lake Michigan-Huron will start next season's water rise six inches higher than last spring. And that's if everything is normal.

Lake Michigan-Huron is heading toward its peak water level in this month of October. If Lake Michigan-Huron peaks this month, it will be only the fifth time in the last 155 years the high water mark is in this fall month.

Lake Michigan-Huron has never had its high water mark in November. If that happens, we really know we have a bizarre weather pattern.

Over the last seven days, Lake Michigan-Huron has risen 1.3 inches and Lake Superior 1.4 inches. The rise is due to the widespread heavy rain received late last week and this past weekend. Look at the rainfall map. All of the surface of Lake Michigan had over one inch of rain in the past week. Northern Lake Michigan had over three inches of rain on it. That's a quick way to bring water levels higher.

The addition of 1.3 inches of water in Lake Michigan-Huron represents 1.4 trillion gallons of water. The 1.4 inches of new water on Lake Superior equals 770 billion gallons.

With another widespread rain system coming early next week, Michigan's Great Lakes water levels should hold steady, or even rise more.

M Live


Port Reports -  October 10

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The saltwater vessel Fritz departed Toledo Thursday after spending several months in Toledo under arrest by the U.S. Marshals Office for non-payment of bills. She is supposed to be bound for Montreal.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Joseph H. Thompson came into Lorain about a 6:30 a.m. Thursday and went to Jonick dock #3. She left at 3:10 p.m.


Marine News - October report on demolitions

10/10 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the October 2014 issue.

Algoma Transfer, a) J.H. Hillman Jr., b) Crispin Oglebay (ii), c) Hamilton Transfer, d) Canadian Transfer, arrived at Port Colborne under tow from Goderich on May 24, 2014. The ship last sailed in 2011.

Almortada was sold to Turkish shipbreakers and arrived at Aliaga on June 28, 2014. The ship had a less than memorable time on the Great Lakes as a Seaway trader in 1996 and 1997. Built in Porto Alegre, Brazil, as Saronic in 1979, the ship was operating as e) Blue Lagoon when it headed up the Seaway for Detroit in November 7, 1996. It finally arrived there, under tow, on Nov. 11 due to engine failure. An inspection resulted in a citation for violations including oil in bilges, no sewage holding or working refrigeration. The crew staged a strike but the vessel was cleared to sail with a cargo of scrap steel but hit the wall above the Iroquois Lock on Dec. 15, 1996, and was holed in the forepeak. Blue Lagoon returned inland in 1997 but was ordered to anchor at Hamilton when the cargo of steel coils was found to be damaged. A claim for $13 million in damages was filed but the vessel was eventually cleared to proceed. It was operating as f) Almortada when it reached the scrapyard over a decade after its misadventures on the Great Lakes.

Elcastro traded inland during 1981 as b) Breehoek. The ship, which dated from 1972, was known as i) Fadhl Rabi when it was first reported as sold for scrapping at Gadani Beach in June 2013. The ship got a reprieve as j) Elcastro but lasted only until June 4, 2014, when it reached Alang, India. Work on dismantling of the hull got underway on June 22.

Florida II had been a regular Great Lakes visitor under two earlier names. It was built as Bailey at Shimonoseki, Japan, in 1980 and came through the Seaway, under the flag of Panama, the next year. It was sold and renamed b) Elikon in 1989 and was a regular caller around the inland seas registered in Bahamas from 1989 through 2006. These trips were not without incident and included brushing the Nanticoke above Lock 7 on Nov. 23, 1991, and the next day dragging anchor in the Detroit River and bumping the Vandoc (ii) unloading at Windsor. It was delayed as overdraft in Lock 3 on Nov. 3, 1993, due to a faulty ballast tank valve. On another occasion, the ship sustained a gash when it hit the wall at Sault Ste. Marie. Elikon handled a variety of cargoes around the lakes including sugar, wheat, corn, pea beans, flax and steel. It was sold and renamed c) Florida II in 2010 and arrived at Alang, India, for dismantling on June 28, 2014.

Iballa G. was sailing as the Italian tanker a) Pertusola when it came through the Seaway for the first time in 1981. It was sold to Sok Gemi Sokum Ltd. for scrap as c) Iballa G. and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, on June 18, 2014.

Isa River was built at Shimonoseki, Japan, as Aberdeen in 1982. It came inland through the Seaway in 1984 under the flag of Panama. It was sailing as e) Natris when it was hijacked in Indonesian waters in Nov. 2002 but was subsequently arrested by Malaysian police in the Malacca Strait and resumed regular service. The vessel was sailing as h) Isa River when it reached the scrapyard at Jakarta, Indonesia, for dismantling on May 31, 2014.

Repulse Bay came to the Great Lakes in 1982. It had been built as Alpine Stream in 1977 and was sold several times before becoming e) Repulse Bay again in 2010. The ship was sold to shipbreakers in India and arrived at Alang on May 30, 2014

The saltwater ship San Teodoro had been a Seaway trader as a) Paolo Pittaluga, b) Federal Oslo and c) Yarmouth. It was built at Saiki, Japan, in 1985 and began Seaway trading in 1989. It operated on charter to Fednav from 1991 into 2000 and was a frequent caller around the Great Lakes. This continued after becoming c) Yarmouth in 2000. Another sale brought the final name of d) San Teodoro in 2010 and the ship finished its career away from the Great Lakes. It arrived at Alang, Indian on June 18, 2014, for dismantling.

The ocean-going self-unloader CSL Trailblazer served Canada Steamship Lines on saltwater routes as it was too wide for the locks of the Seaway. It spent many years in coastal service on both the Atlantic seaboard and Pacific coast as a) Colon Brown, b) Gold Bond Conveyor, c) Gold Bond Trailblazer and d) CSL Trailblazer. The ship was sold to Chinese shipbreakers and arrived at Xinhui, Guangdong, China, on June 14, 2014.

Scrapping of the tug Thomas de Gauwdief got underway at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, on May 24, 2014. The deep-sea tug dated from 1971 as a) Pauliturm before being renamed in 1985. Its link to Great Lakes shipping was towing the retired lakers Cadillac and Champlain from Quebec City to Aliaga, Turkey, in 1987. The trio departed on Sept. 8 and reached the scrapyard on Oct. 30.

Compiled by Barry Andersen, Rene Beauchamp and Skip Gillham


Storm of 1913 group wins Canadian history award

10/10 - Goderich, Ont. – The Goderich-based Great Lakes Storm of 1913 Remembrance Committee has been acknowledged by the Canada's History Society for its work last year to commemorate the Great Lakes maritime tragedy commonly known as the 'White Hurricane' of 1913. The Committee has been awarded the 2014 Governor General's Award for Community History. This is the third honor bestowed upon the committee. It received a Huron County Heritage Award from the Huron Arts and Heritage Network last April, and, was the recipient of the prestigious Dorothy Duncan Award by the Ontario Historical society in June of 2014. The Governor General's award will be presented in Ottawa at Rideau Hall in November.


Lookback #327 – Willowglen ran aground off Ogden Island on Oct. 10, 1987

The bulk carrier Willowglen, part of the P. & H. Shipping fleet, went aground in the St. Lawrence on the north side of Ogden Island 27 years ago today. The wheat-laden freighter was stuck for three days and had to be lightered before being released on Oct. 13.

Willowglen was sent to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs. The ship later resumed service and operated until tying up at Owen Sound on Dec. 21, 1992. It arrived at Goderich, under tow, on Aug. 18, 1994, and served as a grain storage barge there until 2005.

This was one of the 16 Maritime-class freighters built for Great Lakes service during World War Two. It was constructed as Mesabi but was renamed Lehigh when it joined the Bethlehem Transportation Co. in 1943. It remained in their service until being sold to the Soo River Co. in 1981.

Renamed c) Joseph X. Robert, the ship came into Canadian service for Robert Pierson's fleet, and then joined P. & H. Shipping as d) Willowglen when Soo River ceased operations.

As Lehigh, this vessel took the first load of ore pellets to Burns Harbor when that port began receiving such shipments in September 1968. Then, as Willowglen, the vessel opened the Welland Canal navigation season on March 26, 1991.

Following a sale to shipbreakers in India, Willowglen set out from Hamilton on Sept. 8, 2005. It was joined on the east coast by the saltwater ship Santa Emma, which had gone aground on April 28, 2005, and was a total loss. The latter broke loose at sea and sank. Willowglen was resold while in transit and purchased by shipbreakers in Turkey. The ship arrived at Aliaga on Oct. 28, 2005, and broken up in the weeks ahead.

Skip Gillham


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

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
On Wednesday at the Upper Harbor, Algosteel loaded ore and Mesabi Miner unloaded coal. Algosteel's visit was her first since June 2013 and only the second Canadian vessel of the 2014 shipping season in Marquette.

Port Inland, Mich.
Wilfred Sykes departed in the late morning Wednesday. Her place at the stone loader was taken by John J. Boland.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Saginaw entered the harbor at 5:20 p.m. Wednesday, headed to Jonick dock 1.

Erie, Pa –Gene Polaski
Manitowoc arrived in Erie harbor at 8 a.m. Wednesday with stone from Cedarville. She unloaded throughout the day then faced strong winds later.

Kingston, Ont. – Ron Walsh
At 2 p.m. Wednesday, the winds were gusting to 50 knots in Kingston harbor. The cruise ship Hamburg was having trouble retrieving a tender and also wanted to leave the harbor. They were drifting and had to coordinate moving with the Wolfe Islander III. They were heading to Prince Edward Bay to anchor in a lee and hoped the wind would go down so they could retrieve 260 passengers that had gotten off in Kingston. They anchored in Prince Edward Bay at 1835, telling Seaway Sodus they would get underway at 1 a.m. on the 9th for a 4:30 a.m. arrival at the Cape Vincent pilot station. Radio traffic indicated they are going to bus the passengers to Iroquois Lock for boarding. The tug Vigilant 1 has been moored in Kingston since Monday, waiting on weather. Wednesday’s gale warning delayed her trip to Hamilton again. She is towing the tug Florence M. The Florence M did not sail this year but is being taken to Hamilton to be examined for a refit. It was so rough in Kingston harbor that a local tour boat had to use the Wolfe Islander III to create a lee so she could reach her dock in front of City Hall. At 6 p.m. winds were still WSW near 30 knots.


Shipwrecks & Scuba Nov. 8 in Huron, Ohio

10/9 - The annual 2014 31st Shipwrecks & Scuba event will be held at Sawmill Creek Lodge in Huron, Ohio, on Nov. 8. From 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. there will speakers, exhibitor booths and dinner banquet.


Lookback # 326 – Crane ship Buckeye blown aground Oct. 9, 1968, on way to scrap yard

Buckeye operated for the Columbia Transportation Co. through the 1967 season and then tied up at Toledo. It was idle until sold to Steel Factors for scrap in 1968 and departed Toledo for the St. Lawrence only to run into bad weather at the eastern end of Lake Erie.

It was 46 years ago today, while approaching the Port Colborne entrance to the Welland Canal, that the ship came ashore to the west of the harbor. The anchors failed to hold in the rough weather and Buckeye landed well up on the beach.

Refloating the hull proved to be a challenge but the ship got free on Nov. 29, 1968, and was docked at the grain elevator for inspection. Once cleared, the tugs Salvage Monarch and G.W. Rogers brought the old crane ship down the Welland Canal on Dec. 14, 1968. This time the destination was Kingston, Ont., and the Buckeye spent the winter there, in the company of the retired Canada Steamship Lines freighters Lemoyne and Midland Prince, to the west of the grain elevator.

The next year, Buckeye was on the move again with Salvage Monarch and Daniel M. McAllister taking her down the Seaway on Aug. 13, 1969. She departed Quebec City for Santander, Spain, behind the tug Fairplay X on Sept. 3, 1969, and arrived on Nov. 4 for dismantling.

Along for the final last ride was another wanderer. The retired laker Peter Robertson (i), had also had the anchors fail, but in a Lake Ontario storm, and she stranded off Jordan Harbor on August 20, 1969. It was quickly released, without damage, and able to reach Quebec City in time to be towed overseas.

Buckeye had been built at Wyandotte, Mich., in 1901 and had previously sailed as a) David M. Whitney, b) Edwin L. Booth, c) G.N. Wilson (i), and d) Thomas Britt (ii) before becoming e) Buckeye (i) for conversion to a crane ship in 1943.

Skip Gillham


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.


Lake Superior water level at highest point for September since '98

10/8 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – Lake Superior's water level keeps rising, at a time when it normally drops.

The International Lake Superior Board of Control said the largest of the Great Lakes went up by 0.8 inches last month. Normally, it drops four-tenths of an inch during September. The current level is the highest for a September since 1998. It's 9 inches higher than in September of last year.

Lakes Michigan and Huron also rose 2 inches last month, as part of a year-long trend in which the two lakes raised a total of 21 inches.

The recent rises are due to more precipitation, less than normal evaporation, and heavier ice covers in a winter that ended later than usual.



Port Reports -  October 8

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted were expected to arrive on Tuesday during the early morning hours for the South Dock. American Mariner was also due to arrive in the late morning Tuesday loading at the North Dock. There are no vessels scheduled for Wednesday. Three vessels are expected to arrive on Thursday, with the Adam E. Cornelius due in first in the early morning for the North Dock followed later by Calumet in the morning also for the North Dock. The Cason J. Callaway rounds out the schedule in the mid-afternoon for the South Dock.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lewis J. Kuber was expected to arrive on Tuesday during the early evening to load. Two vessels are scheduled on Wednesday, with the Pathfinder arriving first in the late morning followed by the Great Republic in the mid-afternoon. Due on Thursday is the John G. Munson in the early morning. Rounding out the schedule are two vessels due on Friday both in the morning with the Algoway arriving first followed by the Lewis J. Kuber.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
James L. Kuber loaded at the CSX Coal Dock on Tuesday. Due next are two vessels for Thursday with the Saginaw loading in the late morning and the John D. Leitch returning to load also on Thursday in the early evening. The Hon. James L. Oberstar is due to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Friday in the early morning along with the Michipicoten also on Friday in the early morning. Adam E. Cornelius is due to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Sunday, October 12th at about noon. There is nothing scheduled for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. At the Torco Dock, the Hon. James L. Oberstar is due on Wednesday in the evening hours to unload iron ore. Arriving on Sunday, October 12th will be the James L. Kuber in the evening hours and the H. Lee White is due to arrive on Tuesday, October 14th during the evening. Several other vessels were also in port at the time of this report and among them were the Tecumseh at one of the Grain Elevators loading a cargo upriver. The Algosoo was also upriver at one of the docks. The tug Wilf Seymour and Alouette Spirit along with the tug Huron Service and a barge and the tug Paul L. Luedtke were also in port. The saltwater vessels Heloise of Panama and Andean of Cyprus remain at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock as does the Fritz of Liberia which is still being detained.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The Liberian flagged bulker Lady Doris arrived in Oshawa just after 8 a.m. Tuesday. She was assisted by the tugs Ocean Golf and La Prairie. Lady Doris was previously in Montreal. Ocean Golf left Oshawa and returned to Hamilton, Ont.

Bowmanville, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
Sea Eagle II was at the St. Marys Cement Dock earlier Tuesday. Peter R. Cresswell is en-route to Bowmanville and was expected to dock sometime Tuesday.

Hamilton, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The bulker Federal Elbe arrived in Hamilton on Saturday. She is still anchored in the harbor waiting to dock.

St. Catharines, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The tanker Adfines Sea has been at the Port Weller Anchorage since Friday. It is likely awaiting further orders. Its last known port stop was Clarkson, Ont.

Nanticoke, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The tanker Thalassa Desgagnes has been at Nanticoke since 10/03. Also the vessels Algoeast (tanker) and tug Salvor and barge are anchored off of Nanticoke, likely waiting for a chance to dock.


Port receives first shipment of windmill blades in years

10/8 - Portage, Ind. – The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor recently had its first shipment of windmill blades and towers in three years as cargo picked up on the Great Lakes.

The deepwater port on Lake Michigan's southern shore received an all-time high of 16 windmill shipments in 2010, but has not gotten any since 2011. The last windfall of turbine blades and tubes for towers passed through on the way to Chicago-based Invenergy LLC's White Oak wind farm in McLean County, Ill.

"It appears both domestic and international shipments are continuing to grow at better than forecasted levels," said Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor port director Rick Heimann.

Overall, year-to-date tonnage on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway rose 5 percent to 24 million metric tons since the state of the shipping season in late March. Grain led the way with a 14.6 percent year-over-year increase.

"Cargo tonnage moved through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System during the month of September continues to be robust and reflects positively on the economy and the shipping industry," said St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. administrator Betty Sutton. "Great Lakes stevedores handled large quantities of steel, grain, sugar, salt and oversized project cargo carried on more than 200 ships in September. As we head into the busiest time of the shipping season, we anticipate this upward trend in cargo tonnage to continue."

Tonnage at the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor was up 25 percent through the end of August, but the figures through September were not immediately available.

The port does not track whether shipments are imports or exports, since so many of the cargoes are bound for other domestic ports on the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River.

"Salt deliveries for the upcoming winter are already in full swing," Heimann said. "Looking ahead, several port companies are expecting a significant increase in ocean shipments compared to previous projections, primarily of semi-finished steel. We've also seen several more vessels added to the upcoming harbor schedule that were not on the horizon just 60 to 90 days ago.”

NW Indiana Times


Help wanted

Western Great Lakes Pilots Association seeks qualified candidates for pilot training in District Three which encompasses Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior. Interested mariners are encouraged to log onto for further information.


Have you ever seen a bat on board?

These might be questions that you are not pondering every day, but we would like to get your answers to those!

Currently there is a study being made with the focus on hitchhiking bats on Great Lakes freighters. We have heard that some people have seen bats on board, and we've even received some photographic evidence, but how common these sightings are, it remains a mystery. And we would like to solve this mystery!

In order to be able to solve it, we made a short online questionnaire targeted to regular Lake sailors. This questionnaire takes approximately 10 minutes to complete, so we are not asking for a huge commitment time-wise. It is also completely anonymous, if you wish so, and all the information obtained will be confidential.

So if you are a regular sailor, and think that you would like to participate, please head over to the questionnaire in the following web address:

If you would like to get some more information about the study, there is also a forum post in the Regional Discussion section of the Boatnerd discussion forums. It is open for questions and discussion about the study, bats or hitchhiking.

We hope that we get as many responses as we can, so if you know some regular sailors, please let them know about this study! All the responses are helpful, so if you've seen a bat once, that is also valuable information for us. So do not hesitate, and please share your knowledge with us.

- Saska Lohi - Michigan Tech University / the University of Helsinki


Updates -  October 8

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel Summer Boatwatching 2014


Lookback #325 – Dido finished after going aground at Goole, England on Oct. 8, 1971

The Norwegian freighter Dido had been launched at Porsgrunn, Norway, on March 11, 1945, but not completed until Feb. 22, 1949. The 258 foot long freighter began Great Lakes trading in 1951.

Dido returned inland during the early Seaway era with one trip in 1959 and a total of 14 by the time it made its last visit to the Great Lakes in 1963.

The ship spent the rest of its sailing career in saltwater service until going aground off Goole, England, on Oct. 8, 1971. It was departing Goole for Porsgrunn when it stranded 43 years ago today.

Dido was released the next day but returned to Goole and laid up as a total loss. The hull was sold for scrap to Baigent & Thatcher Ltd. and resold to Albert Draper & Son Ltd. in 1972. Dido arrived at Hull, England, for dismantling on Oct. 8, 1972, exactly a year after the fatal grounding.

Skip Gillham


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


Canadian Miner removal a major undertaking

10/7 - Scatarie Island, N.S. – The scenic shores of Scatarie Island have been temporarily transformed into a bustling industrial work site as a crew of 30 works to dismantle the derelict motor vessel Canadian Miner.

A group of about 20 people — including government officials, media, and members of the local Main-a-Dieu community — were given a tour of the site Monday under picture-perfect, sunny conditions and warmer-than-normal fall temperatures. It's the type of weather Mark MacIsaac hopes they see a lot more of as they work to complete the removal by the end of November.

"The real kicker is the fall — what is the weather going to be like here in the fall?" said MacIsaac, project manager with Antigonish firm RJ MacIssac Construction, which was awarded the $12-million contract to remove the vessel. "The weather and sea conditions may dictate whether you can work on particular days, but I think we're set up so that the sea conditions would have to pretty extreme for us to not be working."

While the Miner removal is the biggest project the company has ever taken on, MacIsaac said 35 years of experience in marine work and construction has prepared them for it.

Several key steps in the removal process have already been completed, including the set up of a camp on the island, the construction of a breakwater, staging area and road, and the removal of asbestos and garbage from the vessel.

Next up is the actual shearing of the ship, which MacIsaac said will get underway later this week. When that is complete and the steel is barged away for scrap, the site cleanup will begin.

"You have to take all that you did to prepare the area and reverse it, so you have to take your camp off, and take all material away and remediate the site, so you leave it untouched," he said.

Todd MacEachern, site superintendent and safety officer, described the camp as a "little village" and said it's quite comfortable for the 15-30 people who are working on the site at any given time, from 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. each day.

"All the comforts of home are here, there's nothing lacking," he said. "We've got nine trailers here. Some are bunkhouses, some are washroom/shower facilities, and storage areas."

There's also a kitchen staff on site to make meals for the workers. While preparing haddock for supper that night, cook Jackie Kennedy of Albert Bridge said she was enjoying her work on the site.

"It's really nice," she said. "The guys are awesome to work with and everybody gets along. It's really good."

Geoff MacLellan, the provincial minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, said protecting the environment was the province's primary concern when it committed to paying for the removal of the Miner.

"When you see the beauty of the Scatarie in the context of this very derelict vessel and the size of the Miner, I think it really rings true that this was a good decision to make and this boat had to be cleaned up one way or the other," he said. "It's good to see a local company like RJ MacIsaac doing tremendous work here and getting the job done."

The province has gone ahead with the removal of the Miner while it continues to ask the federal government to step up and absorb some of the costs and responsibilities of the project.

"Certainly the province would have liked the federal government to help out but that isn't the case at this point," MacLellan said. "We are still hopeful, but at this point there haven't been any strong signals that the federal government will be around to help us out."

MacLellan's other message to federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt has been for them to beef up regulations for private companies towing ships through the waters around Nova Scotia, so a situation like this doesn't happen again. In the meantime, MacLellan was pleased with what he saw on site Monday.

"By being here on the ground and seeing exactly what's happening here on Scatarie, I can tell Nova Scotians we've done the right thing, no question," he said.

Rob Jessome, general supervisor with Nova Scotia Lands, which is managing the removal of the Miner on behalf of the province, visits the Scatarie Island site regularly, monitoring and overseeing safety and environmental audits.

"It's a busy little spot of activity and there's some talented workers and there's some talented labor and operators out there that are doing quite a job," he said. "They're out there in the middle of nowhere, where nobody really sees what they do, but they're utilizing their talents out there quite well."

Sean Howard, a member of the Main-a-Dieu Community Development Association, was among a group of concerned area residents that pushed for the removal of the Miner for close to three years.

"I've seen the ship before and been horrified by it, so to come out and see such an impressive operation on the brink of the most exciting work, which is the cutting up (of the ship), after lots of hard work behind the scenes ... it's very moving, very encouraging," he said. "Fingers crossed that they get the conditions they need now to finish the job."

Cape Breton Post


Kentucky man high bidder on Sturgeon Bay Lighthouse

10/7 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – A Kentucky man appears to be the new owner of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead Lighthouse. The U.S. General Services Administration confirmed that Gordon Krist of Paris, Kentucky, placed the high bid of $48,500 before the auction closed on September 12th.

Bob Desh of the Door County Maritime Museum says Krist bought just the lighthouse itself.

There were four bidders in the online government auction. According to the GSA, more than 100 lighthouses have been sold or transferred out of federal ownership since 2000.

Door County Daily News


Port Reports -  October 7

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Great Republic arrived during the late morning to load Monday. Two vessels are scheduled for arrivals on Tuesday, with the H. Lee White due in first during the late morning followed by Wilfred Sykes in the early afternoon. There are no vessels scheduled to load Wednesday.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Manitowoc arrived during the early morning on Monday to load. Two other vessels were scheduled for arrivals on Monday. The first due in was the Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted in the early afternoon followed by the Philip R. Clarke in the late evening. There are no vessels scheduled for both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Pathfinder loaded at Stoneport on Monday and was expected to depart around 10 in the morning. Also due to arrive on Monday was the Cason J. Callaway in the early evening. The Lewis J. Kuber rounds out the schedule arriving on Tuesday in the early evening hours to load.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph H. Thompson loaded at the South Dock on Monday and was due to depart around noon. Two vessels are due on Tuesday during the morning with the Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted arriving first during the for the South Dock. Later in the morning the American Mariner is scheduled to arrive for the North Dock. There are no vessels scheduled for Wednesday. Three vessels are due for arrivals on Thursday with the Adam E. Cornelius arriving first in the early morning for the North Dock. Calumet is also due in the early morning for the North Dock. Cason J. Callaway is also due in the mid-afternoon for the South Dock. There are no vessels scheduled to load on Friday.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
John D. Leitch loaded coal at the CSX Coal Dock on Monday. Due to load on Tuesday is the James L. Kuber in the morning. Two vessels are due to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Wednesday with the Saginaw due first in the early afternoon followed by the Hon. James L. Oberstar in the early evening. The John D. Leitch returns to load at the CSX Coal Dock Thursday in the late afternoon. There is nothing scheduled for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. At the Torco Dock, the James L. Kuber is due to unload iron ore on Tuesday in the early morning. The Hon. James L. Oberstar is due on Wednesday in the late afternoon. James L. Kuber returns to unload at the Torco Dock on Sunday, October 12th in the late evening. Due in on Monday, October 13 in the early morning is the John J. Boland. The salties Heloise of Panama and Andean of Cyprus are still at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock, as is the saltwater vessel Fritz of Liberia, which is still detained. The tug Huron Service and barge remain in port as does the tug Paul L. Luedtke.


Duluth Seaway Port Authority hopes to make up for delays in rail shipping

10/7 - Duluth, Minn. – However briefly, the shipping industry last week weighed in on the difficulty of getting grain to market using railways clogged with Bakken oil.

“Though we see a liability in supply chains with rail service still struggling, momentum all around is generally positive,” Vanta Coda, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director, said in a release by the American Great Lakes Ports Association.

“Heading into October here at the Head of the Lakes, we expect to see continued gains on the deficit experienced at the start of the season,” Coda said. “Iron ore shipments have rebounded significantly, the early autumn grain lineup looks favorable, and we’re expecting above-average movements of general cargo at our Clure Public Marine Terminal.”

Coda was responding to news that the St. Lawrence Seaway’s year-to-date total of 24 million metric tons through the system in 2014 was a nearly 5 percent increase over September 2013.

The St. Lawrence Seaway connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. There are more than 100 commercial ports in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system.

U.S. grain was up 14.6 percent over the same time a year ago.

“Cargo tonnage moved through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system during the month of September continues to be robust and reflects positively on the economy and the shipping industry,” said administrator Betty Sutton of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.

“Great Lakes stevedores handled large quantities of steel, grain, sugar, salt and oversized project cargo carried on more than 200 ships in September,” Sutton said. “As we head into the busiest time of the shipping season, we anticipate this upward trend in cargo tonnage to continue.”

Duluth News Tribune


Push ahead to raise more shipwrecks onto the National Register of Historic Places

10/7 - Alpena, Mich. – Deep below the chill waters of northwestern Lake Huron, four doomed ships have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

While nobody other than SCUBA divers are likely to see them up-close, their history and their tragedy are now increasingly accessible to the public.

The new official recognition of their importance is expected to spur efforts to list more of the Great Lakes’ hundreds of shipwrecks on the National Register, which the National Park Service describes as “the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation,” whether publicly or privately owned.

“There are so many shipwrecks in Michigan waters that this is a long-term project. We’re focusing on ones that are more complete and hold more of the history,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan Historical Center.

“We’re always conscious of the conservation ethic. It’s better to leave things on the bottom of the preserve,” Clark said, adding that National Register status “reinforces the value of the shipwrecks and the idea these are historic treasures that should be preserved for future generations.”

There’s plenty of work ahead if government agencies, local groups or individuals want to get more wrecks placed on the National Register.

Lake Huron alone has 33 percent of the known wrecks in the Great Lakes, according to the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven.

Lake Michigan (21 percent) is second, with at least 1,000 ships lost, including more than 200 that grounded along the Michigan side of the lake, “most the victims of storms, some poor seamanship and others ever-changing sandbars,” a museum exhibit explains. Lake Erie followed with 19 percent, Lake Superior with 14 percent, Lake Ontario with 9 percent and Lake Clair with 3 percent.

Wisconsin and Minnesota have a variety of wrecks on the National Register.

Among those in Wisconsin are the schooners Gallinipper, lost in a squall in 851 near Sheboygan; the Hetty Taylor, sunk in another squall near Sheboygan in 1880; and the Fleetwing, lost in an 1888 gale at Garrett Bay.

Those in Minnesota include the steam naval sloop U.S.S. Essex that was burned in 1931 after the state Naval Reserve scrapped it in Duluth; the Samuel P. Ely, which sank at Two Harbors in a storm in 1896; and the canaller Benjamin Noble, lost at Two Harbors in a 1914 storm.

Indiana has only one, the Muskegon, built in 1872 and scuttled in 1911 off Michigan City after being severely damaged by fire.

Michigan had only a few listed before the four Thunder Bay wrecks were added. Among them:

• J. Hackett, a steamer that sank in Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula’s Menominee County in 1905.
• Hennepin, A steamship that sank in Lake Michigan in Allegan County in 1927.
• Byron, a schooner that sank in 1868 in Lake Huron in Presque Isle County.

Russ Green, the deputy superintendent of Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary based in Alpena, Mich., said there are 92 known sites within the sanctuary’s borders and another 100 “yet to be discovered just in our neck of the woods because Lake Huron is the crossroads of the Lakes.”

The papers nominating the vessels as national historic sites said, “These submerged archaeological sites form nearly a complete collection of Great Lakes vessel types from small schooners and pioneer steamboats of the 1830s, to enormous industrial bulk carriers that supported the Midwest’s heavy industries during the twentieth century.”

In early September, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which runs the sanctuary, expanded its boundaries from 448 square miles to 4,300 square miles adjacent to Alpena, Alcona and Presque Isle counties stretching to the Canadian border.

The four newly listed wrecks – the schooner M.F. Merrick, the bulk freighter Etruria, the passenger/package freighter Pewabic and the schooner Kyle Spangler – sank between 1860 and 1905. Two of them were discovered by researchers working with students from Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw.

The best known of them, the Pewabic, went down near Alpena in Lake Huron’s worst maritime disaster. A few months after the Civil War ended it collided with another ship and sank, dragging “250 tons of native copper” from Keweenaw Peninsula mines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and “many of its 125 passengers” to the bottom in only four minutes, the National Register nomination said.

Green said the sanctuary’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena will interpret the four wrecks through exhibits and artifacts.

“The maritime landscape is the story,” he said. “If you look at Lake Huron, it’s flat. We’re telling you that under it is history. It’s literally locked in time with ice-cold waters.”

The Michigan Historical Center’s Clark cited several major reasons to seek federal designation for shipwrecks.

“In reality, not that many people can see a shipwreck, but when you get something on the National Register, you have the information in a place where a lot more people can read about it and benefit from the work done,” she said.

In addition, listing may reinforce the state’s legal ownership of all wrecks on Michigan’s bottomlands.

“Occasionally people challenge that ownership. One way you solidly protect that ownership is to go through the process of getting them listed on the National Register. It provides one more step in legal protection.”

Great Lakes Echo


Lookback #324 – Wooden schooner Ann Maria wrecked on a sandbar on Oct. 7, 1902

10/7 - The wooden schooner Ann Maria was built at Conneaut, Ohio, and designed primarily for the lumber trade. The 135 foot long, 256 gross ton sailing ship had several owners and was based out of Alpena, MI when the end came 112-years ago today.

The ship had departed Cleveland with a cargo of coal for Kincardine, ON on Sept. 28, 1902. The tug Wilcox had towed the schooner up bound through the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers before the sailing ship put in at Harbor Beach, MI for repairs to the steering equipment.

Ann Maria departed for Kincardine but hit a sandbar, near the south pier, on its approach to the entrance to the port. The hull was caught by the current and in big trouble.

A rescue boat sent to assist swamped and, in total, five lives were lost among the crew and potential rescuers.

Ann Maria was a total loss. The schooner broke up and, what was not washed ashore, sank. On July 30, 1966, the anchor was raised from the bottom and was put on display at the Town Hall in Kincardine.

Skip Gillham


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.


Port Reports -  October 6

St. Marys River
Indiana Harbor was experiencing bow thruster issues and was being assisted to the Carbide Dock in Soo Harbor late Sunday night.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Great Lakes Trader was expected to arrive on Sunday during the early afternoon to load. Two vessels are due for arrivals on Monday with the Great Republic due in first in the late morning followed by the H. Lee White in the evening. Wilfred Sykes wraps up the schedule and is due to arrive on Tuesday in the morning.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Three vessels are expected on Monday, with the Manitowoc due in first during the early morning. Next will be the Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted in the mid-afternoon. Rounding out the schedule will be the Philip R. Clarke in the early evening Monday. There are no vessels scheduled to load Tuesday and Wednesday.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John J. Boland loaded at Calcite on Sunday and was expected to depart around 11:30 a.m. There are no vessels scheduled to load for the remainder of Sunday and nothing scheduled to load on Monday.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Sam Laud was expected to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Sunday during the late evening. Also due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock is the John D. Leitch on Monday in the early morning. James L. Kuber is due to load on Tuesday in the morning. The Saginaw is due to load on Wednesday in the late afternoon, followed by the Hon. James L. Oberstar on Wednesday in the early evening. There is nothing schedule for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Vessels arriving at the Torco Dock to unload iron ore cargoes include the American Mariner on Sunday during the early evening. The James L. Kuber is due on Tuesday in the early morning. Following them will be the Hon. James L. Oberstar due on Wednesday in the late afternoon. John J. Boland is due on Sunday, October 12 in the late afternoon and the James L. Kuber is also due on Sunday, October 12 in the late evening. American Fortitude and American Valor both remain in long-term layup near the Lakefront Docks. Several other vessels were in port at the time of this report including the tug Evans McKeil and a barge along with the tug Huron Service and a barge. The tug Paul L. Luedtke was also in port. Three saltwater vessels remain in port – two of them, the Helosie of Panama and the Andean of Cyprus, at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The saltie Fritz of Liberia still remains detained at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock.

Owen Sound, Ont.
On a cool breezy fall Sunday, Saginaw unloaded at Great Lakes Elevator. The research vessel Sturgeon was tied up in the inner harbor.


Province, union challenge US Steel Canada refinancing

10/6 - US Steel Canada should rank meeting its pension obligations ahead of paying inter-company loans to its Pittsburgh-based parent, says the Ontario government. The province filed a “notice of limited objection” Friday to a proposed arrangement for US Steel Canada to obtain financing from its parent.

A court will review the proposal Monday. US Steel Canada filed for creditor protection in September.

The Canadian unit is insolvent, and its US-based parent has proposed advancing $185 million in “debtor in possession” financing to let it keep operating for another year.

But the province says it objects to parts of the proposal, and has a right to be heard because it extended $150 million in financing to the troubled company.

The province says it wants to make sure that the parent company, US Steel, “does not put the repayment of inter-company loans ahead of its pension obligations.”

Documents filed with the court show that US Steel Canada owes its parent $209.4 million in secured loans and $1,857.5 billion in unsecured loans. The parent is also owed $174.8 million in trade payments.

At the same time, US Steel Canada has a pension fund deficiency of $838.7 million.

If the company can’t make good on its pension obligations, the pension fund would have to be topped up by the province’s Ontario Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund.

That, plus the provincial loan, could set up an argument over who gets first call on whatever money is available for creditors — the parent company, as the biggest creditor, or the province as the pension guarantor as well as a lender.

Hundreds of other creditors are also owed money.

In its court filing, the province says that the U.S. parent company is itself on the hook for $100 million in pension obligations for US Steel Canada.

The province argues that the parent company’s proposed financing plan would allow the parent to shift that obligation onto the shoulders of the Canadian company’s other creditors.

It also objects that the proposed arrangement would sell off US Steel Canada’s Erie and Hamilton assets separately, in a two-step process.

“It is not clear whether separate sale processes would be likely to maximize the value of US Steel Canada’s assets and property,” the province argues.

It also notes with concern that the US parent company is acting in many roles, on both the debtor and creditor side of the issue.

Those roles, it says include “controlling parent and sole shareholder of US Steel Canada; guarantor of $100 million in US Steel Canada obligations; purported secured creditor; purported unsecured creditor; integrated business partner; and potential bidder for US Steel Canada’s assets.”

In a separate filing, the United Steelworkers agrees with many of the province’s points. The union represents 1,600 workers, and 10,000 former and retired employees.

The steelworkers say they must be consulted in the company’s future, because the union’s present and former members have as much as $1.5 billion at stake in pensions and wages.

Hamilton MPP Paul Miller criticized the parent company’s move, saying it is set up to make sure the U.S. parent gets its money out of Ontario first and gets a first shot at buying the Lake Erie Works – the Canadian unit’s prize asset.

“Meanwhile, the application leaves workers and retirees at the end of the line,” he said.

The Star


Saltwater vessel update

10/6 - As of October 1 the total number of new saltwater vessels that were making their first ever visits to the Great Lakes/Seaway system and through the Eisenhower Lock at Massena, N.Y. totaled 38 new vessels. The list of the newcomers includes the Adfines Sea, Adfines Star, BBC Chile, BBC Kibo, BBC Switzerland, BBC Xingang, Beatrix, Charlotte C, Diana, Duzgit Endeavour, Ebony Ray, Edzard Schulte, Fairchem Yuka, Fionia Swan, Floragracht, Fortunagracht, Fritz, Harbour Krystal, HHL Elbe, Kirkeholmen, Larsholmen, MCT Breithorn, Merwedegracht, Morgenstond I, Nilufur Sultan, Nordic Mari, Olza, Pacific Dawn, Peter Ronna, Prosna, Reestborg, Reggeborg, Selandia Swan, Skawa, Songa Challenge, Songa Peace, Sten Bergen and Tina Theresa. Two of the new visitors, the Larsholmen along and Nordic Mari visited earlier in the season as the Hellespont Crusader in early May and the Clipper Mari in late April respectively.

Denny Dushane


Lookback #323 – Shiercliffe Hall damaged, intentionally grounded on Oct. 6, 1958

10/6 - Steam-powered canallers like Shiercliffe Hall were still very valuable in the final year before the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. This ship suffered an interruption in service 56 years ago today when it landed hit the rocks off Neebish Island in the St. Marys River and had to be intentionally grounded on Lime Island.

The 259-foot-long bulk carrier in the Hall Corporation fleet did not have a good year in 1958. Earlier, on July 15, 1958, the ship went aground in the St. Lawrence near Alexandria Bay, New York, and had to be lightered before tugs could pull the damaged hull free. It had not been back in service long before the accident of Oct. 6, 1958. Further assistance was needed, and this time Shiercliffe Hall went to Collingwood for repairs.

When the Seaway opened on April 25, 1959, ships the size of Shiercliffe Hall were no longer essential to connect Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence at Montreal. While many went for scrap, a few were lengthened and others sold for saltwater service. As one of the newer canal-sized ships, Shiercliffe Hall continued to find work in the coal, grain and pulpwood trades before tying up for good at Toronto on May 1, 1968.

Following a sale to United Metals, the vessel left under tow of the tug Lac Como and arrived at Hamilton June 21, 1973. Scrapping of the now 23-year-old bulk carrier was virtually completed by the end of the year.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 6

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  October 6

On October 6, 1893, DAVID STEWART (3-mast wooden schooner, 171 foot, 545 gross tons, built in 1867, at Cleveland, Ohio) foundered in a gale off Pigeon Bay, Ontario, on Lake Erie. She crew clung to the frozen rigging for 14 hours until saved by the fish tug LOUISE of Sandusky, Ohio. The STEWART was carrying iron ore at the time of her loss.

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

The bow section of the barge PRESQUE ISLE arrived Erie, Pennsylvania, on October 6, 1972 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

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes is expected to arrive on Saturday in the late afternoon. The Great Lakes Trader is due to arrive on Sunday in the morning. Joseph H. Thompson is also due Sunday in the late afternoon. There are three vessels scheduled for arrival on Monday, October 6, with the H. Lee White due in first at about noon. Great Republic arrives during the early afternoon on Monday and rounding out the schedule will be the Wilfred Sykes arriving in the late evening.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph L. Block was expected to arrive at Cedarville on Friday in the late afternoon. Also due on Friday in the late evening was the Wilfred Sykes. The Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted was expected to arrive on Saturday in the late morning. Due to arrive on Sunday is the Manitowoc at about noon.

Traverse City, Mich. – Al Miller
The cruise ship Hamburg was anchored Saturday on Grand Traverse Bay at Traverse City. It's the largest vessel to anchor at the southern end of the bay in recent years.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Herbert C. Jackson loaded at Stoneport on Saturday and was due to depart between 4:30 and 5 a.m. Also due in on Saturday was the Cason J. Callaway in the morning. For Sunday there were two vessels scheduled, with the Lewis J. Kuber arriving first during the early morning. Pathfinder is due in the early evening Sunday. Monday, Cason J. Callaway returns to load during the late afternoon. Due on Tuesday, October 7th will be the Lewis J. Kuber in the early evening. Two vessels are scheduled to load on Wednesday with the Pathfinder arriving first in the late morning, followed by the Great Republic also on Wednesday in the mid-afternoon. Rounding out the schedule is the John G. Munson arriving on Thursday, October 8th in the early morning.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Arthur M. Anderson loaded at Calcite on Saturday and was due to depart around 1 in the afternoon. Also expected to arrive on Saturday was the John J. Boland in the late afternoon to early evening for the South Dock. There are no vessels scheduled to load on Sunday.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Sam Laud was expected to arrive and load at the CSX Coal Dock during the late afternoon hours on Saturday. Other vessels scheduled to load at the CSX Coal Dock include the John D. Leitch on Sunday during the late afternoon. The James L. Kuber loads at the CSX Coal Dock on Tuesday during the early morning hours. Saginaw is due to load on Wednesday during the late afternoon followed by the Hon. James L. Oberstar during the early evening hours. The John D. Leitch returns to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Thursday, October 9th in the early morning hours. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Vessels arriving at the Torco Dock with iron ore cargoes include the American Mariner on Sunday during the early afternoon. The James L. Kuber is due on Monday in the early evening hours. Due on Wednesday, October 8th in the morning is the Hon. James L. Oberstar. Due on Sunday, October 12th during the late morning is the James L. Kuber.


Lookback #322 – Arthur B. Homer, Navishipper in head-on collision on Oct. 5, 1972

The downbound American flag bulk carrier Arthur B. Homer and the upbound saltwater vessel Navishipper collided head-on in the Detroit River at about 11:15 a.m. 42 years ago today.

The impact and momentum from the ore-laden Arthur B. Homer turned Navishipper to the starboard side and the pair were locked briefly together before the two ships separated. The latter went aground on the Canadian side of the river while the Arthur B. Homer, part of the Bethlehem fleet, dropped her stern anchor and stopped in the river a few hundred yards down stream.

The Greek saltwater trader had left Toledo without a pilot, without a waiver and with a captain not familiar with the route. This was a recipe for trouble. The stranded Navishipper was able to back off the mud bank and then proceeded to Detroit to be unloaded prior to going for repairs.

Arthur B. Homer had massive damage to the bow and into the pilothouse. It was repaired at Lorain, Ohio, and returned to service for another eight more years. It was lengthened from 730 feet overall to 826 feet overall beginning in the fall of 1975. Had this work included conversion to a self-unloader, the vessel might still be in service.

However, changing economic conditions led to it tying up for the last time at Erie, Pa., on Oct. 4, 1980. The ship remained there until departing under tow for Port Colborne following a sale for scrap in 1986. The ship got loose in a late fall storm while en route, but the anchors held and the vessel was safely retrieved. The tugs Thunder Cape, Elmore M. Misner and Atomic pulled the 27-year old-laker into Port Colborne on Dec. 9, 1986, and it was broken up by International Marine Salvage in 1987.

Navishipper dated from 1958 and had previously sailed as a) Sunheim and b) Northern Venture. The latter, not to be confused by the laker of the same name, began Seaway service in 1970. It returned as c) Navishipper in 1971, as d) Stamoleon in 1973, and e) Sealord II in 1975 before being resold again and renamed f) Crystal in 1979.

The tail shaft of the latter fractured during a voyage from France to Argentina on Nov. 5, 1981, and the vessel had to be towed into Cadiz, Spain. The expense of repairs could not be justified so the ship was sold to Spanish shipbreakers and taken to Seville for dismantling in 1982.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  October 5

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.


Round Island Passage Lighthouse sells for $65,500

10/4 - Mackinac Island, Mich. – A lighthouse near Mackinac Island has drawn an anonymous $65,500 winning bid at auction.

The Grand Rapids Press reports bidding closed Tuesday on the Round Island Passage Lighthouse. The auction started Aug. 18 through the General Services Administration, which auctions extraneous federal properties.

The auction required bidders to be eligible nonprofit organizations. The building with a 71-foot tower is on state-owned Great Lakes Public Trust bottomlands, which wasn't being sold. Bidders had to obtain a bottomlands lease from the state.

The lighthouse opened in 1948 to mark a passage between Mackinac and Round islands in Lake Huron.

Associated Press


400-passenger cruise ship Hamburg docks in Milwaukee

10/4 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The Port of Milwaukee welcomed the Hamburg on Friday morning, October 3rd — a 400-passenger cruise ship that is touring the Great Lakes. The ship docked just east of the Lake Express Ferry terminal at approximately 8 a.m.

Ships carrying cargo make hundreds of stops at the port each year, but the docking of such a large cruise ship is an unusual event. It has been at least seven years since the last such arrival.

“These are people who will go out and see the great sites of Milwaukee, they`ll enjoy some of our great food when they stop at restaurants at lunchtime,” said Jeff Fleming, a spokesman for the Port of Milwaukee.

Besides tourism money to the city, the ship also brings in tens of thousands of dollars to the port.

The passengers on board the Hamburg are mostly European. They will have an opportunity to tour Milwaukee destinations such as breweries and the Harley Davidson Museum while the ship is in port. Many passengers are German, and say they’re excited to see how their culture developed in Milwaukee.

“In former times there were many Germans who came here and who had influence on the city,” said passenger Kerstin Meyer.

During its current Great Lakes cruise, the Hamburg is making similar stops in Chicago and Mackinac Island. Their trip started in Montreal, and ends in Traverse City, Michigan.

Port officials hope the Hamburg will keep coming back.

“We want more German tourists to come here. We want to encourage this boat line to make Milwaukee a stop every year,” said Fleming.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel


Preserving history one shipwreck at a time: S.S. Mataafa

10/4 - Duluth, Minn. – The Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society (GLSPS) has returned the rudder from the steamer Mataafa to the bottom of Lake Superior, northeast of the Duluth Ship Canal.

The Mataafa sunk outside the Duluth Harbor in a huge storm in 1905. The ship was battered by waves and knocked into the ship canal wall where it split in two and eventually sunk. Fifteen sailors and the captain survived, but nine crew members froze to death or drowned in view of the shoreline.

They later raised the laker, repaired it and the vessel sailed again.

In 1914, while the ship was sailing on Lake Superior, it lost its rudder. The Corps of Engineer pulled it up about 15 years ago, and the preservation society preserved it.

This week, in honor of those sailors who died, society members dropped the rudder at the scene of the 1905 disaster.

GLSPS Put-It-Back Program Chairman, Steve Daniel (and author of “Shipwrecks Along Lake Superior's North Shore”), worked closely with the director of the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, Denise Wolvine, to make this happen.

Wolvine obtained the necessary approvals and permit to schedule use of the Corps of Engineers' equipment, which was instrumental in making this happen.

GLSPS has received several Minnesota Historical Society legacy grants to do Pit-It-Back projects at Split Rock Lighthouse, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (near the Madeira shipwreck), and Silver Bay Marina (near the Hesper shipwreck).

Northland News Center


Port Reports -  October 4

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph L. Block arrived on Thursday during the morning. Due in next will be the Wilfred Sykes on Saturday during the late morning. The Great Lakes Trader/Joyce L. Van Enkevort rounds out the schedule, arriving on Sunday in the early morning.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula were expected to arrive during the early evening on Thursday to load. Joseph L. Block was also due to arrive on Thursday in the late evening. Wilfred Sykes was due to arrive on Friday in the early morning but instead spent the day at anchor off St. Ignace waiting for the Block to clear. Arthur M. Anderson was also due to arrive at Cedarville in the morning on Friday, however it appears that she has been diverted to Calcite to load. Rounding out the schedule is the Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted, expected to arrive on Friday during the late evening.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lewis J. Kuber loaded in Calcite at the North Dock and was due to depart around 7 a.m. on Friday. Adam E. Cornelius also loaded on Friday and they were due to depart around 9 a.m. from the South Dock. Also due in on Friday was the Arthur M. Anderson arriving for the South Dock to load after the Cornelius clears. There are no vessels scheduled to load on Saturday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Herbert C. Jackson and the Manistee were expected to arrive in the early evening hours on Friday to load. A very busy lineup and schedule will see the following vessels loading. For Saturday expected to arrive in the early morning hours will be the Cason J. Callaway. Two vessels are due on Sunday with the Lewis J. Kuber arriving first in the early morning and later in the morning, the Pathfinder is also scheduled to arrive and load. For Monday, the Cason J. Callaway returns to load in the late morning, while the Joseph H. Thompson is due in the late evening on Monday to load. Due on Tuesday, October 7 is the Algoway during the early evening to load. Rounding out the schedule are four vessels all expected to arrive and load on Wednesday, October 4. Due in first will the Lewis J. Kuber just after midnight followed by the Pathfinder also in the early morning. Arriving in the late morning hours will be the John G. Munson. The Great Republic also is due on Wednesday in the early afternoon to load.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
H. Lee White loaded coal at the CSX #4 Coal Dock on Friday. Due next at the CSX Coal Dock will be the John D. Leitch on Sunday during the early morning. Sam Laud is also due to load at the CSX Dock on Sunday in the morning. The James L. Kuber is due to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Tuesday, October 7 just after midnight. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Vessels arriving at the Torco Dock with iron ore cargoes include the American Mariner on Sunday in the early morning. The James L. Kuber is due to arrive on Monday in the late afternoon. Due to arrive on Wednesday, October 8 is the Hon. James L. Oberstar during the late morning. Both the American Fortitude and American Valor remain in long-term lay-up at Toledo near the Lakefront Docks. There were also several other vessels in port at the time of this report. Among them were the Cuyahoga, Sam Laud, Evans McKeil and a barge along with three saltwater vessels Heloise of Panama and Andean of Cyprus, both at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The saltie Fritz of Liberia also remains detained at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. Tug Huron Service and a barge along with the tug Paul L. Luedtke were in port as well.


Obituaries: Nathaniel Barrett Smith remembrance announced

Welland Canal-Lock 7 BoatNerd Nathaniel Barrett Smith, who passed away Sept. 26 in Thorold, Ont., will be remembered at an upcoming celebration of his life. Family and friends with gather at the Welland Canals Centre at 1932 Welland Canals Pkwy (at Lock 3), St. Catharines, Ont., on Saturday, Oct. 11, starting at 1 p.m. with remembrances at 2 p.m. Light refreshments to follow. For those who wish to remember Barrett with a donation, a scholarship fund for student volunteers at the SS Keewatin marine museum has been established.

Barrett Smith Fund
c/o Friends of Keewatin
311 Talbot Street – PO Box 189
Port McNicoll, Ontario L0K 1R0


Lookback #321 – Robert J. Paisley ran aground off Michigan City on Oct. 4, 1966

The self-unloading bulk carrier Robert J. Paisley had served the Columbia Transportation well until it was sold to Marine Salvage of Port Colborne for scrap in 1965. The ship got a brief reprieve with a resale to Algonquin Shipping, part of the Hall Corporation, and resumed service with registry in Nassau, Bahamas.

The vessel handled a variety of aggregates for the new owner until it got caught in bad weather 48 years ago today. The ship went aground off Michigan City, Indiana, on Oct. 4, 1966, but was released the next day. The 414-foot-long steamer sailed to Sarnia and was retired due to the serious damage sustained to the hull.

The ship languished at Sarnia until it was resold to United Metals of Hamilton. The tugs Susan Hindman and Argue Martin pulled the 68-year-old laker into Hamilton on May 15, 1969, and the ship was broken up at the Stratherne Terminal in 1970.

Robert J. Paisley, the second ship of this name to sail the lakes, was built at Superior, WI and had previously sailed as a) Christopher, b) Thomas Britt (i), and c) J.E. Savage before becoming d) Robert J. Paisley in 1932. It had been converted to a scraper type self-unloader at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., in 1929.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 4

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Adfines Star, BBC Europe, Edzard Schulte, Elisabeth Schulte, Floragracht, Hamburg, Ida, Julie C, Morgenstond I, Nordic Stockholm, and Selandia Swan


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.


Coast Guard conducts evacuation of man from freighter in Straits of Mackinac

10/3 - Cleveland - The Coast Guard conducted a medical evacuation of a 36-year-old man from a freighter in the Straits of Mackinac Thursday evening.

Just before 6 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, received a report of a crew member who was experiencing shortness of breath, pain in his left arm and tightness in his chest aboard the Mesabi Miner, that was en route to Indiana Harbor, Indiana. Another crew member aboard the vessel, with medical training, was monitoring the man and reported him as conscious and ambulatory.

Sector Sault Ste. Marie watchstanders directed the launch of a boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Ignace, Michigan, aboard a 45-foot response boat, and conducted a conference call with a duty flight surgeon, who recommended a medical evacuation. The Mesabi Miner changed its course in order to meet the Station St. Ignace rescue crew closer to St. Ignace.

About 10 minutes later, the rescue crew arrived on scene, brought the man aboard their boat and transported him back to St. Ignace where they were met by mergency medical services personnel who stabilized the man and took him via ambulance to McLaren Northern Hospital in Petoskey, Michigan.

The man's current condition is unknown.


Export/import activity drives St. Lawrence Seaway cargo up 5% over 2013

10/3 - Total cargo shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway have now surpassed 2013 levels by 5 percent due to strong North American import/export activity.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway, total cargo tonnage from March 25 to September 30 reached 24.4 million metric tons.

Grain exports continue to be strong with total shipments (including Canada and the U.S.) reaching 6.8 million metric tons, up 70 percent over the same period last year. U.S. grain totaled 796,000 metric tons, up 15 percent over the same period last year.

Corn shipments from Port of Toledo to Ontario and Quebec for ethanol production and animal feed, for example, increased significantly over the past two months.

The Seaway’s general cargo tonnage — including specialty steel imports as well as aluminum and oversized project cargo like machinery or wind turbines — as of September 30 had topped 1.9 million metric tons, up 73 percent. Specialty steel imports accounted for 1.7 million metric tons of that overall number.

Steel has been a hot commodity throughout the Great Lakes region, with shipments from overseas heading to ports in Toledo, Cleveland, Detroit, Burns Harbor, Milwaukee, Oshawa and Hamilton to be used in domestic automobile production and construction.

The Port of Green Bay has also seen a 50 percent increase in foreign exports of petroleum products such as ethanol, diesel and gasoline for the period up to August 30. The products have been travelling to Sarnia, Ontario and the Montreal, Quebec region.

Municipal stockpiling of road salt ahead of the coming winter has also driven shipments via the Seaway up by 32 percent this season to 1.9 million metric tons.

These areas of strength have helped to offset decreases in shipments of other commodities through the navigation system.

Chamber of Marine Commerce


Port Reports -  October 3

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Mississagi arrived at the Alpena Oil dock before noon on Wednesday. It unloaded a cargo of road salt. On Thursday morning the tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula arrived at Lafarge and unloaded coal. Also at Lafarge on Thursday morning was the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity loading cement.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
The USCG Mackinaw, which has been drydocked in Sturgeon Bay for most of this past summer, was out in the bay of Green Bay during the afternoon. She was presumed to be conducting some sort of sea trials, possibly testing out new engines. The 240-foot icebreaker docked in Sturgeon Bay again on Thursday night. Lower Lakes Towing's barge James L. Kuber remains docked at Bay Shipbuilding, waiting for her tug, Victory, to have repairs to her rudders completed.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoway was inbound at 8:20 p.m. Thursday.


Author of “Steamboating” to speak at National Museum of the Great Lakes

10/3 - Toledo, Ohio – The National Museum of the Great Lakes will host the first of its fall lecture series speakers Saturday, Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. when the museum will welcome back Toledo native Ryan Barone, author of the book “Steamboating.”

Visitors will have the opportunity to hear Barone spin tales and share photos of his daily like aboard the S.S. Lee A. Tregurtha and as an officer aboard the Coast Guard cutters Bramble and Hollyhock. Following Barone’s appearance, he will be on hand to sign copies of his book, which is for sale in the museum’s store.

Barone was born and raised in Toledo, where he developed a life-long love affair with the Great Lakes shipping community. His 1994 summer voyages aboard the S.S. Lee A. Tregurtha inspired his memoir, “Steamboating,” which describes daily life aboard a Great Lakes steamship though the eyes of a teen-aged crewmember. He has traversed the length of all five Great Lakes as a merchant mariner and as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. A licensed master of 100-ton vessels, Barone moved to the Washington, DC, area in 2006, and served for a time as a tour boat captain on the Potomac River. He currently works for the Maritime Administration, where he manages the maintenance program for the Ready Reserve Fleet.

The series will also include Christopher Gillcrist (Executive Director of the Great Lakes Historical Society) on Wednesday, October 22, and Paul LaMarre III (Executive Director of the Port of Monroe) on Wednesday, Nov. 12. A Spring Lecture Series is in the works as well.

The Fall Lecture Series is included in the cost of admission to the National Museum of the Great Lakes. Museum members are free.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


Lookback #320 – Liberty ship Trikeri swung sideways in the Welland Canal on Oct. 3, 1963

Trikeri, a Liberian flagged Liberty ship, made only one appearance on the Great Lakes. It was up bound in the Welland Canal 51 years ago today when it swung sideways in the waterway in the vicinity of Welland.

The vessel may have gone aground briefly and it took four hours for the ship to be realigned and traffic to return to normal. The rest of the trip to the Great Lakes was without incident.

Trikeri was the fourth name for this 1944-vintage steamer. It was built at Houston, Texas, and was operated for the United States Maritime Commission as Laura Drake Gill until being sold to the Matson Navigation Co. in October 1946.

The rename of Hawaiian Lumberman was probably an apt description of its duties in the Matson fleet. It continued in their service until becoming Cape Henry in 1960 and finally left American flag service when it became Trikeri in 1962.

Originally Greek flag, the ship had been re-registered in Liberia by the time it came to the Great Lakes.

Following its single visit inland, the ship resumed saltwater service. The 441 foot, 6 inch long steamer was sold again in 1965 and finished its career as Dahlia. After a sale to Taiwanese shipbreakers, the vessel arrived at Kaohsiung on Dec. 27, 1966, and it was broken up in 1967.

Skip Gillham


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


Canadian Miner removal from Scatarie Island still on schedule

10/2 - Main-A-Dieu - Work on removing the remains of the former laker Canadian Miner from the coast of Scatarie Island is still on schedule to be completed by the end of November, says the head of the Crown corporation monitoring the cleanup of the derelict ship.

Gary Campbell, president of Nova Scotia Lands, said workers are busy cutting away pieces of the former Great Lakes freighter to get at the asbestos that, for safety reasons, must be removed before the rest of the job can be tackled.

“It’s tedious work getting it out of there especially as they are finding asbestos where they didn’t expect it, like in bulkhead doors,” said Campbell, who recently spent a couple of days at the site. “But they should finish up with the asbestos removal by the end of this week.”

Workers will then use large “Pac-Man”-like hydraulic steel shears to cut the ship apart.

The materials will then be barged to Sydney to be sold as scrap metal which could be worth as much as $3 million to RJ MacIssac Construction, the Antigonish firm that was awarded the $12-million contract.

Due to the awkward location where the Miner came to rest after it broke free of its towline during transit to Turkey in September 2011, the contractor had to build a breakwater with stone barged to the island from Louisbourg, construct a base camp and lay down a road and staging area near the ship.

With unreliable cellular coverage on Scatarie, emergency radio communication also had to be set up.

Julian O’Neil, liason officer for the Main-a-Dieu Community Development Association, confirmed there has been plenty of activity around the small fishing community.

“It's been busy around here and that has people excited,” he said. “There have been helicopters flying back and forth from our ball field to the island and boats going back and forth.”

O’Neil said the community is pleased to see the work finally proceeding after three years.

After the wreck, the federal government denied any responsibility for the costly cleanup, a claim that angered many residents of Cape Breton’s most easterly community, as the Greek tugboat Hellas was operating under federal regulations when the incident occurred.

A previous effort to remove the vessel failed and the Miner has remained in the same location since it ran aground.

Cape Breton Post


New federal rule allows freighters to dump cargo remnants into Great Lakes

10/2 - Buffalo, N.Y. – Environmental groups came up short in their fight to prevent freighters from sweeping or washing limestone, iron ore, coal and other non-toxic remnants of their dry cargo into the Great Lakes.

A federal rule that went into effect earlier this year allows what has been a long-time practice in Great Lakes commerce: shipping vessels, under certain conditions, washing down residues in their cargo holds left behind after their deliveries.

Environmental groups call it legalized pollution. “These lakes have been treated like a garbage dump for three quarters of a century,” Buffalo Niagara RiverKeeper wrote to federal officials during a public comment period. ”Now it is time to start protecting the environment.”

But the U.S. Coast Guard, in making the rule, said “most vessels appear to be minimizing the volume of dry cargo residue they discharge. They treat their cargo as a commodity to be conserved and not wasted.” The new rule also won the blessing of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Shippers contend the practice will not harm the lakes.

“It is just good business to not have cargo residue,” said Glen G. Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers’ Association, which represents 17 American companies that operate 57 shipping carriers, including Williamsville-based American Steamship Co.

“We are talking about minute quantities of non-hazardous, non-toxic substances,” he said.

A formal written plan for dealing with dry cargo aboard each vessel on the Great Lakes, with placards posted on each ship, went into effect Sept. 15.

“It is a very, very tiny amount. It is just dust,” Nekvasil said. “This washdown is occurring over a very, very long period of time.

“The amount of coal dust on the bottom of the lake is the equivalent of three cups over the size of a football field,” Nekvasil said.

The rule has no sunset clause, so it will remain in effect indefinitely. Lake freighters must keep track of discharges and report them to the Coast Guard through February 2015, said Lisa Novak, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

The record-keeping requirement remains in effect indefinitely, she said.

The rule defines bulk dry cargo residues as those materials that are non-hazardous and non-toxic. It also imposes various restrictions, depending on what’s being dumped and where.

Limestone, for instance, cannot be dumped in Lake Erie within three miles from shore. Coal and salt residues can only be dumped 13.8 miles from shore and iron ore remnants have to be discharged at least six miles into the lake.

“Such a policy appears to be in direct opposition to efforts underway to restore and protect the Great Lakes,” said the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission.

“Regardless of whether these residues would pose a direct and immediate threat to human or environmental health through the practice of cargo sweeping, these materials are inherently not non-toxic and non-hazardous,” said the group, which represents 11 native tribes in the region.

The rule sparked debate from environmental law scholars who argue it might be illegal when considering superseding treaties like the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Clean Water Act of 1972, among other laws and rules.

“We believe that ending dry cargo dumping is the only alternative that is consistent with federal and international law,” said the Alliance for the Great Lakes and National Wildlife Federation, a five-member coalition of environmental groups.

Buffalo News


Port Reports -  October 2

Sturgeon Bay – Jim Conlon
Tuesday afternoon the USCG icebreaker Mackinaw was released from the large section of the floating drydock at Bay Shipbuilding. The tug Victory is still in the small section under going repairs to her rudders; the James L. Kuber is docked on the end of the piers waiting for the Victory.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Joseph H. Thompson departed Lorain at 3:50 p.m. on Wednesday.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Tug Petite Forte and St. Marys Cement barge were unloading in Oswego Harbor Wednesday.

Oshawa, Toronto and Hamilton, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
Oshawa: Heloise left Wednesday afternoon. Shortly after she departed, the Radcliffe R. Latimer arrived and maneuvered itself to the dock. Hamilton: Stella Polaris arrived Wednesday and docked at pier 24. Algowood also arrived. Toronto: Capt Henry Jackman arrived Wednesday and docked in the Cherry Street basin/pier.


Holland America cancels cruise after ship breaks down in Quebec City

10/2 - Quebec City, Que. - Passengers on the cruise ship Veendam are going home after the company that owns the ship, Holland America, cancelled the cruise due to technical problems.

The ship, which was due to embark on a seven-night sailing from Quebec City to Boston on Saturday, wasn't able to leave the dock and remains the Quebec City port. The cruise line said there are problems with the ship's propulsion systems. Divers are currently in the water working to repair the ship’s systems.

The majority of the 1,350 passengers aboard are American. The company has compensated the passengers for the cancellation.

The Quebec City port says it wants the Veendam gone by Saturday because six more cruise ships are scheduled to dock, and the Holland America ship is in the way. The ship was put into service in 1996 and was renovated in 2011.



Seaway System cargo tonnage continues upswing in September

10/2 - Washington, D.C. – The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date cargo shipments of more than 24 million metric tons moved through the system for the period March 28 to September 30 – an increase of nearly 5 percent over September 2013. U.S. grain continued its upward trend posting a 14.6 percent increase over the same time last year.

“Cargo tonnage moved through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System during the month of September continues to be robust and reflects positively on the economy and the shipping industry,” said Administrator Betty Sutton of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “Great Lakes stevedores handled large quantities of steel, grain, sugar, salt, and oversized project cargo carried on more than 200 ships in September. As we head into the busiest time of the shipping season, we anticipate this upward trend in cargo tonnage to continue.”

American Great Lakes Ports Association


Lookback #319 – Marathonian and Rolwi collided head-on in fog on Oct. 2, 1973

10/2 - Both the Norwegian freighter Rolwi and the Liberian bulk carrier Marathonian sustained massive bow damage from their head-on collision in Lake Michigan on Oct. 2, 1973. Each of these ships were familiar with Great Lakes trading but lost their way on the fog covered lake and ran right into one another.

Marathonian had been a T-2 tanker that was built at Portland, Oregon, as Egg Harbor in 1943. It came through the Seaway for the first time in 1960 while sailing under a sixth name of Marathon. The ship was converted to a bulk carrier at Emden, Germany, in 1962 and resumed sailing under the same name. This was changed to Marathonian in 1967 and the ship was back inland for the first time when the accident occurred in 1973.

Marathonian was rebuilt with a new bow at South Chicago and was the last salty to exit the Seaway for the 1973 season. It was sold and renamed Sylvia L. Ossa in 1974 and disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle without a trace. It had last reported in on Oct. 13, 1976. Only the name board and an empty lifeboat were recovered while 37 lives were lost.

Rolwi was built for Great Lakes trading in 1968 and was the largest ocean ship to enter the Seaway when it came inland that spring. The arrival of the Norwegian ship was celebrated at Duluth on May 5 and among the dignitaries was King Olav V of Norway.

Following the accident of 41 years ago, Rolwi was patched at Lorain and then departed the lakes for permanent repair work. It returned through the Seaway as Doberg in 1974 and was back inland again in 1976 as Lorfri.

In later years, the ship operated on saltwater as d) Caspian Sea and e) Perozan before being sold to shipbreakers at Alang, India. It arrived there for dismantling on Feb. 6, 1996.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 2

News Photo Gallery


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.


Nisbet Grammer shipwreck from 1926 found in Lake Ontario

10/1 - Rochester, N.Y. – The wreck of a 253-foot, British-built steamship that sank off Lake Ontario's western New York shore after colliding with another vessel nearly 90 years ago, has been found, a team of underwater explorers said Tuesday.

The four-man team from the Rochester area, Ohio and Texas said it found the wreck of the Nisbet Grammer in more than 500 feet of water about eight miles off Somerset, 40 miles west of Rochester.

The ship was hauling a load of grain from Buffalo to Montreal when it collided with the steamship Dalwarnic in dense fog early on the morning of May 31, 1926. The stricken ship sank in less than 15 minutes, but all aboard were saved by the crew from the other steamer.

A six-year search for the sunken ship ended in August when the team's side-scan sonar detected the wreck, said Jim Kennard of Fairport.

The other team members are Roland Stevens of Pultneyville, New York; Craig Hampton of Lorain, Ohio; and former Rochester resident Dan Scoville, who lives in Houston.

The Nisbet Grammer, named for one of its Buffalo-based owners, was launched from a shipyard in England in 1926. It was known as a "canaller," a type of steamship used to transport grain, coal and other products through Ontario's Welland Canal to ports on lakes Erie and Ontario.

The ship was the largest steel steamer to have sunk in Lake Ontario, Kennard said. The team surveyed more than 80 square miles of lake bottom until finding the wreck site in late August, he said.

A remotely operated vehicle was used to obtain video of the shipwreck and identify it as the Nisbet Grammer, Kennard said.

Associated Press


Minnesota companies race to increase taconite shipments before winter

10/1 - Minneapolis, Minn. – Grain and coal aren’t the only commodities that have backed up this year because of railroad congestion and delays.

Taconite shipments from northern Minnesota have also been slowed by the logjam, and industry officials are concerned about moving enough iron ore to their steelmaking customers before the Great Lakes shipping season ends for the year.

The issue came to light when Sen. Amy Klobuchar raised it recently at a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing. She said one mining company in Minnesota has 250,000 tons of taconite sitting on the ground and another has 85,000 tons stockpiled as a result of rail service disruptions.

“In total we have 2 million tons of iron ore pellets that we want to send out — and make money for our country and get more jobs — that are just sitting there in a pile,” she told Ed Hamberger, president and chief executive of the Association of American Railroads.

The pellets are produced near mines and transported by special rail cars to Duluth, Superior and Two Harbors. At the ports they are loaded onto vessels and carried to steelmakers in Cleveland; Gary, Ind.; and other ports on the lower lakes.

The backups were apparently caused by a shortage of locomotives and train crews to move the rail cars from the mines to the ports, combined with last winter’s weather that shortened the shipping season.

Farmers, grain elevator managers, coal shippers, utilities and Amtrak executives have complained about rail delays across much longer distances between Minnesota and western states. At federal hearings this year in Washington and Fargo, N.D., and at other meetings, they have testified that service has been poor and freight rates have skyrocketed. Some accused the rail firms of giving preference to more lucrative North Dakota oil shipments.

Rail firms have denied that they favor crude oil over other cargoes and have told the Surface Transportation Board that regulates railroads that the slowdowns are a result of increased shipments of all commodities, not just oil.

The taconite industry has kept a low profile and has not criticized railroads publicly, but after Klobuchar’s remarks, Cliffs Natural Resources issued a short statement that confirmed that its Minnesota mines, like other industrial facilities, “have been significantly impacted by the national logjam of rail service in the United States.”

The company needs to provide timely delivery of iron ore pellets to its steelmaking customers, the statement said, and “these [railroad] conditions create substantial and irreversible negative consequences because there is finite shipping season on the Great Lakes.”

Cliffs operates iron ore mines at United Taconite in Eveleth served by CN (Canadian National Railway Company) and Hibbing Taconite, served by BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe). It also owns a mine near Babbit linked to its Northshore Mining taconite processing plant in Silver Bay.

The shipping season typically closes from Jan. 15 to March 25, said Adele Yorde, public relations manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. Mining companies try to move out as much iron ore as possible before winter, she said, so that it can be stockpiled and used by steelmakers during the eight to 10 weeks that the lakes are frozen.

“Four months is what they have left,” said Yorde, referring to the mining firms. “And the last few weeks get to be slower in terms of delivery time because of ice” that begins to thicken, she said.

Craig Pagel, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, declined to provide details about how reduced rail service has affected the industry. “These delays along with ice conditions this spring have had a negative effect we hope is rectified soon,” he said. “In our case shipping is an integral part of the ironmaking and steelmaking industry.”

Pagel said that the iron mines are now producing “at near-capacity levels, and we hope to continue to produce at those levels.”

That wasn’t true earlier this year, at least for Cliffs Natural Resources.

In a letter to the Surface Transportation Board last April, the company’s director of rail transportation Randel Thomas said: “Inconsistent rail service has had severe impacts on our operations throughout the winter of 2013-2014, keeping our facilities from operating at capacity.”

Thomas said that instead of shipping pellets to stockpiles at dock facilities on the Great Lakes, it had to “submit approximately 250,000 long tons to ground storage at our mines.”

Thomas also wrote in the April letter that “all steelmakers are experiencing pellet shortages and are preparing to bank blast furnaces” because of their inability to get enough pellets. He mentioned both rail service delays and cold weather as contributing to the problems.

BNSF spokeswoman Amy Mcbeth declined to comment specifically on how the company’s service to taconite firms has changed in the past year, or what sort of improvements might be under discussion.

“All customers have been impacted by our service challenges this year,” she said. “We are working with them directly on their service issues while we continue to execute our short and long-term efforts to improve service across our network.” Some of those changes BNSF announced previously include adding double track at strategic points along the northern corridor, hiring additional crews and purchasing more locomotives.

CN spokesman Patrick Waldron said in a statement that any issues with taconite were the result of weather, and that for his company, “this is not about locomotives or equipment supply.” Waldron said that last year’s “historic winter and freeze” caused a shorter shipping season and created “challenges in moving the inventory across the entire iron ore supply chain.”

CN serves Minnesota mines near Mountain Iron (Minntac,) Virginia (Minorca) and Forbes (United Taconite), he said.

Waldron said that the railroad and shipping cycle is now back in sync with all the necessary CN railroad equipment in service. “That work will continue through the end of the season when CN expects inventory stockpiles to be at normal levels,” he said.

Pagel at the Iron Mining Association said he’s optimistic that problems, if any still exist, will be resolved.

“Finding solutions is more important than finding blame,” he said.

Minneapolis Star Tribune


Port Reports -  October 1

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
On an uncommon visit, tug and barge Presque Isle unloaded coal from Ashtabula into the Upper Harbor hopper on Tuesday. Presque Isle last visited Marquette in 2011 but loaded ore.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday evening the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity loaded product at Lafarge. Tuesday was a busy day with three vessels in port. The Alpena arrived at Lafarge early Tuesday morning to load cement. Around lunchtime the Alpena departed and passed the inbound Manistee out in the bay. The Manistee tied up at Lafarge and unloaded coal. Later in the evening the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation came in and tied up under the silos.


St. Clair River sewage spills a continuing problem

10/1 - Sarnia, Ont. – The city of Sarnia has spent millions of dollars to prevent raw sewage from spilling into the St. Clair River, but it still remains a problem for some downriver communities, especially after a heavy rain.

Jeff Wesley, former Wallaceburg mayor and now one of Wallaceburg’s municipal representatives to Chatham-Kent council, says it’s unacceptable that Sarnia has had 10 sewage spills so far this year. And he doesn’t believe that the problem is easing.

Wesley made the comments at a meeting of the Chatham-Kent Public Utilities Commission, of which he is a member. The PUC’s general manager, Tom Kissner, will be contacting the city government in Sarnia to discuss the problem.

Meanwhile, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley says the city has spent almost $100 million to separate sewers and to update the municipality’s sewage plant.

“We have basically mitigated spills on the St. Clair (River) from the municipality. And that has been a very difficult task to bring about,” Bradley said.

On occasion when there are storms, there are issues with capacity, Bradley said.

“We're not standing back. It is something that we will continue to try and address. We're not standing back and saying we've done all this, let's not worry about all these other issues.”

Bradley said Sarnia has been working on improvements to 38 kilometres of sewers, and said that work will not be stopping.

He also said Sarnia has eliminated or mitigated the combined sewers going into the St. Clair River.

In the late 1990s, the city was the biggest polluter on the St. Clair River.

“That's done. Now we're just dealing with the issues we deal with on occasion from the sewage plant when it's pushed to overcapacity,” Bradley said.

Sarnia completed a four-year project between 2007 and 2011 to upgrade its wastewater system with a sewer separation project to reduce the amount of raw sewage from going into the St. Clair River after heavy rains.

The infrastructure project was the biggest in Sarnia's history, costing $34.9 million. The massive project oversaw the development of almost seven kilometres of new sewers.

Sarnia Observer


MARAD awards $400,000 to research LNG bunkers for the Great Lakes

10/1 - The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute (GLMRI) has announced it has been awarded $400,000 by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) to research liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative marine fuel on the Great Lakes.

The funds come from a cooperative agreement between MARAD and the U.S. Department of Transportation. GLMRI has been researching the viability of LNG aboard marine vessels in the Great Lakes region and the LNG supply chain since 2011.

The institute's general meeting earlier this year also brought together experts and attendees to discuss LNG, with a focus on "greening the supply chain.”

In addition to furthering research, the institute will also support educational workshops on the potential economic and environmental benefits associated with fueling with LNG.

GLMRI is a joint program between the University of Wisonsin-Superior and University of Minnesota Duluth.

Earlier this year, energy major Shell said it was slowing down plans for LNG fuel production in North America, including sites intended to serve the Great Lakes.

Ship & Bunker


Team passionate about shipwreck preservation studying zebra mussels on whaleback

10/1 - Duluth, Minn. – A non–profit group, passionate for the preservation of historic Great Lakes shipwrecks, is busy on the bottom of Lake Superior studying an historic shipwreck. But it's not the shipwreck itself that's at the center of the team's attention. Rather, it's what's thriving on it.

In June 1902, the Thomas Wilson whaleback freighter sank over 70 feet down to the bottom of Lake Superior about a mile outside the Duluth Harbor after colliding with another ship.

112 years and 3 months later, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society is using the shipwreck as a means to study the prevalence of the invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels in the largest of the Great Lakes.

From a historic standpoint, project leader and author Steve Daniel says the reason for their team's interest is simple: "Because we really don't like them on shipwrecks," smiled Daniel. "We like to see the shipwrecks in the Great Lakes."

In the lower Great Lakes, where the water is warmer, Daniel says Zebra Mussels often cover the historic wrecks.

"They can get up to five layers thick, to the point where you end up looking at a bulgy, rounded shape of something, and you can't see the details of the ship," said Daniel. "When it's warm, zebra mussels tend to proliferate."

But Daniel says Superior's cooler, darker waters act like preservatives on shipwrecks, and could also be a reason why the Wilson isn't as plastered by the invasives.

"Lake Superior is about 40 degrees down at around 100 feet," said Daniel. "[Sunday] it happened to be 53 degrees on our computers."

The team has been diving on the site for over five years, examining the exact same spots each year on the shipwreck. GLSPS President Phil Kerber says the mussel populations have fluctuated almost every year.

"Most of the time it does increase, unfortunately, because of the problem we do have," said Kerber, while team members packed up their dive gear.

Kerber says the first two years saw a population increase, which tapered off the third year, then dropped the fourth year, and increased again last year.

In search of a solution, the team says they've tried removing the mussels in the past by scraping them off the vessel.

"I think it was probably a lost cause to try to do that," said Daniel, "because they did come back."

But Kerber says there are promising signs about 4 ½ miles out from the Wilson, aboard the Mayflower shipwreck.

"There was absolutely no Quagga and Zebra mussels on that ship," said Kerber, "but it's deeper, and it is colder."

The Wilson is much closer to the mouth of the harbor, where the St. Louis River's warmer water flows into Superior, along with zebra mussel populations.

If Superior's colder water has kept the invasives at bay thus far, the team says that's cause for greater concern when the lake goes through a warm streak.

There is a silver lining to the invasive mussels. Experts say they filter feed, which in turn cleans the water. But most agree that the up side is far outweighed by the myriad of issues they pose to boaters, and the native ecosystem.

Northland News Center


Toledo Port honored at freight conference

10/1 - Toledo, Ohio – The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has been honored again for increasing the amount of cargo it receives or sends out through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

During a port-sponsored luncheon Wednesday in Columbus as part of the Ohio Conference on Freight, port President Paul Toth received the Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The 4.1 million metric tons of freight shipped between Toledo and ports in eastern Canada or overseas during 2013 marked a 5 percent increase over 2012.

The largest commodity was 1.6 million tons of iron ore mined in Canada and consumed by steel mills in southern Ohio and Kentucky, Seaway administrator Betty Sutton said. Other primary cargoes included imports of steel and aluminum while soybean exports from Toledo also helped the increase.

Toledo Blade


Lookback #318 – Kindersley scuttled with excess war munitions on Oct. 1, 1946

Kindersley was one of those rare Great Lakes canal-sized ships that was called to saltwater service in both world wars and managed to survive the perils of weather and enemy action in each conflict.

Originally known as A.S. McKinstry, the ship came to the Great Lakes after being built at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1909. It joined the newly formed Canada Steamship Lines in 1913 and went overseas during the war. On October 2, 1918, the ship escaped a torpedo attack on the English Channel and was able to return to the Great Lakes in 1920.

C.S.L. renamed it Kindersley in 1927 and the ship left again for overseas in 1941. German aircraft caught Kindersley off Blyth, Scotland, on Aug. 17, 1941, and left the ship afloat but severely damaged.

Kindersley was repaired and continued to operate for the duration of the war. There would be no return to freshwater after this conflict. The ship was loaded with 2,074 tons of surplus munitions, taken out to sea, and scuttled in the deep water of the Atlantic Ocean on October 1, 1946.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 1

News Photo 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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