Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Great Lakes Shipyard awarded multi-vessel drydocking, repair contract by USACE

10/31 - Great Lakes Shipyard has been awarded a contract by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Detroit District for the drydocking and repairs of the floating plant based at the Detroit Field Station.

The shipyard will perform routine drydocking, maintenance and repairs of the tug Demolen, crane barge Veler and deck scow BC-6576. In addition to drydocking the vessels, work includes underwater hull cleaning and maintenance; inspection of propulsion and steering systems; sea valves maintenance; bearing inspections; and other routine cleaning, maintenance and repairs. In addition, the scope of work also includes renewal of four large deck hatches on the Veler.

This will be the first time the Detroit District floating plant has been drydocked using Great Lakes Shipyard’s 700-metric-ton capacity Marine Travelift. All three vessels were hauled out on Oct. 26, and work commenced immediately. The vessels are scheduled for redelivery to the USACE in mid-December.

Great Lakes Shipyard


Christmas Festival of Trees upcoming at Sturgeon Bay marine museum

10/31 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – More trees, more activities and more fun sum up the return of the Merry-Time Festival of Trees at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay. Celebrate the holidays by enjoying dozens of beautifully decorated Christmas trees scattered throughout the museum’s galleries.

The festival will run from Nov. 14 through Dec. 8 and will feature artificial trees decorated by local organizations and businesses. Beautiful ornaments and special surprises adorn each of these 38 trees and wreaths. Visitors may see this holiday extravaganza during regular museum hours of 10 am to 5 pm daily and have the opportunity to enter a raffle in the hopes of winning their favorite tree to take home for Christmas.

The Maritime Speaker Series presented annually by the museum will have its December program during the festival when former Door County Maritime Museum’s Executive Director Bob Desh will present a program on Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. It will involve a more in-depth look at the current Sea Dogs exhibit as Desh delves into the World War II K-9 beach patrols. Admission is free with a non-perishable food item requested. The Merry-Time Festival of Trees raffle tickets will also be available for sale.

A family event occurs with the annual appearance by Santa Claus on the tug John Purves, Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Join Santa onboard the historic tugboat to share your Christmas wishes. Due to the size of the tug, only two adults can accompany each child. Adult museum admission includes a Santa visit.

For more information relating to the festival, contact the museum at (920) 743-5958 or visit



Lookback #713 – Former tug Jesse James burned, sank off East Coast on Oct. 31, 1975

The steel tug Jesse James was built at Manitowoc, Wis., in 1923 for service out of Duluth. The vessel, originally the John E. Meyer (ii) was used for harbor work as well as for long hauls of dredging equipment.

The steam-powered, 102.8-foot-long vessel joined the Pringle Barge Lines as b) Jesse James in 1940 and was used to pull the consort barge Maida and later Constitution in the coal trade. The tug came under the banner of Oglebay-Norton in 1957 but was retired in March 1964 due to the need for boiler repairs.

Jesse James was towed from Detroit by the tug Central, on Oct. 17, 1966, and left the Great Lakes, via the Mississippi River system. It was repowered at the Hendries Shipyard in Tampa with a 3,000 bhp diesel engine for service out of Port Everglades towing oil barges and as well as having harbor duties.

The tug was resold to Baleen Towing & Transport in 1970 and moved to Bath, Maine, as c) Baleen where it often worked with the barge BFT 50.

On Oct. 29, 1975, the former Great Lakes tug cleared New York for Boston with 2.5 million gallons of home heating oil. The tug caught fire in Cape Cod Bay around 1500 hours the following day and efforts to quell the blaze failed. Help arrived and all on board were saved. With the fire later extinguished, an attempt was made to tow Baleen stern first to safety. This failed 40 years ago today and the ship slipped beneath the surface, still attached to the barge. This line had to be cut for the sake of safety.

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


A variety of events remember sinking of Edmund Fitzgerald

10/30 - Dashed by giant waves in Lake Superior, the 729-foot iron ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald went down on Nov. 10, 1975. The sinking killed the crew of 29 and made headlines for months as investigators tried to determine what went wrong.

The 40th anniversary has sparked a new exhibit at the Michigan State University Museum, “Iron Hulls and Turbulent Waters,” as well as exhibits and events at other museums across the state and region.

“It’s the Fitzgerald that has caught everyone’s imagination,” said John Beck, adjunct curator at the MSU Museum. “It’s been 40 years and we haven’t had a wreck of that magnitude since.”

Capricious weather on the Great Lakes has claimed other huge ore-carriers, including the Carl D. Bradley, which sank in Lake Michigan in November 1958, killing 33 of its 35 crewmembers, and the Daniel J. Morrell, which went down in Lake Huron in November 1966, killing 28 of its 29 crew members. Lone survivor Dennis Hale, who wrote a book and lectured on the experience, died earlier this year.

The exhibit is in honor of the Fitzgerald, but also “all the men and women who make the ore trade and Great Lakes shipping possible,” Beck said.

It includes 24 photographs taken by James Brozek, who worked in a Milwaukee shipyard during winter months to keep the gigantic ore carriers in good shape. He’ll be at the museum Thursday for a gallery talk and reception and will speak Friday.

It also features two poems by East Lansing poet Cindy Hunter Morgan, whose upcoming book is made up of poems on shipwreck themes. There's also a model of the Henry Ford II.

Beck, who grew up in Escanaba not far from the city’s ore docks, points out that the mighty freighters are part of Michigan’s landscape and integral to the state’s economy. “When you think of iron ore boats you think of sailors, you don’t think of people who repair the boats, people who work on the ore docks themselves, the ship chandlers who make sure that things are provided for the ships so that they can actually sail,” he said.

Paul C. LaMarre III does think of all of those things as the director for the Port of Monroe, Mich. He also led the restoration of the Col. James M. Schoonmaker, built in the same shipyard as the Fitzgerald and now at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo. His father, Paul LaMarre Jr., is known for his Great Lakes maritime art and may have taken the last photo ever of the Fitzgerald, as it unloaded in Detroit.

“That would have been one or two trips prior to the sinking,” LaMarre III said. “The other eerie thing about it is, you can’t see a single person on deck in the photo.”

The Toledo museum has a lift raft from the Fitzgerald. It also has an interactive exhibit that allows visitors to maneuver a virtual submersible around a virtual model of the wreck.

Other artifacts, including lifeboats, are at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point. It hosts a Fitzgerald memorial on Nov. 10 each year, often including family members of the crew.

Here are some Fitzgerald and shipping-related events:

• “Iron Hulls and Turbulent Waters” is on display through Jan. 24 at the Michigan State University Museum, 409 W. Circle Drive, East Lansing, Mich. Events include a reception with James Brozek from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday; and a talk by Brozek at 12:15 Friday in the museum auditorium. A panel discussion is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at the MSU Library featuring State Archaeologist Dean Anderson and MSU professors Peter Kakela and Michael Velbel. They’ll discuss the nature and shipping of iron ore and Great Lakes shipwrecks. In addition, Robert Campbell, author of “Classic Ships of the Great Lakes,” will sign books and speak at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at Schuler Books in Meridian Mall.

• The annual Lost Mariners Remembrance takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, on Belle Isle in Detroit. It feature marine artist Robert McGreevy, who will tell the story of lifesaving crews that patrolled the Great Lakes. There also is a lantern vigil at the Fitzgerald anchor and a performance by singer Lee Murdock. Admission is $10; advance registration is strongly recommended. Call 313-833-1801 for information.

• “Gales of November: The 40th Anniversary of the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” takes place at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven. Speaker Jim Spurr will discuss the perils of Lake Superior travel in November, from 1816 through the Fitzgerald sinking in 1975. Admission is $8. Learn more at

• The 40th Anniversary Memorial Ceremony takes place at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 in the main gallery at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Gallery in Whitefish Point. The museum displays the bell of the wrecked ship as well as its lifeboats and other artifacts. The bell will toll 29 times, once for each member of the crew, and a 30th time for all lost on the Great Lakes. The museum also will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 10. Learn more about the museum and the event at • The documentary movie “A Good Ship and Crew Well-Seasoned” will premiere at 6 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Seagate Center in Toledo as part of the National Museum of the Great Lakes’ Fitzgerald memorial activities. Learn more at

• On Nov. 10 at Split Rock Lighthouse near Two Harbors, Minn., a film about the Fitzgerald will be shown in the Visitor Center theater continuously throughout the afternoon. The lighthouse and the fog signal building will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The lighthouse will close temporarily at 4:30 p.m. while the names of the 29 lost crew members are read to the tolling of a ship’s bell. Following the ceremony, the beacon will be lit and the tower once again opened for visitors to tour. This is the only opportunity each year when visitors can climb to the top of the tower and see the beacon lit and revolving. Admission is adults: $9; seniors: $7; children (age 6-17) $6. Visit for more information.

• Author Rochelle Pennington will return to the Door County Marine Museum in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. to address the most famous of all Great Lakes shipwrecks. Pennington, who gained popularity for books on topics such as the Rouse Simmons (Christmas Tree Ship), will delve into the various theories and opposing views relating to the big ore carrier’s demise. Pennington has been researching the Fitzgerald’s sinking for a new book scheduled to be released next spring. Visit for details.

Lansing State Journal


Cliffs cuts costs, but production remains down

10/30 - Duluth, Minn. – Ongoing depressed prices for iron ore and declining prices for hot-rolled steel continue to weigh heavy on Cliffs Natural Resources and its Minnesota taconite mining operations.

The company released its third-quarter financial results Thursday, reporting revenues of $593 million, down 30 percent from 2015. That drop is due mostly to declining U.S. iron ore production, now at 4,099 tons compared to 5,814 at this time last year, a 30 percent drop.

Despite being down, revenues and earnings both beat industry analysts estimates, and the company’s stock price rose a bit Thursday to $2.81 at mid-morning, up about 6 percent for the day but a far cry from the heady days of $100 per share when iron ore and steel prices were high in 2011.

Cliffs had some good news, including reporting that it has slashed the cost of producing taconite at its Minnesota and Michigan taconite iron ore mines from $56 per ton to just under $49 per ton, which has greatly reduced losses as iron ore prices remain low.

The company said the decrease was driven by salaried workforce reductions and overall lower employment costs; reduced maintenance and repair costs based on cost reduction and predictive maintenance initiatives and lower prices for energy.

Cliffs officials say they continue to negotiate in good faith with the United Steelworkers union, with the worker’s contract expiring a month ago. “We are on the same page with our United Steelworkers labor force,’’ said Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs CEO and president, in a teleconference with analysts Thursday morning. “We remain optimistic a new labor deal will emerge.”

Cliffs also announced that it has produced 60,000 tons of so-called “DR-ready’’ iron ore pellets at Northshore Mining in Silver Bay, which it owns and operates, the company said it has a customer that will purchase the new style of pellet and use them to make iron nuggets that can be used to raise the quality of steel made in electric arc mini-mills. That’s an all-new market for Minnesota-made taconite that has traditionally gone to traditional blast furnaces.

“We are the first industrial-sized producer of DR-pellets in the United States,’’ Goncalves said.

The customer may begin using the pellets in trial steelmaking tests in early 2016, but Goncalves said it remains unclear when steel demand will increase enough to begin making large quantities of the pellets, noting that will require someone to invest in an iron nugget plant somewhere on the Great Lakes.

In addition to Northshore, Cliffs also owns and operates United Taconite in Eveleth/Forbes and is part owner and operator of Hibbing Taconite. It also owns and operate the Tilden and Empire operations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Cliffs’ officials gave no sign when the United operations may reopen after being shuttered in July due to continued lower sales of taconite iron ore pellets to U.S. steel companies. The shutdown left 420 Iron Rangers out of work.

Goncalves, however, says he remains bullish on 2016 steel production, expecting U.S. trade sanctions on unfairly traded foreign steel may boost U.S. steel production next year.

“Steel prices are going to get better. … We are going to get out of the bottom. We aren’t out if it yet, but we are going to get there,’’ Goncalves said.

Goncalves said Cliffs’ customers will submit their 2016 “nominations’’ for iron ore purchases in November. At that point, Goncalves said, it may be more clear when United might reopen.

“We match our production to what we see in (orders) from our clients, and we’ll know more in the next few weeks,’’ said Kelly Tompkins, Cliffs’ chief financial officer.

The Empire operations, idled earlier in 2015, did reopen recently, Goncalves noted.

The colorful CEO also continued his assault on the Essar Steel Minnesota taconite operation being built in Nashwauk, calling it a “construction site in disarray’’ and challenging Essar’s prediction that the all-new mining and processing facility will be producing pellets in 2016.

Goncalves called it “that stupid development’’ and said Essar’s inviting him to tour the site in July was “one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen’’ and called it “inviting the enemy to look at the inside.”

Goncalves has sparred with Essar for good reason — any new taconite production is likely to eat into Cliffs’ production. Goncalves has said since January that there is no demand for the estimated 7 million tons Essar will produce annually and that the new production will simply force closure of other Minnesota taconite operations, most likely a Cliffs’ operations like United.

Duluth News Tribune


Fall grain rush heats up at Thunder Bay

10/30 - The fall grain rush is in full swing around the Great Lakes/Seaway system as vessels race to load grain before winter shuts down the Seaway. As of Oct. 29 at Thunder Bay, Ont., there were 10 saltwater vessels either in port or at anchor waiting to load grain cargoes. In port were the Federal Mackinac, Ruddy, Lubie, Johanna C, Federal Baltic and Federal Ems. Waiting at anchor were the Dimitrios K, Emilie, Federal Satsuki and Miedwie.

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  October 30

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Cuyahoga spent Thursday anchored just west of the Lorain harbor mouth, bow into the wind, which was west at 24 mph, gusts to 37. On Friday winds are expected to shift northwest and drop to 7-10 mph.


Lack of planning before two tugs capsized

10/30 - Cornwall, Ont. – A pair of shipping companies avoided serious consequences stemming from the double tugboat sinkings in the St. Lawrence River last June. The Lac Manitoba and LCM 131 were victimized by the strong river current that swirls around the in-water bridge pillars.

"Prior to a vessel undertaking any operations, particularly in the presence of strong currents, the operation should be assessed for safety," wrote Transport Canada - marine safety and security director of investigations Marc-Andre Poisson in Marine Safety Information Letter No. 06/15, dated Aug. 28.

"In these occurrences, the suitability of the tugs to carry out the operation, given the river conditions, had not been thoroughly assessed."

First, the Lac Manitoba went upstream of the barge OC 181 to help position it in order for its platform to be used to assist with the removal of the old Seaway International Bridge on June 22. LMC 131 was also utilized to pull another steel cable from the barge to secure it to the bridge footing.

"At one point during the operations, the Lac Manitoba lost power, drifted downriver and collided with the side of the barge," Poisson reported. "After the collision, the current pinned the Lac Manitoba against the barge and the tug listed, down-flooded and heeled over onto its side." The crew safely evacuated the vessel on a life raft.

"Around that time, the steel cable holding the barge in place broke and the barge pivoted on its spud, allowing the current to carry the Lac Manitoba further downstream." Despite the mishap, LCM 131 resumed the operation securing the barge to one of the bridge footings.

"The LCM 131, connected to the barge by a tow line, was manuevering around the bow when the current overpowered the tug, pinning it against the hull of the barge, causing the L.C.M. 131 to list, down-flood and heel over onto its side." The crew escaped onto the barge. There were some minor injuries reported.

The Transport Board investigation learned that three days prior, there was an unsuccessful attempt by Lac Manitoba to push the barge to the bridge. A rescue boat, intended to provide rescue services if need be, was used also to transfer a cable.

Poisson reported also: "Furthermore, the risks of using the rescue boat for a purpose other than intended and outside its primary duties were likely not considered.”

The report cautions Lac Manitoba and LCM 131 owners, Nadro Marine Services Ltd. of Port Dover, Ont., and West Front Construction of Long Sault, Ont., to advise the Transport Board of any action that would prevent such occurrences in the future.

Poisson also notifies the companies that further investigation may be possible. Both companies did not respond to requests for interviews. Both vessels were lifted out of the water by early August.

Cornwall Standard-Freeholder


At least 7 vessels to visit Tall Ships Erie 2016 festival

10/30 - Erie, Pa. – At least seven tall ships, and possibly as many as 10, will appear at the Tall Ships Erie Festival on Sept. 8-11, 201 Flagship Niagara League officials announced Wednesday.

The four-day festival will begin Thursday, Sept. 8, at 4 p.m. with a Parade of Sail in Presque Isle Bay, led by the U.S. Brig Niagara.

As of Wednesday, six other vessels were committed to appearing at the 2016 festival, including the Porcupine, a "representation'' of a War of 1812 gunboat, which is being built at the Bayfront Maritime Center.

Flagship Niagara League Executive Director Shawn Waskiewicz said he would like to bring a top international tall ship to the 2016 festival.

The Tall Ships Erie 2013 festival featured the Norwegian vessel Sorlandet, which was a popular attraction.

"Sorlandet was the star of the show, but she won't be sailing on the Great Lakes next year, so right now we're in negotiations with a couple international vessels,'' Waskiewicz said. "The fleet that we have is a really great fleet, but the ships are a little on the small side, so we're looking to find that one star of the show, like Sorlandet, and I think we're really close to signing a contract.''

Other ships committed to appearing in Erie are the Denis Sullivan, a three-masted schooner whose home port is Milwaukee, Wis.; the two-masted brigantines Pathfinder and Playfair, each of Toronto; the Appledore IV, of Bay City, Mich.; and the Mist of Avalon, of Toronto.

Bayfront Maritime Center officials expect the Porcupine to be ready to launch in April. If organizers attract 10 vessels, seven will provide tours, and three others, including the Porcupine, will have public day sails.

Sept. 9 is restricted to activities for school education tours from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., group tours from 2:30 to 6 p.m., and those who purchase a day pass in advance online.

The festival, presented by Highmark, is open to the public on Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sept. 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Festival tickets will go on sale April 1. For ticket and event information, visit


Divers begin work at possible Argo barge site

10/30 - Lake Erie – Divers began work Tuesday on what's believed to be the wreck of the Argo, a barge that sank in Lake Erie in 1937 while carrying a large cargo of oil.

High winds forced the divers to stay out of the lake Wednesday, and bad weather was expected Thursday, but it's hoped the divers can resume work Friday, said Lt. Ryan Junod, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard's Marine Safety Unit in Toledo.

"Until the weather improves, continuing to dive on the vessel is not safe," Junod said.

Keeping track of the weather at the site of the wreck won't be a problem. "We have a weather buoy out there to give us a live update," Junod said. "That was provided by NOAA." That stands for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The wreck is about 12 miles northeast of Sandusky and about eight miles east of Kelleys Island, about two miles south of the border that separates the Canadian side of Lake Erie from the American side.

Junod said divers have not found a possible leak yet, but did a general assessment around the site, including taking measurements of the wreck, which lies on a lake bottom that's about 50 feet beneath the surface.

The measurements show that the size of the wreck is consistent with the Argo, but it has still not been positively identified, Junod said. The Coast Guard wants to find the Argo's name on the hull or find an identifying number. Still, evidence continues to grow that it's the Argo.

The Coast Guard boat at the scene was joined by T and T Salvage's diving operation. And the Sandusky Fire Department also brought over its boat, manned by paramedics, as a safety measure, Junod said.

The Coast Guard strike team at the scene used "sniffing" equipment to try to detect fumes from a possible oil leak, but did not detect anything. Water samples were taken at the scene for testing.

A Coast Guard helicopter flying over the area found a patch of silver-colored water, about 75 yards wide, 4.5 miles northwest of the sinking site. Officials at NOAA and Environment Canada determined that it could have come from the Argo.

After obtaining permission from Canada's Coast Guard, a U.S. Coast Guard ship entered the area and ran a search to find the patch of colored water but did not find it, Junod said. A NOAA aircraft based in Ann Arbor, Mich., has been flying over the scene taking photographs for analysis. Nothing from a possible leak has been detected so far.

Water samples and marine growth samples have been taken at the scene and sent off to NOAA for analysis. Meanwhile, Ohio Sea Grant prepared and posted a Frequently Asked Questions document on the Argo on the agency's website.

"Exactly what is leaking is unknown at this point, but the Argo was believed to have been carrying 4,762 barrels (over 200,000 gallons) – half benzol (a coal-tar product containing benzene and toluene) and half crude oil," the FAQ says.

It notes that the Coast Guard has told boats to stay away from the site.

Sandusky Register


Lookback #712 – Vulcan aground in Lake Superior on Oct. 30, 1918

The steel bulk carrier Vulcan was built by the Globe Iron Works and launched at Cleveland on July 10, 1889. The 274-foot-long vessel joined the Lorain Steamship Co. for the ore and coal trades. The ship became part of Gilchrist Transportation in 1903 and then the Atlas Steamship Co. in 1913.

Vulcan survived a collision with the Daniel J. Morrell in eastern Lake Superior on May 7, 1917, but received significant damage from going aground at Point Abbaye, in the same lake, on Oct. 30, 1918. Loaded with 3,200 tons of coal for Hancock, Mich., Vulcan was securely on the bottom until help arrived.

To make matters worse, the pilothouse subsequently caught fire and was destroyed. Once released, the Vulcan was towed to Houghton, Mich., by the tug Alabama. There the freighter was unloaded only to sink at the dock in 36 feet of water.

Another successful salvage brought the ship to the surface and this time the wreck was resold to the Montreal Transportation Co. It was rebuilt at Collingwood, shortened to 260 feet and used in the canal trades as b) Vinmount. It resumed trading in 1920 and was soon serving under the banner of Canada Steamship Lines.

Vinmount saw some service in 1929 but, due to the Depression, was tied up at Kingston. It was resold to Les Chantiers Manseau Ltee. in 1937 and towed to Sorel for lay-up along the Richelieu River. The old steamer was scrapped at Sorel in 1944-1945.

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


Gale warnings for all of Michigan's Great Lakes; 15-foot waves expected

10/29 - Gale warnings are in effect for all of Michigan waters of the Great Lakes for Thursday. Strong westerly winds will develop Wednesday night.

Winds gusting to 45 mph will cause high waves to develop on the east shore of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The Lake Michigan shore between Saugatuck and Grand Haven will take the brunt of the storm in Michigan. Wave heights are expected to build to 15 feet by Thursday morning.

The west wind means the highest waves on Lake Huron will be on the Canadian shoreline. On Lake Superior, a north wind will build waves to over 10 feet on the northeastern shoreline of the Upper Peninsula.

By Wednesday evening, some lake vessels were already headed to anchor.

M Live


Marysville DTE plant to come down Nov. 7

10/29 - Marysville, Mich. – In less than two weeks, the Marysville power plant is coming down. Public Safety Chief Tom Konik said the city granted a blast permit for Nov. 7 for the implosion of the former DTE Energy power plant.

Crews began to dismantle the plant in spring 2014 to make way for new development at the site. Commercial Development Company purchased the plant from DTE Energy in May 2014. The 12-story plant operated from 1922 through 2001. It was decommissioned in 2011.

Last week, Marysville unveiled conceptual plans for the site — plans that included a multi-floor hotel, condominium housing, shops, outdoor seating, a park and riverfront promenade.

In September, the city set conditions that had to be met before the building could be imploded. Konik said nearly all of those requirements have been met, and the remaining ones will be met prior to the implosion.

Some of the conditions Marysville set for implosion included an independent confirmation that hazardous material had been removed from the site, a model displaying post-blast dust dispersal, and safety assurances from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Konik said experts have researched potential issues that might arise because of dust or vibrations created by the roughly 8.5-second implosion. While dust is unavoidable, Konik said, officials have mapped out areas that could be impacted and will spray water on the building and grounds to mitigate potential issues. Water trucks and other cleanup equipment will be standing by in the event of any issues.

Konik said the city’s water intake will be closed just prior to the implosion as a precaution, but he doesn’t expect the anticipated dust to affect downriver intakes.

The implosion is scheduled for 8 a.m. Nov. 7, but Konik said roadways will be shut down in the exclusion zone from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Gratiot Boulevard from Ravenswood Road to St. James Street will be shut down as part of the exclusion zone. Busha Highway from Gratiot Boulevard to Huron Boulevard also will be closed during that time.

Konik said, while the implosion is not a “spectator’s sport,” the best view of the implosion would be at Market Square on Gratiot Boulevard in Marysville, across the river in Canada, or by boat outside the exclusion zone on the St. Clair River.

Businesses within the exclusion zone – Blue Water Aggregate, Linwood Bar, and All State Insurance – will make other accommodations during the implosion.

Residents within the exclusion area must either leave the area during that time or stay indoors as the noise of the blast will reach high levels. Konik said Sitetech Inc. will have an area for residents in the exclusion zone to stay if they wish to leave their homes during the implosion. Residents in the exclusion zone will be contacted before the implosion.

Mike Brehse, project manager with Sitetech Inc., said he expects the cleanup after the implosion to take about six months.

Port Huron Times Herald


Great Lakes ballast water regulation will be issue facing new Canadian leader

10/29 - A Canadian official said that he hopes his country's new elected leaders and the U.S. can work out an agreement on ballast water for Great Lakes ships.

Roy Norton, the consul general for the Canadian government in Chicago, said he expects to stay in that post as Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau replaces Conservative Party head Stephen Harper as Canadian prime minister. Norton said he'd like to see the U.S. government, the Great Lakes states and Canada end their differences over regulations affecting the cleaning of ballast water in ships passing through the Great Lakes.

"If we can harmonize those, it would (be) best from an enforcement point of view. It would give clarity to the shipping industry, for example," said Norton.

It's not quite clear when any deal could be reached. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to write stricter rules for ballast water.Scientists said that they believe many of the invasive species harming the Great Lakes arrived in ballast, the water that helps vessel stability.

Wisconsin Public Radio


Port Reports -  October 29

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Manitowoc was expected to arrive on Wednesday during the late evening. Next will be the Buffalo due to arrive on Thursday in the early morning. Manitowoc is due back again at Port Inland on Saturday in the morning. All dates and times are weather permitting.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore were expected to arrive on Wednesday in the early morning and take the loading dock, weather permitting. The Presque Isle was also expected to arrive on Wednesday in the late evening, followed by the Lakes Contender and the tug Ken Boothe Sr. on Thursday in the morning.

Lake Michigan
The tug Lauren A reportedly lost a barge west of Little Sable Point Wednesday and was unable to retrieve it due to high winds. The Coast Guard was searching for it.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There were no vessels scheduled for Wednesday. Two vessels are due for Thursday, both weather permitting, and are expected in the early morning. Due in first is the Algorail, followed later by the barge Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort. Expected to arrive on Friday are the barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore in the late afternoon. Two vessels round out the schedule for Saturday with the Herbert C. Jackson due in the early morning hours followed later in the late evening by the Philip R. Clarke.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There were no vessels scheduled on Wednesday. Three vessels are due on Thursday, weather permitting. Due in first is the Hon. James L. Oberstar in the early morning for the South Dock, followed a bit later in the morning by the barge Lakes Contender and tug Ken Boothe Sr. also for the South Dock. Cason J. Callaway is due Thursday in the late evening, loading at the South Dock. Due on Friday in the early morning is the barge Pathfinder with tug Dorothy Ann for the South Dock. Rounding out the schedule and due in on Saturday will be the John G. Munson in the early afternoon for the North Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Saginaw was due to arrive at the CSX Coal Dock on Wednesday during the early evening to load. Also due at CSX will be the American Mariner on Saturday in the late afternoon. Due on November 15 at CSX will be the Algosoo in the morning. The Algowood is due on November 18 in the early morning at CSX. Two vessels are expected in November with stone cargoes for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. The Frontenac is due on November 6 in the early afternoon followed by the Saginaw on November 11 in the early morning. Vessels arriving at the Torco Iron Ore Dock with iron ore include the Baie St. Paul on Thursday at noon and they will be followed by the barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory due to arrive on Friday in the early morning (they are expected to return back again on November 5 also in the early morning). Due at Torco on November 6 is the CSL Laurentien during the late morning. Other vessels included the tug Paul L. Luedtke, working off or near Toledo. In port was the tug Mississippi along with the barge Innovation and the tug Samuel de Champlain at the Lafarge Cement Dock unloading cement. The barge St. Marys Cement and tug Petite Forte were at the St. Marys Cement Dock also unloading cement. As was reported earlier in the week, both the barge Sarah Spencer and tug Jane Ann IV have now been moved to the Toledo Frog Pond area for lay-up. The American Valor remains in long-term lay-up in the Frog Pond area.


Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron to close for winter

10/29 - Port Huron, Mich. – The signs on the doors at the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point in Port Huron state the center will be closed Dec. 19 and will not reopen until March 12.

"It’s very simple actually," said Mike DeLong, director of operations for Acheson Ventures, which owns the maritime center. "We’re going back to our mission of what that building is, and that's ship watching."

The maritime center was built in 2005. Since that time, it has become a haven for ship watchers and a place for community events with a connection to the maritime industry and the Great Lakes.

DeLong said freighter traffic slows during the winter. "We have decided during the winter months … we want to go back to our mission of what that building was built for," he said.

The Soo Locks that connect Lake Superior to the lower lakes close Jan. 15 and open on March 15. DeLong said some ships will have starting laying up for the winter when the maritime center starts its winter break on Dec. 19. He said the maritime center will be host to the Blessing of the Fleet on March 19.

He said Backstreet Waterfront Deli and have been informed about the winter break and will not be in the building during that time. Pete Belcher, who owns the deli with his wife, Debbie, said they will take a long vacation and visit relatives. They have been at the maritime center since 2012.

"This is the first time we've had this much time off," he said. "We're going to enjoy it and be back open when the maritime center opens. We have regulars and a lot of them are snowbirds."

Frank 'Freighter Frank" Frisk, said the website will continue to update freighter watchers. He said he will be meeting with the website's board of directors to see what they want to do. "There’s 40 people that work on the website every day, including me," he said.

"I’m sure there won't be any problems because BoatNerd was up and running before they moved into this building."

People will still be able to walk along the seawall at Vantage Point, Delong said. He said the winter closure was not done to save money. The motive, he said, is to re-emphasize ship watching.

The Great Lakes Maritime Center will also be closed Thanksgiving Day.

Great Lakes Maritime Center


Canadian Miner cleanup project to be clear of Scatarie Island within 2 weeks

10/29 - Cape Breton – Crews are removing the final remnants of the ill-fated former laker Canadian Miner from Scatarie Island off Cape Breton and people who live in the area are getting ready to celebrate.

Antigonish contractor R. J. MacIsaac has removed the last bits of scrap and the workers camp from the shoreline where the bulk carrier ran ashore more than four years ago.

Nova Scotia Lands has been overseeing the cleanup work. President Gary Campbell says after some weather delays, the only work that remains is some tidying up. "By the end of this weekend, everything will be out of there. Next week, they'll get the site back to normal and next week, we'll be back to the way it was before the Miner landed on the shore," he said.

The Miner was being towed from Montreal to Turkey to be cut up for scrap when the tow line snapped in September 2011. Over time, weather and waves eroded the body of the vessel, which raised concerns for nearby fishing grounds.

Roughly 30 tonnes of asbestos was removed during the salvage. The provincial government has estimated the final bill will be more than $14 million. Piece by piece, the ship was dismantled and by August there was a huge heap of scrap metal.

Campbell says the island is being returned to its original, pristine condition. "We picked up the topsoil and saved it and the grass and everything and that will be all be put back in place," he said said. Campbell says some rock will be left behind to protect the shore, but most of the rock has been taken back to the mainland.

The Main-A-Dieu Community Development Association, which fought for the ship's removal for the past four years, is now preparing to host a huge community celebration.

"You can succeed. We're a prime example. So many people said no and ignored our pleas to clean up the Miner. We kept going and look what we did," said Amanda MacDougall.

She says the group is meeting next week to plan a big party. They're even considering the idea of printing T-shirts with the words, "I survived the MV Miner."

The removal of the Miner was expected to be completed by November 2014, but work was delayed when 30 tonnes of asbestos were found. Originally, it was estimated that there would only be 6.6 tonnes of asbestos present.



More renames, scrappings for Seaway salties

10/29 - Several saltwater vessels, each having made at least one trip into the Great Lakes/Seaway system, have been renamed. One additional vessel has been scrapped. The scrapped saltie is the Princess Maria, familiar to many as the Inviken, This vessel carried the name Bar from 1986-1997 and first came inland with that name in 1988. Later it was renamed Inviken and first came inland with that name in 1997, and last visited as Inviken in 2008. The ship carried the name Inviken from 1997-2012 before receiving the name of Princess Maria, however it never returned with that name.

Salties that have been renamed included the Sea Racer, which first came inland with that name in 2014 on its only visit. The ship is now the Aileen of Palau flag. It also carried the name of Changi Hope from 1999-2008 having come inland in 2000 for the first time with that name. Later on, it was renamed Sea Grace and carried that name from 2008-2009 although it did not return to our shores with that name.

The tanker New Bright is now the Woojin Frank of South Korea registry. This vessel is more familiar as the Panam Oceanica, a name it carried from 2005-2007 and which visited for the first time in 2005 with that name. The ship was later renamed Clipper Oceanica and held this name from 2007-2013, having come inland for the first time with that name in 2010.

Thorco Diva is now the BBC Nevada of Antigua/Barbuda flag. This vessel was built as the Jasper and it carried this name briefly in 2006 before being renamed Beluga Federation, a name it carried from 2006-2011. The ship visited in 2006 as Beluga Federation for the first time and was back again for the last time in 2008 with that name. It then returned to its original name of Jasper for a brief time in 2011 but never returned with that name. The ship was renamed Frida Scan and carried this name from 2011-2013, having never returned with this name or as the Thorco Diva.

Thorco Diamond is now the Corcovado of Chilian registry. This vessel may be more familiar as the Beluga Elegance, a name it carried from 2004-2011. It came inland for the first time with this name in 2005 and last visited in 2009. It was later renamed Freesia and carried this name from 2011-2012. The ship was renamed BBC Minnesota and carried this name from 2012-2013 and also held the name Thorco Diamond from 2013-2014. It never came inland with those two names.

Thorco Dolphin is now the Jule of Antigua/Barbuda flag. This vessel was built as the Julie and briefly carried this name in 2005, before being renamed Beluga Expectation. It carried that name from 2005-2011, having come inland for the first time as Belgua Expectation in 2007 on its only visit. The ship was then renamed OXL Avatar and carried this name from 2011-2013, never returning to the lakes with that name. It was renamed Clipper Anita and held this name briefly in 2013, again never returning inland.

Denny Dushane


Lookback #711 - City of Grand Rapids sank off Tobermory on Oct. 29, 1907

The wooden passenger steamer City of Grand Rapids had only just been sold to Gillies & Rutherford for their service on Georgian Bay when it was lost. The ship was based in Owen Sound for the run to Bruce Peninsula ports as well as Manitoulin Island communities.

It was 108 years ago today that the City of Grand Rapids was en route from Wiarton to Providence Bay when it stopped for the night at Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula. The 130 foot long vessel caught fire, perhaps from vandals, and the tug Clucas towed the blazing ship away from the dock, cut it loose to drift into the bay where it came to rest at the head of Big Tub Harbor. There the ship burned to the waterline and then sank on its starboard side.

The remains of the iron-sheathed hull can still be seen from the glass-bottom tourist boats that take visitors around the shore of that popular area. The rudder and propellers were removed in 1968 and are on display outside of the Tobermory and St. Edmunds Township Museum south of the town.

The City of Grand Rapids had been launched at Grand Haven, Mich., on April 19, 1879. The ship was operated on a variety of Lake Michigan routes over the years as well as venturing east to the Buffalo area for service in 1903-1905. It joined the Cleveland, Rondeau & Port Stanley Navigation Co. in 1905 for a new service connecting these communities but the venture was not a success and the City of Grand Rapids was resold for its abbreviated time on Georgian Bay.

Skip Gillham


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.


Coast Guard evacuates man from tug near Cleveland

10/28 - Cleveland - The U.S. Coast Guard conducted a medevac of a 51-year-old man from a tug in Cleveland's Inner Harbor near Whiskey Island, late Monday afternoon.

The man's name and name of the tug is not being released.

At around 4:30 p.m. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo received a report from the tug of a 51-year-old crew member who was not breathing and had no pulse.

Sector Buffalo directed immediate launch of the ready crew from Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor to respond to the critical situation. The crew quickly arrived on scene, transferred the man to their 45-foot response boat where they began defibrillation, and administered CPR while transiting to awaiting emergency medical services personnel at Edgewater Marina.

It was reported that during the transit to Cleveland Metro Hospital, the man regained a pulse and is listed in critical condition.


Gale warning posted for later in week

10/28 - Gale warnings have been issued for Thursday as the remnants of Hurricane Patricia are forecast to combine with a local weather system over Northern Michigan bringing gale force winds. This weather system is expected to send ships to anchor across the lakes.


Dock rehab continues

10/28 - Historically, roll-on/roll-off cargoes into the port of Duluth are large pieces of industrial equipment or machinery that are treated with unconventional means.

Like other ports, they're jacked up to accommodate motorized carriers slid underneath that feature the 80-100 tires required to move massive weights from barge to dock.

But the barge-to-dock maneuvers that happen at the end of the Clure Public Marine Terminal employ timbers at an odd angle and plenty of human innovation.

"It's kind of a Rube Goldberg arrangement," said Jim Sharrow, director of port planning and resiliency for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and one of the people whose brain is tested whenever it's time to roll off a heavy cargo.

But thanks to the $17.7 million rehabilitation of Docks C and D across the slip from the Clure terminal, the port of Duluth will feature a proper roll-on/roll-off dock, possibly as soon as later this fall.

What's visible now just off the road from Helberg Drive are roughly 80 H-beams of steel jutting out of the water of Superior Bay. The pilings have been driven anywhere from 105-170 feet into the lakebed. Sharrow described the steel pilings as coming in 70-foot lengths that are welded together.

The water is shallow near the shoreline at the end of the dock and the lakebed is soft. That's why the pilings have been driven so deep.

"We've done borings, and first of all you get through the material used to build the dock — anything they could find: used bricks, chunks of wood, you name it — and below that it's mostly just sand, some areas of clay and the original alluvial sedimentary materials," Sharrow said. "You get into layers of organics and sand."

The pilings were driven using vibration hammers and pile drivers until each one found its bearing — some deeper, some shallower. The pilings don't reach any sort of bedrock, Sharrow said, only resistance on all sides.

Sometime in November, the contractor, Lunda Construction of Black River Falls, Wis., will pour the concrete cap that will serve as the surface of the roll-on/roll-off (or RORO) dock. The finished product will feature a security fence and be precisely perpendicular to the dock — both vast improvements over the current arrangement.

"That's something we haven't had is a designated RORO dock," said Sharrow, adding that Duluth should make use of the RORO dock at least a couple of times per shipping season.

RORO cargoes in oceanic ports can be loads of vehicles that roll off ships that feature hinged drawbridges in their bows. But typically on the Great Lakes, roll-off cargoes come on barges and can weigh 500 tons or more.

Duluth News Tribune


Lookback #710 - Julia Larson sank northeast of Grand Marais on Oct. 28, 1901

10/28 - The wooden schooner Julia Larson was built at Manitowoc, Wis., in 1874. The small sailing ship was rebuilt at Sand Beach, Mich., in 1877 and, in subsequent years, had several owners. The 61 gross ton carrier retained its original name through these transactions.

It was 114-years ago today that the vessel, owned now by E.J. Roberts, sank in a gale about a half mile northeast of Grand Marais, Mich. The ship was recovered and repaired for additional service.

The Julia Larson came under Canadian registry for Thomas Strong in 1904 and was sailing for M. Kindy when the steering became disabled during a voyage in 1912. The vessel stranded in Lake Huron, southeast of Thunder Bay Island, and this time the ship was a total loss. All four sailors on board were rescued.

As late as 1932, the Julia Larson continued to be shown in Canadian registry but this can happen.

Skip Gillham


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.


Great Lakes iron ore trade down 20.6 percent in September

10/27 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 5.6 million tons in September, a decrease of 20.6 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments were down 11 percent from the month’s 5-year average.

Loadings at U.S. ports in September fell 25.5 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian ports rose 42.8 percent.

Through September, the Lakes/Seaway ore trade stands at 39.1 million tons, a decrease of 4 percent compared to the same point in 2014. Shipments are down 6.3 percent compared to the 5-year average for the first three quarters.

Loadings at U.S. ports are down 7.6 percent compared the corresponding period last year. Shipments from Canadian ports are up 29.9 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Great Lakes Shipyard hits milestone with commissioning, keel-laying ceremony

10/27 - Cleveland, Ohio – Tug Joncaire II, the first of two tugboats to be built for New York Power Authority – Niagara Project, was commissioned during a ceremony hosted by Great Lakes Shipyard and attended by more than 200 on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

The sponsor of the commissioning ceremony was Karen W. Penale, Real Estate Administrator – Western Region, New York Power Authority – Niagara Project. “With the traditional breaking of the bottle of Champaign, she declared “I name this tugboat Joncaire II. May God bless here and all who will sail on her.”

“Today we celebrate the completion of one project and the beginning of another,” said Joseph P. Starck, Jr., [resident, The Great Lakes Towing Company & Great Lakes Shipyard, as he described the commissioning ceremony and the subsequent keel laying of the new tugboat for Regimen de Pensiones y Jubilaciones del Personal de la Empresa Portuaria Quetzal, Guatemala, Central America.

Great Lakes Shipyard was contracted by New York Power Authority (NYPA) to build and deliver two new tugboats for the Niagara Power Plant’s winter operations in Buffalo, N.Y. The new tugs will augment and replace aging vessels that are used for the installation, removal, and maintenance of the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom and various associated marine construction projects. Construction for the first tug began last April. The second tug is scheduled for delivery in late 2017.

The new tugs will be specially reinforced with heavy stems and shell reinforcement for operations in seasonal ice. The design of the conventional drive tugs includes elevated pilothouses for improved visibility when maneuvering, as well as a spacious work deck aft to facilitate ice boom connections.

The tug construction contract is the company’s second major order from NYPA. In 2010, Great Lakes Shipyard built the agency’s new 80’ x 34’ Ice Boom Operations Barge, which incorporates a Terex 80-ton pedestal mounted lattice boom crane.

A separate ceremony followed marking the keel laying of a new 3,400 H.P. tugboat to be built for Regimen de Pensiones y Jubilaciones del Personal de la Empresa Portuaria Quetzal, Guatemala, Central America (“Regimen”). Representing the owner at the ceremony was Eduardo De Jesus Paiz Lemus, Presidente Junta Administrador.

Great Lakes Group


Port Reports -  October 27

Toledo, Ohio
The barge Sarah Spencer was removed from the drydock at Ironhead Shipyard Monday morning and was towed to the CSX Coal Dock Frog Pond area. The tug Jane Ann IV has also been towed to the Frog Pond. The combo’s future is unknown.


Essar taconite plant rises amid industry decline

10/27 - Nashwauk, Minn. – On a brisk, breezy October day, 18 big cranes reached for the sky over the sprawling Essar Steel Minnesota taconite plant just north of town where more than 700 construction workers were on the job.

Iron beams and steel siding hung from cables as ironworkers in bucket-lifts grabbed dangling pieces and secured them into place, players in what looked like the world's largest erector set.

The first thing that strikes the eye is the size of the project — everything about the work is big — from the 240-ton capacity ore-hauling trucks being readied to the massive building that will house the taconite-baking furnaces and the hulking, 9-story-deep underground concrete edifice where boulders of raw ore will be crushed to a useable size.

The $1.9 billion taconite mine and processing plant is among the largest and most expensive construction projects in Minnesota history.

Progress is obvious. Drill rigs and giant ore shovel loaders are being tuned up. The furnaces that will bake the pellets hard are being assembled. A ceremony marking the first major explosion ripping taconite iron ore off the mine wall could come within weeks.

Buddy Harvick, a Texas native who now lives in South Range, just south of Superior, was working for Grand Rapids-based Tristan Fabricators LLC, one of dozens of contractors on the job. Harvick was helping curl and weld a giant piece of steel for another big component at Essar.

"This is a huge project,'' Harvick said "It's good to have this much work close to home."

It will be Minnesota's first new full-scale taconite mine and processing plant in more than 35 years, with an easy-access, high-quality ore deposit that could last 80 years. (The mine and processing are at nearly the same site as the old Butler Taconite operation which was closed and dismantled in the mid-1980s.)

Despite a decade of delays and a constant string of controversies, the Essar Steel Minnesota project now appears headed toward reality. The question seems no longer if the long-delayed Essar project will be completed but when, with the company promising its first freshly-baked pellets rolling off the line in mid-to-late 2016.

"It will be 180 rail cars of taconite per day, 365 days,'' said Mitch Brunfelt, the company's director of government and public affairs. The plant can access both CN and BNSF tracks to move the ore to Lake Superior for shipment.

Construction will peak soon at more than 800 people on the job, Brunfelt said. Essar employees, now at 125, will ramp up to 350 by July. Several of the people applying, and several new hires, are Mesabi Nugget employees who are now on indefinite layoff, Brunfelt noted.

Essar plans on producing 7 million tons of processed taconite pellets annually — headed to ArcelorMittal for its steel mill outside Chicago, as well as Essar's own steel mill in Algoma, Ontario. Brunfelt said the plant's future production is essentially spoken for.

Yet the new plant is coming online during one of the worst downturns in mining in 30 years, with cheap foreign steel made with cheap foreign iron ore pushing the market down. The U.S. steel industry is struggling to compete, meaning it needs less Minnesota ore.

And despite the massive investment and promise of new jobs on the Iron Range — the first full-size new plant since 1977 — it seems pessimism, scepticism and outright concern over the ultimate impact of the Essar project is quashing most jubilation among Iron Range residents and officials.

"You've heard of stadium fatigue among the people of Minnesota, about people being tired of using taxpayer money to build stadiums for rich athletes and owners? Well, up here among the people who live and work around Nashwauk, there is a great deal of Essar fatigue,'' said state Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township. "People have been hearing about how great this is going to be for a decade. But, quite frankly, now they aren't going to believe it until they see smoke coming out of (smokestacks at) that place, and not before."

Brunfelt explained that Essar will produce about as much finished taconite pellets as Hibbing Taconite just a few miles to the east. But Essar will be able to mine, process and ship the ore to customers much more cheaply than Hibbtac or other Minnesota producers, he said. Essar will produce the same tonnage with one-third the employees and one-third the number of haul trucks, Brunfelt claimed, which will sharply reduce costs.

It will also be the only North American plant that can produce both traditional fluxed pellets for blast furnaces and also "DR-grade'' pellets to be made into directly-reduced iron that can be used in electric mini-mills.

"Everything designed into this (project) is aimed at reducing production costs,'' like having the initial processing site just one-quarter mile from the mine, Brunfelt said. "How they laid out everything really helps add to the efficiencies. And the technology now is so much better. This is all new from the bottom up."

Essar had to beat global financial bushes for months to find money to finish the project, with $800 million secured late in 2014. Essar has about the same amount of its own money invested in its project.

The progress here has come despite the fact the global price of iron ore, which peaked at nearly $200 per ton a few years ago, has dropped to about $53 today. That's near or even below the cost of some other Minnesota producers to get the stuff out the door.

"I think the fact that you see all this construction at a time when the iron ore industry is in a global downturn is indicative of Essar's commitment to Minnesota," Brunfelt said.

While Essar has gained a reputation for not paying its bills — it has owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to contractors on the project — Essar Steel Minnesota's New York-based CEO has vowed to become current on all bills by the end of the month.

Critics, however, and even some supporters, note that the plant is being built at a time when its product simply isn't needed. They say there is no new demand for U.S. iron ore which continues to be squeezed by reduced demand for domestic steel — all because of cheap foreign ore going into cheap foreign steel that is flooding the U.S. market.

It's not just a U.S. issue, with steel prices down about 40 percent in the past year, British authorities say they may lose 5,000 steelmaking jobs because Chinese manufacturers continue to produce steel at below cost and sell it overseas. Britain and the U.S. have alleged unfair trade steel "dumping'' by China and other nations.

Evidence of the global crisis remains vivid across the Iron Range:

• Mesabi Nugget, the state's first iron nugget plant, has shuttered, perhaps permanently, as has its Chisholm-based supplier of ore that was half-owned by Magnetation.

• Grand Rapids-based Magnetation, forced into bankruptcy earlier this year, also closed two of its other ore-producing plants, and now is operating only its all-new Plant 4 under the veil of bankruptcy reorganization. The company hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 by spring, but it's likely dozens of Minnesota suppliers to the mining company will be paid only pennies on the dollar for the bills Magnetation owes them.

• U.S. Steel idled its Keetac operations, mothballed the plant and now has laid off nearly all 412 workers. The company also temporarily laid off a good share of its Minntac operations in Mountain Iron, although most of those are now back on the job.

• Cliffs Natural Resources halted operations at its United Taconite operations in July saying it had too much inventory and not enough orders. It's not clear if or when its 420 workers will be called back.

It's Cliffs which stands to lose most when Essar opens. While U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal, which own and operate the Minorca mine in Virginia, produce pellets mostly aimed for their own steelmaking furnaces, Cliffs owns no steel mills and depends on selling pellets on the open market.

Cleveland-based Cliffs, already in tumult after massive downsizing and hostile takeover in the past two years, will almost certainly close its remaining iron ore production in Michigan's Upper Peninsula when Essar opens — the Empire-Tilden operation, which currently supplies ArcelorMittal, which already has an agreement to buy Essar pellets.

Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves last January warned that an operating Essar operation would flood the U.S. market and harm existing Cliffs operations in Minnesota. He recently went further, saying he'd have to shut down a Minnesota plant the day Essar opens.

"All they (Essar) are doing is adding supply that the industry doesn't need," Goncalves told the News Tribune in January. "It doesn't do any good for the region. The (new Essar jobs) that would be generated will be destroyed somewhere else. And the jobs that would be destroyed would be Cliffs jobs."

Last week Cliffs issued a statement that it has no plans to permanently shut down any Minnesota operations, although no date has been set to reopen United.

The Nashwauk project was first proposed by a company called Minnesota Iron and Steel, back in 2004, with state and IRRRB funding offered in 2007 and pollution and mining permits approved in 2008 through an expedited process. Essar took over in 2008 and appeared ready to start work. But almost nothing happened until 2012, in part because of the global economic recession. Work started, stopped and started again before stopping in 2014 yet again. Short on cash, Essar apparently was unable to pay many of its contractors. Several filed claims, liens and suits against Essar and pulled off the job.

Finally, in fall 2014, Essar obtained the $800 million in financing needed to finish the project. Work began in earnest last winter.

Essar also has been unwilling, or unable, to repay $67 million owed the state from a 2007 economic development deal. Some critics, including Cliffs' Goncalves, say unless Essar pays the money back as stipulated, owed because it is not creating steel at the Nashwauk site, the state is subsidizing his competition, helping flood the current, delicate balance between supply and demand in the U.S. iron and steel market.

Others, including most Iron Range lawmakers, agree.

"If Essar wants to build a taconite plant with 350 jobs, they are free to do so. It's the state subsidy that's the problem. ... They are permitted and appear to have the infrastructure in place for a taconite plant,'' state Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, told the News Tribune. "I do not, however, support the state of Minnesota subsidizing a taconite plant and that was never contemplated or agreed upon between the parties."

Essar Steel Minnesota is a subsidiary of Mumbai, India-based Essar Group, a $20 billion firm with about 70,000 employees worldwide.

"If they would just agree to build the iron part of the original project, all of this would be settled, and we could be celebrating this new project,'' Anzelc said of Essar. "But they won't do it. So we're left with this quandary."

State officials said last week that there has been no final deal reached on how and when Essar Steel Minnesota will repay nearly $67 million in state financing due because the company has failed to meet its end of a 2007 economic development deal.

Gov. Mark Dayton earlier this month met with top Essar officials who said they were close to agreeing on a repayment plan. Essar also vowed to make good on all past-due payments to contractors on the Nashwauk project.

Dayton asked Essar corporate leaders to decide by Monday whether to accept his compromise to pay $10 million toward the bill now and work out a payment plan for the remaining $57 million to be paid back as the plant operates.

Essar’s predecessor on the Nashwauk taconite mine and processing plant project received the state money, in addition to another $6.7 million from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, in exchange for the promise of 350 jobs at an all-new taconite mine and processing plant but also another 100 jobs at an iron nugget and steelmaking operation.

Under the 2007 agreement, the jobs needed to be all in place by October 2015, or the money had to be paid back.

The taconite project is under construction, but still many months from operations, and the company has scuttled plans for the steelmaking operations, at least in the near future.

State officials are under pressure from Iron Range lawmakers and established taconite companies to force Essar to pay up so the state isn’t seen as subsidizing a new taconite mine that will simply compete with existing mines for the foundering domestic steel industry’s reduced demand for ore.

The IRRRB already has moved on several occasions to delay Essar’s repayment of its loan until the company begins production.

Duluth News Tribune


Lookback #709 – Easton arrived at Meaford with cracked engine cylinder Oct. 27, 1937

Easton was a steel bulk canaller that mainly served in the Mathews and Misener fleets. It had been built at Sunderland, England, and entered service in June 1912.

The 258 foot, 6 inch long steamship was used in the bulk trades and had some unusual cargoes. One fall, the vessel stopped at South Bay, Manitoulin Island, and loaded a record 85,000 posts for delivery to Amherstburg, Ont. Details are sketchy on the type of posts but they were reported to have been piled 16 feet high on deck.

With the financial woes of the Mathews fleet, Easton went into receivership and was operated by Toronto Elevators in the grain trade in 1932. The ship joined the Colonial Steamship Co. of Capt. R. Scott Misener in 1934 and saw some service, on charter to Capt. George Hindman, in the pulpwood trade later in that decade.

Easton arrived at the Georgian Bay community of Meaford to take on 500 tons of baled hay for Fort William on Oct. 27, 1937. But, due to a cracked cylinder head in the engine, the ship was unable to load.. The hay had to be left on the dock for another vessel 78 years ago today due to the need for repairs to the Easton.

On Sept. 4, 1940, Easton arrived at Preston, UK with a cargo of timber from Cap Chat, Que., to assist in the war effort. It saw considerable overseas service in the coal trade and remained on saltwater after peace had been achieved before returning to the Great Lakes in Sept. 1949.

Easton was sold to the Quebec North Shore & Labrador Railway Co. in 1951 and was used to transport equipment, rails and rail cars east from Montreal to Sept-Iles for the construction of the rail line north to the iron mines. This continued into 1960 when the vessel was sold for scrap. The hull was broken up at Lachine, QC by Century Metals & Equipment in 1961.

Skip Gillham


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.


Coast Guard investigating unknown substance near Kelley's Island Shoal

10/26 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard is responding to a report of a discharge of an unknown substance from the site of a sunken barge near Kelley's Island Shoal in Lake Erie, Sunday.

Due to the report, the Coast Guard has established a safety zone 3 nautical miles east of Kelley's Island Shoal extending 1,000 feet around position 41-38'21"N, 082-29'35"W.

Friday evening crews at Marine Safety Unit Toledo, Ohio, received a report from the Cleveland Underwater Explorers, of a leak of an unknown substance emanating from the barge and an odor of solvent, but they did not observe the leak underwater. CLUE divers were investigating the wreck to determine if it was the barge Argo which sank during a storm in 1937.

MSU Toledo deployed pollution responders with boat crews from Coast Guard Station Marblehead, Ohio, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Crews reported smelling a strong odor of a solvent on Friday and Saturday.

An initial overflight was conducted by a Coast Guard Air Station Detroit aircrew on Saturday, with MSU Toledo pollution responders aboard, who reported observing a 400 yard discoloration on the water near the site. A second overflight on Sunday morning was unable to locate any discoloration.

A Unified Command of federal and state authorities is being established. NOAA scientific support and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency are working with the Coast Guard as part of the Unified Command to take all necessary actions to ensure the safety of the public and the environment.

"What has been reported from responders is consistent with a lighter-end petroleum-based solvent that would quickly dissipate when it reaches the air," said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Migliorini, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Toledo. "Although we're still working to identify the product, the primary concern is for an inhalation hazard for the responders on-scene."

T and T Salvage has been contracted to identify and secure the leak and will be on-scene as early as Tuesday. Additionally, Coast Guard Atlantic Strike Team personnel are expected to begin air monitoring on Monday to ensure safety of the responders in the safety zone and to provide response assistance.

The safety zone will remain closed to all traffic until canceled. No vessel may enter, transit through or anchor within the regulated area without permission from the Coast Guard patrol commander, Station Marblehead, which may be contacted via VHF-FM ch. 16.



Renames for Seaway salties

10/26 - The following saltwater vessels, each having made at least one trip into the Great Lakes/Seaway system, have been renamed.

Ziemia Lodzka, a former Polsteam vessel that first came inland in 1992 under that name (and carried it twice, from 1988 to 1993 and again from 2003 until 2015), is now the Mia of Liberia. The ship last visited under that name in 2014 and also carried the name Lake Champlain from 1993 to 2003. It came inland for the first time Lake Champlain in 1993.

BBC Chile, the second vessel to bear this name (and which may be more familiar to some as the S. Pacific), has been renamed Onego Batz of Antigua/Barbuda registry. The vessel first came inland in 2005 as S. Pacific and last visited with that name in 2006. It carried the name of S. Pacific from 2004 until 2010 before it became Batz from 2010 until 2013. As the Batz, the vessel did not return to our shores until 2014, when it came inland as the BBC Chile. It was also the second vessel to bear this name.

Nordic Helsinki, a tanker that first came inland in 2008 and last visited in 2014, is now the Aulac Vision of Vietnam registry. Nordic Oslo, another tanker that first came inland in 2012 and last visited in 2014, is now the Chang Young of South Korea registry. Nordic Stockholm, a tanker that first came inland in 2010 and last visited in 2014, is now the Han Grace of Singapore registry.

Aachen, which came inland in 2005 on its only visit, is now the Clara of Antigua/Barbuda flag. Asiaborg, a former Wagenborg vessel that came inland in 2008 on its first visit, is now the ESL Europa of Cyprus registry. Clipper Legacy, a tanker that first came inland in 2006 and last visited in 2012, is now BTS Camilla of Singapore registry.

Harbour Cloud, another tanker that first came inland in 2009 and last visited in 2011, is now the Njord Cloud of Bahamas flag. The tanker Chemtrans Mabuhay, which visited in 2011 on its only visit, is now the Hankuk Chemi of South Korea.

The tanker Ina Theresa, which visited in 2012 on its only inland visit, is now the Yue You 309 of the Marshall Islands. Panthera, which came inland in 2013 on its only visit, is now the Panthera J of Liberia.

Sunflower E, which came inland in 2010 on its only visit, is now the Benedito of Panama registry. Zealand Juliana, which first came inland in 2013 and last visited in 2014, is now the Juliana of Malta.

Sichem Hiroshima, which came inland in 2012 on its only visit, is now the Woodong from South Korea. A fleetmate, the Sichem Onomichi, which first came inland in 2008 and last visited in 2012, is now the Nayun, also of South Korea.

The tanker Marida Melissa, which came inland in 2011 on its only visit, is now the Bomar Jupiter of the Marshall Islands.

Denny Dushane


Lookback #708 – Former Balsa II stranded off Soloman Islands on Oct. 26, 2008

Balsa II was built at Akitsu, Japan, and launched on Oct. 26, 1980. The 350 foot long cargo carrier first came through the Seaway in 1982 under the flag of Panama.

The vessel was renamed b) Laksana II in Nov. 1989, c) Min Fortune in Jan. 1993, d) Dai Kai in Dec. 2002, and e) Yin Hai in Nov. 2006. The latter sailed for the Silver Sea Shipping Co. of Panama.

This freighter was later listed under China Bright Shipping Ltd. and still registered in Panama when it got stuck seven years ago today. Yin Hai was inbound to load a cargo of logs at New Georgia, Soloman Islands, when it ran aground on a designated “Marine Protected Site.” The vessel was refloated but was detained at Noro due to alleged damage to the reef.

I am not aware of the final results of the incident of Oct. 26, 2008, but Yin Hai was still listed as of June 2015, however any indication of its activity or location does not seem to be available.

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.


Canadian ship temporarily stranded near Ogdensburg reaches Johnstown

10/25 - Ogdensburg, N.Y. – A Canadian ship that had been stranded near Ogdensburg for several days because of mechanical problems has taken refuge at the port of Johnstown, Ont., according to Canadian Seaway officials.

The 640-foot Great Lakes vessel Ojibway had been anchored near Prescott, Ont., across from the city of Ogdensburg, after experiencing an unspecified mechanical problem, according to Andrew K. Bogora, a spokesman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., which monitors shipping along the Great Lakes shipping channel.

Mr. Bogora said the ship originally was anchored in Canadian waters near Prescott and did not pose a hindrance to other ships traversing the St. Lawrence River due to the fact that it was not blocking the shipping channel.

He said Friday afternoon the ship was able to make it about 5 miles downstream to the Port of Johnston, where it is now anchored. He said he did not know the condition of the ship.

The Ojibway’s homeport is Nanticoke, Ont., on the Canadian side of Lake Erie across from Erie, Pa. The ship is used primarily to haul grain for cereal and flour production.

Mr. Bogora said he does not know what kind of mechanical problems the ship encountered, but said Canadian Seaway officials are notified whenever a ship stops moving or deviates from its designated course. He said the fact the vessel was able to move downriver to the Port of Johnstown under its own power is a positive development.

“The fact that it is moving is always a good thing,” Mr. Bogora said.

Built in 1952, the Ojibway has had multiple owners and names over the years. The 7,000-ton vessel is capable of carrying approximately 18,000 tons of cargo per trip during the summer season, and fully loaded is capable of reaching speeds of up to 14 miles per hour.

Watertown Daily Times


Shipwreck discovered in Lake Erie could be toxic, long-sought Argo

10/25 - Cleveland, Ohio – An amateur shipwreck hunter may have stumbled upon one of the greatest threats to the Great Lakes. Federal and local officials have scheduled a news conference Sunday morning to discuss the threat posed by a shipwreck about 15 miles northeast of Lakeside, Ohio.

Tom Kowalczk, a member of the Cleveland Underwater Explorers, discovered the underwater mass in August. His sleuthing led him to believe he had found the Argo, a long-sought vessel ranked by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the shipwreck with the greatest potential to create an environmental disaster on the Great Lakes.

Whether or not the discovery is the tank barge Argo – which foundered during a storm nearly 80 years ago in western Lake Erie and may still hold 126,000 gallons of volatile oil in its corroding steel husk – remains a mystery.

Even if it is some other long forgotten wreck, something is leaking from the site of the wreckage.

The National Museum of the Great Lakes on Saturday announced that divers with the Cleveland Underwater Explorers (CLUE) saw a glob of petroleum product float to the surface when they examined the site. Now the U.S. Coast Guard is working to identify and cut off the source.

A Coast Guard helicopter spotted a 400-yard by 20-yard patch of discoloration over the site, said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Migliorini, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Toledo. Overflights will continue through the weekend and a team will be sent to the scene Monday morning.

Officials from the museum, Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will brief the media Sunday morning in Toledo on the mission.

The Argo is a bit of a mystery. Historical records show it sank during a storm on Oct. 20, 1937, in 40 feet of water off Canada's Pelee Island. It was about 13 miles north of Lakeside and being pulled by a tugboat. No one knows who operated the Argo, where she departed from or where she intended to go.

NOAA estimates the vessel could have gone down carrying thousands of gallons of benzol and crude oil. The Argo was 35 feet wide, 120 feet long and 12 feet deep, according to historical documents.

Between 2010 and 2013, NOAA identified 89 shipwrecks that posed a potential threat to American waters. Five of those shipwrecks were on the Great Lakes. The Argo is the most hazardous of the five.

Kowalczk, who has discovered dozens of shipwrecks since he picked up the hobby in the late 1960s, was on his 27-foot fishing boat Dragonfly when he made the find. Using a side scan sonar system that can image the length of nearly two football fields to his port and starboard sides, Kowalczk picked up a large object protruding from the lakebed hundreds of feet from his boat.

Kowalczk came about and made another pass, and another. After scanning the object multiple times at various distances, he realized he discovered yet another shipwreck. "Every time I see one, it raises up that level of adrenaline," Kowalczk said in an interview Thursday.

On the night of his discovery, Kowalczk went home and studied the sonar images and referenced them with historical records, searching for a match. He found one - the Argo. But is it the Argo?

Kowalczk's discovery was brought to the attention of NOAA and the Coast Guard, which contracted a diver on Wednesday to inspect the barge for the first time. The vessel was completely encrusted with mussels. It measured 34 feet wide and 94 feet long, with its intact hull rising five to seven feet from the sediment. The discrepancy didn't lead investigators to automatically rule it out as the Argo.

"It's highly probable that this could be the Argo," NOAA Resource Protection Coordinator Lisa Symons said on Friday morning. "It's not uncommon that vessels like this are retrofitted. We don't have blueprints, and historic reports may be inaccurate. There's a lot of information lost to history."

Divers went down again on Friday and not only saw and smelled pollution, they measured the barge at 34 feet wide and 121 feet long – almost an exact match for the Argo.

"Being able to play a role and being able to, in essence, ensure the waters of Lake Erie are preserved, it gives us a great sense of accomplishment," said Christopher Gillcrist, executive director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes.

NOAA estimates the Argo's haul of benzol – a very light and buoyant petroleum distillate –has crept out of the vessel since it sank. The Argo's crude oil, however, could still be trapped inside.

"There were some sheens seen about the time the ship sank," Schweitzer said. "Did some of it escape? Did all of it escape? That is the question."

M Live,


Port Reports -  October 25

Superior, Wis.
USCGC Alder (WLB-216) is now in the drydock at Fraser Shipyards for routine maintenance.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Joseph H. Thompson and tug Joseph H. Thompson Jr. were due at noon on Saturday. Also due was the American Mariner on Saturday in the late afternoon. They would be going to anchor and getting the dock upon the Thompson's departure. Joseph L. Block is due in on Sunday in the late morning, and due in on Monday will be the Wilfred Sykes in the late morning. Weather and times though could change slightly as Port Inland was experiencing gale winds on Saturday.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph L. Block was expected to arrive in the mid-afternoon on Saturday. Also due in on Saturday were the barge Pathfinder along with the tug Dorothy Ann. They will be at anchor and will get the dock following the Block's departure. Following the Pathfinder and Dorothy Ann on Saturday was the Calumet in the early evening. They will also be going to anchor and would get the dock upon the Pathfinder's departure.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John G. Munson was expected to arrive at noon on Saturday. There are three vessels expected on Sunday, with the John D. Leitch due in first in a rare appearance at noon. The barge Lewis J. Kuber along with the tug Olive L. Moore are due mid-afternoon followed by the Philip R. Clarke in the late evening. Due back on Monday during the early evening is the John G. Munson. The Lewis J. Kuber along with the tug Olive L. Moore also returns on Tuesday in the late evening.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Lakes Contender and tug Ken Boothe Sr. were anchored off Calcite on Saturday due to weather with no arrival time given. Also due in on Saturday was the Great Republic expected mid-afternoon for both the North and South Docks. Due in on Sunday in the late morning is the barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann for the South Dock. There are no vessels scheduled for both Monday and Tuesday. Two vessels are due in on Wednesday, with the H. Lee White scheduled for an early morning arrival at the South Dock. The Hon. James L. Oberstar makes a rare appearance on Wednesday in the late evening for the South Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The tug Jane Ann IV was towed late last week to the CSX Coal Dock for continued layup after a stint at the Ironhead Marine shipyard. The barge Sarah Spencer still remains in drydock for work stemming from an incident in March when ice caused her and the Spencer to break away from ADM dock.

Manitowoc is due to arrive on Sunday in the early morning for the CSX Coal Dock to load. Also due at CSX on Sunday in the morning is the Nordana Sky, however they will be pumping water for six hours before loading. H. Lee White is scheduled to arrive at CSX on Monday in the early morning. Saginaw is also due to arrive at CSX to load on Wednesday in the late afternoon. Two vessels are scheduled to arrive at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock in November with stone cargoes. First to arrive will be the Frontenac on November 4 in the early evening and the Saginaw is due on November 10 in the late evening. Vessels due to arrive at the Torco Iron Ore Dock include the barge James L. Kuber and the tug Victory on Wednesday in the late evening. Baie St. Paul is due at Torco on Saturday, October 31 in the morning. Due back at Torco on November 3 is the barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory and due at Torco on November 4 is the CSL Laurentien. American Valor still remains in long-term lay-up near the Lakefront Docks. Other vessels in port included the tug Paul L. Luedtke working off of Toledo. Whitefish Bay of CSL was just entering port at the time of this report. Frontenac was in port at or near the Midwest Terminal Dock along with the Philip R. Clarke. The tug Mississippi was also in port and further upriver and loading grain was the Algoma Olympic.


Exercise aids preparation for potential St. Lawrence Seaway disaster

10/25 - Alexandria Bay, N.Y. – Resuming ship traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway as quickly and as safely as possible after a natural or man-made disaster was the topic of a bi-national exercise led last Thursday by the U.S. Coast Guard at Riveredge Resort.

The exercise follows a 2011 initiative by the U.S. and Canadian governments called Beyond the Border, which is designed to address threats to cross-border commerce and promote bi-national law enforcement activities to mitigate the threats. Thursday’s exercise focused on potential disruptions in trade that could be caused by an interruption in shipping on the Seaway and a “Maritime Commerce Resiliency” plan to restore traffic after a disaster.

The more than 100 participants, from law enforcement to shippers to environmentalists, considered a scenario in which a foreign cargo vessel had become grounded near an international bridge, spilling fuel into the St. Lawrence River. For many, the scenario called to mind the April 21 grounding of the freighter Juno under the Thousand Islands Bridge, although no fuel or cargo was spilled in that incident and no one was injured.

“These incidents don’t know a border,” said Frederick “Fritz” Wasco, a security and preparedness specialist with the Coast Guard’s District 9 in Cleveland. “These man-made disasters occur no matter where the border exists.”

Discussions ranged from which organization should oversee and provide leadership during a traffic disruption to which organizations should be notified immediately. Talks included protocols each organization should follow, how communication should be passed through each organization and standardization of terminology used so that each organization understands the others’ lexicon so there is no confusion among communicators.

“What we hope to accomplish is enhanced notification and communication,” said T.J. Mangoni, a response team supervisor with the Coast Guard’s District 9. “It’s already good, but this is perpetual education.”

Participants agreed that when a ship goes aground, time is of the essence in evaluating the extent of the potential danger, whether it is merely a ship that has lost power and presents no environmental hazard or a ship that is damaged and spilling oil. Determining that dictates the level of response.

“That’s the challenge,” Mr. Mangoni said. “Getting everyone on the same page immediately.”

Mr. Wasco said developing a framework for contacts and how to formulate a response to a disaster, especially when two countries are involved, is part of an ongoing process for the Coast Guard and the other stakeholders. The information gathered Wednesday will be incorporated with information gleaned at future exercises to come up with a plan for a quick return to shipping traffic should a disaster take place on the St. Lawrence River or elsewhere on the Great Lakes system.

“This exercise exceeded my expectations in that all of the stakeholders had great discussions to make sure our two nations work together to recover expeditiously,” Mr. Wasco said.

Participating in the exercise aside from the Coast Guard were the Canadian Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Services Agency, St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. and St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., Transport Canada, state Department of Environmental Conservation, Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Save the River, among others.

Watertown Daily Times


Lookback #707 – Former Federal St. Clair sank south of Taiwan on Oct. 25, 1994

A Seaway trader that came inland first as Federal St. Clair, then as Transocean Pearl and finally as Pearl was lost 21 years ago today. The ship sank as e) Ocean Pearl after a grounding off the southern tip of Taiwan while on a voyage from China to Hong Kong and Hualien. All on board were saved.

The 534 foot, 5 inch long bulk carrier was built at Haugesund, Norway, and launched as a) Baron Inchcape on March 13, 1971. It sailed for H. Hogarth & Sons Ltd. until 1977 when it joined Federal Pacific (Liberia) Ltd. as b) Federal St. Clair.

The vessel came through the Seaway that year only to run aground near Peche Island, on the American side of the Detroit River, due to a steering failure on Sept. 4. Some of the grain taken aboard at Duluth had to be lightered before the ship floated free.

The vessel was at Kobe, Japan, for lengthening to 617 feet, 3 inches when there was an electrical fire in the ballast pump on April 29, 1978. The blaze was controlled with only limited damage.

Another problem occurred off Summerstown, Ont., east of Cornwall, when the engine lost power and the grain-laden ship stranded on Sept. 30, 1981. Tugs from Montreal pulled her free in early October.

The ship was registered in the Philippines and renamed c) Transocean Pearl and was back through the Seaway, as such, before the 1981 season ended. It became d) Pearl in 1988, flag of Malta, and came through the Seaway in 1988.

A final sale in 1989 brought the name of e) Ocean Pearl, and it sailed with registry in St. Vincent until its loss on Oct. 25, 1994.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 25

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Atlantic Patriot, BBC Fuji, Federal Bering, Federal Rideau, Gotland, HHL Amur, Lake Ontario, Sichem Edinburgh, Sichem New York, Spavalda, Sten Baltic and Swan Biscay.


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.


BBC Kimberley takes windmill blades from Duluth to Germany

10/23 - Duluth, Minn. – It happens about once a year in the port of Duluth. A foreign freighter docks at the Clure Public Marine Terminal and — instead of offloading wind turbine parts — it takes on wind turbine cargoes, specifically the majestic, curving blades.

"I'm grateful somebody noticed they are going in the other direction, which has always traditionally been true," said Frank Turk, a North American-based operational sales manager for LM Wind Power, an international manufacturer of wind blades that says it has produced about a third of the blades in use around the globe.

This week, it was the BBC Kimberley docked in Duluth as blades were on-loaded into her hold with the help of Lake Superior Warehousing, the dock operator for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority's Clure terminal.

The Kimberley was built in 2009 and flies the flag of the tiny Caribbean island country of Antigua and Barbuda. On Tuesday, the maroon-and-blue gem showed every bit of her new vessel sheen, especially with its crewmembers — bundled like mushers against the snapping winds — busy painting away the wear-and-tear on deck.

Captain Tarquin Anthony Luna suggested watching the loading procedure from the roof of the bridge, a few stories above the deck. "It's windy," he said, "but you'll have a better view."

Looking down into the hold, workers deep in the ship arranged the blades one by one as they came in by gantry cranes. A welder tacked down the packaging frame of the first blade to the steel floor of the cargo hold to set the row. The Kimberley was set to take on 15 blades, stacked in rows of five.

For every blade, the Clure terminal's two gantry cranes each lifted an end from the parade of semi-trailer trucks and, in a synchronized ballet, hoisted them up and into the hull. At 131 feet long and 17,000-plus pounds apiece, the blades are enormous and look like prehistoric tusks.

Lake Superior Warehousing has gotten used to handling the blades, which, despite their enormity, require a delicate touch for all of their aerodynamic engineering. The local stevedores have a good reputation for their handling of wind blades, say sources within the Duluth Seaway Port Authority; this season they'll offload two dozen foreign ships, including seven vessels with imported wind parts bound for Allete Clean Energy's under-construction Thunder Spirit wind farm in North Dakota.

"There's a certain degree of passion that comes with the job we do," said Jonathan Lamb, general manager of the warehousing company.

Empty, the Kimberley's hold looks like a prison gymnasium. When the stevedores fill it with blades they make it look as simple as stocking a pantry cupboard. But their easy handling belies months of paperwork and all sorts of on-site details and handling procedures. "Our team's level of commitment is ultimately what makes us successful," Lamb said.

The loading was completed in the daylight, and by Thursday the Kimberley had reached the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, on her way to Hamburg, Germany. The LM Wind Power blades were manufactured at its Grand Forks, N.D., plant.

The company started out in Denmark in 1940 making furniture and fiberglass items before getting into the "nascent wind industry" in the early 1980s by making small blades for electric-generating wind turbines, Turk explained. It eventually became the business model for a global corporation that employs 1,500 people in North America.

In the past five or six years, Turk said, they've taken to using the ports of Duluth and Houston to export blades, mostly into smaller South American markets.

"There's really not a way to put a blade on a truck and take it to some point south of Panama," Turk said. "The best thing to do is to consolidate all blades onto one vessel and put it in the water."

Most of LM Wind Power's North American blades — also manufactured in Quebec and Little Rock, Ark. — stay on the continent, with 10 percent being exported, Turk said. The company, widely reported as up for sale, is unique in that it makes blades for all manufacturers of turbines.

"One thing that distinguishes LM is that it is not tied to one blade turbine manufacturer and not attached to one company's technology — allowing LM to capitalize on innovation," Turk said.

The company is notable for pushing the specs of its blades. It's currently touting a blade more than 240 feet long — with the goal of making blades that are longer and weigh less per meter. Longer blades, said the New York Times in 2009, "extract more energy from the passing air."

"They're getting larger and larger," said Lamb, who called the Kimberley's visit "a good look at the outbound side of things" in the local port.

Turk said this was the third time in recent years LM Wind Power has used the port to export blades. With a recent emphasis on trying to drum up export cargoes, Lamb said the global push for more and more renewable energy figures to keep Duluth as a top-of-mind consideration.

"Our customers are not afraid of Duluth," Turk agreed. "The only thing that limits is weather restriction in the cold weather."

As if to emphasize that point, the Kimberley's crew took a break from painting and were talking in a small group deckside — all wearing winter hats and their hoods over their ears.

Duluth News Tribune


New Fednav vessel launched with ballast water treatment system

10/23 - Montreal, Que. – Friday at the Oshima (Japan) shipyard, a new vessel was delivered to Fednav Limited. The Federal Biscay is equipped with a ballast water treatment system, a first for ships transiting the Great Lakes. Fednav, the largest international operator in the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence Seaway System, announced in April that it would equip 12 of its new ships with these systems, well before the regulatory requirement.

The Federal Biscay, an ocean-going laker of 34,500 dwt, is destined to ship general cargo to the Great Lakes and bulk commodities, such as grain, from the Midwest to world markets.

Developed by JFE Engineering Corporation in Japan, the BallastAce system will be effective in both fresh and salt water. BallastAce operates through a sophisticated filter and sodium hypochlorite (bleach) injection mechanism in the ship's ballast system.

"This is a pivotal step in protecting the Great Lakes against invasive species and preserving biodiversity in the region," said Paul Pathy, president and co-CEO of Fednav Limited. "Fednav is proud to be the first shipping company to deploy such systems, and we are pleased that the Federal Biscay is serving as a test ship for this technology."

Fednav will therefore start using BallastAce in the Great Lakes at the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2016. With the assistance of Fednav, BallastAce is continuing the necessary stages of its approval for fresh, brackish, and salt water by the US Coast Guard, at the GSI facility in Superior, Wisconsin and at MERC in Baltimore, Maryland. During the first six months of 2016, the system installed on the Federal Biscay will also test under this certification.


Lookback #706 – Harry T. Ewig stranded off Point Abino, Lake Erie, on Oct. 24, 1948

Harry T. Ewig had been launched at Chicago on Feb. 1, 1902, and completed for the United States Transportation Co. It entered service as the bulk carrier W.W. Brown and was 366 feet in overall length.

The vessel had several subsequent owners and became b) Baltic in 1920, c) John W. Ailes in 1922 and d) Harry T. Ewig in 1926. It joined the Columbia Transportation Co., via merger, in 1935 and was sent to Fairport, Ohio, for conversion to a crane ship in 1939.

The deck cranes gave the vessel extra versatility and helped prolong its career. This was interrupted by a grounding off Point Abino, Lake Erie, 67 years ago today. About 500 tons of cargo was lightered to fleet mate Buckeye and Harry T. Ewig was refloated with the damage listed at about $40,000.

Harry T. Ewig was sold to Roen Salvage in 1963 and resold to the Asher Marine Rental Co. in 1964. The deck cranes were removed and the hull was cut in two to make a pair of gravel barges. The bow section was renamed e) Lighter No. 1 and it sank, while under tow in Lake Michigan, on Oct. 29, 1965. This barge was later salvaged and saw service for Bultema as f) No. 27.

The stern section of Harry T. Ewig saw similar service as e) Lighter No. 2, and met a similar fate outside of Frankfort, Mich., on Oct. 29, 1965. It too was salvaged and returned to service for Bultema. However, I am not certain of its rename or what became of either of these barges in succeeding years.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  October 23

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.


Birchglen arrives at Turkish scrapyard

10/23 - The former Canada Steamship Lines’ bulk carrier Birchglen was beached Thursday morning at the scrapyard in Aliaga, Turkey. Her former fleetmate Mapleglen remains en route to the same destination.

Skip Gillham


40 years later, Fitzgerald’s legend lives on in a Lightfoot song and at museum

10/23 - Whitefish Point, Mich. – From the sandy shore strewn with bleached driftwood and smoothed stones, a former Coast Guard station looms, capped by the oldest lighthouse on Lake Superior.

Just 100 or so yards away, its red-roofed buildings now form the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, which details 13 of the thousands of wrecks scattered across the five lakes. There's the Carl D. Bradley, which sank in Lake Michigan in 1958 with the loss of 33 lives. Another 28 died when the Daniel J. Morrell went down in Lake Huron in 1966. Few remember those wrecks. As Bruce Lynn, the museum's executive director, observed, "Nobody wrote a song about them."

The name that sticks out is the Edmund Fitzgerald, cast in the minds of a generation by Gordon Lightfoot's haunting ballad.

All 29 sailors remain at the bottom of Lake Superior, more than 500 feet below the surface, after the freighter foundered during a vicious storm 40 years ago this November 10.

Scores of ships have sunk along the notorious shoreline between Whitefish Point and Munising, 80 miles to the west in Michigan's remote and rugged Upper Peninsula. In addition to visiting the museum, people can see wrecks firsthand along the lakeshore, both from land and sea.

Every half-hour or so, Lightfoot's song sets a somber mood as guests move through the part of the museum devoted to the lakes' most famous disaster.

At the exhibit's core is the ship's 200-pound bronze bell, raised 20 years ago with the blessing of the families of those who perished. Nearby are a large model of the Fitzgerald and flotsam such as oars and a rocket flare from lifeboats that were never launched.

"(Visitors) want to know more about this wreck," Lynn said. 'What is your theory? What do you think happened?' People ask us that all the time."

There is no definitive answer. What is known is that a massive storm with 35-foot waves and winds of nearly 100 miles an hour battered the ship. It began taking on water and listing to one side.

At around 7 p.m. Nov. 10, 1975, Capt. Ernest McSorley radioed a nearby ship, the Arthur M. Anderson. "We are holding our own," the veteran sailor reported. At that moment, the Anderson had the Fitzgerald on its radar. Then, a blizzard obscured the signal.

"When the snow squall lifted, there was no longer a Fitzgerald. There was no blip," said Terry Begnoche, the museum's former manager. "They disappeared in an instant. There was no distress call — nothing — from the crew."

That lack of a "mayday" means only one thing to Begnoche: The already stricken vessel had succumbed to a mammoth wave that crashed over its bow. "We believe the ship never recovered," he continued. "It kept on going straight down."

The "Fitz," as it's often called, is just one of an estimated 300 to 600 ships lying at the bottom of Lake Superior along the infamous stretch of shoreline. Veteran sailor Joe Lindquist takes passengers to a couple of them during the shipwreck tours he operates out of Munising.

Peering into the chilly, clear water through the Miss Munising's glass hull, guests see both the Bermuda, a wooden schooner that sank in 1870, and the Herman H. Hettler, a steam barge that went down in 1926.

"They were trying to escape a violent snowstorm," Lindquist explained of the Hettler. "They were in zero visibility. And as they entered the channel … ran hard aground on a rock reef."

Torn in two, the Hettler sank in about 35 feet of water. From Lindquist's boat, both the boat and a 2,500-pound anchor are clearly visible. So is the Bermuda, one of only a few intact wrecks.

"The ship was overloaded and had been leaking at the seams," Lindquist said. "They decided to run it ashore in Munising Bay to keep it from sinking." But the often-capricious lake had other ideas.

"Somehow the lake grabbed the Bermuda and pulled her from shore," he recalled. While some of its crew members were safely on shore seeking help, three others drowned.

Between Munising and Whitefish Point, waves crash against the sandstone cliffs of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Along a 42-mile stretch of the lake, which is bigger in size than each of 10 U.S. states, stunning vistas abound.

The remains of a few shipwrecks cling to the miles of sandy beaches. The beam from the Au Sable lighthouse, opened in 1874, can be seen 18 miles away.

The Whitefish Point light tower is even older; it went into operation in 1849. On the night the Fitz sank, the beacon was plunged into darkness by a power failure. Guests can climb to the top on guided tours.

Each Nov. 10 at the museum, the ship's bell is removed from its glass case and rung 30 times, once for each of the 29 men on the Edmund Fitzgerald with a final clang to remember all the others lost on the lakes.

Begnoche was on Lake Superior, above the Fitz, when that bell was cut from the bow and brought to the surface in July 1995. "I saw it come up out of the water," he recalled. "It was pretty emotional. It actually started to ring."

Chicago Tribune


Lookback #705 – Norman P. Clement scuttled in Georgian Bay on Oct. 23. 1968

10/23 - When the Seaway opened in 1959 there was an abundance of unemployed canal-sized ships that had become redundant. Most were sold for scrap and broken up at Canadian ports around the Great Lakes and down the St. Lawrence. Others, particularly post World War II additions, found work on saltwater routes. Some became barges, while the Norman P. Clement was converted to a tanker.

This ship had been built at East Cowes, England, and sailed from Liverpool on April 3, 1924. On board was a cargo of manganese ore for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. In the following years, the ship served as part of the fleet of the Eastern Steamship Co. and, beginning in 1936, the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co.

During World War II, the vessel was painted gray for service on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. While given gun placements, I do not believe it was ever armed. Norman P. Clement returned to regular Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence service hauling coal, grain and pulpwood after the battles were over. On May 27, 1955, the ship began carrying iron ore and it took on the first such load at Contrecoeur, Que., for Toledo, Ohio.

Once the Seaway was opened, Norman B. Clement served at Toronto as a grain storage barge but was taken to Sarnia in 1962, rebuilt as a chemical tanker for Chembarge Ltd. and converted to burn oil. It re-entered service delivering chemicals north from Sarnia and occasionally to Lake Ontario ports.

On Oct. 7, 1968, Norman P. Clement ran aground at Britt, Ont., but was refloated and taken to Collingwood for repairs. An explosion on board the ship on Oct. 16 left 11 workers injured and the ship was declared a total loss due to contamination by the chemicals.

Forty-seven years ago today, on Oct. 23, 1968, the Norman P. Clement was towed to the deep waters of Georgian Bay, near Christian Island, and scuttled.

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.


Frontenac refloated

10/22 - Lake St. Clair - 4:30 p.m. The Frontenac was pulled clear about 4:30 p.m. and was downbound for the Windsor Lafarge dock. The vessel did not stop in the anchorage as expected.

About 4 p.m. Wednesday the Frontenac grounded as she was entering the lake downbound, coming to a stop just outside of Buoy 29 at the north end of the lake. It is unknown what caused the vessel to leave the channel and there are no reports of damage, the bottom in this area is soft mud and clay. The tug Superior arrived on scene about 8 a.m. Thursday to survey the grounding and ordered a second tug to assist. The tug Colorado should be on scene early afternoon Thursday to help pull the Frontenac free. From there the vessel will head downbound to the Belle Isle Anchorage for inspection.

Check back for updates


US, Canadian coast guards prepare for Great Lakes icebreaking season

10/22 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards along with other federal and industry representatives met at the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in Cleveland Tuesday and Wednesday for the 2015 Great Lakes International Icebreaking Meeting.

The meeting was held to review the previous ice season and lessons learned, and to share the status of forces, new policies and guidance for the upcoming 2015-2016 icebreaking season.

The Great Lakes icebreaking season is divided into two separate operations conducted via international cooperation and close coordination between U.S. and Canadian crews to tackle extreme ice conditions across the Great Lakes.

Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, plans and runs Operation Taconite, an ice breaking operation facilitating the flow of commerce across Lakes Superior and Michigan, the northern half of Lake Huron, the St. Marys River and the Straits of Mackinac.

The 2014-2015 operation spanned 122 days, utilized seven U.S. Coast Guard and three Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers, devoted more than 3,000 hours breaking ice for convoys and assisted in 677 commercial vessel transits to move an estimated 23.7 million tons of dry bulk and liquid cargoes with an estimated value of $829 million.

These crucial commodities sustain industrial production and power generation for the Great Lakes region during the winter months. Icebreakers provided direct assistance for 353 of the transits.

An additional 3,658 hours of icebreaking established and maintained tracks through the ice-choked waterways of Georgian Bay, Straits of Mackinac, Green Bay, southern Lake Michigan, St. Marys River, and across Lake Superior.

Coast Guard Sector Detroit coordinates Operation Coal Shovel, an ice breaking operation facilitating the flow of commerce across southern Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair and Detroit River systems, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. It commenced January 9, 2015, and concluded April 17, 2015.

Operation Coal Shovel spanned 100 consecutive days and included 2,430 hours of U.S. icebreaking. During the season, Operation Coal Shovel facilitated 153 vessel transits that moved a total 29 million tons of cargo worth more than $2 billion. Coast Guard icebreakers also provided emergency flood mitigation for five communities.



Domestic carriers called critical to Great Lakes supply chain

10/22 - Washington, D.C. – During the month of September, domestic vessels plied the waters of the Great Lakes delivering essential commodities to supply customers throughout the region.

“Domestic ships play an incredibly important role in moving cargo that supplies power generation, construction and manufacturing companies, as well as for local governments who depend on lakers to bring in salt for winter road safety,” said Mark W. Barker, president of The Interlake Steamship Co. “Interlake takes great pride in helping drive the economy in the region.”

Bulk cargo shipments at the Port of Monroe have remained steady as the Port continues to diversify its operations. Coal is delivered by 1,000-foot vessels from American Steamship Co. and The Interlake Steamship Co. to DTE Energy’s Monroe Power Plant multiple days per week. Lakers also deliver limestone twice monthly for the plant’s scrubbers. In what can only be described as the perfect cargo scenario, the limestone is transformed into synthetic gypsum and then transported by Pere Marquette Shipping to multiple wallboard and cement manufacturers.

In September, the port signed the first agreement of its kind between a public port and public utility for the complete management and marketing of a plant-produced by-product. The Port of Monroe will now manage nearly all synthetic gypsum produced at Monroe Power Plant in an amount of 400,000 to 600,000 tons annually. This will ensure the continued growth of outbound cargoes and tonnage increases across the port’s docks.

The port also received the first commercial port funding from the State of Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in which the Michigan Strategic Fund will loan the port over $3 million to construct new dock facilities with deeper draft along the ports riverfront.

“The port’s continued growth and subsequent State investment is proof positive that cargo breeds cargo, and that domestic lakes shipping is as vitally important as it has ever been,” said Port Director Paul C. LaMarre III.

The Port of Toledo terminals were busy in September being restocked for winter with salt supplies. The Port Authority also leased warehouse space to MidAmerican Salt, a major salt importer and new tenant, for bagging, storage and distribution. “We’re fortunate to have multiple terminals in the port with the capability for handling salt,” said Joe Cappel, Vice President for Business Development. “The Port of Toledo’s centralized location allows local governments, the State of Ohio and many private companies to obtain salt from the terminals who are taking advantage of the maritime mode coupled with good highway access.”

The Port of Milwaukee handled a steady stream of arrivals and departures during September. The port saw 27 vessel or barge calls carrying cargoes with coal, cement, and salt. Jeff Fleming, spokesperson for the port, said “September was a busy month with 12 shipments of cement for the construction industry coming in from places like Alpena, Mich. We also had coal shipments for Midwest Energy utility production, and salt from Goderich, Ont., for use this winter.”

The Port of Green Bay saw a 123 percent increase in cement in September versus the same time last year reflecting the strong regional economy and associated construction activity. According to Dean Haen, port director, “Cement is generally the first and last commodity to move into and out of the port each shipping season. We usually see a surge at the end of the year and we anticipate traffic to remain steady for the balance of this shipping season.” In addition to the cement traffic, the port also receives salt, limestone, coal, and stone.

Great Lakes Seaway Partnership


Brewery tanks flowing through Indiana port

10/22 - Portage, Ind. – Great Lakes cargo shipping has been slowing, but brewery tanks have been pouring into the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. Last month, the bulk carrier HHL Nile brought a shipment of 16 beer fermentation tanks for Lagunitus Brewery in Chicago through the deepwater port on Lake Michigan.

"The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway allows companies to ship large tanks and project cargos right into the heart of the Midwest, which greatly reduce the cost and complications of trying to move dimensional cargo across the country by land," Port Director Rick Heimann said.

"This was the second delivery for Lagunitas this season following the 29 beer tanks the port handled for the brewery last year. With the popularity of craft breweries, more beer tanks are being shipped bringing the port’s total so far in 2015 to 36, including 12 tanks in June for Bell's Brewery in Michigan and four to Revolution Brewing in Chicago."

Year-to-date cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes through the end of September total 22 million metric tons. That's a 12 percent decline from last year.

In September, grain shipments rose 60 percent, and dry bulk cargo was up by 8 percent.

"Cargo shipments into the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System remained solid during the month of September," said Betty Sutton, Administrator for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.

"September was the second-busiest month on record this navigation season with ocean-going vessels arriving at U.S. Great Lakes ports with increased tonnage of project cargo, dry bulk commodities and general cargo."

Iron ore and coal shipments declined in September, and liquid bulk cargoes fell by 11 percent.

"Aluminum shipments to auto manufacturing states of Michigan, Ohio and New York were once again on the rise as were containerized goods arriving on the Cleveland Europe Express liner service," Sutton said.

"Many of the ships that arrived with high value cargo departed the Seaway System with wheat and soybeans bound for Canada, Europe, Central America, North Africa and Scandinavia."

NW Indiana Times


Port Reports -  October 22

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Wednesday was an active day with three vessels in port. Mississagi unloaded salt at the Alpena Oil Dock in the early morning and left before daybreak. The Alpena was at Lafarge throughout the day. Also calling at Lafarge was the Manitowoc. It unloaded a cargo of coal.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
The saltwater vessel Tracer arrived Wednesday morning and pulled in next to the newly built barge Mississippi. Upon arrival the vessel’s crew prepared for the last super yacht Palmer Johnson built to be loaded aboard and taken elsewhere to be finished, as Palmer Johnson is closing. Bayship is in the process of buying the Palmer Johnson buildings at First and Jefferson and is also taking over the section of First Avenue between Iowa Street and Jefferson Street and a section of Jefferson Street between First and Third avenues.

Toledo, Ohio
Tuesday Saginaw spent most of the day unloading at the Kuhlman hopper, then moved forward and began loading grain from Andersons K and was outbound early afternoon Wednesday.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Wednesday the Stephen B. Roman offloaded cement. The tug Wilf Seymour and barge Alouette Spirit were in port unloading aluminum bars.


Canada Steamship Lines partners to help collect, record whale sightings

10/22 - Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) has partnered with the Réseau d'observation des mammifères marins (ROMM) to record marine mammals sightings by vessel crews to advance scientific research in whale behavior. The data collected over the course of the 12-month program will serve to protect and preserve marine habitats and species.

Veronique Nolet, Biologist and Assistant Director at the ROMM, joined the crew of the CSL vessel Salarium for a week in early September 2015, to launch the program among CSL seafarers and establish a protocol for marine observation and recording.

“The information gathered by maritime carriers such as CSL is essential because it contains a large quantity of valuable new information on whales, often in zones rarely covered by the scientific community,” points out Ms. Nolet.

While onboard Salarium, Ms. Nolet educated crewmembers about the whales they can encounter in the waters of the St. Lawrence and taught them how to collect observation data. Supported by A Mariner’s Guide to Whales in the Northwest Atlantic, published by the Shipping Federation of Canada and the ROMM, Ms. Nolet equipped seafarers with the knowledge and tools necessary to contribute to our understanding of whale patterns and behaviour.

For crewmembers, the experience was rewarding, relevant, and highly educational. “We occasionally see whales off the Gaspé coast near the Magdalen Islands, or in the lower part of the St. Lawrence Gulf in St-George’s Bay” explained Captain Joey Ransom.

The data collected by crewmembers will be transferred to the ROMM and then shared with the St. Lawrence Global Observatory where it will be made public at

As a primary user of the St. Lawrence River and other waterways, CSL recognizes its responsibility to protect the delicate marine, coastal and estuarine ecosystems in which it operates. Among the many initiatives it has introduced to reduce its environmental impact, CSL has voluntarily committed to reducing the speed of its vessels in areas containing a large number of whales.

CSL is a long-standing supporter of research and programs to protect marine mammals and habitats including WWF conservation work to protect North Atlantic Right Whales, the whales of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and the belugas of the St. Lawrence.



Lookback #704 – Milwaukee lost with all hands off Milwaukee, Wis., on Oct. 22, 1929

The 358-foot-long rail car ferry Milwaukee was lost 86 years ago today. It went down in heavy seas off Milwaukee, Wis., when it was swamped with the loss of all hands, noted between 46 and 53 sailors. Also on board were 29 railway freight cars on the voyage between Milwaukee and Grand Haven, Mich.

Milwaukee had been built at Cleveland in 1903 and first sailed as a) Manistique, Marquette and Northern No. 1. It was equipped with three sets of tracks and could handle up to 30 railway cars.

It joined the Pere Marquette Line after the Manistique, Marquette and Northern Line went out of business in Nov. 1903 and continued between Manistique and Northport before later switching to Manistique and Ludington. The ship reverted to its old route in 1906.

Renamed b) Milwaukee by the Grand Trunk Railway in 1908, the ship now concentrated on the route between Grand Haven and Milwaukee until it was lost on Oct. 22, 1929.

A fishing trawler snagged the hull of what proved to be the Milwaukee in 1963 and it was later identified. The ship rests upright on the bottom in 200 feet of water. The History Channel featured the loss in a television special on March 6, 2005.

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.


U.S.-flag lakers’ cargo down 8 percent in September

10/21 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 9.8 million tons of cargo in September, a decrease of 8 percent compared to a year ago, and a decrease of 1 percent compared to the month’s long-term average. Iron ore cargos decreased 20 percent. Coal cargos increased 10 percent. Limestone loadings increased 6 percent.

Year-to-date U.S.-flag cargos total 62.2 million tons, an increase of 3.6 percent compared to the same point in 2014, but a decrease of 1.4 percent compared to the long-term average for the first three quarters. Iron ore cargos have decreased 3.5 percent. Coal shipments are up 9.4 percent. Limestone loadings have increased 12 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Public memorial for sole survivor Dennis Hale will be Sunday in Toledo

10/21 - A public memorial service for Dennis Hale, the sole survivor of a Great Lakes shipwreck nearly 50 years ago, will be held Sunday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio.

Hale, who was well known and respected in ship, shipping and lighthouse circles, died Sept. 2 in Ashtabula, Ohio, after a battle with cancer. He was 75. In recent years he traveled the Great Lakes region telling his story of rescue after the sinking of the steamer Daniel J. Morrell in 1966 on Lake Huron in which all his other shipmates perished. He often said talking about the tragedy helped him to recover.

Hale wrote the book “Shipwrecked: Reflections of the Sole Survivor” in 2010 about his survival and rescue. It was his second volume on the subject.

The family has chosen to have a public memorial service in Toledo, as it is more centrally located for all the groups that Dennis visited many times throughout the Great Lakes area. The National Museum of the Great Lakes is located at 1701 Front St. (near I-280 freeway and Maumee River).

All are welcome to attend this informal event.


Bay State, ship in deadly 1862 Lake Ontario wreck, found

10/21 - Rochester, N.Y. – More than 150 years since it sank to the bottom of Lake Ontario with at least 16 people on board, the steamship Bay State has been located. It is the latest find by Jim Kennard and Roger Pawlowski, without question the most accomplished shipwreck sleuths in western New York. The two Rochester-area men have used sophisticated sonar technology, remote-operated underwater vehicles and teams of divers to locate a sunken flotilla of boats and ships in the Great Lakes.

The Bay State, 137 feet long and built in Buffalo in 1852, was one of the first propeller-driven steamships on the Great Lakes. It set out from Oswego on Nov. 4, 1862, bound for Ohio with a full load of general merchandise.

Shortly after departing, the weather turned bad. The ship appears to have attempted to turn back toward Oswego, but the force of the storm ripped it apart and sank it. The ship was found last month in deep water off the southern shore of Lake Ontario near Fair Haven, Cayuga County.

An empty lifeboat, wreckage and packages from the ship's cargo came ashore near Fair Haven, but no survivors. There were between 16 and 18 people on board, including seven passengers.

Like all non-military shipwrecks in New York waters, the debris that was the Bay State belongs to the state. There is no plan to haul it up.

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle


Port Reports -  October 21

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algorail departed in the late afternoon.


Public welcome to attend USS Milwaukee commissioning

10/21 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The U.S. Navy will commission the USS Milwaukee in Milwaukee on Nov. 21, the same day as the Downtown Milwaukee Holiday Parade. Free tickets are now available. The commissioning takes place Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. in Veterans Park.

Various ships have been commissioned throughout the United States, but few can boast Milwaukee’s connection to the community. The USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) will be commissioned in her namesake city, in the state she was built, among the hands that built her. Of the five ships named Milwaukee, the USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) ship is the only one built in Wisconsin.

Tickets for the USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) Commissioning can be acquired at


Obituary: Peggy Scruton

10/21 - One of the great ladies of the Great Lakes died on Saturday, October 10. Peggy Scruton finally lost her long battle with cancer, but knowing her, she never really gave up ... she just wore down.

Peggy, her husband Murray, and her son Mike operated Scruton Marine Services for over 20 years in Port Dover, Ontario, but Peggy was involved in the maritime industry most of her life. After Murray died a few years ago, Peggy carried on as a maritime broker and continued to buy and sell tugs, passenger boats, barges, engines, anchors and other nautical equipment until the day she died. The day before my last visit in August she had sold a tug and a wheelhouse, and was proud of it.

Private services will be held next June in her much loved garden, and will be followed by a Port Dover air horn salute with all the commercial vessels of Port Dover taking part. It will be an appropriate tribute.

Peggy is survived by her father, three brothers, three sons and a daughter, and nine grandchildren. She was 76. Three long and two short, Peggy!

Rev. Al Hart


Lookback #703 – John Purves lost a scow under tow on Oct. 21, 1969

The John Purves spent many years on the Great Lakes but also sailed on saltwater. It was built in 1919 for the U.S. War Shipping Board by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co. at Elizabeth, N.J. The tug briefly served the U.S. Navy as a floating radio station on the Caribbean before coming to the Great Lakes for log rafting service as Butterfield about 1922.

The 142-foot-long tug saw World War II service on the Pacific but returned inland after the war and resumed rafting service. It joined the Roen Steamship Co. in 1956 and was renamed John Purves in 1957.

This vessel served Roen in several capacities including helping in the salvage of Makefjell at Muskegon in 1962 and towing the bulk carrier C.H. McCullough Jr. for several months in the iron ore trade between Escanaba and Indiana Harbor in 1969.

Later that year, on Oct. 21, 1969, the John Purves was towing Derrick Scow 43 to Rogers City when the barge sank on Lake Huron.

John Purves had several subsequent owners and had been idle when it was donated to the Door County Museum for preservation in 2003. It is a popular attraction at Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

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 limestone trade skips a beat in September

10/20 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3.3 million tons in September, a decrease of 8 percent compared to a year ago. The decrease came almost entirely at Canadian quarries. Shipments from the three quarries fell 257,000 tons compared to a year ago, a decrease of 43 percent.

Year-to-date, the Lakes limestone trade stands at 21.1 million tons, an increase of 9 percent. U.S. quarries account for much of the increase. Loadings from the quarries in Michigan and Ohio have increased by more than 1.5 million tons.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Lookback #702 – Baie St. Paul landed on the beach at Burlington due to fog on Oct. 20, 1971

The 730-foot-long steamer Baie St. Paul (i) was inbound for Hamilton on Oct. 20, 1971, when it missed the Burlington ship canal due to fog and ended up aground on Burlington Beach. When the fog lifted, the sight of the stranded bulk carrier was a local sensation.

Fortunately, the vessel was pulled free and able to unload its cargo of Eastern Canada iron ore at the Steel Company of Canada plant in Hamilton.

Baie St. Paul had been built at Lauzon, Que., and began service on June 8, 1963. It carried ore and grain for Canada Steamship Lines until its final cargo of soybeans from Toledo arrived at Hamilton on Dec. 29, 1992.

The ship was acquired by Upper Lakes Shipping in 1994 and, while renamed b) Canadian Pathfinder, it never sailed again. The hull was towed to Toronto on Nov. 15, 1994, and resold to shipbreakers in India the following spring.

The long overseas tow got underway on May 2, 1995, and four tugs ushered the retired laker down the Seaway. The tug Neftegaz 16 took Canadian Pathfinder and Canadian Harvest (former Rimouski) under tow at Montreal but the tug lost power off Sable Island and the three ships had to be taken to Mulgrave, N.S., until the tug was repaired.

They set out again Dec. 1, 1995, but Canadian Harvest was lost two days later. Canadian Pathfinder finally reached Alang, India, on Feb. 19, 1996, and was broken up for scrap.

Skip Gillham


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


Tanker Jo Spirit, moved channel open

IMG_20151019_162654.jpg (170983 bytes)10/19 - 5 p.m. - The tanker Jo Spirit left under its own power with the two Ocean tugs escorting on either side, one at the bow starboard, one port aft.

4 p.m. update - The tugs Ocean Intrepide and Ocean Georgie Bain arrived on site at about 1:45 p.m. and were expected to escorted or tow the tanker sometime after 4 p.m.

Original report: The tanker Jo Spirit, downbound with a cargo of alcohol, lost power and ran up on the north side of the Seaway channel near the CP lift bridge in Kahnawake, near Montreal sometime after 5 a.m. this morning. No damage was reported, but the ship is blocking the channel and is still without power as they wait for assistance from tugs.  Jo Spirit is owned by Jo Tankers of Spijkenisse, Netherlands and normally carries crude alcohol for Bacardi Rum. It was involved in a collision with the bulk carrier Orla in 2005, about a kilometer from its current location.

Joe D. and Bill Bird


Cliffs CEO threatens to close plant if Essar starts production

10/19 - Duluth, Minn. – The leader of Cliffs Natural Resources has threatened to shut down one of the company's Minnesota taconite plants if the Essar Steel Minnesota taconite plant being built near Nashwauk begins production.

In an interview with the Mesabi Daily News published Sunday, in reference to Essar, Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves said "if they go online, I will shut down a plant up there the same day."

Cleveland-based Cliffs owns and operates Northshore Mining in Silver Bay and Babbitt and United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes, as well as the Empire/Tilden operations in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It also is part owner and manager of Hibbing Taconite.

Most workers at United Taconite have been laid off since the plant went idle earlier this year.

Essar is building the state's first all-new, full-scale taconite iron ore operation in 40 years just outside Nashwauk in Itasca County. The company broke ground for the new, nearly $1.9 billion mine and processing plant in 2008 and has all of the necessary government permits in hand to finish work and start production.

Essar told the News Tribune earlier this month that it's working toward taconite production sometime in 2016.

Goncalves has long been a critic of the Essar project, stating that it will create an oversupply of taconite. Earlier this year, he said the Iron Range would "pay the price" of seeing mining operations close if Essar's proposed taconite production entered the market.

Earlier this month, Cliffs announced it was ending its sale of taconite pellets to Essar Steel Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, because of what it said were Essar's "multiple and material breaches under the agreement."

Essar responded with a temporary restraining order against the termination, but withdrew its request for that order last week after securing an alternate supply of ore. Essar "continues to pursue resolution through the courts on the matter of breach of contract," the company reported.

In response to Goncalves' latest comments, Essar Steel Minnesota CEO Madhu Vuppuluri told the Mesabi Daily News that he was "very saddened to hear that statement that could have such an impact" on the Iron Range.

Duluth News Tribune


Scrapyard in the sky awaits 111-year-old Great Lakes freighter

10/19 - Duluth, Minn. – The J. B. Ford survived the Mataafa Storm of 1905 and powered her way though the fury of the Great White Hurricane of 1913. But the oldest active freighter on the Great Lakes has finally lost the battle against time.

On Oct. 9, the 111-year-old ship made her final voyage. Under sunrise clouds, a pair of tugboats towed the J.B. Ford two miles across the Duluth harbor. Today, she awaits her fate at Azcon Metals, her last stop en route to the great scrapyard in the sky.

"It's not a terribly happy ending," said Steve Haverty, a Minnesota boat nerd who in 2012 launched the nonprofit Great Lakes Steamship Society in a failed bid to preserve the venerable ship as a museum. "But we gave it our best efforts."

The cost of removing old asbestos insulation was the final nail in the coffin for the Ford. The ship had weathered not only storms, but more than a century of ownership changes and evolution in the Great Lakes shipping industry and cargo markets to remain in active service since her Dec. 12, 1903 launch in Lorain, Ohio.

The raw materials she hauled fed the nation's industrial might for 81 years. The ship moved iron ore south, coal north and picked up an odd cargo of limestone, wheat or grain here and there. That iron ore became steel for early automobiles and war materials in Michigan's "Arsenal of Democracy." Her last year transiting the Great Lakes was 1985, when she was finally benched with engine problems. The Ford has been a dockside cement storage vessel since then.

Her elder years haven't been glorious, but usage as a stationary storage and transfer vessel in Chicago and Superior, Wis., was enough to keep her in the active service category, said Marquette maritime historian Fred Stonehouse.

"Until they put her to the torch, she could be brought out," he said. From an operational perspective, though, "she's too small, too slow and just too old."

Today, the J.B. Ford is the last of her kind, a turn-of-the-century leftover from a class of steam-driven freighters built for the Hagwood & Avery Fleet during a time when advances in iron construction allowed shipbuilders to make larger, safer and more efficient vessels that were easier to maintain.

She outlasted fleet mates like the Henry B. Smith, which sunk with all hands in Lake Superior during the famous Armistice Day Storm of 1913 under the command of Capt. James Olson, who was previously appointed captain of the Ford in 1906 during her early years sailing under the name Edwin F. Holmes.

The ship was named the E.C. Collins between 1916 and 1958, when the Huron Portland Cement Co. of Detroit converted the vessel to a self-unloading cement carrier, painted her hull dark green, and renamed her the John B. Ford.

Cement hauling helped the Ford find work amid competition from larger, newer ships long after her sister ships were cut for scrap, said Stonehouse. Her cargo during those years was eventually molded into the nation's interstate highway system.

"It's truly the passing of an era," he said.

Since 2001, the Ford has occupied the Lafarge North America dock at Conners Point in Superior, Wis. Haverty incorporated the steamship society a few years ago when he learned the company wanted to retire the aging vessel. Lafarge, he said, was willing to donate the ship if $500,000 could be raised to remove asbestos.

To convert the ship to a floating museum would have been a $2 to $3 million endeavor, he said. Unfortunately, Haverty was only able to reach about $50,000 in donations and most of that was pledged money.

Unfortunately, the Ford also faced competition as a museum ship. The William A. Irvin is already moored as a floating museum in Duluth. Other Great Lakes museum ships include the Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie, the William G. Mather in Cleveland and the Col. James M. Schoonmaker in Toledo, Ohio.

Most freighters that live a long life undergo major interior upgrades over the years and the Ford was no exception. But the ship's historical integrity was in her living quarters, which retained lots of original 1904 cabin woodwork, Haverty said

The Azcon yard, which hasn't scrapped a ship in decades, has promised to try and save some of the woodwork, he said. "They seem willing to work with us."

Haverty said the Great Lakes Steamship Society hopes to have greater success with preserving other vintage lake freighters. The group has its eyes on the S.T. Crapo, an 88-year-old idled bulk cementer freighter in Green Bay, Wis.

As for the Ford, she may sail again in another way. Scrap steel is often used in fabricating automobiles, aircraft and shipping containers. Stonehouse said her steel could be used in a number of different ways "depending on where it's sold."



Port Reports -  October 19

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Joseph H. Thompson was a Dock 3 on Sunday while Algoway was at Dock 1. Algorail was anchored off Lorain.


Breakwalls and Docks #50 – Hull of former Sinclair Milwaukee part of pier at Colon, Panama

(Note: Another former Great Lakes vessel has been found to have served as a dock and qualifies for inclusion in this series – any added information is welcome.)

The tanker Sinclair Milwaukee began Great Lakes service in 1956. The ship was brought from Atlantic seaboard service to Lake Michigan to deliver petroleum products from the Sinclair Refining Co. plant at East Chicago to a variety of Great Lakes ports.

This ship had been built by the New York Shipbuilding Co. as Providence Socony. It was launched at Camden, N.J., on April 8, 1924, and completed later in the month.

The 259 foot long by 40 foot wide tanker was registered at 1199 gross and 753 net tons and powered by a pair of diesel engines.

Providence Socony worked under the banner of the Standard Transportation Co., Standard-Vacuum Transportation, and Socony Vacuum Transportation from 1924 to 1953. It was rebuilt, with a new mid-body, at the Brewer Drydock Co., of New York in 1943 resulting in a new gross of 1242 tons. It had a capacity of 16,000 barrels of product.

The ship joined the Reinauer Transportation Co. as b) Bert Reinauer (ii) in 1952 and was operated by R.T.C. No. 6 Corp. until sold to the Dover Tanker Group of Sinclair Refining in 1956.

The ship operated mostly to Lake Michigan ports as c) Sinclair Milwaukee and was resold in 1964 to Brooks Liquid Transportation Inc. for more off lakes service as d) Berwyn.

All of the above operators were American flag concerns but the ship was re-registered in Panama as e) Falcon in 1966 when purchased by the Golden Falcon Corp. (American Ultramar).

The hull was sold to Cemento Atlantico S.A. in 1970 and sunk at Colon, Panama, as part of a pier during the construction of Refineria Panama S.A. in the fourth quarter of 1970.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #701 – Manchester City aground due to fog at Cap Saumon on Oct. 19, 1947

Two ships have come through the Seaway as Manchester City. The first dated from 1937 and it went aground 68 years ago today off Cap Saumon, Que. The 446 foot, 6 inch long freighter was inbound from the United Kingdom to Montreal when the accident occurred on Oct. 19, 1947.

On board were 12 passengers and 50 crew members, plus the usual freight that approached the 9,200 ton capacity limit of the 10-year old Manchester Lines Ltd. steamer. It lost its way in thick fog and sustained damage to the bow and flooding to the two forward cargo holds.

The passengers were transferred to the North Pioneer of Clarke Shipping and Foundation Maritime used a trio of tugs to refloat the vessel.

Manchester City, which had served as a naval auxiliary mine laying ship during World Two Two, became a Great Lakes trader once the Seaway opened in 1959. The ship made three trips inland that year and a total of 17 until its final visit late in 1963.

Following a sale to Scottish shipbreakers, Manchester City arrived at Faslane on May 15, 1964, and was broken up by Shipbreaking Industries Ltd.

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.


Port Reports -  October 18

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoway was anchored off Lorain Saturday, waiting for the wind to die down before entering port.


Lookback #700 – William C. Moreland struck Sawtooth Shoal Reef on Oct. 18, 1910

It was 105-years ago today that the newly built bulk carrier William C. Moreland struck unlighted Sawtooth Shoal off Eagle River, MI. The 600 foot long steamer was only on its fifth trip for Jones & Laughlin Steel after being built at Lorain, Ohio.

The vessel had cleared Superior earlier in the day with 10,722 tons of iron ore for Ashtabula. The crew was removed on Oct. 19th and, on the 20th, the hull cracked between hatches #10 and #11. Another crack developed on Oct. 23.

Some of the ore was able to be removed but, on Nov. 2, the ship was abandoned to the insurers.

It appeared that the salvage attempt would succeed as the ship was patched, bulk-headed and lashed together before floating clear on June 20, 1911. But a collision with the towing tug undid the work and the vessel went down in deeper water.

A storm on July 24, 1911, completely severed the hull but, on Aug. 8, the 248 foot long stern section was refloated and it was taken safely to Portage Harbor.

In 1916, the stern was rebuilt as b) Sir Trevor Dawson for the American Interlake Co. This ship was sold and became c) Charles L. Hutchinson (i) in 1921, d) Gene C. Hutchinson in 1951 and e) Parkdale (ii) in 1963. The latter was retired at the end of the 1968 season and arrived at Cartagena, Spain, under tow for scrapping on June 8, 1970.

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 Poke out, destroying the iron hulled passenger and freight vessel.

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

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

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

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


Port Reports -  October 17

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Buffalo arrived at Lafarge last Sunday morning to unload coal. The Alpena was in port on Sunday loading cement. On Tuesday the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity waited for product for a good part of the day before being loaded under the silos. The tug Rochelle Kaye was back in the area to help the Integrity into Lafarge. The USGS vessel Arcticus arrived in port on Tuesday and is tied up in the river.


Program on Interlake repowerings Oct. 21 at National Museum of the Great Lakes

10/17 - Toledo, Ohio – Mark Barker, president of the Interlake Steamship Company and member of the National Museum of the Great Lakes’ board of directors, will speak at the museum in Toledo at 7 p.m. Oct. 21. His subject is "Re-powering the Interlake Fleet."

The lecture is free for members and is included in the regular museum admission for non-members. Please RSVP to or 419-214-5000 ext 200. NMGL


Canada honors wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald with coin

10/17 - Canada’s third and final coin in the Lost Ships in Canadian Waters series honors a modern ship that wrecked in Lake Superior 40 years ago.

The Proof .9999 fine silver $20 coin shows the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, a Great Lakes freighter that sank in a storm on Nov. 10, 1975. The ship was the largest on the Great Lakes when it was launched in 1958, and became the largest to sink there.

The reverse design by Canadian artist John Horton uses full color over engraving to recreate the marine conditions of that fateful evening in 1975 as the Fitzgerald struggled in a fearsome winter storm.

In the ship’s final hour at sea, hurricane-force winds drove the turbulent waters of Lake Superior into a frenzy, as great waves crashed against the Fitzgerald’s bow and swept across the deck of the cargo-laden freighter.

Framing this dramatic scene is the engraved outline of the Canadian shoreline of southeastern Lake Superior, where it was hoped the Canadian highlands would provide some protection from the worst winds of the storm; instead, those very waters became the final resting place for the legendary vessel and its entire crew.

The words S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald and the outline of the ship’s anchor are engraved along the edge of the coin. Susanna Blunt’s effigy of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the obverse.

The coin weighs 31.39 grams and measures 38 millimeters in diameter. It has a mintage limit of 7,000 pieces and retails for $109.95 Canadian. U.S.-based distributor Talisman Coins offers the coin at a fixed price in U.S. dollars, at $79.95 each. Order at


Lookback #699 – Luzon aground in Lake Superior near Passage Island on Oct. 17, 1923

The 21-year-old, 366 foot long bulk carrier Luzon went aground northeast of Passage Island, Lake Superior on Oct. 17, 1923. Dense smoke from area forest fires resulted in poor visibility causing the grain-laden steamer to lose its way. The vessel had loaded at Fort William and was bound for Buffalo when it stranded.

The captain of the ship suffered a stroke during the stress of the incident and passed away. The ship sustained major bow damage but the forward bulkhead held and that saved the freighter from being lost. Luzon had to be lightered before it would float free and required major repairs.

On a return to service in 1924, the ship was renamed b) John Anderson and continued to work under the management of the Cleveland-Cliffs fleet as part of the Morrow Steamship Co. It moved under the Columbia Transportation Co. in 1933 and renamed c) G.G. Post. It was converted to a crane ship in 1936 and spent the rest of its career in that capacity.

After being idle at Sturgeon Bay from 1961 until June 1965, the ship came to Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines for a refit and new service for Silloc Enterprises. It was operated for a time carrying scrap steel for Marine Salvage and then by Upper Lakes Shipping hauling pig iron from Sorel, Que., to Saginaw, Mich.

Service continued through the 1968 season and ended with a lay up at Windsor. Following a sale for scrap, G.G. Post was towed into Port Colborne on Nov. 21, 1971. It was resold to Turkish shipbreakers and arrived at Izmir, under tow, on Oct. 30, 1972.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 17

New Freighter Trip Raffle


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.


Bad weather hampers Flinterstar salvage off Belgium

10/16 - Oil removal operations from the wrecked Flinterstar off the coast of Belgium were halted for a third straight day Thursday due to weather.

Dutch ship owner Flinter reports that high winds and an unfavorable sea state has prevented divers from entering the water since Tuesday morning.

The 129 meter Flinterstar, which had been a frequent Great Lakes visitor, has been half submerged on a sandbank since October 6th after it collided nearly head on with the Marshall Islands-flagged LNG Al Oraiq in the North Sea near Zeebrugge, Belgium. The 122,000 DWT Al-Oraiq, managed by K Line LNG Shipping (UK) Limited, was also damaged, but was able to continue to its destination of Zeebrugge with the help of a tug.

All 11 crew members plus 1 pilot made it off the Flinterstar safely, but an estimated that 100 tons of oil was released from the vessel following the accident.

Flinter has contracted SMIT and Multraship to pump the remaining oil from the vessel. The Belgian Coast Guard says that oil removal operations may not resume until Saturday due to continued bad weather at the site.

The approximately 9,000 DWT Flinterstar was built in 2002 and is flagged in the Netherlands. The ship has been declared a total loss.



Port Reports -  October 16

Grand Traverse Bay – Al Miller
Faced with a weather forecast of northwest winds and possible waterspouts, the tug Leonard M. and its barge of stone bound for Ludington dropped anchor Thursday afternoon in Grand Traverse Bay near Omena, Mich.


Former Wellington Kent observed beached at Lagos, Nigeria

10/16 - The “Information Search” part of this website has an interesting look at photos of an abandoned tanker. These have been identified as the former Canadian liquid cargo carrier Irving Nordic and Wellington Kent. The vessel had been a Great Lakes trader under each of these names.

Irving Nordic was Hull 1130 of the Saint John Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. of Saint John, NB. The keel was laid for the 434 foot long by 67 foot, 6 inch wide, vessel on Feb. 1, 1980. The ship was launched as a) Irving Nordic on Aug. 29, 1980, and completed on Oct. 31, 1980.

The 7,745 gross ton, 11,500-ton capacity tanker went to work for the Irving Oil Co., under the banner of their Kent Line. While the ship concentrated in coastal shipping around Eastern Canada and along the St. Lawrence, it headed up bound through the Seaway for the first time in 1981.

The early years went smoothly but there was a minor engine room fire at Halifax on Nov. 11, 1987.

The ship was renamed b) Wellington Kent (ii) in 1993 and it came to the Great Lakes for the first time as such on Oct. 12, 1994. On this occasion, the tanker was up bound through the Seaway, with jet fuel for Hamilton. Wellington Kent made frequent trips through the Seaway and, in 1995, spent about seven weeks trading out of Sarnia. The tanker was back in subsequent years and became a somewhat familiar trader to our shores.

In 2002, registry was changed to Barbados as the ship was listed as under the banner of Irvingdale Shipping Ltd. It was often engaged in the clean oil trade from Saint John, NB, to Portland, ME.

Wellington Kent was sold to Bryygen Shipping & Trading in 2003 and re-registered in Norway as c) Beffen. It went overseas at this time. Another sale in May 2005 was reported to Seaforce Shipping Co. Ltd. and the vessel was placed under the flag of Panama as d) Zenon Conquest.

Not much seems to be known about her subsequent trading patterns but the Miramar Ship Index, lists that the vessel was beached at Lagos, Nigeria, in 2012. The photos on the “Information Search” show the former Canadian tanker ashore, resting on her starboard side and semi-submerged in sand. Now, how did she get there?

Skip Gillham


Lookback #698 – Former Munteborg adrift off British Columbia on Oct. 16, 2014

Munteborg was newly built when it began Seaway service in Nov. 1998. The ship had been completed at Lemmer, Netherlands, and carried steel to Cleveland on its first inland voyage. Outbound, it took on sugar beet pellets at Duluth for Northern Ireland.

A versatile ship, Munteborg could carry containers, bulk and general cargoes, timber and paper products. There are two holds with moveable bulkheads.

The ship became b) MSC Baltic in 2000, c) Munteborg again in 2004 and, as such, was back inland in 2008 and 2010. It was sold and registered in Russia as d) Simushir in 2012 and had loaded mining materials in Everett, WA for Russia when it got into trouble a year ago.

The ship lost power off the coast of British Columbia on Oct. 16, 2014, and was taken in tow only to get loose again in stormy seas. There was fear it would be blown ashore and break up. Finally, a secure line allowed the tug Barbara Voss to bring the ship to Prince Rupert, BC and get repaired.

As of late last month, Simushir was enroute from Vladivostok to Magadan, Russia, and, as of yesterday, it was moored back at Vladivostok.

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.


New investment in Great Lakes-Seaway despite cargo slowdown

10/15 - Ongoing commodity price pressures continued to impact overall tonnage volumes through the St. Lawrence Seaway in September, however, the shipping industry was buoyed by a number of investments in recent weeks by ship operators and ports.

“Despite slower iron ore and coal, growth continues on the Seaway in shipments for domestic sectors like construction, salt mining, agriculture and manufacturing,” said Stephen Brooks, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “Strength in these sectors, along with the investments we’ve seen in recent weeks, are testament to the vitality of Great Lakes-Seaway shipping.”

Two weeks ago, the Port of Monroe secured a $3 million loan for improvements that will accommodate larger vessels with increased shipping capacity. McKeil Marine, a tug and barge operator whose vessels operate between Canada and the U.S., recently added a bulker ship to the fleet for its customers throughout the Great Lakes and to the east coast of Canada.

St. Catharines-based Algoma Central Corporation reaffirmed its commitment to renew its fleet in September by signing a conditional contract to build three new Seaway-max 740-foot self-unloading ships with a Croatian shipyard, replacing contracts with another shipyard that were cancelled earlier this year. This is on top of an earlier order for two 650-ft vessels.

“These latest ships will have all the environmental advances and efficiencies of our new Equinox-class and are essential to supporting the competitiveness of our industry and our customers,” said Wayne Smith, Senior Vice-President, Commercial, Algoma Central Corporation. “Algoma is continuing discussions with other parties on further fleet renewal opportunities.”

Lower Lakes Towing Ltd., which transports bulk cargo to Canadian and U.S. Great Lakes ports, also took delivery of its newest Canadian self-unloading vessel in China. The motor vessel Manitoulin will have the largest carrying capacity of any existing river class self-unloader and is expected to be the most efficient vessel of its class on the Great Lakes. The new addition increases the size of Lower Lakes' fleet to 16, including 10 Canadian-flagged and six U.S.-flagged vessels, and supports recent new long-term business that the company has been awarded.

“This vessel is the first new river class self-unloader to be introduced into Great Lakes service in over 40 years,” said Scott Bravener, president of Lower Lakes Towing. “This additional capacity reaffirms the company’s commitment to support the growth of its customers. When the Manitoulin arrives in November, it will immediately start carrying limestone to various ports within the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Seaway system to support the construction industry, which has been a strong sector for us this season.”

According to figures from the St. Lawrence Seaway, dry bulk shipments from April 2 to September 30, including road salt from mines and construction materials, remained strong, tallying 6.5 million metric tons, up 8 percent over the same period in 2014. Shipments of oversized machinery and components (other general cargo) for the season is also up 55 percent. The Port of Milwaukee continues that trend this month with a barge carrying six large rotating kiln pieces via the Seaway to Quebec to be used in cement manufacturing.

Joe Cappel, VP of Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, added: “Project cargo shipments continued throughout September and into October for area refineries and in support of a new natural gas fired electric plant under construction in Oregon, Ohio. Several terminals brought in additional loads of salt in preparation for the winter months while pig iron, petcoke and other bulk commodities moved briskly through Toledo's terminals.”

Despite these positives, a 15 percent decline in shipments of iron ore and a 40 percent decrease in coal shipments continued to drag down overall cargo tonnage on the Seaway. Overall cargo shipments from April 2 to September 30 totaled 22 million metric tons, down 12 percent from the same period in 2014.


Project cargo again dominates Seaway traffic

10/15 - Washington, D.C. – With three months left in the shipping season, U.S. ports were busy moving project cargo last month.

“Cargo shipments into the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System remained solid during the month of September,” said Betty Sutton, Administrator for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

“September was the second busiest month on record this navigation season, with ocean going vessels arriving at U.S. Great Lakes ports with increased tonnage of project cargo, dry bulk commodities and general cargo. Aluminum shipments to auto manufacturing states of Michigan, Ohio and New York were once again on the rise as were containerized goods arriving on the Cleveland Europe Express liner service. Many of the ships that arrived with high value cargo departed the Seaway System with wheat and soybeans bound for Canada, Europe, Central America, North Africa and Scandinavia.”

At the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, the bulk carrier HHL Nile delivered a shipment of 16 beer fermentation tanks for Lagunitas Brewery in Chicago in September. "The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway allows companies to ship large tanks and project cargos right into the heart of the Midwest, which greatly reduces the cost and complications of trying to move dimensional cargo across the country by land,” said Port Director Rick Heimann. “This was the second delivery for Lagunitas this season following the 29 beer tanks the port handled for the brewery last year. With the popularity of craft breweries, more beer tanks are being shipped bringing the port’s total so far in 2015 to 36, including 12 tanks in June for Bell’s Brewery in Michigan and four to Revolution Brewing in Chicago.”

“The Port of Cleveland continues to post strong tonnage numbers in 2015, with general cargo numbers running more than 18 percent higher than 2014,” said David Gutheil, Vice President Maritime & Logistics. “Project cargo movements continue to remain strong, thanks to new business that has moved across our docks handled by both Federal Marine Terminals and C-Port Maritime, which handles the Cleveland-Europe Express business line. In September we welcomed our first project cargo shipment from Brazil via the CEE, and we continue to receive inquiries from potential customers who now view the Port of Cleveland as a cost effective and efficient option for their containerized and non-containerized cargo.”

In September, aluminum, pig iron and project cargo shipments remained steady at the Port of Toledo. "Construction of a new gas fired electricity plant in Oregon, Ohio, has led to a series of project cargo shipments through Toledo," said Joe Cappel, Vice President of Business Development for the Port Authority. "These project cargo shipments help the port stay busy and the port helps the project by providing a location where shipments can be discharged and stored in close proximity to the final destination."

Other cargoes handled by U.S. ports in September included 47,000 metric tons of ethanol shipped from the Port of Green Bay to Montreal to be used as a fuel additive. According to Dean Haen, Port Director, “there is an East Coast shortage of ethanol this year and the port has seen a 14 percent increase in ethanol shipments to meet that demand.”

Zelko Kirincich, Executive Director of the Port of Oswego said that “in September the Port Authority received 19,000 metric tons of aluminum via McKeil Marine barges from Sept-Iles, Que., for use in the automotive manufacturing sector. We are seeing another record year in aluminum shipments through the Seaway.”

Great Lakes Seaway Partnership


Mackinac Island ferry Miss Margy completes maiden voyage

10/15 - Mackinaw City, Mich. – A newly-built ferry for transporting passengers between Mackinac Island and the Michigan mainland has completed its maiden voyage. More than 100 people made the trip Wednesday morning aboard Miss Margy, which embarked from the Shepler's Mackinac Island ferry docks in Mackinaw City.

It's named for the mother of Bill Shepler, CEO of the company that has long provided ferry service to and from the Lake Huron resort island.

The 85-foot vessel is the first ferry built in northern Michigan. It was constructed for $3.8 million at Moran Iron Works Co. in Onaway and obtained U.S. Coast Guard certification this week. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder christened the ferry during a July 12 ceremony. It has a 281-passenger capacity, an air-conditioned cabin and a top speed of about 40 mph.

Associated Press


Port Reports -  October 15

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Buffalo arrived at Lafarge on Sunday morning to unload coal. The Alpena was in port on Sunday as well loading cement.

On Tuesday the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity waited for product for a good part of the day before being loaded under the silos.

The tug Rochelle Kaye is back in the area to help the Integrity into Lafarge. The USGS vessel Arcticus arrived in port on Tuesday and is tied up in the river.

Kingsville, Ont.
Frontenac was in Kingsville harbor Wednesday unloading a partial load of limestone from Marblehead. After unloading, she will return to Marblehead to load for Windsor.


Fort Gratiot lighthouse gets a facelift

10/15 - Port Huron, Mich. – The 82-foot Fort Gratiot Lighthouse got a bit of a facelift Monday, part of ongoing maintenance work to ensure the 186-year-old structure doesn't fall back into disrepair.

"We're trying to be proactive and keep up with the maintenance so we don't have any damage to the masonry," said Mark Brochu, St. Clair County Parks and Recreation director.

This is the first time the lighthouse has gotten new paint since it underwent intense renovations in 2011. The $555,630 project was funded through grants and money raised by the Friends of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse.

Workers from RJ Hill Painting of Marysville used a lift to spray the outside of the tower with white paint, a fresh coating to keep moisture out of the brick work. Brochu said the work cost less than $5,000, and is a way to ensure the structure stays sound.

Thousands of dollars have gone into restoring the Port Huron lighthouse, the oldest in Michigan, after years of neglect left it closed to visitors. It was closed to the public in August 2008 because of safety concerns after bricks began falling from the structure.

The county acquired the deed for the light station property from the federal government in September 2010. And after a lot of work, it reopened to the public in May 2012. In 2012, more than 12,500 visited the site for tours and programs.

Between October 2014 and this September, about 24,000 people did — bringing the total number of visitors since its opening to nearly 85,000, said Susan Bennett, Port Huron Museum executive director. Bennett noted that number does not include those who were visiting the park but did not take tours inside the lighthouse.

Port Huron Times Herald


Canadian government stops Montreal sewage-dumping plan

10/15 - Montreal, Que. – The Canadian government has ordered Montreal not to dump 2 billion gallons (7.57 billion liters) of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River as part of a plan to rebuild a riverside expressway.

Federal infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel said Wednesday that an independent review would be carried out after many Montrealers called for the federal government to step in, just a week ahead of national elections. Conservative Prime Minister's government had known about what the city had wanted to do for some time but didn't intervene until now.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York also got involved, asking U.S. environmental regulators to work with Canada to stop it. The EPA said it has no regulatory authority in Canada.

The St. Lawrence River flows from Lake Ontario northeast into the Gulf of Lawrence and borders the U.S. for 114 miles (183 billion kilometers) in New York state, but the river lies entirely in Canada downstream of Montreal.

Schumer had said the river should be treated like a single ecosystem, because fish and birds move up and downstream as do recreational and fishing boats. He noted that the U.S. and Canada have worked together in the past to protect the region's waters in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Montreal had planned to start dumping the wastewater on Sunday, continuing through Oct. 25, with officials saying it was necessary so that workers can relocate a snow chute, or large opening that brings water from melting snow to a wastewater treatment plant.

A citizen petition with 90,000 names opposed to the project was presented to Mayor Denis Coderre at a city council meeting Tuesday. The environmental group Save the River had argued there must be a way for the city to dispose of its sewage that's not potentially harmful to human health and wildlife.

Coderre said city officials had selected the best option in terms of time and cost and believe drinking water for downstream communities won't be affected by the project that aimed to be completed by mid-November.

ABC News


Montreal - Lake Ontario Notice to Shipping #31 issued

10/15 - Removal of restrictions on Lake St. Louis


Lookback #697 – Former Francisca Sartori had engine room flooding on Oct. 15, 1978

Sartori and Berger sent a number of their small ships to the Great Lakes before the opening of the Seaway and these vessels continued to trade inland after 1959.

Francisca Sartori was one of their regular visitors. It was built at Papenburg, West Germany, and launched on July 31, 1954. The 258 foot long general cargo carrier was soon coming through the old St. Lawrence Canals and repeated calls to our shores each year through 1958.

With the opening of the Seaway in 1959, Francisca Sartori was lengthened to 288 feet and it made annual trips to the Great Lakes into 1966. There were a total of 21 voyages through the Seaway.

On its final voyage, it brought 500 tons of whiskey, glass and steel for Buffalo. It also unloaded cargoes from Antwerp and Glasgow at Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago before leaving the lakes for the last time as Francisca Sartori.

It was back as b) Kiffa, Dutch flag, in 1967 and 1968 but ran aground in the St. Marys River, while down bound near Pipe Island, on Oct. 25, 1968, despite clear and calm conditions. Fortunately, the ship was soon released from the clay and gravel bottom and able to continue its journey.

Later sales resulted in the ship becoming c) Panagia in 1970, d) Agia Irene in 1973, e) Leila later the same year and f) Giota S. in 1974. The latter was lying at Piraeus, Greece, on Oct. 15, 1978, when the engine room flooded, putting the ship on the bottom. While refloated, the former Seaway trader was listed as a total loss after the incident of 37 years ago today.

The vessel cleared Piraeus for Chalkis on Oct. 24, 1979, but leaks developed en route and the ship had to be beached at Laurium. That is where the trail dies out, but I suspect that the hull has been broken up for scrap.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 1

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Alabama, BBC Kimberley, Dimitrios K, Federal Baltic, Gotland, Lena J, MCT Stockhorn, Michelle C, Nordana Emma, Nordana Sarah, Swan Biscay and Tracer.


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.


G3 Canada building new grain terminal at Port of Hamilton

10/14 - Winnipeg, Manitoba – G3 Canada Limited, a newly-formed Canadian agribusiness, has announced that it will construct a new lake terminal at the Port of Hamilton to originate grains and oilseeds out of Southern Ontario for export to global markets.

"G3 is excited to announce this major investment in the Port of Hamilton as part of our vision to create a coast-to-coast Canadian grain enterprise," says Karl Gerrand, CEO, G3. "Grain exports from Southern Ontario have been increasing for some time now. We look forward to expanding our relationship with farmers in the province, and will work hard to establish G3 as the partner of choice in marketing their grain."

The 50,000 metric tonne facility will be located at Pier 26 in the Port of Hamilton, just off Queen Elizabeth Way. Grains and oilseeds will be loaded on to vessels for transport to G3's facilities on the St. Lawrence River. From there, they will be shipped onwards to export markets around the world.

"We recognize time is valuable for our farmer partners, which is why this facility has been designed to get trucks in and out as fast as any competing terminal in Ontario," Gerrand added. "Combined with G3's existing facilities in Trois-Rivières and Quebec City, and our strong marketing connections, we believe G3 will present a very competitive new option for Ontario farmers."

"The Port of Hamilton is one of Ontario's primary agricultural gateways, with agri-food tonnage exceeding 2 million tonnes in 2014. Direct access to the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system means the port is ideally located for agri-food exporters," said Hamilton Port Authority President & CEO Bruce Wood. "The Port of Hamilton welcomes major investments such as this one and looks forward to continue our close working relationship with our partners at G3."

Construction on the facility is already underway and is slated for completion prior to the 2017 harvest.

G3 Canada


Port Reports -  October 14

Hancock, Mich. – Dan McNeil
Algoma Transport was upbound above the Soo Tuesday with a destination of Hancock, with that community’s annual load of road salt.


Lookback #696 – Amilla ran aground in the St. Mary's River on Oct. 14, 1985

It was 30 years today that the Greek-flag, Fortune-class, bulk carrier Amilla went aground in the St. Marys River near Pointe aux Pins. The 537 foot, 2 inch long vessel dated from construction at Tokyo, Japan, in 1972 and had been a Seaway trader since 1975.

The Great Lakes pilot on board Amilla on Oct. 14, 1985, suffered a fatal heart attack while doing his duties and, amid the confusion trying to help him, the ship went aground. After things settled down the Amilla was released from its stranding by shifting ballast.

Amilla had been a frequent caller to the lakes and was one of the rare Seaway Salties to carry its original name to the end of its career. Amilla arrived at Alang, India, on June 25, 1997, and was broken up for scrap.

Skip Gillham


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.


Strong winds, up to 10-foot waves expected at part of Upper Peninsula

10/13 - The colder air is coming, and with it wind and waves. A big temperature drop Monday night in the Upper Peninsula will also be accompanied by winds gusting up to 50 mph.

The winds will blow from the northwest, which is a direction that builds big waves on Keweenaw Peninsula's western shore. The waves were expected to increase to seven to 10 feet Monday evening.

This is actually the start of Michigan's wind season. There are two reasons. First, storm systems start to get larger, more powerful and move farther south across Lake Superior. The storms in late summer tend to track farther north, across southern Canada. So the more powerful storms make more wind.

Second, the colder air over the warmer land and water causes a stronger wind. Wind is ultimately caused by density differences in the air. One way to produce a density difference is to have a large temperature difference. Cold air is heavy. Warm air is lighter. That difference in weight stimulates a stronger wind.

So get ready for stronger winds in October, November and December. This Great Lakes weather phenomenon is why you've heard of the gales of November.

M Live


Erosion concerns Lake Superior shoreline residents

10/13 - Paradise, Mich. – Residents near Paradise are growing increasingly concerned about erosion along the Lake Superior shoreline which one local official said could pose a threat to homes in the area.

Whitefish Township Supervisor Bill Mangham says lake levels have been above normal for the last two years and the resulting erosion has hit Paradise hard because it is a “sand-based community.” He also laid blame for the disappearing shore partially on the Army Corps of Engineers, which he believes is not following a plan designed to keep water levels from climbing too high.

The Corps manages the levels by adjusting the flow through a pair of hydroelectric plants and by overseeing a series of gates in the “compensating works,” a dam-like structure near the Soo Locks. The levels are also monitored by the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

“In my opinion, in the last two years the Corps has been partly responsible for the lake levels being where they’ve been,” Mangham said.

The Chief of Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology for the Corps’ Detroit District, John Allis, acknowledged that there have been deviations from the plan. But he said the Corps is spreading out some flows with the intent of keeping water levels closer to normal.

“The intent was to smooth the flows through the St. Marys Rapids,” he said.

Allis added that currently Lake Superior is much higher than it has been over the past 14 years. He said it is six inches above its long-term average, but about 10 inches below its record high for October. According to the Corps website, as of Oct. 2 Superior was one inch lower than at the same time last year. It is expected to drop another 1-3 inches by November.

Mangham said rumors that roads could wash out due to the erosion are probably overblown. But the shoreline is creeping closer to several homes, forcing residents to come up with thousands of dollars to have local contractor Mountain Stone install breakwalls for protection. Mangham said “virtually everybody who lives on Whitefish Point Road” is having the work done.

Mountain Stone owner Jim Bourque said for many of the homeowners, who are retired, it is hard to generate those funds, but they must — or face damage to their house. Over the last few years, his company has installed some 50 breakwalls in the area, and more are likely to come.

However, homeowners face another hurdle in the process — they must have their breakwall approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Bourque said that organization is often understaffed the approval process can take a long time.

“You can only move as fast as you get your permit,” he said, and advised anyone thinking of having a wall built to apply to the DEQ as soon as possible.

Soo Evening News


Truck drivers asked to avoid Welland Canal Bridge 19

10/13 - Port Colborne, Ont. – Truck drivers and fleets are being asked to avoid Bridge 19 (Main St. and Hwy. 3) in Port Colborne, after the bridge was struck by a ship Sept. 3.

The bridge will be out of commission to vehicular traffic through the fall shipping season with repairs set to begin in January.

Prior to the closure of Bridge 19, the Weir Bridge was scheduled to receive rehabilitation. It will be closed from Oct. 13 to about Nov. 27, local officials warn.

There are two other bridges crossing the Welland Canal: Bridge 19A at Mellanby Ave. and Bridge 21 at Clarence St. However, officials note trucks are not allowed on Bridge 21.

All truck traffic on Main St./Hwy. 3 crossing the Welland Canal will not have to travel south on Welland Ave., cross Bridge 19A and continue further south on Mellanby Ave. to Killaly St. West, which will then lead them out of the city.

Officials are warning the Bridge 19A crossing will become extremely busy and backed up, especially when Bridge 21 is raised to allow shipping traffic. Trucks will have to wait up to 30 minutes whenever Bridge 19A is raised for shipping traffic.

“We are working with the Region of Niagara and the Ministry of Transportation to develop an alternate truck route to encourage truck traffic that would have previously travelled along Highway 3, to seek an alternate route. We hope that this will help to relieve some of the congestion that may occur at Bridge 19A,” said Ron Hanson, director of engineering and operations.

Truck traffic from the Peace Bridge will be detoured along the QEW to Netherby Rd. and continue west on Townline Rd./Forkes Rd. to the junction of Hwy. 3 at Regional Rd. 24 in Wainfleet. Truck traffic will also be detoured north on Hwy. 58 and Hwy. 140 to Townline Rd. and Netherby Rd. Trucks travelling east on Hwy. 3 in Wainfleet will be detoured to Forkes Rd./Townline Rd./Netherby Rd.

Signage is currently being installed, officials say.

“We hope that members of the trucking industry will understand that these detours will most likely save them time rather than getting stopped in traffic and having to make difficult turns in the middle of the city,” said Mayor John Maloney, “and we look forward to your cooperation.”


Port Reports -  October 13

Erie, Pa. – Gene P.
The Manistee arrived with stone about 11:15 a.m. on Monday and backed into the old ore dock, dropping off line handlers from the boat. As it entered the harbor, it passed the barge Great Lakes and tug Michigan docked at the Montfort terminal. The barge and tug left Erie about 3:30 p.m. for Montreal.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River arrived Monday around 10 a.m., and was towed in by the tug Washington for Lafarge.


Lookback #695 – Maunaloa sank consort Barge 129 on Oct. 13, 1902

The powered steamer Maunaloa of the newly-formed United States Steel Corp. fleet usually towed a consort barge as it worked in the ore trade from the Lake Superior ports to company terminals down the lakes. It had the whaleback barge #129 following behind when the towline snapped on Lake Superior 113 years ago today.

The captain turned Maunaloa back to reconnect the line but they got too close and the freighter's anchor ripped open the hull of the barge resulting in a massive leak and the latter ship sinking. All on board were rescued but #129 was a total loss.

Maunaloa had been built for the Minnesota Steamship Co. and completed at Chicago in 1899. It joined U.S. Steel on their formation in 1901 and served company interests until being sold to the Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Co. in 1945.

Renamed Maunaloa II, the ship was very active in the grain trade and remained in this fleet after they were restyled as Upper Lakes Shipping in 1959.

Maunaloa II brought its last cargo down the Welland Canal on June 16, 1971, and, after unloading at Toronto, sailed to the Hamilton dock of United Metals on June 18. Scrapping began on Oct. 15, 1971, and was completed in May 1972.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 13

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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


Quebec, Indiana Partner for Great Lakes Shipping

10/12 - The Province of Québec and the State of Indiana will launch a new partnership to intensify their collaboration in Great Lakes/St. Lawrence System shipping and maritime economic development. Recent studies have shown that for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region, maritime transportation accounts for $34 billion in annual economic returns and more than 225,000 jobs.

Québec and Indiana have identified short-sea shipping as a factor of regional economic development that would benefit from greater regional collaboration. They are launching a joint initiative to study opportunities for enhancing shipping routes between the two jurisdictions. Short-sea shipping is especially important because it facilitates the delivery of supplies along trade routes that have rail and highway capacity constraints and infrastructure challenges.

This collaboration is a direct result of the work of the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers' Regional Maritime Initiative, the unveiling of the Québec Maritime Strategy in July 2015 and the Indiana Blue Ribbon Panel on Transportation Infrastructure.

"Indiana is a significant economic partner of Québec in the Midwest, especially with respect to maritime transportation," stated Minister St-Pierre. "This partnership with Indiana shows that the new Québec Maritime Strategy already has a strong positive impact in our relations with our largest trading partner, the United States. This bodes well for the future, as Québec's exports to the Midwest have grown by 30 percent since 2010."

In Québec, under the leadership of the Marine Industry Forum, the Québec Shortsea Shipping Round Table is fully engaged in the promotion and the development of short-sea shipping, acting as a hub of short sea related information and expertise. Short-sea shipping currently accounts for 20 percent of shipping traffic in St. Lawrence River ports and its development is one of the key priorities of the Québec Maritime Strategy.

"The province of Québec and the state of Indiana are connected by more than just water," said Lt. Governor Ellspermann. "We share strong manufacturing sectors, robust multimodal transportation systems, and a heavy reliance on Great Lakes shipping. As two of the leading maritime economies on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway, Québec and Indiana represent a large part of the business activity generated by shipping in this region. We hope this maritime partnership will lead to increased opportunities for collaboration between our economies."

Indiana currently handles nearly 30 million tons of cargo per year on short-sea shipping movements across the Great Lakes, predominantly consisting of iron ore for the steel mills located in Northwest Indiana. The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, which is one of the leading steel ports on the Great Lakes, also shares a strong business partnership with the Québec-based Fednav Limited, a leading Great Lakes shipping line. Fednav provides regular ocean service to the Port of Indiana and is the parent company for the port's general cargo terminal operator, Federal Marine Terminals, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

In addition to direct economic benefits, short-sea shipping has significant environmental advantages. It helps improve highway safety and reduce other social and environmental costs such as highway congestion, maintenance costs and greenhouse gas emissions compared to other modes of transportation.

Québec and Indiana will work together to increase this bilateral and multilateral collaboration on short-sea shipping, and will invite other partners from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence economic region to join them. Areas of collaboration could include industry workshops, exchange of best practices, applied research based on the needs of the shipping industry, as well as joint studies involving collaboration between industry, government and academic institutions.

Québec and Indiana will fully engage key stakeholders, both within their jurisdiction and throughout the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence economic region, so that this partnership will generate tangible returns for the short-sea shipping sector and the regional economy.

Marine Link


Lookback #694 – Former Pacprince dragged anchor and grounded on Oct. 12, 1997

The Liberian freighter Pacprince first came through the Seaway in 1972. It had been built at Nagoya, Japan, the previous year and the 466 foot, 9 inch long bulk carrier could carry 15,175 tons deadweight in the four cargo holds.

The ship was sold and renamed b) Prince Shaul in 1982 and sported the flag of Panama when it again came back to the Great Lakes in 1985. Additional sales led to a rename of c) Savannah II in 1993 and d) Capetan Tzannis in 1996. All retained Panamanian registry.

Strong winds caught the latter ship off Bayonne, France, on Oct. 12, 1997, and the sulfur-laden freighter's anchors dragged and the helpless carrier was blown aground. Twelve sailors were removed in the trying conditions but the rest remained on board.

Finally, on Oct. 14, conditions had calmed and Capetan Tzannis was pulled free with the help of tugs. But the damage had been done

The former Seaway trader was towed to Bilbao, Spain, where the 26-year-old vessel was declared a total loss. It was soon sold to Spanish shipbreakers and arrived at Gijon, again under tow, on Oct. 31, 1997. Dismantling by Gijonesa de Desguaces y Recuperaciones Ferricas S.L. began on Nov. 14.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 12

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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.


Port Reports -  October 11

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Joseph H. Thompson Jr. and her tug were in port at Dock 3 on Saturday, departing in mid afternoon.


Lookback #693 – Senator Derbyshire destroyed by fire in Lake Ontario on Oct. 11, 1924

The wooden steamer Senator Derbyshire was originally the U.S.-flag bulk carrier Bermuda. It had been built at West Bay City, Mich., in 1897 and joined the Davidson fleet. It was rebuilt in 1909 and came to Canada for A. Wendling. The 230 foot long vessel was renamed b) Senator Derbyshire the next year.

The ship generally operated on the lower lakes and St. Lawrence and was often engaged to carry coal or pulpwood. It developed a leak in the bow area on July 1, 1910, but reached Cleveland safely and was repaired.

The Senator Derbyshire log shows several subsequent owners, the survival of a grounding at Gooseneck Island in August 1922 and a collision with the Lucius W. Robinson, with only minor damage, on May 22, 1923.

Fire broke out on board 91 years ago today as the ship was upbound and light near Point Petre Light, Lake Ontario. The blaze erupted in the early morning and burned for about 12 hours before the ship sank. The crew fought the flames but eventually had to abandon the vessel and were picked up and taken aboard the Maple Bay. The gutted hull of Senator Derbyshire eventually sank.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 11

News Photo Gallery sorry for the delay, we have had a busy work schedule this fall. Please continue to send in your pictures to


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.


One final sail for J.B. Ford as historic laker towed to scrapyard

10/10 - Duluth, Minn. – Mussels by the thousands clung to the portside anchor of the J.B. Ford and Steve Haverty could relate to the feeling. He didn't want to let her go either.

Haverty made the trip from the Twin Cities on Thursday to see the 111-year-old steamship tugged to its final resting place.

"Having spent five years and thousands of dollars trying to save her I felt like it was worthwhile to see her go the last 2 miles," said Haverty, who started the Great Lakes Steamship Society several years ago in a failed effort to save the Ford as a museum ship.

But weather conditions weren't right for the tow across the bay from the Connors Point Storage dock in Superior to Azcon Metals in Duluth.

"It's too windy; we could be fogged in in five minutes," said Heritage Marine owner Mike Ojard, who was successful Friday taking the Ford across Superior Bay. The tow required two tugs.

The Ford will be the first ship scrapped at the Duluth yard in a generation. One scrapyard worker said he's been with the company 20 years and never scrapped a ship, missing it when the Irvin L. Clymer was torched and dismantled from its pilot house down to its hull in 1994.

Like the Clymer, the Ford featured a leaning black smokestack in its stern and a distinguished air about its pilothouse — making her a ship's ship.

"The beauty of that ship is how it melded function with beauty," said Steve Lindsey of Keene, N.H., a onetime Coast Guardsman and "historic preservationist" responsible for a couple of Wikipedia entries on lakers and shipping, as well as campaigns to save theaters, churches and other examples of American heritage.

"It wasn't a slab-sided barge," Lindsey said. "It's almost breathtaking and had that sort of 'Wow' look. It was both creative and functional — profit-making and yet fun to look at, too."

The Ford also was distinguished by its three-cycle reciprocating steam engine. She last sailed the Great Lakes under her own power in 1985 as a cement carrier.

The Ford was launched as the Edwin F. Holmes in Lorain, Ohio, on Dec. 12, 1903. It is 440 feet long, with a beam of 50 feet, a depth of 28 feet and a capacity of 8,000 tons. By comparison, the William A. Irvin, launched 34 years later, is 611 feet long, with a beam of 60 feet, a depth of 32.5 feet and a capacity of 13,600 tons.

For the first several decades of its life, the Ford — sailing first as the Holmes and then as the E.C. Collins — hauled iron ore, coal and grain. It was upbound on Lake Superior during the 1905 Mataafa Storm, during which 29 vessels were lost or damaged. It was downbound on Superior during the 1913 White Hurricane storm, during which 12 vessels were lost and 32 driven aground.

The Ford escaped the breakers-yard fate of many of its contemporaries by finding a specialized niche in the 1950s, when the Huron Portland Cement Co. bought and converted it to a self-unloading cement carrier. It was Huron that renamed the vessel the J.B. Ford. Lafarge bought the Ford in the 1980s and used it as a cement barge, first in Chicago, then in Superior.

Awash with rust now, the Ford still hints at her beauty — a curving hull that drapes inward at the rudder; oak panels and brass fixtures in its cabins. But it would have cost an estimated $1.5 to $2 million to save her.

The loss of the Ford comes at a time when two other iconic vessels appear headed for the junkyard — an iconic cruise ship, the S.S. United States, in Philadelphia that's seen its preservation efforts flatlining, and President Harry Truman's yacht, the Williamsburg, listing in an Italian port as it takes on water in the face of zero interest to save it. All three were paragons of their kind in their day.

"That's three pieces of American history," Lindsey said. "They're reminders, sort of like the Statue of Liberty reminding us of the immigration that made this nation. If you lose that, the populace is cast adrift."

Haverty fell in love with ships as a kid, when his parents would take him to Duluth every month. The family didn't have a lot of money, he said, and the port was his playground. "I loved it," he said. "It became my biggest passion."

He later sailed the Great Lakes and still volunteers with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps in Duluth. He's trying to save what he can of the Ford's pilothouse, but isn't sure Azcon will cooperate. Azcon did not respond to inquiries for this article.

Standing far up the dock from the Ford on Thursday, Haverty was content to watch from a distance.

"I've said my goodbyes this morning," he said, "and it was emotional."

Duluth News Tribune


Salvage underway for wrecked Flinterstar off Belgium

10/10 - Salvage of the partially sunken Flinterstar following a collision with an LNG carrier earlier this week off the coast of Belgium kicks into high gear as oil spill cleanup winds down and the inquiry into what happened continues.

Dutch ship owner Flinter reports that the Flinterstar remains stable and the company has contracted SMIT and Multraship to pump the remaining oil from the vessel. Flinter added that inspections of the ship since the collision early Tuesday morning have shown that damage to the vessel is worse than expected, with some media reports saying that the ship has been declared a total loss.

“Damage to our good Flinterstar much worse than we had hoped for. In only a few minutes she was turned into a wreck,” Flinter said in a Facebook update on Wednesday.

The Dutch freighter – which had been a frequent Great Lakes visitor – sank after colliding nearly head on with the Marshall Islands-flagged LNG carrier Al-Oraiq in the North Sea approximately off the coast Belgium near Zeebrugge. All 11 crew members plus 1 pilot made it off the vessel safely. The captain of the Flinterstar was admitted to a local hospital with symptoms of hypothermia, but has since been released.

The 122,000 DWT Al-Oraiq was also damaged, but was able to continue to its destination of Zeebrugge with the help of a tug. The ship has been held by Belgian authorities as the inquiry into the collision continues. AIS data on Friday showed the ship moored near Zeebrugge.

K Line LNG Shipping (UK) Limited, manager of the Al-Oraiq, says that the vessel has safely completed a full discharge of its cargo and that damage suffered by the vessel has been inspected and evaluated by a class surveyor and a repair plan is being developed.

Initial response has focused on securing the Flinterstar and the containment and recovery of oil, which threatened a nearby nature preserve. The Belgian Coast Guard has estimated that 100 tons of oil was released from the vessel.

An update from Flinter on Thursday said that interviews with the crew were continuing and were expected to wrap up on Friday. The vessels Cormorant and Multrasalvor 3 were on scene to begin the process of removing the remaining oil from the vessel.

Weather has been cooperating with salvage efforts and the forecast calls for continued favorable conditions.

The 129 meter Flinterstar was built in 2002 and is flagged in the Netherlands. The vessel had just departed Antwerp bound for Bilbao, Spain when it collided with the Al-Oraiq about 6 miles (10 km) from the coast.

Flinter’s fleet consists of more than 50 vessels under its ownership or control. Most are multi-purpose ships ranging in sizes up to 11,000 DWT.



Explore Indiana shipwrecks online with Department of Natural Resources website

10/10 - Have you ever seen murky images of sunken ships and wondered what it would be like to discover wreckage hidden in the depths? Well, now you have the chance to connect with your inner explorer online.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources launched a website called, which takes users on virtual tours of Indiana’s shipwrecks. Each of the vessels featured on the site rests on the floor of Lake Michigan.

“We hope this information will attract more underwater tourists and get people who don’t dive more interested in Indiana’s fascinating but somewhat unknown maritime history,” said Mike Molnar, manager of the DNR’s Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program, in a news release.

One of the ships included on the site — the J.D. Marshall — became the first underwater preserve site in the state, the DNR says. It’s located off the shore of Indiana Dunes State Park and sank during a storm on June 11, 1911, leaving four crew members dead.

Three other sunken ships — the Muskegon, Car Ferry #2 and Material Service Barge — can also be explored on the site.

The virtual tours were created using data gathered by mobile multi-sector sonar scans, the DNR said.

The website launch completes the LMCP’s preserve project, which it’s been working on with other groups since 2008, the DNR said. For the project, the group updated information gathered during the 1980s on Indiana shipwreck sites.

The Elkhart Truth


Lookback #692 – Engine of former Caribbean Sky exploded on Oct. 10, 1969

Caribbean Sky was a T-2 tanker that visited the Great Lakes in the early years of the Seaway. It came inland on two occasions in 1960 and returned once more in 1961 for the Superior Shipping Co. of Liberia.

The 523 foot, 6 inch long tanker had been built at Mobile, Alabama, and was completed as a) Wood Lake for the United States Maritime Commission on April 17, 1944. After assisting in the war effort, the vessel was sold to the French Government in 1947 and renamed b) Petit Couronne. Before the year was out, it joined Petrotankers as c) Ronsard for service between the Persian Gulf and French ports.

It became d) Caribbean Sky in 1960, but with newer and larger tankers available, the T-2 class was slowly disappearing from the major shipping lanes. Like numerous others, this ship was rebuilt as a bulk carrier with a new fore and mid-body.

The work was done at Aioi, Japan, in 1962, and the vessel returned to service as 572 feet long and under the name of e) Aspronisos. Another change in 1966 led to the name of f) Lake Placid.

The latter had been at Antwerp, Belgium, for repairs and was undergoing dock trials when the engine exploded and disintegrated on Oct. 10, 1969. The accident of 46-years ago today left one person dead, the ship flooded and on the bottom.

The hull was pumped out, drydocked, examined and declared a total loss. It was sold, however, to Swedish interests and, despite the damage, was rebuilt as g) Granada. The vessel was eventually ready to resume sailing on Dec. 30, 1970, and headed for Sept-Iles, QC to load ore.

The voyage did not go well and, on Jan. 31, 1971, Granada was reported as 125 miles off Newfoundland with a power failure and machinery breakdown. The Canadian tug Irving Birch took the ship in tow but the line separated in a storm and the vessel was not located until it had drifted another 265 miles from its last location.

Reconnected, the ship was taken to Boston for repairs and this time loaded scrap steel and set out for Japan on March 11, 1971. Again there was trouble and Granada was forced to go to anchor off Rhode Island with smoke and steam coming from the cargo area. It was also struck by another vessel complicating the voyage.

After taking on additional scrap at Providence, R.I., the ship got underway only to arrive at Charleston, S.C. with a boiler problem. Instead of continuing the voyage, the former Seaway trader was sold for scrap and arrived at Hamburg, West Germany, in August 1972 where the faulty stern section and power plant were cut off and broken up.

The bow and forebody were still useful and they were connected to the tanker Akron of 1959 vintage. This ship lasted until being scrapped in Pakistan during 1981.

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.


Birchglen / Mapleglen scrap voyage updates

10/9 - As of the morning of Oct. 8, Birchglen was entering the Straits of Gibraltar and carried at E.T.A. for Aliaga, Turkey, of Oct. 15. The Mapleglen was several days behind crossing the North Atlantic, and lists Oct. 17 as the arrival date at Aliaga.

Skip Gillham


J.B. Ford tow delayed; may happen Friday morning

10/9 - The scrap tow of the former cement carrier J.B. Ford, which was to have taken place Thursday morning, was pushed off until Friday, sometime after 8 a.m.

Duluth Shipping News


Notice to Shipping issued

10/9 - Montreal - Lake Ontario Notice to Shipping

Welland Canal Notice to Shipping


Edmund Fitzgerald exhibit opens at Door County Maritime Museum

10/9 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum commemorates the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald with an exhibit in the Reddin Bridge Room of the Sturgeon Bay museum.

The exhibit will open on Monday, Oct. 21, and continue through Nov. 10. It will be taken down for a month while the museum conducts its Merry-Time Festival of Trees event after which it will be go back up and run from Dec. 10 through April 17.

The sinking on Nov. 10, 1975 has particular ties to Door County since the vessel had a number of winter layovers in Sturgeon Bay. Even more significant was the fact that two of the 29 lives lost in the tragedy were Sturgeon Bay natives.

While not one of the museum’s larger exhibits, it will pay tribute to the hardy seamen who braved some of the most difficult weather conditions ever experienced on Lake Superior. Highlights include a deck light and life jacket given to the museum when the Fitzgerald was in Sturgeon Bay for off-season work. A video featuring radio conversations discussing the possible sinking and rescue attempts is another intriguing aspect of the presentation. Artwork of the Fitzgerald from the museum’s collection will be interspersed throughout the exhibit.

In conjunction with the new exhibit, the museum will launch its 2015-16 Great Lakes Maritime Speaker Series with a presentation by author Rochelle Pennington, whose extensive research on the Fitzgerald sinking is being compiled for a new book being published next spring. Pennington has appeared at the museum before, including a program detailing her research for her books on the Christmas Tree Ship. The program will be held Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. at the museum in Sturgeon Bay.



Lookback #691 – Cyprus departed Superior for her second voyage on Oct. 9, 1907

The ill-fated bulk carrier Cyprus cleared Superior, Wis., 108 years ago today with a cargo of 7,103 tons of iron ore for Lackawanna, N.Y. The 440 foot long ship had been launched at Lorain, Ohio, the previous Aug. 17 and had joined the Lackawanna Steamship Co., managed by Pickands, Mather, on Sept. 21.

After delivering a cargo of iron ore to Fairport, Ohio, on the first trip, Cyprus was carrying her second payload down the lakes when the ship and crew encountered a severe storm out on Lake Superior on Oct. 9, 1907. The laker battled the elements for two days but to no avail. The wind whipped waves tore at the telescoping hatch covers in what must have been a harrowing voyage across the big lake. Water gradually poured into the holds and, at about 7:45 p.m. on Oct. 11, Cyprus rolled over and sank.

Four of the 22 sailors on board managed to escape their doomed ship in a lifeboat. They drifted with the wind towards shore but the lifeboat struck the breakers a few hundred feet off shore dumping the men into the frigid water. They were so close to safely but three could not hang on and were drowned. Only one, the second mate, was still alive when the U.S. Life Saving Service arrived at the scene. Charles Pitz, like Dennis Hale of the Daniel J. Morrell, was the sole survivor of the Cyprus.

As a result of this tragedy, new regulations required that tarpaulins must be used to cover the hatch covers when sailing after Sept. 1 but these rules were too late for the crew of the Cyprus.

After being missing for close to 100 years, divers discovered the hull of Cyprus in 2007. It has been located in about 460 feet of water, about 30 miles off Grand Marais, Mich., and the pilothouse is no longer attached.

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.


J. B. Ford to be towed to Azcon scrapyard in Duluth

10/8 - The retired cement carrier J.B. Ford will be towed across Duluth-Superior harbor to the Azcon Metals scrap dock in Duluth Thursday morning around 8 a.m., where the 100-plus-year-old vessel will be cut up.

Duluth Shipping News


Cliffs Ends Pellet Sales to Essar Algoma

10/8 - Cliffs Natural Resources, which operates several mines in northeastern Minnesota, announced Tuesday that it has immediately ended sales of taconite pellets to Essar Steel's facility in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Cliffs said Essar Steel Algoma had committed "multiple and material breaches" of its pellet sale and purchase agreement. Cliffs said it "remains open to discussing supplying Essar with pellets on commercially reasonable terms consistent with a just-in-time iron ore supply arrangement."

Tensions between the two companies have been high as Essar constructs a new taconite facility in Nashwauk, which Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves has said could displace current jobs in the industry. Essar has said its pellets will replace ones no longer produced when Cliffs closes its Empire Mine in Michigan.

Cliffs also operates Hibbing Taconite, United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes, Northshore Mining in Babbitt and Silver Bay, and the Tilden Mine in Michigan.

Essar Steel Algoma produces steel used in the automotive, shipbuilding, and construction industries.



Lookback #690 – Barge Pasadena cut loose and smashed Keweenaw east pier on Oct. 8. 1906

By 1906, the wooden freighter Pasadena was working as a barge. It had been built at Cleveland in 1889 and served in the Bradley fleet.

The ship was converted from a steamer to a barge in 1905. On its final voyage, the ship was loaded with iron ore from Superior for Cleveland and under tow of the steamer Gladstone. They got into trouble 109 years ago today.

The pair encountered foul fall weather as they approached the Keweenaw Waterway and Pasadena was cut loose. The anchors failed to hold and the powerless barge struck the east pier and was ultimately broken up on the rocks.

Seven members of the crew were saved but two sailors perished. The loss of the Pasadena was set at $42,000.

Gladstone survived the trouble and sailed until sinking at her moorings at St. Clair, Mich., during the winter of 1918-1919.

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


Great Lake visitor Flinterstar sinks after collision with LNG carrier

10/7 - A Dutch freighter sank Tuesday after colliding nearly head on with the Marshall Islands-flagged liquid natural gas carrier carrier Al-Oraiq in the North Sea off Belgium on Tuesday morning.

All 12 crewmembers from the freighter Flinterstar were rescued. The crew members were rescued from the cold North Sea, including one person who was reportedly suffering from hypothermia, according to a Coast Guard spokesperson.

Flinterstar was last on the Great Lakes in November 2014, when she unloaded at Chicago, followed a trip to Thunder Bay. Her first trip inland was in 2002.

Photos of the Flinterstar showed the vessel partially sunk, resting on a sandbank in calm seas and clear visibility. Dutch ship owner Flinter has confirmed that the ship sank, the crew is safe and the vessel is “stable.” A small oil sheen has been reported. An AIS replay of the collision shows the ships collided nearly head on.

“At this time, we are talking to salvage companies together with insurance to decide how the vessel will be salvaged,” Flinter said in a statement.

The 122,000 DWT Al-Oraiq was also damaged, but was able to continue to its destination of Zeebrugge, Belgium, with the help of a tug.

The 129-meter Flinterstar was built in 2002 and is flagged in the Netherlands. The vessel had just departed Antwerp bound for Bilbao, Spain, when it collided with the Al Oraiq about 16 miles (10 km) from the coast.

Flinter’s fleet consists of more than 50 vessels under its ownership or control. Most are multi-purpose ships ranging in sizes up to 11,000 DWT.

gCaptain, René Beauchamp


Port Reports -  October 7

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
After being delayed for several days due to weather, the Alpena arrived at Lafarge on Sunday to load cement for Whitefish, Ont. The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity waited at anchor out in the bay on Sunday. The tug Missouri arrived on Monday morning to assist the Integrity into port. The Alpena returned on Tuesday for another load, followed by the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation.


Montreal - Lake Ontario Notice to Shipping #29

10/7 -


Lookback #689 – Edward Y. Townsend broke in two en route to Spanish shipbreakers Oct. 7, 1968

The same Nov. 29, 1966, storm that sank its Bethlehem Transportation Co. fleetmate Daniel J. Morrell left the Edward Y. Townsend with a cracked hull. On arrival at Sault Ste. Marie, the latter ship was condemned and remained idle there until 1968.

The 602-foot-long bulk carrier had been built at Superior, Wis., in 1906 and was briefly the largest ship on the Great Lakes. It set a record carrying 10,912 tons of iron ore from Duluth to Cleveland on Oct. 3, 1906, as part of the Cambria Steamship Co.

The vessel had been idle at Erie, Pa., from 1962 until August 1964, when it was reactivated. After the close call on Lake Huron, the ship was sold, traded to the U.S. Maritime Administration for the C-4 troop ship General Hershey and then resold to Marine Salvage for scrap.

It passed down the Welland Canal under tow of Salvage Monarch and James Battle on Sept. 14, 1968, and departed Quebec City Oct. 1, 1968, in tandem with the Dolomite. A week later, 47-years ago today, the Edward Y. Townsend broke in two about 400 miles southeast of St. John's, N.F.

The bow sank the next day, on Oct. 8, and the stern was observed still afloat on Oct. 11. There is one, unconfirmed report that indicates that the after end was taken in tow by another vessel and managed to reach Santander, Spain, on Oct. 28 where it was scrapped.

Dolomite made it safely into Santander for dismantling behind the original towing tug Hudson on Oct. 20.

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.

Great Lakes ships face change after court slams EPA ballast water rules

10/6 - A federal appeals court has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite its rules governing the release of ballast water from ships in the Great Lakes and other U.S. waterways.

The unanimous decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York is a major victory for environmental groups that had argued the EPA's 2013 permit governing the discharge and treatment of ballast water was insufficient to curb the spread of aquatic invasive species like zebra mussels and the spiny water flea.

The EPA erred in numerous ways, according to the ruling, including by adopting international limits on live organisms in ballast water when technology was available to require tougher standards.

For example, the agency only evaluated on-board technologies to cleanse ballast water of invasive species, and failed to consider on-shore technologies that shipping companies could utilize, wrote Judge Denny Chin.

The court also ruled that so-called "lakers," ships that only ply the Great Lakes and don't travel to the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence Seaway, should be subject to some of the same ballast requirements as ocean-going vessels. The EPA's 2013 permit exempted lakers built before 2009 from meeting certain effluent limits.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, Northwest Environmental Advocates, Center for Biological Diversity and National Wildlife Federation sued the EPA over its 2013 permit. That permit will remain in effect until the EPA issues new regulations that comply with the Clean Water Act.

"This is a huge ruling," said Marc Smith, Policy Director for the National Wildlife Federation. "It basically, in our opinion, changes the seascape, for how we can set protections in place against aquatic invasive species into our Great Lakes."

A spokesman for the Lake Carriers' Association, which had intervened in the case, declined comment, saying his group was still reviewing the ruling. In the past shippers have argued that no sufficient technologies exist to economically purge ballast tanks of invasive species.

Ships take on and discharge enormous quantities of water — in some cases enough to fill 38 Olympic-sized swimming pools — into and out of ballast tanks for balance when they load and unload cargo.

But when a ship sucks in ballast water, it also can inadvertently pick up microscopic organisms and unknowingly transport them to distant waters where they can establish non-native populations that sometimes explode in their new environments.

An estimated 10,000 marine species each day hitch rides around the globe in the ballast water of cargo ships, according to the court ruling.

Zebra mussels, for example, were first introduced to Lake Erie in the 1980s by a freighter from Europe. The mussels have since infested lakes throughout Minnesota, the Midwest, and some western states, disrupting aquatic habitats and causing tens of millions of dollars of damage.

Minnesota Public Radio News


Port Colborne bridge to be closed for months

10/6 - St. Catharines, Ont. – A Port Colborne bridge, damaged after being hit by a ship last Wednesday, will remain closed to all but emergency vehicles and pedestrians until the end of the shipping season.

Chris Lee, acting direct of engineer for Port Colborne, said the St. Lawrence Seaway contacted the city Friday afternoon, informing the city that Bridge 19 is going to be closed until the shipping season ends, likely in late December – “at which point they will start to conduct repairs.”

“It may be five months, at least,” until it's opened to all traffic, he estimated. Lee said the the bridge crossing the Welland Canal at Main Street was to be lowered Friday evening, and raised as normal for passing ships.

However, when the bridge is lowered it will only be accessible to emergency vehicles and pedestrians, due to the structural damage to the span when it was hit by the cargo ship Lena J at about noon on Wednesday.

“The department, police and ambulance will still be able to get through on one lane that is being designated specifically for them, and them only,” Lee said. “It's not for general use in any way shape or form.”

Lee said the city has yet to learn if the damaged bridge will affect the Seaway's plans for a construction project that would close the Weir 8 Bridge on Main Street to traffic, starting Oct. 5. If that project continues as planned, it will leave a single span to access the island, crossing the canal at Killaly Street.

“We have other meetings planned early next week with the Seaway and Niagara Regional Police, and the MTO (Ministry of Transportation),” he said. “We're trying to sort out some of those details yet.”

He said a full structural analysis of the damaged bridge is expected to be completed by early next week.

St. Catharines Standard


Lake Superior level dips, but it's still above average

10/6 - Duluth, Minn. – The level of Lake Superior dropped below 2014 levels for the first time this year but remains well above average, the International Lake Superior Board of Control reported Friday.

The big lake dropped an inch in September, a month it usually drops about 0.4 inches. Lake Superior stood 6 inches above average for Oct. 1 but an inch below the Oct. 1 level of 2014. Water supply to the big lake was above average, but more water was being released from the lake in September as well.

Meanwhile the level of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron fell 2 inches in September, their usual drop for the month. The lakes were 8 inches above normal on Oct. 1 and still 6 inches above the Oct. 1 level of 2014.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  October 6

Lorain, Ohio – Drew Leonard & Phil Leon
Algoway passed under the Henderson bridge at around 7:50 a.m. on Monday. She left in the afternoon.


875 miles of Lake Michigan shipwrecks to become national sanctuary

10/6 - Sheboygan, Wis. - It's looking pretty certain the second Great Lakes National Marine Sanctuary is going to be in Lake Michigan.

During a Monday, Oct. 5, video message to the "Our Ocean" conference happening in Chile, President Barack Obama announced the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is moving forward with designating an 875-square-mile area off Wisconsin as one of two new national underwater preserves.

The 80-mile-long "mid-lake" section of Lake Michigan between Port Washington and Two Rivers, Wis., along with a 14-mile section of the Potomac River's Mallows Bay in Maryland, would become the first National Marine Sanctuaries designated since 2000.

"These actions will protect waters of historic and national importance," said Obama.

In Lake Michigan, the sanctuary would include more than 30 known shipwrecks; the most famous of which is the Rouse Simmons, a three-masted schooner known as the "Christmas Tree Ship," which sunk with all hands off Two Rivers in Nov. 1912.

Tamara Thomsen, a maritime archeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society who helped prepare research for the Lake Michigan nomination, was ecstatic to learn of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration announcement.

She said "it was kind of surreal" to hear the president talk about a project to which she's devoted years of time and effort. The nomination was submitted to NOAA in December 2014 and the area was added to an agency short list this February.

"Now, we'll built it and see if they come," Thomsen said.

Before that happens, though, there's some process to get through. Public meetings are scheduled Nov. 17-19 in the Wisconsin cities of Manitowoc, Port Washington and Sheboygan. After that, NOAA has to draft an Environmental Impact Statement and management plan that both must go back to the public for input.

"It does not mean all of a sudden these areas are national marine sanctuaries," said Ellen Brody, coordinator with the Great Lakes region of NOAA's national marine sanctuary office. She estimated another two or three years to finalize everything.

Currently, there are 14 designated marine sanctuaries in U.S. waters. The only one in the Great Lakes is the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron off Alpena. It's currently the only freshwater sanctuary in the system.

Thunder Bay was established in 2000 and expanded from 448 square miles to 4,300 square miles in 2014. The underwater preserve is a tourist draw for Alpena, where the headquarters include nautical displays, wreck tours and exhibits.

Brody said each sanctuary is different, but the preserves adhere to guideline standards of resource protection, research and education. Buoys mark wrecks and give dive boats something to anchor to as opposed to dragging along the bottom.

There are no access restrictions in Thunder Bay, she said. Sanctuary status prohibits damaging or taking items from a wreck, something also banned by state law.

In Lake Michigan, the Wisconsin sanctuary wrecks are in water ranging from 10 to 460 feet deep. The collection includes schooners, steamships and other vessel types sunk between 1833 and 1918.

The proposed sanctuary boundary extends 9 to 14 miles into the lake.

Fourteen of the wrecks are largely intact and four of the vessels possess standing masts — a rarity among the Great Lakes shipwrecks. The sunken tug Robert Pringle still has nautical charts stowed in wheelhouse drawers. Intact sunken cargos include general merchandise, sundries, woodenware items, Christmas trees, cordwood, iron ore and a collection of 240 Nash automobiles.

Thomsen said some shallow water wrecks are easily visited through snorkeling or with a kayak. Deeper wrecks would require scuba diving skill and training.

"There's been a huge amount of local support along the lakeshore," she said. The historical society and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program jointly submitted the application.

There are other Great Lake applications in various stages of pre-nomination status. In Lake Ontario, four New York counties and the city of Oswego are working on a nomination proposal.

On Lake Erie, Buffalo, N.Y. is working on a proposal to designate its waterfront as the Erie Niagara National Marine Sanctuary. Pennsylvania is working on a proposal called the Lake Erie Quadrangle that would encompass all of the state's lake waters.

Brody said Wisconsin is in the early stages of a proposal for part of Lake Superior.

Thunder Bay, she said, has piqued the interest of cities around the Great Lakes.

"They look at what's happened in Alpena and see the potential for their communities," she said. "That's very powerful."

M Live


Lookback #688 – Emsstein beached to avoid sinking in St. Clair River on Oct. 6, 1966

10/6 - Once the Seaway opened on April 25, 1959, the West German freighter Emsstein, and several company running mates, were soon making their presence known around the Great Lakes.

Emsstein had been built at Vegesack, West Germany, and completed in July 1951 for Roland Linie Schiffs, G.m.b.H. It moved under the banner of North German Lloyd in 1959 and traded on their behalf into 1970.

The 392 foot, 5 inch long vessel was registered at 2,785 gross tons and could carry 4,940 tons deadweight. Most of its service was uneventful but that changed 49 years ago today when the ship was in a collision a quarter mile south of St. Clair, Michigan.

Emsstein met up with the Greek-flag freighter Olympic Pearl on Oct. 6, 1966, and received a 100-foot-long gash in the bow, caught fire and almost capsized. The vessel was beached to avoid sinking and all of the crew was rescued.

Hard work by salvagers allowed Emsstein to be refloated and stablized sufficiently to clear the Seaway for repairs. The ship was back on the Great Lakes for three more trips in 1967.

Corporate changes brought Emsstein under the banner of Hapag-Lloyd in 1970 and the ship was sold and registered in Austria as b) Murtal in 1971, in the Somali Republic as c) Murjo in 1972 and in Greece as d) Violetta in 1976. None of these names made it back to the Great Lakes.

Violetta was sold to Pakistani shipbreakers and arrived at Karachi on May 18, 1978. The hull was moved to Gadani Beach on May 28 for scrapping by Ilyas Investments Ltd.

Olympic Pearl, the other combatant of Oct. 6, 1966, was sold to Corozal Shipping Inc. in 1983 and renamed b) Al Tahseen for service under the flag of Liberia. This ship arrived at Alang, India, on May 6, 1985, and was broken up by Indian Metal Traders.

Skip Gillham


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.


Public memorial for sole survivor Dennis Hale will be Oct. 25 in Toledo

10/5 - A public memorial service for Dennis Hale, the sole survivor of a Great Lakes shipwreck nearly 50 years ago, will be held Sunday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio.

Hale, who was well-known and respected in ship, shipping and lighthouse circles, died Sept. 2 in Ashtabula, Ohio, after a battle with cancer. He was 75. In recent years he traveled the Great Lakes region telling his story of rescue after the sinking of the steamer Daniel J. Morrell in 1966 on Lake Huron in which all his other shipmates perished. He often said talking about the tragedy helped him to recover.

Hale wrote the book “Shipwrecked: Reflections of the Sole Survivor” in 2010 about his survival and rescue. It was his second volume on the subject.

The family has chosen to have a public memorial service in Toledo, as it is more centrally located for all the groups that Dennis visited many times throughout the Great Lakes area. The National Museum of the Great Lakes is located at 1701 Front St. (near I-280 freeway and Maumee River).

All are welcome to attend this informal event.


Race to North Pole not hurting Great Lakes – yet

10/5 - Duluth, Minn. – The international race to open up exploration routes through shrinking ice cover in the Arctic Ocean has the White House pressing for greater icebreaking capabilities in and around the North Pole.

Such attention would seem to clash with the well-publicized desire for another heavy icebreaker to aid the Great Lakes’ maritime industry. Heavy icebreakers are incredibly expensive and suddenly in high demand. But the race to fulfill one national prerogative has yet to affect more regionalized desires along the Great Lakes.

Since last spring, both houses in Congress have given attention to a new vessel for use in the Great Lakes.

“The ice coverage we’ve seen on Lake Superior over the past few years has hurt our ability to get Minnesota goods and products to market and underscores the urgent need for another Coast Guard icebreaker on the Great Lakes,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said in a statement to the News Tribune. “I will continue to work with the Minnesota congressional delegation and my colleagues from the Great Lakes region to make sure that the Coast Guard has the resources it needs to keep shipping lanes open for business.”

Before Arctic expeditions became a trending topic late this summer, the Great Lakes drumbeat to increase icebreaking capacity grew loudly following two straight springs fraught with ice-cover.

Last April, a soup of heavy ice formations in Whitefish Bay on the eastern end of Lake Superior left 18 vessels tied up in the bay. Their extraction required a massive ice-breaking effort that drew in the Canadian Coast Guard.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, including Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Crosby, responded by authorizing the construction of a new freshwater icebreaker — with the hope that it will be included in the 2017 Coast Guard appropriations bill.

Then things grew more complicated in September. A U.S. Coast Guard vessel reached the North Pole unaccompanied — a first for the U.S.

As it did so, President Barack Obama accelerated funding for a new Arctic icebreaker by two years, to 2020 from 2022, so that the United States and its two functioning vessels can attempt to keep up in a new frontier. The President’s decision was not made without pressure. Russia already features a gaudy fleet of 40 Arctic icebreakers, the White House said, with intentions to build more.

The cost for a new Arctic icebreaker has been widely estimated at around $1 billion — significantly more than the $240 million estimated for a vessel similar to the Coast Guard’s existing heavy icebreaker on the Great Lakes, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw.

The Mackinaw fronts a fleet of nine icebreaking vessels on the Great Lakes — an assemblage of buoy tenders, including the Duluth-based Alder, and ice-breaking tugs that are all less capable than the Mackinaw.

“We are supportive of having adequate icebreaking wherever we need it,” said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers’ Association, based in Cleveland, that represents 16 American companies operating 56 U.S.-flag vessels. “But in no way should it diminish bringing another icebreaker to the Great Lakes.”

In the Senate, Nekvasil explained that provisions for a new Great Lakes icebreaker are being taken up under the auspice of the Homeland Security appropriations bill. A study has been directed to determine a need for icebreaking assets, but it also indicates the squabble that can ensue over who’s footing the bill. The Coast Guard, the Navy and the Department of Homeland Security have all been drawn into the fray over Arctic icebreaking.

“This is the beginning of what’s going to be a process,” Nekvasil said. “The fact that both the House and Senate clearly illustrated (the need) means we remain hopeful.”

Duluth News Tribune


Charlevoix County ferry damaged in fire

10/5 - Charlevoix, Mich. – A Northern Michigan ferry is out of service after a fire Friday afternoon. The Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Department says a car on the Ironton Ferry caught fire. The ferry is no longer operational due to the damage. The ferry manager said his captain tried to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, but that didn't work.

She finished the three-minute trip across Lake Charlevoix and got everyone off the ferry safely. But now the ferry will not be taking passengers, possibly for the remainder of the season.

“Fortunately we’re not an island, it means that it's going to add another 25 minutes from their daily commute, It's a great service for people who live close by here that want to go to Charlevoix and vice versa that want to go to Boyne City. It'll be an inconvenience.”

The ferry takes about 200 vehicles a day this time of year. Crews do not know what started the car fire. The ferry captain said the Coast Guard is coming from Sault Ste. Marie to assess the damage.

9 & 10 News


Port Reports -  October 5

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Conlon
On Saturday, Bay Shipbuilding completed the first day of sea trials on the newbuild tug Leigh Ann Moran. More trials will follow before the final delivery to the customer, Moran Towing Co.


Layoffs at Essar start Sunday

10/5 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – About 100 layoffs will take place at Essar Steel Algoma, beginning Sunday evening. Brenda Stenta, manager of corporate communications with Essar Steel Algoma, confirmed that the general layoff will begin to occur with the Sunday evening shift. Essar Steel Algoma receives its raw materials via Great Lakes freighters. “We've had to match staffing levels to production and we have experienced a sustained drop in steel prices and demand across North America and we can't sustain current production levels. We need to respond appropriately, curtail our costs and our production levels,” Stenta said.

Mike DePrat, president of USWA Local 2251 confirmed that the union has received notice that about 100 layoffs will begin Sunday as the company's response to poor market conditions.

DePrat said the jobs affected will be plant wide but some areas will be reducing operations more than others. The plate mill and cold mill plants will be the most heavily affected, he said.

Stenta said that at this point, there is no indication as to when the employees affected will be called back to work. “We're confident we can weather the cycle but we're not sure when the market recovery will occur,” she said.

DePrat said the employees are bracing for a six month layoff and blamed market conditions on the federal government's slow response to the significant steel dumping issue.

Stenta said more layoffs have not been ruled out in the coming weeks.

Sault Star


Lookback #687 – John J. Boland Jr. sank in Lake Erie on Oct. 5, 1932

The canal-sized Canadian freighter John J. Boland Jr. had taken on a load of coal for Hamilton when it got into trouble shortly after leaving Erie, P., for the short cross-lake trip to the entrance of the Welland Canal.

The sixth hatch was left open and piled with extra coal, a fairly common custom for calm water sailing, when they encountered heavier than expected seas out on the lake. The exposed hold took on water and the cargo shifted about 20 miles east of Erie and 10 miles off Barcelona, N.Y.

The John J. Boland Jr., rolled over at about 6:50 a.m. and four sailors lost their lives on Oct. 5, 1932. The other 15 members of the crew drifted ashore in the lifeboat and were saved.

The five-year-old vessel had been built on speculation at Wallsend, England, and was launched as a) Tyneville. It was sold to the Sarnia Steamship Co. of Capt. R. Scott Misener, renamed b) John J. Boland Jr., and completed in April 1928. The ship soon sailed for Canada and spent its time in the bulk trades using the St. Lawrence and Third Welland Canals.

The hull of the sunken John J. Boland Jr. has been located and it rests on its starboard side.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  October 5

September 5, 1899, the DOUGLASS HOUGHTON grounded at Sailors Encampment and sank when rammed by her barge, JOHN FRITZ. The HOUGHTON completely blocked St. Marys River traffic for five days. More than 300 boats were delayed at an estimated loss of $600,000.

On 05 September 1898, the MONTGOMERY (wooden schooner-barge, 204 foot, 709 tons, built in 1856, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan as a passenger/package freight steamer) sank in 21 feet of water on Lake St. Clair after colliding with the whaleback barge 137 (steel barge, 345 foot, 2,480 gross tons, built in 1896, at W. Superior, Wisconsin) which was being towed by the ALEXANDER McDOUGALL (steel propeller semi-whaleback freighter, 413 foot, 3,686 gross tons, built in 1898, at West Superior, Wisconsin). The MONTGOMERY was raised and repaired. She lasted another two years before breaking up in a storm in 1901.

CHI-CHEEMAUN completed her sea trials on September 5, 1974, and then cleared the Collingwood shipyard on September 26th.

BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS cleared Lorain on her maiden voyage September 5, 1942 for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

J. P. MORGAN, JR. returned to service September 5, 1948, after repairs suffered in an accident in June.

NEW QUEDOC arrived at McLouth Steel, Trenton, Michigan, on her maiden voyage September 5, 1960, with a load of Labrador iron ore. Renamed b.) QUEDOC in 1963. QUEDOC was scrapped at Curacao Island, Lesser Antilles in 1985.

The WYANDOTTE of 1916, a.) CONNEAUT, was towed down the Welland Canal on September 5- 6, 1973, on her way to the cutter’s torch at Santander, Spain.

On 5 September 1905, ABERCORN (wooden propeller 'rabbit', 126 foot, 261 gross tons, built in 1873, at Marine City, Michigan) burned at the dock at Goderich, Ontario, while unloading coal. She reportedly caught fire from the explosion of a signal lamp.

The schooner CALEDONIA, wrecked the previous autumn near the Fishing Islands on Lake Huron, was raised and arrived in Port Huron, Michigan, on September 5, 1882, under tow to be rebuilt.

1896: The Canadian passenger ship BALTIC, built in 1867 as FRANCES SMITH, burned at the dock in Collingwood. The hull drifted to shallow water and remained there for several years.

1964: A. & J. MID-AMERICA, a Seaway caller in 1963, was driven ashore at Lantau Island near Hong Kong by typhoon Ruby. The vessel was refloated October 5 but came ashore again days later during typhoon Dot on October 13. Refloated October 21, the vessel returned to service and was scrapped as e) UNION TIGER at Inchon, South Korea, after arriving in April 1968.

1964: The former HEMSEFJELL, a pre-Seaway trader, was also blown aground at Hong Kong as d) PROSPERITY during typhoon Ruby but released on October 5. It was scrapped in Thailand during 1972.

1964: The three-year old bulk carrier LEECLIFFE HALL sank in the St. Lawrence, 65 miles below Quebec City, following a collision with the APOLLONIA. Efforts to beach the ship failed and three lives were lost. The hull was dynamited as a hazard to navigation in 1966. The latter, a Greek freighter, had been a Seaway trader in 1964 and was repaired at Levis, QC. The ship was scrapped at Shanghai, China, as c) MAYFAIR after arriving on May 3, 1985.

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


Catharine Desgagnes bought by Nova Scotia company

10/4 - According to the Transport Canada website, Catharine Desgagnes is now owned by the R.J. MacIsaacc Construction Ltd. of Antigonish, N.S. She has been renamed Catherine III. The 410-foot-long vessel was built in 1962 as Gosforth, and also sailed the lakes and Seaway as Thorold before being sold to the Desgagnes interests in 1985.The MacIsaac firm recently handled the removal of the wreckage of the former laker Canadian Miner from Scatarie Island.


Marine News Demolitions – October 2015

10/4 - C Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the October 2015 issue.

Birch 3 was registered in Hong Kong when it arrived at Mumbai, India, on May 15, 2015. Scrapping began on the 16-year old vessel by Kasturi Commodities Pvt. Ltd. beginning May 26. It is hard to imagine that the 13,781 gross-ton vessel is no longer useful. It had been fresh from the Wuhu Shipyard, in Wuhu, China, when it brought steel to the Great Lakes in July 1999. The ship was under Liberian registry and returned in 2001 and twice in 2002 for Egon Oldendorff under Aruba Maritime Inc. Mathilde Oldendorff was renamed b) Kent Pioneer in 2005 and was back through the Seaway in 2006. Then, in 2008 it became c) Pacific Glory and acquired the final name of d) Birch 3 in 2009.

Meem had been a Seaway trader as a) Bahia de La Habana. The vessel dated from 1986 and later sailed as b) Havik, c) Bureba, d) Thor Sun, e) Sun and f) Sun Rise V before becoming Meem in 2012. The general cargo carrier had been built at Sestao, Spain, in 1986 and was scrapped at Alang, India, shortly after arriving on May 16, 2015.

Compiled by Rene Beauchamp, Barry Andersen and Skip Gillham


Port Reports -  October 4

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Saturday afternoon at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, St. Clair arrived and unloaded western coal from Superior. The visit was her third of the season.


Obituary: Captain Gary W. Schmidt

Captain Gary W. Schmidt, master of vessels on the Great Lakes for more than 40 years, died Friday, Oct. 2, at his home in Allouez, Wis. He Schmidt was age 69 and succumbed to cancer. For 13 years at the close of his career, Capt. Schmidt was master of the 711-foot tug-barge combination Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder of the Interlake Steamship Company.

Following service in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Chicago during the Vietnam War and during the USS Pueblo crisis, he started his career in tugs in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. He quickly worked his way up through the ranks because of his skills at sailing and compatibility with crews under him. Capt. Schmidt was a devoted fan of the Green Bay Packers, drawing attention to the Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder when he displayed his 10-foot-tall Packers player balloon in such places as Detroit, Chicago and the Soo Locks. Whether the rugged-looking Packers player balloon was cheered or booed, Capt. Schmidt savored the moments.

He was also co-author of the autobiographical book, “Real, Honest Sailing with a Great Lakes Captain,” describing in detail all the facets of mastering a large freighter on the Great Lakes today. The book won a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association. At widespread book signings and slide presentations, Capt. Schmidt fascinated audiences with his knowledge of Great Lakes commercial sailing and his personable manner. Folks simply liked him. A presentation at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay attracted an overflow crowd, requiring a back-by-popular demand second appearance. The first presentation was recorded for posterity, and copies of the DVD are held in university libraries. The title of the book, “Real, Honest Sailing,” is drawn from a crewman’s description of the kind of experience Captain Schmidt provided for all aboard.

Funeral functions will be held in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Visitation is at Malcore Funeral Home, 701 N. Baird St., Friday, Oct. 9, from 5-8 p.m. Visitation continues at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, at the funeral home until the time of the memorial service at 11 a.m., followed by military honors. Visit to share a condolence with the family.


Lookback #686 – E.B. Osler delivered first cargo to new Government Elevator on Oct. 4, 1908

When the Canadian government built a new grain storage elevator at Port Colborne in 1908, the initial customer was the bulk carrier E.B. Osler. The ship arrived to discharge the first cargo on Oct. 4, 1908, or 107 years ago today.

E.B. Osler had been built not far away from Port Colborne. It was constructed as Hull 1 of the Canadian Shipbuilding Co. shipyard at Bridgeburg, Ont., now part of Fort Erie, and the ship was launched there on Sept. 7, 1907. The 510 foot long steamer joined the St. Lawrence and Chicago Steam Navigation Co. and remained in their service until joining Canada Steamship Lines in 1916.

C.S.L. changed the name to b) Osler in 1926. The vessel made its first trip down the Welland Canal on Aug. 30, 1931, and had a total of 18 transits of the new waterway in 1932.

Osler was converted to a self-unloader at Collingwood in 1939-1940 and a new pilothouse was installed in 1943. The ship was utilized in the coal trade and was a frequent trader to Lake Ontario ports.

Renamed c) R.O. Petman in a ceremony at Toronto on June 24, 1954, the new name honored the President of the Canada Coal Co. who were important customers of C.S.L. R.O. Petman operated through the 1966 season and tied up at Kingston, Ont. It was sold to Marine Salvage on Dec. 1, 1967, resold to overseas shipbreakers and headed down the Seaway, under tow, on May 11, 1968. R.O. Petman arrived at Vado, Italy, in tandem with the Soodoc (i), on June 17, 1968. Both were pulled overseas behind the Polish tug Jantar.

Skip Gillham


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.


Wind sends lakers to anchor

10/3 - Water levels were expected to peak Friday night as strong northeast winds will push water into the western basin of Lake Erie, causing water levels to rise and lead to minor flooding along the lakeshore. Friday many boats had gone to anchor, off Colchester was the H. Lee White, Thunder Bay and Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder, Roger Blough and Atlantic Huron. Manitowoc, Capt. Henry Jackman and John G. Munson were anchored off Point Pelee. The Tug Genesis Victory and her loaded barge were stopped in the Detroit River's Ojibway Anchorage waiting for weather to clear to enter Toledo.

On Lake Michigan strong winds caused the Presque Isle to anchor Friday between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island. Alpena and Algomarine anchored NW of St. Helena Island in Lake Michigan Friday and the Victory/James L. Kuber has been anchored since Thursday off St. Joseph/Benton Harbor. Philip R. Clarke, Cason J. Callaway and Burns Harbor were on the hook near Holland, Mich.


Manitoulin naming ceremony held in China

10/3 - The naming and delivery ceremony was held for the 25,000 DWT lake-size self-unloading bulk carrier Manitoulin in Chengxi Shipyard on Sept. 28. The ship was built and converted from the tanker Lalandia Swan by Chengxi for Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. of Canada.

Present at the ceremony were Scott Bravener, president of LLT and Bonnie Bravener; Eric McKenzie, vice president of LLT, and Laura McKenzie, sponsor; Wang Yongliang, chairman and secretary to the party committee of Chengxi Shipyard; Lu Ziyou, president of Chengxi Shipyard; Ji Jun, vice president of Chengxi Shipyard; and other heads from related departments and guests.

Wang Yongliang and Scott Bravener delivered a speech about this project, expressing their appreciation for all the personnel who had contributed to this achievement, and they look forward to a further cooperation relationship between both companies.

Following that, Laura McKenzie named the vessel Manitoulin and wished it Godspeed and all its officers and crew a safe journey.

Manitoulin is scheduled to arrive in Canadian waters in about 45 days after its trans-Pacific journey, passage through the Panama Canal, up the East Coast of the United States and down the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Chengxi Shipyard


Port of Muskegon container shipping could start as early as 2016, officials say

10/3 - Muskegon, Mich. – Insisting plans to ramp up traffic through the Port of Muskegon are not far-fetched, officials say that container shipping could start as early as next season.

Logistics professional Les Brand – principal and Chief Executive Officer of Supply Chain Solutions in Grand Rapids – has been studying logistic possibilities for the region. Back in June he gave a talk about the possibility of shipping containers through Muskegon to Milwaukee and Cleveland.

But on Tuesday, Sept. 29, he said those plans are closer to reality. An initial survey indicated interest from major West Michigan manufacturers, and now serious conversations are taking place with other potential customers, he said.

"We're starting to have conversations with the agriculture folks, so you've got some big farmer activity," Brand said. He said container shipping could start as early as next season if shipping contracts are signed.

Backing up Brand at a Sept. 29 meeting with elected officials and media was the man proposing to actually purchase the ships and oversee regular shipping runs.

Newaygo's Jon Van Wylen, co-founder and Head of Operations of ECO-Ships – has a history in the merchant marine. He founded ECO-Ships with a partner, Aaron Pitrago of Superior, Wis., about nine years ago, he said.

Van Wylen said he's ready to purchase a couple of offshore support vessel, or OSV's – built to service offshore oil platforms in the gulf or Alaska. The ships are U.S.-built, U.S.-flagged, don't use ballast water and can deal with Michigan ice. He said the ships' modern diesel engines would spend about 30 percent of the energy to deliver a shipment to Milwaukee than it would take to deliver the same shipment to Chicago on trucks.

Van Wylen said the ships only draw about 8 to 15 feet of water – meaning they would be able to access harbors that are shallower than the deep-draw ports in Muskegon and Milwaukee.

"If we do want to take 10 containers out of Manistee, or Grand Haven or Holland, we have a lot of options," he said.

Muskegon would need a staging area for containers and a boom crane, he said. Those operations could start out at the Mart Dock or Verplank, and move or expand later on.

Port of Muskegon planning has sped up recently, in part due to the scheduled shutdown of Consumers Energy's B.C. Cobb energy plant. The plant's April 2016 shutdown means that roughly 140 acres of prime real estate on the port will open while regularly-scheduled shipments of coal will stop coming.

The Muskegon public recently had a chance to give feedback on the Port's future during Vision 2020, a forum hosted by the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Planning Commission.

"As a society, we're much more aware of energy issues that we were years ago," said Muskegon County Board of Commissioners Chairman Terry Sabo. "We've worked very closely with WMSRDC, their environmental people. ... We literally have all hands on deck."

Container shipping through Muskegon appeals to the business crowd because it would bypass the Chicago bottleneck, and truck freight rates are expected to rise, Brand said. Pursuing better logistics through the Port of Muskegon was voted the top priority of the West Michigan Regional Prosperity Region one year ago.

"Really, we're going to try to change the flow of shipping on the Great Lakes," said Dennis Marvin, communications director of Consumers' New Generation Department. "It's not a Muskegon story. It's not a West Michigan story. It's a Michigan story."

M Live


Gales of November celebrates, explores Lake Superior maritime heritage Nov. 6-7

10/3 - Duluth, Minn. – The 28th annual Gales of November, the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association’s annual maritime conference and fundraiser will be held Nov. 6-7 in Duluth.

This year the event pays special tribute to the 40th anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald tragedy with a panel of experts featuring noted maritime authors Frederick Stonehouse and Michael Schumacher in addition to Ric Mixter, diver and videographer who has been to the wreckage site, Pam Johnson, family member of the Fitzgerald; and researcher and administrator of the web site S.S. Fitzgerald Online, Timothy McCall Ph. D.

The two-day educational, fundraising and networking event begins Friday, November 6 at noon with a joint luncheon with the Duluth-Superior Propeller Club and continues throughout the day with speakers, tours and an evening gala.

Gales of November festivities resume at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 7 and run until 7:30 p.m. The day is filled with maritime related educational breakout presentations, exhibit hall, silent auction, and an opportunity to win the summer 2016 Cruise of a Lifetime raffle on the 1,000-foot Edwin H. Gott.

Tickets to Gales of November are required. Details and registration information can be found at All events take place at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center.



Lookback #685 – Winslow caught fire at Duluth on Oct. 3, 1891

The wooden-hulled passenger and freight carrier Winslow was built at Cleveland by Peck & Masters in 1863. The ship saw service between Buffalo and Milwaukee and accommodated 80 passengers in first class and another 250 in steerage as well as 1,000 tons of freight.

It had other routes over the years and loaded wheat in bulk for the first time at Duluth on Aug. 29, 1876, taking on 4,200 bushels from 12 rail cars.

Winslow was upgraded over the years but caught fire while loading at Duluth on Oct. 3, 1891. The blaze was discovered in the coal bunker and the flaming hull was moved from the dock and the ship was destroyed.

The remains were refloated in August 1892 and the machinery was salvaged. The hull was taken to St. Louis Bay in 1908 and scuttled. But in 1999, due to low water on Lake Superior, the hull became visible again but only for a short time.

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


Strong winds send boats to anchor

10/2 - Lake Erie - Persistent and strong northeast winds will push water into the western basin of Lake Erie, causing water levels to rise and lead to minor flooding along the lakeshore. Water levels are expected to peak Friday night, but will remain elevated Saturday. Many boats have gone to anchor in Western Lake Erie, off Colchester was the H. Lee White, Thunder Bay and Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder, Roger Blough and Atlantic Huron. Manitowoc, Capt. Henry Jackman and John G. Munson were anchored off Point Pelee. The Tug Genesis Victory and her loaded barge were stopped in the Detroit River's Ojibway Anchorage waiting for weather to clear to enter Toledo.

Overnight the water level at Toledo had reached plus 70-inches before dropping to 55-inches by late morning.


Rand Logistics takes delivery of newest Canadian-flagged self-unloader

10/2 - New York, N.Y. – Rand Logistics, Inc. on Thursday announced that it has taken delivery of its newest Canadian self-unloading vessel. The new vessel, which bears the name Manitoulin and which is undergoing finishing touches at a Chinese shipyard, will have the largest carrying capacity of any existing river-class self-unloader and is anticipated to be the most efficient vessel of its class on the Great Lakes.

"This vessel is the first new river-class self-unloader to be introduced into Great Lakes service in over 40 years and will arrive in Canada in approximately 45 days," said Scott Bravener, President of Rand's Lower Lakes Towing subsidiary.

"This additional capacity reaffirms the company's commitment to support the growth of its customers and further solidifies our position as the premier service provider in the Canadian river-class market."

The new addition increases the size of Rand's fleet to 16, including 10 Canadian flagged and 6 U.S. flagged vessels, and supports recent new long-term contracts, which took effect in April 2015.

"As reported in our first quarter fiscal 2016 financials, the new vessel will service existing business that is presently being delivered through a third party time charter, resulting in minimal profit to Rand," said Mark Hiltwein Rand's CFO.

"We anticipate transferring tonnage to our new vessel at or near the time the third party time charter agreement expires. Once fully utilized, we expect per day profitability generated from our newest vessel to exceed that of any of our existing assets."



Collision closes Port Colborne Bridge 19 until Friday

10/2 - Port Colborne, Ont. – Bridge 19 in Port Colborne will remain out of commission until at least Friday afternoon, after the cargo ship Lena J collided with it at about noon, Wednesday.

A bent steel girder supporting the bridge deck as well as other damages were visible on the lift bridge Thursday, while workers dressed in orange coveralls were making temporary repairs to the Lena J – placing sheets of plywood over the broken bridge window, shattered during the collision.

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation spokesman Andrew Bogora said no injuries were reported as a result of the collision. The cause and extent of the damage was still under investigation, he added.

“I’m not going to speculate as to the nature of the contact, that’s something that the investigators will look at,” he said in an interview from the Seaway’s Cornwall office. “That is a matter for the investigators and we’ll have to wait for them to complete their work.”

Although shipping traffic through the canal resumed Wednesday afternoon, Bogora said the bridge crossing the Welland Canal on Main Street (Hwy. 3) will remain closed to vehicles and pedestrians until at least Friday afternoon.

“At that stage, engineers will be able to reassess the state of affairs and provide an update,” he said. “It may well be that the bridge might reopen (Friday), however that’s not something I can ascertain, today.”

In the meantime, Bogora said the Seaway will try to coordinate ships passing through the waterway, to minimize the impact of traffic. “We’re going to do the best we can to keep one bridge available,” he said. Depending on how badly Bridge 19 is damaged, Port Colborne’s engineer Ron Hanson said the collision could have an impact on another Seaway project.

The Seaway was scheduled to start work Oct. 5, to replace the Weir 8 Bridge on the opposite side of the island, closing the bridge to vehicles for seven weeks.

“Getting Bridge 19 hit kind of complicates the Weir 8 project, given that there’s going to be more traffic diverted and more delays probably at the canal itself,” Hanson said.

If that project goes forward as scheduled before Bridge 19 reopens, it would limit access to the island to only the crossing near Killally Street. Instead, Hansen said he suspects that the start of the Weir 8 Bridge closure would be delayed by a week.

“We’re trying to keep in communication with (the Seaway) so we can keep residents and businesses informed,” Hanson added. “I’m waiting to hear back from the Seaway to see what the decision is for Oct. 5. It’s their call.”

Montreal based Gresco Ltd. is acting as agent for the Lena J, a 8,388 tonne cargo ship from the Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda. A representative from Gresco said the company had an investigator aboard the ship Thursday morning assessing the damages. The ship was tied along the east bank of the canal, south of Clarence St., as repairs were underway.

He said the company would not be able to provide further information until after the investigation was concluded. The ship left Montreal at about 2:30 p.m., Sept. 28 en route to Burns Harbor on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, where it was expected to arrive Saturday.

St. Catharines Standard


Port Reports -  October 2

Welland Canal
CSL Welland is making a return visit back to the Great Lakes. She is due in at the Welland Canal on Friday afternoon 2 October. She has been on the Havre St. Pierre to Sorel ore run for the past several months.

Mapleglen, which had been delayed at Quebec City due to engine trouble, has left that port en route to a Turkish scrapyard.

Lorain, Ohio – Drew Leonard
Joseph H. Thompson passed under the Henderson Bridge at 4:50 p.m. Tuesday.


Ex-Canadian Coast Guard vessel Louisbourg sold

10/2 - The CCGS Louisbourg was laid up at Sorel-Tracy in 2013 . It was then renamed 2013-03 and offered for sale. Its Canadian registry was closed on July 20, 2015 following its sale to Panamanian-flag interests, by whom it was given the new name La Cristy. As of October 1, it was still at Sorel-Tracy at the Coast Guard base. The vessel was built in 1977 at Point Tupper, N.S. René Beauchamp


Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown named Great Lakes Senator of the Year

10/2 - Washington, D.C. – Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (D) has been named 2015 Great Lakes Legislator of the Year by the largest labor/management coalition representing workers and industries dependent on shipping on America’s Fourth Sea Coast.

The award is presented annually by Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) to a legislator who has helped advance shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

“Sherrod Brown’s keen understanding of Lakes shipping has been invaluable to our industry,” said John D. Baker, President of GLMTF. “Whenever the Senate takes up issues that affect us, Senator Brown is like a Captain on the bridge carefully choosing the best course.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act WRRDA) of 2014 is a case in point. The years of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) amassing surpluses while harbors go un- or under-dredged are over because WRRDA requires the government to incrementally increase expenditures from the HMTF until they reach 100 percent of receipts by 2025.”

Baker, who is also President Emeritus of the ILA’s Great Lakes District Council, noted waterborne commerce on the Fourth Sea Coast is critically important to Ohio’s economy. “Lakes/Seaway shipping supports more than 28,000 jobs in the Buckeye State. Imagine how many more jobs we can generate once the Great Lakes Navigation System is again properly maintained.”

The past two winters have dramatically slowed shipping on the Lakes and Seaway during the ice season. “Senator Brown’s support will be critical when the Senate takes up the House’s Coast Guard Authorization Act which authorizes the Commandant to design and build another heavy icebreaker for the Great Lakes,” said Thomas Curelli, 1st Vice President of GLMTF. “The delays and cancelled cargos during the past two ice seasons cost the economy nearly $1.1 billion in business revenue and 5,000 jobs.”

Curelli, who is also Director of Operations for Fraser Shipyards, Inc. and a retired Coast Guard Commander, praised Senator Brown’s commitment to American manufacturing and his efforts to create a national manufacturing policy. “Great Lakes and Seaway shipping would not exist if it weren’t for heavy manufacturing. It takes 2.2 tons of raw materials that move on the Lakes to make a ton of steel. And now with more scheduled liner services through the Seaway, Great Lakes basin manufactures are finding it easier to export.”

Senator Brown’s political career has been dedicated to protecting American workers from unfair trade and practices, so his support for the Jones Act is unshakeable.

“Senator Brown understands that market-distorting practices have slashed the number of America vessels in the international trades, so he is adamant that our domestic trades must be governed by U.S. laws and regulations so that the playing field is level and the commerce creates jobs for Americans,” said James H.I. Weakley, 3rd Vice President of GLMTF. Weakley, who is also President of the Lake Carriers’ Association, emphasized that the Lakes Jones Act fleet pioneered such innovations as the self-unloading vessel and remains the world’s largest fleet of self-discharged ships and barges.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Lookback #684 – Former Sir John Crosbie sank in the Gulf of Mexico on Oct. 2, 1992

The coastal freighter Sir John Crosbie was Hull 30 of Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines. The 253 foot long freighter was completed in 1962 and headed down the Seaway for Maritime Canada on its maiden voyage on July 15.

The ship was owned by Crosbie Shipping Ltd. and made its first trip to Thule, Greenland. It saw regular seasonal service to Arctic communities and, in 1969, used a helicopter for the first time to unload cargoes to shore. It also worked on the East Coast off Sable Island unloading to barges for drilling work by Mobil Oil.

On Jan. 1, 1977, the Sir John Crosbie was awarded the gold-headed cane as the first arrival of the season at the port of Montreal. The ship had been overseas to Newcastle, England, and loaded a cargo there for Ontario Hydro.

In 1980, the ship was sold to Puddister Trading and renamed b) Terra Nova. It was used in the East Coast seal hunt, saw some service on fisheries patrol, suffered an explosion and small fire off St. Anthony, NF on Feb. 9, 1981, and received heavy ice damage in the Arctic on Oct. 3, 1990, that led to the ship having to be beached.

Terra Nova was refloated and received temporary repairs in the north to enable a return south. There it was laid up at Botwood, NF and declared a total loss.

The freighter was sold, repaired and registered in Honduras as c) Holsten in 1992. It did not last the year. The vessel sank off the west coast of Florida on Oct. 2, 1992, after encountering heavy seas that stove in the bunker tank. Holsten went down in an hour but all on board were able to abandon safely and were rescued.

Skip Gillham


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.


Ship clips bridge 19 in Port Colborne

10/1 - Port Colborne, Ont. – A ship came into contact with Bridge 19 in Port Colborne Wednesday. In a statement to Erie Media from Andrew Bogora, Communications and Public Relations Officer, The Seaway Management Corporation, made details of the incident available.

“At approximately 12 noon today, the vessel Lena J came into contact with Bridge 19. The cause of this incident is currently under investigation,” he said in the statement. “Both the ship and the bridge sustained some damage.”

“Navigation on the Welland Canal in the vicinity of Port Colborne was suspended following the incident, and should resume later this afternoon,” he said.

“The bridge is currently undergoing an inspection. A determination as to the bridge’s ability to resume normal operation to accommodate motorists and pedestrians is pending,” he said.

In the statement he also said: “During the time in which Bridge 19 is not available to motorists and pedestrians, efforts will be made avoid having both remaining bridges (19a and 21) raised at the same time.”

Erie Media


Indiana, Quebec form partnership to boost shipping

10/1 - Portage, Ind. – Quebec's exports to the Midwest have grown by 30 percent over the last five years, and now the Canadian province and Indiana are looking to see how they can build on that trade.

Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann and Quebec Minister of International Relations Christine St-Pierre announced Tuesday Indiana and Quebec will launch a new Great Lakes shipping partnership.

An estimated 40 percent of the business from Great Lakes shipping is generated in Indiana, an entry point to the Midwest, and Quebec, a portal to international markets that can be reached on the Atlantic Ocean. Quebec is looking to invest $9 billion in maritime shipping over the next 50 years.

"Indiana is a significant economic partner of Quebec in the Midwest, especially with respect to maritime transportation," St-Pierre said. "This partnership with Indiana shows that the new Quebec Maritime Strategy already has a strong positive impact in our relations with our largest trading partner, the United States."

The Port of Indiana's stevedore, Quebec-based Fednav, is investing $500 million in new ships and spent $1.3 million last year on upgrades at the deepwater port on Lake Michigan in Portage. Fednav typically ships steel to Portage and then grain from Indiana to Canada and other overseas markets, Government Affairs Director Marc Gagnon said. Other cargoes include European-made brewery tanks bound for Chicago craft breweries such as Laguinitas and Revolution.

A new partnership between Quebec and Indiana could help identify new cargoes and boost existing shipping volumes, Gagnon said. Lake freighters could handle freight that's now traveling by rail or semi-trucks, since the Great Lakes shipping system is only operating at roughly 50 percent of capacity.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is coming off a record year but could easily handle twice as much cargo without any significant investments, Ports of Indiana Vice President Jody Peacock said.

Indiana currently handles about 30 million tons of Great Lakes cargo, mostly iron ore that's bound for the steel mills. The new partnership could boost traffic, creating more opportunity for Indiana business and leading to more investment in the state, Ellspermann said.

"Burns Harbor has never been bigger or better; 2014 was our highest cargo volume with shipments up 30 percent," she said.

The port received more than 500 river barges, a 25 percent increase over the previous year. Ocean vessels were up by 30 percent.

"Together Indiana and Quebec are more than 40 percent of the shipping revenue that goes on between the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway," she said.

"That's quite phenomenal. At this summer's Conference of the Great Lakes, Minister St-Pierre and I discussed how we might take advantage of these waterways, particularly this idea of short-sea shipping, which is a very important advantage that we have in Quebec and Indiana."

NWI Times


$174K in federal grants given for Port of Muskegon development

10/1 - Muskegon, Mich. – More than $174,000 in federal grants for Muskegon County economic development were announced Tuesday, Sept. 29.

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters announced two Economic Development Administration grants focused on the Port of Muskegon.

A $62,500 grant will pay for studies on how to increase the flow of locally manufactured goods through the Port of Muskegon. The grant would be received by the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission and matched with local money for a total budget of $125,000.

The money would fund two studies centered on the Port. The first study would examine the infrastructure near the port for water, rail, air and road, and the current limits or capacity of that infrastructure. The second study would examine different ways of organizing the Port of Muskegon – everything from a privatized port to a fully public Port Authority, said Commission Executive Director Erin Kuhn.

"One of Muskegon's top priorities is to increase the flow of goods like agricultural products through their Port," Stabenow said in released statement. "This support will help the Commission develop the Port and expand shipping opportunities, which will create jobs, boost the local economy and benefit communities and families throughout the region."

A $111,706 grant would fund study the economic benefits of using the Port of Muskegon to recycle and reuse structural debris from around the Great Lakes for other projects in the region.

The grant would be received by Michigan State University and the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission and matched with other money for a total budget of $223,412, Kuhn said. Just $7,500 would be allocated from Muskegon county, she said.

The idea – a brainchild of Muskegon County Grants Coordinator Connie Maxim-Sparrow – is to study the shipping and re-purposing of structural materials like asphalt, bricks, and concrete from the tear-downs of blighted properties for other projects in the region.

"The Great Lakes are a vital economic engine for Michigan, and we must ensure that our port communities have the resources and infrastructure needed to support commerce throughout the region," said Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. "This funding will help boost the Muskegon Port's position as a logistics hub for moving commercial goods as well as repurposed materials that will help improve our neighborhoods, support business development and create new jobs in West Michigan."

M Live


Carbon debate must consider Great Lakes-Seaway shipping’s environmental advantages

10/1 - As the debate continues at home and abroad on carbon offsetting measures, the Chamber of Marine Commerce is urging stakeholders and governments to carefully consider the environmental advantages and the competitive challenges faced by the bi-national Great Lakes-St. Lawrence shipping industry.

The call comes as the Ontario government develops details of a new cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and federal government negotiators head to Paris in December for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting.

Stephen Brooks, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said that some past Canadian and U.S. regulations arising from international environmental commitments didn’t properly differentiate between domestic and global shipping.

He explained: “Unlike the global shipping fleet, most domestic shipping competes directly with road and rail. The more we unnecessarily burden this short-sea shipping with extra costs, the greater likelihood this freight moves to less environmentally-friendly modes. We also need to think about the negative impact of thousands, even millions of more heavy trucks on our overburdened highways and in neighborhoods where our families live, work and play.”

Ships have the lowest carbon footprint per tonne-kilometre. A recent study done by Research and Traffic Group showed that rail and truck would respectively emit 19 per cent and 533 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions per cargo tonne-kilometre if these modes carried the same cargo the same distance as the Great Lakes-Seaway fleet.

Added Allister Paterson, president of Canada Steamship Lines: “Canadian ship owners are investing over $2 billion in new Great Lakes ships and technologies that significantly further reduce fuel consumption, greenhouse gases and air emissions.”

Great Lakes-Seaway shipping supports 227,000 jobs and $35 billion in business revenues in Canada and the U.S., and contributes to the competitiveness of North American manufacturing, mining, energy and agricultural sectors.

Chamber of Marine Commerce


Montreal - Lake Ontario Notices to Shipping #27 and #28

10/1 -


Lookback #683 – Former Annemarie Kruger laid up in Turkey with damage on Oct. 1, 1984

The 338 foot long general cargo carrier Annemarie Kruger was launched at Papenburg, West Germany, on Oct. 27, 1962. It was completed the following January and began Seaway trading later in the year. The ship made three trips inland in 1963 and was back five more times in 1965 and four more in 1967.

Annemarie Kruger was chartered to Canadian Pacific Steamships during parts of 1966, 1967 and 1969 and made 13 trips on their behalf.

In 1976, the ship was sold and registered in Singapore as b) City of Bochum and no longer traded to the Great Lakes. It became c) Sabine I in 1979, Panama flag, and d) Sabine II for the same owners in 1980.

The final name of e) Banko came in 1983 when the ship was resold while retaining Panamanian registry. The vessel suffered engine damage while on a voyage from Alexandria, Egypt, to Greece in 1984 and was sent to Finike, Turkey, arriving for lay-up 31 years ago today.

The former Seaway trader was not repaired and it remained idle until sold to Turkish shipbreakers in 1986. As Banko, the ship arrived at Aliaga, under tow, on Aug. 3, 1986, and was broken up by Gursay Gemi Sokum Ticaret A.S.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 1

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Atlantic Patriot, Eva Schulte, Federal Beaufort, Floragracht, Industrial More, Nordana Sky, Sundaisy E.


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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