Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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USCGC Mackinaw resumes Christmas Tree Ship

11/30 - Chicago - The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (WLBB-30) will arrive in Chicago on Friday with a delivery of 1,000 Christmas trees that will be provided to needy families at the Navy Pier in downtown during a public ceremony Dec. 1 at 10 a.m.

USCGC Mackinaw is in her second year as the Christmas Tree Ship, continuing the tradition of its predecessor (WAGB-83), which resurrected the Christmas Tree Ship in 2000. The crew of the Mackinaw hauls a load of trees from the woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin for distribution to more than a thousand disadvantaged Chicago-area families.

On behalf of the Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc., volunteers from the Sea Cadets, Young Marines and the Sea Explorer Scouts assist the Mackinaw crew with the offloading ceremony.

The Chicago Christmas Ship Committee, which purchased the trees, represents diverse aspects of the Chicago boating community such as the Coast Guard Auxiliary, International Shipmaster's Association and the Chicago Yachting Association, for instance.

The original Christmas Tree Ship, the Rouse Simmons, started the tradition in 1896, when Captain Scheunemann docked his tree-laden schooner on the riverbank near the Clark Street Bridge.

The Christmas Tree Ship festivities will commence on Friday with a Welcoming Ceremony at 8 a.m., followed by the Mackinaw hosting School children for tours and nautical history lessons. The Tree presentation will take place on Saturday, at 10 a.m. Following the ceremony, Mackinaw will be available for tours from 1-5 p.m.

Mackinaw will continue her aids-to-navigation mission on her return transit to Northern Lake Michigan.

USCG News Release


Port Reports - November 30

Thunder Bay - Alan Kay
Gale warnings, freezing spray and seas forecast 12 -17 feet on Lake Superior have sent many vessels to anchor in Thunder Bay. Thursday evening the American Valor, American Courage, John J. Boland, Cedarglen, Algosar and Sam Laud were anchored in Thunder Bay.

On Wednesday afternoon the Manistee was docked at the G&W dock, just upriver from the Carter Road bridge, in the Cuyahoga River. She was pumped out with bow anchors down as crews repair her hull.  Crews were working on the side of the ship, working from a plank stuck into a hole. The Coast Guard reports the vessel scraped the west side of the entrance break wall causing a  2-foot diameter hole above the water line in a cargo hold.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
John G. Munson’s stay at Fraser Shipyards was brief. The vessel departed overnight Wednesday bound for Two Harbors, where it was to load taconite pellets destined for Gary.
Elsewhere Thursday, Adam E. Cornelius continued to load at General Mills S in Superior and Ypermachos continued loading at Cargill in Duluth.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
John B. Aird, which anchored offshore Tuesday, backed into Milwaukee's inner harbor overnight and unloaded salt at the bulk cargo dock. Aird departed onto Lake Michigan just before 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Lights of a laker anchored and sheltering in the bay in gale northwest winds were visible off Milwaukee's south shore Wednesday evening.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
Saginaw arrived Thursday at the Great Lakes Elevator with a load of 13,151.495 MT of wheat at about 2:15 and began unloading shortly after. She is expected to leave Friday weather permitting.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Paul R Tregurtha unloaded coal in Marquette on Thursday in spite of high waves and strong winds on the lake.


Group aims to restore warship

11/30 - Sarnia - Sarnia may soon be home port to the only seaworthy Canadian fighting ship left from the Second World War.

Not only that, but if the restorers have their way, it will be a ship fit for a queen -- literally.

Paul Woolley, president of a group that plans to restore the Duc d'Orleans cruise ship to its former appearance as the Q105, a Royal Canadian Navy sub chaser, said the 112-foot craft will be lifted from the St. Clair River and during the next two years will be restored -- at a cost of $200,000 to $500,000 -- to its original appearance as a combat vessel.

"This is going to be an amazing project," said Woolley, who added a crew of volunteers, most of them ironworkers, will help with the restoration.

Canada had the world's third-largest navy when the war ended in 1945, but only four of its 400 ships still exist. The other three, all made of steel, are no longer seaworthy.

The Duc is made of wood, but is in surprisingly good condition, Woolley said. He doesn't think restoration will be a major problem, provided financing can be found. "The Duc actually hasn't been altered that much," he said, though "the passenger cabin is on top of the original deck." Once it's removed and the wheelhouse restored, volunteers will outfit it with gun turrets and depth charge launchers. It will also be painted the colours of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Federal officials have been contacted about making the restoration an official project to help mark the 100th anniversary of the Canadian navy, which takes place in 2010. If that happens, it's expected Ottawa will help foot the restoration bill.  Local fundraising events will also be held.

The Q105, built at the Sarnia docks in 1943, was used to escort convoys between Newfoundland and the mainland, perform rescue operations and clear enemy mines from Canadian waters. After the war, McGill University used it to conduct experiments on the St. Lawrence River. After that, it became a cruise ship operating out of Quebec City. Because it cruised the Isle of Orleans, it was dubbed the Duc d'Orleans.

If all goes well, the restored ship will be rechristened in 2010 before going on a tour of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Plans call for Queen Elizabeth to be in Halifax for the navy centennial and Woolley hopes the restored vessel will be used by the monarch when she inspects the Canadian fleet.

After that, it will be returned to Sarnia to serve as a training vessel for sea cadets and a floating museum. Anyone interested in helping with the project can contact Woolley at 519-344-7660.


Updates - November 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 30

At 0100 hours on 30 November 1920, the ALEXIS A. THOMPSON (steel propeller bulk freighter, 504’, 6436 gt, built in 1908 at W. Bay City, MI) was discovered to be on fire in her boiler room where tarpaulins and awnings were stored. The fire was put out but ten tarpaulins and three awnings were destroyed. Replacement cost was $1,239.67.

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, ATHABASCA (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.


Algobay Arrives in Hamilton

11/29 - Hamilton - The Algobay arrived in Hamilton under tow on Wednesday from Toronto at 3 p.m. and will be berthed at Pier 10. The vessel entered long term lay-up at Toronto in December 2002.
Algobay will be converted to a maximum Seaway size self-unloader with a new forebody constructed at Chengxi Shipyard Co. Ltd. in Jiangyin, China. The aft end will also be refurbished and the vessel is expected to return to service in December 2009.

Fleetmate Algoport will undergo the same transformation returning to service September 2010.

Source: Eric Holmes and Mark Bills


U.S.-Flag Cargo Total in October Even with a Year Ago

11/29 - Cleveland — U.S.-Flag Great Lakes vessels hauled 11.2 million net tons of dry-bulk cargo in October, a virtual tie with a year ago. The October float was, however, slightly below the month’s 5-year average. The dredging crisis and low water levels account for the stagnant total.

In the coal trade, not one cargo even approached 65,000 tons, even thought the largest U.S.-Flag Lakers can carry nearly 71,000 tons in a single trip. As a result of low water levels, comparisons to a year ago show vessels trimming another thousand tons or more from already dredging-deflated payloads.

The iron ore trade suffered as well. The top loads were not only more than 8,000 tons below the record cargo carried when high water levels offset the lack of dredging (72,300 tons), but 1,200 tons short of what was loaded just a year ago.

Through October, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 85 million tons, a decrease of 4.7 percent from the same point in 2006, but only marginally below the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - November 29

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The Superior side of the waterfront was busy Wednesday morning with Adam E. Cornelius loading at General Mills S elevator and American Century loading at Midwest Energy Terminal. John G. Munson was unloading at Hallett 8, and proceeded to Fraser Shipyards, apparently for dockside repairs.
In Duluth, Ypermachos was under the loader at Cargill B1. With temperatures remaining near or below freezing, much of the harbor is showing a skim of ice in the mornings, although not nearly thick enough to hinder vessel traffic at this time.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
The tug Tradewind Service and barge Energy 5501 departed at 2:30 p.m. Vega Desgagnes arrived at 3:30 p.m. with jet fuel from Quebec City. Next port is back to Quebec City. Saltie Julietta departed Pier 23 at 5:15 p.m. and was headed to Toledo. The Federal Kushiro also departed at 5:15 p.m. Tug Annie M Dean and barge Canadian Jubilee arrived at 6:30 p.m. from the Bronte work site. The Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin arrived at 6:45 with coal from Toledo for Stelco. Next port is back to Toledo.


Updates - November 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Calumet Last Trip Gallery

Reserve Conversion Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - November 29

On 29 November 1965, the KEEWATIN (steel propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 336’, 3856 gt, built in 1907 at Govan, Scotland) was officially retired by the Canadian Pacific Railway.

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 layup.

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.


Port Reports - November 28

Hamilton - John McCreery
As the season draws to a close there seems to be a wave of salties entering the Port before the onset of winter. Tuesday the Federal Saguenay arrived from Montreal with a cargo of chrome ore.
Fleet mate Federal Kushiro is unloading steel at Wharf 12N after the departure of Rebecca which is bound for Antwerp with a load of steel coils. The James Norris appears to be waiting out the wind in the west end of the lake.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman arrived in port overnight Monday and unloaded at Essroc. Sheltering from the storm is the tug Everlast and its barge. Wave heights at Rochester are reported to be more than 20 feet from trough to crest.
The saltie Miltiades remained at Redpath unloading and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon remained in port until the storm blows through.

South Chicago and Indiana Harbor - Matt M.
Several classic lakers were on the Calumet Tuesday. In at the Carmeuse terminal on 106th st. was the Arthur M. Anderson around 10 a.m. unloading what looked like stone.
Waiting just inside the breakwater, still on the lake, was the Alpena. The the salt laden Algomarine was waiting farther out. The Joe Thompson called on Indiana Harbor around 10 a.m. and the Lee A. Tregurtha was making her way down the lake with a load of taconite for KCBX later on Tuesday.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Orna, a saltwater bulk carrier from Greece, unloaded steel at terminal #2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor Tuesday.
U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw was on Lake Michigan off Milwaukee's south shore Tuesday, working aids to navigation.
Cement barge Integrity and its tug G. L. Ostrander were at the LaFarge dock on Jones Island in the inner harbor, offloading dry cement Tuesday.
Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. one northbound and two southbound lakers were seen on Lake Michigan off Milwaukee, passing close along the Wisconsin shore and avoiding northwest winds of up to thirty knots.
John B. Aird appeared to anchor in strong winds just outside Milwaukee's main breakwater gap about 3 p.m. Tuesday. Aird is expected to deliver salt in Milwaukee.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Sam Laud finally arrived at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City on Monday. After unloading, she exited the slip and was outbound for the lake.
The Maumee was inbound early Tuesday morning going upriver to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She completed her unload and was downbound Tuesday evening.

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Tuesday morning, Algoma's Algosteel was in Goderich loading at the Sifto salt dock.


Waterways' importance stressed on canal's birthday;
Shipping industry strategist brings wish list to Lock 7 ceremony

11/28 - Welland Canal - John Dewar wants to correct Canadiana.

Turns out, if anything is coursing through the veins of Canadians, it's not beer or our other national elixir. "In Canada, some may think maple syrup runs in our blood, but let's think about that a minute," Dewar said. The chief strategist for Upper Lakes Shipping is certain it's water flowing through us.

After all, Canada is a maritime nation, Dewar told the crowd of local dignitaries and curious onlookers gathered at Lock 7 in Thorold Monday to celebrate William Hamilton Merritt Day and the opening of the first Welland Canal 178 years ago. Merritt, dubbed the Father of Transportation, founded the original canal to bypass Niagara Falls and link lakes Erie with Ontario to form "one unbroken highway of commerce."

To keep traffic on that highway of commerce flowing and, ultimately, Canada's shipping industry afloat, Dewar rhymed off a wish list to the crowd.

Encouraging investment in the industry through tax incentives is one wish. Enabling shipping companies to tap into a program that both provides financial assistance to buyers of Canadian built ships and allows manufacturers to write off equipment investments with ease was also among Dewar's wants.

Providing training and education to increase worker productivity for those in the industry and including research and development funding for the marine industry in the strategic aerospace and defense initiative would help, too, Dewar noted.

That money was available to the industry through Technology Partnerships Canada until four years ago, he said. "(Our) prosperity depends on a vibrant marine industry," Dewar said. "With the exception of Canada, every other maritime nation subsidizes its shipbuilding industry."

The need to propel the shipping industry's fortunes isn't lost on the newly appointed provincial transportation minister Jim Bradley. The St. Catharines MPP pointed out the Welland Canal is only operating at 50 per cent capacity. People would get annoyed at how often they would have to stop at lift bridges raised over the channel to let ships pass, but really, they should have been relishing it, he explained. "Of course, that ... meant prosperity for this part of the province and, of course, the whole country," Bradley said.

The province is studying the economic significance of the shipping industry. The province will lobby the federal government for changes that will benefit Canadian shipping companies, he said. There's also another benefit to having more ships ply our waterways, he said. "With Ontario's roads getting busier and more congested, marine transportation can offer a way to ease that congestion and improve the environment," Bradley said

From the St. Catharines Standard


Fifth Estate to air tall ship death investigation

11/28 - The CBC program Fifth Estate will air the result of their investigation into the death of Laura Gainey, the daughter of well known Canadian sports figure Bob Gainey, who was swept overboard to her death when sailing on the tall ship Picton Castle, several years ago.

The program will air, Wednesday Nov 28 at 9 p.m.


Updates - November 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Calumet Last Trip Gallery

Reserve Conversion Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - November 28
Compiled by Mike Nicholls

On 28 November 1876, the STEVEN F. GALE (2-mast wooden schooner, 122’, 266 gt, built in 1847 at Chicago, IL) was carrying stone from Kelley’s Island to Erie, Pennsylvania when she encountered a sudden violent storm and sank 17.8 miles northwest of Cleveland, Ohio. All hands were lost.

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.


History is crumbling on islands
Long-neglected lighthouses lie off Door Peninsula's tip

11/27 - Door County, WI - Pilot Island - This baseball park-sized rock poking from the black waters of Lake Michigan on the edge of the treacherous shipping channel known as Death's Door is as lonely a place as you'll find.

The tip of the Door Peninsula lies maybe 3 miles away, but that popular vacation destination sends no tourists to Pilot Island - this 3.7-acre scrap of federal real estate has been mostly off-limits since it was set aside as a lighthouse station a century and a half ago. U.S. Coast Guard crews abandoned the 19th-century brick lighthouse in the early 1960s, though the automated light atop it still glows, a beacon for sailors trying to pick their way through the hull-cracking shoals and churning currents where the warmer waters of Green Bay mix with a frigid Lake Michigan with sometimes violent consequences.

The most important thing about this island is that it warns people away from itself. That is lonely. That is not to say Pilot Island doesn't have friends. A crew of volunteers frustrated by the collapsing rooftops and rotting exteriors of the lighthouse and its companion foghorn building has long wanted to venture out to the island to paint and patch the cream brick structures before they're too far gone to salvage.

It's the same story on nearby Plum Island, a glorious 325-acre federal preserve of forest and cobblestone beaches that is also home to a 19th-century lighthouse and a lifesaving station. The Coast Guard left Plum Island in the early 1990s.

Federal bureaucrats have spent the better part of two decades pondering what to do with this real estate, which would fetch a fortune on the open market. All the while, the structures on both islands were left mostly on their own to fend off the elements as well as swarms of birds and their loads of corrosive excrement. "It's not something anybody really wants to watch," said Brian Kelsey, executive director of the Door County Maritime Museum.

But that is exactly what the public has been forced to do. For many people these lighthouses that are visible from the mainland are more than just buildings. They are icons of an era when the Great Lakes really were our link to the world. They are our history. "If we let them go," asks Mike Kahr, a Door County dock builder, "what will that say about us in 50 years?"

"This is truly an isolated spot but I have spent five days on Pilot Island and they are among the happiest days of my eventuality . . . On moonlight nights it is like being in a dream of ideality to walk alone on the moss-covered rocks and listen to the swish of the breakers that break over the breakwater (at) the boat landing, hear them roaring on all sides of the little island, and to see huge vessels under full sail crossing the moonglade on their way through the Door. One seems to be completely separated from all that is worldly and bad. There is no field for gossip out here. The land is not suitable for general farming purposes, but it is a splendid place to raise an ample crop of good, pure thoughts." - Sturgeon Bay resident and island visitor Ben Fagg in 1890, courtesy of the Door County Maritime Museum

The Coast Guard pulled its last lighthouse keeper from Pilot Island in the 1960s but has since maintained the automated light. It removed the last of its crew from Plum Island in the early 1990s but continues to operate its two automated lights. With the Coast Guard's departure, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hoped to turn both islands into a state park.

That plan was scrapped when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claimed the islands for federal wildlife refuges, a move that makes a lot of sense; Fish and Wildlife already manages some small islands in the area as refuges. But the transfer process has dragged on for more than a decade. Federal bureaucrats worried that leaking fuel tanks from the middle of the last century and flaking lead paint on the buildings posed threats to the environment and human health, and in 2004 the government spent about $800,000 on the cleanup.

The transfer to Fish and Wildlife finally went through last month. That doesn't mean federal help is on the way to restore the dilapidated lighthouses. Fish and Wildlife has no plans to spend any money on them. It couldn't even if it wanted to. The agency's budget to manage islands: zero.

"We knew from the start that there would be no increase in our budget once we took over the islands, and no increase in staff," said Patti Meyers, manager of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. "But we still agreed it was extremely important to do this - to protect these islands." Plum and Pilot islands will be managed from the Horicon office, about a four-hour drive from the closest boat ride to the islands.

The islands, meanwhile, remain off-limits to the public without special permission from the Fish and Wildlife Service. Safety is a big reason. The docks are crumbling and landings can be dicey. Portions of the structures are also in danger of collapsing. Meyers said she hopes to work with the newly formed Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands Inc. to see that the buildings are at least stabilized in the short term.

But she has no plans to allow the public out to tiny Pilot Island, which has become a haven for cormorants, a swarming, fish-eating bird that has recovered from near extinction just three decades ago to a booming population of Hitchcockian proportions. She expects to allow limited access on Plum Island, but said because both islands have been largely undeveloped they have become critical refuges, particularly for migrating birds. "They need to have a place to rest and feed and a place free from harassment and development, and these islands provide that," Meyers said.

"I've got to say that life on that island brought me closer to nature . . . I realized that all clouds were once lakes and seas and that a power more miraculous than a young man can imagine devised an invisible energy that could lift them to the heavens, roll them into an ever-changing animation of color and mood and drop them back to earth to not only nourish us, but re-create the soup of life. The solitude was at times boring, but nevertheless revealing." - David Robb, Coast Guard crew member stationed on Plum Island in early 1960s

Now with winter setting in, the race is on to patch the lighthouse roof on Pilot Island before it collapses, as the roof next door on the foghorn building did.

That it has come to this - that people will have to brave the sketchy November waters to do work that could have been done a decade ago - has left some volunteers frustrated, but mostly they just want to get to work. "I'm just hoping now things are going to go forward," said Tim Sweet, who helped form the nonprofit Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands. They'll have to go forward fast.

Sweet said a historic building preservationist who has been to Pilot Island said its foghorn building could still be saved, but it would have to happen soon. Volunteers also hope to put a temporary roof on the lighthouse in the coming weeks before its floors and walls rot any further. Door County dock builder Kahr took a trip out to Pilot Island on Nov. 16 to see what it would take to patch up the island's dock so volunteers could get equipment out to the island.

He just shook his head at a sign warning people of lead paint. "Ridiculous," he said. "How about a warning sign that we've let these buildings fall apart?"

On Plum Island, the once brilliantly white buildings are peeling. The roof on the lighthouse keeper's building was replaced several years ago as an emergency measure, but the old roof has already collapsed through to the floors below. Sweet said it may take decades to actually restore the buildings, and he said he has no idea how much money that will take.

But he isn't worried about the money at the moment. He's worried about shoring up a piece of regional history before it suffers another winter's damage. Sweet said his group has about 75 members, but he is confident more people will join once they learn about - and experience - these stunning, rugged patches of land that have been off-limits for the last century and a half.

"You feel a real connection to the men who were stationed out there," Sweet said. "They had no higher calling. Their purpose was to be out there to rescue people in distress."

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Updates - November 27

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Calumet Last Trip Gallery

Reserve Conversion Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - November 27

On 27 November 1860, the wooden bark TORNADO (wooden bark, 333 t, built in 1850 at Kingston, ON as a barge, formerly MARY & INKERMAN) ran ashore in a storm on Lake Ontario near Kingston. All hands were lost. She was recovered and rebuilt as the bark STORK. She was renamed GARROWEN in 1865 and lasted until 1869.

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.


Port Reports - November 26

Menominee - Dick Lund & Scott Best
It was a busy Sunday for the Selvick tug Jimmy L. Around 11 a.m. they departed Menominee and headed out to the Dongeborg to remove the Great Lakes Pilot, who had been aboard for the better part of a week.
They then headed back to Menominee, where later on that afternoon they assisted the Magdalena Green out of Menominee. But, their day wasn't done yet.
After they turned the Magdalena Green around out in the bay of Green Bay, they immediately went to assist the BBC Ontario, which had been anchored in the bay since the night before with a load of windmill blades, into Menominee.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon arrived late Friday night and remained in port for the weekend Grey Cup festivities.
Canadian Olympic was in with salt early in the morning and departed around 4 p.m.

Buffalo - Brain Wroblewski
The Manistee was in port on Saturday with sand for the Buffalo Ship Canal. The Lansdowne has been moved from the Bidco Shipyard out to the Cargill Pool Terminal Elevator, taking the place of the Aquarama.

South Chicago/Indiana Harbor - Matt
The Adam E. Cornelius arrived at Indiana Harbor around 3 p.m. Saturday.
At 2:30 p.m. the Algorail finished unloading what looked to be a Salt Cargo at the Chicago Export Dock, near 116th St. and the LTV Steel Coke Ovens Complex. By around 4, it had backed down the Calumet and out into Lake Michigan.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons called on the Saginaw River on Friday stopping at the Sargent dock in Essexville to unload.
Late on Friday, the CSL Tadoussac called on the Essroc dock in Essexville to unload clinker.
Due to strong winds and low water levels, the Sam Laud was anchored off the Entrance Channel in the Saginaw Bay waiting to come in to unload at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She was still there as of Sunday.
Sunday afternoon saw the Maumee inbound, calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. She was expected to be outbound late Sunday night or early Monday morning.


Boatnerd Logos for sale

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To order these items, click here for order form and pricing. BoatNerd logos are also available at Vantage Point in Port Huron.


Updates - November 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Calumet Last Trip Gallery

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 26

On 26 November 1888, the ANNIE P. DORR (wooden propeller tug, 76’, 44 gt, built in 1870 at E. Saginaw, MI) and the JAMES ADAMS (wooden propeller tug, 65’, 40 gt, built in 1882 at Buffalo, NY) went to Dunkirk, New York to release the stranded tug EDWARD MAYTHAM. However a severe gale and snow storm blew in and prevented the two tugs from entering the harbor. The DORR sprang a leak and foundered in about 30 minutes. With great difficulty, her crew were taken aboard the ADAMS.

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

Toledo - Bob Vincent
The Canadian Enterprise finished loading around 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the CSX Coal Dock. Next coal boat will be the Tug Salvor, due Monday at 11 a.m.

On the ore side, Torco will have the Atlantic Erie coming from Port Cartier due Tuesday around 7 p.m. Next ore boat will be the CSL Assiniboine due Friday coming from Seven Islands.
At the Midwest Terminal of Toledo Stone Dock, the Canadian Navigator was due Saturday at 8 p.m.

Alpena and Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena was in port Saturday morning loading under the silos at Lafarge. Once the Alpena left, the tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity came in to take on product. The Integrity was outbound in the bay around 2 p.m.
A Purvis Marine tug and barge were seen anchored out in the bay, waiting out the weather. The Durocher tug Ray D is tied up in the small boat harbor.

At Stoneport, the Earl W unloaded dolomite early Saturday morning and then took on stone at the dock as well.
The McKee Sons was expected to load sometime during the night, after the Earl W departs.


Updates - November 25

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Calumet Last Trip Gallery

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 25

On 25 November 1908, while being towed by the WALTER VAIL (wooden propeller freighter, 200’, 726 gt, built in 1890 at W. Bay City, MI), the BERWYN (wooden schooner, 128’, 269 gt, built in 1866 at Algonac, MI, formerly R. C. CRAWFORD & CAPT. GEORGE W. NAUGHTIN) was caught by a sudden gale and stranded on a reef about two miles from Pilot Island Light on Lake Michigan. She was pounded to pieces by the waves. No lives were lost.

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.


Jiimaan Caught by fishermen

11/24 - Kingsville, Ont. - The Jiimaan ferry to Pelee Island is out of service after one of its propellers got caught in a fishing net in Lake Erie, causing an engine shut down Wednesday afternoon as the vessel attempted to dock in Kingsville with 21 passengers on board.

The Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC), which runs the ferry service, sent divers to examine the damage Thursday. They determined that a fishing net became entangled in a propeller, causing the shafts to seize. As a result, the port engine shut down and the ferry ran aground as the captain attempted to manoeuvre it, said OSTC general manager Susan Schrempf.

"(The fishing nets) are a huge problem," she said Thursday. "Sometimes the local fishermen leave the nets where they're not supposed to be, or they drift into the channel in the wind."

It was windy when the Jiimaan left Pelee Island at 4 p.m. Wednesday with 14 vehicles and 21 passengers on board, including Township of Pelee Mayor Rick Masse. The ferry was scheduled to dock in Kingsville at 5:30 p.m., but got into trouble around 5:25 p.m., Schrempf said. "When the port engine shut down, the captain had to back out, but while trying to back away, he went into the ground," she said.

Because of the way the dock is configured in Kingsville, it was impossible to dock without use of the port engine. The captain had to decide whether he would request a tugboat or attempt to dock in Leamington, where he could dock using only the starboard engine.

Eventually, the decision was made to steer the vessel toward Leamington, using the working propeller and the starboard engine. The wind was also blowing the ferry in that direction. By 8:30 p.m. the Jiimaan docked in Leamington and all the passengers were on the ground.

"We're very happy that no one was injured," Schrempf said, adding that the cost of repairing Jiimaan will be "significant." "There was never any risk (to the passengers)," the Pelee mayor said. "Just the inconvenience of waiting a couple of hours."

A local commercial fisherman, who did not want to give his name, said most fishermen follow the charts outlining the ferry's path and never put their nets in the channel. "It's not in our interest to do that. It's a loss to us when the nets get cut up," he said, adding that it's possible the Jiimaan steered from its usual path because of the gusting winds.

Schrempf said the Pelee Islander, a smaller ferry, will now transport passengers to and from the island. She said the Jiimaan was supposed to be out of service for the season a week ago, but it kept running because of a late harvest season on Pelee Island. The Jiimaan was needed to transport crop-carrying trucks which cannot fit on the smaller ferry.

One truck remains on the island and Schrempf said alternative plans are being made to bring it and its load to the mainland.

From The Windsor Star


Antarctic cruise ship evacuated and sinks

11/24 - Shetland Islands - One hundred passengers and crew have been rescued from a stricken tourist ship after it hit ice off Antarctica. The M/S Explorer was listing at 30 degrees close to the South Shetland Islands, in the Antarctic Ocean. The vessels eventually sank late Friday.

Susan Hayes, of Gap Adventures, which owns the ship, said 91 passengers and nine crew members were evacuated to lifeboats and then to another ship. The firm said 23 Britons, 17 Dutch, 10 Australians, 13 Americans and 10 Canadians were among the passengers. The remaining nationalities of the rescued tourists are Irish, Danish, Swiss, Belgian, Japanese, French, German and Chinese, said the Toronto-based tour company.

Earlier reports suggested 154 people were on board but the tour company said that figure was the vessel's maximum capacity. All passengers and crew were transferred to a Norwegian cruise ship, the Nordnorge.

The BBC's Daniel Schweimler in Buenos Aires says they are on their way to port in Ushuaia, on Argentina's southern tip, from where they disembarked on 11 November for a 19-day cruise through the Drake Passage. The captain and the chief officer abandoned the Explorer after initially remaining on board to pump water.

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said it was informed at 0524 GMT on Friday of the incident involving the 2,400-tonne vessel. The expedition ship ran into trouble approximately 120km (75 miles) north of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Ms Hayes, vice-president of marketing for Gap Adventures, told the BBC News website: "The M/S Explorer has been evacuated after it hit a lump of ice off King George Island this morning. "All passengers and crew are safe and well and they have now been transferred to a Norwegian cruise ship. "The hull has a hole the size of a fist and the outlook is not so positive for the ship at the moment."

Gap Adventures said the ship was listing at 30 degrees and that pumps were being used to stop the ship sinking. The rescue operation was coordinated by the Ushuaia coastguard.

The 19-day cruise costs around $11,600 (£5,630), not including international flights.

Coastguards said the weather conditions were good for this time of year, though the average temperature is still -5C.

From BBC News


Port Reports - November 24

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Late Friday morning the Annalisa, a general cargo carrier from Germany, and Polsteam's Isolda were docked at the Municipal Piers in the outer harbor. At the same time the St. Mary's Challenger was berthed at its dock on the Kinnickinnic River discharging cement.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Algosteel departed the Redpath Sugar dock at 6:30 Friday morning, making way for the saltie Miltiades, which arrived at 10 a.m. along with the tugs LaPrairie and Omni Richelieu. The tugs departed for Hamilton after assisting the saltie into the slip.
The tug M. R. Kane got underway with Verendrye in tow at 1 p.m., bound for the drydock at Ramey's Bend in the Welland Canal.
Tour boat Obsession III remained on Toronto Drydock undergoing its 5 year inspection. It is slated to come off the dock on Monday next, with one of the island ferries next in line for drydocking the same day.
The Sonderholm tug Diver III and barge Y & F No. 1 were engaged in retaining wall reconstruction at the foot of Spadina Ave.


Dongeborg Correction

11/24 - The Wagenborg Shipping vessel Dongeborg, which had been previously reported to be grounded near Chambers Island in the bay of Green Bay, it now believed to be at anchor.

Usually reliable sources indicate that the vessel may be waiting on repair parts of some sort.

No tug activity has been seen around the ship, which has been in the same location since Tuesday. Normally, a grounded vessel would seek assistance from local tugs. It has also been noted that the Dongeborg's heading has changed with the wind direction, which is another indicator she is not aground.


Eatery in same boat as taxpayers.

11/24 - Toronto - You can't escape Toronto's property taxes by running away to sea, the owners of Captain John's waterfront restaurant have discovered.

The floating restaurant appealed to the courts, saying it shouldn't be assessed for property taxes because of its unusual situation. But Justice Laurence Arthur Pattillo scuppered the application, saying the Municipal Property Assessment Corp. has the right to assess the eatery so the city can levy taxes.

Captain John's is housed in the M.S. Jadran, a 90-metre former cruise ship. It has been moored at the foot of Yonge St. for three decades, paying a $2,250 monthly fee to the port authority and taxes to the city. The case hinged in part on a complex argument over an apparently simple word. The Assessment Act says "real property" which can be assessed for taxes includes "all structures" on the property.

Captain John's lawyer, Jeff G. Cowan, argued the Jadran is not a "structure" under the act. He pointed to a ruling by British jurist Lord Denning in 1925 that "a structure is something which is constructed, but not everything which is constructed is a structure. A ship, for instance, is constructed, but it is not a structure." Some objects that are constructed are merely "in the nature of a structure" without actually being one, Denning ruled. A structure, he said, is built from component parts and "intended to remain permanently on a permanent foundation."

Since the Jadran doesn't rest on a foundation, it remains a ship and not a structure, Cowan argued. That means it's not real property and can't be assessed. But Denning's definition doesn't apply in this case, Pattillo ruled.

The crucial question is whether the ship is intended to remain permanently where it is. The Jadran has been moored since 1975, he noted; it has water, sewer and electricity connections. "Although it still has engines, they have not been operated since November 1975. It cannot leave its location to cruise or travel without assistance."

Pattillo also rejected the argument that, because the Jadran sits on water, it doesn't occupy the land beneath it. That's not the case, he ruled. Moreover, the ship occupies almost the entire slip it holds under licence from the port authority: "There is no way anyone or anything could occupy the property in addition to the Jadran."

No decision has been made whether to appeal the judgment. John Letnik, who owns Captain John's, couldn't be reached for comment.

From the Toronto Star


Updates - November 24

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Calumet Last Trip Gallery

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 24

At 1600 hours on 24 November 1871, the HURON (wooden side-wheel passenger-package freight steamer, 167’, 445 gt, built in 1852 at Newport [Marine City], MI) broke a cylinder off Lexington, Michigan on Lake Huron. While waiting for help, she was struck during the night by the ELIZA R. TURNER (3-mast wooden schooner, 153’, 409 gt, built in 1867 at Trenton, MI) which was being towed by the tug KATE MOFFAT (wooden propeller tug, 106’, 235 gt, built in 1864 at Port Huron, MI). The TURNER’s masts were carried away in the collision and the HURON’s port side planks and rails were smashed. Neither vessel sank and both were repaired.

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.


Lake levels up for foreseeable future

11/22 - Houghton - Heavy precipitation will keep Lake Superior’s monthly average water levels out of the record book for the foreseeable future.

“Based on the new forecast we did (this month), it looks like we’re going to stay at least a few inches above the record lows at least until April and that’s due primarily to the rain that fell in September and October,” said Keith Kompoltowicz, a meteorologist with the Army Corps of Engineers Detroit office. However, water levels remain well below average, he said.

The surface of the lake was at 600.9 feet above mean sea level, Sunday, down slightly from October’s monthly average of 600.98 feet above mean sea level. “Since the beginning of September the lake rose quite dramatically due to all the rain during the months of September and October the Lake Superior basin received well over 10 inches of rain and the lake level responded by rising quite a bit during that same time frame,” Kompoltowicz said.

September was the wettest month on record at Houghton County Memorial Airport with 11.24 inches of total precipitation. October followed as the wettest October on record with precipitation totalling 6.83 inches.

September still set a record low monthly average lake level of 600.46 feet above mean sea level, following an August that set a record low of 600.43 feet. Most of the rain that fell in September came in the latter portion of the month.

“The heaviest rainfall fell from about the 21st of September right through October,” Kompoltowicz said. And it didn’t percolate fast enough to keep the monthly average lake level from setting a record low. “It takes time before it will really show up, for that runoff to get into the lake,” said Kevin Crupi, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Marquette.

Whether rainfall impacts the level of the lake depends on a number of factors. “If you get a large amount of rain falling directly on the lake you’ll see the levels start to climb a little bit quicker,” Kompoltowicz said. “Lake Superior is such a large body of water, too. Maybe you’ll get a cell sitting over one part of the lake and the rest of the lake won’t be getting that rainfall.”

Still, Superior’s water levels rebounded about eight inches in a one-month span ending Oct. 21. Kompoltowicz said the increase was enough to elevate lake levels above the record threshold.

So far, November hasn’t been out-of-the-ordinary for precipitation at the airport. As of this morning, Crupi said, 0.75 inches of liquid-equivalent precipitation had fallen in the month. That included 3 inches of snow. Painesdale had recorded 9.5 inches of snow and 1.35 inches of total, water-equivalent precipitation by this morning.

Crupi said the September and October rainfall also eliminated the Western U.P.’s long-term drought. “In that two-month period, you’ve gotten enough precipitation to wipe out that extreme drought condition,” Crupi said. “Basically, we’re just down to being abnormally dry over the Western U.P. for the year.”

From the Marquette Mining Gazette


Port Reports - November 23

Toronto - Clive Reddin and Charlie Gibbons
Algosteel was in Toronto Harbour to off load sugar at the Redpath sugar refinery Wednesday night, and continues into Thursday.
The tug M. R. Kane returned to port at 11:30 p.m. Thursday from Whitby. The Kane will pick up the ex-Coast Guard buoy tender Verendrye, which has been idle at Toronto since 1995, on Friday, and tow it to the drydock at Ramey's Bend.

Cheboygan - Jon Paul
The tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes arriving from Whiting, IN spent Thanksgiving Day unloading their cargo of gasoline at the BP Tank Facility.

Menominee - Dick Lund
After spending the night at anchor out in the bay of Green Bay, the Magdalena Green headed into Menominee at first light on Thanksgiving Day in some fairly strong winds. The Selvick tug Jimmy L assisted.
The Dongeborg remains grounded, out near Chambers Island in the bay, were she has been since Tuesday morning..


Two Minnesota divers make Lake Michigan history

11/22 - Two Minnesota divers made history when they visited the site of a Lake Michigan shipwreck that claimed 33 lives.

After two local divers, John Janzen and John Scoles, met the last remaining survivor of a 1950s Lake Michigan shipwreck, they knew they had to dive to the site about 370 feet below the surface. In 2004 at a diving and shipwreck show in Minneapolis, Janzen of Champlin and Scoles of Farmington met Frank Mays, who was 26 when the freighter Carl D. Bradley sank on Nov. 18, 1958. "For me, it was meeting Frank that really was the inspiration," Janzen said.

This August, Scoles and Janzen retrieved the ship's original bell and replaced it with an honorary bell engraved with the names of the 33 crew members who died. Most of the sailors were from the ship's home port of Rogers City, Mich. "The main reason we did it is for the family members, hoping it would bring some comfort and closure," Scoles said.

Mays, who now lives in Florida, was one of only two people who survived by clinging to a lifeboat during the storm that claimed the ship. He has gone out on Lake Michigan with Scoles and Janzen on several of their dives, including the most recent one when they retrieved the bell. "I hadn't seen the bell in 49 years and all of a sudden, it pops up," Mays said. "I thought it would never happen after the Bradley went down."

For the divers, exploring the Carl D. Bradley wreck is not a responsibility they take lightly. Few people have been to the site because of its depth. After seeking permission from Michigan government agencies, Scoles and Janzen became the first divers to reach the stern of the wreck. "It's easily the most rewarding thing I've done and the most stressful because there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong," Janzen said. "I didn't want to lose the bell because that would be blasphemous. If you drop it, it's gone."

The two divers planned how to retrieve the bell for several months, including creating their own portable battery system to operate the underwater torch needed to detach the bell and doing several practice dives in Wisconsin's Wazee Lake. They did separate dives to remove the original bell and attach the replacement bell. "The bell is the soul of the ship," Scoles said. "You can't just take the real bell off the ship and not put anything back."

The original bell was given to the Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum in Rogers City, where the director, David Erickson, restored it and will ring it for the first time at the 50th anniversary of the sinking next year. He said some family members of the Bradley crew still live in Rogers City. "It's home is here in Rogers City where all the families of the crew members live," he said. "It's 50 years ago, but there are still a lot of them who lost fathers and brothers. It's just like it happened yesterday."

Janzen and Scoles agreed to dive mainly around the outside of the 600-plus-foot ship and enter only a few designated rooms -- out of respect for the crew members' remains likely still in the wreck.

Mays said he is glad other people are interested in preserving the history of the ship. He wrote a book, "If We Make It 'Til Daylight," that documents his experience the night of the shipwreck. "What happened that night, every detail, is burned in my mind," he said. "I'll never forget it." He said he was glad that Janzen and Scoles were able to bring up the bell so the crew members' families could have a memorial to the lost sailors.

"It's the ship that time forgot, and it's about time it's brought back into being," Mays said.

From the Minneapolis Star Tribune


Updates - November 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Calumet Last Trip Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 23

At 2350 hours on 23 November 1923, the JOHN A. DONALDSON (steel propeller bulk freighter, 400’, 4315 gt, built in 1908 at Lorain, OH) was being towed through the Louisiana Street Bridge in Buffalo, New York. However, when the captain saw that the DONALDSON was not going to make the draw, he ordered full back and fetched up against the abutment of the bridge, doing considerable damage. Repairs cost $5,959.64.

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 McGIFFIN, 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.


USCGC Mackinaw prepares to spread Christmas cheer

11/22 - Cheboygan - More than 1,050 Christmas trees were loaded aboard the stern deck of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw on Monday in preparation for Sunday's trip to Chicago as the Christmas Tree Ship. The new icebreaker/buoy tender is carrying on a tradition resurrected in 2000 by its predecessor, the original Mackinaw. This is the second year that the new vessel has performed the honorary duty.

Under leaden skies and 36-degree temperatures, the trees were loaded from the parking lot up the ship's ladder in a relay by ship's officers and crew, families of crewmembers and the Ogemaw Heights High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets. The Christmas greenery 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.

“We'll be decommissioning the big buoys again this time,” said Cmdr. John Little of the Mackinaw. “There are a couple of NOAA weather buoys that we'll be bringing back, and they are huge.”

Two hundred trees were presented to the Salvation Army in Cheboygan, which accepted them along with local police and fire departments for distribution to deserving resident families. The trees were purchased from Cheboygan-area tree growers by Chicago's Christmas Tree Ship committee. The annual event is a culmination of efforts by the Chicago Christmas Tree Ship Committee, working together with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Sea Partners Program, Chicago Navy Pier, and the generous boaters of the marine community to help make Christmas special for deserving Chicago families.

Cmdr. Michael Clift said his 16 Ogemaw Heights cadets were picked from a corps of 96 members at a high school with a student population of more than 900. Four adults with the group also lended a hand in the work detail. “Our part of this legacy is to be the stevedores for this operation,” Clift grinned as an icy sleet fell. “This is our fourth year doing it and our kids have a ball.”

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 Sunday. The Mackinaw will be open for public tours in Chicago.

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 in early December, Little said

By Mike Fornes for the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Port Reports - November 22

Menominee - Dick Lund
The Dongeborg ran aground near Chambers Island in the bay of Green Bay as it headed for Menominee with a load of wood pulp on Tuesday. It was still aground on Wednesday.
The Magdalena Green arrived in the bay of Green Bay off Menominee and went to anchor because of weather. The ship is carrying a load of windmill parts.

Alpena and Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday afternoon the American Courage was seen backing into Lafarge, to likely unload a coal cargo.
Later that night, the Steamer Alpena returned from Superior, WI and loaded cement under the silos. Its next destination was Green Bay, WI.

At Stoneport on Tuesday the tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber unloaded dolomite at the dock and then later took on stone.
The Pathfinder followed the Kuber and finished its load Wednesday morning.
Also taking on cargo Wednesday was the John G. Munson, which tied up before 11 a.m.


Crew member passes away aboard freighter near Marblehead

11/22 - Port Clinton, OH - A freighter crewman went into cardiac arrest and died Wednesday aboard his vessel that was docking near the U.S. Coast Guard, Marblehead Station, an official said.

The 54-year-old man, who was not identifed, stopped breathing while aboard the freighter, David Z, said Petty Officer Bryan Kaseman of the Marblehead station.

Workers aboard the vessel unsuccessfully performed CPR, and the Coast Guard sent two boats to carry the man to the shore, where Marblehead Emergency Medical Service workers were waiting, Kaseman said. They were unable to revive him, Kaseman said.

The freighter had been docking at the LaFarge North America stone quarry, he said.

From the Port Clinton News Herald


Updates - November 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Calumet Last Trip Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - November 22

On 22 November 1906, the CHARLES B. HILL (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 252’, 1731 gt, built in 1878 at Cleveland, OH, formerly DELAWARE) was sailing from Buffalo, New York to Fairport, Ohio with the barge COMMODORE in tow, both carrying hard coal. She dropped the barge in a gale then she stranded off North Madison, Ohio. By the following Spring, the HILL had broken up. No lives were lost.

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.


Port Reports - November 21

Port Colborne -
Calumet was moved Tuesday afternoon to the south scrapping berth at International Salvage, the tugs Vigilant and Seahound assisted.
Federal Seto was at wharf 18-2 possibly with another coke cargo. The Algosteel is stopped at Wharf 16 and Innovation is downbound in the canal at 3 p.m. on a rare visit.

Buffalo - Dan Sweeley
John J. Boland was unloading stone at the Gateway terminal in Lackawanna, NY on Tuesday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Karen Andrie and her tank barge departed the SEM Materials dock in Essexville on Monday after arriving there to unload early Sunday morning.
Inbound on Monday was the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41. The pair traveled upriver to the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw to unload before coming back downriver for the lake Tuesday morning.
The American Mariner was inbound Tuesday night, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. She was expected to be outbound late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Tuesday the salty BBC Ems was into port, loading at the elevators on a damp, warm day.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Cement carrier Integrity and its tug G. L. Ostrander entered Milwaukee's inner harbor at about 9:30 p.m. Monday, turning to dock at LaFarge on Jones Island. Integrity departed about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
American Mariner backed upriver Tuesday evening about 11:00 p.m., bringing coal to the WE Energies yard at Greenfield Avenue.


U.S. steel shipments down in September

11/21 - Duluth - Steel shipments from U.S. steel mills in September were 8.4 million net tons, a 7.7 percent decline compared to a year ago, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Shipments in September 2006 were 9.1 million net tons.

September 2007 shipments were also down 7.8 percent compared to 9.2 million net tons shipped in August 2007, according to the institute.

On a year-to-date comparison, shipments to steel service centers and distributors are down 11.6 percent, automobile manufacturers down one percent, construction and contractors down 2.9 percent and oil and gas producers down 8.5 percent.

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Iron Range Steelworkers prepare for contract talks

11/21 - Duluth - Iron Range Steelworkers, whose labor contracts expire in nine months, already are bracing for the worst.

“A lot of people shot an extra deer this year, just in case,” said Mike Maleska, president of United Steelworkers Local 6860 at United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes. Labor agreements covering about 4,000 Iron Range Steelworkers expire Sept. 1, 2008. With iron ore and steel companies reporting record revenues and demand for iron ore pellets remaining strong, negotiations are likely to be intense.

Steelworkers presidents and labor contract negotiating committees from Minnesota and Michigan will meet today at an iron ore conference in Duluth to begin discussing issues and strategies. “They [iron ore and steel companies] will certainly have a bargaining position on the issues, and so will we,” said Bob Bratulich, USW District 11 director. “We think with the industry being as financially well-off as they are should make bargaining easier. But we’ll see.”

Northeastern Minnesota’s six taconite plants are running at capacity. Together, they are projected to produce nearly 40 million tons of iron ore pellets this year. The pellets, containing about 65 percent iron, are shipped to domestic steelmakers and turned into steel. High demand, especially in China, is fueling a worldwide thirst for iron. As a result, iron ore and steel companies are enjoying some of their best times.

In addition to continued strong demand, analysts are saying that world iron ore pellet prices could increase by 25 to 50 percent in 2008, said Peter Kakela, a Michigan State University professor. A 2008 increase, on top of significant pellet price hikes in recent years, would mean more revenue for iron ore producers that sell pellets on the open market.

Cleveland-Cliffs, which manages and holds ownership in three Iron Range taconite plants, reported an $81.9 million net income in the third quarter, after a second-quarter net income of $86.9 million.

U.S. Steel, which owns and operates two Iron Range taconite facilities, had a net income of $269 million in the third quarter after $302 million in the second quarter. ArcelorMittal, the parent company of the Minorca Mine near Virginia, reported a third-quarter net income of $3 billion and second-quarter net income of $2.7 billion.

Good times should make for smoother contract talks, said Tony Barrett, a College of St. Scholastica economics professor. “I would expect the negotiations to not be friendly,” Barrett said. “There hasn’t been a labor negotiation anywhere in the last three or four years that isn’t focused on health care. But I don’t think they will be hostile. It’s a good time for the industry and I think both sides realize that. I would not expect a strike.”

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Boatnerd Logos for sale

Just in time for Christmas, a new order of BoatNerd logos has arrived. They make great stocking stuffers for your favorite Boatnerd.

For your vehicle we have 4" x 4" bumper stickers or interior window clingers. For your jacket, cap or shirt we have 3.25" x 3' sew-on cloth patches.

Let your Boatnerd show his/her colors and meet other people of similar interest. All proceeds go to support this site and help keep us online.

To order these items, click here for order form and pricing. BoatNerd logos are also available at Vantage Point in Port Huron.


Updates - November 21

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Calumet Last Trip Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - November 21

On 21 November 1880, the DICTATOR (wooden schooner-barge, 500 t, built in 1865 at Buffalo as a propeller) was carrying 21,000 bushels of wheat in tow of steamer MORELY or JARVIS LORD (newspapers disagree). When she began to labor in a gale her skipper ordered her crew to abandon her to the MORLEY which was herself disabled by the towline. Shortly after, DICTATOR lurched to starboard and went down. No lives were lost.

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.


Sand bar may signal end to Holland's shipping season

11/20 - Holland - An old friend who was a biology professor used to advise that if you fought with the forces of nature, you would ultimately lose. You could slow down the undesired results, perhaps, but ultimately, nature would have its way. The professor's words proved true again last week when soundings done by the Army Corps of Engineers showed a depth of only 17.5 feet outside the mouth of the Holland channel.

A sand bar about 200 feet wide has developed 100 to 150 feet off shore. Six weeks ago, vessels were reporting 20.5 feet of depth in that area. The autumn storms have pushed a lot of sand around the bottom of the lake.

That may well mean that the shipping is done for the year in Holland. That is not good news for local shippers. We will have an update on the situation next week.

Activity has been continuing at Grand Haven and Muskegon, but vessels are having to load lighter to get into those ports as well. Last Tuesday a vessel grounded outside Muskegon for the third time this year. The Earl W. was able to back off on its own, but high winds forced it to seek shelter and it wound up going all the way to Manitowoc, Wis., to find it. From there it went to Ludington to off-load some material before it was able to get in at Muskegon on Friday.

By Bob Vande Vusse for the Holland Sentinel


Port Reports - November 20

Fairport Harbor - Herb Hubbel
Saturday the McKee Sons was unloading aggregates. Maumee was loading salt at Morton Salt on Monday morning.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Mississagi came in about 8:30 p.m. Saturday night. It unloaded at Meekhof's D & M Dock on Harbor Island and was gone shortly after midnight.
The Earl W. came in very early Monday morning with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. It was just pulling away from the dock at 8:30 a.m.

Wyandotte - Gary Angel
Monday the Arthur M. Andersen at the Wyandotte Municipal Power Plant unloading coal at 7:30 p.m. Great Lakes Fleet ships are the regular supply ships for the Wyandotte Power Plant, and can be seen there once month or so.


Welland Canal Anniversary to be celebrated

11/20 - Thorold, Ont. - William Hamilton Merritt Day will take place at the Lock 7 Viewing Centre in Thorold on November 26 at 10 a.m. The public is invited to attend this year's ceremony.

Jack Leitch, Chairman of Upper Lakes Shipping and the Hon. Jim Bradley, Ontario's Transportation Minister will be this year's key note speakers.

Sponsored by the Welland Canals Foundation in association with The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation and OEB International, the event will celebrate 178th anniversary of the first up-bound vessel through the Welland Canal in 1829.


Federal government to build permanent home for Marine Museum

11/20 - Kingston, Ont. - The current lease for the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes will expire at the end of the month, but the museum won't be left without a home. The federal government has agreed to keep the museum as a tenant on the property and says it will look to build a permanent home for the museum along Ontario Street.

The chairman of the museum said the latest development is a major swing from where things stood 12 months ago when the museum looked like it would lose its home. "We're going to see a lot of great things happen at that site," said Mark Siemons. "There's a lot of potential on the site for more buildings."

Siemons said the museum can now begin planning for expansion, something that has been explored for more than a decade and had been put on hold during lease negotiations. "This is an important step," he said. "The Marine Museum has to grow or it will die. When we get that site developed, you won't believe it," Siemons said later. "Once we get something signed, we'll go public with the rest of the plan."

At the council meeting tomorrow, city councillors will be asked to allow the current 30-year lease to die at the end of the month. That will allow the federal government to sign a new lease with the Marine Museum and take it on as a tenant. The federal government owns the site, but leased it to the city, which in turn leased it to the museum.

The proposed lease is for 10 years, mainly a technicality to allow the museum to access grants. Many grant programs require an organization to show it is financially stable, which includes having a 10-year lease. However, there has been nothing finalized and there is no deal in writing. Siemons said that wasn't a cause for concern because of the verbal agreements from the federal government to keep the museum at its current home on Ontario Street.

With a more secure future, the museum is now considering future expansion. Siemons said among the plans would be to drain the dry dock that currently holds the museum's largest artifact, the Alexander Henry ship. The ship and dry dock would be dry and become more accessible to tours, Siemons said.

A deep water port would be added to allow ships to dock and a new building would be built at the foot of the dry dock, he said. The museum would still receive operational funding from the city under the new deal.

The federal government will have to find funding to bring the site up to health and safety standards. Work needs to be done on the east and west wharfs, the caisson gates and wall, the limestone dry dock and extension, according to a city hall staff report. "It is anticipated that large areas of the property will have [to] be fenced off from the public use until a method of stabilization is undertaken," staff write.

Who would fix up the site was the main issue that hampered negotiations. The federal government said it was the city's responsibility, while the city said it was Ottawa's. "Although we have divergent opinions regarding the covenants in the current lease to upkeep the property ... we can agree that the property now requires rehabilitation," wrote Tim McGrath, an assistant deputy minister with Public Works and Government Services Canada.

His letter, dated Nov. 15 to chief administrative officer Glen Laubenstein, says that his department is trying to secure funding for the repairs. "We will continue to work toward a long-term solution for this National Historic Site, including a permanent home for the Marine Museum at its existing location, that is in the best interests of the taxpayers of Kingston and the nation," McGrath wrote.

Eventually, Siemons said, Ottawa, city hall and the museum will have to figure out who will own the site when the lease expires. Siemons said it would probably work out better if the city owned the property in the future.

From the Kingston Whig-Standard


Art Museum Exhibitions

11/20 -  The Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin, has two exhibitions on view through January 20, 2008, that will interest boaters.

"Sailing Wisconsin's Blue Jewel" features 40 images of boating on Lake Geneva by Fontana, Wisconsin, photographer Bruce Thompson. Handsome classic boats, large-sailed racing scows, and three-bladed iceboats capture the beauty, thrill, speed, and grace of Lake Geneva's boats and boaters. In all seasons, Lake Geneva is a jewel.

"Rivers, Sea and Shore: Reflections on Water" features 50 historic paintings that present majestic ship portraits and the smaller steamboats, ferries, and sailboats used to explore America's waterways. Also included are serene mountain lakes, the mighty Mississippi, folks having fun on the shore, and industrial waterfronts.

For more information visit


Updates - November 20

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Calumet Last Trip Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - November 20

On 20 November 1873, the CITY OF BOSTON (wooden propeller, 136’, 392 gt, built in 1863 at Cleveland, OH) stranded and was wrecked in a blizzard about four miles south of Frankfort, Michigan on Lake Michigan. In 1887, her boiler was removed during a failed effort to raise her and it was used by an area saw mill.

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 MacLaren 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.


Calumet's Final Voyage

11/19 - Sunday evening at 8 p.m. the Calumet departed on her final voyage from Cleveland to Port Colborne. The vessel arrived at the Welland Canal about 9 a.m. and was expected to tie up at the stone dock at Ramey's Bend to off load some of the equipment.

The vessel was expected to be retired and considered for scrapped at the end of the season in December. The incident on Thursday brought her 78-year career to an end about one month earlier than planned.

Reported by Chris Woods


Port Reports - November 19

Sorel-Tracy - Rene Beauchamp
Almost finishing unloading steel products at the port of Sorel-Tracy is the new vessel Garganey under charter to Canfornav. She is about to enter the Seaway for the first time heading for Thunder Bay. She is the last one of that class ordered by Canfornav.

Green Bay - Wendell Wilke
On Sunday the John G. Munson was outbound into Green Bay at 10 a.m. after unloading coal.
The tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber was unloading stone at Western Lime and was outbound at 1 p.m.

Gary - Brian Z.
Upper Lakes' John D. Leitch was loading a cargo of coke breeze at the east vessel dock of U.S. Steel Sunday morning. The Leitch is expected to finish loading late Monday morning destined for Quebec.

Drummond Island - Jon Paul
The tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader arrived Sunday morning at the Drummond Island Stone Dock. They had finished loading by early evening and departed upbound for a delivery to Marquette.

Menominee - Trygve Rhude
About 11 a.m. Sunday morning, the "green can" buoy came along the starboard side of the BBC Ems and she was free of her extra "anchor." The vessel departed around 1:30 p.m. headed north on Green Bay. She had run over the buoy on Saturday, and wrapped the buoy chain around her prop.


Updates - November 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Calumet Last Trip Gallery

Reserve Conversion Gallery


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.'s 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.


BBC Ems has trouble in Menominee

11/18 - Menominee - Saturday afternoon the BBC Ems departed Menominee after unloading a cargo of windmill parts.

Assisting the BBC Ems departing was the G Tug Indiana. After having difficulty getting through the Ogden Street Bridge, the tow made its way out through the piers in a strong North to Northeast wind.

After being released by the tug, Ems lost her main engine.

The BBC Ems ran over the green buoy just outside the piers and got it tangled in its prop or rudder. At 7:30 p.m. the Tug Indiana returned to its dock in Menominee and the BBC Ems was stopped crosswise just outside the Marinette Menominee breakwall.

By 10 p.m. Saturday night, divers were being shuttled by the Indiana out to the Ems.

Reported by Scott Best and Dick Lund


Updates - November 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery


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.

On 18 November 1872, 30 miles out from Chicago, Illinois, the schooner NEW HAMPSHIRE (wooden schooner, 87’, 94 gt, built in 1846 at Saugatuck, MI) was struck broadside by the schooner MAGGIE THOMPSON in the early morning hours. The crew of the NEW HAMPSHIRE scrambled onto the THOMPSON before their vessel capsized and sank. The NEW HAMPSHIRE was later raised and repaired and she lasted until 1885 when she sank in Lake Huron.

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.


Calumet Strikes Wall
May be finished

11/17 - Cleveland - On Thursday afternoon the Calumet struck a concrete wall along the Old River in Cleveland. U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Cleveland reported no pollution in the river and no injuries to the crew.

The Calumet stopped at the Ontario Stone Corp. dock and the damage on the starboard side was repaired. The extent of damage was not reported. Calumet had offloaded stone at the Ontario Stone Corp. After unloading the stone, the ship proceeded to pick up a load of salt at the International Salt Company, when the ship struck the wall.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

USCG News Release

Note: The Calumet was expected to be retired at the end of the season. It is likely that she will not be repaired and will go for scrapping. No decision has been announced at this time.


Port Report - November 17

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
The Algosoo, which had been loading corn at the Nidera Elevator in the inner harbor, left Milwaukee at 1 p.m. on Friday.
Later that afternoon, the Canadian Transfer was unloading salt in the inner harbor.


Lake levels

11/17 - Sarnia - The U.S. wants to put so-called speed bumps in the St. Clair River. The speed bumps, or flow inhibitors, would slow the flow of the river to raise the levels of lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior. But Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley calls the notion "appalling." "The idea of adding a flow inhibitor at this time, not based on science or engineering, but on politics, is appalling," Bradley wrote in a letter to International Joint Commission officials.

Senators from seven states have urged the IJC to slow the St. Clair, which they say is draining Lake Huron too quickly. They point to a Canadian study that suggested erosion and dredging of the waterway is responsible for flushing extra water down the St. Clair "drain."

The senators from states bordering the upper Great Lakes are concerned about record or near-record low water levels and are demanding fast action. They are unwilling to await the outcome of a $17.5-million bi-national study of upper Great Lakes water levels that the IJC has commissioned, due in 2009.

The senators, along with Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, want the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revive plans from the past to install river bottom flow inhibitors such as concrete weirs to slow the flow of the 50-kilometre-long St. Clair. Granholm and others are urging "a quick fix . . . to address low water levels that are hurting shippers, boaters and wildlife," the Detroit Free Press reported recently.

Their politicking has Bradley seeing red. He said this week such a knee-jerk reaction to low water levels is wrong. Bradley fired off a letter to David Miller, mayor of Toronto and Canadian chairperson of the binational Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, urging everyone to await the outcome of the IJC-commissioned study that is underway. His concern was copied to Herb Gray, chairperson of the Canadian section of the IJC.

Bradley closely monitors American plans for the lakes. He raised a fuss about the U.S. Coast Guard practice-firing machine-guns as part of anti-terrorist training, an exercise that was terminated. Now he is urging U.S. politicians to await the 2009 release of the scientific study. "The message is simple," said Bradley. "Let science dictate, not the political fix that is suggested."

At the IJC, Ted Yuzyk, a hydrologist who is co-director of that study, is aware of pressure from American politicians. "There is a tremendous amount of public and political pressure," he conceded, all triggered by low water levels in the upper Lakes.

Yuzyk said preliminary evidence seems to have debunked a hypothesis from a $250,000 engineering study funded by Georgian Bay property owners that suggested erosion caused by dredging has enhanced the river's flow by as much as two per cent. "The (Sarnia) mayor's got it perfectly right," Yuzyk said. "Let's give the study time to look at the results." He noted the IJC can't do anything without a mandate from the American and Canadian governments.

Over the years, the boundary river has been dredged and after the last time, plans were approved to install water-slowing underwater devices outside the shipping lanes to compensate for the dredging. But a high water cycle and concern about the cost-benefits ratio scotched those plans, he said. Critics of the speed bump plan warn when high water levels return flow inhibitors will only exacerbate high levels, creating more problems than they solve.

The St. Clair River, described as fast-flowing river with many rapids by explorers as far back as the 1600s. Has been dredged to 6.4 metres in 1920, dredged to 7.6 metres in 1933, and dredged to 8.2 metres in 1960. Plans to impede water flow to compensate for dredging were developed in the 1970s, but later abandoned.

To learn about the latest study of Upper Great Lakes levels commissioned by the International Joint Commission (IJC), visit the study website at

From the London Free Press


Low water notice issued by Welland Canal

11/17 - Due to the lower water levels being experienced on Lake Ontario and the silting which has occurred in Port Weller Harbour, high spots are developing below Lock 1.

Rather than reducing draft, the following procedure has been put in place: Lock 1 – To North End of Wharf 2 - Vessels whose drafts are greater than 7.77 metres (25’6”) are to proceed at the slowest safe possible speed through the affected area.

St. Lawrence Seaway


Mackinaw to Load 1,000 Christmas Trees

11/17 - Cheboygan - As part of the annual Christmas Tree Ship, the USCGC Mackinaw will be loaded with more than 1,000 Christmas Trees on Monday in Cheboygan.

The trees will be loaded by the Mackinaw crew, crewmembers families, and the Ogemaw Heights High School Navy JROTC Cadets. Two hundred trees will be presented to the local Salvation Army in Cheboygan. The Salvation Army, along with the local police and fire departments, will accept them for distribution to deserving resident families.

The trees were purchased from Cheboygan-area tree growers by Chicago's Christmas Tree Ship committee. This annual event is a culmination of efforts by the Chicago Christmas Tree Ship Committee, working together with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Sea Partners Program, Chicago Navy Pier, and the generous boaters of the marine community to help make Christmas special for deserving Chicago families.

Upon arrival to Navy Pier the trees will be distributed through Ada S. McKinley Community Services to deserving families.

The sailing vessel Rouse Simmons was the original Christmas Tree Ship in the early 1900's. Her annual arrival on the Chicago waterfront with freshly cut trees from the Michigan Upper Peninsula was a highlight and, to many Chicago-area residents, a sign of the arrival of the Christmas season. The USCGC Mackinaw (WAGB 83) began the re-enactment event in 2000 and her legacy is being carried on by USCGC Mackinaw (WLBB 30) for the second year.

During the transit to Chicago, the 1,000 Christmas trees will share the deck space of Mackinaw with navigational buoys, some weighing as much as 12,000 lbs. Mackinaw will continue to conduct seasonal Aids to Navigation operations in Southern Lake Michigan along the approaches to Gary, IN and Calumet Harbor, IL.

USCG News Release


East Toledo site intrigues ferry operators
Firms tour passenger facility Friday; dedication Monday

11/17 - Toledo - Nearly 11 years after the idea first surfaced, Toledo has a marine passenger terminal on its waterfront.

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority is planning a public dedication ceremony for the $3.2 million building at the downriver end of the Marina District site in East Toledo on Monday, four days after holding its monthly board meeting in the newly built terminal’s main concourse. “It’s a terrific building … a great thing for the city,” said Doni Miller, the board of directors’ chairman. “Now, the key is to get a service in here so it gets used.”

Indeed, while Toledo has a place for ferries to stop, for now it lacks any ferries to stop there. But the port authority has solicited proposals from potential ferry-service operators, and Friday led representatives of as many as a dozen firms, that have expressed interest, on tours of the new terminal.

Also on the mailing list for the port’s tour invitation were the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, a trade organization representing cruise ship operators, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which would need to establish inspection operations at the terminal before any vessels sailing from Canada — or any other foreign country — could call in Toledo.

Office space for Customs use has been provided in the terminal, said Kelly Rivera Nye, the port authority’s communications director, but the space is unfinished. Since 1997, when the terminal plan was announced, the estimated cost for Customs facilities has soared from $30,000 to $260,000, largely because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mrs. Nye said.

The port authority is seeking grants for a $1.9 million second phase of the terminal project that would cover that cost and other enhancements, she said, including a rooftop observation deck and solar panels, furniture and equipment, and finishing of a marina shop at the terminal. A third phase, estimated at $3 million, would provide a second dock and a ramp for Hovercraft-type vessels, which travel on a pressurized air cushion on the water’s surface instead of floating and propelling themselves against the water. If a feasible service proposal using Hovercraft arises during the current bidding process, Mrs. Nye said, ramp construction could be accelerated.

The original ferry proposal, when the Ohio Department of Transportation awarded the port authority $1.2 million in federal funding designated for related facilities, was to run Hovercraft between Toledo and Windsor. Hovercraft are better suited for year-round operation in waters prone to icing over, such as Lake Erie, because they can travel at regular speeds skimming the surface, rather than breaking their way through the ice. But while a Hovercraft was brought to Toledo in 2000 for demonstration runs, arrangements to develop the Windsor ferry service ultimately foundered.

The proposed terminal location migrated over the years from International Park to Brenner Marine and finally to the chosen location: next to the former Toledo Edison Acme Generating Station and a short distance up the Maumee River from I-280. Additional grants boosted the project’s federal funding to $2.6 million, which was combined with $611,000 in port authority money to build the terminal. The city of Toledo will use part of the building as an office for the adjoining Glass City Marina.

Any firm now wishing to submit a ferry-service proposal to the port authority is required to take the terminal tour today and will have submit its plan by Dec. 7.
Proposals are to be reviewed by the port authority’s new project development committee on Dec. 12.

Along with Windsor, potential destinations that have been discussed for a Toledo ferry service have included the Lake Erie Islands and Detroit. Mrs. Nye said it is possible that multiple operators could be signed up to use the terminal if they have viable service proposals, and that 2008 could be a year of “experimental” service.

Six cruise-ship companies offer seasonal tours on the Great Lakes, and the port authority hopes the terminal’s presence will induce one or more them to call on Toledo. Several Great Lakes cruises visited Toledo during the late 1990s, but no such stops have occurred recently.

Port officials expect all furnishings in the terminal’s main concourse to be portable, Mrs. Nye said, so that the concourse also can be used for banquets, especially during the winter if ferry operations start on a seasonal basis.

From the Toledo Blade


Updates - November 17

Reserve Conversion 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.

At 0700 hours on 17 November 1903, the S. S. CURRY (steel propeller bulk freighter, 360’, 3260 gt, built in 1893 at W. Bay City, MI) was upbound with a load of coal when she tried to avoid the WILLIAM L. BROWN which had stranded the previous day on the rocks at Lime Kiln Crossing where the Detroit River empties into Lake Erie (see yesterday’s posting). The CURRY lost control and she ended up on the other side of the channel across from the BROWN. Both vessels effectively blocked the channel. Each vessel had her cargo lightered and they were freed. The BROWN was freed on 18 November 1903 while the CURRY was freed later.

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 Sebewaing, 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 WellerÕs 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.


Tug Reliance Fire

11/16 -  At 8 p.m. Thursday the fire trucks were no longer on scene and the fire boat Curtis Randolph had returned to its dock. The Reliance was at the dock with no activity seen. It is unknown how much damage was done.

About 5:20 p.m. Thursday, the crew of the Purvis Marine tug Reliance evacuated the tug and sealed up the vessel reporting an electrical fire in the engine room. Tug Reliance and barge PML 9000 had arrived at the Nicholson’s Detroit (Detroit Marine Terminals) dock at 3:50.

All 10 crewmembers safely evacuated the tug and waited dock side for the Detroit Fire Department. A fire department truck arrived on scene a short time later and was joined by a boat from U.S. Coast Guard Station Belle Isle. The Detroit fire boat Curtis Randolph was also on scene. There were no visible signs of smoke or fire coming from the tug.

Reported by: Angie Williams


Two more tankers for Algoma Central fleet

11/16 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - The Algoma Central Corporation, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, has entered into an agreement to construct two 25,000 DWT double-hulled, IMO II, petroleum product tankers at the Nantong Mindge Heavy Industry Stock Co., Ltd. shipyard in Jiangsu, China. Deliveries of the two vessels are scheduled for August 2010 and April 2011 at an expected cost of approximately $90 million U.S. in total.

These vessels are in addition to the acquisition of three 16,500 DWT double-hulled IMO II petroleum product tankers announced September 11, 2007. All five of these vessels will be employed and operated as part of Hanseatic Tankers, a new venture being established with Bernhard Schulte Group, Sloman Neptun, Intrepid Shipping LLC and the Corporation.

Hanseatic Tankers plans to employ and operate 18 – 16,500 DWT and up to 8 – 25,000 DWT tankers. Trading areas for the ships are expected to be focused in Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia. These opportunities allow for further diversification of the Corporation within the global shipping industry.

The Corporation owns and manages four Canadian-flagged product tankers with delivery of an additional two tankers scheduled for the first half of 2008. The Corporation also owns a foreign-flag product tanker through a wholly-owned foreign subsidiary. It is expected this foreign-flag product tanker will also be operated and employed as part of the Hanseatic Tankers commencing in late 2008.

In addition to product tankers the Corporation owns 19 Canadian flagged dry-bulk vessels that operate on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Waterway as part of a 35 vessel fleet that is managed by Seaway Marine Transport, a partnership with an unrelated party.

As announced November 7, 2007, the partners entered into agreements to construct two maximum seaway size forebodies and to attach these new forebodies to the aft-ends of the Algobay and Algoport.

The Corporation owns two ocean-going self-unloaders through a wholly-owned foreign subsidiary and an interest in five ocean-going self unloaders through a joint venture. These seven vessels are part of a 28 vessel, ocean-going, self-unloader fleet that is commercially managed by a third party.

The Corporation also owns a diversified fabrication, ship and engine repair operation and commercial real estate.

Algoma Central news release


Low water snags freighter in channel

11/16 - Muskegon - A Great Lakes freighter was forced to turn back because of shallow water in the Muskegon harbor Tuesday afternoon, the third such shipping incident since midsummer.

But this time, it wasn't one of the 1,000-foot super-freighters that have had trouble negotiating Muskegon's outer harbor in recent months. It was the 630-foot Earl W, an aggregate hauler headed for the Mart Dock. Low water and shifting sand also has again plugged up the Mona Lake channel.

The Earl W was bringing in about 19,000 tons of limestone for Verplank Dock Co., said Nathan Gates, the company's sales and logistics manager. The ship's captain, forewarned about the "shoaling" -- or buildup of sand on the lake bottom -- that has occurred between Muskegon's outer pierheads, proceeded slowly and backed off at the first contact with the bottom, Gates said.

The ship proceeded across the lake to Manitowoc, Wis., and is expected to off-load several thousand tons before returning to Muskegon for a second try. "It's still passable, but because of the weather patterns we've been having it has gotten a little bit worse. The water level is ... tremendously low," Gates said.

The 1,000-foot Indiana Harbor ran aground outside Muskegon's outer pierheads Aug. 22, just a day after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a shoaling advisory to Great Lakes shippers. It was stuck for about four hours before the captain was able to rock it free. The 1,000-foot American Integrity became stuck in nearly the same location Sept. 10.

Muskegon's harbor is scheduled for dredging next April, but Gates said Verplank is expecting several more aggregate shipments before winter hits. "It's not getting any better," he said.

Low water levels have affected harbors around the Great Lakes, according to the Lake Carriers' Association, a shippers' industry group. That and lack of adequate dredging are among the largest issues facing shippers today, forcing them to lighten loads and increase costs, according to Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the association.

The Mona Lake channel is large enough for recreational craft only, so its problems don't affect commercial traffic. A large sand bank has re-formed at the Mona Lake channel mouth -- blocking hundreds of gizzard shad from migrating to Lake Michigan, likely for feeding.

Low water levels and shifting currents formed the sand bank this week where the channel meets Lake Michigan. The sand is 3 feet above the water's surface and stretches from breakwall to breakwall. Beachgoers used the sand bank to cross the channel Tuesday afternoon. It's the second time a sand bank has formed there since September.

Since the recreational boating season is over, officials do not plan to excavate the bank. They'll wait for nature to take its course -- specifically rain and wind to clear the channel's path.

The shad, an algae eater, likely were headed to Lake Michigan in search of food or warmer water. They were circling the channel in a racetrack pattern up to the sand bank. "It looks like they want to get out of here for a mass feeding frenzy," said Annoesjka Steinman, a city council member and director of the Mona Lake Watershed Council. "It doesn't make any sense." The shad, which are a popular food source for larger species, can get back to Mona Lake, so there is not a threat of mass deaths, officials said.

Meanwhile, Steinman said the watershed council and a neighborhood association are looking to create an organization that would be able to assess fees to lakefront property owners for dredging. Right now, the Mona Lake Improvement Association uses voluntary fees for dredging. The association paid to have a sand bank cleared in September. It also receives 50-percent matches from the city for algae and weed removal.

The city also gave the group $5,000 this year for improvement projects, even though the city does not have jurisdiction over the channel. Steinman said more needs to be done to correct the problem. "The biggest issue is the low water level," she said. "It's clearly going to get worse."

From the Muskegon Chronicle


Low water casts deep trouble on Great Lakes

11/15 - Chicago - The nearly historic low water levels in Lake Michigan could soon hit consumers' pocket books.

Water evaporation and lack of precipitation are causing trouble for shippers and power companies, who might pass on added expenses to consumers. That could mean higher electricity bills and pricier goods. Fishermen and boaters may also feel the effects as it gets harder to launch boats and catch certain fish.

On the other hand, one expert says low water levels help native plants fight invasive species.

In the last decade, Lake Michigan has lost enough water to fill the equivalent of 22.5 million Olympic-size swimming pools. The lake, which is at nearly historic low water levels, has dropped about 40 inches, from about 580 feet and 8 inches to 577 feet and 5 inches. Each inch corresponds to 372 billion gallons of water.

"We have less precipitation and more evaporation. That's what's making the lakes lower," said Cynthia Sellinger, hydrologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The lack of water has changed beaches. Some newer marinas built during high water levels have had to dredge to allow boaters access to their slips. It also forces some hydro power plants to buy energy elsewhere.

"What happens is, there's not enough water to turn the turbines and they have to buy the electricity from other sources, so electricity bills will be higher this coming year. When they can't make the electricity, they buy it from a nuclear plant," Sellinger said. Because nuclear power plants need cooling water, they have to spend millions on dredging to get intake pipes to lower levels, she said.

Many private wells could drain to Lake Michigan because they are drilled into glacial till and connected to Lake Michigan. "If the lakes are lower than the water in the groundwater, it's going to drain the wells because water flows from a high elevation to a lower one," Sellinger said.

At the moment, the Port of Indiana in Burns Harbor is more affected by market forces such as a weak U.S. dollar than by low lake levels, but shippers generally experience increased costs because they have to carry lighter loads.

"Lake levels certainly present a different equation in that you can't fill the ships as high. Therefore, it takes more ships to bring in the same amount of cargo or it costs more," said Jody Peacock, spokesperson for the Ports of Indiana. "You may not be able to make as much profits. Any time you add cost into the equation, the cost has to be passed down" to the consumer.

That also affects the steel industry. The Burns Harbor port handled $820 million worth of cargo in 2006.

When water levels fall, it also dries out some wetlands which affects fish like northern pike, large-mouth bass and bluegills. "The fish that are relying on those vegetated habitats for spawning are running into years where they have less spawning habitat available," said Douglas Wilcox with the U.S. Geological Survey's Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor.

On the other hand, the low water levels are part of a natural cycle that's been taking place for the past 4,700 years, Wilcox said. Historic data shows lake levels hit lows every 30-some years -- as in the 1960s, 1930s and around 1900. The highs and lows are necessary to help native plants kill invasive species such as cattails, he said.

Lake water mostly evaporates in the fall and winter, especially when there's no ice to cap it. The depth of the lakes hold heat, so when cold air blasts over the lake in the winter, the water evaporates.

Based on past data, water levels should go up again any time, but Sellinger said researchers are still trying to find out whether water levels will go up again or if global warming or other factors have changed the cycle.

From the Chicago Post-Tribune


Lafarge, Dow in trial partnership

11/16 - Alpena - What does an insecticide have to do with cement manufacturing? In Alpena, the byproduct of a naturally occurring insecticide is being used to help reduce nitrous oxide emissions at Lafarge.

According to Lafarge Public Affairs Manager Craig Ryan, Lafarge began a trial partnership with Dow AgroSciences in September to aid both companies in being more environmentally friendly. “This is part of Lafarge’s commitment to the community to improve our environmental footprint,” Ryan said.

Lafarge is utilizing a product Dow deposits in landfills and incinerates to help reduce the emissions in the plant. “This is a good deal for us, them and the state of Michigan. It has got the potential to be a fantastic partnership,” said Ryan McGill, site leader of Dow AgroScience in Harbor Beach.

He said the insecticide was discovered by mistake in the 1980s at a rum distillery in Jamaica by a scientist researching antibiotics. Upon inspection, there was a bacteria present that was a byproduct of the distilling process. This bacteria repels insects.

In 1995, Dow began research on this environmentally friendly, naturally occurring, insecticide whose active ingredient is spinosad. Dow developed a fermentation process similar to the one used in Jamaica and by 1997 the insecticide was in full scale production. McGill said the fermentation process utilized by Dow leaves it with a broth containing yeast, sugars, flours and the dead organisms that helped produce the insecticide. This broth is approximately 60 percent water and 40 percent solids.

“(This partnership) takes what is left over from the process, something undesirable for Dow, and makes it desirable for us,” said Jacey Radel, resource recovery coordinator for Lafarge. Radel said the broth is brought to Alpena by tankers and used in the flame in the kiln. It is a 1,400 degree Celsius process. The liquid is injected into the fuel stream and aids in the combustion of the fuel. It helps reduce nitrous oxide emissions. Further, the liquid ensures a more complete combustion of the fuel.

“There are a few benefits to this process. We can be green; we have the benefit of reducing our emissions,” Ryan said. “Dow can be green by reducing land fill. Additionally, the water in it helps us cool the kilns and the solid in it helps reduce our dependency on non-renewable energy sources such as coal and coke. Everybody wins.”

The result is two large corporations reducing landfill and nitrous oxide emissions in Michigan. “It certainly seems to be beneficial for both Dow and Lafarge and I do not see a negative impact. It is better than water (for the kiln), I do not see what the environmental risk would be,” said Janis Denman, district supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources Air Quality Division.

From the Alpena News


Updates - November 16

Reserve Conversion 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.

On 16 November 1903, the WILLIAM L. BROWN (steel propeller bulk freighter, 430’, 4998 gt, built in 1901 at Chicago, IL) was downbound with a load of iron ore when she struck the east bank of the channel and went on the rocks at Lime Kiln Crossing where the Detroit River empties into Lake Erie. The vessel was freed on 18 November 1903.

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.


Weak Demand Saps Lakes Limestone Trade Again in October

11/15 - Cleveland - Lower demand for limestone from the construction industry again slowed shipments on the Great Lakes in October.

Loadings at U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes ports totaled 3.6 million net tons, a decrease of 11.6 percent compared to a year ago, and a drop of nearly 20 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average. The trade was also impacted by some vessels having to tie up for repairs, but if the active fleet could have carried full loads, the idled carrying capacity would have been more than offset.

The dredging crisis continued to reduce payloads. A vessel that has carried nearly 35,000 tons of stone in a single trip left a Michigan quarry with only 29,176 tons in its holds. Another vessel that has the capacity to carry 54,000 tons of stone each trip twice left Michigan ports with less than 49,000 tons onboard.

Through October, limestone shipments stand at 28.2 million tons, a decrease of 10.5 percent compared to both a year ago and the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

Source - Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - November 15

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Rt. Hon. Paul R. Martin departed the Gateway Terminal at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Alpena remained in Fraser Shipyards early on Wednesday morning. A large, dockside crawler crane spent Tuesday positioned just aft of the vessel’s pilothouse.
The parade of vessels into Midwest Energy Terminal continued with American Century loading for Silver Bay while Paul R. Tregurtha fueled while waiting for the dock to load for St. Clair.
American Century is due back Thursday to load for St. Clair and Monroe.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Algosoo shifted overnight Tuesday from the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island, where it had delivered salt, across the Milwaukee inner harbor basin to the Nidera grain elevator, where it was loading corn Wednesday.


Updates - November 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

The Public Photo Gallery has been taken down due to technical difficulties. Your all-volunteer BoatNerd staff is working to install new technology to bring this free service back on line. Watch this box for information concerning the return.


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 1920, while the MAPLEGULF (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 174’, 821 gt, built in 1888 in Marine City, MI, formerly PAWNEE) was fighting a big gale on Lake Ontario, she rode up on a big wave and broke her back. She was in a desperate sinking condition but was able to make it to Kingston harbor where she was declared a total loss. She was later dismantled and abandoned.

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.


Weather delays vessels in the Straits

11/14 - Straits of Mackinac - The Phillip R. Clarke went to anchor just east of Point Nipigon at 7:30 p.m. Later the westbound Kaye Barker joined the Clarke at the same spot 10 miles south west of Mackinaw City.

At the time the weather conditions on northern Lake Michigan were south south west winds at 25 knots with gusts to 33 knots and 8-10 foot waves.

Reported by Jon Paul


Port Reports - November 14

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Algosoo backed into Milwaukee's inner harbor Tuesday at about 11:30 a.m., bringing a load of salt to the bulk cargo dock.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
Frontenac cleared light from the Great Lakes Elevator at 11 a.m. on a beautiful sunny Tuesday morning.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Alpena was in Fraser Shipyards on Tuesday morning, apparently for repairs. The Alpena has been LaFarge’s primary hauler to the Twin Ports this season and apparently now is calling only at the company’s Superior terminal. Dredges have been at work off the mouth of the slip at LaFarge’s Duluth terminal, so there may be draft issues at that dock.
Canadian Progress was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.
St. Clair was at BNSF ore dock.
Presque Isle was loading at CN/DMIR.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin backing into the Lackawanna slip for the Gateway Terminal at about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday morning.
The Marlene Green was also unloading windmill turbine bases. The ship has been here since Sunday morning.

Owen Sound - Ed Saliwonchyk
Frontenac departed Owen Sound shortly before noon Tuesday. Frontenac was last in Owen Sound four years ago when she was the first self-unloader to make use of the then newly installed hopper at the Great Lakes Grain Elevators.


Great Lakes Maritime Center changes schedule

11/14 - The Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point in Port Huron will be changing to winter hours next Monday.

The center will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week through the winter season.


Updates - November 14

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

The Public Photo Gallery has been taken down due to technical difficulties. Your all-volunteer BoatNerd staff is working to install new technology to bring this free service back on line. Watch this box for information concerning the return.


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 1889, the Canadian Coast Guard crews went on strike over wages and other grievances. The crews agreed to man their vessels to offer emergency assistance when needed, but routine duties, including replacing navigation buoys, were not done. This was the first strike by the Canadian Coast Guard in 21 years. Canadian Coast Guard crews were civilian employees of the Canadian Department of Transportation and they had been barred from striking by law. However, in 1889, the Government failed to legislate them as essential employees, thus freeing them to strike. On 15 December 1889, the Canadian Government passed legislation ordering the Coast Guard crews back to work.

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.


Port Reports - November 13

Halifax - Mac MacKay
The tug Christiana and barge Double Skin 143 arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia November 8. The pair are on delivery from the shipyards in Wisconsin where they were built to their owners, Vane Line Bunkering, in Baltimore. This is the second tug and barge pair built by Manitowoc Corporation in two years for the old established Baltimore firm. The timing of the tug and barge's arrival in Halifax indicates that they were probably exposed to the effects of post tropical storm Noel as it passed through the region Nov 4 and 5, packing very high winds and seas as it made its way northeastward.

Seaway - René Beauchamp
Expected to transit the Seaway later this month will be the Jamaican flag Miltiades bound for Toronto. It is believed to be the first freighter flying the flag of Jamaica to transit the St. Lawrence Seaway. She transited under all of her five former names except one. Her previous name is Toro. One ship registered in Jamaica transited once on her delivery voyage but it was an inter island passenger ship, the Federal Palm built in 1961 at Port Weller. However, she had some space to carry a small amount of cargo.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports grain elevators were busy Monday morning and, for once, CHS wasn’t one of them. In Duluth, Vlistborg was loading beet pulp pellets at General Mills, Isa was at AGP and Seneca was at Cargill B1. The only vessel at an elevator in Superior was Adam E. Cornelius making one of its periodic calls at General Mills S. Elsewhere, Paul R. Tregurtha was pulling away from the Midwest Energy Terminal about 7:20 a.m. bound for Taconite Harbor. It’s due back Wednesday to load coal for St. Clair. American Integrity was at the Murphy Oil fuel depot waiting for Midwest Energy Terminal. Out on the lake, Canadian Progress and John B. Aird were at anchor waiting to load at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger came in at 10:30 a.m. Monday with a full load for the St. Mary's Terminal in Ferrysburg. It should be in port until sometime on Tuesday.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
Frontenac arrived from Midland with a part cargo of grain at about 10:40 Monday night. Her cargo will be unloaded starting Tuesday morning at the Great Lakes Elevator with departure later in the day.


Memorial Service and free program in Bay City

11/13 - Bay City, MI - On November 17 the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society will present their Annual Memorial Service for Bay City area sailors lost on Great Lakes ship wrecks starting at 4 p.m. The service will be held at Water Fall Park at the foot of 3rd Street, Bay City.

At 7 p.m. the program "The Edmund Fitzgerald and Stories of The Eighth Sea" by historian and educator Mike Snyder, will be presented at the First Presbyterian Church.


Mate Employment Opportunities

11/13 - Cleveland - Wisconsin and Michigan Steamship Company is seeking Licensed Officers/Mates for its River Class Vessels.

For additional information please contact Pauline Glomski at (216) 228-7253.


Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority issues Request For Proposals

11/13 - Toledo - The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has issued Request for Proposals for:

1) Request for Proposal to Operate Marine Passenger Terminal Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority
2) Request for Proposal to Operate Cross-Lake Passenger Ferry Service Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority

Please Click on the links above to download the Microsoft Word format Documents.


Updates - November 13

News Photo Gallery updated

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The Public Photo Gallery has been taken down due to technical difficulties. Your all-volunteer BoatNerd staff is working to install new technology to bring this free service back on line. Watch this box for information concerning the return.


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 Algoma's ALGONORTH) arrived at Singapore where she was lengthened 202 feet.

CONDARRELL was laid up for the last time on November 13, 1981. Built in 1953 as a.) D C EVEREST, she was renamed b.) CONDARRELL in 1982. After serving as a barge in Montreal she was towed to Port Colborne, Ontario in June, 2006, for possible scrap.

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 1854, the BUCEPHALUS (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 169’, 493 t, built in 1852 at Perrysburg, OH) was carrying passengers, corn, barrels of flour, and a deck load of merchandise from Chicago to Buffalo when she lost her rudder in a gale on Saginaw Bay, north of Pointe aux Barques. She was overwhelmed by heavy seas, filled with water and sank. Of the 24 onboard, 10 lost their lives. The survivors made it ashore in her boats.

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. McTavish.

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

Sturgeon Bay - Jeff Birch
The Charles M. Beeghly stopped briefly at Bayship Sunday and had departed by 12:30 p.m.

Goderich - Wayne Brown
Algosoo arrived in Goderich Sunday morning and started loading at 8:50 a.m. at Sifto.

South Chicago - Steve B.
The Calumet River was a busy place Sunday afternoon with four vessels on the River. The Aachen was unloading at Iroquois Landing near 92nd St. The Agawa Canyon held up just outside of Calumet Harbor until the G tug Colorado arrived to give an assist, then backed in stern first to the salt dock on the west side of 92nd St. Shortly after the Agawa Canyon tied up, the Calumet departed KCBX loaded.
The David Z. was heard talking to both the Calumet and Agawa Canyon at times, but was not sighted.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday had the Atlantic Huron arrive at 7 a.m. The Montrealais arrived at 1 p.m. with iron ore for Dofasco. Her next port is to be Superior.
The Vega Desgagnes departed at 3:15 p.m. and the saltie Zenia arrived at 4:15 p.m. going to Pier 12.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Friday on the Saginaw River saw the Indiana Harbor call on the Consumers Energy dock to unload coal. She finished her unload and was backing out of the river later in the evening.
The tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber also called on Friday with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Saginaw Wirt dock. They were outbound early Saturday morning.
On Saturday, the Maumee was inbound calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. She was outbound early Sunday morning


Doug Fairchild/Boatnerd Memorial Fund

The Board of Directors of Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supporting this website, has approved the establishment of a Memorial Fund to have a memorial bench installed in Rotary Park, at Mission Point, in Sault Ste. Marie in memory of the late Douglas Fairchild.

Fairchild, who died unexpectedly in March, was a dedicated boat watcher and supporter of the Boatnerd website. He also had a great interest in the aviation industry, and shared his experiences and information with everyone he met.

The permanent bench will be similar to the present memorial benches in Rotary Park and will be installed in this location favored by boat watchers and photographers from all around the Great Lakes.

Donations should be made to the Boatnerd Memorial Fund, and mailed to Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping, 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Donations may be tax-deductible depending upon your individual circumstances.


Updates - November 12

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

The Public Photo Gallery has been taken down due to technical difficulties. Your all-volunteer BoatNerd staff is working to install new technology to bring this free service back on line. Watch this box for information concerning the return.


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.

On 12 November 1920, during a severe gale on Lake Superior, the FRANCIS WIDLAR (steel propeller bulk freighter, 436’, 7300 gt, built in 1904 at Cleveland, OH) was driven onto Pancake Shoal with significant hull damage. She was declared a constructive loss and abandoned to the underwriters on 22 May 1921 in an “as is, where is” condition. The hulk was purchased from the underwriters by the Pioneer Steamship Company on 26 July 1921, repaired and then sold to the Mathews Steamship Company of Toronto, Ontario later that same year; they renamed her BAYTON. The total repair costs amounted to $58,097.39.

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.


Port Reports - November 11

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Agawa Canyon turned outside the Milwaukee harbor entrance on a calm Lake Michigan about 8:30 a.m. Saturday, then backed into the outer harbor and docked at the southernmost outer harbor pier with a partial load of salt.
St. Mary's Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah entered the Milwaukee harbor and inched up the Kinnickinnic River to their unloading terminal during the noon hour Saturday.
Also Saturday after 2 p.m., Agawa Canyon shifted to a berth in the inner harbor by backing up to the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island to deposit salt. Agawa Canyon left at about 6:30 p.m.
Cement barge Integrity and tug G. L. Ostrander arrived in the inner harbor after 9 p.m.,turning and docking at LaFarge.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday afternoon had the Algontario departing at 2 p.m. for Thunder Bay in ballast. Captain Henry Jackman arrived at 2:30 p.m. with iron ore.
The bunkering ship Hamilton Energy arrived from Port Weller at 6:30 p.m. to load more fuel and was on the move again back to Port Weller at 8 p.m. to bunker the Jumbo Spirit and Halifax.
Saturday saw the tug Bay Ridge Service and oil barge arrive off the Burlington Piers at 6:30 a.m. but decided not to transit the Burlington Ship Canal due to the wave conditions. They were seen going up and down the lake waiting for the conditions to improve. They finally transited the canal at 6:30 pm.
The Hamilton Energy arrived back from bunkering in Port Weller at 8 a.m. and then at noon was on her way to Oshawa.
Captain Henry Jackman departed Pier 26 at 11:30 am. with slag for Serpent Harbor. Canadian Olympic arrived at 5:30 p.m.

Toledo - Bob Vincent
In the Port of Toledo at the Anderson's "E" dock is the CSL Laurentien which came in early Saturday.
Canadian Provider, who came in Friday, is still being loaded at Anderson "K" dock.

At the Midwest Terminals of Toledo International dock, the CSL Birchglen was being unloaded. At the CSX coal dock, the Lee A. Tregurtha was loaded for Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. Headed out around 11:40 a.m.
Next coal boat will be the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. due Sunday at 9 a.m. The Manistee is schedule for Monday around 3 p.m.

On the CSX Torco Ore Dock, the American Mariner, coming from Marquette Michigan is scheduled for Tuesday early afternoon.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
Saginaw arrived with a full load of grain Saturday at the Great Lakes Elevator. She was unloading Saturday evening and expected to leave at about 9:30 Saturday night.
Frontenac is due in with a part cargo of wheat late Sunday or Monday.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
Saturday was a nice fall day with the Steamer Alpena returning to port before 4 p.m. It loaded cement under the silos that is bound for Superior, WI.
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation came in later during the night.

Algomarine was loading at Stoneport on Saturday.


Bunker spill after box ship hits Bay Bridge

11/11 - San Francisco - The motor vessel Cosco Busan, a 900-foot container carrier, allided with one of the towers of the San Francisco Bay Bridge Wednesday morning, prompting a response from the Coast Guard, Caltrans, the city of San Francisco and several other state and local agencies.

The allision occurred at 8:30 a.m. when the vessel, out bound at the time of the accident with a pilot onboard, reported damage to the forward left side causing IFO380 bunker fuel to spill into the San Francisco Bay. Fuel was transferred from the compromised tanks to stop the leaking and clean up actions were immediately initiated to begin the removal of fuel from the San Francisco Bay.

A preliminary estimation of the actual amount of fuel spilled into the bay has been announced at 58,000 gallons using tank measurement methods. Approximately 8,000 gallons had been recovered as of 8:30 p.m. last night. Caltrans has confirmed there is no structural damage to the SF Bay Bridge.

The following beaches are closed until further notice as a precautionary measure for public health concerns; Baker Beach, Crissy Field, China Beach, Kirby Cove, and Fort Point. The Bay Area Air Quality Management Board is actively participating in safety monitoring and will perform sampling of air along port property. Ferry schedules have not been interrupted because the spill did not pose risks to passengers or crews.

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port has ordered the vessel to Anchorage 9. The U.S. Coast Guard is the lead agency for both monitoring and clean up of the spill. A Unified Command has been set up with the US Coast Guard, California Fish and Game Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response and the O'Brien's Group (contracted by the responsible party). Pollution investigators and marine inspectors from the U.S. Coast Guard are continuing their investigation into the amount of the fuel and the cause of the accident.

From MarineLog


Updates - November 11

News Photo Gallery updated

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The Public Photo Gallery has been taken down due to technical difficulties. Your all-volunteer BoatNerd staff is working to install new technology to bring this free service back on line. Watch this box for information concerning the return.


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.

On 11 November 1884, the schooner GERRIT SMITH and the “steam barge” FERN went aground at Crawford’s Quarry on Lake Huron in a storm. Both vessels were repaired and put back in service. The GERRIT SMITH had a career that lasted 80 years. She was finally abandoned in Bay City, Michigan in 1935. Her remains are about 50 yards off shore from Veteran’s Memorial Park.

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'Orleans 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 Desgagné 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 Desgagné 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 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.


BoatNerd Tops 12 Million

11/10 - Friday morning over 12,000,000 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 twelve 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.

This counter was started as the page was launched in 1995 and topped one million visits 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, eight million in December, 2005, 9 million in June, 2006, 10 million in November 2006, 11 million in May 2007.

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. BoatNerd continues to grown thanks to the site’s 501 (c) (3) non profit status.


Port Reports - November 10

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
On Thursday, the Calumet called on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. She finished her unload, turned in the basin at the West end of the dock, and was outbound for the lake.
The Maumee was inbound late Thursday night, calling on the Sargent dock in Essexville. She finished her unload and turned in the Essexville basin before heading for the lake Friday morning.

Lorain - Paul L. Csizmadia
On Friday, the Edward L. Ryerson left the Port of Lorain navigating the Black River stern first and then turning out into the lake after passing the Lorain Light around 12:30 p.m.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday afternoon had the Algontario departing at 2 p.m. for Thunder Bay in ballast.
The Captain Henry Jackman arrived at 2:30 p.m. with iron ore.
The bunkering ship Hamilton Energy arrived from Port Weller at 6:30 p.m. to load more fuel and was on the move again back to Port Weller at 8 p.m. to bunker the Jumbo Spirit and Halifax.


Lakes Hail Authorization Of Second Poe-Sized Lock

11/10 - Toledo, Oh -The efficiency and reliability of Great Lakes shipping took a giant step forward on November 8 when Congress authorized construction of a second Poe-sized Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, at full Federal expense.

The lock, included in the recently-passed Water Resources Development Act of 2007, will ensure that vital cargos will continue to move uninterrupted on the Great Lakes.

"A second Poe-sized Lock to connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway has been one of the greatest needs on the Lakes for decades," said John D. Baker, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF), the largest coalition of shipping interests on the Great Lakes.

"If there had been a lengthy failure of the Poe Lock, the iron ore, coal, and export grain trades on the Great Lakes would have slowed to a trickle and threatened the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of American workers."

Baker, who is also President if the ILA's Great Lakes District Council, noted the second Poe-sized Lock was first authorized in 1986, but was stalled by a requirement that a local sponsor fund a portion of the project. "By authorizing full Federal funding, Congress has recognized that a second Poe-sized Lock is an infrastructure improvement that benefits not just the Great Lakes region, but the entire nation."

The locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, typically handle more than 80 million tons of cargo a year. Iron ore for steel production, coal for power generation, and grain for export overseas, are the primary cargos that transit the locks.

Authorization is the first step in building the second Poe-sized Lock, a project that could take 10 years to complete. Congress must next appropriate the $341 million needed to construct the lock.

The Lakes will benefit from the Water Resources Development Act in other ways. "The bill directs the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to accelerate its dredging program on the Great Lakes," said James H.I. Weakley, 3rd Vice President of GLMTF and President of Lake Carriers' Association. "Decades of inadequate funding for dredging have forced vessels to leave millions of tons of cargo behind each year. Restoring the Great Lakes Navigation System to project dimensions will finally allow Great Lakes shipping to achieve the efficiencies for which it was designed.

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force news release


Oglebay Norton Shareholders Overwhelmingly Approve Merger with Carmeuse

11/10 - Cleveland - Oglebay Norton Company announced Friday that Oglebay Norton shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the company's merger with Carmeuse North America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Carmeuse Group, at a special meeting of shareholders held today.

"We are extremely pleased with the outcome of today's vote," said Michael Lundin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Oglebay. "On behalf of Oglebay Norton's Board of Directors and management team, I want to thank our shareholders, customers and dedicated employees for their support throughout this process. We look forward to completing the merger and we anticipate a smooth integration of the two companies."

In accordance with the terms of the merger agreement, at the closing, each outstanding share of common stock of Oglebay Norton will be cancelled and converted into the right to receive $36.00 in cash, without interest, less any applicable withholding taxes. The transaction remains subject to satisfaction of customary conditions, including the expiration or termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended.

Source - Oglebay Norton


Lost Mariners Remembrance Webcast Tonight

11/10 -  The Detroit Historical Society's Marine Auxiliary Group (former Great Lakes Maritime Institute) will host a remembrance for sailors lost on the Great Lakes at the Dossin Museum in Detroit. This program will be available online through a webcast.

The schedule of events:

  • 6:00 p.m. – Guests will light lanterns during a ceremony at the Fitzgerald anchor.
  • 6:30 p.m. – Lee Murdock will perform as guests enter the museum.
  • 7:05 p.m. -- A wreath will be taken to the edge of the Detroit River.
  • 7:10 p.m. – The wreath honoring those lost on the Great Lakes will be laid in the river with U.S. Coast Guard vessels, the Detroit Fire Department’s Curtis Randolph and the mailboat J. W. Westcott II.  The wreath will be illuminated by a newly restored spotlight atop the William Clay Ford Pilot house, the same spotlight that was used when the Ford searched for the missing Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10, 1975.  Bells will toll inside the Museum in honor of lost sailors.
  • 7:15 p.m. – Presentation by guest speaker, maritime historian John Polacsek
  • 7:45 p.m. -- Reverend Richard Ingalls, Jr. of the Mariners’ Church will lead a prayer service.
  • 7:50 p.m. – Lee Murdock will perform his rendition of “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”

The program can be viewed November 10 at 6 p.m. by following this link


Free program at Vantage Point

11/10 - Port Huron, MI - Jim & Pat Stayer will present their program, "The Dunderberg Story: A High Seas Murder?" at the Great Lakes Maritime Center, Vantage Point, 51 Water St., Port Huron, Michigan, at 7 pm November 10, 2007.

This program is free and open to the public.


Updates - November 10

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

The Public Photo Gallery has been taken down due to technical difficulties. Your all-volunteer BoatNerd staff is working to install new technology to bring this free service back on line. Watch this box for information concerning the return.


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.

On 10 November 1900, the CARTEGENA (wooden propeller, 241’, 1532 gt) was launched by James Davidson (hull #94) at W. Bay City, Michigan for the Davidson Steamship Co. She only lasted until 1907, when she stranded near Cape Negro, Nova Scotia.

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, Michigan 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 Steamships 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.

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.


Tug and barge adrift in DeTour Passage

11/9 - DeTour Village - Some time during the night Wednesday, the lines between the tug Nicole and her barge parted and both were adrift near the Drummond Island Ferry. The tow lines parted between the tug and the barge, and then the lines wrapped around the tug's props, causing her to go dead in the water.

At 9:16 a.m. Thursday, Soo Control advised the Pilot boat and the Federal Katsura to be advised of the two vessels still disabled and adrift in the river. A hazard to navigation warning has been issued to all boats transiting the area. The Coast Guard had a vehicle with CG members in it, parked down by the Ferry dock, watching the entire situation.

The Drummond Islander IV had the two vessels lashed to its starboard side and was assisting both boats out towards the Drummond Island side of the Passage.

The Coast Guard sent down a small boat to check on the safety of the crew on board, while deciding just what to do and where to take the boats for safety. It was decided the Harbor of Refuge, while deep enough, would not allow for turning the two around in. Then the DeTour Coal Dock was mentioned as a destination.

Two additional tugs arrived to take the disabled tug to the DeTour Coal dock. The barge was still adrift in the St. Marys River. It is expected that the tugs will then go after the barge and tow her to the Coal Dock also.

Reported by Cathy Kohring


Port Reports - November 9

Lorain - Paul L. Csizmadia & Linda Seabold
On Thursday the Port of Lorain saw the departure of the Saltie Federal Shimanto with the assistance of the G tugs California and Iowa.
The Edward L. Ryerson waited off shore for the Shimanto to leave before entering the river and going to the Jonick Dock.

Goderich - Jerry Mueller
Saginaw was unloading at the elevator on Tuesday.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
St. Marys Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah delivered dry cement at their terminal up the Kinnickinnic River in Milwaukee on Thursday.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Wednesday vessels started moving again in the area. The Calumet and another unknown boat were anchored in the morning for awhile, but were gone by the afternoon.
The Alpena arrived in port to load under the silos at Lafarge around noon on Wednesday. Tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation also returned, and waited out in the bay until the Alpena departed.

At Stoneport on Wednesday morning the American Courage was first to make the dock and take on cargo.
Algorail followed the Courage in the afternoon was loading throughout the evening. Philip R. Clarke was seen making its way towards Stoneport at nightfall and went to anchor nearby to wait its turn.


Cruise Ship Runs Aground in Virginia

11/9 - Virginia Beach, Va. - A captain ran a small cruise ship with 66 people aboard aground in an isolated stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway early Thursday after it began taking on water, the U.S. Coast Guard said. The captain wanted to keep the 207-foot ship from sinking, Lt. Chris White said. There were no reports of injuries.

Two 41-foot Coast Guard boats were transporting the ship's passengers and crew to a ferry landing about 2 miles away from the rural area off Virginia Beach, Petty Officer Christopher Evanson said. "The situation is pretty serious ... but nobody's life is at risk right now," Evanson said.

The cruise ship was lodged in mud about 9 feet below the water's surface. The ship was only about 100 feet from shore, but the surrounding area is a wooded swamp, Evanson said. Passengers ate breakfast as they awaited rescue, he said.

The Coast Guard received a report about the ship at about 6 a.m. It wasn't clear why the ship began taking on water. A Coast Guard helicopter lowered pumps onto the boat to help remove the water.

The boat, The Spirit of Nantucket, was on a 10-day cruise from Alexandria, Va., to Charleston, S.C., when it ran into trouble in the Intercoastal Waterway.

From The Associated Press

Editor's Note - The Spirit of Nantucket was cruising in the Great Lakes in 2006 and in September of this year.


Lost Mariners Remembrance Webcast November 10, 2007

11/9 -  The Detroit Historical Society's Marine Auxiliary Group (former Great Lakes Maritime Institute) will host a remembrance for sailors lost on the Great Lakes at the Dossin Museum in Detroit. This program will be available online through a webcast.

We are preparing for the webcast and would like users to test our new configuration.

To test, please visit this link and you will see a short clip of the Edward L. Ryerson passing through the locks. After viewing please fill out the form below the video file and report on your experience.

The program can be viewed November 10 at 6 p.m. by following this link


Updates - November 9

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

The Public Photo Gallery has been taken down due to technical difficulties. Your all-volunteer BoatNerd staff is working to install new technology to bring this free service back on line. Watch this box for information concerning the return.


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.

On 09 November 1900, the WILLIAM FINCH (2-mast wooden schooner, 48’, 49 gt, built in 1878 at South Haven, MI) was wrecked in a storm near Egg Harbor on Green Bay. No lives were lost.

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 1930Õs, 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.

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.


Winds halt ships
Low water levels stop freighters in their tracks

11/8 - Port Huron - Captains of several freighters were expected to have their ships on the move today after being forced to drop anchor Monday when high winds caused low water in southern Lake Huron and the St. Clair River.

The Canadian Coast Guard in Sarnia reported six freighters were anchored near buoys 11 and 12, about 10 miles north of the Blue Water Bridge. The freighters were: St. Clair, Roger Blough, American Fortitude, Canadian Navigator, Edward L. Ryerson and the CSL Laurentien. Another freighter, the Buffalo, was anchored at Recourse Point near Algonac.

Rich Pollman, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oakland County's White Lake Township, said strong south and southwest winds that reached between 30 and 35 miles per hour Monday pushed water from southern Lake Huron to the north, causing the water level to drop near Port Huron and rise in other parts of the lake. The St. Clair River water level was affected by the same wind, causing it to have a low water level that stranded the freighters.

Pollman said the water level offshore of Fort Gratiot dropped as much as 24 inches below normal Monday. By noon Tuesday, the level had risen to about 4 inches below normal. The normal lake level, which is called zero datum, offshore of Fort Gratiot is 577.2 feet. The National Weather Service does not collect water-level data for the St. Clair River, Pollman said.

While the wind was not expected to die down Tuesday night, Pollman expected a shift in direction, causing the lake and river levels to return to normal.

While water levels changing with wind patterns is a common phenomenon, Pollman said it has not always affected the shipping industry. In the 1980s, Pollman said high winds could cause coastal flooding. "The issue of course is that the Great Lakes are at low levels historically, so when the wind pushes away the water we get into these low water situations where we have issues with the ships," he said.

Al Davies, director of operations for Seaway Marine Transport in St. Catherines, Ontario, said low water levels in the Great Lakes due to high winds are a common problem in November. The company owns 34 ships, including the Canadian Navigator. Davies estimated between eight and 10 of his ships were anchored throughout the Great Lakes on Tuesday because of low water levels caused by high winds. Ships carrying cargo require deeper water than those on which the freight has been delivered, making conditions such as these risky for travel.

"It's a little too close to the bottom for us to transit," he said.

From the Port Huron Times-Herald


Algoma to rebuild two lakers

11/8 - Seaway Marine Transport has announced that its owners, Algoma Central Corp. and Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., have together entered into agreements to construct two maximum Seaway size self-unloading forebodies and to attach these new forebodies to the refurbished aft ends of the Algobay and Algoport.

The forebodies will be constructed by Chengxi Shipyard Co. Ltd. in Jiangyin, China.

The two vessels are expected to be in service by December 2009 and September 2010 respectively, at an expected cost of approximately $125 million.

Algobay last operated in 2002 and is laid up in Toronto.


Port Report - November 8

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
With the winds laying down, the tug Victory, pushing the Lewis J. Kuber, and the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort, with the Great Lakes Trader, were both outbound from the Saginaw River early Wednesday morning.
Once they were clear, the Earl W. made her way inbound from the bay, upriver to the Saginaw Asphalt dock in Carrollton. She completed her unload and was outbound Wednesday evening.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
Both the Michipicoten and Lee A Tregurtha arrived in Marquette on Wednesday to load ore.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Algonorth departed through the main Milwaukee breakwater gap onto Lake Michigan at 11:30 Wednesday evening, carrying grain for Quebec City.
Isa from the Polsteam line unloaded steel at Terminal #2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor earlier Wednesday. Isa was gone by evening.
Maumee finished its salt delivery and backed downriver to the outer harbor at 11:00 p.m. Tuesday, turning and proceeding onto the lake. As it turned northbound, Maumee passed anchored laker David Z., which sheltered from intense northwesterly winds just off the Milwaukee breakwater from Monday evening to Wednesday morning.


House overrides Bush's veto on water projects
Improvements for Great Lakes in air; Senate to act

11/8 - Washington -- With high-profile projects for Michigan and the Great Lakes at stake Tuesday, a bipartisan coalition in the House easily overrode President George W. Bush's veto of a bill authorizing hundreds of water-related projects nationwide.

The Senate is expected to follow suit this week. Both chambers passed the initial bill with more than the two-thirds majority needed to -- for the first time in Bush's presidency -- override his veto. The House voted 361-54 for the override, with all 15 Michigan members, including nine Republicans breaking with Bush on the issue, voting yes.

Among projects important to Michigan that are authorized in the bill are a mega-size lock on the St. Marys River in Sault Ste. Marie; sewer and other water quality improvements, including on Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River; and construction of a electronic barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to keep a voracious species of Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan.

The bill also calls for $3 million to be spent on improvements along Detroit's riverfront and the development of a response plan to Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia and its effect on fish in the Great Lakes. Bush said the $23 billion in projects is too much, but lawmakers were quick to point out the bill only authorizes the projects. Funding for them would need to be included in this and future years. Essentially, the bill sets out congressional priorities to guide the Army Corps of Engineers in its planning for projects.

"It's up to us to decide what the nation's priorities are," said Rep. Candice Miller, a Harrison Township Republican who broke with the president on the bill. "These are national treasures and assets we must invest in."

Not just Great Lakes
Outside the Great Lakes region, the legislation includes projects to restore the Florida Everglades and improve flood protection and drainage canals in New Orleans following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The legislation represents the first water resources development bill approved in seven years.

John King, a 60-year-old former charter boat operator who lives in Manistee, was glad to hear it, particularly as it relates to the carp barrier. "I know they jump out of the water and you've got to wear a hard hat. I know they are a blight," said King, who makes and sells his own tackle.

The big one
By far, the biggest Michigan project is a $342-million lock for the Soo Locks on the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie. The lock would be at least 110 feet wide and 1,200 feet long. It would protect shippers from the prospect of a breakdown in the one lock that handles 1,000-foot freighters carrying iron ore and coal to markets.

"Seventy percent of our carrying capacity is restricted to the Poe Lock. If something happens to the Poe Lock, the U.S. flag fleet essentially goes to anchor," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers Association, a trade group based in Cleveland.

Cleaning up the water
The legislation also authorizes $20 million for restoring and keeping Lake St. Clair clean, said Doug Martz, chairman of the Macomb County Water Quality Board. "Lake St. Clair has never gotten a nickel before," in federal funding, Martz said. "It's the stepchild of the Great Lakes." The money would be used for a plan to manage the lake, which could include such things as funding to get rid of invasive phragmites -- a plant that chokes ditches and marshes -- and high-tech water monitoring stations between Lakes Huron and Erie to protect drinking water for 4.5 million people in Michigan.

From the Detroit Free Press


Maritime museum to host bell-tolling event

11/8 - Rogers City - The Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum in Rogers City will be hosting three memorial bell-tolling services in the next month to honor freighters that sank on the Great Lakes.

This is a big event for the museum. It is something a lot of people look forward to. Some people even come in from out of state Museum President and Director David M. Erickson said. The bell-tolling service is done every year by the museum on the Saturday closest to the day the ship sunk. It is done in honor of the men and women who lost their lives on these vessels.

The first of these services will be November 10th at 2 p.m. It will be in honor of the Edmund Fitzgerald which sank in Lake Superior 32 years ago.

The next will be held November 17th at 2 p.m., in honor of the Carl D. Bradley, which sank in Lake Michigan 49 years ago.

The final service will be December 1st at 2 p.m. This service will be for the Daniel J. Morrell which sank in Lake Huron 41 years ago. Dennis Hale, the lone survivor from the Daniel J. Morrell, will be present for this year's ceremony for the ship. Hale recently was inducted into the museum's hall of fame.

For each of the events, Erickson will give a brief history of the ships, including what happened to them, and a little information about the time period in which they sank. Following Erickson's presentation, the names of those who lost their lives will be read and the bell will be tolled once for each of them.

There will be volunteers present to ring the bells, but people from the audience also will be able to participate in the tolling of the bells if they desire.

"We are the only museum on the Great Lakes that honors the sailors. Most museums have artifacts and models and do not tell you anything about the people who sailed the lakes," Erickson said.

The museum will be open to the public following each bell tolling service. For more information, interested parties can contact the museum at 734-0706.

From the Alpena News


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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.

On 08 November 1997, the MELISSA DESGAGNES (steel propeller freighter, 342’, 4488 gt, built in 1975 at Collingwood, ON, formerly ONTADOC) grounded in the Detroit River just north of Grassy Island. She was finally freed on 13 November 1997, after 4000 tons of corn were removed into a hopper barge. The McKeil tugs EVANS MCKEIL and GLENSIDE and the Gaelic tugs SHANNON and PATRICIA HOEY assisted in freeing the stricken freighter. After being freed, the MELISSA DESGAGNES proceeded back to Windsor, Ontario for inspection and the re-loading of her cargo.

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 McGEAN in 1920, was renamed c.) ROBERT S McNAMARA 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 AvilŽs, 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.


Boats continue to seek shelter from gale winds

11/7 - Late Tuesday evening, many lake freighters were remaining at anchor seeking shelter from the gale force winds blowing across the Great Lakes.

In Lake Erie, the water level at Gibraltar was at -24". Adam E. Cornelius, Canadian Transfer and McKee Sons were on the hook behind the Marblehead Peninsula off Sandusky, while John J. Boland was anchored on the east side of Kelley' Island. Further east, as many as nine vessels were seeking shelter behind Long Point off Nanticoke.

Five boats, including Roger Blough and Edward L. Ryerson, were anchored just north off Port Huron in Lake Huron, and another group were waiting in the St. Clair River around Port Huron.

The Calumet and Algorail were anchored off Alpena Tuesday afternoon, seeking shelter from the weather.


Port Reports - November 7

Milwaukee - Greg Stamatelakys
Maumee arrived at Milwaukee 2 p.m. Tuesday with a cargo a salt.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Jumbo Spirit departed Duluth about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday with a load of wind turbine blades.
Elsewhere, Indiana Harbor was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal, Paul R. Tregurtha was fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal and waiting for the Midwest Energy Terminal berth.
Federal Matane was ready to load at AGP elevator in Duluth while Kapitonas Stulpinas was ready to load at CHS berth 2 in Superior

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Calumet and Algorail were anchored off Alpena Tuesday afternoon, seeking shelter from the weather. Winds continued to remain very strong throughout the day. Both vessels are on the schedule to load at Stoneport once weather conditions improve.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
High Winds continued to play havoc for the vessels on and near the Saginaw River. The Calumet was outbound the Saginaw River early Tuesday morning after unloading overnight at the Buena Vista Dock.
The tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber made it up to Sixth Street to turn Tuesday afternoon after finishing their unload at the Burroughs dock, but then tied up at the Wirt dock in Saginaw to wait for more favorable winds. The pair then started their outbound trip once again during the evening, but once again they decided to wait a little longer on weather and tied up at the old Bay Aggregates dock in Downtown Bay City.
The tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader called on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City Tuesday afternoon and were expected to be outbound early Wednesday morning.
Finally, the Earl W. is also in the area and has been giving weather reports to the tug Victory, reporting winds still around 40 miles per hour out on the bay. There has been no word on when the Earl W. will begin her trip into the Saginaw River.


Lake Express in Drydock for maintenance

11/7 - Muskegon - After four years of heavy summer use on Lake Michigan, the Lake Express high-speed ferry ended service early this fall for regularly scheduled maintenance in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

The 192-foot catamaran ferry was pulled out of the water after cruising to the Bay Shipbuilding yard Oct. 24, a day after the Milwaukee-to-Muskegon service ended for the year. The Lake Express has operated until Nov. 1 in past years.

The dry-docking of The Lake Express will allow the Milwaukee-based ferry operator to clean and repaint the hull and rebuild the boat's four Rolls Royce water jets. The time out of the water also will allow the U.S. Coast Guard to inspect the vessel. "We have a new and sophisticated vessel," said Lake Express President Ken Szallai. "Our customers rely on us to be available, so we take time each off-season to ensure that reliability."

The Lake Express crosses Lake Michigan about 1,000 times each summer sailing season, operating almost 19 hours a day. Just last summer, the ship traveled 68,500 miles, making the crossing in two-and-a-half hours at about 40 mph.

Lake Express officials have never provided specific passenger numbers for competitive reasons. Szallai has said that 2007 operations were similar to the preceding three years. It is believed that the ferry service carries more than 110,000 passengers each year.

The ferry carries 250 passengers and 46 vehicles. It was the first auto/passenger high-speed ferry to be built in the United States and operate on a domestic route. During the summer season, it operates a three-trip-a-day schedule with two trips a day in earlier spring and later in the fall.

The ferry will be in Sturgeon Bay until about Nov. 15, when it will return to Milwaukee for berthing over the winter. Service is scheduled to begin its fifth season May 2.

From the Muskegon Chronicle


Historic Structures Get a Breath of Hope:
Ownership of Plum and Pilot islands finally transferred

11/7 - Door County, WI - The long battle to save the Plum Island lighthouse took a critical step forward when ownership of Plum and Pilot islands was transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Oct. 17.

Plum Island, a 296-acre expanse located between Northport and Washington Island, is home to a century-old lighthouse and a former Coast Guard life-saving station abandoned by the service in 1991 when they moved operations to Washington Island. In the years since the buildings have fallen into sad disrepair.

“It’s very exciting news,” said Tim Sweet, President of Friends of Rock Island State Park and a longtime advocate of saving the structures. Sweet led the effort to restore Rock Island’s Pottawatomie lighthouse and would like to do the same for the historic structures on Plum and Pilot Islands.

Sweet has worked diligently since 1999 to push the transfer process along as it struggled through bureaucratic red tape.

The Fish and Wildlife service has wanted to take control of the abandoned island for years to manage as part of the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge, which already includes Spider, Gravel and Hawk islands. The islands are critical sanctuaries for migratory birds.

One of the hurdles in transferring the property was the contamination of soil and water on the island caused by a decades-old incident in which an above-ground diesel fuel tank burst and spilled fuel into the ground. The contamination was finally addressed in 2004, mitigated at a cost of $863,000.

Now Sweet and about 60 others have organized Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands, which has begun planning and fundraising to preserve the structures, labeled one of the ten most endangered historic properties in the state in 2000 by the Wisconsin Trust for Historic Preservation.

Sweet said Pilot Island will be the greater challenge because the Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t want any public access on the island and it’s further away. Efforts on Plum Island are expected to result in opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, and possibly deer hunting down the road.

Two preservation architects recently visited the islands with the Friends group to determine priorities and possibilities for the islands. Sweet expects to get a report from them in the beginning of November.

Sweet said possibilities for restoration on Plum Island are more promising because the roofs of the structures are in better condition.

“The pier there is one of the priorities we’ve identified,” he explained. “Now we wait for the historic structures report to come back and then we can approach different organizations who might provide funds and grants for the project.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service is developing a management plan for the islands, which would impact any restoration and visitation plans.

Those interested in learning more about the effort to preserve the structures on Plum and Pilot Islands or who want to get involved can contact Tim Sweet at or 715.823.6873.

From the Peninsula Pulse


November Storms Explored at Macomb Cultural Center

11/7 - Clinton Township, MI - Ric Mixter will explore November storms that have ravaged the Great Lakes since 1905. His presentation blends storytelling with archive film and interviews will be a highlight this Friday, November 9 at 10:30 a.m. and again Saturday November 10 at 2p.m.

Special attention will be given to the anniversaries of the 1913 Storm and the Fitzgerald disaster in 1975. The program will also share footage of the rescue of the Novadoc crew from the 1940 Armistice Day Storm and talk about exploration of the shipwrecks lost during these killer storms.

All events are free of charge and held at the Macomb Cultural Center at 44575 Garfield in Clinton Township. For more details call 586-445-7348 or visit


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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 07 November 1917, while moving from the Dellwood Elevator to the Wheeler Elevator at Buffalo, New York, the G. J. GRAMMER (steel propeller bulk freighter, 326’, 3914 gt, built in 1902 at Superior, WI) struck a submerged obstruction with her propeller, causing $1,176.50 worth of damage.

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.


Gales of November Send Ships to Anchor

11/6 - A deep low pressure center passing over the northern Great Lakes Region has sent many vessels seeking safe shelter as gale warnings are posted to all the Great Lakes.

Monday night the Canadian Navigator, Roger Blough, St. Clair and CSL Laurentien were anchored above Port Huron. They were joined after midnight by the downbound Edward L. Ryerson. Canadian Transfer, McKee Sons and Adam E. Cornelius were off Sandusky and Huron, Ohio with the John J. Boland near by, east of Kelley's Island. Mesabi Miner was in Thunder Bay, Ont. and the Quebecois arrived in port from Duluth later that evening.

Halifax, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, William J. Moore and Petite Forte were hunkered down behind Long Point in Lake Erie. Maritime Trader was tied up at Wharf 16 in Port Colborne and Sea Eagle II was tied at the Ramey's Bend Stone Dock.

Weather predicted for Lake Superior - Monday night, northwest gales to 40 knots, with scattered snow showers. Waves 9 to 12 feet building to 10 to 14 feet. On Tuesday north gales to 35 knots diminishing to 15 to 25 knots. Waves subsiding to 7 to 10 feet.

For Lake Michigan - Monday night northwest gales to 40 knots increasing to gales to 45 knots with rain or snow showers changing to scattered snow showers overnight. Waves 8 to 12 feet building to 14 to 18 feet. The northwest gales to 45 knots are forecast to diminish to gales to 35 knots on Tuesday with waves 14 to 18 feet. Tuesday night waves 12 to 16 feet subsiding to 5 to 8 feet overnight.

Lake Huron - West winds to 30 knots with gusts to 40 knot gales, waves 6 to 10 feet building to 8 to 12 feet. Tuesday northwest winds to 30 knots with gusts to 40 knot gales. Waves 8 to 12 feet building to 10 to 14 feet late.

Lake Erie is forecast for southwest winds to 30 knots becoming west and increasing to 35 knot gales Monday night. Waves are forecast 5 to 8 feet building to 10 to 14 feet. On Tuesday west gales to 35 knots increasing to 45 knots with waves 12 to 16 feet. Subsiding to 5 to 8 feet on Wednesday.

Lake Ontario forecast - Overnight south winds 20 to 25 knots becoming west gales to 35 knots. Waves 4 to 6 feet building to 9 to 12 feet. Tuesday southwest gales to 40 knots waves 10 to 13 feet. Tuesday night southwest gales to 40 knots becoming northwest 35 knots waves 10 to 14 feet.

From Greg Jackson


Port Reports - November 6

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Although a gale warning was in effect for western Lake Superior on Monday morning, the weather was mild at 7:30 a.m. and vessels were going about their business. Quebecois was outbound from Duluth bound for Thunder Bay after spending the weekend unloading cement at St. Lawrence Cement. The vessel passed the James R. Barker, which was fueling at the Murphy terminal before proceeding to the CN/DMIR ore docks. Elsewhere in port, Jumbo Spirit was at the port terminal while Kapitonas Stulpinas and Victoria were ready to load grain at CHS in Superior. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Paul R. Tregurtha both were due in later in the day at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Trois Rivières - Kent Malo
Federal Patroller left Trois Rivières around 2:30 p.m. Monday bound for Liverpool. The saltie was heavily damaged as she raked her bottom over the rocks when she left the channel in Lake St. Louis on October 6 while loaded with a cargo of grain from CHS 2, Duluth. She sailed to Trois Rivières, Quebec, unloaded of her cargo of grain, moved to another dock where further repairs were made.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
BBC Finland, which delivered windmill blades to this port and then proceeded to Duluth, returned with one tug assisting on Friday morning to the heavy lift dock in Milwaukee's inner harbor, the same dock it left on Oct. 26. After unloading cargo, BBC Finland departed Saturday.

Algonorth entered the inner harbor with the help of two G-tugs on Sunday, docking at Nidera to load grain. Sunday evening Peter R. Cresswell backed into Milwaukee's inner harbor at about 8:30 p.m., bringing salt to Milwaukee's bulk cargo dock.

Algorail arrived shortly after, with another load of salt, waiting at the Heavy Lift dock for the Cresswell to finish its unload and leave. After Cresswell departed around 1:00 a.m., Algorail berthed at the bulk cargo dock and unloaded salt. Algorail departed onto Lake Michigan at about 7 a.m. Monday.
Also Monday, cement carrier Integrity and its tug G.L. Ostrander came into Milwaukee's inner harbor from a very windy Lake Michigan, pivoting in the turning basin and unloading powdered cement at LaFarge on Jones Island.

Port Colborne -
Canadian Progress arrived early Saturday morning and backed in to unload salt at Wharf 18-1. Progress left by mid-day and was replaced by the saltie Yamaska which is unloading another imported cargo of coke for Stelco Nanticoke. Crews are just completing the demolition of the former Shell fuel dock which closed July 31, 2007. City officials report the Shell lease expires November 14 and a new operator of the fuel dock has been proposed.
Anglian Lady and PML 2501 are tied up at Wharf 16 likely for weather.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived overnight Sunday, calling on the Saginaw River with a split load. The pair lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville and then continued upriver to finish at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. The Victory & Kuber remained at Burroughs as of Monday night due to high winds and low water levels.
The Calumet was inbound Monday afternoon, traveling upriver to unload at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. As of Monday night, Calumet was also still in the upper Saginaw River


Task Force Calls for Override of Vetoed Water Bill

11/6 - Toledo, OH -The Great Lakes shipping industry is calling on Congress to override President Bush's veto of legislation that will accelerate dredging and authorize construction of a second Poe-sized Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. These provisions and others benefiting the Lakes are included in the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 vetoed by the President on Friday.

"The nation has not passed a Water Resources Development Act in seven years," said John D. Baker, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the largest coalition ever to represent Great Lakes shipping. "It is high time America started reinvesting in our port and waterway infrastructure. On the Lakes, the dredging crisis is forcing vessels to leave cargo behind virtually every time they leave port. Our reliance on a single Poe-sized Lock to connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway jeopardizes our ability to maintain industrial production."

Baker, who is also President of the ILA's Great Lakes District. Council, further stressed a failure of the Poe Lock would cripple overseas exports from the Great Lakes.

The Water Resources Development Act of 2007 (H.R. 1495) was passed by wide margins in both the House and Senate. "Great Lakes shipping is one of the backbones of the American economy," said James H.I. Weakley, 3rd Vice President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF). "Hundreds of thousands of family-sustaining jobs depend on the 200-plus million tons of iron ore, coal, limestone, grain and other cargos that move on the Lakes each year.

Congress must override the President's veto or the efficiency of Great Lakes shipping will continue to erode." Weakley, who is also President of Lake Carriers' Association, noted that lack of adequate dredging is forcing the largest U.S.-Flag vessels on the Lakes to lose 6,000 tons of cargo each trip.

A second Poe-sized Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, is one of the most important infrastructure improvements on the Great Lakes in decades. "Approximately 70 percent of U.S.-Flag carrying capacity is restricted to the Poe Lock," said Daniel L. Smith, 2nd Vice President of GLMTF. "If that lock was incapacitated by a structural failure or terrorist attack, the U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleet could not meet the needs of commerce. Trying to funnel Canadian and ocean-going vessels through the one remaining lock will produce a horrendous traffic jam." Smith, who is also National Executive Vice President of American Maritime Officers, noted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers considers the Soo Locks the single point of failure that could cripple Great Lakes shipping.

"Waterborne commerce, on the Lakes, Rivers, and Coasts, is key to our nation's economic wellbeing and national defense capabilities," said Patrick J. O'Hern, 1st Vice President of GLMTF, and Vice President -Contact Services for Bay Shipbuilding Company. "Congress must override this veto so America can begin rebuilding its ports and waterways."

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force was founded in Toledo, Ohio, in 1992 to promote domestic and international shipping on the Great Lakes. With 73 members, it is the largest coalition to ever speak for the Great Lakes shipping community and draws its membership from both labor and management representing U.S.-Flag vessel operators, shipboard and longshore unions, port authorities, cargo shippers, terminal operators, shipyards and other Great Lakes interests. Its goals include restoring adequate funding for dredging of Great Lakes deep-draft ports and waterways, construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; protecting the nation's cabotage laws; maximizing the Lakes overseas trade; and opposing exports and increased diversions of Great Lakes water.

Source - Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


Cleveland Cliffs reports third quarter loss

11/6 - Duluth - Iron ore supplier Cleveland-Cliffs on Thursday reported a $56.9 million third-quarter net income, down from a net income of $89.1 million in the third quarter of 2006.

Operating income and iron ore pellet sales volume also declined, though consolidated revenues were $619.6 million, a seven percent increase compared to $580.1 million during the same quarter last year. Operating income was affected by losses at the company’s PinnOak metallurgical coal operation and increased Asia-Pacific iron ore costs related to the weakening U.S. dollar compared with the Australian dollar, Joe Carrabba, Cleveland-Cliffs chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.

Cleveland-Cliffs manages and owns all or portions of three Northeastern Minnesota iron ore mines, Hibbing Taconite Co., Northshore Mining Co., and United Taconite. Production at the three Minnesota mines during the third quarter was 4.6 million tons, down from 4.9 million tons in the third quarter of 2006. Over the first nine months of 2007, the three mines produced 13.1 million tons compared to 13.9 million tons in 2006. Part of the decline was due to a late February weather-related shutdown at Hibbing Taconite, caused by a water supply issue.

Revenue on North American iron ore production was $65.17 per ton during the third quarter, a 1 percent increase compared to last year. Costs per ton also rose by 1 percent per ton in the quarter to $48.35. Iron ore pellet sales for the first nine months of the year were 14 million tons, down 2 percent from 2006.

In the third quarter, Cleveland-Cliffs sold 6.1 million tons of iron ore pellets, a 6 percent decrease from 6.5 million tons sold in the third quarter of 2006. Company officials say the decrease was caused by customers performing blast furnace maintenance. An increase in iron ore sales to about 8 million tons is expected in the fourth quarter.

For the year, iron ore production at United Taconite and the Tilden Mine in Upper Michigan is expected to increase one million and 800,000 tons. The Tilden Mine is benefiting from major maintenance work while United Taconite has recovered from a fatal electrical accident that occurred in 2006 at the facility’s Forbes processing plant.

World iron ore prices haven’t yet been established for 2008. However, industry analysts say increases of around 25 percent are possible.

From the Duluth News-Tribune


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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 SteamshipsÕ 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 06 November 1892, the CHARLES J. KERSHAW (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 223’, 1323 gt, built in 1874 at Bay City [Bangor], Michigan) delivered the first cargo of iron ore to Conneaut, Ohio.

On November 6, 1897, The package freighter 'Idaho' (wooden propeller package freighter, 220 foot, 1,110 gross tons, built in 1863, at Cleveland, Ohio) sank in a violent storm off Long Point, Ontario, Lake Erie, taking with her Captain Alexander Gillis & nineteen crew members. What followed in this storm is still called by some, "The greatest example of seamanship and rescue performed by a maximum size vessel on the Great Lakes." Captain Frank Root and crew of the steel steamer 'Mariposa' (348 foot, 2898 gross tons, built in 1892 at Globe Iron Works, Cleveland) made three passes by the sunken Idaho's 100' spar in order to save two remaining 'Idaho' crew members. Captain Root's First mate, Myron K. Chamberlain, had sighted the wrecked Idaho survivors clinging frozen to the spar while he was on watch during the Mariposa's down bound trip across stormy Lake Erie. "Half dead and frozen" the Idaho crew members; Second mate Louis LaForce & Deckhand William Gill, were returned to the thankful city of Buffalo, New York. They soon recovered from their awful experience on the storm swept lake, ever thankful for Captain Frank Root and the 'Mariposa' crew for their courage and persistence in rescuing them in the teeth of a November gale estimated at 58mph.

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.


Port Reports - November 5

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday had the tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 arrived at 5:30 a.m. Tug Tradewind Service and barge Energy 5501 departed for Toledo at 6:30 a.m. The CCGC Griffon arrived in Burlington at 8 a.m. going to the Canada Centre for Inland Waters.
Hamilton Energy departed at 2:30 p.m. to the Port Weller anchorage for bunkering services.The tug John Spence and barge McAsphalt 401 departed at 3 p.m. for the canal. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin departed Stelco at 3:30 p.m. for the Welland Canal.

Saginaw River - Stephen Hause & Todd Shorkey
Several vessels visited the Saginaw River over the weekend. American Republic arrived Saturday morning at the Bay Aggregates dock and was outbound late in the afternoon.
Inbound Saturday afternoon was the Calumet, which called at the Burroughs dock.
The Calumet was outbound during the night.
Dorothy Ann-Pathfinder called at the Consumers Energy dock on Sunday and was backing out into the Saginaw Bay in the early evening.
The dredging operation by Luedtke Engineering has moved from between the Liberty and Veteran's Memorial Bridges and is now off the Wirt stone dock in Bay City just above Independence Bridge.
Finally, the American Century called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload another load of coal.  She backed from the dock out to the lake early Sunday morning.


"Gale of November" performance at Governor's State University

11/5 - University Park, IL - Governor's State University Center for Performing Arts, in University Park, Illinois, presents "The Gales of November. A Powerful Vocal Trio and narrator tell the haunting tale of the final voyage of the great lakes ore freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald in this concert adaptation of the critically acclaimed play, "Ten November. The performance is on Nov. 17th. Tickets are $36-$43. Reservations may be made by calling the University at 708-235-2222.

Reported by Terri Santo


Doug Fairchild/Boatnerd Memorial Fund

The Board of Directors of Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supporting this website, has approved the establishment of a Memorial Fund to have a memorial bench installed in Rotary Park, at Mission Point, in Sault Ste. Marie in memory of the late Douglas Fairchild.

Fairchild, who died unexpectedly in March, was a dedicated boat watcher and supporter of the Boatnerd website. He also had a great interest in the aviation industry, and shared his experiences and information with everyone he met.

The permanent bench will be similar to the present memorial benches in Rotary Park and will be installed in this location favored by boat watchers and photographers from all around the Great Lakes.

Donations should be made to the Boatnerd Memorial Fund, and mailed to Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping, 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Donations may be tax-deductible depending upon your individual circumstances.


Updates - November 5

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery

The Public Photo Gallery has been taken down due to technical difficulties. Your all-volunteer BoatNerd staff is working to install new technology to bring this free service back on line. Watch this box for information concerning the return.


Today in Great Lakes History - November 05

While towing the SS Amoco Wisconsin, on November 5, 1980, the Lauren Castle tripped on the tow wire and capsized and sank with the loss of the engineer, William Stephan Sr., 58 of Sturgeon Bay/Elmhurst, Il, in West Traverse Bay approximately five miles south of Suttons Bay, Mi. in 400 feet of water.

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.

On 05 November 1890, the first fog signal building at Old Mackinac Point was put into operation for the first time. The 20’ x 40’ frame building was covered with corrugated iron on the outside and smooth iron on the inside. It had two steam boilers and two steam whistles – a duplication just in case one failed. This building was used until the new fog signal building was competed in 1907.

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: Bill Stephan, 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.


Updates - November 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

The Public Photo Gallery has been taken down due to technical difficulties. Your all-volunteer BoatNerd staff is working to install new technology to bring this free service back on line. Watch this box for information concerning the return.


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 "steam 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 Òsteam bargeÓ.

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 waterÕs 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.

On 04 November 1886, the SEA STAR (wooden scow-schooner, 91’, 95 gt, built in 1855 at Irving, NY) was loading wood at Ahnapee when she slipped her moorings during a storm and was driven out onto Lake Michigan where she sank nine miles from the east entrance to the Sturgeon Bay canal. The crew was rescued by the Sturgeon Bay Lifesaving Service crew.

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.


Update on Lake Superior Outflow
New Record High Supply for October

11/3 - Detroit - The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,570 cubic metres per second (m3/s) (55.4 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month November. This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of November and is an increase from the October outflow, which was 1,560 m3/s (55.1 tcfs).

The November outflow will be released by discharging about 1,456 m3/s (51.4 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids. The gate setting of the control structure will be maintained at the existing setting equivalent to one-half gate open (four gates open 20 cm, or about 8 inches each). There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

This past month the water supplies to the Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron basins were well above the long-term averages for October, and the supply to the Lake Superior basin was a new record maximum for the month of October (5,800 m3/s (204.8 tcfs), while the previous record was set in 1982 at 4,860 m3/s (171.6 tcfs), and the long-term average October supply is 1,100 m3/s (38.8 tcfs).

Lake Superior is currently at its chart datum level, 21 cm (8 inches) higher than on September 18th, just six weeks ago. The level of Lake Superior is expected to fall slightly in November, and Lakes Michigan-Huron are also expected to decline. Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 30 cm (12 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-November level, and 12 cm (5 inches) above the level recorded a year ago.

This past month the level of Lake Superior rose 14 cm (6 inches), while on average the level falls by 4 cm (2 inches) in October.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron declined by 5 cm (2 inches) this October, while on average these lakes decline by 7 cm (3 inches) in October. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 57 cm (22 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-November level, and is 11 cm (4 inches) lower than it was a year ago.

The Board continues to monitor conditions both on Lake Superior and downstream and will advise the International Joint Commission accordingly on those conditions.

Brigadier General Bruce A. Berwick, Commander, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is the United States Board Member. Mr. David Fay is the Board Member for Canada.

Source US Army Corps of Engineers


Port Reports - November 3

Calcite -
After spending time at Calcite for engine repairs the Wolverine is back in service. With the assistance of Ryba marine's tug Kathy Lynn, the Wolverine was maneuvered out of the frog pond, turned around and backed in to start loading

Lorain - Charles Mackin
The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder made a stop in Lorain Friday morning going up river to Terminal Ready Mix.
Also making a trip upriver was the salty Federal Shimanto being pulled stern first by the tugs Iowa and California going to the Jonick dock.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
Friday was a busy day in Kingsville, the Agawa Canyon, Cleveland Rocks and Maumee were all in Port. The Jiimaan and Pelee Islander are making there daily runs between the mainland and Pelee Island.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday the Hamilton Energy arrived at 1:30 p.m. from Clarkson. The tug Tradewind Service and barge Energy 5501 arrived at 2 p.m. and was going to Pier 11. The tug John Spence and barge McAsphalt 401 arrived from Sarnia at 7 p.m. with bunker fuel for Provmar.


Scientists: No evidence erosion causing lower Great Lakes levels

11/3 - Traverse City - Video images from the St. Clair River bottom show no evidence that erosion is causing water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron to drop, scientists working for a U.S.-Canadian advisory group said Thursday.

Although preliminary, the findings intensified a debate over whether people or nature are more to blame for the two lakes' steady decline since the late 1990s. Leaders of the research team said it was too early to judge the validity of a Canadian group's contention that erosion on the upper portion of the river is the leading culprit. But they said the underwater video — taken in September along a roughly 30-mile stretch — showed the riverbed is covered with gravel, pebbles and stones up to 10 inches long. The rock layer is stable, meaning "the bed cannot be eroding," the team's report said.

"On a preliminary basis, we're finding that ongoing erosion does not appear to be a cause of low water levels," said John Nevin, spokesman for the International Joint Commission (IJC), which advises the U.S. and Canadian governments on Great Lakes issues. The commission released its findings during a meeting and telephone news conference in Toronto.

A spokeswoman for the Georgian Bay Association, whose engineering studies have promoted the erosion hypothesis, said the IJC's report was unconvincing and contained errors. The association wants the two nations to look for ways to reduce water flow out of Lake Huron. "It's premature for them to be releasing this information," said Mary Muter, chairwoman of the group's environment committee. "They're wasting time and wasting money."

Researchers acknowledged many questions remained unanswered, such as whether river flow rates have changed over time and how long the riverbed has been stable. The rock layer holding it steady may have been covered previously by sediment that washed away, said Ted Yuzyk, co-chairman of the study team. Additional measurements will be taken to provide further information, he said.

The video was taken by Bommanna Krishnappan, a research scientist with the National Water Research Institute Ontario, who also reviewed previous reports of sediment movement in the river.

Low water is causing ecological and economic problems on the Great Lakes, particularly for commercial shippers and recreational marinas. Lakes Michigan and Huron, which geographically are considered the same lake, are about 20 inches below their historical average levels for this time of year. Lake Superior, meanwhile, hit a record monthly low in September. Many scientists say the dropoff is caused by drought and milder temperatures, which promote evaporation.

But engineers hired by the Georgian Bay Association, which represents thousands of Lake Huron waterfront property owners, place much of the blame on human activities in the St. Clair River — particularly dredging to deepen the shipping channel during the 1960s. In an August report, the association said erosion from the dredging is causing Lake Huron to lose an extra 2.5 billion gallons per day. The excess water flows into the lower Great Lakes and eventually the Atlantic Ocean, the group said, likening the widened river channel to an enormous drain hole.

The IJC this year began studying the issue. It initially promised a final report by 2010 but recently said results would be produced a year earlier after getting pressure from U.S. senators and other political leaders. Gov. Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow last month asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to consider placing underwater barriers in the river to limit its flow even before the commission's study is finished.

The IJC has long acknowledged that dredging caused Lakes Huron and Michigan to drop nearly 16 inches from the mid-1800s to the 1960s. The debate is over whether it also is causing the present low-water period, which began in 1999.

Frank H. Quinn, a retired hydrologist with NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, said his studies over the past two years had found that 80-90 percent of the lakes' current dropoff could be attributed to weather. In a presentation during the Toronto meeting, Quinn said the lakes probably would have fallen even more during recent decades. But their outflow has been slowed by a buildup of the water supply in Lake Erie caused primarily by increased precipitation, he said.

From the Detroit News


Canada to create protected zone in northern Lake Superior

11/3 - Owen Sound - A section of Lake Superior's North Shore, known for its pristine fresh water supply, will be declared a protected marine area, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is set to announce Thursday.

Harper will travel to Nipigon, Ont., on the northern shore of the lake to announce the creation of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area. The protected area includes 10,000 square kilometres of water.

Along with Environment Minister John Baird and Thunder Bay MP Joe Comuzzi, Harper will make the announcement on the edge of the new conservation area. It will extend roughly 140 kilometres east of Thunder Bay, taking in the zone's rocky coastline and islands.

It will also extend in a triangular shape down into the lake, encompassing about 10,000 square kilometres of water. "It will become the largest freshwater conservation area in the world," said CBC reporter Margo McDiarmid.

The area includes endangered trout species and their spawning grounds, as well as caribou, which is unusual for that part of Ontario.

Planning for the new protected area has been going on for more than 10 years, beginning under the former Liberal government. The north shore is known for its rocky shoreline.

It will protect the area from things like mining and oil and gas development — anything that could damage the water or delicate landscape. "It's globally significant in this age of fresh water shortages and pollution," said Joannie McGuffin, of the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy. "Fresh water all over the world is the gold of today."

Environmentalists are delighted with the announcement, but point out Canada is a big country with many other areas also in need of protection. "We have about eight per cent protected land across the country and in water, we have less than one per cent, so we have a way to move forward," said Sabine Jesson, of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

Reported by Seann O'Donoughue from the Owen Sound Sun Times


Updates - November 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

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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. 10 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.

On 03 November 1923, the Becker Steamship Company’s FRANCIS L. ROBBINS (Steel propeller bulk freighter, 401’, 4222 gt, built in 1905 at Cleveland, OH) was sailing in rough weather on Lake Michigan when she stranded on Fisherman’s Shoal. Her bottom and side shell plates were damaged. Repairs cost $29,838.28.

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.


Port of Toledo chosen to handle heavy cargo
Two South Korean transformers destined for Fermi plant

11/2 - Toledo - When Don Johnson scouted western Lake Erie ports for places to unload two huge transformers destined for Detroit Edison's Fermi 2 nuclear generating plant north of Monroe, he checked Detroit and several smaller ports. But only the Port of Toledo had the wharf space and the on-dock rail access he sought for the heavy-lift cargo.

So, Toledo was where the two transformers, built in South Korea and shipped around the world and through the St. Lawrence Seaway, were hoisted from the M.V. Jumbo Spirit's hold and deposited on solid ground yesterday. The larger of the two, weighing 513 tons, was rigged into a special heavy-duty railcar for movement, starting today, to the power plant in Frenchtown Township, while the second, coming in at a paltry 404 tons, is to finish its journey next week.

"This is a very efficiently run, modern port," Mr. Johnson, the vice president of Gulf Logistics & Projects Co., Inc., based in Houston, said while watching a combination of longshoremen, contractor employees, and ship's crew unload the larger transformer yesterday morning.

In particular, Mr. Johnson cited dock-space availability and reasonable labor costs as reasons for choosing Toledo over alternatives. The only problem with Toledo is that the Great Lakes don't have scheduled ships for "break-bulk" cargoes, like the big transformers, he said - but if the shipment is lucrative enough, a vessel can be chartered, as in the current case.

Mr. Johnson has plenty of opportunities to see how ports handle cargoes like the big transformers - his firm manages several such shipments a month, including an upcoming delivery of nine transformers to Houston that will be distributed to six mid-western destinations. "The whole country built a wonderful electrical system 50 years ago, but transformers wear out and need to be replaced," said Mr. Johnson, who sees potential for more such shipments through Toledo.

Thomas Kaercher, Jr., a sales representative for transformer manufacturer Hyundai Heavy Industries, said the firm has several on order by Consumers' Energy of Michigan, but he doesn't know how they'll be delivered. "We haven't figured out the logistics yet, but it's a possibility" they'll be shipped via Toledo, he said.

"It demonstrates our capability, especially for the intermodal [ship-to-rail] transfer of heavy-lift cargo," said Todd Audet, the vice president of operations for Midwest Terminals of Toledo International, the stevedore at the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority's general cargo docks. "This particular cargo probably couldn't go over the highway," Mr. Audet said.

"We have certainly laid the groundwork" for future "special project" cargoes, said Warren McCrimmon, seaport director for the port authority, "and not just for the energy industry." Such cargoes are generally good revenue generators for everyone involved in moving them because they require special handling, Mr. McCrimmon said.

The specialized railcar upon which the transformers will be shipped is known as a Schnabel car. It is actually two sections that attach to either end of the transformer, has 20 axles, and itself weighs 250 tons. Its design allows it to distribute the transformers' weight so they can be transported without damaging track or collapsing bridges.

Mr. Audet said the schedule calls for the first transformer to be delivered to Fermi and the special railcar to be returned to the Toledo dock within five days. He expressed eagerness to see that schedule kept because several ships are expected to arrive next week with holds full of natural-gas pipe, coal, and limestone to be unloaded.

The coal, he said, is destined for Toledo Edison's Bay Shore power plant in Oregon, a facility that usually receives all its fuel by train. The coal will be trucked from the docks to the plant, and then the trucks will return with ash from Bay Shore that will be shipped to a cement plant in northern Michigan.

From the Toledo Blade


Port Reports - November 2

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena was in port Wednesday afternoon loading under the silos at Lafarge. Its next destination will be a return trip back to Superior, WI.
During the early morning hours of Thursday the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation was in port.
The David Z was at anchor off Alpena for a good part of Thursday, waiting for the winds to subside before heading up to Calcite.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
The Maumee made her third visit to Kingsville this year unloading stone from Marblehead. She departed at around 9 p.m.


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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.


U.S. Steel acquires Stelco

11/1 - Duluth - United States Steel Corporation has closed a $1.2 billion deal to acquire Canadian steelmaker Stelco Inc., officials of U.S. Steel announced today.

The new company is being renamed U.S. Steel Canada Inc.

With the acquisition, U.S. Steel will have flat-rolled steelmaking operations on both sides of the Great Lakes, said John Surma, U.S. Steel chairman and chief executive officer.

Stelco Inc., with an annual steelmaking capacity of about 4.8 million tons, is based in Hamilton, Ontario.

Stelco also owns 14.7 percent ownership in Hibbing Taconite, an Iron Range taconite facility.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - November 1

Drummond Island - Jon Paul Michael
The tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and the barge Great lakes Trader arrived at the Drummond Island Stone Dock at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday evening and proceeded to load. Finishing at 11:30 they were outbound at Detour Passage Light at midnight bound for South Chicago.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On Halloween at the Upper Harbor, Kaye E. Barker loaded taconite on the south side of the ore dock. After loading, she moved to the north side of the dock apparently to seek shelter from strong westerly winds.

Hamilton - John McCreery
A quiet day at Hamilton but Algocape arrived off the piers in beautiful evening light.

Manistee - Wendell Wilke
The tug Park State, formerly owned by Zenith Tug Co., now owned by a private individual from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, arrived at Manistique, Mi. around 2 p.m. Saturday. It was towing the dead tug Nicole S. The tow was originally intending on going through to the Soo, but was forced off Lake Michigan by heavy gale force winds. The tow from Menominee to Manistique took approximately 26 hours. The entry to Manistique was a fighting heroic scene, but the tug captain did a remarkable job keeping the tug in tow. As of Wednesday, the tugs were still at Manistique awaiting winds to die down. The Park State was tied at the Martin Oil Dock while the Nicole S. was anchored in the inner harbor area near the breakwater entrance.


Anchor found in Port McNicoll

11/1 - Port McNicoll - Steve Duncan is on the south shore of the slip in Port McNicoll digging up a marine mystery.

Several years ago, Scott Garrett was walking his dog along the abandoned CP property when he stumbled across a large iron shackle protruding out of the weedy shoreline. “I was walking the dog and saw the links. I actually forgot about it until I saw the anchor on the town dock in Midland.”

The half-forgotten memory leapt to life when Garrett was strolling Midland’s waterfront and spied the large ‘unknown anchor’ that sits by the town docks, inviting the young and the young-at-heart to clamber on and contemplate the heyday of the town’s shipping past.

Garrett, a local history buff passionate about Port McNicoll, recalled his discovery and contacted Skyline International Development – the company that is transforming the former CP lands into a new world-class residential development. Don Mitchell, who serves as an advisor to the Skyline development in Port McNicoll, arranged to dig up whatever lay beneath the soil.

Duncan, whose company Steve’s Bobcat is installing 3,000 feet of steel breakwall on the north shore of the slip in preparation for the first phase of development, brought the equipment around to the south shore. Using the bucket to first dig away the dirt and then attaching a chain to lift it, Duncan was able to gradually wrestle the heavy anchor from the ground.

When finally cleared from its resting place, the massive anchor tipped the scales at 7,842 pounds. That’s a hefty weight, considering the tip of one giant fluke was sheared off, the damage done long before Duncan’s excavation work began.

Looking at the anchor suspended from the chain, Garrett said, “I’m excited. I’m a little disappointed one tip was broken off one of the flukes.” However, that damage may be one of the reasons the anchor was left behind.

Once the layers of years of accumulated soil are washed from its surface, Garrett hopes they’ll be able to find some identifying features to help give a clue to this touchstone to the past. His theory is the anchor is likely off a grain boat, one that lay at rest in the mile long slip during the 1980s after the grain elevator ceased operation.

After the stern of one ship broke free and did damage, the ships were more securely fastened to shore.

“When the ships were laid up, they buried the anchors in the ground to stabilize them,” Garrett said. Since the ships were destined for scrap, they had no power to free the anchor and probably cut the chains. As the anchor was most likely already missing the tip of the fluke, Garrett guesses it wasn’t worth salvaging and lay where it was left, forgotten, waiting to be uncovered decades later.

As the excavator did its work, a small group looked on. “This is exciting,” Mitchell said. “We’ll clean it up and see if we can do something with it.”

He said Skyline is respectful of the proud history of the area and said future plans call to establish a railway and marine museum on site to help the town attract tourists who would already be visiting other nearby attractions such as the Martyrs’ Shrine, Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, and the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre.

From the Midland Mirror


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Today in Great Lakes History - November 01

The AMERICAN EAGLE (wooden scow-schooner, 142 gt, built in 1863 at Dover, OH) arrived at Cleveland, Ohio with a load of limestone in the night and anchored outside of the breakwater, planning to enter the harbor in daylight. However, a full force gale struck at 0500 hours on 01 November 1871 and the vessel had to weigh her anchor to try to get into the harbor. The gale blew the vessel into the west pier, smashing its stern. The crew escaped in the lifeboat, but the AMERICAN EAGLE broke up and foundered.

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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