Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Two Ships Aground at Iroquois Lock

11/29 - 9:00pm Update - An eyewitness has said that the Spar Opal has been freed, and is presently at the tie up wall at Iroquois, She was released when Spar Opal swung her cranes to her port side, only then were Ocean Jupiter and Ocean Bravo able pull her off her perch. The situation was made difficult by a channel marker close to her stern. The current is strong at this location and kept pushing her back onto the bank the moment either tug reduced the tension on the tow line. Spar Opal is now moored at the extreme west end of the upper tie wall.

Golden Eye remains beached below the control dam. She is not anchored and the bow is very close to the channel marker 107, which is actually a pole on the shore with a green light atop it. When the ship was freed from her original strand it was allowed to drift down the river a very short distance and fetch up on the beach bow first. Why she was not taken out into the emergency anchorage area nearby remains a mystery.

The tug Commodore Straits was asked to leave after this and she passed up the canal about 3:00pm and went to the Prescott Elevators to dock.

The tug Ocean Hercules arrived about 5:00pm and is anchored in the river below the grounded Golden Eye. The fleet of tugs has given notice that they will be underway tomorrow morning at 5:00am to pull Golden Eye off the shore.

Reported by Kent Malo and Ron Beaupre

11/29 - 8:00am Update - Golden Eye is being reported by the Seaway as in the Emergency Anchorage below the Iroquois Lock, while Spar Opal remains tied at the Lock Upper Wall.

The Ocean tug Ocean Bravo arrived at the grounding site before 6:00am Wednesday. The second Ocean tug Ocean Jupiter has just departed from the upper wall of Snell lock after being fog bound. Tugs Ocean Bravo and Commodore Strait are alongside the anchored Golden Eye, which seems to have been pulled from her grounding site. Pictures in the News Photo Gallery.

Reported by Kent Malo

11/28 - 8:00 pm Update - Another Group Ocean tug has left Montreal to assist the grounded vessels at Iroquois. The 5000hp tug Ocean Jupiter departed Section 57, Port of Montreal, and is proceeding to the Seaway at 7:45pm.

11/28 - 5:00pm Update - The Ocean company tug Ocean Bravo left Montreal Tuesday afternoon to assist the two grounded vessels at Iroquois and is presently at Cote Ste. Catherines.

Reported by Kent Malo

Original story - 11/28- 3:30pm - St. Lawrence Seaway - It began with Spar Opal losing power as she was approaching the upper tie wall above Iroquois Lock at 8:40pm Monday night. She dropped all three anchors and the current pushed the ship aground a short distance above the lock on the south bank.

In the lock was Algosoo. Below Iroquois upbound was Golden Eye. Behind Golden Eye was the light tug Commodore Straits.

The Commodore Straits suggested she go up to assist the Spar Opal and this led to the pilot on Golden Eye to believe they should go to the anchorage below the Iroquois Control Dam on the U.S. side, just in case the Algosoo wanted to back out of the lock.

Golden Eye got caught in the strong current during the turn and shot through the anchorage in onto the river bank, below Rocky Point. To make matters worse, the wind is now strong from the east and the river level is dropping and both ships are listing and hard aground.

At midnight Algosoo cleared upbound and slid the upper tie wall nearly to the west end and proceeded up. Ships above and below went to anchor for the night and one way traffic resumed Tuesday morning as Commodore Straits runs from one grounded ship to the other with inspectors and takes soundings.

Reported by Ron Beaupre, Walter Statham & Kent Malo

Updates will be provided as they become available.


Port Reports - November 30

Marquette - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
On Wednesday afternoon, Steamer American Victory made a first appearance in Marquette with her new name and stack colors. She unloaded western coal from Superior. She continues to wear her WWII battle stars.
Tug/Barge Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder arrived before sunset for a load of ore.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine entered the inner harbour at 1:00 pm Wednesday and proceeded to make a very speedy left wheel turn. She was on the Sifto Salt dock and loading by 1:45 pm.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Early Wednesday afternoon, 29 November, the Federal Yukon (FedNav) was at Municipal Pier #2 in the outer harbor. Otherwise, all else was quiet.


Updates - November 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Iroquois Lock grounded vessels Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 30

On 30 November 1896, CITY OF KALAMAZOO (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 162 foot, 728 gross tons, built in 1892, at South Haven, Michigan) burned at her lay-up dock at South Haven, Michigan with the loss of four lives. She was rebuilt and lasted until 1911, when she burned again.

On 30 November 1934, HENRY CORT (steel propeller whaleback crane vessel, 320 foot, 2,394 gross tons, built in 1892, at W. Superior, Wisconsin as PILLSBURY) was driven onto the north pier at Muskegon, Michigan in a storm. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter ESCANABA rescued her crew, but one Coast Guardsman lost his life. The vessel settled in shallow water and then broke in half. Her remains were scrapped the following year.

The CANADIAN PIONEER suffered a major engine room fire on 30 Nov 1987, at Nanticoke, Ontario.

On November 30, 1981, the A H FERBERT was laid up for the last time at the Hallett Dock #5, Duluth, Minnesota.

The PERE MARQUETTE 22 passed down the Welland Canal on November 30, 1973, in tow of the tugs JOHN PURVES and YVON SIMARD en route to Sorel, Quebec where she was cut down to a barge for off-Lakes use.

On 30 Nov 1967, the CITY OF FLINT 32 was laid up, never to run again.

On 30 Nov 1900, ALMERON THOMAS (2-mast wooden schooner, 50 foot, 35 gross tons, built in 1891, at Bay City, Michigan) was carrying gravel in a storm on Lake Huron when she sprang a leak and ran for the beach. She struck bottom and then capsized. She broke up in twenty feet of water near Point Lookout in Saginaw Bay, No lives were lost.

The schooner S J HOLLY came into the harbor at Oswego, New York on 30 November 1867, after a hard crossing of Lake Ontario. The previous day she left the Welland Canal and encountered a growing gale. Capt. Oscar Haynes sought calm water along the north shore, but the heavy seas and freezing winds made sailing perilous, The ropes and chains froze stiff and the schooner was almost unmanageable. The only canvas out was a two reef foresail and it was frozen in place. With great skill, the skipper managed to limp into port, having lost the yawl and sustained serious damage to the cargo. Fortunately no lives were lost.

On 30 Nov 1910, ATHABASKA (steel propeller passenger steamer, 263 foot, 1,774 gross tons, built in 1883, in Scotland) collided with the tug GENERAL and sank near Lonely Island in Georgian Bay. No lives were lost. She was later recovered and rebuilt as a bulk freighter and lasted until she was broken up in 1948.

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


Morrell’s Horror Lingers Four Decades after Sinking

11/29 - Port Huron - A terrible storm, a sunken freighter, dozens of bodies and one remarkable story of a man’s survival.

Those who remember won’t soon forget the sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell on Nov. 29, 1966, in Lake Huron about 20 miles northeast of Harbor Beach at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb. On the 40th anniversary of the disaster, people living along Lake Huron recall with awe the miracle of Dennis Hale’s survival and the newspaper images of frozen bodies being hauled from rescue helicopters that came too late.

Twenty-eight men — including one from St. Clair, wheelsman Charles F. Fosbender — died when the Morrell split in two. Only Hale, now 66 and living in Rocky River, Ohio, survived. Freezing cold and wet, Hale spent about 36 hours on a life raft watching his companions die and waiting for help.

“It is an incredible story as far as recent history is concerned,” said Tim Juhl of Forester Township, a retired teacher and diver. He helped Hale write a book about his experience, titled Soul Survivor: Dennis Hale’s Own Story. “It is one of the greatest stories of Great Lakes disaster and survival in the face of insurmountable odds.”

The Morrell, a 7,000 ton, 600-foot freighter owned by a Pennsylvania steel company, fractured its bottom hull and broke in half while navigating 65-mph winds, 25-foot waves and frigid temperatures.  It now lies in two pieces about five miles apart and 200 feet below the surface of Lake Huron.

Slim chances
Most of the crew aboard the Morrell, including three men on the raft with Hale, died long before anyone knew the ship had gone down. The ship lost power before an SOS signal could be sent — later inspiring rules requiring ships to have backup systems for radios.

A search did not begin until Nov. 30 when the crew aboard another ship found a body wearing a Morrell lifejacket floating in Lake Huron between Port Hope and Harbor Beach. A few hours later, Coast Guard officers in a helicopter found Hale, amazed he was alive, Juhl said. Rescue workers continued searching but found none of the other men alive. Slowly, the men’s bodies were recovered, some not for several months.

“That water was terrible. It was cold — and full of death,” U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Ward A. Lewis, who commanded the search for survivors, said in a 1966 United Press International story.

Bold headlines
For many days and anniversaries following the shipwreck, the Times Herald and other newspapers printed stories of the disaster, often telling the tale from Hale’s point of view.

In the days after rescue workers began recovering bodies, Harbor Beach was filled with reporters from Port Huron, across Michigan and the nation, said Ralph Polovich, a semi-retired Times Herald photographer. Polovich was at the scene with a camera as a Coast Guard helicopter rescued Hale from the life raft. “No question, it was a major-league story. It got attention all over the country,” Polovich said.

“For 28 sailors to lose their lives in a ship sinking is big news ... it was a tragic loss of life.” It was amazing Hale survived, Polovich said.

Hale, who has been to Port Huron several times, has told his story throughout the state and has struggled with guilt, leading him sometimes to live destructively, Juhl said. Still, people who know the story consider Hale a marvel.

Clear memories
Leonard DeFrain, 86, of Harbor Beach vividly remembers the Morrell’s sinking and Hale’s survival. DeFrain’s wife, an aide at Harbor Beach Community Hospital, was working when Hale was brought to the hospital. DeFrain first heard about the wreck on the radio while driving to work.

The following day, he said, he filmed at least one body being brought into the Harbor Beach marina, where the police, FBI and Coast Guard had gathered. He was interested but did not want to get close to the scene. “Most of the men were frozen, some of them were mutilated in some way or another,” DeFrain said.

The event shook the small city, where many families knew people who worked on the water. “It certainly wasn’t a happy town. People were quite concerned,” he said. DeFrain said there had been many shipwrecks before the Morrell but “nothing of this magnitude.”

The aftermath
Since the shipwreck, a book and DVD have been released.

The DVD features underwater footage of the ship, which forever will sit at Lake Huron’s bottom about 16 miles off Pte. Aux Barques, attracting divers and shipwreck enthusiasts. It is an “eerie” place, said Juhl, who has seen the sunken ship several times.

“You realize that you are seeing through a vessel that sank and claimed the lives of many men. “They weren’t anything extraordinary. They were just normal people, but because of what happened they are part of our maritime history.”

From the Port Huron Times-Herald


St. Mary's Challenger Ready for Lay Up

11/29 - Charlevoix - The St. Mary's Challenger has one cargo left for the season. The vessel is currently in Chicago, where she will sail light for Charlevoix to load a "lay up" load of cement for Chicago. The vessel will lay up at the Heavy Lift Dock near the St. Mary's Cement terminal.

The St. Mary's Challenger celebrated her 100th season of operation this year making her the oldest operating ship on the Great Lakes.

Reported by Dustin Sadowski


Ballast Regulation Could Shut Down Great Lakes Shipping

11/29 - Milwaukee - Now that the State of Michigan has floated what has previously been the unthinkable - a ban on Great Lakes freighters using ballast water on many of their traditional shipping routes to prevent the spread of dangerous invasive species - the debate is picking up steam across the region.

Conservation groups and state fishery bosses from New York to Minnesota are applauding the decision by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission to at least put the idea on the table. But one shipping industry representative says the toll such a ban would take on the region's economy would be catastrophic.

The Michigan commission's request came in the form of a resolution to ban the uptake of ballast water in all Great Lakes waters infected by viral hemorrhagic septicemia, a disease that poses no danger to humans but causes fish to bleed to death. The disease, first discovered in the Great Lakes in 2005, has been detected in Lakes Erie and Ontario, as well as Michigan's Lake St. Clair and the lower St. Lawrence River.

To halt its spread, the federal government's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued emergency restrictions on many live fish shipments from the eight Great Lakes states. APHIS officials say they are also considering the Michigan request to ban ballast uptakes, though they will not discuss how long it may take to reach a decision.

Ballast water is used to stabilize freighters sailing without full cargo loads. The idea of a ballast ban is to prevent a ship from accidentally picking up VHS-infected water or fish in the eastern Great Lakes and transporting it to the presently virus-free Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron.

Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers' Association, which represents U.S. ships operating inside the Great Lakes, said that freighters can take precautions to avoid the likelihood of picking up unwanted hitchhikers, but the requested outright ban on ballast water uptakes would essentially kill the movement of critical raw materials across the region.

"It would stop the flow of iron ore, coal and limestone to all of Lake Erie and the Detroit-St. Clair corridor," Weakley said . "So not only would you put steelworkers out of business, you'd shut down the construction industry, and it would likely result in brownouts and power outages because you wouldn't have coal for power generation."

Trains and trucks, he said, are simply not a viable transportation alternative. One 1,000-foot lake carrier can transport as much ore as 700 railroad cars, or 2,800 trucks. "The capacity doesn't exist in the rail or truck mode to move that amount of cargo, even if it was forced to go that way," he said. "Without the efficient transportation of heavy, dry bulk cargo, you simply could not maintain the Great Lakes region as the manufacturing heartland of North America."

But others worry what the spread of VHS or the next unwanted fish, critter or bug could do to the health of the world's largest freshwater ecosystem and the $4.5 billion fishery it sustains.

Ballast water is such a controversial issue because it is believed to be the pathway for most recent arrivals of unwanted species. The Great Lakes are now home to more than 180 non-native species, and research shows ballast water can be blamed for the majority of species invasions during the past three decades.

It is not the fleet of lake-bound "lakers" that are responsible for the problem. Rather, it is the oceangoing fleet of "salties" that arrive in the Great Lakes from foreign ports via the St. Lawrence Seaway that open the door to many of the invaders now in the region, including zebra mussels and round gobies.

The problem for lakers, however, is that they could be moving those unwanted species once they get a foothold in the lakes.
That's why conservation groups are backing the Michigan ballast-ban request for the eastern Great Lakes. "We support wholeheartedly the (Michigan) request," said Jordan Lubetkin of the National Wildlife Federation. "They've looked at the issue in an objective way and have not been afraid to put on the table solutions that are needed."

Some state fishery bosses in the Great Lakes states agree more must be done to stop the spread of VHS and the next unwanted organism or disease, and they say it's time to take a hard look at ballast water discharges from vessels operated solely within the Great Lakes.

"Anything we can do to further regulate or curtail or shut down ballast water movement and the potential impacts brought about by the transfer of that water would be a great thing to do," said Doug Stang, Bureau of Fisheries chief for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

His counterpart in Minnesota agrees that the ballast water problem can no longer be ignored in the fight to slow the arrival and spread of invasive species. "If we leave a major vector, a major pathway like ballast water open, the other efforts are doomed to failure," said Ron Payer, fisheries chief for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Caught somewhere in the middle is the Great Lakes Commission, a bi-national agency created by the Great Lakes states and provinces to promote both the economic development and conservation of Great Lakes resources.

"We have not sorted out what the commission's position is, but it's becoming more and more apparent we have to have a solution to the ballast water problem, and we have to have a solution that respects the importance of the Great Lakes as a freshwater resource - a resource that we rely on for drinking water," said Tim Eder, the commission's executive director. "Whether that (rule) is federal, bi-national, international or just regional, at this point I don't care, as long as it happens quickly."

Weakley said he'd like to see the federal government pass tougher ballast regulations for the oceangoing vessels. Legislation to accomplish just that has languished in Congress for several years. "It's not our fault," Weakley said of the species that have been brought into the lakes by the salty fleet. "But it's certainly become our problem."

Weakley said it has also become the problem of any individual or industry that could somehow move a species within the lakes, including recreational boaters, fish hatchery operations and the live bait trade.

Reported by Jim Zeirke from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Port Reports - November 29

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The New York State Power Authority has begun looking for a new storage area somewhere on the Buffalo waterfront to keep the Niagara River Ice Boom. The current site between Times Beach and City Piers is considered prime waterfront property and local officials would like to make it part of any future redevelopment plan. The 13 acre property will be transferred to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. after the Power Authority moves out. The best-case scenario would have the new site ready to accept the 1.7 mile long boom by Spring 2007 so that when it is removed after winter, it can go right into storage. The NYSPA would like to find a location somewhere near the North Entrance to Buffalo Harbor and is looking to take out a 20 year lease.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Tuesday, saltwater bulker Federal Yukon (reg. Hong Kong) was moored stern-in at Municipal Terminal #2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor, a dock usually used for deliveries of steel and wind turbine components.

Toledo -
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was on loading at The Andersons Erwin Facility.
Federal Maas was loading at the ADM Elevators.
Federal Danube was finishing up to get underway at The Anderson Kuhlman Facility. Great Lakes tugs; Nebraska and Idaho were there to assist.
Canadian Transfer came in about 2:00pm and had to stand by the Toledo Shipyard while Federal Danube got underway down bound for the lakes.
Orla was being off loaded via clam shell buckets at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, International.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Manistee was loading Tuesday night at the Norfolk Southern coal dock.
Due for an early Wednesday arrival at the dock is the Canadian Olympic.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Two visitors into port Tuesday, the first being Algosteel, who loaded through the night and Canadian Navigator who took her place on the Sifto Salt dock in the early afternoon.


Updates - November 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Iroquois Lock grounded vessels Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 29

In 1953, the BENJAMIN F FAIRLESS, Captain H. C. Buckley, transported the last iron ore of the season through the Soo locks. The ore originated at Two Harbors and was unloaded at Conneaut. After unloading, the FAIRLESS headed for Monroe, Michigan for lay up.

On 29 November 1886, ALFRED P WRIGHT (wooden propeller tug, 56 gross tons, built in 1877, at Buffalo, New York) was towing the schooner A J DEWEY in a blizzard and gale in the harbor at Manistee, Michigan. The tow line parted and fouled the WRIGHT's propeller. Disabled, she capsized and her crew clung to the overturned hull. One crewman swam 1,000 feet to shore and summoned the U.S. Lifesaving Service. The WRIGHT's and DEWEY's crews were both rescued but three lifesavers were lost in this effort.

On November 29, 1966, the DANIEL J MORRELL sank approximately 20 miles north of Harbor Beach in Lake Huron. Her nearly identical sistership, the EDWARD Y TOWNSEND, was traveling about 20 miles behind the MORRELL and made it to the Lime Island Fuel Dock in the St. Mary's River where cracks were found in her deck; the TOWNSEND proceeded to Sault Ste. Marie where she was taken out of service. The TOWNSEND sank in the Atlantic on October 7, 1968, while being towed overseas for scrap.

E B BARBER was laid up for the last time at Toronto, Ontario on 29 Nov 1984.

On November 29, 1903, snow and stormy seas drove the two-and-a-half year old J T HUTCHINSON onto an uncharted rock (now known as Eagle River Reef) one-half mile off shore and 10 miles west of Eagle Harbor, Michigan near the northwestern coast of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

On November 29, 1974, the PERE MARQUETTE 21 was loaded with remnants of Port Huron's Peerless Cement Dock, which reportedly were bound for Saudi Arabia, and cleared there in tow of the Great Lakes Towing Co., tugs AMERICA and OHIO.

The SYLVANIA was in a collision with the DIAMOND ALKALI in the Fighting Island Channel of the Detroit River on 29 Nov 1968, during a snow squall. SYLVANIA's bow was severely damaged.

The propeller BURLINGTON had barges in tow up bound on Lake Erie when she was damaged by the ice and sank in the Pelee Passage.

On 29 November 1856, ARABIAN (3-mast wooden bark, 116 foot, 350 tons, built in 1853, at Niagara, Ontario) had stranded on Goose Island Shoal, 10 miles ENE of Mackinac Island ten days earlier. She was relieved of her cargo and was being towed to Chicago by the propeller OGONTZ when a gale blew in and the towline parted. ARABIAN made for shore, her pumps working full force and OGONTZ following. During the night they were separated and ARABIAN sank off Point Betsey in Lake Michigan. Her crew escaped in her yawl.

In 1903, the PERE MARQUETTE 19 arrived Ludington on her maiden voyage. Captain John J. Doyle in command.

On 29 November 1881, the 149 foot wooden propeller NORTHERN QUEEN, which had been involved in a collision with the 136 foot wooden propeller canaller LAKE ERIE just five days before, struck the pier at Manistique so hard that she was wrecked. Besides her own crew, she also had LAKE ERIE's crew on board.

On 29 Nov 1902, BAY CITY (1-mast wood schooner-barge, 140 foot, 306 gross tons, built in 1857, at Saginaw, Michigan as a brig) was left at anchor in Thunder Bay by the steamer HURON CITY during a storm. BAY CITY's anchor chain parted and the vessel was driven against the Gilchrist dock at Alpena, Michigan and wrecked. Her crew managed to escape with much difficulty.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.



Mississagi Disabled in St. Clair River

11/28 - 8:00pm Update -  Mississagi is in the north end of the North Slip. She may be finished for the season, as her pilothouse shutters have been put in place.

Reported by Barry Hiscock

11/28 - 3:30pm - Algonac - The Mississagi was disabled near Algonac MI Monday evening.

It is believed she delivered a load of stone to Harsens Island in the North Channel and was upbound when engine or other mechanical problems occurred.

She was towed upstream to Sarnia, Tuesday morning at 7:45am by the Gaelic Towing tugs Shannon and Patricia Hoey.

Reported by Stewart R. Mac Donald

Updates will be provided as they become available.


BoatNerd Tops 10 Million

11/28 - Monday morning over 10,000,000 visits had been recorded to the main page of the Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping home page. The counter was started as the page was launched in 1995.

The ten millionth visitor passed without noticing the counter.

It is interesting to note that the first month the page was live in 1995, 590 visits were recorded. Today the main page (not counting individual pages or users that enter by book mark) receives an average of 230,000 unique visitor sessions each month.

The site represents a huge time commitment by the staff of volunteers and we would like to thank to all the viewers and contributors for making the web site what it is today.

2006 has been a good year for BoatNerd, the site has been organized as a 501 (c) (3) non profit. Soon we will start fund raising through a raffle to replace aging server equipment and pay our $1,000 a month data connection charges.


Jobs by the Boatload

11/28 - Duluth - There’s a lot of gray hair floating on the Great Lakes these days.

The average age of licensed officers serving on Great Lakes vessels is about 53, according to Adm. John Tanner, head of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, a school for mariners in Traverse City, Mich. And many of those seamen are fast approaching retirement, said Tanner, who noted that it’s common for officers in their mid- to late-50s to call it quits. “It’s not only a matter of trying to keep our numbers strong,” Tanner said. “It’s an issue because all that knowledge is leaving our industry.”

Tanner said carriers rightly are concerned about a looming shortage of mariners, unless more people train for careers on the Great Lakes. “Obviously, we need to create the next generation of officers,” said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers Association, a Cleveland-based trade organization representing the operators of U.S.-flagged ships on the Great Lakes.

“It is a real concern,” said Kevin McMonagle, vice president of human resources for American Steamship Co., a Great Lakes carrier based in Williamsville, N.Y., just outside of Buffalo. “We certainly can’t take our work force for granted.” Toward that end, McMonagle said American Steamship has developed succession plans and has been grooming junior officers to assume greater responsibilities in the future.

Unfortunately, Tanner said most people seem unaware of the job opportunities, moving freight on the Great Lakes. “It’s a very quiet industry,” he said.

McMonagle finds it odd that more people aren’t pursuing maritime careers. “There’s a lot of interest out there in Great Lakes shipping, but people don’t seem to know about the employment opportunities on these vessels,” he said. McMonagle said it’s still possible to land an entry-level job as a utility worker or a seaman and advance through shipboard experience and study to positions of progressively greater authority. In the industry, this is called working your way “up the hawse pipe.”

It’s also possible to move straight into an officer’s post with proper formal training. The Great Lakes Maritime Academy offers four-year degrees that qualify graduates to serve as officers on either freshwater or saltwater ships. Tanner said most graduates can expect to earn around $60,000 during their first year out of college. Still, many cadets don’t make the cut. Tanner said graduation rates vary from class to class, but typically between 40 and 55 percent of students who enroll in the academy drop out or fail to earn a degree.

At present, about 130 cadets are enrolled at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. That’s well shy of the 200-cadet target Tanner has set, in hopes of meeting the growing need for new officers.

Many graduates from merchant marine academies, such as the school in Traverse City, are lured into shoreside jobs, however. Only about 5 to 10 percent of people who earn four-year maritime degrees still are on the water 20 years later, according to Richard Plant, director of special projects for the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots. He said research has shown that 80 to 85 percent ultimately find employment in a maritime-related industry, and another 10 to 15 percent take jobs in an unrelated field.

Davis Helberg, former director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and a one-time laker deckhand, said some attrition is to be expected, given the demands of sailing. “People tend to go to sea when they’re young,” Helberg said. “But once a mariner reaches a certain age, life away from home and family often becomes more difficult, so the number of people who hang in there long enough to become officers and engineers diminishes.”

Fred Cummings, former marine superintendent for the Great Lakes Fleet, a Duluth-based carrier, worked 20 years on the water before taking a shoreside job. He said working on a laker means spending long stretches of time away from home. Typically, crew members spend two solid months on the water, then take one month of vacation and repeat the cycle throughout the Great Lakes shipping season. Mariners also get a break during the winter lay up, from mid-January through March.

“It takes a special breed of person to be employed on a laker,” he said. “But it’s just as important to have a loving and understanding wife, because you do give up a lot of time with your family. It takes a lot of dedication from your spouse.”

Plant agreed that the seaman’s life can be tough on families. “Every mariner has stories about deaths, weddings, birthdays or anniversaries they missed,” he said. “When you’re on a ship, you’re working seven days a week.”

But seamen generally are compensated well for their services. Licensed officers can earn from $60,000 to more than $100,000 per year, and an able seaman or a qualified member of a ship’s engine department typically makes between $35,000 and $40,000 for starters, according to Tanner. That’s for about 200 days’ worth of work.

The pay sometimes makes it hard for even disenchanted mariners to leave the profession, Helberg said, calling it the “golden handcuff” effect. “Some people find they can’t leave, because they’re making money they could never make on shore,” he said.

Although Great Lakes carriers today are concerned about a potential shortage of mariners, there was a time when the industry had a glut. As lakers increased in size, the number of vessels plying the Great Lakes shrank. A single 1,000-footer can carry the equivalent of what five older lakers could.

Great Lakes fleets also were downsized during the 1980s, as the nation’s steel production slipped. As layoffs generally occurred in order of seniority, Nekvasil said many young mariners working on the Great Lakes lost jobs, prompting them to relocate or take up work in another field. Today, about 60 U.S.-flagged lakers serve the Great Lakes — a fleet roughly one-third its former size.

Crews have grown smaller, too. Back when lakers ran on coal, they often carried a crew of 36 people. As liquid fuels took coal’s place, laker crews dropped to 26 or 27 people. Today, thanks to technology and automation, most lakers operate with a crew of 22 people.

But Tanner sees a bright future for people seeking careers on the Great Lakes. “As our roads become more and more plugged, I think there will only be more business for Great Lakes vessels,” he predicted.

As for the challenge of crewing vessels, Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said carriers face a challenge that’s far from unique. “Finding workers has become an issue almost everywhere in the transportation industry,” he said, pointing out that truck drivers and railroad are in tight supply, as well.

“Part of it is the lifestyle — having to be away from home for extended periods of time,” Ojard said. But transportation jobs are definitely on the rise. “Our transportation industry has been growing at almost double the rate of the GNP [gross national product],” he said.

Reported by Al Miller from the Duluth News-Tribune


Port Reports - November 28

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The patrol boat Simmonds departed around 10:00am Monday, followed by the Stephen B. Roman around 11:00am and Canadian Progress, bound for the Welland Canal around 1:30pm.
The Progress was in early and dropped a load of rock salt on the dock in the Turning Basin.
The harbor tugs Brutus 1 and Ned Hanlan were also out and about today.

Indiana Harbor - Gary Clark
The Edward L. Ryerson departed Indiana Harbor Monday around 1:00pm.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Gregory J. Busch & barge Primary 1 were inbound the Saginaw River Monday afternoon headed upriver to unload at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. The pair had left the Saginaw River on Saturday to load her cargo.


Updates - November 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 28

In 1949, sea trials for the largest freighter built on the Great Lakes, the WILFRED SYKES, were held off Lorain, Ohio. SYKES was converted to a self-unloader in 1975.

In 1942, the Canadian grain carrier JUDGE HART grounded and then sank in Ashburton Bay, Lake Superior. The entire crew of the JUDGE HART was rescued by the JAMES B EADS, Captain Stanley J. Tischart, and the whaleback JOHN ERICSSON, Captain Wilfred E. Ogg.

On 28 November 1867, MARQUETTE (wooden bark, 139 foot, 426 tons, built in 1856, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan) was carrying corn from Chicago to Collingwood, Ontario when she sprang a leak during a storm on Lake Huron. She was run ashore on Hope Island on Georgian Bay.

On November 28, 1905, the Pittsburgh Steamship Company vessel MATAAFA was wrecked as it tried to re-enter the Duluth Ship Canal in a severe storm. The MATAAFA had departed Duluth earlier but had decided to return to safety. After dropping her barge in the lake, the vessel was picked up by waves, was slammed against the north pier and was swung around to rest just hundreds of feet offshore north of the north pier, where it broke in two. Much of the crew froze to death in the cold snap that followed the storm, as there was no quick way to get out to the broken vessel for rescue. The MATAAFA was repaired prior to the 1906, season; she ultimately ended her career as an automobile carrier for the T.J. McCarthy Steamship Company and was sold for scrap in 1965.

The CANADIAN OLYMPIC's maiden voyage was 28 Nov 1976, to load coal at Conneaut, Ohio for Nanticoke, Ontario, Her name honors the Olympic Games that were held at Montreal that year.

On November 28, 1983, while up bound after leaving the Poe Lock the INDIANA HARBOR was in a collision, caused by high winds, with the down bound Greek salty ANANGEL SPIRIT resulting in a 10 foot gash in the laker's port bow.

LANCASHIRE (Hull#827) was launched at Lorain, Ohio on November 28, 1942, she would be renamed b) SEWELL AVERY.

The CATHY B towed the GOVERNOR MILLER to Vigo, Spain on November 28, 1980, where she was broken up.

The BENSON FORD was renamed e) US265808 and departed River Rouge on November 28, 1986, towed by the Sandrin tugs TUSKER and GLENADA bound for Ramey's Bend in the Welland Canal.

FRONTENAC arrived at the Fraser Shipyard, Superior, Wisconsin on November 28, 1979. Her keel, which had hogged four feet, was declared a constructive total loss.

The BRANSFORD stranded on a reef off Isle Royale in Lake Superior during a major storm on 28 Nov 1905, (the same storm that claimed the steamer MATAAFA). She was recovered.

On her third trip in 1892, the ANN ARBOR NO 1 again ran aground, this time three miles north of Ahnapee (now called Algoma). There was $15,000 damage to her cargo.

In 1906, the ANN ARBOR NO 4 left Cleveland bound for Frankfort on her maiden voyage.

The ANN ARBOR NO 4 ran aground off Kewaunee in 1924.

On 28 November 1905, AMBOY (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 209 foot, 894 gross tons, formerly HELENA) was carrying coal in tow of the wooden propeller GEORGE SPENCER in a gale on Lake Superior. In an effort to save both vessels, AMBOY was cut loose. The SPENCER was disabled quickly and was driven ashore near Little Marais, Minnesota. AMBOY struggled against the gale for a full day before finally going ashore near Thomasville, Ontario on 29 November. No lives were lost from either vessel.

On 28 November 1872, W O BROWN (wooden schooner, 140 foot, 306 tons, built in 1862, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying wheat in a storm on Lake Superior when she was driven ashore near Point Maimanse, Ontario and pounded to pieces. Six lives were lost. Three survivors struggled through a terrible cold spell and finally made it to the Soo on Christmas Day.

On 28 Nov 1874, the propeller JOHN PRIDGEON JR was launched at Clark's shipyard in Detroit, Michigan. She was built for Capt. John Pridgeon. Her dimensions were 235 X 36 X 17 feet. The engines of the B F WADE were installed in her.

On 28 Nov 1923, the Detroit & Windsor Ferry Company and Bob-Lo docks were destroyed by a fire cause by an overheated stove in the ferry dock waiting room. The blaze started at 3:00 a.m.

CANADIAN TRANSFER underwent repairs most of Tuesday, 28 Nov 2000, at the Algoma Steel dock at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She had run aground the previous night in the Canadian channel approaching Algoma Steel. CANADIAN TRANSFER was freed by two Purvis Marine tugs. The vessel suffered a crack or hole in the hull plating about 10 feet from the bottom along its port side.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Boatnerd Heading for 10 Million

11/27 - The counter on the main page is expected to top 10,000,000 visitors sometime early this week. The counter is located at the bottom of the main page at www.BoatNerd.Com. This counter was started as the page was launched in 1995 and topped one million visitors in October 2000, two million in November 2001, three million in September, 2002, four million in June, 2003, five million in February, 2004, six million in October, 2004, seven million in June, 2005, and eight million in December, 2005. The nine million mark was reached in June, 2006.

Please E-mail if you are the 10 millionth visitor. Please do not reload the page repeatedly. Server logs will be used to confirm who the visitor was.


Port Reports - November 27

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On Sunday morning, Earl W. Oglebay made her first appearance in Marquette since a change of ownership. She loaded taconite for Algoma Steel at the Soo. Oglebay's last Marquette visit was in late May under Oglebay Norton colors.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday dawned another foggy day at the western end of Lake Ontario.
The Quebecois arrived at 12:00 noon with iron ore for Dofasco. The Peter R. Cresswell arrived at 2:00 pm with sand for Lakeshore Sand.
Sunday morning had the Quebecois departing at 6:30 am for Clarkson.
The Algonorth then departed at 1:30 pm from JRI Elevators at Pier 25 with grain for Port Cartier. The Algontario departed at 4:30 pm from Dofasco and headed toward the Welland Canal.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Friday night the tug Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation was in port taking on cargo.
Saturday night at 10:00pm the Steamer Alpena returned for another load after delivering to Whitefish, ON. The Alpena is decorated with Christmas lights and looks very festive.
The Manistee also paid a visit on a calm & mild Saturday night, tying up in the river around 11pm. The Manistee unloaded road salt at the Alpena Oil Dock.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman back in port today for Essroc.
Patrol boat Simmonds cruised through the harbor again.


Updates - November 27

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 27

In 1934, the package freighter EDWARD L LOOMIS, Captain Alex McKenzie collided with the W C FRANZ, Captain Alex McIntyre, about 30 miles southeast of Thunder Bay Island, Lake Huron. Four crewmen on the FRANZ drowned when the lifeboat turned over while being lowered.

At 4:00 a.m. on 27 November 1872, the wooden schooner MIDDLESEX was struck by a terrible winter storm on Lake Superior. The winds caught the vessel with such force that she listed at a 45 degree angle and her cargo shifted. In danger of sinking, the crew jettisoned much of the cargo and the ship righted herself. Her lifeboat and much of her rigging and sails were washed away. She limped into Walska Bay and anchored to ride out the storm. However, she had developed a leak and it was so cold that her pumps had frozen. To save the vessel, she was run ashore and sank in shallow water. The crew climbed into her rigging until the tug W D CUSHING rescued them.

The ALGOSEA entered Lake service as a self-unloader for the first time with salt loaded at Goderich, Ontario and passed down bound in the Welland Canal November 27, 1976, for Quebec City. She operates today as SAUNIERE.

The AVONDALE was condemned and was not allowed to carry cargo after she arrived at Toledo, Ohio on November 27, 1975, to load soybeans.

The steam barge CHAUNCY HURLBUT was launched at the shipyard of Simon Langell at St. Clair, Michigan on Thanksgiving Day, 27 November 1873. She was built for Chandler Bros. of Detroit.

On 27 November 1886, COMANCHE (wooden schooner, 137 foot, 322 tons, built in 1867, at Oswego, New York) was carrying corn in a storm on Lake Ontario when she ran on a shoal and sank near Point Peninsula, New York. A local farmer died while trying to rescue her crew of 8. His was the only death. She was later recovered and rebuilt as THOMAS DOBBIE.

The PERE MARQUETTE 22 collided with the WABASH in heavy fog in 1937.

In 1966, the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 ran aground at Ludington, Michigan in a storm. Stranded on board were a number of passengers and 56 crewman. Ballast tanks were flooded to hold the steamer on until the storm subsided. She was pulled off four days later by the Roen tug JOHN PURVES.

The propeller MONTGOMERY, which burned in June 1878, was raised on 27 November 1878. Her engine and boiler were removed and she was converted to a barge. She was rebuilt at Algonac, Michigan in the summer of 1879.

On 27 November 1866, the Oswego Advertiser & Times reported that the schooner HENRY FITZHUGH arrived at Oswego, New York with 17,700 bushels of wheat from Milwaukee. Her skipper was Captain Cal Becker. The round trip took 23 days which was considered "pretty fast sailing".

The CITY OF FLINT 32 was launched in Manitowoc on 27 Nov 1929. Cut down to a rail barge at Nicholson's, Ecorse in 1970, renamed b.) ROANOKE. She is currently in the Toledo Frog Pond.

On Monday, 27 Nov 1996, the Cyprus flag MALLARD of 1977, up bound apparently bounced off the wall in the Welland canal below Lock 1 and into the path of the CANADIAN ENTERPRISE. It was a sideswipe rather than a head on collision. The ENTERPRISE was repaired at Port Weller Dry Docks. The repairs to the gangway and ballast vent pipes took six hours. The MALLARD proceeded to Port Colborne to be repaired there.

At 10:20 p.m. on Monday, 27 NOV 2000, the CANADIAN TRANSFER radioed Soo Traffic to report that the vessel was aground off Algoma Steel and "taking on water but in no danger." The crew reported that they had two anchors down and one line on the dock. Purvis Marine was contacted.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Mackinaw Takes on Cargo of Trees for Annual Chicago Run

11/26 - Cheboygan - A tradition that began almost 100 years ago continued Wednesday with a new silhouette.

The new U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw is carrying on the Christmas Tree Ship tradition resurrected in 2000 by its icebreaking predecessor, the original Mackinaw, and will leave Sunday to deliver 1,100 trees to Chicago.

Wednesday the ship's crew, aided by family members and 17 Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps members from Ogemaw Heights High School, loaded aboard bundled trees on the after-deck and every available reserve space they could find. The trees will be sharing deck space with buoys as the cutter will be decommissioning lighted aids and replacing them with winter marks on the voyage to and from Chicago.

“This is just another of old Mackinaw's legacy missions that fosters good will in the community,” said Cmdr. John Little, the Mac's skipper.

Although the original Mackinaw - decommissioned in June - made this trip five times, Wednesday was the first experience for this crew with handling and storing the trees and the pine needles that go with them. Gloves and long sleeves were the order of the day for loading duty. “We were all concerned as to exactly how this would play out today,” Little admitted. “I'm seeing smiles all around. It's good to get our people involved with the community like this.”

In addition, the crew of the Mackinaw distributed more than 200 trees to disadvantaged families throughout the Northern Michigan area and 200 trees for families of active-duty servicemen stationed in Michigan. The Cheboygan post of the Michigan State Police, the Cheboygan County Sheriff's Department, the City of Cheboygan Department of Public Safety, the Salvation Army, and other Northern Michigan Coast Guard units will work together to distribute the local trees.

The bulk of the load, purchased by the Chicago's Christmas Tree Ship organization from local tree-growers Fred Stempky and Mike Jarman, will arrive at Chicago's Navy Pier at 8 a.m. on Dec. 1, and will be given to needy Chicago families. The event will invite school children aboard for tours and classes with nautical and historical themes and will culminate with a “grand tree unloading” ceremony on Dec. 2.

“These are bigger trees,” Little remarked, “and what a testament to the generosity of the local Christmas tree growers. The cadets have done a lot of the work, too.”

Cmdr. Michael Clift said his 17 Ogemaw Heights cadets were picked from a corps of 96 members at a high school with a student population of more than 900. “I called up the old Mackinaw about five years ago and they took our cadets out for a trip,” Clift said during a water break while loading the trees. “This is a Michigan tradition. We're giving back to the Mackinaw. We do a lot of community service.”

The tradition of the Christmas Tree ship started in the early 1900s when pine trees, freshly cut from the forests of Northern Michigan, were loaded onto the sailing vessel Rouse Simmons and shipped to families in Chicago who used them to decorate for Christmas.

Chicagoans became accustomed to purchasing their wreaths and trees this way as a festive start to the holiday season. Eventually, a number of trees were brought along specifically for needy families who couldn't afford a tree. Tragedy temporarily ended the tradition of the Christmas Ship when the Rouse Simmons was lost in a 1912 Lake Michigan blizzard along with 17 crewmembers and more than 5,000 trees.

Today, the concept of Chicago's Christmas Ship is active as a charitable event organized by the Unified Marine Community of Chicago in cooperation with the Coast Guard. Little said he plans to sail sometime mid-day Sunday. The Mackinaw will be open for public tours in Chicago from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3.

The Mackinaw will retain 50 trees for the historic transit back to Cheboygan. These trees will be donated to Coast Guard families in the area. A return to Cheboygan is dependent on weather and work schedules tending buoys en route, likely to be around Dec. 7.

By Mike Fornes for the Cheboygan Tribune


Army Corps Plans to Add Berm at Dike Disposal Site

11/26 - Lorain - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to build a berm around the dike disposal site on Lorain's waterfront, allowing them to continue using the site to hold sediment dredged from the Black River. In a presentation yesterday to the Lorain Port Authority, Corps officials outlined their plan to add the berm to the perimeter of the site in 2007.

Michele Hope, project manager for the Corps's Buffalo District, which includes Northeast Ohio, said the berm will be constructed out of the dirt and dredged materials already on the site, allowing vegetation to grow on the berm. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredges the river every two years and deposits the collected silt, sand and other materials at the disposal site. Much of the material collected doesn't meet federal guidelines to be put into Lake Erie, Hope said, so it must be left at the disposal site.

Dredging the river and having the disposal site are key to maintaining Lorain's status as a commercial port. The river must be dredged to allow large commercial vessels to pass through it -- for instance, ships going to and from the steel mill. ''(The disposal site) is very critical to us,'' said Rick Novak, executive director of the Lorain Port Authority.

Hope elaborated, ''Without dredging, the navigation channel would progressively shoal in and impede commercial navigation. Deep-draft commercial navigation would become economically nonviable and would gradually cease.'' The 58-acre disposal site was built in 1978 to hold 1.85 million cubic yards of material. Since dredging in the summer of 2006, the site is approaching being completely full, Hope said. Adding the berm next summer will allow the river to be dredged again in 2008, she explained.

But adding the berm to the disposal site is just a temporary fix, Hope said. The berm could potentially be added to several times to make it higher and extend its usefulness for several more years. However, adding to the berm could potentially impede future plans for the site, such as a possible collaboration with the Lorain County Metro Parks.

Parks Director Dan Martin said he doesn't have a problem with the Corps adding the four-foot tall berm next summer, but he would oppose the berm being raised or added to after that. Adding to the berm once or twice will create a tiered, ''wedding cake'' effect, Martin said. ''Then what have you got? What can you use it for?'' he said.

The Lorain Port Authority and Lorain County Metro Parks have discussed plans for using the site after it is completely full. Though now the site is muddy and covered with vegetation, Hope said, it could be used once the Corps is no longer disposing of materials there. Martin said under federal guidelines, one third of the site must remain in its natural state. Other areas could be economically developed or developed for public use, with amenities such as an amphitheater or aquarium. The Corps has made sure enough space has been reserved for all of those options, Martin said.

However, at some point, a new disposal site will have to be found. Officials said the best option for a new site to put dredgings appears to be upriver, on land the city is trying to obtain from the now-bankrupt steel company Republic Technologies International. ''In the long term, we'd like to dump upriver,'' said Mayor Craig Foltin. ''Because of the slag fields there, it's fairly containable and wouldn't pose any harm.'

From the Lorain Morning Journal


Port Reports - November 26

Goderich - Dale Baechler, Wayne Brown & Jacob Smith
Manistee entered the inner harbour early Saturday morning and began loading under sunny skies at Sifto Salt. She took on 9,000 MT of salt and departed around noon.

Huron - Jim Spencer
The Philip R. Clarke discharged limestone Saturday afternoon at the Huron Lime Co. dock. She attracted a fair degree of attention before departing for Stoneport, Mi.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey & Gordy Garris
The tug Gregory J. Busch and barge Primary 1 were outbound the Saginaw River on Saturday headed for the lake.
The Buffalo was inbound for the Bay Aggregates dock to unload. Once finished, she departed the slip and was outbound for the lake Saturday night.
The tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J. Kuber were outbound the Saginaw River passing the Front Range Light at 10:00am Saturday morning headed outbound for the lake. The pair had unloaded overnight at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw.
The tug Duluth and her barge were docked at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City Saturday morning loading stone from a side shore conveyor. Once Duluth's barge was full she headed outbound for the lake.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Algosteel, which has been in port for several days, departed late Saturday for the Welland Canal.
Hamilton Energy was in port Saturday afternoon to bunker the Algosteel.
The border patrol vessel Simmonds made a brief appearance in the harbor as well.


"Shipwrecks and Sharks" at Port Huron Maritime Center

11/26 - The Lake Huron Lore Marine Society will host a presentation Great Lakes divers Jim & Pat Stayer, at 7 p.m., at the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point in Port Huron, on December 9.

The program is entitled "Shipwrecks and Sharks", and is free and open to the public.

For additional information visit the Society's website.


Updates - November 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 26

In 1952, the PHILIP R CLARKE was launched at the American Ship Building yard at Lorain, Ohio. The 647 foot freighter became the flagship of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company. She was lengthened by 120 feet in 1974 and converted to a self-unloader in 1982.

On 26 November 1856, CHEROKEE (2-mast wooden schooner, 103 foot, 204 tons, built in 1849, at Racine, Wisconsin) foundered in a gale 7 miles south of Manistee, Michigan on Lake Michigan. All aboard (estimates range from ten to fourteen persons) were lost.

The U.S.C.G.C. MESQUITE departed Charlevoix and locked through the Soo on November 26, 1989, to begin SUNDEW's normal buoy tending duties on Lake Superior.

The ELIZABETH HINDMAN was launched November 26, 1920, as a.) GLENCLOVA (Hull#9) at Midland, Ontario by Midland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

On 26 November 1872, the steamer GEO W REYNOLDS burned at 1 o'clock in the morning at the dock in Bay City. The fire supposedly originated in the engine room. She was owned by A. English of East Saginaw.

On 26 November 1853, ALBANY (wooden side wheel passenger/package freight, 202 foot, 669 tons, built in 1846, at Detroit, Michigan) was carrying passengers and miscellaneous cargo in a storm on Lake Huron.. She was making for the shelter of Presque Isle harbor when the gale drove her over a bar. Her crew and 200 passengers came ashore in her boats. Plans were made to haul her back across the bar when another storm wrecked her. Her boiler and most of her machinery were recovered the following year.

LAKE BREEZE (wooden propeller, 122 foot, 301 gross tons, built in 1868, at Toledo, Ohio) burned at her dock in Leamington, Ontario on 26 November 1878. One man perished in the flames. She was raised in 1880, but the hull was deemed worthless. Her machinery and metal gear were removed in 1881, and sold to an American company.

The ANN ARBOR NO 5 (steel carferry, 359 foot, 2,988 gross tons) was launched by the Toledo Ship Building Company (Hull #118) on 26 Nov 1910. She was the first carferry to be built with a sea gate, as a result of the sinking of the PERE MARQUETTE 18 in September of 1910.

On 26 Nov 1881, JANE MILLER (wooden propeller passenger-package freight "coaster", 78 foot, 210 gross tons, built in 1878, at Little Current, Ontario) departed Meaford, Ontario for Wiarton-- sailing out into the teeth of a gale and was never seen again. All 30 aboard were lost. She probably sank near the mouth of Colpoy's Bay in Georgian Bay. She had serviced the many small ports on the inside coast of the Bruce Peninsula.

HIRAM W SIBLEY (wooden propeller freighter, 221 foot, 1,419 gross tons, built in 1890, at E. Saginaw, Michigan) was carrying 70,000 bushels of corn from Chicago for Detroit. On 26 Nov 1898, she stranded on the northwest corner of South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan during blizzard. (Some sources say this occurred on 27 November.) The tugs PROTECTOR and SWEEPSTAKES were dispatched for assistance but the SIBLEY re-floated herself during the following night and then began to sink again. She was put ashore on South Fox Island to save her but she broke in half; then completely broke up during a gale on 7 December 1898.

During the early afternoon of 26 Nov 1999, the LOUIS R DESMARAIS suffered an engine room fire while sailing in the western section of Lake Ontario. Crews onboard the DESMARAIS put out the fire and restarted her engines. The DESMARAIS proceeded to the Welland canal where she was inspected by both U.S. and Canadian investigators. No significant damage was noted and the vessel was allowed to proceed.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - November 25

Wallaceburg - Al Mann
In a scene reminiscent of earlier days, a steady stream of transports have been heading to the new Bruinsma Dock in Wallaceburg. With the unique loading and unloading devices completed earlier this week, transports laden with locally grown wheat began arriving at the dock on Nov.23 and will continue until Norlake Transportation's barge BIG 546 is fully loaded. The tug Radium Yellowknife is expected to arrive shortly and take out the loaded barge and head for Toledo, Ohio. It is expected several trips can be completed this season before the Sydenham-Chenal Ecarte waterway freezes. The next few weeks are expected to be quite busy as the new service in and out of Wallaceburg continues.

Toledo -
On Saturday, Federal Danube was on loading at The Andersons Erwin Facility by I-75.
Cuyahoga off loaded sand at Kuhlman Corporation nearby.
CSL Laurentien remained on loading at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility. The Andersons Elevators are designated by their location. The one by I-75 is the Erwin (Street) Facility, and the one by the Norfolk & Southern (south) Railroad Bridge at the Miami Cut is the Kuhlman (Street) Facility. Kuhlman Corporation which is located between these two elevator complexes is the namesake of the street name and deals in cement and sand products. Ships off load only there.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Earl W. Oglebay was outbound the Saginaw River early Friday morning after unloading at the GM dock in Saginaw.
The Maumee finished unloading at the GM dock in Saginaw around 7:15am Friday morning and headed upstream to turn around at the Sixth Street turning basin. She finished the turn around and was headed outbound for the lake, passing under the I-75 Bridge at Zilwaukee at 8:30am.
The tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River passing the Front Range Light at 3:15pm Friday afternoon with a split load for the Wirt Stone docks in Bay City & Saginaw. The pair are expected to be outbound the Saginaw River Saturday morning.


Today in Great Lakes History - November 25

In 1890, the WESTERN RESERVE delivered a record cargo of 95,488 bushels of wheat from Duluth to Buffalo.

In 1913, the schooner ROUSE SIMMONS, Captain August Schueneman, departed Thompson Harbor with a load of fresh cut Christmas trees bound for Chicago. Somewhere between Kewaunee and Two Rivers, the SIMMONS was lost with all hands.

On 25 November 1857, ANTELOPE (wooden schooner, 220 tons, built in 1854, at Port Robinson, Ontario) was driven ashore by a gale near St. Joseph, Michigan. Five lives were lost. She was recovered the next year and rebuilt.

INCAN SUPERIOR was withdrawn from service after completing 2,386 trips between Thunder Bay and Superior and on November 25, 1992, she passed down bound at Sault Ste. Marie for service on the Canadian West Coast. Renamed PRINCESS SUPERIOR in 1993.

ROBERT C STANLEY was laid up for the last time November 25, 1981, at the Tower Bay Slip, Superior, Wisconsin. She was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey in 1989.

CITY OF MILWAUKEE (Hull#261) was launched November 25, 1930, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. She was sponsored by Mrs. Walter J. Wilde, wife of the collector of customs at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She entered service in January of 1931.

On 25 November 1866, F W BACKUS (wooden propeller, 133 foot, 289 tons, built in 1846, at Amherstburg, Ontario) was carrying hay, horses and cattle off Racine, Wisconsin. She was run to the beach when it was discovered that she was on fire. Her crew and passengers disembarked. The tug DAISY LEE towed her out while she was still burning, intending to scuttle her, but the towline burned through and she drifted back to shore and burned to the waterline. Her live cargo was pushed overboard while she was still well out and they swam to shore.

On 25 November 1874, WILLIAM SANDERSON (wooden schooner, 136 foot, 385 gross tons, built in 1853, at Oswego, New York) was carrying wheat in a storm on Lake Michigan when she foundered. The broken wreck washed ashore off Empire, Michigan near Sleeping Bear. She was owned by Scott & Brown of Detroit.

During a storm on 25 November 1895, MATTIE C BELL (wooden schooner, 181 foot, 769 gross tons, built in 1882, at E. Saginaw, Michigan) was in tow of the steamer JIM SHERRIFS on Lake Michigan. The schooner stranded at Big Summer Island, was abandoned in place and later broke up. No lives were lost.

On 25 Nov 1947, the CAPTAIN JOHN ROEN was renamed c.) ADAM E CORNELIUS by the American Steamship Co. in 1958, CORNELIUS was renamed d.) CONSUMERS POWER. Eventually sold to Erie Sand, she was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1988. Built in 1927, as a.) GEORGE M HUMPHERY.

On 25 Nov 1905, the JOSEPH G BUTLER, JR (steel straight-deck bulk freighter, 525 foot, 6,588 gross tons) entered service, departing Lorain, Ohio for Duluth on her maiden voyage. The vessel was damaged in a severe storm on that first crossing of Lake Superior, but she was repaired and had a long career. She was renamed DONALD B GILLIES in 1935, and GROVEDALE in 1963. She was sunk as a dock in Hamilton in 1973, and finally sold for scrap in 1981.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Russ plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history. Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history.


Port Reports - November 24

Gary - Brian Z.
The John D. Leitch loaded a cargo of coke breeze on Wednesday at U.S. Steel East dock. The loading was completed at 11 p.m. and she was ready to sail bound for Quebec.

Toledo -
A very foggy morning and evening. CSL Laurentien was at the Andersons Kuhlman Facility.
Stefania-I was at ADM Elevators. Federal Danube came up to The Andersons Erwin Facility at 8:00am.  Ste. Claire remained along Toledo Shipyard.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris & Todd Shorkey
The CSL Tadoussac was inbound the Saginaw River Wednesday morning, arriving at the Essroc Terminal in Essexville to unload around 9:30 a.m. The Tadoussac waited for the outbound Maumee to clear Wednesday afternoon before backing from the Essroc dock in Essexville, out of the river and onto the bay and turned around at Light 12 in the Entrance Channel to head outbound for the lake. The Tadoussac was headed for Goderich to load.

Thanksgiving Day saw two vessels calling on the same dock along the Saginaw River. The Earl W. Oglebay was inbound early in the day, traveling upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw. She completed her unload during the evening at turned at the Sixth Street Turning Basin.

At the same time, the Maumee was upbound passing the Airport Turning Basin headed for the dock the Oglebay had just cleared, the GM dock, to unload. the vessels planned to pass near the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. The Maumee was expected to be outbound Friday morning.

Thanksgiving day on the Saginaw River saw two vessels inbound. the Earl W. Oglebay was inbound first, passing the Front Range Light at 3 p.m. headed for the GM dock in Saginaw to unload. The Oglebay finished unloading at the GM dock in Saginaw at 10:45 p.m. and headed upstream to turn around at the Sixth Street turning basin. She finished the turn around at the Sixth Street turning basin at 11:30 p.m. Thursday night and headed outbound the Saginaw River, passing the Maumee at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee around midnight, Friday morning.

Marinette/Menominee - Dick Lund
The Spruceglen paid a Thanksgiving Day visit to the Menominee River with yet another load of pig iron for Marinette Fuel & Dock. This marks the second trip to Marinette in 5 weeks for this ship.


Updates - November 24

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 24

On this day in 1966, Hjalmer Edwards became ill while working as a Second Cook on the steamer DANIEL J MORRELL. He was transferred to the hospital at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan when the MORRELL transited the locks for the last time on Thanksgiving Day. Five days later, the DANIEL J MORRELL sank during a severe storm on Lake Huron with a lone survivor.

On 24 November 1945, SCOTT E LAND (steel propeller C4-S-A4 cargo ship, 496 foot, 10,654 gross tons) was launched at Kaiser Corporation (Hull #520) in Vancouver, Washington for the U.S. Maritime Commission. She was converted to a straight-deck bulk freighter at Baltimore, Maryland in 1951, and renamed TROY H BROWNING. In 1955, she was renamed THOMAS F PATTON. After serving on the Great Lakes, she was scrapped in Karachi, Pakistan in 1981.

On November 24, 1990, the KINSMAN INDEPENDENT ran hard aground off of Isle Royale. The vessel was on its way to load grain in Thunder Bay, Ontario when she ended up 25 miles off course. The damage to the vessel was nearly $2 million, and she was repaired at Thunder Bay before the start of the 1991 season. Built in 1952, as a.) CHARLES L HUTCHINSON, renamed b.) ERNEST R BREECH in 1962, c.) KINSMAN INDEPENDENT in 1988. Sold Canadian, renamed d.) VOYAGEUR INDEPENDENT in 2005.

On November 24, 1950, while bound for South Chicago with iron ore, the ENDERS M VOORHEES collided with the up bound steamer ELTON HOYT II (now the ST MARYS CHALLENGER) in the Straits of Mackinac during a blinding snow storm. Both vessels received such serious bow damage that they had to be beached near Mc Gulpin Point west of Mackinaw City to avoid sinking.

The ROSEMOUNT stored with coal, inadvertently sank alongside CSL's Century Coal Dock at Montreal, Quebec on November 24, 1934.

Paterson's PRINDOC (Hull#657) was launched November 24, 1965, at Lauzon, Quebec by Davie Shipbuilding Co. Ltd..

November 24, 1892 - The ANN ARBOR NO 1 ran aground on her first trip just north of the Kewaunee harbor.

On 24 Nov 1881, LAKE ERIE (wooden propeller canaller, 136 foot, 464 gross tons, built in 1873, at St, Catharine's, Ontario) collided with the steamer NORTHERN QUEEN in fog and a blizzard near Poverty Island by the mouth of Green Bay. LAKE ERIE sank in one hour 40 minutes. NORTHERN QUEEN took aboard the crew but one man was scalded and died before reaching Manistique.

The CITY OF SAGINAW 31 entered service in 1931. On 24 November 1905, ARGO (steel propeller passenger/package freight, 174 foot, 1,089 tons, built in 1896, at Detroit, Michigan) dropped into a trough of a wave, hit bottom and sank in relatively shallow water while approaching the harbor at Holland, Michigan. 38 passengers and crew were taken off by breeches' buoy in a thrilling rescue by the U.S. Lifesaving Service.

NEPTUNE (wooden propeller, 185 foot, 774 gross tons, built in 1856, at Buffalo, New York) was laid up at East Saginaw, Michigan on 24 November 1874, when she was discovered to be on fire at about 4:00 a.m. She burned to a total loss.

The ANN ARBOR NO 1 left Frankfort for Kewaunee on November 24, 1892. Because of the reluctance of shippers to trust their products on this new kind of ferry it was difficult to find cargo for this first trip. Finally, a fuel company which sold coal to the railroad routed four cars to Kewaunee via the ferry.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Stuck Freighter Leaves a Debate in its Wake

11/23 - Bay City, MI - The ship that was stuck in downtown Bay City on Tuesday is gone, but the water-depth issues that hung her up remain.

The Algoway ran aground on a shoal on the edge of the shipping channel, immobilizing it between the Liberty and Veterans Memorial bridges for most of the day. It took a tug boat from Saginaw about 45 minutes late in the afternoon to coax it back off the river bottom.

The U.S. Coast Guard's Saginaw River Station reported the Algoway had run aground in low water conditions at about 9 a.m. as it sailed upriver, heading for a dock in Zilwaukee. The water level had dropped at least a foot due to a steady wind from the south.

A Coast Guard spokesman said the water level was at least a foot below the chart datum, which ideally had been at 25 feet, but in recent years is less because silt has filled in the channel by several feet. William G. Webber, who represents the Saginaw River Alliance of dock owners, said there probably was about 20.5 feet of available depth due to water being blown out to the Saginaw Bay.

Dredging of the river is badly needed, Webber said, as ships now are struggling to navigate in 22 to 23 feet of water. ''There is some money available next year for dredging the channel and the turn-around basin (near Cheboyganing Creek), but we really need it done now,'' Webber said. Webber said the conditions in the river are getting progressively worse, and that ships bringing in salt for winter road treatment might run into problems, too.

The Algoway, carrying up to 13,000 tons of rock, ran aground just south of the city-owned Liberty Bridge and was stopped between Third and Fifth streets. The Coast Guard reported that the Algoway, once loosened enough to get its propeller running, backed down river past Liberty Bridge to the Wirt Stone Dock, where it off-loaded about 1,000 tons of stone, making the ship lighter and able to navigate the river. It then continued south to Zilwaukee to unload the remainder of the cargo.

A Coast Guard spokesman said the ship's captain earlier had hoped the wind would die down or even shift enough to bring water back into the river so that it would allow the ship some room to move. But the wind stayed from the south, so the tug was called in.

Another ship hauling gravel also arrived Tuesday, but only had to go as far as a facility in Essexville, so it didn't encounter any problems, the spokesman said.

From the Bay City Times


Port Reports - November 23

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Algoway finished partial unloading of her cargo at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City at 9:45 p.m. Tuesday night and headed upriver to the Buena Vista Stone dock. After finishing unloading at the Buena Vista Stone dock early Wednesday morning, she shifted upriver to the Valley Asphalt dock in Carrollton to finish unloading. The Algoway finished unloading at the Valley Asphalt dock at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, turned at the Sixth Street turning basin and was outbound for the lake late Wednesday morning.

The Maumee was inbound the Saginaw River late Tuesday night passing through Downtown Bay City around midnight. The Maumee arrived and unloaded stone at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee Wednesday morning before turning at the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw and heading outbound for the lake Wednesday afternoon.

The tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River early Wednesday afternoon, passing the outbound Algoway at the Front Ranges, headed for the Bay Aggregates dock in Essexville to unload. The Moore & the Kuber departed from the Bay Aggregates dock at 10 p.m. Wednesday night, backed from the slip, turned and headed outbound for the lake.

The tug Undaunted with the barge Pere Marquette 41 were inbound the Saginaw River early Wednesday afternoon, passing the outbound Algoway at the Front Ranges, headed for the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw to unload. The Undaunted and the Pere Marquette 41 were expected to be outbound from Saginaw around midnight.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
It is a busy time at Sifto Salt with the Algorail loading Wednesday evening.
Algoway was next in finishing early Thursday morning, then shifting over to the new harbour for some reason.
CSL Tadoussac entered after the Algoway had shifted and is now loading.


Happy Thanksgiving

11/23 - To all those who sail, and all those who stand on the shore and watch, and take pictures, and listen for a salute, may you have a Happy Thanksgiving, from all the gang at BoatNerd.Com.


Updates - November 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 23

In 1940, the CONSUMERS POWER, a.) HARRY YATES of 1910, collided with the MARITANA on the Detroit River. The MARITANA sustained $11,089.91 in damage. MARITANA was scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario in 1947.

On 23 November 1863, BAY OF QUINTE (wooden schooner, 250 tons, built in 1853, at Bath, Ontario) was carrying 7,500 bushels of wheat to Toronto when she was driven ashore on Salmon Point on Lake Ontario and wrecked. No lives were lost.

On 23 November 1882, the schooner MORNING LIGHT (wooden schooner, 256 tons, built in 1857, at Cleveland, Ohio) was sailing from Manistee for Chicago with a load of lumber when a storm drove her aground off Claybanks, south of Stony Lake, Michigan. One crewman swam to shore, the rest were saved by a lifesaving crew, local fishermen and the tug B W ALDRICH. Earlier that same year, she sank near St. Helen Island in the Straits of Mackinac. She was salvaged and put back in service, but she only lasted a few months.

After discharging her cargo, the SAMUEL MATHER, launched as a.) PILOT KNOB b.) FRANK ARMSTRONG (1943-73), proceeded to De Tour, Michigan laying up for the last time at the Pickands Mather Coal Dock on November 23, 1981. She was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey in 1988.

In 1987, the self-unloader ROGERS CITY was towed out of Menominee, Michigan for scrapping in Brazil.

STADACONA's sea trials were completed on November 23, 1952, and was delivered to Canada Steamship Lines the next day.

On 23 November 1872, Capt. W. B. Morley launched the propeller JARVIS LORD at Marine City, Michigan. Her dimensions were 193 feet X 33 feet X 18 feet, 1,000 tons. She was the first double decker built at Marine City. Her engine was from Wm. Cowie of Detroit.

On 23 November 1867, S A CLARK (wooden propeller tug, 12 tons, built in 1863, at Buffalo, New York) was in Buffalo's harbor when her boiler exploded and she sank.

November 23, 1930 - The Ann Arbor carferry WABASH grounded in Betsie Lake. She bent her rudder stock and her steering engine was broken up.

On 23 November 1853, the wooden schooner PALESTINE was bound from Kingston to Cleveland with railroad iron at about the same time as the like-laden schooner ONTONAGON. Eight miles west of Rochester, New York, both vessels ran ashore, were pounded heavily by the waves and sank. Both vessels reported erratic variations in their compasses. The cargoes were removed and ONTONAGON was pulled free on 7 December, but PALESTINE was abandoned. A similar event happened with two other iron-laden vessels a few years previously at the same place.

On 23 November 1853, the Ward Line's wooden side-wheeler HURON struck an unseen obstruction in the Saginaw River and sank. She was raised on 12 December 1853, towed to Detroit and repaired at a cost of $12,000. She was then transferred to Lake Michigan to handle the cross-lake traffic given the Ward Line by the Michigan Central Railroad. The carferry GRAND HAVEN was sold to the West India Fruit & Steamship Co., Norfolk, Virginia in 1946, and was brought down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, Louisiana for reconditioning before reaching Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach, Florida. She was brought back to the Lakes and locked up bound through the Welland Canal on 23 Nov 1964. She was intended for roll on/roll off carrier service to haul truck trailers laden with steel coils from Stelco's plant at Hamilton, Ont.

The CSL NIAGARA a.) J W MC GIFFIN, passed Port Huron, Michigan on 23 Nov 1999, on her way to Thunder Bay to load grain. This was her first trip to the upper lakes since the vessel was re-launched as a SeawayMax carrier in June 1999.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Steve Haverty, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Algoway Freed in Saginaw River

11/22 - Bay City - On Tuesday strong southwestern winds and low water levels made for a series of events to occur leading up to the closing of the Saginaw River to navigation for a short period of time during the evening hours.

The Algoway was inbound the Saginaw River Tuesday morning passing through the Liberty St. Bridge in Bay City at 8 a.m. headed for the Buena Vista Stone dock in Saginaw with a cargo of stone. As the Algoway was approaching the Veteran's Memorial bridge in Bay City, she came to an abrupt stop in the middle of the channel, hung up on a high spot. Her captain backed the ship up and tried to pass over the high spot in the channel but was unsuccessful. The Algoway tried to pass over the high spot several other times but was unsuccessful.

The Calumet had also got hung up on the same high spot between the Liberty and Veteran's Memorial bridges on September 21, two months earlier, but the Calumet was able to work herself free without tug assistance.

The Algoway then became stuck in the river silt. The tug Gregory J. Busch was called to assist the Algoway in the afternoon. After a few hours of maneuvering in the channel the Busch was successful in pulling the Algoway off the high spot.

The Algoway then backed to the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City to unload some of her cargo of stone and to empty her ballast tanks. Around 5 p.m. the Coast Guard closed the Saginaw River to navigation. It was now believed that the Algoway was caught on a submerged fiber optic cable in the channel.

The U.S. Coast Guard closed the Saginaw River to shipping traffic for a few hours to determine if an underwater fiber optic cable had been damaged in the grounding of the Algoway.

After inspecting the area, the Coast Guard reopened the Saginaw River to navigation around 6 p.m. Tuesday evening. The Algoway is expected to depart from the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City and proceed upriver to unload at the Buena Vista Stone dock in Saginaw sometime Tuesday evening and be back outbound the Saginaw River for the lake early Wednesday morning.

Reported by Gordy Garris & Todd Shorkey

Original Article - 11/21 - 11:00am - Bay City - Low water levels have a freighter aground in the Saginaw River.

The Algoway is stuck between downtown Bay City's Veterans Memorial and Liberty Bridges.

South-southwest winds between 10 and 20-miles an hour have lowered river levels, hampering the freighter heading upriver to docks in Saginaw.

A spokesman from the U.S. Coast Guard's Station Saginaw River said the ship's captain is waiting to see if water levels will rise, freeing the freighter.

Reported by Bill Hewitt


Port Reports - November 22

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer & John N. Vogel
Steamer Alpena was at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor Tuesday, delivering cement.
Saltie Isa from the Polsteam line continues unloading at terminal 2 in the outer harbor.
Cross-lake ferry Lake Express has shifted from its dock near the Coast Guard station in the outer harbor, to a more sheltered winter berth near the Valley power plant on the Menomonee River/Burnham canal.

Sarnia - Frank Frisk
Canadian Transfer, which has been in Sarnia for nearly a week, has completed her repairs and got underway Tuesday evening.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Paul R. Tregurtha was tied up Tuesday morning at the Duluth Port Authority’s Garfield Dock undergoing bow thruster repairs. As the sun rose, the vessel was ballasted down by the stern while a wheeled crane on the dock and a crew on a work float worked on the bow thruster. Once it’s back in service, the Tregurtha is expected to load coal at Midwest Energy Terminal and proceed to St. Clair, Mich.
Elsewhere Tuesday morning, James R. Barker was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal and Federal Kivalina was loading grain at the AGP elevator in Duluth. The saltie Matfen was anchored on the lake waiting to load at AGP. Stewart J. Cort and Reserve both were expected to arrive Tuesday to load at BNSF ore dock in Superior. The LaFarge Cement barge Integrity and tug G.L. Ostrander remained in drydock in Fraser Shipyards.

Toledo -
The Andersons and Marathon Oil have signed an agreement for construction and operation of one or more ethanol plants. The joint venture will be called The Andersons Marathon Ethanol LLC. The Andersons will provide management. corn origination, distillers dried grain, and marketing services. Marathon is currently a blender of ethanol and gasoline. This venture will provide initialization and reliability of ethanol supplies. So far there is no word on bio-diesel which is derived from soybeans and not corn. Toledo is prospectively gaining a bio-diesel plant on Front Street not affiliated with The Andersons.
CSL Laurentien was the first ship taking on grain at The Andersons Erwin Facility. This signals full operations returning from a fire that destroyed a silo, and disabled the superstructure and conveyance facilities.
Stefania-I was just in at ADM Elevators.
Policia got underway from Midwest Terminals of Toledo after staying here several days.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey & Gordy Garris
Tuesday was a long day for the Algoway as during her trip up the river she became hung up on a shoal between the Liberty Bridge and Veteran's Memorial Bridge in Bay City. She worked for a number of hours backing astern and then trying different sides of the channel trying to get around or over the shoal, all with no success. US Coast Guard Station Saginaw River sent out a patrol boat to take some depth soundings finding a definite high spot in the channel. Eventually, the tug Gregory J. Busch was contacted to come downriver from her dock in Carrollton to assist the Algoway back downriver to lighter some of her cargo at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City before trying to head back upriver to her original destination of the Buena vista dock. The Algoway made the Wirt dock late Tuesday afternoon.
The Maumee was inbound the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel early Tuesday evening with stone from Stoneport. The Maumee waited for about an hour for the river to reopen to traffic before continuing inbound the channel. The river had been closed due to the grounding of Algoway earlier in the day.
The tug Duluth, assisted by the tug Sarah B took on a cargo of stone by a shore side conveyor at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. Once the Duluth's barge was full, she headed downriver for a short trip to the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
The John G. Munson was loading a cargo of petroleum coke at KCBX terminals on Tuesday. A rare call by the Sarah Spencer and tug Jane Ann at Carmeuse Lime was also made Tuesday. The Spencer slowly backed down the river and tied up at 10:45 am, discharging her cargo of limestone.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Canadian Olympic loaded coal overnight at Sandusky's Norfolk Southern dock.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The salty Makeevka got underway late this evening bound for the Welland Canal. Stephen B. Roman arrived in mid-afternoon and will likely depart in the wee hours. The island ferry Ongiara was out for trials today, after it's recent repowering, and may resume service shortly.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Mississagi entered the inner harbour late Monday night and after unloading wheat all night at the elevators, shifted over to Sifto Salt to reload Tuesday afternoon.


Welland Canal 177th Anniversary Commemoration Correction

11/21 - St. Catharines, Ont. - The Welland Canals Foundation in association with The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and OEB International will celebrate the 177th anniversary of the opening of the first Welland Canal on Wednesday, November 29 at 10 am. (Note-The original article indicated Thursday.)

The public is invited to the event which will be held at The Welland Canals Centre – Lock 3 (2nd Floor), 1932 Welland Canals Parkway, St. Catharines, Ontario.


Updates - November 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 22

In 1947, the Canadian tanker BRUCE HUDSON broke down shortly after departing Port Stanley. The U.S. tanker ROCKET, Captain R. B. Robbins, managed to get a line on the HUDSON and tow her 50 miles through high seas and a snow storm to shelter behind Point Pelee. Later, the tug ATOMIC arrived on scene and towed the Hudson to Toledo for repairs.

On 22 November 1860, WABASH VALLEY (wooden propeller, 592 tons, built in 1856, at Buffalo, New York) was caught in a blizzard and gale off Muskegon, Michigan on Lake Michigan. Her skipper thought they were off Grand Haven and as he steamed to the harbor, visibility dropped to near zero. The vessel ran onto the beach. Her momentum and the large storm waves carried her well up onto the beach where she broke in two. Her machinery was salvaged and went into the new steamer SUNBEAM.

Scrapping of the SPRUCEGLEN, a.) WILLIAM K FIELD was completed on November 22, 1986, by Lakehead Scrap Metal Co. at Thunder Bay Ontario. The SPRUCEGLEN was the last Canadian coal-fired bulker.

Cleveland Cliffs steamer FRONTENAC while in ballast sustained major structural damage from grounding on Pellet Reef attempting to enter Silver Bay, Minnesota at 2140 hours on November 22, 1979.

On 22 November 1869, CREAM CITY (3-mast wooden bark, 629 tons, built in 1862, at Sheboygan, Wisconsin) was carrying wheat in a gale when she lost her way and went ashore on Drummond Island. She appeared to be only slightly damaged, but several large pumps were unable to lower the water in her hull. She was finally abandoned as a total wreck on 8 December. She was built as a "steam bark" with an engine capable of pushing her at 5 or 6 mph. After two months of constant minor disasters, this was considered an unsuccessful experiment and the engine was removed.

The CITY OF MILWAUKEE was chartered to the Ann Arbor Railroad Co. and started the Frankfort, Michigan-Kewaunee, Wisconsin service for them on November 22, 1978.

November 22, 1929 - The CITY OF SAGINAW 31 went out on her sea trials.

On 22 November 1860, CIRCASSIAN (wooden schooner, 135 foot, 366 tons, built in 1856, at Irving, New York) was carrying grain in a gale and blizzard on Lake Michigan when she stranded on White Shoals near Beaver Island. She sank to her decks and then broke in two. Her crew was presumed lost, but actually made it to Hog Island in the blizzard and they were not rescued from there for two weeks.

A final note from the Big Gale of 1879. On 22 November 1879, The Port Huron Times reported, "The barge DALTON is still high and dry on the beach at Point Edward."

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Steve Haverty and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Ship Cargo Fire Extinguished

11/21 - Sault Ste. Marie - A crane barge began the laborious task of off-loading a Dutch-registered bulk carrier Virginiaborg early Sunday after an on-board fire singed a portion of the pelletized sugar beet cargo very early Sunday morning. City firefighters responded to the ship fire call at 12:48 a.m. Sunday to await the ship's arrival at the Carbide Dock after the smoldering vessel was allowed to pass through the Soo Locks. Firefighters called in an additional aerial truck from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. as a precaution but the principal firefighting apparatus used to douse the smoky fire was a small clam-bucket crane.

Set up alongside the ship, the small crane bucket pulled off burning cargo a few yards at a time for fire crews to extinguish at pierside. Damage to the ship was apparently minimal, even though the fire had apparently smoldered in the closed cargo holds for many hours before crew members discovered smoke aboard an hour or so before midnight Saturday.

Virginiaborg relayed a fire aboard call to the U.S. Coast Guard as the ship passed Big Point in the upper St. Marys River late Saturday. After some relayed evaluation, the Dutch vessel was allowed to enter the Soo Locks for downbound passage before Virginiaborg made the Carbide Dock rendezvous with fire crews. Virginiaborg cleared the Locks at 2:32 a.m. Sunday with the cargo fire still smoldering in the forward cargo hold of the small, 434-foot bulk carrier.

With the two aerial fire trucks arrayed alongside with a city pumper unit, firefighting by clam bucket began shortly after the ship arrived. The small bucket was still pulling off burning cargo at about 1 p.m. Sunday as the laborious task continued one bucket load at a time. All burning cargo was removed without incident during the afternoon hours, after which Virginiaborg buttoned up her cargo hatches to await Monday's off loading operation.

Virginiaborg, one of several dozen small vessels owned by the Dutch Wagenborg shipping line, is divided into two large cargo holds. The fire involved pelletized sugar beets carried in both holds and damaged a moveable wooden-timber bulkhead that separates the two holds below decks. The aft cargo hold in a vessel like Virginiaborg is isolated by a steel bulkhead, possibly limiting the spread of the fire.

City Fire Chief Ken Eagle said today that a number of officials from the Wagenborg line, cargo agents from Morocco and a cargo damage specialist are due in today to determine a course of action with remaining cargo. Eagle said U.S. Coast Guard officials are still investigating the probable cause of the blaze.

Shortly after daybreak today, the Purvis Marine crane barge Chief Wawatam was alongside the ship pulling out additional cargo for transfer to the barge. The fire had long since been extinguished. Sault Ste. Marie Port Director John Wellington early today said it is unlikely that the entire cargo will be unloaded as damaged goods. At her maximum capacity, Virginiaborg carries some 10,000 tons of cargo. No injuries were reported as a result of the on-board fire.

By The Soo Evening News


Coast Guard takes man from McCarthy

11/21 - Bay City - A 62-year-old crewman was evacuated by Coast Guard helicopter following a medical emergency Sunday. Coast Guard officials said John Norton, a crew member aboard the Walter J. McCarthy Jr., became ill and was in need of medical care.

The McCarthy was off the Thumb when the call for help went out, according to Petty Officer Matt Schofield.

A Coast Guard air rescue helicopter stationed at Selfridge Air National Guard Base responded at about 9:30 p.m. and was able to pick up Norton at the ship a short time later. He was flown to emergency medical personnel waiting at the Bad Axe Airport.

His medical condition was not available.

From the Bay City Times


U.S.-Flag Lakes Cargos Down in October
Iron Ore and Coal Totals Drop

11/21 - Cleveland—U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleets moved 11.1 million net tons of dry-bulk cargo on the Great Lakes in October, a decrease of 3.4 percent compared to a year ago. The decrease was slightly less – 2.2 percent - when compared to the fleet’s 5-year average for October.

With steel production slowing, the iron ore trade skipped a beat in October. Shipments in U.S.-Flag Lakers slipped 4.1 percent compared to a year ago, but were only marginally behind the 5-year average.

Ample stockpiles of coal at power plants again slowed loadings of that commodity. Shipments in U.S-Flag hulls totaled 2.7 million net tons in October, a decrease of nearly 9 percent from a year ago, but a slight increase over the 5-year average for the month.

The limestone total was almost an exact duplicate of a year ago, but fell short of the 5-year average by approximately 250,000 net tons.

For the year, U.S.-Flag cargo carriage stands 89.1 million net tons, a slight increase compared to the same point in 2005. However, the trade remains well ahead – nearly 6 percent – of the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

Lake Carriers’ Association represents 18 American corporations that operate 63 U.S.-Flag vessels on the Great Lakes. These vessels carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: Iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, limestone and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation.... Collectively, these vessels transport as much as 125 million tons of cargo a year when high water levels offset lack of adequate dredging. More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Christmas Tree Ship's Crew May Have Sought Refuge

11/21 - Two Rivers, WI — The crew of the Rouse Simmons schooner — better known as the "Christmas Tree Ship" — may have been heading for safe harbor, but high lake waves doomed all men aboard to their death. That was one of the findings revealed by state underwater archaeologist Keith Merveden to a packed crowd Saturday at the Hamilton Community House.

"We'll never know for sure ... but she wasn't oriented in the direction we expected," said Merveden, who led a 165-foot deep, two-week diving and photographic expedition last summer about 12 miles northeast of Rawley Point Lighthouse. "She was actually pointing north northwest," Merveden said of the ship that sank Nov. 22, 1912, with a crew believed to number 17. "At some point between distress sighting at Kewaunee and when the ship went down, she turned around and was headed towards a small bay."

Merveden and volunteer divers from all over the country did an extensive survey of the shipwreck, including creation of a detailed "photo mosaic" combining hundreds of images. "Ten years ago we wouldn't have been able to do this because there would have been less visibility," Merveden said. But the deep water clarity comes with a cost, as the growing population of Quagga mussels filtering and eating plant and animal life in Lake Michigan also cling to the hulls and decks of shipwrecks.

Each daily dive lasted about 90 minutes —45 minutes for survey and 45 minutes to slowly ascend, stopping at different compression points to avoid getting the bends. Divers wore "dry suits" in the 40-degree water.

Hit bottom forcefully
The ship's two anchor chains, each 450-feet long, are on deck at the front of the ship. Their weight — and its 27,000 Christmas trees headed from Michigan to Chicago —contributed to a low-riding bow that didn't ride over, but through, the waves of the fierce November storm. "It appears the Rouse Simmons went down with a bit of momentum," Merveden said. "There's a large impact crater (on the floor of Lake Michigan) at her bow."

The 127-foot schooner was first discovered, via sonar, in 1971. Laws are now in effect preventing private party scavenging of shipwrecks, and Merveden said there are still some articles of clothing visible, but no bodies. "You could pull her up and she would float," said Paul Bentley, one of the volunteer divers. "The wood (deck and hull) has been preserved because of the dark and cold at that depth."

By Manitowoc Times-Herald


Port Reports - November 21

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Polish Steamship's Isa was at the Municipal Pier #2 about noon, 20 November. Otherwise, no activity in the harbor.

South Chicago - Gary Clark
The Herbert C. Jackson departed the KCBX coal dock around 1:00pm Monday. Destination unknown.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Monday evening Interlake's Herbert C. Jackson was at the WE Energies Greenfield Avenue dock in Milwaukee's inner harbor in a rare visit, delivering a load of coal from KCBX in Chicago.


Updates - November 21

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 21

On 21 November 1861, ENTERPRISE (2-mast wooden scow-schooner, 64 foot, 56 tons, built in 1854, at Port Huron, Michigan) was driven ashore near Bark Shanty at the tip of Michigan's "thumb" on Lake Huron. The storm waves pounded her to pieces. Her outfit was salvaged a few days later.

On the evening of 21 November 1890, the scow MOLLIE (wooden scow-schooner, 83 foot, 83 gross tons, built in 1867, at Fairport, Ohio) left Ludington, Michigan with a load of lumber. About 8:00 p.m., when she was just 25 miles off Ludington, she started to leak in heavy seas, quickly becoming waterlogged. Capt. Anderson and his two-man crew had just abandoned the vessel in the yawl when the steamer F & P M NO 4 showed up, shortly after midnight. The rough weather washed Capt. Anderson out of the yawl, but he made it back in. At last a line from the F & P M NO 4 was caught and made fast to the yawl and the crew made it to the steamer. The men had a narrow escape, for the MOLLIE was going to pieces rapidly, and there was little likelihood of the yawl surviving in the gale.

The PATERSON (Hull#113) was launched November 21, 1953, at Port Arthur, Ontario by Port Arthur Ship Building Co. Ltd..

In 1924, the MERTON E FARR slammed into the Interstate Bridge that linked Superior, Wisconsin with Duluth, Minnesota. causing extensive damage to the bridge. The bridge span fell into the water but the FARR received only minor damage to her bow.

On 21 November 1869, the ALLIANCE (wooden passenger sidewheeler, 87 foot, 197 gross tons, built in 1857, at Buffalo, New York) slipped her moorings at Lower Black Rock in the Niagara River and went over the falls. She had been laid up since the spring of 1869.

November 21, 1906 - The PERE MARQUETTE 17 encountered one of the worst storms in many years while westbound for the Wisconsin Central slip in Manitowoc. Wisconsin. She made port safely, but the wind was so high that she could not hold her course up the river without assistance. The tug ARCTIC assisted, and as they were proceeding through the 10th Street Bridge, a gust of wind from the south drove the ferry and tug against the north pilings of the 10th Street Bridge. The ARCTIC, pinned between the ferry and the bridge, was not damaged, but she crushed the hull of a fishing tug moored there, sinking her, and inflicted damage of a few hundred dollars to the bridge.

November 21, 1923 - Arthur Stoops, the lookout on the ANN ARBOR NO 6 was drowned while stepping from the apron onto the knuckle to cast off the headline.

On the night of 21 November 1870, C W ARMSTRONG (wooden propeller steam tug, 57 foot, 33 tons, built in 1856, at Albany, New York) burned at her dock at Bay City, Michigan. No lives were lost.

More incidents from the Big Gale of 1879. On 21 November 1879, The Port Huron Times reported, "The schooner MERCURY is ashore at Pentwater. The schooner LUCKY is high and dry at Manistee; the schooner WAUBASHENE is on the beach east of Port Colborne. The schooner SUMATRA is on the beach at Cleveland; the large river tug J P Clark capsized and sunk at Belle Isle in the Detroit River on Wednesday [19 Nov.] and sank in 15 minutes. One drowned. The schooner PINTO of Oakville, Ontario, stone laden, went down in 30 feet of water about one mile down from Oakville. At Sand beach the barge PRAIRIE STATE is rapidly going to pieces.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Steve Haverty and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Iron Nugget Plant Deal Falls Apart

11/20 – Duluth -- A proposal to build the world’s first commercial iron nugget plant at the former LTV Steel Mining Co. site near Hoyt Lakes is dead. Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., a major partner in the $200 million project, said Friday night that partners in the project have not been able to come to terms. The exact details of what killed the deal were not available.

“Though we are disappointed with the temporary setback this action represents, the iron nugget technology works and we intend to move forward,” Joe Carrabba, Cleveland-Cliffs chief executive officer said in a news release.
Cliffs, Kobe Steel, Steel Dynamics Inc. of Butler, Ind., and Ferrometrics of Two Harbors had proposed building the plant near Hoyt Lakes.

The state also supported the project, including streamlining an environmental permitting schedule. The commercial plant, to be built on a 6,000-acre site, was to bring with it 400 to 500 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs.

Cleveland-Cliffs, with Kobe Steel of Japan as a partner, still intends to pursue development of a commercial-size nugget plant at Cliffs’ Northshore Mining Co. facility in Silver Bay, Carrabba said. But Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said that permitting a commercial nugget project along Lake Superior could prove difficult.

“I’m just heartbroken,” Bakk said Friday night. “I don’t think Cliffs has their heart in it. It could have happened in Hoyt Lakes. Everything was ready. The Iron Range legislators pulled out all the stops in St. Paul for this. We broke arms and broke legs to make it happen and even had an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) waived.”

Hoyt Lakes Mayor Marlene Pospeck called the announcement “reprehensible and infuriating.” Her city was hit hard when LTV Steel Mining Co. permanently closed in 2001, costing 1,400 jobs — many in Hoyt Lakes. “I just can’t understand what the h—- they’re thinking,” the normally placid Pospeck said. “I can’t believe the decision was made to once more pull the rug out from under Hoyt Lakes. It’s like over and over and over again, we get our hopes raised and then dashed.”

Pospeck said she didn’t know whether the city or other government leaders would have any recourse. All funding and permitting for the project was based on the premise that it would be at the former LTV Steel Mining Co. plant, she said.

“I don’t understand how it can be a financial decision,” Pospeck said. “It will delay the project for two or three more years, which means it will cost more. And the market is there for it right now. Who knows what the market is going to be like a few years from now.”

A confirmation of the agreement at the Hoyt Lakes site was expected earlier this year. But delays over several months led some within Minnesota’s iron ore industry to believe that the parties were having trouble reaching agreement. Still, the sudden announcement caught some off guard.

“Companies make decisions for a variety of reasons based on what’s in their best interest,” said Frank Ongaro Jr., president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota. Mesabi Nugget, which had planned to operate the nugget plant, successfully demonstrated the technology on a small scale at Northshore Mining Co.

Where the failed deal leaves Larry Lehtinen, president of Mesabi Nugget, wasn’t clear Friday night. Lehtinen, an Iron Range native, spent about six years working to get the pilot plant operating and seeking partners, funding and permits for a commercial plant. Kobe Steel officials say that could still happen at Silver Bay.

“We are committed to the reduced iron business and believe that the iron nugget technology can significantly alter the raw material landscape for steel producers,” said Shohei Manabe, Kobe Steel general manager. “While we are also disappointed by the delay caused by this setback, we are nonetheless optimistic regarding the technology, as well as building the innovative operation in Minnesota. We look forward to working with Cleveland-Cliffs and the state of Minnesota to commercially deploy this technology.”

Iron nuggets would be a new product made from Iron Range taconite concentrate, more valuable than iron ore pellets, and used to feed electric arc furnaces and foundries. Bakk said the project held promise of a new era on the Iron Range.
Now, he says he’s unsure whether a plant will ever be built in Northeastern Minnesota. “It hurts,” Bakk said. “But I feel worse for the people of the Range who have been waiting for something that would revitalize the Range and get us into a new market.”

Meanwhile, Cleveland-Cliffs said that it plans to re-start furnace No. 5, a pelletizing furnace at Silver Bay.
Permits and capital funding have been approved.

Construction work to get the furnace re-started, along with additional concentrate capacity, is expected to be complete by 2008, Cleveland-Cliffs said. The re-start would boost iron ore pellet production at the plant by about 800,000 tons annually. This week, Cleveland-Cliffs announced new long-term pellet contracts with AK Steel and Republic Steel. The contracts assure Cliffs will sell 100 percent of its pellet production.

Re-starting the concentrate lines would be necessary to fuel a Silver Bay nugget plant. “Whether the start-up is directly related to their thoughts about nuggets in the future, who knows?” Ongaro said. “But they just announced that their order books are full.” Donald Gallagher, Cleveland-Cliffs chief financial officer, said the expanded pellet capacity would help satisfy customers’ current and future requirements under long-term sales agreements.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Vamand Wave Update

11/20 - It is now being reported that the saltie Vamand Wave suffered engine failure that caused her strange behavior last Friday, and that she did not hit the lock wall. The vessel was tied at the West Pier most of Saturday and departed down bound in the evening.

Original Article - 11/18 - Sault Ste. Marie - The saltie Vamand Wave had difficulty making the lock wall Friday.
Just after the Paul R. Tregurtha was assisted out of the Poe lock by the G tug Missouri, the Vamand Wave attempted to make the wall unassisted. The ship struck the pier with its bulbous bow, and proceeded to get lines ashore and winch herself in.
The ship has since been moved backwards and secured against the far end of the West Pier. She remained there late Friday evening.
It appeared that the tug Missouri was delayed in its upbound trip in the Mac Lock as the lock was not filled, probably to prevent the suction from making things harder for the saltie.


Port Reports - November 20

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The New York State Canal Corp. has awarded a $200,000 grant toward the project to turn a small piece of riverfront land into a pocket park. The property lies to the North of the Col. F Ward Pumping Station near the foot of Porter Ave, by the US Navy Reserve Training Center. If established, this park would offer great views of the Black Rock Canal, the Peace Bridge, and the riverfront looking West toward Canada.

Goderich - Wayne Brown
The Algorail departed Goderich at dawn (7:15am.) on Sunday after loading 13,000 MT of salt for a Saginaw river port.

Lorain - William J. Davis
The Edward L. Ryerson was seen at the Jonick Docks on the Black River in Lorain, Ohio at noon on Sunday.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday had the Canadian Leader arrive at 11:00am. going to Dofasco with iron ore from Port Cartier.
The CSL Laurentian departed at 11:15am.
The tug James A. Hannah and barge Hannah 5501 arrived at 12:00 noon from Detroit with decanted oil. After discharging her cargo will go to Toledo.
The saltie Rebecca arrived at 4:00 pm with steel products from France for Pier 12E. Her next port will be Cleveland.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Philip R. Clarke loaded Sunday at the Norfolk Southern coal dock for Detroit.

Toledo - Dawn Roberts
Lee A. Tregurtha loaded coal at the CSX Dock on a gloomy, cold and windy Sunday.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Algosoo finished unloading her raw sugar cargo and departed during the wee hours Sunday for the Welland Canal.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris & Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River late Sunday afternoon, headed for the Sargent dock in Essexville to unload. The pair finished unloading at the Sargent dock in Essexville at 8:00pm Sunday evening and headed upriver to finish unloading at the Saginaw Rock Products dock. The pair were upbound at the Airport turning basin at 9:15pm Sunday night.
The Algorail was inbound the Saginaw River early Sunday evening, headed for the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload salt from Goderich, Ontario. The Algorail is expected to be outbound the Saginaw River early Monday morning.
The Maumee was inbound the Saginaw River Sunday evening, at the Airport turning basin at 9:00pm, headed for the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw to unload. The Maumee is expected to be outbound the Saginaw River Monday morning.

Alpena/Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday the tug/barge combo Olive L. Moore/Lewis J. Kuber were anchored out in the bay waiting out the weather.
Friday night the Wolverine arrived at Lafarge and unloaded cargo into the storage hopper.
Sunday morning the MCM tug William C. Gaynor along with two barges (one had work equipment aboard) were observed out in the bay. The Gaynor came into port and tied up in the river, while the other barges remained offshore.
The Steamer Alpena was in port on Sunday afternoon taking on product for Milwaukee, WI.
Night time brought the Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation to the silos at Lafarge.
At Stoneport on Sunday the Great Lakes Trader loaded throughout the day. The McKee Sons was expected in before midnight.


Updates - November 20

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 20

In 1948, the ROBERT HOBSON was blown against the Duluth-Superior breakwall as she tried to enter the harbor during a 68 mph gale. Damage to the vessel was kept to a minimum when Captain John Mc Nellis ordered the seacocks open to settle the HOBSON on a sandbar. Renamed b.) OUTARDE in 1975, she was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 1985.

On 20 November 1854, BURLINGTON (2-mast wooden brig, 80 foot, 117 tons, built in 1842, at Cleveland, Ohio) was driven hard aground near Port Bruce, Ontario on Lake Huron while trying to assist the stranded Canadian bark GLOBE.

The SAGINAW was christened at the Government Dock in Sarnia, Ontario in 1999. Bonnie Bravener and Wendy Siddall broke the traditional bottle of champagne adding the second vessel to Lower Lakes Towing's fleet. The company then generously opened the vessel for tours to all those in the large crowd that had gathered to witness the event. She was built in 1953 as a.) JOHN J BOLAND.

Hall Corporation of Canada's EAGLESCLIFFE HALL was launched in 1956, at Grangemouth, Scotland. Sold off the lakes, renamed b.) EAGLESCLIFFE in 1974. She sank two miles east of Galveston, Texas on February 9, 1983.

The ferry WOLFE ISLANDER was christened on November 20, 1946, at Marysville, Wolfe Island. The new ferry was the unfinished OTTAWA MAYBROOK which was built to serve the war effort in the south Pacific Ocean. She replaced two landing barges which were pressed quickly into service following the condemned steamer WOLFE ISLANDER, a.) TOM FAWCETT of 1904, which had served the community for 42 years. Officially christened WOLFE ISLANDER by Mrs. Sarah Russell, it took five tries before the champagne bottle finally broke on her port side.

At 2240 hours on November 20, 1974, the ROY A JODREY ran aground on Pullman Shoal, located at Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River near Alexandria Bay, New York. All of the crew was rescued. Early the next morning at 0305 hours she slid off the shoal, rolled on her side and sank in 150 feet of water.

Pittsburgh Steamship's steamer RALPH H WATSON (Hull#285) was launched in 1937, at River Rouge, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

On 20 November 1872, the side wheel steamer W J SPICER was finally laid up and the crew dismissed. She had served for many years as the Grand Trunk ferry at Fort Gratiot on the St. Clair River.

On 20 November 1880, BAY CITY (wooden barge, 199 foot, 480 tons, built in 1852, at Trenton, Michigan as the sidewheeler FOREST CITY) was carrying coal when she was cast adrift east of Erie, Pennsylvania by the steamer JAMES P DONALDSON in a storm. She was driven ashore and wrecked. Her crew was saved by the U.S. Lifesaving Service using breeches' buoy.

November 20, 1898. ANN ARBOR #3 left Cleveland, Ohio for Frankfort, Michigan on her maiden voyage.

November 20, 1924 - Pere Marquette fleet engineer Finlay Mac Laren died after 42 years with the railroad. He was succeeded by his brother Robert until Leland H. Kent was named fleet engineer in 1925.

On 20 Nov 1871, the schooner E B ALLEN was sailing from Chicago to Buffalo with a load of corn when she crossed the bow of the bark NEWSBOY about six miles off the Thunder Bay Light on Lake Huron. The NEWSBOY slammed her bow deep into the schooner's hull amidships and the ALLEN sank in about 30 minutes. The crew escaped in the yawl. The NEWSBOY was badly damaged but did not sink.

On 20 Nov 1999, the Bermuda-flag container ship CANMAR TRIUMPH went aground on the St. Lawrence River, off Varennes about 15 kilometers downstream from Montreal. She was the third vessel to run aground in the St. Lawrence River that Autumn. The Canadian Coast Guard reported that she was having engine problems and the CBC News reported that the vessel's rudder was damaged in the grounding.

On Saturday morning. 20 Nov 1999, Marinette Marine Corporation of Marinette, Wisconsin, launched the 175-foot Coast Guard Cutter HENRY BLAKE. The BLAKE was one of the "Keeper" Class Coastal Class Buoy Tenders. Each ship in the "Keeper" class is named after a famous American lighthouse keeper.

Data from: Joe Barr, Brian Johnson, Dave Swayze, Russ plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Steve Haverty and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - November 19

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris & Todd Shorkey
On Wednesday all of the tugs and barges involved with the Sixth Street turning basin dredging project in Saginaw were outbound for the lake. After tying a line to the Dredge Sioux the tug Mohawk headed outbound the Saginaw River passing through Downtown Bay City during the afternoon hours. The M.C.M. Marine tug Beaver State was also outbound the Saginaw River Wednesday afternoon. Great Lakes Dock & Material's Company tug Duluth and tug Sarah B. were outbound from the Essroc dock in Essexville Wednesday afternoon with four empty barges.
The tug Gregory J. Busch and the deck barge Primary 1 were inbound the Saginaw River late Wednesday evening, and loaded stone at the BMT Terminal before departing upriver for the Saginaw Rock Products dock Thursday morning. After dropping the Primary 1 off at the Saginaw Rock Products dock the Busch headed back to the BMT Terminal Thursday afternoon. On Friday morning the Busch departed from the BMT Terminal with the deck barge STC 2004 and the tug Statesboro headed for the Saginaw Rock Products dock. The Primary 1 and the STC 2004 with the Busch and the Statesboro continued to unload at the Saginaw Rock Products dock into the late evening hours on Friday.
The tug Olive L. Moore and the barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River Friday morning headed for the Bay Aggregates dock in Essexville to unload. The pair finished unloading and backed from the slip, turned around and was outbound the Saginaw River from the Bay Aggregates slip at 8:45pm Friday evening.
The American Republic was inbound the Saginaw River early Friday afternoon headed for the GM dock in Saginaw to unload coal. The Republic arrived at the GM dock to unload at 6:00pm, finished unloading at 10:15pm Friday night and turned around at the Sixth Street turning basin and was outbound the Saginaw River at the Airport turning basin at 1:45am Saturday morning, headed outbound for the lake.
The tug William C. Gaynor was also outbound the Saginaw River on Saturday afternoon, pulling two barges. She departed the Essroc dock around noon.

Marinette/Menominee - Stephen P. Neal
The Calumet arrived Saturday to unload coal for Menominee paper company.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
The Chios Pride, which hails from Chios, Greece, departed the Nidera Elevator in the last 24 hours. Additionally, as of mid-Saturday afternoon, the St. Mary's Challenger was working its way up the Kinnickinnic River, past the former Chicago & North Western swing bridge to the St. Mary's cement terminal.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The John B. Aird loaded Saturday at Sandusky's Norfolk Southern coal dock for Hamilton, Ont.

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Saturday the Algowood came in to load salt.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The John J. Boland brought stone to Marquette, then took on a load of ore. The Michipicoten also arrived on Saturday for ore.

Menominee - Dick Lund
The Calumet arrived in Menominee, MI around noon on Saturday with a load of coal for Menominee Paper Company. They finished unloading and were ready to depart around 5:30 p.m. This was their second trip to Menominee Paper this year (both with coal).

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday evening saw the saltie Bluewing depart at 5:30 p.m. The Canadian Provider departed at 6:30 p.m. bound for Thunder Bay in ballast.
The Maritime Trader then departed at 8 p.m.
Saturday the saltie Spar Opal departed at 5:30 a.m. for the Welland Canal.
The tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes departed at 8:00 a.m. also for the canal. The CSL Laurentien arrived at 9:00 p.m. going to Stelco.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Algosoo arrived in port this afternoon (Saturday) and began discharging raw sugar onto the dock at Pier 51 west.
The salty Makeevka has been in at Pier 51 north for the past couple of days unloading her cargo.
It is expected that the island ferry Ongiara, which has been out of service for the past week for repowering, will go back into service early next week.


Updates - November 19

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 19

On this day in 1939, in a 24 hour period, there were 132 transits of the Soo Locks. There were 71 upbound passages and 61 downbound passages.

On this day in 1952, Mrs. Ernest T. Weir smashed a bottle of champagne against the hull of the largest freighter built on the Great Lakes and the 690 foot ERNEST T WEIR slid down the ways at the Lorain yard of American Ship Building Company. The new vessel had a crew of 38 under the command of Captain W. Ross Maitland and Chief Engineer C. F. Hoffman.

On 19 November 1897, NAHANT (wooden propeller freighter, 213 foot, 1,204 gross tons, built in 1873, at Detroit, Michigan) caught fire while docked near Escanaba, Michigan. Firefighters were hampered by sub-zero temperatures and she burned to a total loss. The fire jumped to the dock and did $300,000 worth of damage. Two of the crew were burned to death. The wreckage of the vessel was still visible from the Escanaba lighthouse 100 years later.

American Steamship's SAM LAUD (Hull#712) was launched on this date in 1974, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

The keel for the JOHN T HUTCHINSON (Hull#1010) was laid November 19, 1942, at Cleveland, Ohio for the U.S. Maritime Commission.

The Kinsman Transit Co.Õs steamer MERLE M MC CURDY was laid up for the last time at Buffalo, New York on November 19, 1985. She was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 1988.

On 19 November 1842, the wooden schooner BRANDYWINE was carrying flour in a storm on Lake Erie when she capsized and then drifted to the beach near Barcelona, New York. One passenger's body was found in the cabin, but the entire crew of 6 was lost.

More incidents from the terrible storm swept the Lakes in mid-November 1886. On 18-19 November of that year, The Port Huron Times listed the vessels that were known to have foundered in that storm. Here is the list of vessels that foundered as it appeared on 19 November 1886. "The barge EMERALD near Kewaunee, 5 lost. The barge F M DICKINSON near Kewaunee, 3 lost. Two unknown schooners (one supposed to be the HELEN) near Port Sherman. One unknown schooner near Hog Island Reef. The barge NORTH STAR near East Tawas, the fate of the crew is unknown." The list then continues with vessels ashore. "The barge WALLACE and consort on Choclay Beach, east of Marquette. The schooner SOUTH HAVEN near Pt. Sherman. The schooner MARY near Blenheim, Ontario. The schooner PATHFINDER near Two Rivers, the cargo and vessel are a total loss. The schooner CUYAHOGA and two scows in North Bay. The schooner P S MARSH and an unknown schooner at St. Ignace. The schooner HARVEY BISSELL near Alpena. The propeller CITY OF NEW YORK near Cheboygan. The schooner KOLFAGE near Goderich, Ontario has broken up. The propeller NASHUA on Grass Island, Green Bay. The barge BISSELL near Kewaunee. The schooner GOLDEN below China Beach. The propeller BELLE CROSS and barges across from China Beach. The schooner FLORIDA on Marquette Beach is a total loss. And the barges BUCKOUT, MC DOUGALL, BAKER, GOLDEN HARVEST near East Tawas.

The schooner HATTIE JOHNSTON sailed from Milwaukee loaded with 26,000 bushels of wheat on the night of 19 November 1879, and then a severe gale swept Lake Michigan. After two weeks, she was presumed lost with all hands. Aboard were Capt. D. D. Prouty, his wife and 8 crewmen.

On 19 Nov 1886, the steamer MANISTIQUE was towing the schooner-barges MARINETTE and MENEKAUNEE, all loaded with lumber, in a NW gale on Lake Michigan. The gale lasted three days. The barges broke loose after a long fight against the elements and both were wrecked near Frankfort, Michigan. 6 of the 7 aboard the MARINETTE were lost including the woman cook and her 13-year old daughter. The MENEKAUNEE broke up before the Lifesaving Service could get to her and all seven aboard died. When the Lifesaving Service arrived on the beach, they found a jumbled mass of lumber and gear and the ship's dog keeping watch over the dead bodies. The dog also died soon after the Lifesaving crew arrived.

EMPIRE MALDON (steel tanker, 343 foot, 3,734 gross tons) was launched on 19 November 1945, by Sir James Laing & Sons, Ltd., at Sunderland, United Kingdom for the British Ministry of War Transport She was sold to Imperial Oil Co. of Canada in 1946, and renamed IMPERIAL HALIFAX and served on the Maritime Provinces-East Coast trade. In 1969, she was purchased by Johnstone Shipping, Ltd., of Toronto and served on the Great Lakes. She lasted until 1977, when she was scrapped by United Metals, Ltd. in Hamilton, Ontario.

On Friday morning, 19 Nov 1999, shortly after leaving the ADM dock in Windsor, the salty AVDEEVKA lost power in the Fighting Island Channel of the Detroit River. The main engine on the vessel quit while she was abreast of Grassy Island and she began drifting downstream. The stern anchor was dropped and then the port side bow anchor. She began swinging towards the middle of the channel with her stern outside the channel when the main engine was restarted and she headed back upstream for the Belle Isle anchorage. Once in the anchorage a team from the U.S. Coast Guard boarded the vessel to investigate. She was released the next day. It is reported that the vessel lost power due to main fuel valve being left closed after routine maintenance during her stay at the ADM dock.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Steve Haverty and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Saltie Strikes Wall at Soo

11/18 - Sault Ste. Marie - The saltie Vamand Wave had difficulty making the lock wall Friday.

Just after the Paul R. Tregurtha was assisted out of the Poe lock by the G tug Missouri, the Vamand Wave attempted to make the wall unassisted. The ship struck the pier with its bulbous bow, and proceeded to get lines ashore and winch herself in.

The ship has since been moved backwards and secured against the far end of the West Pier. She remained there late Friday evening.

It appeared that the tug Missouri was delayed in its upbound trip in the Mac Lock as the lock was not filled, probably to prevent the suction from making things harder for the saltie.


177th anniversary commemoration of the first Welland Canal in 1829

11/18 - St. Catharines, Ont. - The Welland Canals Foundation in association with The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and OEB International will celebrate the 177th anniversary of the opening of the first Welland Canal on Thursday, November 29th at 10:00 am.

The public is invited to the event which will be held at The Welland Canals Centre – Lock 3 (2nd Floor), 1932 Welland Canals Parkway, St. Catharines, Ontario.


Port Reports - November 18

Toledo -
Federal Rideau got underway after loading at ADM Elevators Friday.
Nanticoke came in Friday with tugs; Nebraska and Idaho to load at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility.
Pilicia of Polsteam was unloading at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, International.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River departed Buffalo in ballast, for the Welland Canal and on to Bath, Ontario at 1 p.m. Friday afternoon.
CSL Laurentian loading coal at the Gateway Trade Terminal in Lackawanna Friday morning.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
About noon on Friday, the Chios Pride was loading at the Nidera Elevator.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin loaded Friday at the Norfolk Southern coal dock for an unspecified Canadian port.


Updates - November 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 18

On 18 November 1869, EQUATOR (wooden propeller package freighter, 184 foot, 621 tons, built in 1857, at Buffalo, New York) was trying to pull the schooner SOUTHWEST off a reef near North Manitou Island on Lake Michigan. A storm swept in and EQUATOR foundered in the relatively shallow water. She was thought to be unsalvageable but was re-floated in 1870. Her hull was extensively rebuilt and became the barge ELDORADO in 1871, while her engine was used in the tug BISMARCK.

The CARL D BRADLEY was lost in a violent storm on Lake Michigan on November 18, 1958.

The CANADIAN OLYMPIC's sea trials were conducted on 18 November 1976. Her maiden voyage was on 28 November 1976, to load coal at Conneaut, Ohio for Nanticoke, Ontario. Her name honors the Olympic Games that were held at Montreal that year.

The bow and stern sections of the vessel that was to become the STEWART J CORT were built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division, Litton Systems, Inc., Pascagoula, MS, as hull 1173. That 182 foot vessel, known as "STUBBY" was launched on 18 Nov 1969. "STUBBY" sailed under its own power from the Gulf of Mexico through the St. Lawrence Seaway and Welland Canal to Erie, Pennsylvania where the sections were cut apart by Erie Marine, Inc. and the 818 foot mid section was added -- making the Lakes first thousand footer.

The ASHCROFT was launched November 18, 1924, as a) GLENIFFER.

On 18 November 1873, the tug CRUSADER was launched at 1:20 p.m. at the Leighton & Dunford yard in Port Huron, Michigan. Her dimensions were 138 foot overall, 125 foot keel, 23 foot beam, and 12 foot depth. She was built for Mr. G. E. Brockway of Port Huron.

On 18 November 1842, CHICAGO (wooden passenger & package freight sidewheeler, 105 foot, 166 tons, built in 1837, at St. Joseph, Michigan) was struck by a gale between Ashtabula and Conneaut in Lake Erie. She lost both of her stacks and became unmanageable when her fires went out. She was driven ashore about 3 miles east of Silver Creek, New York and was wrecked. About 60 persons were on board and amazingly no lives were lost.

On 18 November 1882, DROMEDARY (wooden propeller, 120 foot, 255 gross tons, built in 1868, at Port Dalhousie, Ontario) burned to a total loss at the dock at Hamilton, Ontario when her banked fires overheated. She was owned by Burroughs & Co. No lives were lost.

A terrible storm swept the Lakes in mid-November 1886. On 18-19 November of that year, The Port Huron Times listed the vessels that were known to have foundered in that storm. Here is the list as it appeared on 18 November 1886. "The barge CHARLES HINCKLEY is ashore near Alpena. The schooner P S MARCH is ashore at St. Ignace. She will probably go to pieces. The schooner THOMAS P SHELDON is ashore about 10 miles north of Alpena. The crew were rescued by the tug HAND. The schooner NELLIE REDINGTON is reported going to pieces at Two Rivers. Three of her crew reached harbor all right, but the other 7 men on board are in danger of their lives. The coal barges F M DICKINSON and EMERALD were driven ashore at Kewaunee, Wisconsin Wednesday morning [17 Nov]. Three of the DICKINSON's crew were drowned, the other four floated ashore on a plank. The EMERALD's crew started ashore in the yawl, but 5 were drowned.

On 18 November 1881, the schooner JAMES PLATT left Bay City with a cargo of lumber for Chicago. However, she was wrecked on Lake Michigan during a terrible snow storm during the first week of December and never made it to Chicago. The storm lasted two full days and six of the crew survived but the rest were lost.

The ANN ARBOR NO 4 ran aground on Green Isle, the island in Green Bay to the north of her course between Sturgeon Bay and Menominee on 18 Nov 1913. ANN ARBOR NO 3 pulled her off undamaged after about 2 hours work.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Max Hanley, Steve Haverty and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Weller Dry Docks to Shut Down

11/17 - Port Weller - After some signs in recent weeks that it might stay afloat, financially troubled St. Catharines shipbuilder Port Weller Dry Docks has taken a turn for the worse. Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering, which owns the shipyard, gave up on a restructuring plan Wednesday, laying off Port Weller's last 35 employees and announcing it wants to put the business up for sale. As the company has been in bankruptcy protection since the summer, it will need the OK from a Superior Court judge on Friday before shopping for a buyer.

"We are very sorry to see this happen to the company, but it became clear that, despite all our efforts, restructuring was not going to work," Jack Leitch, chairman of Toronto-based Upper Lakes Group, the controlling shareholder of Canadian Shipbuilding, said Wednesday in a media release. No one from Upper Lakes could be reached for further comment.

Port Weller's fortunes appeared to be on the rise last month, when the company signed a new contract with the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 680, which represents 177 shipyard workers. "We gave them all kinds of concessions. There's nothing else we could have done," Local 680 president Kevin McKinnon said. "We bent over backwards for them."

Most of the shipbuilders have been off the job since June and have been looking for work elsewhere. McKinnon was working in Brampton all day Wednesday and didn't want to comment in detail until he had heard from the company and Boilermakers head office. "It's a great loss for all the guys," the St. Catharines man said. "I don't know what they're going to do."

The new union contract had given some hope to the dry docks office staff. Employees said they were told to contact material suppliers, as if work in the yard was about to resume. Bill Molloy, who headed up the drafting department, said the company was even actively pursuing a new contract for some Canadian government shoreline patrol ships. "It seemed up to the last minute we were still going through the motions, like nothing was happening," said the 64-year-old St. Catharines man.

But Molloy said in the last few days, there were hints that things were again headed south. He said a meeting was called for 9 a.m. Wednesday and workers were told that Upper Lakes board of directors had voted on Tuesday "not to spend any more money keeping us afloat."

After questions about pension and severance pay - employee pensions are safe, but no one will receive severance - everyone punched out early. "We tidied up, took our coffee mugs and headed home," said Molloy, who's worked at Port Weller since 1988.

In documents filed with the court, Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering said it also wants to sell off Thunder Bay-based Pascol Engineering and already has a deal to sell Canal Marine - a multi-trade contractor on Cushman Road in St. Catharines with about 50 employees - to Protug Marine, a subsidiary of Upper Lakes.

In a court affidavit, Canadian Shipbuilding board member Ian MacGregor wrote that a plan for filling the two current orders - one hull for Dutch firm Hoekman Cargoships BV and five ships for Carisbrooke Shipping of England - was drawn up. But MacGregor said those two customers didn't bite.

"For reasons which are not known to or understood by CSE, none of these parties have made the kind of effort expected of a party who wanted a vessel to be built on a timely basis," the affidavit reads. Molloy said the word around the office was that Carisbrooke "got a bit skittish" about the uncertainty hanging around Port Weller and backed out.

From the St. Catharine Standard and the Welland Tribune

Editor's note: We wish the Port Weller Dry Dock employees the best of luck where ever their future careers take them. BoatNerd.Com had enjoyed a strong working relationship with the dry dock including the sharing of information and tours during our Fall Gathering at the Welland Canal.


Port Reports - November 17

Sandusky Jim Spencer
The tug-barge tandem of McKee Son/Invincible was loading Thursday afternoon at the Norfolk Southern coal dock.

Lorain - C. Mackin
On Thursday, the Buffalo went upriver to Gold Bond. The Earl Oglebay and American Victory both going to R.E.P. The Tug Cleveland and the Cleveland Rocks were scheduled for Terminal Ready Mix, but due to heavy fog cancelled.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River came in for the LaFarge dock at 8:00 Thursday evening.

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Thursday the Frontenac came into Sifto salt to load salt.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Edward L. Ryerson departed Fraser Shipyards in Superior sometime during the night on Wednesday. She went to BNSF in Superior to load.
The steamer Mississagi and barge Integrity with tug G.L. Ostrander remain in the shipyard’s drydocks.
Elsewhere in port Thursday, John G. Munson arrived about 7:00 am and proceeded to Hallett 8 to unload. From there it was scheduled to make the short trip across St. Louis Bay to load at the DMIR ore dock with pellets destined for Gary.
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Canadian Olympic was due in close to midnight.
Isadora was tucked partway into the AGP berth to load grain, but part of its stern was extending beyond the slip at midday.
H. Lee White was due into BNSF ore dock to load after the Ryerson.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The M.C.M. Marine tug Mohawk arrived on the Saginaw River Wednesday to retrieve the dredge Sioux from the  upper Saginaw River.  Also inbound was the Tug Gregory J. Busch pushing her deck barge.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The charter boat season has pretty much ended here. On Wednesday five charter vessels - Klancy II, Ste. Marie I, Sea Voyager, Harbour Star and Island Princess - were placed on Toronto Drydock for the winter. In addition, the Rochester based Spirit of Rochester remains rafted to Toronto Drydock, where it has lain since last fall. Toronto Drydock is featured in the movie "The Sentinel", which has recently been released on dvd.

Welland Canal - Jim Sprunt
Upbound in canal yesterday Wednesday was the tug Victory from Philadelphia. Bound for Sturgeon Bay, or Escanaba, where it is rumored will eventually hook up with Reserve which will be converted to a barge this winter.


Updates - November 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 17

On 17 November 1884, PHOENIX (wooden propeller wrecking tug, 173 gross tons, built in 1862, at Cleveland, Ohio) caught fire in one of her coal bunkers at 7:00 a.m. while she was tied up to the C. S. R. Railroad slip at Amherstburg, Ontario. Several vessels, including the Dunbar tug SHAUGHRAUN and the steam barge MARSH, tried to save her. The SHAUGHRAUN finally got a line on her and pulled her away from the dock and towed her near Norwell's wharf where she burned and sank.

On 17 Nov 1969, the RIDGETOWN (steel propeller bulk freighter, 557 foot, 7,637 gross tons, built in 1905, at Chicago, Illinois as WILLIAM E COREY) was laid up at Toronto for the last time with a load of grain. In the Spring of 1970, Upper Lakes Shipping, Ltd. sold her to Canadian Dredge & Dock Co., Ltd. of Toronto. She was sunk at Nanticoke, Ontario for use as a temporary breakwater during the construction of harbor facilities in the Summer of 1970. Still later, she was raised and sunk again in the Summer of 1974, as a breakwater to protect marina facilities at Port Credit, Ontario.

On November 17, 1984, the EUGENE P THOMAS was towed by the TUG MALCOLM to Thunder Bay, Ontario for scrapping by Shearmet.

In the morning of 17 November 1926, the PETER A B WIDENER (steel straight-deck bulk freighter, 580 foot, 7,053 gross tons, built in 1906, at Chicago, Illinois) was running up bound on Lake Superior in ballast when it encountered strong Northeasterly winds. About six miles Southwest of the Rock of Ages Light on Isle Royale, the captain gave orders to change course for Duluth, Minnesota. There was no response because the wheel chains had parted from the drum, thus disabling the rudder. Repairs cost $4,000.

On 15 Nov 1972, the MICHIPICOTEN (steel straight-deck bulk freighter, 549 foot, 6,490 gross tons, built in 1905, at W. Bay City, Michigan as HENRY C FRICK) departed Quebec in tow of Polish tug KORAL for scrapping in Spain. The tow encountered bad weather and the MICHIPICOTEN broke in two during a major fall storm on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Her forward section sank on 17 November off Anticosti Island, and the after section sank the next day.

The propeller JOHN STUART burned about two miles from Seewaing, Michigan at 9:00 p.m., 17 November 1872. She had been aground there for some time.

On 17 November 1887, ARIZONA (wooden propeller package freighter, 189 foot, 962 gross tons, built in 1868, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying oils and acid used in mining operations when her dangerous cargo caught fire as she approached the harbor at Marquette, Michigan in heavy seas. Poisonous fumes drove all of the crew topside, leaving the vessel unmanageable. She ran against the breakwater and the crew jumped off. The burning steamer "chased" the crew down the breakwater toward town with the poisonous fumes blowing ashore. She finally beached herself and burned herself out. She was later recovered and rebuilt.

On 17 November 1873, the wooden 2-mast schooner E M CARRINGTON sank in nine feet of water at Au Sable, Michigan. She had a load of 500 barrels of flour and 7,000 bushels of grain. She was recovered and lasted another seven years.

On 17 November 1880, GARIBALDI (2-mast wooden schooner, 124 foot, 209 tons, built in 1863, at Port Rowan, Ontario) was carrying coal in a storm on Lake Ontario. She anchored to ride out the storm, but after riding out the gale for 15 hours, her anchor cable parted and her crew was forced to try to bring her into Weller's Bay. She stranded on the bar. One of the crew froze solid in a standing position and his ghost is supposed to still haunt that area. The vessel was recovered and rebuilt. She lasted until at least 1898.

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


Lakes Coal Shipments Dip In October

11/16 - Cleveland---Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 4.1 million net tons in October, a decrease of 3 percent compared to a year ago. Only two ports, Chicago and Conneaut, Ohio, bettered their shipments of a year ago. The October total was also more than 7 percent behind the month’s 5-year average.

The October drop reflects both the effects of decades of inadequate dredging at Great Lakes ports and waterways and falling water levels as a result of less precipitation in 2006. The largest coal cargo loaded during the month that transited the connecting channels fell short of 65,000 net tons.

When high water levels offset the shortfall in dredging, 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag Lakers were able to carry nearly 70,000 net tons per trip.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade stands at 33.8 million net tons, a decrease of 3.7 percent compared to the same point in 2005. However, shipments are slightly ahead of the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Lakes Limestone Trade Off 4.5 Percent in October
Plunging Water Levels, Lack of Dredging Take Toll

11/16 - Cleveland---Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4.1 million net tons in October, a decrease of 4.5 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings were more than 10 percent behind the month’s 5-year average.

Although water levels on the Great Lakes usually begin their seasonal decline in the fall, the drop is occurring faster than normal this year, and so further amplifying the lack of adequate dredging in many ports and waterways.

Cargo totals are being negatively impacted. Vessels in the limestone trade, for example, forfeit anywhere from 80 to 125 net tons for each 1-inch reduction in loaded draft.

For the year, the Lakes limestone trade stands at 31.5 million net tons, a decrease of 2 percent compared to the same point in 2005. Shipments are, however, slightly ahead of the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - November 16

Sarnia - Barry Hiscock
The Canadian Transfer appears to be in for a short period of lay up at the Sidney Smith dock. She has been de-ballasted and tied up for about 10 days now, there was little to no activity around her on Tuesday.
The Chi Cheemaun arrived in Sarnia on Tuesday after having been dry-docked in Thunder Bay. The 366-foot passenger/vehicle ferry which operates between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island from spring to fall each year, is secured on the east wall of the Government Dock as part of a two year winter lay up program to renew her electrical and main propulsion systems.
Tuesday also saw the tug Radium Yellowknife and barge tied up along the Government Dock. The Norlake Transportation vessels have recently been involved in moving grain products between Sarnia, Toledo and corn into Wallaceburg, ON.
The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley was secured further west along the dock as she prepares for the upcoming winter season.
Meanwhile in the North Slip, the tug Jane Ann IV and her self unloading barge Sarah Spencer were also having what appeared to be repairs being effected to the bow thruster on the barge.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Tuesday the St. Mary's Challenger with its tug Susan W. Hannah arrived in Milwaukee and inched up the Kinnickinnic River to its dock to unload cement at about 9 a.m.
That evening the Presque Isle tug departed from the Heavy Lift dock about 8 p.m. outbound for Lake Michigan.
On Wednesday saltwater bulker Chios Pride (reg. Panama) was berthed at the Nidera grain elevator in Milwaukee's inner harbor, preparing to load.
Across the turning basin, steamer Alpena was at the wall adjacent to the LaFarge silo on Jones Island, delivering cement.

South Chicago - Gary Clark
Sam Laud departed the KCBX coal dock Wednesday morning around 5:30am. Destination unknown.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Cason Callaway was at the Norfolk Southern coal dock Tuesday afternoon. She cleared for Green Bay Tuesday night with an anticipated arrival on Friday.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Edward L. Ryerson departed Fraser Shipyards in Superior sometime during the night of Wednesday-Thursday. The steamer Mississagi and barge Integrity with tug G. L. Ostrander remain in the shipyard’s dry docks.


Updates - November 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 16

On 16 November 1870, BADGER STATE (3-mast wooden bark, 150 foot, 302 tons, built in 1853, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) stranded and wrecked at Sleeping Bear Dune on Lake Michigan during a storm.

The tug portion of the PRESQUE ISLE (Hull#322) built by Halter Marine Services, New Orleans, Louisiana, was up bound in the Welland Canal on November 16,1973, en route to Erie, Pennsylvania to join with the barge.

FRED R WHITE JR (Hull#722) was launched in 1978, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

On 16 Nov 1909, the JAMES S DUNHAM (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 4,795 gross tons, built in 1906, at W. Bay City, Michigan) encountered heavy seas and began hitting bottom where charts indicated 35 feet of water, even though she was in ballast and only drawing 17 feet of water. Rather than risk tearing the bottom out of her, the captain decided to beach her at Marble Point, just east of the Bad River outlet. After the heavy snow showers cleared, a message in a bottle was floated ashore to an observer.

The steel bulk freighters SIR JAMES DUNN and GEORGIAN BAY in tow of the Panamanian tug MC THUNDER arrived at Aliaga, Turkey for scrapping on 16 Nov 1989, 129 days after departing Thunder Bay.

On 16 November 1887, PACIFIC (wooden propeller freighter, 187 foot, 766 gross tons, built in 1864, at Cleveland, Ohio) was loaded with lumber bound from Deer Park, Michigan for Michigan City, Indiana. After leaving the dock, she grounded on a shoal due to low water levels. The nearby Lifesaving Service took her crew off and then returned for the captain's dog. She was broken up by a gale on 19 November.

In 1892, the ANN ARBOR NO 1 arrived at Frankfort, Michigan on her maiden trip.

November 16, 1990 - MWT ceased operations, ending more than a century of carferry service. The last run was made by the BADGER, with Capt. Bruce Masse in command.

In 1981, Interlake's JOHN SHERWIN entered lay-up in Superior, Wisconsin and has not seen service since.

On 16 November 1869, ADELL (2-mast wooden schooner, 48 foot, 25 gross tons, built in 1860, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was driven ashore during a storm about a half mile below Bay View Pier near Milwaukee. Her skipper had every penny he owned sunk into that vessel. He was able to salvage her rigging and spars and left them on the beach overnight. The next day he returned and found that all had been stolen during the night.

On 16 Nov 1883, MANISTEE (wooden side-wheeler, 184 foot, 677 tons, built in 1867, at Cleveland, Ohio) broke up in a gale west of the Keweenaw Peninsula off of Eagle Harbor, Michigan. This is one of Lake Superior's worst disasters. Estimates of the number who died range from 23 to 37.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Steve Haverty and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Coast Guard Concludes Comment Period on Safety Zones

11/15 - Cleveland - The public comment period, concerning the Ninth Coast Guard District's proposal to establish 34 safety zones throughout the U.S. Great Lakes, expired at midnight Nov. 13.

More than 880 comments have been submitted to the Federal Docket for formal consideration by the Coast Guard. A final total of docket submissions will be available after all letters, postmarked on or before Nov. 13, are received, and all of the comments received during the public meetings are transcribed and entered into the Federal Docket.

"I pledge to thoroughly review the docket submissions and diligently work towards a resolution that will satisfy all concerns without degradation to the Coast Guard's readiness of the Great Lakes," said Rear. Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr., commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District. No specific timeline, for the announcement of a final decision, has been set.

The Ninth Coast Guard District continues to maintain the Proposed Safety Zones web site, web site, with the intention to keep the public informed on the progress of this issue. As of Nov. 14, the web site has provided information to more than 31,000 visitors.

USCG News Release


Ferry Could Ride Out Winter in Rochester

11/15 - Rochester, NY - Three serious bidders remain in contention for the high-speed ferry, and city officials hinted Monday that they will hold out through the winter if needed to get the best price.

Closure of the St. Lawrence Seaway, connecting Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean, had been looked at as a looming mid- to late-December deadline for the sale. But city officials said daily expenses to maintain the ship at the Port of Rochester have been cut roughly in half, and could be reduced further should the city need to winterize the vessel.

"We all share the same frustration the public has," Mayor Robert Duffy said, speaking to the Democrat and Chronicle Editorial Board. He continued later: "We certainly do not want to think about the boat being here all winter long, but we have to be realistic. "If it means retaining the city's financial interest in keeping us on track to get what we think the boat is worth then ... we have to have the patience to bear down and have it winterized and stay here."

Duffy announced in January that the city was shutting down the Rochester-to-Toronto service after the venture lost more than $10 million last year. In May, he said an upstart British firm, Euroferries Ltd., had agreed to buy the ship for $29.8 million and planned to start a service on the English Channel.

Euroferries has failed to secure financing, however, leading the city to entertain other offers as Euroferries works to borrow enough money to sustain operations for at least a year. Euroferries remains committed, and recently secured winter storage space for the ship in Europe, said Thomas Richards, the city's corporation counsel who is negotiating the sale.

Richards said there are at least two other two serious buyers, a government-supported corporation and a private entity. While Euroferries grapples with financing, the other bidders need to sell a ship before buying Rochester's Spirit of Ontario, or need to figure out how to retrofit the ferry to match their operation.

Beyond the core three bidders, officials said, are a host of low bidders simply waiting for the city to fall on hard times and need to unload the ship at a bargain price. "It's a tough proposition with people all around the world who have no love for us," Richards said. Besides Euroferries, none of the interested parties are the same as when the city first went to market early this year, he said.

Should the sale appear close with the seaway closing, officials said, the city also might consider moving the ferry out and docking it in New York City so it can depart during the winter.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Port Reports - November 15

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday the Maumee brought a load of salt from Goderich, ON to the Alpena Oil Dock on the Thunder Bay river. It tied up at the dock at about 4:00 pm and unloaded the cargo for several hours. The Maumee departed around 8:00 pm and was headed to Stoneport.

Morrisburg - Ron Beaupre
On Tuesday the tug Salvor brought the barge Lambert Spirit docked at the Universal Terminals dock west of Morrisburg, loaded with calcium chloride.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The David Z. Norton came in shortly after 11:00 pm on Monday with a split load for Meekhof’s docks. This vessel came in bow first and tied up at the D & M dock by the power plant on Harbor Island. It partially unloaded and then backed out into the lake. After turning around, it backed in and delivered the rest of its load to Meekhof’s upper dock by the railroad swing bridge. It departed about 9:00 am. on Tuesday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived Tuesday morning to unload at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. They were expected to be outbound late Tuesday.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The CSL Laurentian had her boom raised high above the main deck and was taking on coal at the Gateway Trade Center in Lackawanna at 1:00pm Tuesday afternoon.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Fraser Shipyards in Superior got even busier last weekend when the Edward L. Ryerson arrived. The Ryerson is having repairs made to a boiler tube, and is scheduled to load at Superior on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the steamer Mississagi and barge Integrity (with tug) remain in drydock.

Toledo -
Tuesday morning Pochard had departed from ADM Elevators.
Federal Rideau came in to replace her at ADM Elevators about 9:00 am.
Federal Yoshina departed The Andersons Kuhlman Facility Tuesday afternoon.

South Chicago - Gary Clark
The Reserve was heard giving a security call Tuesday morning around 5:30 am. arriving in South Chicago. They backed down to the Reserve dock to unload.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Monday evening ocean bulker Isadora (reg. Limassol, Cyprus) from the Polsteam line was at Terminal 2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor.
Tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in the inner harbor, unloading cement.

Menominee/Marinette - Stephen P. Neal
Chios Pride departed in the last day or so.
The Virginiaborg has come into the K & K dock on Tuesday probably with a load of paper for the de-inking plant.


Christmas Tree Ship Surfaces in Memory

11/15 - Milwaukee - For a ship that sank into the deep and dark waters of Lake Michigan nearly a century ago, the schooner Rouse Simmons is remarkably buoyant. Once again, as it has done for some time now, the famous Christmas Tree Ship has popped back into view. Or, better put, into memory.

Last week, with another anniversary approaching, educational programs about the ship's sinking took place in Sturgeon Bay and Two Rivers. This Saturday, Two Rivers will mark Rouse Simmons Day with a presentation of the first underwater survey of the ship's wreckage and tours of the historic Rogers Street Fishing Village. On Dec. 2, neighboring Manitowoc will host the Lake Michigan Christmas Tree Ship Celebration at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, re-creating the tree delivery tradition - but with any luck not the sinking - with the tug Dauntless. And on a less watery stage in Janesville, the new Armory Dinner Theater will present the popular "The Christmas Schooner," a musical based on the Rouse Simmons story, through the holiday season.

As I said, that's a lot of attention when the star of the show has been 170 feet under Lake Michigan's surface since that fateful voyage in November 1912. Then again, any story with such hearty measures of human drama and seasonal sentiment, if not actual schmaltz, should have the stuff to do what its fated sailors could not - to survive.

Built in 1868 in Milwaukee, the Rouse Simmons (named for the Kenosha industrialist whose name is still known for mattresses and other products) had originally carried cargo between Muskegon, Mich., and Chicago but by the turn of the century was mostly a tramp schooner put to use as its captains could find work. That included carrying loads of Christmas trees from the Upper Peninsula to the big market in Chicago, which was the duty the Rouse Simmons, under the command of Capt. Herman Schuenemann and his crew of 16, pulled on chilly Nov. 22, 1912.

"This will be my last letter," crewman Phillip Bauswein had written his sister in Chicago a few days earlier. "I have a beautiful blue spruce tree for your baby's grave. We are all on board and will pull the ropes, and off we will be." He had no idea, an account in the Wisconsin Historical Society's most recent newsletter noted, "how prophetic his letter would prove to be."

His sister, Augusta, would never see that spruce, or again see her brother. By the time the heavily loaded Rouse Simmons passed the Kewaunee Coast Guard Station the next day in typically deadly November conditions, it was flying distress flags, but before a rescue boat could penetrate the storm to help, the Simmons had disappeared. Later, a bottle containing Schuenemann's final desperate message - "Everybody good-by," it read in part. "God help us." - was found near Sheboygan.

All of her crew was lost, as the note had said, though for a long time no one knew exactly where the Simmons went down. For years, fishermen would pull up sodden Christmas trees in the area and once even recovered the captain's wallet, but it was not until 59 years later that the wreckage was discovered lying in 170 feet of water northeast of Two Rivers.

All of those factors, that the Rouse Simmons was a schooner and passenger ship, the drama of its sinking and the mystery that lasted so long, not to mention the Christmas angle, account for the continuing interest in the story, said Keith Meverden, maritime archaeologist for the Wisconsin Historical Society and one of several divers who studied the wreck site this summer.

The cold waters of Lake Michigan have helped to preserve the site - it is being added to both state and national historic registers - but until that effort in July and August there had never been a thorough archaeological survey of the wreckage to attempt to answer some of the lingering questions about the Simmons' disappearance. That same cold was one reason, Meverden said. With waters at the bottom of barely 40 degrees, even divers prepared for such conditions could stay below for only 45 minutes at a time, but the surveyors were able to find clues that will help improve their understanding of the sinking, he said.

For one, despite long suspicion that the Rouse Simmons was out of control and at the mercy of the storm, the dive team did find evidence to show she was under control "right up to the point that she sailed beneath a large wave," the newsletter said. There was also evidence the crew was preparing to drop anchor, hoping to wait out the storm, but could not compete with the freezing waves and iced-up deck and finally crashed bow first into the lake. Meverden said other findings will be shared for the first time Saturday at the Rouse Simmons Day program in Two Rivers.

"There's been a lot of speculation as to why it went down," he said, "but nobody's ever looked at the wreck itself. "We'll never know exactly (why), but we found some things" that were helpful.

The survey presentation will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Two Rivers Community House on Park St. in downtown Two Rivers, followed by tours of the Rogers Street Fishing Village, where artifacts of the Rouse Simmons will be on display. For more information click here

On Dec. 2 in Manitowoc, there will be free admission for the Wisconsin Maritime Museum's Christmas Tree Ship Celebration from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information click here

For more on the Armory Dinner Theater's production of "The Christmas Schooner," Nov. 16 to Dec. 23, call (866) 995-7400

And for more about underwater archaeology in Wisconsin click here.

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel


Updates - November 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 15

In 1883, the schooner E FITZGERALD, Captain Daniel Lanigan, was ashore and completely covered with ice. The crew of 6 drowned while attempting to make shore in the yawl. A couple days after the loss, Mrs. Lanigan received a prophetic letter from her son stating he was tired of sailing and this would be his last trip.

On 15 November 1871, EVERGREEN CITY (wooden propeller freighter, 193 foot, 624 gross tons, built in 1856, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying lumber camp supplies when she was driven on to the southwest coast of Long Point on Lake Erie by a westerly gale. She hogged and broke up. Most of her cargo and fittings were stolen over the winter. Surprisingly, she was recovered and rebuilt in 1872-1873, but only lasted until 1875, when she was abandoned at Buffalo, New York.

The cargo mid-body of the then under construction GEORGE A STINSON was towed from Toledo, where it was constructed, to Lorain, Ohio in 1977.

PAUL THAYER, left Lorain on her maiden voyage November 15, 1973, light for Escanaba, Michigan to load iron ore. Renamed b.) EARL W OGLEBAY in 1995.

On November 15, 1974, the W W HOLLOWAY struck an embankment at Burns Harbor, Indiana causing extensive damage.

Departing Duluth on November 15, 1909, the BRANSFORD, encountered a gale driven snowstorm. She battled the storm the entire day only to end up on the rocks near Siskiwit Bay on Isle Royale.

On 15 November 1894, ANTELOPE (wooden schooner, 56 foot, 32 gross tons, built in 1878, at Grand Haven, Michigan) capsized in a storm while trying to make harbor at Grand Haven, Michigan. 4 lives were lost.

November 15, 1924 - The carferry PERE MARQUETTE was renamed PERE MARQUETTE 15.

On 15 November 1875, The Port Huron Times reported that "there is little doubt but that the scow SUTLER GIRL has been lost with all hands on Lake Erie. She has now been overdue two weeks."

On 15 November 1869, W W ARNOLD (wooden schooner, 426 gross tons, built in 1863, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying iron ore when she was driven ashore near the mouth of the Two Hearted River on Lake Superior during the great gale of November 1869. The violent storm tore the schooner apart and she sank quickly losing all hands (11) including several passengers.

On 15 Nov 1905, the W K BIXBY (steel straight-deck bulk freighter, 480 foot, 5,712 gross tons, later b.) J L REISS, then c.) SIDNEY E SMITH JR) was launched at Wyandotte, Michigan for the National Steamship Co. (M.B. McMillan). She lasted until 1972, when she was wrecked at Sarnia, Ontario in a collision with the PARKER EVANS.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Jody Aho and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Boatnerd Server Suffers Temporary Outage

11/14 - Late Monday night the main BoatNerd.Com server failed to restart and was out for several hours on Tuesday.

The server is again responding and BoatNerd is back Online.


Putting Curbs on the Cuyahoga River
'Green' bulkheads are planners' vision

11/14 - Cleveland - Planners want to launch a project that will explore whether fish and ore boats can coexist on the Cuyahoga River. What they want to create is a stream bank that offers habitat for fish migrating from Lake Erie to spawning areas upriver while also allowing for ship movement.

But the vision goes beyond just helping restore the health of the Cuyahoga River. What planners hope to design is a new generation of inexpensive stream-bank curbs that can be manufactured in the Cuyahoga Valley and create jobs here.

A successful product then could be sold to other Great Lakes port cities that face the same problems of protecting local industrial ship traffic and helping fish, said Jim White, who heads the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan, which will lead the design and development process.

"Given the cost of replacing bulkheads, it's a several hundred million, if not a $1 billion, marketplace," White said. The Cuyahoga River alone has 11 miles of bulkheads that line both sides of the stream bank from Lake Erie to the Mittal Steel USA Cleveland plant to a depth of about 22 feet. And many of these aging bulkheads are failing, which causes the river bank to erode into the river. Ignoring the problem "will result in catastrophic failure and potential closing of the river," according of the Flats Oxbow Association, which represents industrial and business interests in the Flats.

It's estimated it would cost $300 million to replace the river's steel and wood bulkheads. Those bulkheads were built in the 1930s. The bill must be paid by the riverfront landowner. Earlier this year, the federal government awarded $500,000 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a bulkhead prototype project. The Corps is in the final stages of negotiations to release the money to local planners, White said.

Once the money is available, which could be later this month, White said a group of materials specialists, local engineers, manufacturers and installers will design the product. He hopes to have three different prototypes that will be tested at three different points in the river. These "green bulkheads" would have open slots that create pockets behind them where plants can grow and fish could feed and find refuge as they swim to and from Lake Erie.

One proposed idea is to build a trough-like molded concrete structure using surplus slag from Mittal Steel, which is working with planners on the project and could host one of the prototypes.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Wolfe Islander Ferry Presentation

11/14 - Wolfe Island, Ont. - On Saturday November 18, 2006 the Wolfe Island Historical Society will host a slide show depicting the life and times of the former Wolfe Island ferry which was commissioned into service on November 18, 1946.

This will take place at 7:30 pm, at the Wolfe Island Community Hall. All are invited and admission is free.

The former Wolfe Islander is now a dive site having been sunk for that purpose on September 21, 1985.

Reported by the Wolfe Island Historical Society


Tug Curly B Sold Off-Lakes

11/14 - The tug Curly B, owned for several years by Lake Michigan Contractors at Holland, Mich., was southbound at Lock 27 near St. Louis at 8:00am on Monday.
The pilot said the boat has been sold to new owners at Mobile, Ala.
The boat, built as a true tug, was originally fitted with tow knees and had made trips to Pittsburg and the Louisiana bayous and was also a harborboat in the St. Louis area.
It was formerly named Waverly (for a city on the Missouri River) and Brother Collins.

Reported by Dan Owen


Port Reports - November 14

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
Algocape cleared Owen Sound mid afternoon with a partial load of soy beans. After topping of she will take her cargo down the St Lawrence to an undisclosed port.

Toledo -
On Monday, Federal Yoshino remained loading at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility.
Pochard remained at ADM Elevators on loading as well.
James A. Hannah and her tanker barge departed the Sunoco Riverfront Terminal at noon and then docked alongside the Precast Facility dock just below Toledo Shipyard. The yard uses this dock frontage for non-dry dock repairs.
Ste. Claire was alongside Toledo Shipyard.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The John J. Boland was loading Monday at the Norfolk Southern coal dock.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The tug Gregory J. Busch and the deck barge Primary 1 were outbound the Saginaw River Monday afternoon after departing from the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The CSL Laurentian was east bound on Lake Erie near Long Point at 9:45pm on Monday, bound for the Gateway Trade Terminal in Lackawanna with coal out of Thunder Bay.


Updates - November 14

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 14

The ALGOBAY (steel propeller bulk freighter, 719 foot, ,22,466 gross tons, built at Collingwood, Ontario in 1978) departed Sept Iles, Quebec on 14 Nov 1978, with an iron ore pellet cargo for Sydney, Nova Scotia when she collided with the 90,000 ton Italian-flag ore carrier CIELO BIANCO. The Collingwood-built tug POINTE MARGUERITE, which was towing the big salty, was unfortunately crushed between the two vessels and sank, killing two crew members.

On November 14, 1934, the WILLIAM A REISS grounded off Sheboygan, she was declared a constructive total loss. Built as the a.) FRANK H PEAVEY in 1901, renamed b.) WILLIAM A REISS in 1916. She was scrapped at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1935.

Cracks across the ENDERS M VOORHEES' spar deck were first noticed in a storm on Lake Superior November 14, 1942. Her fleetmate NORMAN B REAM came to her assistance by releasing storm oil which helped calm the seas so the crew of the VOORHEES could run cables the length of her deck and winch them tight to arrest the cracking. She proceeded to the Soo escorted by the REAM and later sailed to the Great Lake Engineering Works for repairs.

The THOMAS WILSON (Hull#826) was launched November 14, 1942, at Lorain, Ohio for the U.S. Maritime Commission.

The U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender MESQUITE (Hull#76) was launched November 14, 1942, at a cost of $894,000, by Marine Iron & Shipbuilding Co. at Duluth, Minnesota. MESQUITE ran aground off Keweenaw Point on December 4, 1989, and was declared a total loss. MESQUITE was scuttled off Keweenaw Point on July 14, 1990.

On November 14, 1952, the SPARROWS POINT, now b.) BUCKEYE entered service for Bethlehem Steel Corp. Reduced to a barge at Erie, Pennsylvania and renamed c.) LEWIS J KUBER in 2006.

On 14 November 1879, C G BREED (2 mast wooden schooner, 140 foot, 385 tons, built in 1862, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was carrying 24,000 bushels of wheat from Detroit to Buffalo when she capsized and sank in a sudden squall near Ashtabula, Ohio in Lake Erie. 5 lives were lost, but 3 were saved. The 3 survivors were rescued by 3 different vessels.

In 1940, following the Armistice Day Storm, The CITY OF FLINT 32 was freed by the tug JOHN F CUSHING assisted by the PERE MARQUETTE 21.

In 1990, Glen Bowden (of MWT) announced that he would suspend cross-Lake Michigan ferry service indefinitely.

On 14 November 1886, the steamer BELLE WILSON was crossing Lake Ontario with a load of 11,800 bushels of oats when a severe gale and snow storm blew in. The vessel lost her rudder and the crew rigged sails, but these were blown away. Then they rigged a drag made of 600 feet of line and a log to help maneuver the vessel and they headed for Oswego, New York. This lasted for 12 hours, but the chain parted at 3:00 a.m. and the vessel was driven ashore at Ford's Shoals, 4 miles east of Oswego harbor. No lives were lost.

On 14 November 1892, the 2-mast, 95 foot wooden schooner MINNIE DAVIS was rammed on a dark night by the 2-mast, 117 foot wooden schooner HUNTER SAVIDGE near Amherstburg, Ontario. The DAVIS sank, but no lives were lost. The wreckage was removed in May, 1893.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Jody Aho and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history. Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history.


Mariner's Church Honors Those Lost at Sea

11/13 - Detroit - Captains of vessels from the Great Lakes and their connecting waterways stood side by side and each rung the bell of the Great Lakes Steamer Octorara to honor the men and women who have perished in the estimated 10,000 shipwrecks strewn across their waters.

The eight tolls -- one for each of the five Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Detroit and St. Clair rivers and Lake St. Clair, and the men and women who died in military service -- rang sharply through the pews at the Mariners' Church of Detroit. The gesture marked the beginning of a new tradition for the hundreds who gather there annually to pay their respects to those whose tombs lie on the lakes' beds.

It replaces an old tradition: the 29 tolls of remembrance for those who perished on the Edmond Fitzgerald on Nov. 10, 1975, on Lake Superior. The Canadian Parliament passed long-awaited legislation last year protecting the Fitzgerald and its 29 entombed crewman from exploration.

"We got the legislation, so we went to a broader service," said Rev. Richard W. Ingalls, Jr., whose father started the tradition of tolling the church bell 29 times to honor the men in 1975. Bishop Richard W. Ingalls died earlier this year.

Parishioners said they were pleased with the new tradition.

"It's more equitable to remember everybody, rather than one ship's crew," said Capt. Roger G. Hewlett of the International Shipmasters' Association, Port Huron Lodge #2. "Every time you are out there you risk your life. We've all been through it."

From the Detroit News


Lakes Coal Shipments Dip In October

11/13 - Cleveland - Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 4.1 million net tons in October, a decrease of 3 percent compared to a year ago. Only two ports, Chicago and Conneaut, Ohio, bettered their shipments of a year ago. The October total was also more than 7 percent behind the month’s 5-year average.

The October drop reflects both the effects of decades of inadequate dredging at Great Lakes ports and waterways and falling water levels as a result of less precipitation in 2006. The largest coal cargo loaded during the month that transited the connecting channels fell short of 65,000 net
tons. When high water levels offset the shortfall in dredging, 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag Lakers were able to carry nearly 70,000 net tons per trip.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade stands at 33.8 million net tons, a decrease of 3.7 percent compared to the same point in 2005. However, shipments are slightly ahead of the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

Lake Carriers’ Association represents 18 American corporations that operate 63 U.S.-Flag vessels on the Great Lakes. These vessels carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: Iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, limestone and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation.... Collectively, these vessels can transport as much as 125 million tons of cargo a year when high water levels offset the lack of adequate dredging of Great Lakes ports and waterways. More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - November 13

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Herbert C. Jackson loaded Saturday at the Norfolk Southern coal dock for Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
As of noon on Sunday, all ships previously in the harbor had departed except for the integrated tug Presque Isle of the Great Lakes Fleet which remained at the heavy lift dock.

Menominee/Marinette - Stephen P. Neal
Catherine Desgagnes has left probably late Friday or early Saturday. She was down bound at Port Huron on Sunday around noon.
The Chios Pride (salty) is in unloading. At Noon she looked she was already riding high.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Last week on Monday the Earl W. Oglebay brought a load of coke to Lafarge.
The American Courage unloaded coal at Lafarge early Thursday morning.
On Sunday morning the Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation was in port along with the David Z. Norton. The Innovation departed first, with the Norton backing out of the coal dock once the channel was clear.
The Steamer Alpena is expected to return from Green Bay, WI on Monday afternoon

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday morning saw the John B. Aird depart at 7:30 a.m.
The afternoon had the saltie Sea Veteran (ex Gunay A) arrive at 3:30 p.m. with fertilizer from Egypt.
The tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 arrived at 4:00 pm with coal tar from Sault Ste. Marie .After discharging they will head to Detroit.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The only ship in Marquette on Sunday was the James R. Barker which arrived with a load of coal for the WE power plant.

Toledo -
Sunday in Toledo, Federal Yoshino is on loading at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility.
Pochard is at ADM Elevators taking on grain as well. The demand for field corn is very high this year with the market for ethanol and corn based plastics. Sweet corn is used for human consumption. US Farm Report addressed a recent concern with livestock production feed. Corn is a staple of many farm animals. This will create more cost in meats. Ethanol production brings corn up a dollar more a bushel this year at about $3.75 per. This demand also increases ship traffic to transport that market demand and makes the movement of lighter cargo capacity ships more profitable.
Seneca Petroleum Co. Inc. has moved their riverfront terminal from adjacent to the old Acme Edison power plant to the 2400 block on Front St. by the Precast Facility. Their terminal was moved as a result of implementation of the Marina District renovations at the Acme Edison property on Front Street near Elgin Ave. Seneca receives flux via Andrie tug-tanker barge combos. Flux which looks much like antifreeze in color is used to keep petroleum bearing pipes free of clogs. Seneca receives their petroleum from Sunoco. Their facilities are located side by side on Woodville Road.
A Hannah tug-tanker barge combo was busy taking on diesel at the Sunoco Riverfront Terminal.
Ste. Claire lies alongside Toledo Shipyard. CSL Niagara was taking on coal at CSX RR Docks.
For those interested the I-280 high level bridge span is about to be completed on the northern side of the Maumee River. Most of the main pylon stays are in place. These support the bridge spans.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The tug M. R. Kane arrived with a barge from the Welland Canal late Sunday evening. Stephen B. Roman was in port unloading and departed Sunday evening.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
Algocape cleared Owen Sound mid afternoon with a partial load of soy beans. After topping of she will take her cargo down the St Lawrence to an undisclosed port.


Updates - November 13

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 13

In 1952, the 626 foot SPARROWS POINT successfully completed her sea trials and departed Chicago on her maiden trip. The new Bethlehem boat, the largest boat to enter the lakes via the Mississippi River Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, was under the command of Captain Wilfred Couture and Chief Engineer James Meinke. She was lengthened to 682 feet in 1958, converted to a self-unloader in 1980, renamed b.) BUCKEYE in 1991, converted to a barge in 2006, renamed c.) LEWIS J KUBER.

ARAB (2-mast wooden schooner, 100 foot, 158 tons, built in 1854, at Buffalo, New York) had beached on 01 November 1883, near St. Joseph, Michigan during a storm, but quick work by salvagers got her free. However on 13 November 1883, while being towed to Racine, Wisconsin, she capsized and sank well off of Arcadia, Michigan. One man lost his life, an engineer who was desperately trying to start her pumps when she rolled.

On November 13, 1976, the TEMPLE BAR (currently AlgomaÕs ALGONORTH) arrived at Singapore where she was lengthened 202 feet.

CONALLISON was laid up for the last time on November 13, 1981. Built in 1906 as a.) FRANK C BALL, she was renamed b.) J.R. SENSIBAR in 1930 and c.) CONALLISON in 1981. She was sold to Spanish breakers in 1984 and was towed to Aviles, Spain, arriving there September 17, 1984 in a tandem tow with the GEORGE M. CARL (2).

The GEORGE HINDMAN was in collision with the British salty MANCHESTER EXPLORER on Lake St. Louis, above the Lachine Lock in 1956. Built in 1921, as a.) GLENCLOVA, renamed b.) ANTICOSTI in 1927, c.) RISACUA in 1946, d.) GEORGE HINDMAN in 1955, and e.) ELIZABETH HINDMAN in 1962. Scrapped at Duluth, Minnesota in 1971.

J P MORGAN JR (Hull#373) was launched November 13, 1909, at Lorain, Ohio for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

The HOMER D WILLIAMS was involved in a collision with the steamer OTTO M REISS at Duluth November 13, 1917.

In 1984, the HOMER D WILLIAMS was towed to Thunder Bay, Ontario by the TUG MALCOLM for dismantling.

On 13 November 1870, the schooner E FITZGERALD left Port Huron on her maiden voyage to load lumber at Au Sable, Michigan for Chicago. She was commanded by Capt. A. Mc Tavish.

On 13 November 1883, H C AKELEY (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 240 foot, 1,187 tons, built in 1881, at Grand Haven, Michigan) was carrying corn from Chicago to Buffalo when she encountered a heavy storm off Holland, Michigan. She took the disabled tug PROTECTOR in tow but let her go when her own rudder broke off. AKELEY anchored but started to sink when she fell into the troughs of the waves. The disabled schooner DRIVER managed to save 12 of the crew who had taken to AKELEY's yawl before she went down. 6 lives were lost.

Captain W. H. Van Dyke was born at Escanaba, Michigan on November 13, 1871, and spent most of his life on the Great Lakes (he joined the crew of a schooner at the age of 15). He first captained the Pere Marquette Line Steamer PERE MARQUETTE 8, then in 1916, he joined the Pere Marquette carferry fleet. His first command was the str. PERE MARQUETTE 15. Then for 10 years he served as master of the PERE MARQUETTE 17, and after the launch of the CITY OF FLINT 32 in 1929, he served as master of the PERE MARQUETTE 22.

On 13 November 1865, CLARA PARKER (3-mast wooden schooner, 175 foot, 425 gross tons, built in 1865, at Detroit, Michigan) was fighting a losing battle with storm induced leaks, so she was beached 400 yards off shore near the mouth of the Pigeon River, south of Grand Haven, Michigan. The local Lifesaving Service plucked all 9 of the crew from the rigging by breeches buoy after the vessel had gone down to her decks and was breaking up.

On 13 November 1888, LELAND (wooden steam barge, 148 foot, 366 gross tons, built in 1873, at New Jerusalem, Ohio) burned at Huron, Ohio. She was valued at $20,000 and insured for $15,000. She was rebuilt and lasted until 1910.

The JAMES DAVIDSON (steel propeller bulk freighter, 587 foot, 8,349 gross tons, built at Wyandotte, Michigan in 1920) entered service on 13 Nov 1920, for the Globe Steamship Co. (G. A. Tomlinson, mgr.) when she loaded 439,000 bushels of wheat at Duluth, Minnesota for delivery to Buffalo, New York. She was the last ship built at Wyandotte, Michigan.

The unnamed salty (formerly RANGUINI) arrived at Milwaukee's heavy lift dock on Saturday night, 13 Nov 1999, to load a large desalinization filtration system built in Milwaukee for Korea. The vessel entered the Seaway in ballast for Milwaukee on 09 Nov 1999. The following day, the crew rigged scaffolding over the side so the new name BBC GERMANY could be painted on the ship.

The Toledo Blade published the following vessel passages for Detroit on his date in 1903:
-Up- VOLUNTEER, AMAZON, HARLOW, 12:30 Friday morning; ROCKEFELLER, 4:20; MARISKA, 4:40; FRENCH, 5:20; CONEMAUGH, 6; S M STEPHENSON, FAUSTIN, barges, 7:30; OLIVER, MITCHELL, (sailed), 7:50; AVERILL, 8.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - November 12

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Early Saturday afternoon, the St. Marys Challenger was discharging cement at the St. Marys terminal on the Kinnickinnic River. The tug Presque Isle remains at the heavy lift dock. After several days waiting beyond the breakwater for its turn, Empros Line's Adamastos was loading at the Nidera Elevator.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore on a sometimes snowy Friday in Marquette.

Toronto -
Michipicoten was in Toronto Saturday unloading salt, she did a most unusual exit by way of the West Gap, which hasn't seen freighter traffic in many seasons. Both City Centre Airport and the harbour police called her up (after she had given two security calls) and told her to hug the north side of the channel, as there is only nine feet of water on the south side. She made it out okay.
The Toronto Drydock tug M.R. Kane departs for the Welland Canal early Saturday morning to bring a barge from Ramey's Bend back to Toronto.
Winter tarps have been put on three of the island ferries. The ferry Wm. Inglis is now the only one serving the island community. Ongiara has been taken out of service for re-powering.

Superior -
The tug and its barge Integrity are both in the dry dock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, WI. The Ostrander, former Jacklyn M. seems to be having work done on its propulsion gear.  While work is going on aft the barge has been prepped for what looks like sand blasting forward.

Saginaw River - GordyGarris
The Saginaw River was busy on Saturday with four outbound vessels transiting the river.
The Agawa Canyon departed from the Sargent dock in Zilwuakee at 11:15 p.m. Friday night and headed upstream to the Sixth Street turning basin to turn around. The Canyon turned around and headed outbound the Saginaw River early Saturday morning.
The tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J. Kuber departed from the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City bound for Wirt Saginaw just after the Earl W. Oglebay had passed them upbound Friday night. The pair followed the Oglebay upriver to Saginaw and passed her at the Sargent dock while she waited for the Agawa Canyon to clear outbound. Meanwhile, the Moore & Kuber tied up and began unloading at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw as the outbound Agawa Canyon cleared her and the Oglebay. The Moore & Kuber finished unloading at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw around 8 a.m. Saturday morning and waited at the dock for an hour for the outbound Earl W. Oglebay to clear before continuing upriver to the Sixth Street turning basin to turn around. The pair turned around by 10 a.m. and were headed outbound the Saginaw River late Saturday morning.
The Earl W. Oglebay was inbound the Saginaw River at the Airport turning basin around 10:30 p.m. Friday night headed upriver to unload coal at the GM dock in Saginaw. The Oglebay stopped briefly at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to allow the outbound Agawa Canyon to clear before continuing upriver to the GM dock late Friday night. The Oglebay finished unloading and departed from the GM dock in Saginaw at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning headed upriver to turn around at the Sixth Street turning basin. The Oglebay turned around at the Sixth Street turning basin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning and was outbound the Saginaw River, passing the Front Range Light at 12:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon headed outbound for the lake.
The CSL Tadoussac departed from the Essroc Terminal in Essexville late Saturday morning, backed out of the river and onto the bay and turned around at Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel to head outbound for the lake. The CSL Tadoussac is bound for Duluth to load taconite.


Lost Mariners Remembrance Detroit

11/12 - Detroit -Friday night a "Lost Mariners Remembrance" was held at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum in Detroit. The special remembrance was for the 40th Anniversary of the loss of the Great Lakes freighter Daniel J. Morrell. The evening began by placing of 29 illuminated lanterns around the anchor of the Edmund Fitzgerald that rests in the yard of the Dossin Museum on Belle Isle. Inside Great Lakes balladeer Lee Murdock performed a concert to a standing-room-only crowd in the DeRoy Hall Auditorium.

The concert was followed by the reading of the names of the lost crew members and a ship's bells was tolled for each. A wreath was then taken to the rivers edge and cast into the river.

Dennis Hale followed telling his tale of surviving the sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell on November 29, 1966. The evening closed with Lee Murdock performing the  Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.


Whitefish Point Memorial goes on despite bad weather

11/12 - Whitefish Point - Heavy snow blanketed the area as Fitzgerald family members and several people from the shipping/boat watching community gathered for the 11th annual Edmund Fitzgerald memorial service last Friday Evening at The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, MI.

Music was provided by Great Lakes Balladeer Carl Behrend. The night’s main event was the “Call to last watch” in which the names of each lost crew member followed by a toll of the bell.

Reported by Brian Ferguson


River Rouge Remembers the Fitzgerald

11/12 - River Rouge - A memorial service was held Friday night for the Edmund Fitzgerald and her crew in River Rouge’s Belanger Park, just upstream where the ill-fated vessel was launched.

Led by River Rouge councilman Tony Laginess, the event included a bell-ringing ceremony and comments from Ed Domanski and Ed Shorkey, both of whom helped build the ship, as well as observations via speakerphone from Capt. Don Erickson of the William Clay Ford and Dudley Paquette of the Wilfred Sykes, both of whom have been in poor health and were unable to attend. Paquette and Erickson were both on Lake Superior the night the Fitz went down. Also speaking via phone were Ray Ramsay, author of the new book “For Whom the Bells Toll,” and Pam Johnson, daughter of Fitzgerald cook Robert Rafferty.

As bagpipes played “Amazing Grace,” a floral wreath provided by Arlene Earl of Chris Engels Greenhouse in Detroit, was placed aboard the Detroit mailboat J.W. Westcott II and taken about 500 feet off the dock, where it was cast adrift by Shorkey and Domanski. As the wreath bobbed on the waves, the Detroit-based tug Magnetic and the Westcott cut loose with three long and two short blasts of their whistles.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre


Maritime Museum Memorial in Rogers City
Museum to host memorials for three sunken ships, crews

11/12 - Rogers City - Bell-ringing ceremonies for three of the Great Lakes’ most recent tragedies will take place on three consecutive Saturdays this month at the Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum in Rogers City.

Bells will toll for the men who died on the Edmund Fitzgerald Saturday at 2 p.m. A bell-ringing ceremony will take place for the Carl D. Bradley at 2 p.m. on Nov. 18. The tragedy of the Daniel J. Morrell will be memorialized at 2 p.m. on Nov. 25.

“It’s part of our policy, the museum creed, more or less. We honor the sailors who retired and are alive, and we honor the sailors who passed away in sinking,” said Great Lakes Maritime Museum President and Director David Erickson. “The museum is for sailors. It tells their life stories and it tells the story of Great Lakes shipping.”

The three ceremonies will take place on or near the anniversary of each ship’s sinking. All three ships went down in fierce November maelstroms, though each ship sank in a different lake.

“November is your stormy month,” said Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum Director and President David Erickson. “That’s usually when something happens.”

The Edmund Fitzgerald, which was made famous by Gordon Lightfoot’s ballad “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” is one of the best-known recent Great Lakes shipwrecks. The Fitzgerald went down off Whitefish Point in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975. According to Erickson, 29 men died when the ship went down.

Northern Lake Michigan is the resting place of the Carl D. Bradley, which broke in half during a storm on Nov. 18, 1958.

“That boat was from Rogers City,” Erickson said. “Thirty-three men lost their lives.”

Together, the sinking of the Bradley and the S.S. Cedarville, a Rogers City-based ship that sank in May of 1965, left 85 children without fathers and 35 women without husbands, Erickson said.

This month is the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell. On Nov. 29, 1966, the Morell broke in half in Lake Huron off the Thumb area of the Lower Peninsula.

“The stern section kept going and sank five miles from the bow section,” Erickson said.

Each of the bell-ringing ceremonies will include a brief history of the ship that is being memorialized and a photo presentation. The names of the crew members who lost their lives on each ship will be read during the ceremonies, followed by the tolling of a bell.

Dennis Hale, the sole survivor of the Morrell, will tell his story during the bell-ringing ceremony on Nov. 29. Hale was adrift on a raft for 38 hours before being rescued, Erickson said.

The three ceremonies will be open to the public. There is no charge to attend. The museum will open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Saturdays that the ceremonies take place.

Sara Robinson


Updates - November 12

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 12

In 1920, the FRANCIS WIDLAR stranded on Pancake Shoal in Lake Superior and was written off as a total constructive loss of $327,700. The wreck was purchased by Mathews Steamship Company in 1921 and placed back in service as the BAYTON. The BAYTON sailed until 1966 and the hull was later used as a temporary breakwall during construction at Burns Harbor, Indiana.

On 12 November 1878, JAMES R BENTLEY (3-mast wooden schooner, 170 foot, 575 tons, built in 1867, at Fairport, Ohio) was carrying grain when she struck a shoal in heavy weather and foundered off 40 Mile Point on Lake Huron. Her crew was rescued in the rough seas by the bark ERASTUS CORNING.

On 12 Nov 1964, the THOMAS F COLE (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot, 7,268 gross tons, built in 1907, at Ecorse, Michigan) collided with the British motor vessel INVEREWE off the south end of Pipe Island on the lower St. Marys River in foggy conditions. The COLE suffered severe damage to the port bow and was taken to Lorain for repairs.

On 12 Nov 1980, the ALVA C DINKEY (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot, 7,514 gross tons, built in 1909, at Lorain, Ohio) and GOVERNOR MILLER (steel propeller bulk freighter, 593 foot, 8,240 gross tons, built in 1938, at Lorain, Ohio) arrived near El Ferrol del Caudillo, Spain for scrapping in tow of the FedNav tug CATHY B. Demolition by Miguel Partins began on 28 Nov 1980, at Vigo, Spain.

On November 12, 1919, the PANAY, up bound on Lake Superior for Duluth, Minnesota in rough weather, was one of the last vessels to see the down bound JOHN OWEN, which, apparently later the same day, disappeared with all hands. Renamed b.) WILLIAM NELSON in 1928, and c.) BEN E TATE in 1936. Scrapped at Bilbao, Spain in 1969.

November 12, 1980 - The CONSOLIDATOR, formerly the PERE MARQUETTE 21, sank 17 miles off the coast of Honduras during Hurricane Jean. No lives were lost.

On 12 November 1881, BRUNSWICK (iron propeller bulk freighter, 248 foot, built in 1881, at Wyandotte, Michigan) was carrying 1,500 tons of hard coal in a night of fitful squalls in Lake Erie. CARLINGFORD (wooden schooner, 155 foot, built in 1869, at Port Huron, Michigan) was also sailing there, loaded with 26,000 bushels of wheat. They collided. After the skipper of BRUNSWICK made sure that the sinking schooner's crew were in their lifeboats, he ran for shore with his sinking vessel, but sank a few miles off Dunkirk, New York. A total of 4 lives were lost.

On 12 November 1835, the "small" wooden schooner ROBERT BRUCE was sailing from Kingston, Ontario to Howell, New York when she was wrecked west of Henderson, New York. Her crew of 4, plus one passenger, were all lost.

On 12 Nov 1886, the tug WM L PROCTOR (wooden tug, 104 foot, 117 gross tons, built in 1883, at Buffalo, New York) left Oswego, New York with the schooner-barges BOLIVIA and E C BUCK in tow before a big storm struck. During the snow storm, the tug got lost and the tow line broke. Alone, the PROCTOR finally made it to Charlotte, New York, badly iced up, but there was no word on the barges. They were presumed lost with all onboard.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Max Hanley and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history. Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history.


Wallaceburg Barge Service Underway

11/11 - Wallaceburg - The first stage of what is hoped to be the rebirth of commercial shipping to Wallaceburg (Ontario) was realized on November 10th. The tug Radium Yellowknife pushed the barge BIG 546 without incident along the 10 mile Chenal Ecarte and Sydenham River inland route, arriving at the Bruinsma Wallaceburg dock at 1:45pm.

Since municipal officials were taking their Remembrance Day holiday a day early, no one was on duty to open the Don Truan Baseline Bridge adjacent to the Bruinsma dock. While the bridge swinger was located the tug-barge combo pulled up briefly at the unused government wharf.

Local council representative Donald "Chip" Gordon was on hand to welcome the Norlake Transportation Co. tug and barge. He is optimistic this will spark new life into the Wallaceburg waterfront that has been idle since October 18,2003 when the tug Keewatin and barge Sand Merchant hauled in gravel to the Southwestern Sales Port Baldoon dock, just south of the present scheme.

This trial run with an empty barge ran smoothly ,easily negotiating the sharp turns on the waterway and bridges at Walpole Island and Wallaceburg. Plans call for the empty barge to be left in Wallaceburg for loading while the Radium Yellowknife will depart and resume her run between Sarnia and Toledo with Wallaceburg now part of the service.

A number of veteran waterfront observers were on hand recalling the days when Wallaceburg was a busy commercial port as part of the Great Lakes System.

Reported by Al Mann


Port Reports - November 11

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The American Fortitude was unloading grain at the Frontier Elevator Friday morning. Eyewitness reports had her coming in at 5:15 on Thursday evening.
The tug James A. Hannah was in the notch of her barge at the Noco Oil Terminal in Tonawanda at 11:00am Friday morning. There's no mistaking that tug for any other. She has a rather understated pilothouse for the large size tug that she is. There is a small upper copula above the main bridge while the hull form looks large. The boat has a low profile but she also carries a substantial superstructure with a large smokestack. Apparently she is a former Army tug, previously named LT 820, built in 1945.

Menominee/Marinette - Stephen P. Neal
Catherine Desgagnes arrived in Menominee/Marinette Friday with a load of pig iron.

Morrisburg & Ogdensburg - Ron Beaupre
Friday Algomarine discharged salt at Ogdensburg and then cleared for a lower St. Lawrence port.
Also Friday Peter R. Cresswell discharged her load of salt at the Universal Terminals dock two miles west of Morrisburg Ontario. This is the sixth load brought to this dock this season.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday afternoon saw the saltie BBC India arrive at 2:00 pm.
The tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes departed at 3:30 pm for the Welland Canal. Michipicoten arrived in ballast at 4:00 pm. Tugs Americo Dean and Annie M Dean arrived at 4:30 pm pushing a work barge from the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte.
The Federal Danube departed from Pier 14 at 5:30 p.m. for Cleveland with a part load of steel products.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Friday was a busy day on the Saginaw River, with a number of vessels calling. The Agawa Canyon was back for her second consecutive trip up to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to deliver road salt. She was expected to be outbound early Saturday morning.
Next in was the tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber. This was also the second consecutive trip for the pair, this time unloading at the Wirt Stone docks in Bay City and Saginaw. They were expected to be outbound from the Saginaw Wirt dock Saturday morning.
They were followed by the Earl W. Oglebay who traveled all the way upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw and the CSL Tadoussac who called on the Essroc Cement Terminal in Essexville. Both vessels were expected to be outbound on Saturday.


Updates - November 11

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 11

The Port of Huron, Ohio received its first grain boat in seven years when Westdale Shipping's AVONDALE arrived at the Pillsbury Elevator on November 11, 1971, to load 200,000 bushels of soybeans for Toronto, Ontario.

On 11 November 1883, NEMESIS (2-mast wooden schooner, 74 foot, 82 gross tons, built in 1868, at Goderich, Ontario) was wrecked in a terrific storm that some called a hurricane. She went ashore near Bayfield, Ontario on Lake Huron. She may have been recovered since her registration was not closed until 1907. In 1876, this little schooner rescued all but one of the crew from the sinking freighter NEW YORK.

The Armistice Day Storm of November 11, 1940, was one of the worst storms in the recorded history of Lake Michigan. In all, the storm claimed 5 vessels, and 66 lives. The storm hit late Monday afternoon, November 11th, with winds of hurricane proportions. The winds struck suddenly from the southwest at about 2:30 p.m. and were accompanied by drenching rain, which later changed to snow. The winds reached peak velocities of 75 miles per hour, the highest in local maritime history. Some of the vessels affected were: CITY OF FLINT 32: Beached at Ludington, no damage. Jens Vevang, relief captain, in command. Her regular captain, Charles Robertson, was on shore leave.
PERE MARQUETTE 21: Blown into a piling at Ludington, no damage, captained by Arthur Altschwager. She had 5 passengers aboard.

CITY OF SAGINAW 31: Arrived Milwaukee 6 hours late with over a foot of water in her hull. The wireless aerial was missing and her seagate was smashed by the waves. She was captained by Ed Cronberg.

Ann Arbor carferry WABASH: A railcar broke loose from it's moorings on her cardeck and rolled over, nearly crushing a crewman.

The steamer NOVADOC: Ran aground at Juniper Beach, South of Pentwater, Michigan. Two crewman (cooks) drowned when the ship broke in half. Seventeen crewman, found huddled in the pilot house, were rescued by Captain Clyde Cross and his 2 crewman, Gustave Fisher and Joe Fontane of the fishing tug THREE BROTHERS.

CONNEAUT of 1916, ran hard aground on Lansing Shoal near Manistique, Michigan, on Lake Michigan. She reportedly had lost her propeller and rudder. Two days later she was pulled off.

The SINALOA had taken on a load of sand near Green Island and was heading for Chicago through Death's Door on Wisconsin's Door Peninsula when the November 11th Armistice Day storm of 1940, struck in upper Lake Michigan. During the storm the SINALOA lost her rudder. The anchor was dropped but her anchor cable parted. In this helpless condition she ran aground at Sac Bay on Michigan's Garden Peninsula. Fortunately the stricken vessel was close to shore where the Coast Guard was able to rescue the entire crew. Declared a constructive total loss, her owner collected the insurance and forfeited the vessel to the Roen Salvage Co.

ANNA C MINCH: Sank South of Pentwater with a loss of 24 lives.

WILLIAM B DAVOCK: of the Interlake fleet, Capt. Charles W. Allen, sank in 215 of water off Pentwater, Michigan. There were no survivors among the crew of 33.

The fishing tugs INDIAN and RICHARD H: Lost with all hands off South Haven, Michigan.

On 11 November 1872, the schooner WILLIS collided with the bark ELIZABETH JONES on Lake Erie and sank in a few minutes. The crew was saved.

On 11 November 1936, J OSWALD BOYD (steel propeller fuel tanker, 244 foot, 1,806 gross tons, built in 1913, in Scotland) was carrying 900,000 gallons of gasoline when she stranded on Simmons Reef on the north side of Beaver Island. The U.S. Coast Guard from Beaver Island rescued the entire crew of 20.

On 11 November 1890, BRUNO (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 136 foot. 475 gross tons, built in 1863, at Montreal) was carrying coal to Cleveland with the schooner LOUISA in tow when she struck Magnetic Reef, south of Cockburn Island in Georgian Bay and sank in rough weather. No lives were lost.

On 11 November 1835, the 2-mast wooden schooner COMET was carrying iron and ashes on Lake Erie when she foundered in a gale, one mile northwest of Dunkirk, New York. Just her topmasts protruded from the water. All seven on board lost their lives, including a passenger who was a college student bound for Vermont.

In a storm on the night of 11 November 1874, The schooner LA PETITE (3-mast wooden schooner, 119 foot, 172 gross tons, built 1866, J. Ketchum, Huron, Ohio) was on Lake Michigan carrying a cargo of wheat and corn from Chicago when she sprang a bad leak and tried first to reach Ludington, then Manistee. Before reaching safety, she grounded off Big Point au Sable, eight miles from land, in eight feet of water. Previous to striking, the vessel had lost her bowsprit and foremast. After she struck, her main and mizzenmasts went by the board, and the schooner began to break up rapidly. The crew clung to the forecastle deck, and when that washed away, four men were drowned. Captain O. B. Wood had his arms broken by the falling off a square-sail yard. When he fell into the water, the ship's dog jumped in and kept him afloat until they were rescued by the crew of the steam barge CHARLES REITZ. Of the 10 crewmen, six were saved. The LA PETITE was salvaged and repaired and lasted until 1903, when she was lost in another storm.

On 11 Nov 1999, the Maltese flag bulk carrier ALCOR was examined by personnel from Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, a salvage company and the vessel's owners in hopes of forming a plan to save the vessel. She ran aground on a sand bar off the eastern tip of d'OrlŽans Island on the St. Lawrence River two days earlier. This vessel did not visit Great Lakes ports under the name ALCOR, but she did so under her two previous names, firstly as PATRICIA V and then as the Soviet flag MEKHANIK DREN. The Groupe Desgagnes finally refloated the ALCOR on 05 Dec 1999, after part of the cargo of clinker had been removed. The ship was then towed to Quebec City. Later, it was reported that Groupe Desgagnes purchased the ALCOR from its Greek owners.

Below is a first hand account of the Storm of 1913, from the journal of John Mc Laughlin transcribed by his great grandson Hugh Mc Nichol. John was working on an unknown vessel during the Storm of 1913. The boat was captained by John Mc Alpine and Harry Roberts as Chief Engineer. The boat was loading iron ore in Escanaba when the storm started on November 8th.

Tuesday, November 11, 1913
I got up at 12:00 a.m. and went on watch. We were above Presque Isle. It is still blowing hard and quite a sea running. Presque Isle at 1:45 a.m., Thunder Bay Island at 4:30 a.m., Harbor Beach at 1:00 p.m., we are about in the River at 7:05 p.m. It is fine tonight, wind gone down.

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


Sand Dredged from Ludington Harbor to Placed near Buttersville

11/9 - Ludington - A crew from MCM Marine Inc., Sault Ste. Marie, is in Ludington preparing to dredge about 46,000 cubic yards of sand which as drifted along the shoreline and settled between the pier heads of the outer harbor. One change in the $300,000 project is the sand will now be placed south of the harbor, roughly along the shoreline off Buttersville Park, according to Tom O’Bryan, a civil engineer with the U.S. Corps of Engineers.

The original plans called for the dredged sand to be placed a bit north of the Stearns Park beach, but O’Bryan said the city expressed a concern that it was to be placed close to the Lake Michigan intake for the city’s water system. O’Bryan said at least one resident asked about the cleanliness of the sand to be dredged and transported to the Buttersville beach.

The sand, he said, settled out from the sand that naturally drifts along the shoreline of the lake. Structures such as piers and breakwalls interrupt the current which results in sand being deposited behind them, in this case, within the harbor. Survey crews earlier determined there is four or five feet of shoaling both at the mouth of the pier heads and along the inside of the south pierhead.

Crews, he said, have been installing dredge lines and doing preparatory work.  The project, he said will involve about nine full days of dredging but is scheduled to be completed by the end of November allowing for the iffy weather of the season.

From the Ludington Daily News


Great Lakes Safety Zone Comment Period Coming to an End November 13

11/10 - Cleveland - The Coast Guard has concluded all nine of the scheduled public hearing concerning the creation of 34 safety zones on the Great Lakes.  About 750 people attended the nine meetings and more than 550 comments have been submitted to the docket.

Members of the public who still wish to submit comment to the docket may do so through Nov. 13 by one of the following three methods:
E-mail through this site  Docket #25767  Fax to  (202) 493-2251. or mail to the Docket Management Facility (USCG-2006-2567), U.S. Department of Transportation, Room PL-401, 400 SW, Washington, D.C. 20590-0001.

Since October 16, the Coast Guard has held public meetings in Duluth, Minn., Grand Haven, Mich., Port Huron, Mich., Cleveland, Rochester, N.Y., Waukegan, Ill., Erie, Pa. and Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

For additional instructions on submitting comments via mail, fax or in person please Click here

USCG News Release


Port Reports - November 10

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The tug James A. Hanna was inbound for Buffalo with a loaded tank barge at 8 p.m. The tug reported they were headed for the Black Rock Canal at that time. This is a rare visitor to Buffalo.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Paul Erspamer
The Algoisle remained at the Nidera Elevator Thursday morning, however it was soon approached by two tugs about 10:30 a.m. that assisted her departure. The Algoisle was beyond the breakwater and turning north by 12:30 p.m.
Also in the harbor at the time was Polish Steamship's Iryda at the general cargo Terminal 3 and the Kwintebank, a general cargo saltie for Wagenborg Shipping in the Netherlands at general cargo Terminal 2--both in the outer harbor.
The integrated tug Presque Isle remained at the heavy lift dock, as did the saltie from the Empros Lines just beyond the breakwater.
Thursday evening the saltwater bulker Adamastos (reg. Piraeus, Greece) was at the Nidera elevator in Milwaukee's inner harbor, waiting for a cargo.
Small saltie Kwintebank (reg. Delfzul, Netherlands) remained at terminal 3 in the outer harbor.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The John B. Aird arrived in Sandusky at mid-afternoon Thursday and loaded at the Norfolk Southern coal dock. Her next port of call was not listed.

Toledo -
CSL Assiniboine was at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility on loading. Her self unloading boom swung out to clear the hold hatches.
Sam Laud left the dock area below Toledo Shipyard.
Ste. Claire remained there.
Redhead was still at Midwest Terminals of Toledo.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The Mississagi was in the short drydock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior undergoing unspecified repairs.
On Thursday, both the LaFarge Cement barge Integrity and its tug G.L. Ostrander had been moved into the long drydock, apparently for repairs. In the past few years it's been a rare sight to see both drydocks in use during the shipping season.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River Wednesday morning calling on the Sargent dock in Essexville, before continuing upriver to the Saginaw Rock Products dock. The pair was outbound during the night.
Inbound meeting the Kuber at the Consumers Energy dock was the Agawa Canyon. She was headed up to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload. Agawa Canyon was outbound Thursday morning.
Inbound on Thursday afternoon was the Maumee, who called on the Sargent dock in Essexville. Once she finished her unload, she turned off the dock and was outbound for the lake Thursday evening.

Port of Indiana - Burns Harbor - Brian Z.
Canada Steamship's M/V Halifax is scheduled to arrive today to load 28,000 tons of coke breeze after discharging a cargo of stone at Buffington, Indiana. She is expected at 3:00 pm. Loading should be complete by late Saturday night.

Owen Sound - Ed Saliwonchyk
Algocape arrived in Owen Sound sometime during Thursday night and was loading Friday at the Great Lakes Grain Elevators. She is the fourth first-time visitor to Owen Sound this season. If she follows the other three (Independent Voyager, Canadian Leader and Algoisle) she is likely headed to Quebec City, perhaps after topping in Goderich.


Bells Ring to Honor Shipwreck Victims

11/10 - Rogers City - Bell-ringing ceremonies will be held to commemorate the losses of three Great Lakes shipwrecks in the coming weeks - all wrecked in the legendary “gales of November” that can occur in Northern Michigan.

The public is invited to attend the free ceremonies at the Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum, 367 N. Third St., Rogers City, and may visit all areas of the museum after the program. A newly constructed room called Memorial Hall has artifacts and memorabilia about the Edmund Fitzgerald, the Cedarville, the Carl D. Bradley and the Daniel J. Morrell.

The service for the Fitzgerald will be held at 2:00pm Saturday. Museum Director David Erickson will give a brief history of the ship, which sank 31 years ago in Lake Superior about 17 miles off Whitefish Point. The names of each crewman who lost his life on that day will be read, accompanied by the tolling of a bell.

A similar service will be conducted at 2:00pm on November 18 as a memorial for the freighter Carl D. Bradley, lost 48 years ago on November 18, 1958. Many of the crew's families resided in Rogers City at the time the ship went down in a storm off Beaver Island in Northern Lake Michigan. Some still reside in the area.

The 40th anniversary of the sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell will be observed at 2:00pm on November 25, also a Saturday. The Morrell actually sank November 29, 1966 in a storm on Lake Huron near Michigan's “thumb area.” Crewmember Dennis Hale, the lone survivor of the disaster, will be present for the ceremony.

“Bell ringers are needed to participate in these memorable events,” Erickson noted. “We'll toll the bell for the sailors lost in Great Lakes ship tragedies.”

More information on the ceremonies can be obtained by calling the museum at 1-989-734-0706.

By Mike Fornes from the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Lost Mariners Remembrance in Detroit Tonight
Dennis Hale to Speak and Lee Murdock Concert

11/10- This Friday, November 10, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the Great Lakes Maritime Institute will hold a special remembrance for the 40th Anniversary of the loss of the Great Lakes freighter Daniel J. Morrell.

From 5:30 - 8:00 pm the evening events will recall that sailors who sail the inland seas, are sometimes placed in peril.

Tickets are $10.00, available at the door The events will begin at 5:30 by placing of 29 illuminated lanterns around the anchor of the Edmund Fitzgerald that rests in the yard of the Dossin Museum on Belle Isle.

At 6:00 p.m. the Great Lakes balladeer Lee Murdock will begin a concert in the DeRoy Hall Auditorium.
6:55 the names of the lost crew members will be read and ship's bells will be tolled.
7:05 a wreath is taken to the rivers edge
7:10 The wreath is cast into the river.
At 7:15 Dennis Hale tells his tale of surviving the sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell on November 29, 1966.
8 Rev. Ingalls Jr. says for the passing of all lost mariners of the Lakes.
8:15 Lee Murdock performs Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald There is limited seating

Tickets are $10.00, available at the door. For information call (586) 777-8300 or E-Mail

 The Dossin Great Lakes Museum is located at 100 Strand Drive on Belle Isle, Detroit, Michigan and is open Weekends from 11 - 5. This event will not be webcast

Click here for more information


Updates - November 10

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Notice to Boatnerd News Photographers

11/10 - We will no longer consider posting news files that are not submitted according to the Submission Guidelines found at the bottom of each News Photo Gallery.

People are submitting photo files with the file name that comes out of the camera. If we use that file name, odds are someone has a similar camera, and has already used that same file name, and one file will overwrite the other.

Please follow the section that explains how to name your photo files before you submit them.

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Help us to keep this free service up to date with current photos. Thanks for your support and cooperation.

Your Boatnerd News Team.


Today in Great Lakes History - November 09

In 1971, the French freighter PENCHATEAU unloaded 3,000 tons of fluorspar at Erie Dock at Cleveland. This was (1) the first salty unloaded at this dock, (2) the first cargo handled from directly overseas, and (3) the first time Huletts unloaded directly into trucks. The operation required 9 hours (previous efforts using clamshell buckets to unload required two days).

On 09 November 1869, EXCELSIOR (wooden propeller river steamer and ferry, 40 foot, 28 tons, built in 1861, at Lewiston, New York) caught fire and was destroyed while taking on wood. She was owned by Samuel Hunt of St. Charles, Michigan and was primarily used as a ferry on the Saginaw River.

The EDWIN H GOTT's keel was laid November 9, 1977, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

The aft section of the ATLANTIC SUPERIOR (Hull#222) was launched at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. November 9, 1981. The section was towed to Thunder Bay, Ontario for completion.

In the fall of 1962, the W F WHITE left the Lakes, under tow of the tug MARION MORAN, for coal shuttle service in the Chesapeake Bay area passing down the Welland Canal November 9th. She returned to the Lakes under tow of the DIANA MORAN in 1965. Sold Canadian in 1976, renamed b.) ERINDALE, she was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 1985.

The keel for the GEORGE M HUMPHREY was laid November 9, 1953, at Lorain, Ohio.

NORMAN B REAM was laid up at Duluth, Minnesota on November 9, 1960. In 1965, she would be sold and renamed b.) KINSMAN ENTERPRISE.

In 1971, the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was laid up due to coal strike.

On 9 November 1923, AZTEC (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 180 foot, 835 gross tons, built in 1889, at Marine City, Michigan) was destroyed by fire at her home port of Marine City. The wreck lay in the Belle River until dynamited in the 1930's, and what was left was placed on the previously raised barge PROVINCE which was then towed up the St. Clair River, into Lake Huron and scuttled.

On 9 November 1877, The Port Huron Times announced that the Lake schooners W C GRANT and CITY OF GREEN BAY had left Montreal on a voyage to Europe.

The Big Storm of 1913
On November 7, 1913, the storm responsible for sinking or damaging more vessels than any other began a six-day assault on the Great Lakes. The "Big Blow" of 1913, struck Lake Superior on November 7 and reached Lake Michigan by November 8.

At 10:00 p.m. on November 9, 1913, the HOWARD M HANNA JR was blown broadside onto the Port Austin Reef (off the tip of Michigan's thumb on Lake Huron) by Northerly winds in excess of 60 mph during the Great Storm of 1913. The ship finally lost power and was driven onto the reef where she broke in two at hatch number seven.

On November 9, 1913, while down bound with ore, the FRED G HARTWELL encountered very strong southwest winds in Lake Superior. She reached a position one mile east of Iroquois Point, on Whitefish Bay and dropped her anchor to ride out the storm. Her anchor began to drag when the winds shifted to the north and increased to unprecedented gale-force velocity. This was the beginning of the "Great Storm" of 1913, which drove her aground onto a rocky bottom. The seas pounded her until her bottom plates were torn open and she sank the next day in twenty-six feet of water.

On November 9th during the Big Storm of 1913, the MATTHEW ANDREWS was down bound in Lake Huron with a cargo of iron ore. Captain Lempoh decided to drop anchor rather than risk trying to enter the St. Clair River during the fury of the storm. Taking bearings for anchorage from LIGHTSHIP 61 (stationed at Corsica Shoal), which unknown to him had been blown two miles off station, the MATTHEW ANDREWS grounded heavily on Corsica Shoal.

Below is a first hand account of the storm from the journal of John Mc Laughlin transcribe by his great grandson Hugh Mc Nichol. John was working on the steamer E L WALLACE of the Dearbord Transit Co., during the Storm of 1913. The boat was captained by John Mc Alpine and Harry Roberts as Chief Engineer. The boat was loading iron ore in Escanaba when the storm started on November 8th.

Sunday, November 9, 1913
I got up at 12 a.m. and went on watch. They were loading us but awful slow, It is blowing hard and some snow falling and colder. We got away at 11:35 a.m. There is a heavy sea on and blowing a gale. We ain't making much headway, about 2 miles in 4 hours.

More entries from the Storm of 1913 tomorrow (below).

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Jody Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Today in Great Lakes History - November 10

On this day in 1892, whaleback barge 102 loaded 2,073 tons of iron ore at Superior consigned to Cleveland. This was the first shipment of Mesabi Range iron ore carried by Oglebay Norton.

On 10 November 1901, the ROBERT A PACKER (wooden freighter, 209 foot, 921 tons, built in 1882, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was found by the wrecking tug RUMBLE eleven miles north of off De Tour, Michigan ablaze and abandoned by her crew. Captain Isaac Zess of the RUMBLE fought the flames for four hours and then was helped by the THOMAS W PALMER. The fire was speedily extinguished with both vessels pouring water on the flames and the PACKER was tied up at the dock in DeTour, Michigan.

On 10 November 1887, A BOODY (wooden schooner, 137 foot, 287 gross tons, built in 1863, at Toledo, Ohio) struck the Port Austin reef on Lake Huron and was declared a total loss. However, after ten days of hard work, the BOODY was finally pulled off the reef.

The EDMUND FITZGERALD foundered on Lake Superior during a severe storm November 10, 1975, at approximately 7:10 p.m. about 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michign at position 47 0'N by 85 7'W in Canadian waters.

IMPERIAL ST CLAIR (Hull#57) was launched November 10, 1973 , by Port Weller Drydocks at St. Catharines, Ontario. Renamed b.) ALGOSAR in 1998, sold off the lakes, renamed c.) GENESIS EXPLORER in 2005.

The STEELTON sailed on her maiden voyage for Bethlehem Steel Corp. on November 10, 1943.

The ROBERT C STANLEY, in her first season of operation on November 10, 1943, during a Lake Superior storm, she developed a significant crack across her spar deck and 12 to 14 feet down both sides of her hull. As the hull worked in the heavy seas, the crack widened to as much as three to four inches. The crew ran cables between the fore and aft winches that maintained a force sufficient to hold the hull together.

November 10, 1972, in the vicinity of the entrance to the East Outer Channel near Amherstburg, Ontario the UNITED STATES GYPSUM collided with her towing tug MAINE and as a result her bow was punctured. The GYPSUM was beached to prevent sinking.
Pittsburgh SteamshipÕs WILLIAM A IRVIN (Hull#811) was launched November 10, 1937, at Lorain, Ohio. The IRVIN serves as a museum ship in Duluth, Minnesota since 1986.

November 10, 1892, the carferry ANN ARBOR NO 1 left the shipyard in Toledo, Ohio, bound for Frankfort on her maiden voyage.

In 1895, the first major accident caused by cars coming free on the car deck of a rail ferry happened when the ANN ARBOR NO 1, was on an eastbound voyage. Approaching Frankfort in a northwest gale, she rolled so violently that many of the car fastenings broke and the cargo began to move about on the car deck. None of the early rear-loading car ferries were equipped with a sea gate to protect the stern from the seas, and seven cars of flour and butter went off the deck of the NO 1 into the lake. Captain Charles Moody resigned from the Ann Arbor as a result of this incident and returned to the Pere Marquette and Goodrich lines.

ATLANTIC (formerly MANITOULIN, wooden propeller passenger/package freight, 147 foot, 683 gross tons, built in 1880, at Owen Sound, Ontario) was bound for Byng Inlet with lumber camp supplies when she was caught in a storm and grounded in the lee of Pancake Island in Georgian Bay. Her cargo and aft cabin were thrown overboard to lighten her, but she caught fire and was destroyed. Her passengers and crew took to her boats and survived.

On 10 November 1856, ST JOSEPH (wooden propeller steam barge, 170 foot, 460 tons, built in 1846, at Buffalo, New York) stranded and was wrecked near Fairport, Ohio. No lives were lost.

November 10, 1911 - The ANN ARBOR NO 4 was back in service after damaging several plates in October.

The tanker MARIA DESGAGNES struck bottom in the St. Lawrence Seaway on 10 Nov 1999. After temporary repairs were made, the vessel was cleared to proceed to Hamilton, Ontario to discharge its cargo of jet fuel. A survey of the seaway was completed with no indications as to what caused the vessel to ground.

On 10 November 1887, BLAZING STAR (wooden schooner, 137 foot, 265 tons, built in 1873, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was sailing on Lake Michigan in fine weather with a load of lumber. However, she grounded on Fisherman Shoal near Washington Island, Wisconsin even though the wreck of the steamer I N FOSTER was in full view on that reef. The captain was unable to locate a tug to pull the BLAZING STAR off and later she broke up in heavy weather. No lives were lost.

Storm of 1913 (con't from above)
Below is a first hand account of the Storm of 1913, from the journal of John Mc Laughlin transcribed by his great grandson Hugh Mc Nichol. John was working on an unknown vessel during the Storm of 1913. The boat was captained by John Mc Alpine and Harry Roberts as Chief Engineer. The boat was loading iron ore in Escanaba when the storm started on November 8th.

Monday, November 10, 1913
I got up at 12 a.m. and went on watch. We were laying at anchor. It was blowing a living gale and kept it up. They hove up the anchor near 10 o'clock but monkeyed around until after dinner. We got under way. We passed the Light Ship about 3, and White Shoal at 5:15.

More entries from the Storm of 1913 tomorrow.

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Crew Member Still Hospitalized After Explosion

11/8 - A crew member from the ore boat, Kaye E. Barker, remains hospitalized in stable condition. Another injured crew member was released Tuesday afternoon.

Both suffered second and third degree burns when the ship's boiler exploded on Sunday morning in Lake Superior off of Whitefish Point. Officials with the ship's owner, Interlake Steamship Company, say it appears the fire was caused by a mechanical failure.

The Coast Guard is handling the investigation.

From WLUC-TV Marquette


Mackinaw does Buoy Work

11/8 - Cheboygan - A two-week training period behind them, the officers and crew of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw departed the Cheboygan River early Monday for a week of buoy work in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.
The busy ship's schedule will be typical of work performed by the new ship, which adds service to aids of navigation to its icebreaking tasks.

“Primarily this time out we will be removing summer buoys and replacing them with winter marks,” said Cmdr. John Little, the Mackinaw's captain. “Some are being decommissioned for the year, if they are primarily there for recreational boaters.”

Little said the ship's crew is accompanied by Chief Warrant Officer Dave Baer, a Coast Guard-trained National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration technician. “He is from Bay St. Louis, Miss., where the National Buoy Data Center is located,” Little said of Baer. “He is accompanying us to check their equipment and determine what sort of damage has occurred and to see what type of equipment may be needed in these locations.”

According to Little, buoys are much more than floating markers and often contain sophisticated high-tech gear that can be dialed up for information on current conditions. “Many of these buoys have sensing equipment on them, they record and help predict temperature, wave movement, current, and conditions that affect all mariners, even recreational boaters,” Little said.

“We are one of several cutters working NOAA buoys this fall; Hollyhock and Alder are also in the lakes doing the same thing. They will have a NOAA tech on board too.

The electronics package on those buoys is so extensive - and expensive - that they accompany us to help determine their operations. These buoys can give us real time data over the internet that help us in many ways. The equipment is sensitive to icing, so that's why they are decommissioned in the fall and we replace them with smaller, unlighted winter marks so we can find them again in the spring.

Also onboard for the mission is Chief Warrant Officer Dave Merrill from the National Aids to Navigation School in Yorktown, Va.

“He's here to get a handle on our buoy operations to determine what type of support I am going to need in the future,” Little continued. “We'll be in the northern quarter of Lake Huron, then we'll be servicing areas near the Manitous and off the bay of Green Bay in Lake Michigan.”

The Mackinaw's sailing comes after a two-week stay in port for the Tailored Annual Cutter Training exercises. “We had a great two weeks of TACT training, it was the cutter's first time with that type of extensive training, and we did very well,” Little added. “If weather and winds cooperate we should be back inside a week.”

The ship's return will be in time for the Great Lakes Ice Conference, to be held next week in Cheboygan.

By Mike Fornes in the the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Dennis Hale to be in Port Clinton

11/8 - Dennis Hale sole survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell will be in Port Clinton Ohio at the Great Lakes Cafe from 12:00 to 4:00pm on Saturday, November 11th.

The event is open to the public and free.


Port Reports - November 8

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Monday evening had the Algonorth departing at 7:15 pm for Thunder Bay.
The CSL Tadoussac departed at 7:30 p.m. for Picton Ontario.
The Algocape arrived at 9:00 pm going to Dofasco with iron ore.
Tuesday the tug Tradewind Service and barge departed at 2:00 pm.
The tug Americo Dean and barge arrived at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 3:30 pm.
The Voyageur Pioneer ( ex Lady Hamilton ) departed Hamilton at 3:45 p.m. for the Welland Canal. Through the fog you could see her stack painted in the Voyageur colors.
The refueling ship Hamilton Energy arrived back in port at 6:00 pm going to Pier 24.
The John B. Aird arrived at 6:30 pm with salt from Windsor and after unloading will head to Sandusky.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Algoma Central's Algoisle was loading at the Nidera Elevator early Tuesday afternoon.
The integrated tug Presque Isle, of the Great Lakes Fleet, remained at the heavy lift dock without its typically accompanying barge.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
A little dry humor brightened an otherwise damp and dreary weather Tuesday on Western Lake Erie Tuesday. Departing the Norfolk Southern coal dock, the skipper of the Arthur M. Anderson advised Sarnia Traffic Control that his vessel was "upbound for Gladstone, Michigan." When the Sarnia operator appeared to miss the name of the Anderson's next port, the bridge officer intoned: "It used to be called Happy Rock...we're going to Gladstone, it's near Escanaba."
The Anderson, which arrived at the dock Monday night, was proceded into Sandusky Bay by the Canadian Progress, which was reported downbound on Lake Erie upon departure.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Gregory J. Busch was inbound the Saginaw River on Monday, headed for her home dock in Carrollton.
On Tuesday, the tug Barbara Andrie and her barge A-390 called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload. The pair were expected to be outbound Wednesday morning.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Sam Laud departed the Gateway Trade Terminal in Lackawanna at 9:00pm on Monday evening bound for Toledo.

Toledo -
A foggy Wednesday in Toledo. Federal Schelde departed ADM Elevators after taking on a load.
CSL Assiniboine remained at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility on loading.
Ste. Claire was moved by Susan Hoey from International Park to lie alongside the Toledo Shipyard.
Sam Laud was moored just below the yard at the Precast Facility dock.
Redhead was off loading at Midwest Terminals of Toledo. The exterior of the new storage facility there is complete. Catherine Desgagnes was taking on metal ingots at their docks as well.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Fraser Shipyards in Superior was busy Wednesday with Mississagi in drydock and the LaFarge barge Integrity and tug in the yard.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Early Wednesday afternoon, Algoisle continued to load at the Nidera Elevator.
American Mariner was also in the harbor, discharging coal at WE Energies Greenfield Avenue dock.
The Presque Isle, integrated tug of the Great Lakes Fleet, remained at the heavy lift dock.
Additionally, the Cinnemon, a 611-footer that sails under charter to the Canadian Forest Navigation Ltd., was docked at the Municipal pier in the outer harbor.
Finally, at anchor beyond the breakwater, was a saltie from the Empros Lines--perhaps waiting a turn at Nidera.


Bill Market III Passes

11/8 - Put-In-Bay - Bill Market III, owner of Miller Boat Line, Put-in-Bay, Ohio, passed away last Friday. Family and friends gave him a beautiful send off and service Monday on Put-in-Bay. Amidst a fall season of rain, wind (and today, the fog) - a perfect November day surrounded us.

A touching and special honor was also given to dad on Monday. Capt. Russell Brohl (a Put-in-Bay resident and family friend), aboard the Lee A. Tregurtha, sounded a master salute. (also Russ "sent" the salute via cell phone, where Bill's family could share it.)

Bill Market III was a regular reader of the Boatnerd News and other features.


Updates - November 8

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 08

The NIMROD (3-mast wooden schooner, 184 foot, 559 tons, built in 1873, at Toledo, Ohio) was carrying 37,000 bushels of corn from Chicago to Buffalo. On 08 November 1874, she encountered thick fog on Lake Erie and the large double decked schooner MICHIGAN collided with her. The MICHIGAN continued on her course while the NIMROD filled with water and sank in 70 feet of water off Port Burwell-Port Stanley, Ontario. The crew escaped in the yawl and were picked up by the schooner GRANTHAM. The wreck was discovered in 1978, when Capt. Robert Hamilton, a commercial fisherman, snagged his nets on it.

The COLUMBIA STAR (steel propeller bulk freighter, 1000 foot, 35,923 gross tons) was launched November 8, 1980, at Bay Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin (Hull#726) . She was part of the Oglebay Norton fleet. Renamed b.) AMERICAN CENTURY in 2006.

The BENJAMIN F FAIRLESS and IRVING S OLDS arrived on November 8, 1988, at Kaohsiung, Taiwan for scrapping by Sing Cheng Yung Iron & Steel Co. Ltd.

The Great Lakes Engineering Works built steamer STADACONA of 1909, renamed b.) W H MC GEAN in 1920, was renamed c.) ROBERT S MC NAMARA by its new owner Ford Motor Company's Marine Division on November 8, 1962. The MC NAMARA was rescued from potential scrapping when Ford purchased her for $80,000 and spent $15,000 for renovation at AmShip's Toledo yard.

The J P MORGAN JR arrived at Avil's, Spain on November 8, 1980, for scrapping.

PETER A B WIDENER passed down the Welland Canal November 8, 1986, towed by the tugs TUSKER and GLENADA en route to Lauzon, Quebec. From there she was towed overseas for scrapping. When built, the PETER A B WIDENER and fleet mates J PIERPONT MORGAN, NORMAN B REAM and HENRY H ROGERS were the first 600-footers built for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.; "The Class of 1906."

On 08 Nov 1986, the B F AFFLECK (steel propeller freighter, 588 foot, 7,964 gross tons, built in 1927, at Toledo, Ohio), under tow of the tug THUNDER CAPE, went adrift on Lake Superior in a storm after the tug lost power. The tug AVENGER IV was dispatched to pick up the AFFLECK, which was headed for scrap, and the tanker EASTERN SHELL towed the THUNDER CAPE to Thunder Bay for repairs.

BEN HUR, a wooden schooner-barge wrecker, 314 tons, built in 1874, at Dunville, Ontario, had been purchased for the job of salvaging the schooner M E TREMBLE. On 8 November 1890, she was at the job near Port Huron in the St. Clair River when she was rammed and sunk by the schooner-barge SUPERIOR which was being towed by the steamer PASSAIC. BEN HUR settled on top of the schooner she was attempting to salvage and a lighter-scow she was using also went down with her.

On 8 November 1877, the bark GREAT WEST was carrying 262,000 feet of lumber from Caseville to Chicago. Much of it was piled topside. In a big storm on Lake Michigan, she lost her deck load. She then became waterlogged and finally went ashore near Hyde Park, Illinois on 10 November. The crew were all saved.

On 8 November 1877, KATE L BRUCE (3-mast wooden schooner, 307 tons, built in 1872, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was carrying wheat in tow of the tug JOHNSON when she was let go in heavy weather. She disappeared with all eight of her crew off Alpena, Michigan. A bureau containing her papers washed ashore in August 1878. The sunken wreck was discovered in 6 fathoms of water in Thunder Bay during the Autumn of 1879.

The forebody of the former CANADIAN EXPLORER arrived in Prescott on 05 Nov 2000, under tow of the Trois Rivieres tug DUGA. It remained there for three days. The previous March, it was reported that the hull was undergoing conversion to a 498-foot grain storage barge for Les Elevateurs des Trois Rivieres, Quebec. (The engine room portion of the former CANADIAN EXPLORER was mated to the forward section of the HAMILTON TRANSFER in 1998, and now sails as the CANADIAN TRANSFER.)

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Jody Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Munson Strikes Fuel Dock

Update - 11/8 - Tuesday at noon Capt. Don Gordon had the tug Menasha and crane barge onsite, along with a dive team from Gordon Marine Services and structural engineers to determine the extent of the damage to the north dock.

About 200 feet of the dock is in the water and the support caissons are badly damaged. Operations at the middle and south docks, continue as normal.

Reported by Barry Hiscock

Original Article -  11/7- The John G. Munson struck Shell Canada’s fuel dock on the St. Clair River Monday. The Munson was pulling into the refueling station near Corunna, Ontario around 11:30 a.m. when it struck the dock.

Investigators believe mechanical failure is to blame according to local law enforcement. The vessel struck the north end of the dock, demolishing nearly 200 feet of the structure, which sank into the St. Clair River.

There were no injuries and there has been no impact on the environment, said Shell spokesperson John Peck. The incident was reported to both the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard and is being investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police Marine Unit.

It is unknown if the Shell Fuel dock continues to operate fueling ships.

Reported by Ward Burr from the Sarnia Observer


Voyageur Pioneer Christened

11/8- Tuesday afternoon Voyageur Marine Transport Ltd. christened the latest addition to their fleet. Shortly before 3 p.m. the "Voyageur Pioneer" was christened at Hamilton after an intense week of preparations. The Voyageur Pioneer is the former Lady Hamilton, former Saskatchewan Pioneer.

The ship departed for Thunder Bay back under the Canadian Flag Tuesday and was due at the Welland Canal about 7:30 p.m.

Reported by Bob Kay


Shallow Waters Lighten Loads

11/7 - Record low water levels for this season on the Upper Great Lakes are creating concern for commercial shipping lines.

Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers Association, estimates that 75 per cent of their ships are carrying less cargo than they could if they had appropriate water levels. He has noticed a decline since approximately 1998, when water levels peaked. The U.S. flagships generally travel in the upper four Great Lakes.

“Every inch of water we lose for the 1,000-foot boats, is about 250 to 270 tons per inch of water,” Weakley says. “For smaller boats, it is about 100 to 150 tons of cargo they give up per inch of water loss.” Lightening loads leads to a big inefficiency in the system. It requires more trips using more fuel, manpower and time.

Wayne Smith, vice president of marketing and vessel traffic for Seaway Marine Transport, says they have been impacted by the lower levels, but not dramatically, yet. “For the water levels to be this low for this time of the year, I think, certainly, we are concerned. From here on in (Oct. 13) we’re going to be carrying below our target levels.”

Environment Canada’s website (Level news) states water levels on each of the Great Lakes have fallen at a rate faster than average so far this year, since attaining their seasonal highs during the first week of August. Lake Superior’s level is 38 centimetres below beginning-of-month average (1918-2005) for October; and lakes Huron-Michigan are 49 cm below. The other lakes’ declining levels are not as severe.

These sharp declines have ship owners and carriers wondering what the lake levels will be like in the spring, if they are already lower than average for the fall of this year. Tim Heney, CEO of the Thunder Bay Port Authority, aware of the cyclical nature of water levels in Lake Superior, says they are usually low in the spring, come up in the summer and then trail off again into the winter. “Already (they) have trailed off back to where they were in the spring,” he says. “What concerns us is where is it going to be in the spring, if it is this low now?”

The waters of the Great Lakes Basin have been described as part of a natural and cultural heritage to the regions of Ontario, Quebec, and eight bordering states in the United States. Despite the vastness of this non-renewable resource, the International Joint Commission’s final report says less than one per cent of Great Lakes water is renewed annually by precipitation, surface water runoff, and inflow from groundwater sources. Consequently, water levels can fluctuate from 30 to 60 cm in a single year.

Both the Canadian Hydrographics Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers publish monthly bulletins on their websites comparing current with past record low and high water levels, and the average levels as well as a six-month future forecast.

Even though the upper lake levels are unseasonably low, they are not at historic lows. Thunder Bay’s Port Authority harbour master Guy Jarvis and Heney attribute Lake Superior’s low level to a dry spring and summer. “There was 80 per cent less precipitation than the average,” Jarvis says. “There has been very little snow fall and snow melt, so all the rivers that flow into Lake Superior are low to begin with.”

During the winter months, ice cover on the lakes reduces evaporation. If global warming is a factor, warmer temperatures will diminish ice cover, thus, increasing evaporation. Warmer summers also result in warmer water and more evaporation in the fall. So far, Heney says they have not seen “anything too dramatic yet,” with respect to ships lightening their loads, because Thunder Bay’s harbour is naturally deep. “Everybody is getting what they want,” Jarvis says, but that may change if water levels continue to drop.

Ports are continually monitoring water depth for changes. Heney says port authorities have been performing surveys of the harbour to determine the proper dredging program, which he expects will be undertaken next year in order to make sure Thunder Bay isn’t a restriction in the seaway. “They haven’t dredged here in a long time, but they are looking at it now,” he says. Costs for dredging harbours are the responsibility of the port authorities. Individual elevator slips or ports where ships load and unload commodities are maintained by the company stationed at the slip. If low lake levels continue to persist, more dredging will occur in order to accommodate shipping.

As shorelines increase, other problematic areas throughout the Great Lakes are the channels and rivers, such as the St. Mary’s River in Sault, Michigan, St. Clair and Detroit Rivers, and the Welland Canal. Often referred to as bottlenecks, the Welland Canal’s 26-foot six-inch draft (how deep the ship sits in the water) is the restricting point. Most of the lakers travelling the Great Lakes are designed with the Welland Canal in mind; consequently, they have not had adverse affects to date.

Tom Brodeur, vice president of marketing and customer service for Canada Steamship Lines, says they do a lot of trading through the St. Lawrence River where they are restricted by the seaway draft. So lightening loads has not impacted trades in that area. However, they are affected on trades in certain ports in lakes Huron and Michigan.

Many factors come into play in commercial shipping, such as the size of the ship, type of cargo, the port, and the season. The average laker ranges in length from 700 to 740 feet and approximately 120 to 140 tonnes an inch. The American U.S. flag ships are larger at 1,000-feet long. Brodeur says loads like salt and stone are deadweight trades, which affect how the ship will carry the load. “You have different times in the season when you have midsummer draft, summer draft, intermediate draft, and winter drafts,” he says, explaining some companies have commercial agreements in place to cover some of the concerns of low water.

At the time of the interview, the low water levels had not affected the fleet, because much of their trade is governed by the draft in the Welland Canal. “It hasn’t been an impact,” he says. “If water levels continue to go down, then it will have an impact.”

In an attempt to address low lake level concerns, Canada Steamship Lines use technology such as bathymetrics, to take an underwater profile of the bottom of a river, providing a truer picture of the depth. With the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others, knowledge of true depth allows selective dredging in higher spots, saving costs.

“We’re being squeezed by two things: the natural reduction of water levels and the lack of dredging,” Weakley says, adding the Army Corps of Engineers has not been funded within the Great Lakes region to maintain the waterways both at the connecting channels and the harbours. He estimates they are about $200 million behind where they should be with respect to dredging in ports and channels.

“We are actively engaging with the Army Corps of Engineers and with our congressional representatives to try and increase the amount of dredging . . . so we can have the deep water where we need to,” he says. Until then, companies involved in commercial shipping on the waterways will be hoping for a cold winter, solid ice cover on the lakes, and a lot of precipitation to replenish water levels.

From Northern Ontario Business


New technologies and investment could give Iron Range a rebirth

11/7 - Eveleth, MN. - Dan Smilanich studied the bedrock around him, shifted into gear and roared his two-story iron-ore truck to the other end of United Taconite's mine to pick up 240 tons of rock. "I've been laid off four times in my 10-year tenure as a miner. This last time was two years," Smilanich said. "This is the best it's been around here."

The rebirth of bankrupt EVTAC Mining as United Taconite with 466 jobs would be notable by itself because new jobs have been scarce in the area in recent years. But the mine's reopening is part of a broader renaissance for the 110-mile Mesabi Iron Range, which in recent years had become a symbol of industrial decay.

Thanks to new state and corporate investment, better technology and China's ravenous appetite for steel, 12 projects are being planned or built on the Range, promising to bring $5 billion in investments and about 3,000 full-time jobs to the area within the next five years. The technologies involved promise to play to the area's traditional strength in ore mining but produce more profitable products that can better weather global competition.

The projects stretch from Silver Bay on Lake Superior to Grand Rapids in the west. They include new taconite, copper and nickel mines, iron nugget plants, and Minnesota's first integrated steel plant.

"Not since the 1960s and early 1970s has the Range seen so many huge-scale projects under consideration all at the same time," said Dan Jordan, mining and minerals program supervisor for the state's Iron Range Resources.

Legacy of pain
Tourists know the Range primarily by its pine-edged highways that slice through the country that stretches from Lake Superior toward the Boundary Waters, idyllic lakes dotting the landscape along the way. But it's the great open pits -- the taconite mines -- that long gave the region its livelihood and identity.

Taconite is about 65 percent pure iron, and the pellets produced on the Range traditionally have been shipped to steel producers elsewhere in the country, tying the area to the fortunes of the big U.S. steelmakers. And as the domestic steelmakers began to struggle against foreign competition, the Range felt the pain.

LTV Mining, with important Iron Range operations, went bankrupt in 2001, costing 1,400 Minnesota workers their jobs. National Steel Pellet followed in 2003, and then Smilanich's former employer, EVTAC Mining, also in 2003. "Around 2001 is when everything started to deteriorate," Iron Range Resources Commissioner Sandy Layman said.

Since then, the Range has lost thousands of residents who have left to find work elsewhere, many of them heading to the Twin Cities area. Mining jobs on the Range, which peaked at more than 13,000 in 1979, hit a low of 3,444 in 2004 and have since recovered only modestly to an estimated 3,800. Many of the other 135,000 jobs spread across the Range pay well below those at the mining operations.

That's what makes the projects being planned so important, since they promise to nearly double the number of high-paying jobs in mining and related activities. "If all these projects come to fruition, we would see 3,000 high-paying, permanent jobs added to the economy," plus 4,100 construction jobs for as long as the various projects are under construction, Layman said.

Range residents are already taking heart from the turnaround. "The tumbleweeds are not blowing through here yet," said Debbi Rusch, a waitress in Mountain Iron's Adventures restaurant. "The [mines] seem to be doing really well because of China. And it's good that they are diversifying. At least they are not stuck in [just] taconite."

New technologies, bigger profit
The plans at Minnesota Steel Industries point to some of the differences between the latest round of investment in the Range and what came before.

MSI plans to bring in 2,000 construction workers to the defunct Butler Taconite site in Nashwauk, not simply to revive mining but to erect North America's first fully integrated taconite-mine-to-steel mill. "There is no other steel producer in all of North America that's physically sitting on a mine," said Jordan, the mining and minerals program supervisor at Iron Range Resources. The $1.6 billion plan has been seven years in the making.

Iron Range Resources Deputy Commissioner Brian Hiti can quickly sum up why the investment is worth it. Under the current model, mining firms gouge Minnesota's earth for rock that's 20 to 30 percent iron. That rock is crushed, refined into taconite pellets -- 65 percent iron -- and shipped on the Great Lakes to other facilities. There they are converted into higher-value products such as pig iron -- 96 percent iron -- and steel -- 100 percent stable iron.

"Today, taconite pellets command only about $40 a ton. But iron nuggets [fetch] roughly $300 a ton. When that's converted into steel slab it commands about $300 a ton. That is why we are excited. We are extracting ore from the ground. But what we are getting for that ore could be significantly more than today."

East of Minnesota Steel, the publicly held Polymet Mining Corp. is working on its own project. The company will spend $380 million to transform LTV's old taconite mills in Hoyt Lakes into the first nickel mine in the country as well as the first copper mine and processing plant in Minnesota. Rarer still, the project, which will demand 1,000 builders and 400 permanent workers, will not involve a smelting plant. Heat, high pressure and water will be used instead to extract the metals.

Just around the bend, also on LTV's former land, a start-up called Mesabi Nugget intends to build a $200 million pig-iron plant using clean-burning Japanese technology. All three firms are expected to begin construction next year.

"The overriding theme that is exciting for us is we are very close to realizing some value-added projects for northeastern Minnesota," Layman said. "The [area's] economy has been based on natural resources, on timber and taconite. Those resources have supported families here for over 100 years. But now as we are in the 21st century, it's very important ... that we continually add value to those resources before they get exported from the region."

From the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune


Port Reports - November 7

Prescott Elevators - Ron Beaupre
Two cargoes cleared from Prescott Elevators Monday. The tug Commodore Straits cleared first with her two barges, BIG 548 & BIG 551. Next to clear loaded with grain was Amelia Desgagnes. Both shipments went down the river to lower St. Lawrence ports.

Lorain - C. Mackin
Over the weekend the tug Cleveland and the Cleveland Rocks made three trips upriver to Terminal Ready Mix.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Wilfred Sykes came in bow first on Monday with a load of what looked like slag at Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. It was still unloading at 4:30 p.m.


Lightship Whistle Whispering to Appease Neighbors

11/7 - Port Huron - In an effort to appease noise-conscious residents living near the Huron Lightship in Pine Grove Park, the museum's staff has reduced the volume of the ship's whistle. The pressure controlling the whistle on the ship, one of six Port Huron Museum sites, has been reduced by 50%, considerably quieting the whistle, said Jerry Rome, the lightship's site manager. "We hope that's a satisfactory solution," Rome said.

Residents in the neighborhood north of the ship complained last month to Port Huron Museum Interim Director Dick McGrath that the ship's frequent whistle blasts were intolerably loud. Museum staff and visitors on the grounded ship, which once was a floating lighthouse anchored in Lake Huron, blow its whistle as a way of greeting passing freighters. It's been done that way for more than 30 years, Rome said.

Since the whistle volume was decreased shortly after the Oct. 5 meeting, residents said they haven't noticed the blasts as much. "I haven't really noticed it lately," said Mike Course, who has lived on Pleasant Place his whole life and said in October the blasts were far too loud and frequent. Last month, Course and others said the whistle startles them, harms their health and ruins their sleep.

Wendy Bowman, who suffers from migraines and lives on Pleasant Place, also said she has not heard the whistle lately. "It does seem lower now," said Mark Byrne, who lives on Prospect Place.

Rome is concerned the whistle's volume has been reduced too much. Lately, passing freighters have not heard the ship's greeting, he said. The freighter Algoeast, which Rome said always responds to the ship's whistle, did not return the ship's salute Friday afternoon.

Rome said many people support the ship and its traditions. It makes ship tours fun, he said. Visitors still can sound the whistle. But if the freighters don't answer, it lessens the thrill, Rome said. "It's a greeting with no stamp. It's like it got lost in the mail."

From the Port Huron Times Herald


Intrepid Mission Scrubbed After Ship gets Stuck in the Mud

11/7 - New York - The USS Intrepid barely budged.

Powerful tugboats worked to move the legendary aircraft carrier from its home of 24 years at the same Hudson River pier, but the Intrepid's giant propellers got stuck in the mud. It eventually began inching backward out of its berth, but moved only a few feet. The mission was scrubbed for the day at around 10:30 a.m., according to Dan Bender, a Coast Guard spokesman.

The USS Intrepid, a retired Essex-class aircraft carrier serving as a floating museum, After 24 years at the same Hudson River pier, the legendary aircraft carrier is overdue for some R&R - restoration and repair. The Intrepid was to be moved to a New Jersey shipyard and scheduled to return in 2008 to Pier 86, which will also be rebuilt. It will get a $60 million overhaul.

Monday's departure was timed to take advantage of yearly high tide so the tugs could pull the 27,000-ton ship, which no longer generates its own power, out of the slip where it has rested in up to 17 feet of mud. Removal of 600 tons of water from the Intrepid's ballast tanks gave the ship added buoyancy, and dredges removed 15,000 cubic yards of mud to create a channel from dockside to deeper water.

The World War II flattop, which also served in the Korean and Vietnam wars, will return in 2008 to a rebuilt pier, to resume its mission as the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists a year.

From USA Today


Updates - November 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 07

On 07 November 1871, M COURTRIGHT (wooden schooner, 276 tons, built in 1856, at Erie, Pennsylvania) was carrying lumber in a storm on Lake Michigan. She struck bottom after her anchor dragged. She then became waterlogged. The crew abandoned in the yawl. The vessel went ashore several miles south of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The revenue cutter ANDREW JOHNSON tried in vain to pull her free but couldn't. The COURTRIGHT broke up a few days later.

On 7 November 1852, ST LOUIS (wooden side-wheeler, 190 foot, 618 tons, built in 1844, at Perrysburg, Ohio) was carrying railroad cars when she capsized and sank in a gale off Kelley's Island on Lake Erie. She was owned by Beer & Samuel Ward.

On 07 Nov 1906, the Grand Trunk carferry GRAND HAVEN (steel carferry, 306 foot, 2,320 gross tons built in 1903, at Toledo, Ohio) was put up for sale at a receiver's auction when the Grand Trunk Car Ferry Line defaulted on it's bonds. It was purchased by a new Grand Trunk subsidiary, the Grand Trunk Milwaukee Car Ferry Company. This vessel had a long career both on the Lakes and in the Caribbean. She was finally scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario in 1970.

The T-2 converted laker HILDA MARJANNE's 1961, German-built hull forward of the engine room, minus her pilot house, was towed by the tugs G W ROGERS and BAGOTVILLE to Port Weller Dry Docks arriving there on November 7, 1983. This section was to become part of the CANADIAN RANGER.

On November 7, 1989, the SAMUEL MATHER, a.) HENRY FORD II, was moved to Toledo's C & O Frog Pond on her way to the cutter's torch.

The ARTHUR B HOMER (Hull#303), was launched November 7, 1959, for the Bethlehem Steel Corp., Cleveland, Ohio. She was the last ship built by Great Lakes Engineering at River Rouge, Michigan.

In 1902, the BRANSFORD rammed and sank the tug RECORD with a loss of a tug crewman in the Portage Lake Ship Canal in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. Renamed b.) JOHN H MC GEAN in 1916, and c.) CLIFFORD F HOOD in 1943. The HOOD was scrapped in Bilbao, Spain in 1974.

On November 7, 1913, the storm responsible for sinking or damaging more vessels than any other began a six-day assault on the Great Lakes. The "Big Blow" of 1913, struck Lake Superior on November 7 and reached Lake Michigan by November 8, where the Pittsburgh Steamship Company vessel CLARENCE A BLACK was severely damaged by the waves at the dock in Gary, Indiana.

On 7 November 1893, ALBANY (steel propeller package freighter, 267 foot, 1,918 gross tons, built in 1884, at Wyandotte, Michigan) collided with the iron freighter PHILADELPHIA in a thick fog. PHILADELPHIA took ALBANY in tow to try to save her, but she sank a few miles off Pointe aux Barques, Michigan. Her crew transferred to PHILADELPHIA, but they soon had to abandon her too since she also sank. 8 lives were lost, presumably when one of the lifeboats was run down by the still running, but abandoned, PHILADELPHIA.

On 7 November 1865, LILY DANCEY (2-mast wooden schooner, 92 foot, 132 gross tons built in 1856, at Goderich, Ontario) was carrying grain in a gale on Lake Huron when she was driven ashore near Port Elgin or Kincardine, Ontario. Her cargo was later recovered, but the schooner broke up by 27 November of that year.

The CITY OF FLINT 32 ran aground at Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1947.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Kaye E. Barker Update

Update 11/6 - 4 p.m. - Kaye E. Barker was under way under her own power on Monday. She passed the 9 Mile call in point, downbound at 1:55 p.m. Monday.

Original Article - 11/6 - A rare boiler explosion aboard the steamer Kaye E. Barker seriously injured two crewmen and temporarily disabled the ship about one half mile off Whitefish Point early Sunday. The two burned crewmen were evacuated from the Barker by a Coast Guard HH-65 helicopter and were flown to Sault Ste. Marie for initial medical treatment at War Memorial Hospital. The two were later transferred to the burn unit at University Hospital in Ann Arbor. Their names and extent of injuries were not available

According to reports, Barker, powered by a steam turbine, was headed downbound near Whitefish Point when the boiler-room explosion occurred. The blast, very rare in recent Great Lakes shipping history, caused the ship to lose power about 8 a.m. Sunday morning. Along with the two crewmen injured, the explosion did unspecified damage to the ship's mechanical systems.

 Aboard the Barker, the ship's engineers were able to isolate the damaged boiler and make steam on alternate boilers for the short trip to the Carbide Dock in Sault Ste. Marie for inspection and evaluation. Typically, a steam-powered vessel is equipped with several boilers nested into the ship's boiler room. In addition to the vessel's engine, steam is typically used to power deck and anchor winches, steering motor, whistle and other equipment aboard ship.

At one time a regular cause of severe casualties aboard ship, boiler explosions are today very rare in navigation with the advent of redundant boiler safety systems. Propulsion steam generated by marine boilers is maintained at very high pressures and high temperatures to supply power to engines. In the Barker's case, the ship is propelled by a marine steam turbine. No fire was reported aboard Barker after the blast.

Sunday after noon the Barker moored at the Carbide Dock. She remained there on Monday while Coast Guard inspectors and officials from the ship's owner, Interlake Steamship, piece together the events leading up to the explosion and evaluate damage to the ship.

Kaye E. Barker is a 767-foot self unloader, built in 1952. The ship, formerly the flagship of the old Cleveland Cliffs steamer line, was subsequently lengthened by 120 feet and fitted with self-unloader gear in 1981.

Sunday's boiler explosion was the first such accident on a Great Lakes ship in many decades.

From the Soo Evening News


Blough Lost Rudder Recovered

11/6 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI - A tug and crane barge maneuvered into the Carbide Dock slip after delivering the lost rudder from the motor vessel Roger Blough onto the city-owned pier.

The massive rudder, measuring 23 feet high by 17 feet long was found in August by side-scan sonar but was not recovered until last week by the heavy-lift crane.

The hollow rudder weighs in at about 30 tons. Blough, which lost the rudder in Maud Bay in early August, was fitted with a replacement rudder after a rare side-to-side tow down the Lakes by a fleet mate.

From the Soo Evening News

Picture in the Boatnerd News Gallery


Port Reports - November 6

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
The integrated tug Presque Isle of the Great Lakes Fleet was at the heavy lift dock about noon on Sunday. Oddly, its typically accompanying, self unloading barge seemed to be missing.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The David Z. Norton came in very early on Saturday morning with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Sims #3 plant on Harbor Island. It was gone by noon.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Manistee was unloading at the Sand Supply Corp. Wharf on the City Ship Canal this morning. She was shifting to move above the drier house and finish off her cargo around 12:45 p.m. She departed Buffalo at 8:00pm headed down the South Shore Course to Cleveland.
The BBC Bornholm had the G tug Washington alongside on Sunday morning to help her turn around in the Niagara River and get headed for the Black Rock Canal after departing the Marathon Dock. The ship continued from the Black Rock Lock, through the Ferry St. Bridge, and on to the Outer Harbor without tug assistance around Noon. She departed Buffalo headed for the Welland Canal and on to Iceland with a deck cargo water treatment plant equipment that afternoon.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The H. Lee White waited at the ore dock on Sunday for a load while the Mesabi Miner brought coal to the WE Power Plant on Sunday.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Maumee pulled into Lafarge after midnight on Friday and tied up at the coal dock. It unloaded cargo into the storage hopper. She left port after 6 p.m. on Friday and went to Stoneport to load.
The tug G. L Ostrander and barge Integrity was in port on Saturday.
Sunday was a fairly busy day with the Alpena arriving first in the morning to take on cement for Whitefish, ON.
On its way out before noon, the Alpena met the inbound tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation.
Not far behind the Innovation was the Cuyahoga, also calling at Lafarge. It tied up at the coal dock and unloaded slag into the storage hopper.


Updates - November 6

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 06

On 06 November 1880, the W R HANNA (2-mast scow-schooner, 86 foot, 103 gross tons, built in 1857) was carrying 1,600 tamarac railroad ties to Toledo on Lake Huron in a snow storm. She sprang a leak off Pointe aux Barques and filled so fast that the pump was of no use. She broached to and rolled over when about 5 miles north of Sand Beach, Michigan (now Harbor Beach), as the sun set and the snow storm turned into a blizzard. The icy waves swept over the hull while the crew clung on as best they could. Four hours later, they drifted past Sand Beach, not 500 feet from the breakwater. They shouted for help, saw lights moving here and there on the breakwater, but no help came. When the wind shifted and started to blow the vessel out into the Lake, the skipper cut away the weather lanyards and the vessel righted herself and they dropped the anchor. The weather was freezing cold; and there was no dry place left. The cabin was gone and the only spot out of water was on one side forward - a space about four feet wide by ten feet long. The waves kept washing over the waterlogged vessel, drenching the crew. The crew survived through the night. Heavy snow kept falling, cutting visibility to almost zero. Finally, at 10:00 a.m., the following morning, the storm broke and the propeller H LUELLA WORTHINGTON (wooden propeller freighter, 148 foot, 375 gross tons, built in 1880, at Lorain, Ohio), which was in the harbor, saw the wreck and rescued the crew. The skipper of the WORTHINGTON stated that he had heard the cries of the crew throughout the night, but couldn't navigate in the blinding snow storm. He was awake all night waiting for the storm to break so he could rescue the crew.

On 06 November 1867, ALBEMARLE (3-mast wooden schooner, 154 foot, 413 gross tons, built in 1867, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying iron ore from Escanaba, Michigan to Cleveland, Ohio in a storm when she stranded and wrecked near Point Nipigon in the Straits of Mackinac. This was her first year of operation. She had been put into service just the previous July.

The US266029, a.) WILLIAM CLAY FORD was towed from Nicholson's River Rouge dock November 6, 1986, by tugs TUSKER and GLENADA to Port Maitland, Ontario for scrapping.

On November 6, 1913, the J H SHEADLE left Fort William, Ontario bound for Erie, Pennsylvania with grain and encountered fog, gale winds and a snow blizzard in one of the fiercest storms of the century.

On November 6, 1925, the Northern Navigation passenger steamer HAMONIC lost her propeller 20 miles west of Caribou Island in Lake Superior and was wallowing in gale force winds with gusts to 80 m.p.h. She was later towed to safety Pittsburgh Steamships' RICHARD TRIMBLE.

On 06 Nov 1985, Desguaces Heme began scrapping the LEON FALK JR in Gijon, Spain. This vessel was built in Chester, Pennsylvania in 1945, as the tanker a.) WINTER HILL, (504 foot, 10,534 gross tons) and then was converted to a 710 foot, 12,501 gross ton bulk freighter in Baltimore, Maryland in 1960-61.

On 6 November 1872, the wooden propeller tug MILDRED, while towing a vessel out of Alpena, Michigan, had her engine fail. Soon she was in trouble and sank. The crew was saved.

On 6 November 1827, ANN (wooden schooner, 53 foot, 58 tons, built in 1819, or 1821, at Black River, Ohio) was carrying salt, general merchandise and passengers when she was driven ashore on Long Point almost opposite Erie, Pennsylvania. 7 Lives were lost, including 5 passengers. 6 survived.

In 1912, the Pere Marquette Railroad announced plans to build a new roundhouse at Ludington, Michigan, it still stands today.

On 6 November 1874, The Port Huron Times listed the following vessels lost in the month of October and in the first week of November of that year: Propellers - BROOKLYN, FRANKFORT, NEW YORK; tug DOUGLAS; schooners - CITY OF PAINSVILLE, WANDERER, PREBLE, THOS S MOTT; and barges - CLIFTON and SHERMAN.

On 6 November 1883, GUIDING STAR (3-mast wooden schooner, 139 foot, 324 tons, built in 1869, at Oswego, New York) was carrying coal to Milwaukee in fog when she went ashore 12 miles north of Milwaukee. Four of the crew made it to shore in the yawl, but it was wrecked in the process. The rest of the crew was finally rescued by the Milwaukee Lifesavers.

Crews began painting the hull of the SAGINAW (formerly JOHN J BOLAND) in the colors of Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. (gray) on 06 Nov 1999, at Sarnia, Ontario. The vessel had recently been purchased from American Steamship Co. Inside the vessel, crews were gutting the living quarters to remove asbestos and add fire proof walls and new flooring. The engine room equipment and the unloading gear were also refurbished.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Kaye E. Barker Suffers Boiler Explosion
Coast Guard Rescues Men Burned on Ship in Lake Superior

11/5 - 10 p.m. Update - Two men aboard a ship near Whitefish Point were burned in a boiler explosion Sunday morning.

The Coast Guard responded to the emergency which happened on the Kaye E. Barker on Lake Superior near Whitefish Point.

A Medivac from Air Station Traverse City was launched and completed the evacuation shortly before 10 a.m., by delivering the two injured men to emergency personnel at Sanderson Field in Sault Ste. Marie.

From 9 & 10 TV News

Original Article - 11/5 - 6:30 p.m. - Information has been received that the Kaye E. Barker suffered a major boiler explosion near Ile Parisienne around 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

Two crew members have been air lifted off the ship.

The vessel has enough boiler power to for electricity and is anchored in Whitefish Bay. The G tug Missouri was up bound from the Soo around 6 p.m. The tug will tow the Barker to the Carbide Dock in the Soo.

It is expected that another Interlake vessel will take the Barker's cargo of taconite that was loaded in Marquette.

Updates will be posted here as information is received.


Memorial Service

11/5 - Detroit - Mariners’ Church has announced that it will be returning to the old tradition of having a Great Lakes Memorial Service in the fall, marking the symbolic close of the shipping season. After 30 years of focusing exclusively on the lost crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the Great Lakes Memorial Service will honor all sailors who over the years have lost their lives on the waters of the Great Lakes.

Adjusting to the expanded focus of the Great Lakes Memorial Service, the traditional honor guard of uniformed personnel that had assembled around the Fitzgerald model on the main altar will not take place. The bell ringing at the side altar will continue in a modified format. The bell will be rung in memory of those who lost their lives on each of the Great Lakes and the interconnecting waterways.

The Great Lakes Memorial Service will be held on Sunday, November 12 at 11:00 AM.


Port Reports - November 5

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Kaye E. Barker loaded ore at Marquette Saturday after bringing coal to the Shiras dock.
The Michipicoten came in for a load of ore as well.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Steamer Saginaw loaded for an upper lakes port at the Norfolk Southern coal dock overnight Friday.
Saturday night, the John G. Munson sidled up to the dock and began loading.

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Saturday, Agawa Canyon came in about 10:15am and backed into Sifto to load.
On Sunday, the saltie Morperth came into the North harbour to load but first it is getting inspected.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
It appears that J.A.W. Iglehart may be used as a cement storage vessel in Superior. After returning to Superior in late September, the vessel was docked at the old Superior Municipal dock apparently for long-term lay up. But on Saturday, the venerable J. B. Ford, which was being used for cement storage alongside the dock at the LaFarge Cement terminal, had been moved to the Superior Municipal dock and the Iglehart had been moved to the LaFarge dock. There was no word on whether this was a permanent move, but if it is it certainly raises questions about the future of the Ford.
Elsewhere in port Saturday, the Reserve was unloading stone at the CLM Dock in Superior.
In early afternoon, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was leading Midwest Energy Terminal with coal destined for St. Clair and Monroe.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey & Gordy Garris
The tug Undaunted & barge Pere Marquette 41 departed the Bay Aggregates dock just before the Sam Laud arrived.
The Sam Laud was inbound the Saginaw River early Friday evening calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Essexville to unload. The Laud finished unloading at 3:15am Saturday morning, backed from the slip, turned and was outbound for the lake.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday had the CSL Assiniboine arrive at 8:30 a.m. going to Stelco with coal. The Montrealais departed at 1:00 p.m. for Thunder Bay.
The Canadian Progress arrived at 7:00 p.m. and the Peter R. Cresswell arrived at 8:30 p.m. with sand .

South Chicago - Brian Z.
Lower Lake's Calumet loaded a cargo of coal early Saturday at KCBX Terminals in South Chicago, destined for Manistee.
Later in the day, the Earl W. Oglebay took on a cargo of petroleum coke bound for Alpena.
The Philip R. Clarke arrived at 9:00 pm to load coal for Thilmany Paper.
The Clarke moored at the North dock, having to wait for the Oglebay to finish loading. Also scheduled to load Sunday was the Lee A. Tregurtha.


Updates - November 5

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 05

At 2:00 a.m. on 05 November 1884, the steamer GRACE GRUMMOND (iron side-wheel excursion steamer, 138 foot, 250 tons, built in 1856, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the survey steamer JEFFERSON DAVIS, specifically for the survey of the Great Lakes) burned at Grand Haven, Michigan. Her cargo of apples, pears and potatoes was also destroyed. No lives were lost. After the fire she was towed to Chicago to lay up until it was decided what to do with her. It is not known if she ever operated as a steamer again, but in 1887, she was rebuilt as a schooner at Milwaukee. She was one of the only sizable iron-hulled schooners ever used on the lakes. In 1904, as a tow-barge, she was sold Canadian and renamed BALTIC (C.116760). She was later used as a breakwater at Clear Creek, Ontario and was finally scrapped in 1939.

On 05 November 1852, BUCKEYE STATE (3-mast wooden bark, 132 foot, 310 tons, built in 1852, at Black River, Ohio) stranded off S. Milwaukee Point on Lake Michigan in a storm and was then broken up by waves. This was her first year of operation and she had been in service less than three months.

The LOUIS R DESMARAIS cleared Owen Sound, Ontario on her maiden voyage November 5, 1977, bound for Thunder Bay, Ontario. to load 27,117 gross tons of iron ore for Stelco at Hamilton, Ontario. Her forward end was replaced at Port Weller in 2001, and renamed b.) CSL LAURENTIEN.

On her final trip, the IRVIN L CLYMER passed up bound at the Soo on November 5, 1990, and arrived at Duluth two days later to unload limestone at the Hallet Dock #5 after which she moved to her final lay-up berth at Fraser's shipyard and tied up blowing one last three long and two short salute from her whistle. In 1993, she was sold to Azcon Corp. of Duluth, Minnesota for scrapping.

The GRAND HAVEN was raised on November 5, 1969, from the Old River Bed where she sank on September 19, 1969. She was raised for scrapping.

Mr. J. W. Isherwood visited the Great Lakes Engineering Works ship yard on November 5, 1910, and personally inspected the hull which was being built according to his patented design. This vessel, the WILLIAM P PALMER was the first vessel on the Great Lakes built to the Isherwood system of longitudinal framing.

On 05 Nov 1917, a foggy and rainy day, the JAMES S DUNHAM (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 4,795 gross tons, built in 1906, at W. Bay City, Michigan) sank in a collision with the steamer ROBERT FULTON (steel propeller bulk freighter, 424 foot, 4,219 gross tons, built 1896, at Wyandotte, Michigan) just below Grassy Island on the Detroit River. Repairs for both vessels totaled $125,000.

On 5 November 1896, ACADIA (iron-framed wooden propeller, 176 foot, built in 1867, at Hamilton, Ontario) was driven ashore and broke up in a gale near the mouth of the Michipicoten River in Lake Superior. her crew made it to shore and five of them spent more than a week trying to make it to the Soo.

The Port Huron Times of 5 November 1878: "The schooner J P MARCH is reported lost with all on board. She was lost at Little Traverse Bay on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. The MARCH was a three masted schooner and was owned by Benton & Pierce of Chicago."

On 5 November 1838, TOLEDO (2-mast wooden schooner, 98 foot, 215 tons, built in 1836, at Buffalo) was carrying dry goods valued at more than $100,000 up-bound on Lake Erie when she was driven ashore by a gale a half mile east of the mouth of the Grand River. She broke in two. No lives were lost.

On 5 November 1869, TITAN (wooden schooner, 132 foot, 361 gross tons, built in 1856, at Oswego, New York) was carrying 17,500 bushels of wheat on Lake Michigan in a terrific gale. She was driven toward shore. Her anchors were dropped as she came close in and they held for about an hour. However, the ship finally dragged ashore, losing both of her masts and breaking up as she struck. Of the nine on board, only one survived and that one was found crawling along the beach in a dazed state. When she was new, TITAN broke the record by completing the trip from Chicago to Oswego in only 8 days and 4 hours. Her record only lasted one day since the schooner SURPRISE broke it by 6 hours the following day.

In the summer of 1875, the propeller EAST ran down and sank the tug JOE MAC, not even pausing to save her crew from drowning. The following winter Messrs. Seymour & Co., owners of the JOE MAC, obtained a judgment in a U.S. Court against the owners of the EAST. Since the EAST was a Canadian vessel, they were unable to seize her because the judgment could only be effected in American waters. On Sunday morning, 05 Nov 1876, the steam tug SEYMOUR, with a United States Marshal and posse on board, proceeded up to Allen's (presumably at Ogdensburg, New York), and there lay in wait for the EAST, which went up by the Crossover light channel into American waters. The SEYMOUR ran out and captured the vessel and brought her to Averell's wharf in U.S. waters to await justice.

CALCITE II arrived in Sarnia at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, 05 Nov. 2000, for lay-up. After leaving Cleveland the previous day, she anchored in Western Lake Erie, so she could arrive at the North Slip in Sarnia when shore side personnel would be on-hand to assist. A chartered bus from Rogers City left about noon to take many of the crew home. Around 4:10 p.m., the down bound MYRON C TAYLOR passed her fleetmate CALCITE II, perhaps for the last time in USS Great Lakes Fleet colors, and she blew her sister an extended 3 long and 2 short master salute. The TAYLOR was bound for Cleveland with a load of stone.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Frank Frisk in Temporary Lay Up

11/4 - Port Huron - "Freighter Frank" Frisk, the popular host at the Boatnerd World Headquarters in Port Huron, has been temporarily sidelined due to health issues.

Frank reports to Boatnerd News that he is home from the hospital after having a pacemaker and defrib unit installed to correct a heart problem.

"It may take a bit of time for my full return but looking forward to the schedule".

"Not sure until further tests when I can return to the BoatNerd building, but the sooner the better though. I will get caught up on as many things as possible".

"Thank you all for your support."

A card sent to the Boatnerd World Headquarters, 104 First Street, Port Huron, Michigan 48060-5429, will be sure to get to Frank.

We all look forward to his return.


Port Reports - November 4

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The BBC Bornholm was tied up with her bow facing down river at the Marathon Asphalt Dock Friday morning. Her two deck booms were swung to port and hanging over the river while two shore side cranes were handling the cargo operations. The Bornholm was due to depart at 1 p.m. The G tug Washington was downbound in the Niagara River to take her out at 12:30 p.m. when the ship canceled the tow at the last minute. The Washington then turned around and headed back for the Buffalo River tug dock. The forward hold hatches were still open on the Bornholm at that time as well. It is unknown if the tug was sent back due to cargo operation delays or a mechanical problem with the ship itself.
A large crane is back behind the Coke Ovens in Lackawanna. It could be positioned to unload and assemble the new wind turbines that are going up on the steel mill property.

South Chicago - Gary Clark
The Calumet backed down the Calumet River to the KCBX coal dock to load Friday around 4:30 p.m.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
CSL's Assiniboine loaded Thursday at the Norfolk Southern coal dock.
Departing the dock downbound at noon on Friday was the Canadian Progress.
At least three vessels are currently posted for Saturday loadings.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Late Friday afternoon and evening was very busy in Hamilton. The saltie Jo Spirit, "the rum boat", departed Pier 26 at 3:30 p.m.
The John D. Leitch departed at 7:30 p.m. with coke for Port Cartier.  Algoisle departed at 7:45 p.m. for Milwaukee in ballast. The saltie Vlistborg departed Pier 12E at 7:45 p.m. heading to Chicago.  Group Ocean tugs Omni Richileau and Omni St. Laurent departed at 8:00 p.m. Montrealais arrived at 9:00 p.m. with iron ore for Dofasco and after unloading will head to Thunder Bay.
The Federal Katsura departed from Pier 14 at 10 p.m. for Cleveland. Maritime Trader arrived at 11 p.m. The Lady Hamilton did call the Algoisle using its new name the Voyageur Pioneer

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Saturday morning, Kaye E. Barker was unloading western coal at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, and Charles M. Beeghly was loading ore at the Upper Harbor Ore Dock. Barker was due at the ore dock later in the afternoon.


Updates - November 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 04

The Great Lakes Steamship Company steamer NORWAY passed downbound through the Soo Locks with 6,609 tons of rye. This cargo increased the total tonnage transiting the locks in 1953 to 120,206,088 tons - a new one season tonnage record. Renamed b.) RUTH HINDMAN in 1964, she was scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1978.

On 04 November 1883, MAYFLOWER (wooden propeller freighter Osteam barge, 185 foot, 623 gross tons, built in 1852, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying lumber when she stranded in a gale off Point Albino near Buffalo, New York where the waves pounded her to pieces. The crew made it to shore in the yawl. She was built as a very fine passenger steamer for the Western Transportation Line then in 1868, she was rebuilt as a Osteam barge.

On 4 November 1875, SWAN (wooden propeller tug, 11 gross tons, built in 1862, at Buffalo, New York) caught fire while lying out in the Saginaw River near East Saginaw. She was abandoned by the crew and burned to the water's edge.

The JOSEPH G BUTLER JR (steel bulk freighter, 525 foot, 6,588 gross tons) was launched on 04 Nov 1905, at Lorain, Ohio for the Tonopah Steamship Co. (Hutchinson & Co., mgr.). She lasted until 1971, when she was stripped of her cabins and scuttled, along with HENRY R PLATT JR, at Steel Co. of Canada plant, Burlington Bay, Hamilton, Ontario, as breakwater and fill.

The CARTIERCLIFFE HALL was registered at Toronto, Ontario on 04 Nov 1977, but didn't enter service until the spring of 1978, because of mechanical difficulties during her sea trials.

On 04 Nov, 1986, the TEXACO CHIEF was renamed A G FARQUHARSON. She was renamed c.) ALGONOVA in 1998.

CALCITE II departed Cleveland at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, 04 Nov 2000, on her last trip for USS Great Lakes Fleet. She sailed up bound for Sarnia, Ontario where she spent the winter in lay-up. Grand River Transportation had entered into a sale agreement with USS Great Lakes Fleet, Inc. for the purchase of the CALCITE II, GEORGE A SLOAN and MYRON C TAYLOR. Built as the WILLIAM G CLYDE in 1929, CALCITE II sails today as the c.) MAUMEE.

HERON BAY proceeded under her own power to Lauzon, Quebec for her final lay-up on November 4, 1978.

CSL's, NIPIGON BAY was launched November 4, 1950.

The CHARLES L HUTCHINSON developed a sizable leak and almost sank November 4, 1925, during her tow to Superior after she struck a reef a few nights before.

The ROBERT C STANLEY's keel was laid November 4, 1942.

UNITED STATES GYPSUM of 1910, grounded at Toledo, Ohio on November 4, 1972, resulting in damage totaling $125,000. Her propeller was removed and the rudder shaft was locked in position to finish the season as a manned barge on the coal run from Toledo to Detroit, Michigan.

The JOSEPH H THOMPSON became not only the largest vessel on the Great Lakes but also the longest dry bulk cargo vessel in the world when it entered service on November 4, 1952, departing Chicago on its first trip.

Setting the stage for the fateful storm which followed less than a week later which sank the EDMUND FITZGERALD, many locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin were setting all-time record high temperatures for the month of November during the period of November 4-6, 1975. Grand Marais, Minnesota reached 67 degrees on November 5 and Superior reached 74 degrees on November 6, both all-time records for the month. Many other notable Great Lakes storms, including the Armistice Day storm of 1940, and the storm that sank the HENRY STEINBRENNER in 1953, were proceeded by record-setting warm weather.

On 4 November 1877, MARY BOOTH (wooden scow-schooner, 132 tons, built in 1857, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying maple lumber in a storm in Lake Michigan. She became waterlogged but her crew doggedly clung to her until she appeared ready to turn turtle. Then her crew abandoned her and she rolled over. She drifted in the lake for several days. The crew landed at White Lake, Michigan and they were near death.

The Port Huron Times of 4 November 1878: "The propeller CITY OF MONTREAL is believed to have gone down on Lake Michigan on Friday [1 NOV 1878]. The schooner LIVELY, laden with coal for Bay City, is reported ashore 6 miles above Sand Beach, having gone on at 12 o'clock Sunday night [3 NOV 1878]. The schooner WOODRUFF, ashore at Whitehall, is a total loss. Two men were drowned, one died from injuries received, and Capt. Lingham was saved. The tugs E M PECK and MYSTIC, which went from the Sault to the assistance of the propeller QUEBEC, were wrecked near where she lies, one being on the beach and the other sunk below her decks. Both crews were rescued and were taken to St. Joseph Island."

On 4 November 1856, J W BROOKS (wooden propeller, 136 foot, 322 tons, built in 1851, at Detroit) was carrying provisions and copper ingots to Ogdensburg, New York in a storm when she foundered on Lake Ontario, 8 miles northeast of False Ducks Light. Estimates of the loss of lives range from 22 to 50. In July 1857, she was partially raised and some of her cargo was recovered. She only had a five year career, but besides this final incident, she had her share of disasters. In July 1855, she had a boiler explosion and in May of that same year, she sank in Canadian waters.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Nordmeer Wreck to be Remembered in Alpena

11/3 - Alpena - Sunday, November 19 will mark the 40th anniversary of the day the German freighter Nordmeer ran aground on Thunder Bay Shoal. During a commemoration for the Nordmeer, Alpena residents will be able to hear the stories of the rescue workers who helped crew member to safety, the stories of the crane operators and divers who were part of the salvage operation, and the stories of the recreational divers and fishermen who continue to visit the wreck today.

The Nordmeer, a German ocean-going freighter that was transporting 990 coils of steel up Lake Huron, ran aground on November 19, 1966, after straying onto the wrong side of a turning buoy. When crew members were unable to get the boat off the shoal, a skeleton crew remained on board in an attempt to recover the ship, said Wayne Lusardi, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary archaeologist. “They stayed on board until the end of November, when a large storm came and started breaking the boat apart,” he said.

The crew who had stayed on board were rescued by helicopter and taken to a Coast Guard cutter before being transported to Alpena by fish tug. Marine contractors hired by the freighter’s insurance company removed all of the steel from the ship in 1966 and 1967. According to Lusardi, local contractors, including Richard Piper, Dave Funk Sr., and Robert Massey were involved in salvage efforts during the spring of 1967.

In the 1970s, the oil was removed from the vessel as well. Lusardi said retired circuit court judge Joseph Swallow was among those who spearheaded the drive to have the oil removed. “Prior to that, a lot of ships went down and there wasn’t a lot of effort to recover fuel oil,” Lusardi said. “By the 1970s, there was a much greater environmental awareness to get the fuel oil off before a major catastrophic rupture of the tanks.”

During the commemoration Thursday, visitors will learn the history of the Nordmeer during a presentation by Lusardi. The presentation will include video clips of the helicopter rescue and photographs of the wreck of the Nordmeer. Photographs and artifacts of the Nordmeer also will be displayed in an exhibit in the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center’s gallery.

The formal presentation will be followed by an informal storytelling segment of the commemoration, during which time those involved with rescue or salvage efforts, or those who enjoy recreational diving or fishing near the wreck, will be able to reminisce. “(The Nordmeer) is a highly visible wreck. Parts of it are still sticking out of the water,” Lusardi said. “There are many people in the community that have familiarity with it or a story to tell about it.”

The commemorative event will take place Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.

From the Alpena News


Port Reports - November 3

St. Lawrence River - Ron Beaupre
11/3 - The Atlantic Castle has been moored above Lock 4 at Beauharnois for 3 days with water in the fuel. The traffic on the St. Lawrence River has been heavier than normal and now a shortage of pilots at Clayton has the following ships at anchor as of 3:00 pm Thursday; Federal Manitou, Kapitonas Stulpinas, Federal Schelde, Iryda, Vlistborg and Orsula. As pilots become available these ships will get underway.

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Thursday morning, Upper Lakes Canadian Navigator backed into Sifto salt to load.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Wednesday had the Atlantic Erie departing at 12:30 pm. followed by the saltie Jolietta at 2:00 pm.
The Canadian Olympic moved to Pier 26 after unloading at Dofasco to await a diver to do repairs.
The saltie Cinnamon arrived at 8:30 p.m. going to Pier 12 E.
The Emerald Star arrived at the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 4:30 p.m.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The BBC Bornholm was at the Marathon Asphalt dock in Tonawanda (Formerly the Wickwire-Spencer Ore Dock) on Friday. The ship is in town to load industrial equipment for China. The containers on deck are being used to load these products. This is the first time in 25 years that a foreign cargo vessel has loaded break-bulk cargo in Tonawanda or the Niagara River. This is also the first time that containers have been used, and it is the only time that a bulk carrier has tied up at the old Wickwire Ore Dock. The blast furnaces shut down at least 30 years ago and only the extreme South end of the dock has been used recently for asphalt tankers to unload at the Marathon Dock.

Alpena/Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday both tug/barge units were in port taking on product under the silos at Lafarge. The Samuel de Champlain/Innovation was first in, followed by the G. L. Ostrander/Integrity.
On Wednesday the Great Lakes Trader took on cargo at Stoneport followed by the Calumet. Thursday brought cold winds a visit from the Algorail and Wolverine. The Algorail departed at 4:00pm and headed out while the Wolverine carefully approached the dock from afar.
The Steamer Alpena is due in port early Friday morning.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Thursday afternoon, tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor, delivering powdered cement.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports boat watchers were treated to the sight of Kaye E. Barker steaming out of Duluth entry about 7:00am. and proceeding into a brilliant sunrise over a flat calm Lake Superior. The Barker, an infrequent visitor to the Twin Ports these days, arrived late Thursday afternoon to load coal at Midwest Energy Terminal. As the Barker steamed away to Marquette, it was approaching a boat lingering on the lake waiting for a chance to enter the Duluth ship canal. The vessel appeared to be American Mariner, which was arriving to load taconite pellets at DMIR.
Also in port was the saltie Odra, which was finishing up a load at Cargill B1, an elevator that has seen little ship traffic this season. Later in the day, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was due to arrive for Midwest Energy Terminal. Reserve also was expected to arrive to unload stone and then take on taconite at BNSF.
Joe Block was expected to arrive with stone. Both arrivals were uncertain because both vessels had been anchored in Whitefish Bay on Nov. 1 waiting for weather.


Updates - November 3

News Photo Gallery updated

and more News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 03

On 03 November 1907, tug ESCORT (wooden propeller, 45 foot, 40 gross tons, built in 1894, at Port Colborne, Ontario) tried to pass the barge BENJ HARRISON at the mouth of the Niagara River. In a navigational error, the tug sheared under the barge's bow, was run over and sank. Three lives were lost.

The B A PEERLESS sailed on her maiden voyage November 3, 1952, bound for Superior, Wisconsin where 110,291 barrels of crude oil were loaded destined for British-American's refinery at Clarkson, Ontario. The PEERLESS was built for the express purpose of transporting crude oil from the Interprovincial/Lakehead Pipeline terminus at Superior to B/A's Clarkson refinery. The vessel lasted until 1991, when she was broken up.

On 3 November 1898, PACIFIC (wooden propeller passenger/package freighter, 179 foot, 918 gross tons, built in 1883, at Owen Sound, Ontario) caught fire at the Grand Trunk dock at Collingwood, Ontario. She burned to a shell despite a concerted effort to save her. She was later towed out into Georgian Bay and scuttled.

On 3 November 1855, DELAWARE (wooden propeller, 173 foot, 368 tons, built in 1846, at Black River, Ohio) was carrying general merchandise from Chicago to Buffalo with a stop at Milwaukee. She was driven ashore by a gale 8 miles south of Sheboygan, Wisconsin and sank. Ten or 11 of the 18 on board lost their lives. Within a few days, only her arches were visible above the water.

Dismantling of the H C HEIMBECKER began on 03 Nov 1981, by Triad Salvage Company at Ashtabula, Ohio and was completed the following year. This vessel was originally named GEORGE W PERKINS (steel bulk freighter, 556 foot, 6,553 gross tons, built in 1905, at Superior, Wisconsin.)

On November 3, 1910, ATHABASCA (steel propeller passenger steamer, 263 foot, 1,774 gross tons, built in 1883, in Scotland) collided with the tug GENERAL near Lime Island in the St. Mary's River. As a result of the collision, the GENERAL sank. She was later recovered and rebuilt as a bulk freighter and lasted until she was broken up in 1948.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Restoration Campaign for South Channel Lights Ongoing

11/2 - When Chuck Brockman and his wife, Scotty, piloted their boat past the gradually collapsing South Channel Lights back in 1988, he heard the same voice in his head that many Lake St. Clair boaters ignored over the years: "Geez, it's too bad somebody doesn't do something about that."

But Brockman listened to that inner voice. And now, after 16 years of bureaucratic wrangling, constant fundraising by his nonprofit, Save Our South Channel Lights, and an investment of $700,000, the future is brighter than ever for a pair of 146-year-old beacons that helped open the Michigan wilderness and turn a newborn state into an industrial powerhouse.

In August, craftsmen wrapped up a second summer of reconstruction work at the lights, about a mile off the south shore of Harsens Island, Mich., in the shallow waters of Lake St. Clair. Both lighthouses enter the ice season stabilized with the larger, rear range light lovingly restored. But the work is far from finished. The front light leans at an alarming angle and needs at least as much work as the rear light once did. SOSCL also hopes to someday rebuild the brick light keeper's house, which was demolished in the early 20th Century.

Altogether, Brockman said he expects the entire project to cost an additional $1.3 million. That's not to diminish what SOSCL has accomplished so far. Tour boats are expected to run out to the lights next year a miraculous reversal for structures that nearly fell into the lake a few years ago, victims of vandalism and the inexorable forces of nature.

"I literally grew up looking at those things, and you watched them deteriorate thinking, 'Boy, I wish we could do something about that,'" said U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, a Republican from Macomb County's Harrison Township. "Then along comes a guy like Chuck Brockman."

By the time Brockman started the drive to save the lights, they had been nearly demolished by 129 years of constant battering by ice, wind and water. The delicate Fresnel lenses in both towers, which amplified the light from the original oil lamps, had disappeared. Much of the stone foundation of the front light had washed away; its lantern room was gone, and the whole stubby structure was balanced on a sort of upside-down pyramid grounded in the lake bottom.

The man-made island that once surrounded the taller rear light had completely washed away, leaving the base of the taller tower unprotected from pounding surf and ice floes grinding downstream each spring. "It had gotten to the point where the front one was going to fall down," said Brockman, a 72-year-old retiree who now lives on Harsens Island. "And we couldn't let that happen."

So first, in the early '90s, SOSCL put a temporary steel ring around the front light to stabilize it. Later, the group built a permanent seawall. But costs mounted, and Brockman found himself raising cash wherever he could. He also found himself navigating bureaucratic waters more treacherous than those guarded by the lighthouses. The state owns the lake bottom; the federal government owned the lights themselves, and the area itself doesn't fall under the jurisdiction of any local government. "They had to have a community to sign the grant applications," said Miller, who was Harrison Township supervisor during SOSCL's early fundraising efforts.

To get the process rolling, she said, she agreed to claim it as the township's property on the grant paperwork and that worked. An initial $10,000 grant helped the project get started, and donations since then have ranged from a few dollars to an anonymous $100,000 gift. More money was raised with donated artwork and South Channel Lights souvenirs sold at boat shows and art fairs and online.

Over the years, SOSCL has raised more than $500,000 in grants, the largest for $450,000 from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program also chipped in $20,000.

With cash in hand, SOSCL awarded a $599,000 contract to Mihm Enterprises for the historical restoration of the rear light. Workers replicate original equipment whenever they can, and when they can't, they use historically compatible materials. The iron lantern room at the top of the tower, for example, had to be physically removed, trucked across the state to a shop near Holland, disassembled and rebuilt.

The goal is to have the lights look as they did when they were lit for the first time on Nov. 1, 1859, enabling mariners to reliably find the entrance to the St. Clair River at night by lining up the lights from out in the lake.

From WOOD-TV Grand Rapids


Maritime Music Featured in Lexington this Saturday

11/2 - Singer/Songwriter Dan Hall will feature his many maritime songs as he performs with his band in Lexington, Michigan this Saturday. Dan will be joined by shipwreck survivor Dennis Hale and maritime documentary producer Ric Mixter as he shares stories from the Great Lakes.

Dan's melodies will combine with rare interviews and storm footage from many of the Great Lakes most notorious gales, and Ric will talk not only on the storms, but also on shipping on the Great Lakes and it's impact on the world.
One performance only, Saturday Nov 4th at 7pm. Lexington Music and Theater Company on Huron Avenue in Lexington Michigan. Only a handful of tickets are left! for details


Boater Talks About his Rescue from the Icy Maumee

11/2 - Toledo - The man rescued from the icy Maumee River by the Coast Guard is talking about his experience.

The whole story is here, complete with streaming video:

Courtesy of Alan Baker WTOL-TV Toledo


Port Report - November 2

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
There was a cluster of vessels in the upper Saginaw River on Wednesday with three vessels calling on two docks. The Algorail was upbound first, unloading salt at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Once finished, she backed down the river to the Airport Turning Basin to turn and head for the lake. The James Norris was also inbound, but she decided to tie up briefly at the Essroc dock in Essexville to wait for water levels to come up before continuing her trip upriver. Meanwhile, the Wolverine was inbound Wednesday afternoon headed upriver for the GM Dock in Saginaw. Once the Wolverine had passed the Norris at Essroc, the Norris resumed her trip upriver, also to the GM dock. Both vessels expected to be outbound Thursday morning.
The Calumet was outbound from the Bay City Wirt Dock early Wednesday morning after unloading there overnight.


Updates - November 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 02

On 02 November 1924, TURRET CROWN (steel propeller 'turret ship', 253 foot, 1,827 tons, built in 1895, in England) was driven ashore in a gale on Meldrum Point on the north side of Manitoulin Island on Lake Huron. Her hull was wrecked during the storms that winter. She was cut up and removed for scrap the following year.

On November 2, 1984, the tugs ATOMIC and ELMORE M MISNER towed the ERINDALE, a.) W F WHITE, to the International Marine Salvage scrap dock at Port Colborne, Ontario where demolition began that month.

The H C HEIMBECKER proceeded under her own power to Ashtabula, Ohio for scrapping, arriving there November 2, 1981.

On November 2, 1948, the FRANK ARMSTRONG collided head-on with the c.) JOHN J BOLAND of 1905, a.) STEPHEN B CLEMENT, in a heavy fog on Lake Erie near Colchester, Ontario. Both vessels were badly damaged and resulted in one fatality on the BOLAND. The ARMSTRONG was towed to Toledo, Ohio for repairs.

In 1972, the A E NETTLETON's towline parted from the OLIVE L MOORE during a snowstorm with gale force winds 17 miles west of the Keweenaw Peninsula on Lake Superior. The barge developed a 15 degree list when her load of grain shifted. Three of her five member crew were air lifted by a U.S.C.G. helicopter to the MOORE to assist in re-rigging the towline. The NETTLETON was then towed the next day into the Lily Pond on the Keweenaw Waterway to trim her cargo.

The WILLIAM C MORELAND was abandoned to the underwriters on November 2, 1910, as a constructive total loss, amounting to $445,000. She had stranded on Sawtooth Reef off Eagle Harbor, Michigan on Lake Superior in mid October.

The keel of the new section, identified as Hull #28, was laid down on November 2, 1959. A new forward pilothouse and a hatch crane were installed and her steam turbine engine and water tube boilers were reconditioned. The vessel was named c.) RED WING after the Detroit Red Wing hockey team, honoring a long association with Upper Lakes Shipping and James Norris, the founder of ULS, and his two sons, James D. and Bruce, owners of the National Hockey League team.

In 1971, the Lake Michigan Carferry BADGER was laid up due to a coal strike.

On 2 November 1889, FRANCIS PALMS (wooden schooner, 173 foot, 560 tons, built in 1868, at Marine City, Michigan as a bark) was sailing from Escanaba to Detroit with a load of iron ore when she was driven ashore near Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. Her entire crew was taken off by the tug GLADIATOR that also pulled in vain while trying to free the PALMS. The PALMS was pounded to pieces by the storm waves. November was a bad month for the PALMS since she had previously been wrecked on Long Point in Lake Erie in November 1874, and again at Duluth in November 1872.

During the first week of November 1878, The Port Huron Times reported wrecks and mishaps that occurred during a severe storm that swept over the Lakes on Friday and Saturday , 1-3 November. The information was reported on 2, 4 & 5 November as the reports came in. The same reports will appear here starting today: The Port Huron Times of 2 November 1878: "The schooner L C WOODRUFF of Cleveland is ashore at the mouth of the White River with her foremast gone. She is loaded with corn. Three schooners went ashore at Grand Haven Friday morning, the AMERICA, MONTPELIER, and AUSTRALIAN. One man was drowned off the AUSTRALIAN. The schooner WORTS is ashore and full of water on Beaver Island. Her cargo consists of pork for Collingwood. The tug LEVIATHAN has gone to her aid. The schooner LAKE FOREST is ashore at Hammond's Bay, Lake Huron, and is full of water. She has a cargo of corn aboard. The tug A J SMITH has gone to her rescue. The barge S C WOODRUFF has gone down in 13 feet of water off Whitehall and her crew is clinging to the rigging at last accounts. A life boat has been sent to her relief. The barge RUTTER is in 25 feet of water and all the crew are now safe."

On 2 November 1874, PREBLE (2-mast wooden schooner, 98 foot, 166 tons, built in 1842, at Buffalo, New York as a brig) was lost in a storm off Long Point on Lake Erie and broke up in the waves. The steamer ST PAUL rescued her crew.

On 02 Nov 1862, BAY STATE (wooden propeller, 137 foot, 372 tons, built in 1852, at Buffalo, New York) was bound for Lake Erie ports from Oswego, New York when she broke up offshore in a terrific gale in the vicinity of Oswego. All 22 onboard, including six passengers, lost their lives. The shoreline was strewn with her wreckage for miles.

The PAUL H CARNAHAN was christened at the foot of West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan on 02 Nov 1961. She had been converted from the tanker b.) ATLANTIC DEALER to a dry bulk cargo carrier by American Ship Building Co. at Lorain, Ohio and came out on her maiden bulk freighter voyage just two weeks before this christening ceremony.

The CANADIAN EXPLORER entered service on 02 Nov 1983, bound for Duluth, Minnesota where she loaded 851,000 bushels of corn. She was originally built as the CABOT in 1965, then was rebuilt at Port Weller Shipyards, Ltd., St. Catharines, Ontario where she received the bow and mid-body of NORTHERN VENTURE. The rebuilt was completed in 1983. She is currently named CANADIAN TRANSFER.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Father and Son Rescued from Maumee Bay

11/1 - Toledo - A father and his 10-year-old son were rescued last night from frigid Maumee Bay after their 21-foot boat struck an unidentified object and sank, authorities said. Trent Cousino, 33, and his son Javan, 10, of Napoleon, both of whom were wearing life jackets, were found by the passing Federal Sakura on its way to Montreal, and pulled from the 47-degree water by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Federal Sakura reported that they could hear screams for help and could see two people clinging to buoy #48 at the entrance to the Maumee River. Station Toledo's response boat was getting underway for an evening patrol and was on scene in less than ten minutes.

They were taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center after being in the water about 30 minutes. They suffered hypothermia. Their conditions were not available last night. "They were both shivering uncontrollably," Toledo fire Capt. Tom Jaksetic said, adding that both were responsive and able to talk to authorities.

"They were lucky," Coast Guard Petty Officer Ricardo Belchior said. "In cold water like this, it doesn't take [long]." Exhaustion can occur within 30 to 60 minutes in 40 to 50-degree water; death within 30 to 90 minutes, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' watercraft division. Family members declined an interview request by The Blade.

Mr. Cousino and his son were taking their boat from Harrison Marina on North Summit Street to store it for the winter at Bi-State Marine Service in Erie, Mich., when the vessel began taking on water. Mr. Cousino used a cell phone to call his wife, telling her they hit something. She called 911 just before 7 p.m., Captain Jaksetic said.

A Toledo Fire Department water rescue crew was sent, along with Toledo police and personnel from the Toledo Coast Guard Station. Rescuers tried to find the Cousinos in the darkness, but had a difficult time locating exactly where they were.

As luck would have it, along came the saltie Federal Sakura, a grain freighter headed downstream on the Maumee River after loading soybeans at the ADM Countrymark grain elevator on Miami Street in East Toledo earlier in the day. In response to a Coast Guard request, the crew played the vessel's spotlight onto the river and, upon spotting the two people about 7:20 p.m., trained it on them to guide rescuers.

"We did what we had to do," Capt. Eugenio Marasigan, the Federal Sakura's master, said in a telephone interview from his ship afterward. "We would see what we could find, and we found them." The Federal Sakura's crew could hear the father and son shouting for help. The crew shouted back, telling the pair that they had been spotted.

The water in the area where they were found, along the western shore of the channel near Grassy Island, is about 17 feet deep, the Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard boat took the Cousinos to the Coast Guard Station at Bayview Park. From there, they were taken to the hospital.

"The freighter definitely helped us out," said Petty Officer Chad Speer, who was aboard the boat that took the Cousinos ashore. "We could hear them, but we couldn't see them." The Cousinos' boat, which had only its bow above water, was towed by a local salvage company.

The freighter, operated by Fednav, a Montreal-based shipping line, was headed to Montreal to fill out its load, then deliver the grain to Rotterdam. Captain Marasigan said the brief delay in its trip was a fulfillment of mariners' obligation to help one another. "We will deviate, we will be late, so long as we save lives," he said. "If we have to do it again, we will."

Reported by George Walton from the Toledo Blade


Heavy Seas Make Rough Ending for Ferry Season

11/1 - Muskegon - November-like weather on Lake Michigan in September and October put a damper on the third-year performance of the Lake Express high-speed cross-lake ferry service. The final two round trips for the 2006 sailing season were scheduled for today. On Wednesday, the Lake Express operators will begin to prepare for the 2007 season, which is slated to start April 14.

Although they are not sharing specific ridership and operational numbers, Lake Express officials said the service was affected by high wind and waves this year. Rough weather on Lake Michigan resulted in an unspecified number of trip cancellations which hurt the ferry's performance compared against season projections.

Overall, Lake Express President Ken Szallai said the Muskegon-to-Milwaukee service carried about the same number of passengers as it did in 2005, which recorded about a 15 percent increase in traffic vs. the initial year in 2004.

In Ludington, Lake Michigan Carferry officials said the SS Badger service to Manitowoc, Wis., also ended pretty close to its passenger numbers for 2005. However, Lake Express ridership per trip was up in 2006, according to company spokesman Jeff Fleming. "From a consumer standpoint, I think that shows good customer acceptance of the service," Fleming said. "That's a positive and bodes well for the future. It shows we have good word-of-mouth marketing and have significant repeat business."

Due to the competition with the Badger, Lake Express has never reported specific passenger counts beyond saying that in its initial year it carried more passengers -- greater than 110,000 -- than the last year of the SS Milwaukee Clipper operation in 1970.

But chances for a banner year were blown away by Lake Michigan's mercurial weather. "We were fighting the weather every step of the way this year," Szallai said. "We had a lot of weather and it was bad. But that's just the way it is." Lake Express officials walk a fine line in determining when to cancel a crossing due to bad weather. Szallai said the ship can take any weather dished out by Lake Michigan, but the passengers can't.

However, client surveys indicate that passengers want to go, even in heavy seas and high winds, Szallai said. "The ship can always make it, but we then put our passengers in a situation in 8-foot seas ... and they are not going to like the ride," Szallai said. Without giving specific numbers of cancellations, Szallai said September was particularly rough. The September cancellations were twice what the service had experienced in the two prior years, he said.

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration data collected from a weather buoy northwest of South Haven shows both September and October had much rougher conditions than the same two months of 2005. For September, the historic average wave height is just under 3 feet. There were 180 hours in September 2005 when waves were higher than 3 feet, but this September that increased to 331 hours. In October, the historic average wave height is just over 3 feet. Last year, there were 192 hours of 3-feet plus wave conditions compared to 372 this year.

Even with a difficult early fall season, Szallai said Lake Express is beginning to plan for extending the season in the spring and through the entire month of November either in 2007 or 2008. Reservations continued to be strong through October this year, Szallai said.

Lake Express was not the only ferry service to be battered by the winds and waves of Lake Michigan this fall. The Ludington Daily News recently reported that the Badger, a traditional coal-fired steamship, was rocked by high waves on its Sept. 22 crossing to Manitowoc. Minor injuries to passengers and crew resulted. Lake Michigan Carferry spokeswoman Lynda Daugherty said the Sept. 22 crossing was a "rare occurrence."

Overall, the Badger passenger counts for 2006 were "on par" with 2005, Daugherty said, but like Lake Express, Lake Michigan Carferry does not released specific numbers. However, commercial truck traffic on the big ship was up 16 percent in 2005, mainly due to high fuel prices, Daugherty said. Lake Express does not carry commercial truck traffic.

High fuel prices had both Lake Express and Lake Michigan Carferry officials charging a "fuel surcharge" during the 2006 season. Despite declining fuel prices, marine diesel prices remained high in 2006 for Lake Express. The Badger operates on coal.

In Muskegon, county tourism officials are reporting a record year in 2006 in terms of room tax receipts, up some 9 percent from 2005, and higher than the previous record reached in 2000. Lake Express -- along with Michigan's Adventure Amusement Park, Lake Michigan beaches and summer festivals -- has become a mainstay for the local tourism economy, promoters say.

"Lake Express continues to be a cornerstone for our summertime offerings," said Sam Wendling, director of the Muskegon County Convention & Visitors Bureau. "In the face of declines in the tourism industry statewide, I'm feeling pretty good about this year. Lake Express is helping to keep us healthy."

The Lake Express -- a 192-foot high-speed catamaran that carries 46 vehicles and 250 passengers -- came through the season in fine shape, Szallai said. A freak structural defect in a huge gear that powers one of the four water jets caused a four-day shut down of the service at the height of the season in mid-August. The Lake Express will have regular engine work this winter at its Milwaukee dock, Szallai said. "We are starting to prepare for our fourth season," he said.

In Ludington, no major work is scheduled for the Badger this winter after the owners spent $200,000 on major boiler repairs last winter, Daugherty said. Passengers can anticipate some ship "enhancements" that will be announced early next year. The Badger will begin its 2007 season in mid May and sail through mid October.

From the Muskegon Chronicle


Port Reports - November 1

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Buffalo called on the Bay Aggregates dock Monday to unload. Once she finished and was outbound, the tug Barbara Andrie & tank barge A-390 took her place in the slip to unload at Bit-Mat. The pair was outbound Tuesday morning.
The Calumet was inbound late Tuesday night calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. She was to have a 7 to 8 hours unload there, dropping her entire cargo, before turning in the basin and heading outbound for the lake Wednesday morning.

Soo - Lee Rowe
High winds and water levels in the lower river made for a quiet Tuesday. The Presque Isle, James R. Barker and Charles M. Beeghly all made the downbound trip despite the weather. The Federal Elbe was loading at Algoma.

St. Marys River - Bonnie Barnes
Tuesday the Presque Isle was down bound around 2:30 p.m. just south of 6 mile point. At 3:45 p.m. it was sideways in the river just north of 9 mile point. Soo Traffic said the boat had been at anchor waiting for water levels to rise. Around 4 p.m. it looked like the vessel was backing up, moving the bow forward, and was underway downbound shortly after.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
J.A.W. Iglehart has arrived in Superior, Wis., for lay up. The boat, once a frequent caller to the Twin Ports, is tied up at the old Superior Municipal Terminal on Connors Point near Fraser Shipyards. Elsewhere in port Tuesday, Paul R. Tregurtha refueled at the port terminal before proceeding to Midwest Energy Terminal to load coal. Yosemite was under the spout at AGP in Duluth.

Toledo -
The Andersons Erwin Facility by I-75 Bridge has begun to take on off-loading of grain trucks. This after a fire there a year ago destroyed a silo and the conveyor superstructure there. This signals that grain that comes in by truck must go out by ship and the return to full operations.
The bascule spans of the Martin Luther King Jr. (Cherry St Bridge) are prospectively to be replaced January through March of the coming year.
John J. Boland was moored at the Pre-cast Facility dock just below Toledo Shipyard.
Wolverine took on a load of coal at CSX RR Docks.
Sam Laud lies idle in the CSX slips near the stone dock.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogle
American Steamship's American Mariner entered the harbor about 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Otherwise, the harbor was empty.


Updates - November 1

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 01

The LEHIGH, Captain Edward P. Fitch in command, cleared the Great Lakes Engineering Works yard at River Rouge, Michigan, to begin her maiden trip on this day in 1943. The LEHIGH was one of two Maritimers (the other was the STEELTON) acquired by Bethlehem Steel Corp. as part of a government program to upgrade and increase the capacity of the Great Lakes fleet during World War II. Bethlehem exchanged three older vessels, the JOHNSTOWN of of 1905, the SAUCON, and the CORNWALL, plus cash for the two Maritimers.

On 01 November 1880, NINA BAILEY (wooden schooner, 30 tons, built in 1873, at Ludington, Michigan) filled with water and went out of control in a storm on Lake Michigan. She struck the North Pier at St. Joseph, Michigan and capsized. Her crew climbed up on her keel and were rescued by the Lifesaving Service. The vessel later broke up in the waves.

The Grand Trunk Western Railway was granted permission by the Interstate Commerce Commission on November 1, 1978, to discontinue its Lake Michigan service between Muskegon, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The MAITLAND NO 1 made her maiden voyage on November 1, 1916, from Ashtabula, Ohio to Port Maitland, Ontario, transporting rail cars with coal for the steel mills at Hamilton, Ontario.

The SCOTT MISENER of 1954, returned to service in the grain trade on November 1, 1986, after a 3 year lay-up

On 1 November 1917, ALVA B (wooden steam tug, 74 foot, 84 gross tons, built in 1890, at Buffalo, New York) apparently mistook amusement park lights for the harbor markers at Avon Lake, Ohio during a storm. She struck bottom in the shallows and was destroyed by waves.

On 1 November 1862, BLACK HAWK (wooden brig, 138 foot, 385 tons, built in 1854, at Ohio City, Ohio) was carrying 19,000 bushels of corn and some stained glass when a gale drove her ashore and wrecked her near Point Betsie. In 1858, this vessel had sailed from Detroit, Michigan to Liverpool, England and back.

On 1 Nov 1862, CHIEF JUSTICE MARSHALL (2-mast wooden schooner, 105 foot, 182 tons, built in 1830, at Cape Vincent, New York) was driven aground between Dunkirk and Barcelona, New York during a storm. All hands were lost and the vessel was a total loss.

The Mackinac Bridge was opened to traffic on 01 November 1957.

The CITY OF MILWAUKEE (steel propeller carferry, 347 foot, 2,988 gross tons, built in 1931, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) made her last run for Grand Trunk's rail car ferry service on 01 November 1978. In the fall of 1978, after termination of Grand Trunk's carferry service, she was then chartered to Ann Arbor Railroad. She is currently a museum ship at Manistee, Michigan.

Port Maitland Shipbreaking Ltd. began scrapping P & H Shipping's f.) ELMGLEN on 01 November 1984. She had a long career, being built in 1909, at Ecorse, Michigan as the a.) SHENANGO (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot. 8,047 gross tons).

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


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